Natural Licorice


Original Image by J Brew via Flickr
Original Image by J Brew via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a plant, most commonly associated with flavorings in food, beverages and tobacco.  However, the root is used to make Eastern and Western medicine.

Licorice can be used for:

  • Digestive issues: heartburn, indigestion, GERD, stomach ulcers, colic, ongoing inflammation of the stomach’s lining-chronic gastritis
  • Sore throat
  • Canker sores
  • Eczema
  • Bronchitis
  • Cough
  • Infections from bacteria or viruses
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Liver disorders
  • Malaria
  • Tuberculosis
  • Food poisoning
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

It can be used in many forms:

  • Dried root: 1 – 5 g as an infusion or decoction (boiled), 3 times daily
  • Licorice 1:5 tincture: 2 – 5 mL, 3 times daily
  • Standardized extract: 250 – 500 mg, 3 times daily, standardized to contain 20% glycyrrhizinic acid
  • DGL extract: 0.4 – 1.6 g, 3 times daily, for peptic ulcer
  • DGL extract 4:1: chew 300 – 400 mg, 3 times daily 20 minutes before meals, for peptic ulcer

If one has the following disease states or situations, use of licorice should not be used: liver disease, pregnancy and breastfeeding, high blood pressure, hypertonia, low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia), kidney disease, surgery, sexual problems in men and/or hormone sensitive conditions (i.e. breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and/or endometriosis).

Natural licorice can increase cortisol concentration, leading to increased sodium retention, potassium excretion, high blood pressure (aka hypertension) and/or an increase in sodium reabsorption.  These changes can antagonize the action of diuretics and antihypertensive medications.  Some herbs have a stimulant laxative effect (i.e. aloe vera, castor oil, senna and rhubarb) should be avoided to lower potassium in body.

Furthermore, use of certain medications can negatively interact with licorice.

Medication Use Potential interaction with licorice
Warfarin (Coumadin) Slow blood clotting Licorice may increase breakdown; decrease effectiveness of warfarin, which may increase the risk of clotting
Cisplatin (Platinol-AQ) Treat cancer Licorice may decrease how well cisplatin works
Digoxin (Lanoxin) Treats atrial fibrillation and heart failure Large amounts of licorice can decrease potassium levels, which can inhibit digoxin’s effectiveness
Ethacyrnic Acid (Edecrin); Furosemide (Lasix) Treats edema; diuretic When etharynic and licorice are taken together, may cause potassium to become too low
Furosemide (Lasix) Treats edema When furosemide and licorice are taken together, may cause potassium to become too low
Medications associated with the liver (i.e. cytochrome P450 2C9, cytochrome P450 3A4, CYP3A4, phenobarbital, dexamethasone) Liver issues Licorice may change how the liver breaks down medications, may increase/decrease effects of medications
Antihypertensive drugs (i.e. captopril, enalapril, losartan, valsartan, amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide, Lasix) Treats high blood pressure Might decrease effectiveness of medications for high blood pressure
Corticosteroids (i.e. hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisone, prednisone) For inflammation Some medications for inflammation can decrease potassium in the body; when corticosteroids are taken in conjunction with licorice, can decrease potassium in the body too much
Diuretics (i.e. Lasix, Diuril, Thalitone, HCTZ, Microzide) Water pills In conjunction with licorice, diuretics can decrease potassium in body too much

Lastly, when taking licorice, drinking grapefruit juice may increase licorice’s ability to cause potassium depletion. Licorice can increase sodium/water retention and increase blood pressure. Licorice can be a great solution to certain disease states, however, take caution with use of licorice if you’re on medications. Best to check with your primary care physician if it is safe to use licorice.

Sources: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/881.html

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/licorice

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-881-licorice.aspx?activeingredientid=881&activeingredientname=licorice

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/licorice

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-licorice/article_em.htm

http://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/licorice.html

Cottage Cheese Filled Dates


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Image by David R. Blume goo.gl/vxxn1w

By: Nikki Nies

Whenever you’re pairing foods, you want to make sure they have the right balance of sweet and savory. The overpowering of one ingredient can lead to the

For as little in size that dates are, they’re nutrition powerhouses, containing fiber, the antioxidant tannins, beta carotene, vitamin A, potassium and iron. While the peanut butter stuffed dates trend has been going around, I’ve been trying to incorporate more cottage cheese into my meals as it is great to pair with savory or sweet foods. Pairing dates and cottage cheese is a great way to maintain protein content, but the added benefit of cottage cheese’s healthy fats. While low in calories, cottage cheese and dates are great spin on the traditional peanut butter stuffed dates.

