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What is that thing? That is exactly what I said when I saw it at the grocery store.  Well, this is the pomelo (or pommelo), the grapefruit’s big cousin.  It is also known as the Chinese grapefruit.   It is grown mainly in South and Southeast Asia and Malaysia.  It is similar to the grapefruit, but bigger, and the rind is much thicker, which can be surprising when you peel it.  But when you do it is a great reward!  The pomelo is actually a bit sweeter than the grapefruit, and I prefer it over the regular grapefruit myself.  Like your other citrus fruits, it tends to be in season in the winter months.

As you would suspect from it being a citrus fruit, it is a good source of vitamin C.  It also provides some potassium, as well as small amounts of thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.  It is a carbohydrate source, but also provides a small amount of protein as well!  A serving size is one cup, which gives you around 75 calories.  As with most fruits and vegetables you get some fiber also, around two grams per serving, about the same as a piece of bread.

Pomelo will go well as a snack by itself, or it can be a great addition to a mixed green salad.  You could always juice it and have a nice refreshing drink, or a mixer for a cocktail.  You can add it into your smoothies for some refreshing tang.  Anywhere that you would typically use citrus in your recipes or meal plans, you can use the pomelo.  I like to enjoy mine as a side with my breakfast, or a snack at night.

I like to peel it and eat the wedges.  Let’s look at how to go about doing that. 

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Even my dog likes pomelo, and when he knows I am eating one he is always scavenging for a piece ha-ha!  

It’s a citrus fruit, so those of you who are taking statin medications, or any other medication which can interact with grapefruit or citrus, will need to be careful and check with your health care professional before you try it out. 

Post written by Becky Crosby, CT Dietetic student, reviewed by Kate Wilson, RD, CDN.

References

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2047/2  Online February 28, 2014.

It’s that time of year where the temperature outside is colder and the sun has set before you even make it home from work.  After a long day it might be tempting to just kick up your feet and order take out from the local pizza place. Don’t fall into this trap, it is possible to continue making healthy, satisfying meals throughout the winter months. They don’t need to be long or involved and I find the best dishes only involve one pot. My favorite one pot meal to make throughout the winter months is a Three Bean and Beef Chili. This chili features many ingredients beneficial to the body. The beans provide both fiber and protein to the dish while peppers and carrots are good sources of vitamin A.  chili

Three Bean and Beef Chili Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger featured at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/three-bean-and-beef-chili-recipe/index.html

 Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced (1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pound extra-lean ground beef (90 percent lean)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotles
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:
Heat the oil in large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the ground beef; raise the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tomatoes, water, chipotle and adobo sauce, oregano and salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook, partially covered, 20 minutes longer. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Per Serving: Calories: 295; Total Fat: 8 grams; Saturated Fat: 2.5 grams; Protein: 22 grams; Total carbohydrates: 35 grams; Sugar: 8 grams; Fiber: 10 grams; Cholesterol: 37 milligrams; Sodium: 512 milligrams

Article written by Michael Tedone-Didactic Program in Dietetics Student-University of Connecticut and reviewed by Kate Wilson, RD, CDN

During the month of February, the American Heart Association promotes “Go Red for Women,” an educational movement that advocates for more research and increases awareness on women’s heart health. Dr. Cynthia Thaik Cardiologist, Author, Founder Of Revitalize-U captures the campaign in a terrific post on www.huffingtonpost.com

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Parsnips can make any ordinary winter dish incredible!  Although it is not a usual cold-weather staple, this carrot-like veggie will add flavor and many nutritional benefits to your diet.  A 1 cup serving is 100 calories and provides 6 grams of dietary fiber.  They are also a reliable source of vitamin C, folate, and potassium.  Parsnips have a subtle nutty flavor and taste particularly great in soups.  You can also incorporate them in stir-fry, stew, rice, or risotto.  Shop for parsnips like you would shop for carrots.  Look for ones that are smooth, firm, and have a white root.

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For a simple parsnip recipe, try this Spiced Parsnip Soup!

Makes 4 servings, Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 3 ¼ C boiling water
  • ½ C light cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes/paprika for garnish

Directions

  1.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Fry the onion in butter until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the parsnips, garlic and curry powder, and fry for a couple of minutes to release the flavors. Mix the bouillon cube into the boiling water, and pour into the saucepan. Stir to remove any bits of vegetable from the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes or until parsnips are soft and easy to break with a wooden spoon.
  2. Remove from the heat, and blend with a hand mixer or immersion blender. Stir in the    cream, and heat through. Do not boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with red pepper flakes or paprika.

Written by Brooke Dragon, CT dietetic intern, reviewed by Kate Wilson, RD, CDN.

Image from http://www.cookinglight.com

Recently there has been a lot of discussion on the health benefits of nuts in the media due to an article that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. I wanted to investigate the study and see if nuts were all they were cracked up to be.

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This article took data from two long term studies, The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study with a total population of 118,962 participants. Both of these studies gathered data over the past 30 years and have information on diet, exercise, lifestyle and medical history. This article analyzed the information in a new way to determine the relationship between nut consumption and “death from any cause”.

What they found was that participants who on average consumed a one ounce serving of nuts per day, suffered less death from all causes including cancer, respiratory disease, infection and kidney disease. They used hazard ratios to describe the change, which in layman’s terms are the ratio of an event (here, death) compared to the sample size. Those who never consumed nuts had a score of 0.93 while those who ate them regularly had a score of 0.80, a 0.13 difference favoring the nuts!