IngredientsIMG_9084

  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • 5 dates
  • Drizzle of honey
  • Sprinkle of  cinnamon

Instructions

Slice dates lengthwise, stuff with cottage             cheese. Drizzle honey and sprinkle cinnamon on top of each date. Eat up!

What additional toppings would you add to this easy, delectable snack?

Sources: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dates.html

Health Benefits of Dates – Promoting Heart, Brain, and Digestive Health

Milk Substitutes


By: Nikki Nies

For hundreds of years, milk derived from animals only, such as cow’s, sheep and goat. Yet, with lactose intolerance, maldigestion and the preference for non-dairy sources of milk emerging in recent years, the market and need for milk substitutes as increased multifold. Like there are differences in whole milk, 2% and skim milk, the nutrition content, flavor, color and texture of non-dairy milks–soy, rice, oat, 7 grain, hazelnut, hemp, almond and coconut vary.

 

Milk Type Description Texture/consistency Nutrients–1 cup Use
Whole great source of vitamin D, B12 and calcium 147 calories; 8.1 g fat; 98 mg sodium; 12.9 g carbs; 12.9 g sugar; 7.9 g protein; 276 mg calcium; 349.4 mg potassium; 98 IU vitamin D
1% great source of vitamin D, B12 and calcium 91 calories; 0.7 g fat; 130 mg sodium; 12.3 g carbs; 12.3 g sugar; 8.7 g protein; 316.2 mg calcium; 419.1 mg potassium; 98 IU vitamin D
Soy–plain obtained from soy bean; closest option to cow’s milk; contains vitamin B12 and D; processed; can be high in sugar; comes in sweetened, unsweetened and flavored varieties such as chocolate and vanilla creamy 100 calories; 4 g fat; 120 mg sodium; 8 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 7 g protein; 300 mg calcium; 300 mg potassium; 119 IU vitamin D vegan–baking, coffee, as is, cereal
Almond made from ground almonds, water and sweetener; has ⅓ of calories as 2% milk; magnesium and protein content is good for bone strength; contains less sugar than soy or rice milk; tends to be high in sodium; contains vitamins A, D & E; low in protein; higher in fat than skim milk thick 60 calories; 2.5 g fat; 150 mg sodium; 8 g cars; 7 g sugar; 1 g protein; 200 mg calcium; 180 mg potassium; 100 IU vitamin D cereal, coffee, sipping, baking
Coconut richest, creamiest of all milk alternatives; when purchased in a carton, tends to have a lower fat content and is not as creamy as in can form; high in saturated fat and calories thick, creamy 80 calories; 5 g fat; 30 mg sodium; 7 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 1 g protein; 450 g calcium; 40 g potassium; 100 IU vitamin D ice cream, Thai curry, moistens cakes; coffee; tea
Hemp best for those with nut or soy allergies; rich in omega 3 fatty acids; low in saturated fat; mixture of hemp seeds  and water; contains essential amino acids; fortified with vitamin D and A; low in protein thick, creamy; “earthy” 100 g calories; 6 g fat; 110 mg sodium; 9 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 2 g protein; 300 mg calcium; N/A potassium; 100 IU vitamin D smoothies; porridge; baking; cereals
7 Grain–original Oats, Brown Rice, Wheat,  Barley, Triticale, Spelt and Millet thin 140 calories; 2 g fat; 27 g carbs; 3 g protein; 115 mg sodium; 125 mg potassium biscuits, smoothies and cereals
Hazelnut considered “more agreeable” in flavor with coffee; supposedly “froths” better thin 110 calories; 3.5 g fat; 120 mg sodium; 16 g carbs; 0 g sugar; 2 g protein coffee, baking, vegan cooking
Oat Void of cholesterol and saturated fats; high in fiber, iron; contains phytochemicals, which can protect against heart disease and some cancers; must be avoided by those that need to adhere to gluten free diet thick and grainy 130 calories; 2.5 g fat; 24 g carbs; 110 mg sodium; 19 g sugar; 120 mg potassium on its own as a beverage, cereal, gravy, cupcakes, hearty cookies
Rice most hypoallergenic option of all milk alternatives; good for blood pressure due to niacin and vitamin B6 content; low in protein; not recommended for diabetics; highly starchy; often enriched with calcium, vitamin A & D watery, thin 70 calories; 2.5 g fat; 80 mg sodium; 23 g carbs; 10 g sugar; 1 g protein; 300 mg calcium; 0 mg potassium; 100 IU vitamin D oatmeal, smoothies and cereals–not recommended to be used in baking or cooking due to watery texture