The relationship was consistent in all subgroups including those with extremely low BMIs, diabetes, smokers and those on the Mediterranean diet. The connection was even more pronounced in overweight and obese subjects. Additionally, the high nut groups were found to weigh less and have smaller waists.

Due to the way these studies were conducted, there is a correlation between these events, but a causal relationship cannot be established. There are many other studies that show positive health outcomes related to increased nut consumption

Now what does this mean for you?

Regular consumption of nuts can be a key component in an overall healthy lifestyle. They contain:

  • unsaturated fatty acids, high-quality protein, and fiber
  • vitamins like folate, niacin, and vitamin E
  • minerals including potassium, calcium, and magnesium
  • phytochemicals with antioxidant properties

With all of this evidence, if you like nuts, try including them in recipes or bring them along as a non-perishable snack. It may lower your risk dying from a chronic disease and help prevent weight gain while satisfying your nutritional needs and taste buds.

To read the full article through the New England Journal of Medicine, click here.

 

Wendy Baier is a Connecticut based Registered Dietitian. She runs her own health and nutrition blog at www.thebaiernecessities.com. Follow her @WendyBaier and visit her portfolio at www.wendybaier.com to see her work history.

I recently attended the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE), the world’s largest annual meeting of food and nutrition professionals. More than 8,000 registered dietitians, nutrition researchers, policy makers, health care providers and industry leaders attend this four-day event. Each day is packed with research, educational presentations, lectures, debates, panel discussions and culinary demonstrations.

This year, the Expo portion of the event draws more than 350 food- and nutrition-related exhibitors. It’s here that new products and innovations are launched and food trends come to life.

Here are the top five food trends spotted at FNCE 2013:

1) Making fruit and vegetable consumption EASY:
Most of us struggle to get enough vegetables in our diet, so food manufacturers are helping us by featuring them in some delish sweet treats or by packaging them in portable squeeze containers.

2) Vegetable protein is gaining popularity:
The popularity of plant-based eating has encouraged manufactures to make products with plant-based proteins. Pea protein is a hot protein alternative to egg and dairy protein because of its link to greater satiety compared to whey and other proteins, and it is easy on the stomach and almost completely digestible, making it the perfect choice for sensitive individuals, children and the elderly.

3) Super Seeds and Grains: Quinoa, Chia and Hemp:
Perhaps the most striking health benefit provided by quinoa is its overall nutrient richness. When the nutrient composition of this food is analyzed in depth, the results are unusual and striking. While quinoa can be eaten in the same way as a grain, it provides a good source of protein, about 8 grams per ½ cup. Chia and hemp seeds are gaining popularity due to their heart-smart omega-3 fatty acids.

4) Portion Control

No doubt, obesity was a dominant topic throughout the conference, so ways to address the problem were top of mind.

5)  Bars are customized to lifestyle:
Bars are popular. You can take them anywhere and they do not require refrigeration. Before you reach for a bar, think about what this is fulfilling because nowadays bars are customized to your needs and lifestyle, meaning they are not all created equal. An essential tip is to look at ingredients, and choose one that you can pronounce each ingredient.

Posted by Kate Wilson, RD, CDN

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a cultured milk product that is similar in taste and texture to drinkable yogurt. This creamy, tangy drink is made by adding kefir grains to milk, which leads to fermentation. Kefir grains are protein-based clusters containing probiotic cultures, proteins, fermenting agents, and lactic acid. Kefir contains Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species, as well as some beneficial yeasts that aren’t found in yogurt. Fermentation, bacteria and yeasts might sound unappealing, but this is what makes Kefir good for you! We have both good and bad bacteria in our gut. Probiotics are friendly organisms that restore balance of the good and bad bacteria in the digestive system. Research suggests probiotics can help with diarrhea caused by antibiotics, as well as excezma and immunity. Some brands of kefir also contain prebiotics, like inulin, which feeds the probiotics and enhances their population in the gut.

 How is kefir used?

Kefir comes in plain, non-fat, low-fat and a variety of flavors like strawberry, blueberry, pomegranate and vanilla. All varieties will offer up probiotics, which makes the product popular with individuals suffering from gastrointestinal problems like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas. Even those who are lactose intolerant can usually tolerate kefir because the live cultures “predigest” the lactose. It has been suggested that probiotics may even aid in cancer risk reduction, and weight control- but evidence is less conclusive at this time. You may see probiotics sold in the form of supplement pills, but consuming them in the form of kefir will come along with a number of other nutrients too. The protein content (8-11g per 8oz) can help with satiety, and you’ll also get a good source of Vitamin A (10% DV), Vitamin D (25% DV), and Calcium (30% DV) – based on a 2000 calorie a day diet. Just be careful not to over do it on the flavors with added sugars. Kefir can be drank alone, blended with fruit in a smoothie, poured over cereal, or used instead of buttermilk in recipes, like soups and baked goods. Some companies even produce frozen kefir as a dessert. The frozen probiotics defrost in the warmth of your internal body temperature, causing them to become live again once in the gut.

 Recipe: Try the recipe below for a healthy start to your morning!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. Plain 1% Kefir
  • 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen fruit of choice, No sugar Added
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal

 Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender. Add a splash of milk of choice if a thinner texture is preferred.

 

Article written by Jamie Lee McIntyre RD, CD-N, Supermarket Dietitian and Nutrition Consultant

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