With cow’s milk allergy reported to be the largest allergy in infants and children, it’s safe to say that these milk substitutes are a valuable resource. What’s your experience with these different milks? Have a particular preference you want to share? If you’re up to the challenge, why not make your own milk?
Sources: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/273982.php

http://www.eatingwithfoodallergies.com/milksubstitutes.html

http://www.wellnesstoday.com/nutrition-recipes/which-nut-milk-is-right-for-you

http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-is-hazelnut-milk-the-new-almond-milk-20140416-story.html

https://www.behance.net/gallery/2681739/Primer-Milk-Alternatives

http://www.pacificfoods.com/food/non-dairy-beverages/nut-grain-beverages/organic-7-grain-original.aspx

https://www.behance.net/gallery/2681739/Primer-Milk-Alternatives

Making Matcha Tea


By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by Jigme Datse Rasku via Flickr
Original Image by Jigme Datse Rasku via Flickr

In an article written by Kristen Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, she discusses the 15 Foods to Add to Your Diet in 2015. Since I’m always interested in learning about the latest food trends and current recommendations, I had to learn more! The first food listed was matcha tea. While, I’m a fan of green tea ice cream, which contains matcha powder, the health benefits of matcha tea has eluded me. Therefore, today we’ll be discussing matcha!

Matcha tea, also spelled as maccha, is finely milled or fine powder green tea. This type of tea derives from Japan, ubiquitously present in tea ceremonies. Prior to the milling of matcha tea, it’s shaded for at least a month to increase chlorophyll production. The entire tea leaf is used, with increased chlorophyll content found in matcha tea is exorbitantly healthier than water that is brewed and diluted from a tea bag or strainer.

Original Image by Rowan Robinson via Flickr
Original Image by Rowan Robinson via Flickr

To obtain all the benefits of matcha tea, opt to keep it plain. It naturally contains vitamin C, potassium, iron and fiber. Additionally, it can boost one’s metabolism, fights against bacteria and virus, does not raise insulin levels and does not raise one’s heart rate or blood pressure. 10 glasses of green tea is equivalent to 1 glass of matcha tea. When one adds milk to matcha tea, it slightly decreases catechin, which is an antioxidant rich component of cancer fighting properties.

Presently, matcha is commonly used to add flavor and dye to foods–mochi, soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of wagashi, a confectionary sugar, yet in its purest form, as tea, one can obtain optimal benefits!  The flavor of matcha tea can vary, depending on the strength of the amino acids used.

What’re you waiting for? Put down the black, jasmine and oolong tea and get yourself some matcha!

Sources: https://www.yahoo.com/health/15-foods-to-add-to-c1418437164158/photo-1-matcha-tea-photo-1418436495156.html

http://www.matchasource.com/matcha-tea-health-benefits-s/14.htm

http://www.teavana.com/the-teas/green-teas/p/matcha-japanese-green-tea

Black Bean Brownies


IMG_8358By: Nikki Nies

What would you say if I told you that to make brownies I need chocolate AND black beans?! Shocked? Surprised? Agreeable?

I admit, the first time I heard about this combination, I scrunched my face. Like many, I head to the dessert section of the restaurant menu to satisfy my sweet tooth, not for BEANS! Yet, during my latest rotation at Illinois’ Will County Women, Infants and Children Clinic, I had the opportunity to not only do a food demo, but to show women and children how they can use their dried beans that they may receive with their coupons in a guilt free, delicious manner!

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Preparing: place black beans in a colander, sort thoroughly and remove any tiny pebbles; rinse under cold water

How to soak: the larger the bean, the longer they need to soak. The longer you soak the beans, the faster they cook.  Soaking beans allows dried beans to absorb water, which begins to dissolve the starches that causes intestinal discomfort. Soak beans in 3x their volume of cold water for 6 hours before cooking.

  • 1/3 cup dry beans=1 cup cooked beans
  • 1/2 cup dry beans=1 1/2 cup cooked beans
  • 2/3 cup dry beans=2 cups cooked beans
  • 1 cup dry beans=3 cups cooked beans
  • 2 cups/1 lb. dry beans=6 cups cooked beans

Black Bean Brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Servings: 12 Serving: 1/12 of recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Mash  beans, 1/4 cup chocolate chips and oil with a fork

2. Add eggs, brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder and salt; cover and process until smooth.

2. Transfer to a 9-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray.

3. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. 3. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Adapted from TasteofHome

Nutrition Facts per serving: 115 calories; 2.6 g of fat; 15 g carbohydrates; 2.9 g of protein

Black Bean Brownies with Mix

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Servings: 12 Serving: 1/12 of recipe

Ingredients:

  • ½ 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ package brownie mix
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish
  2. Mash black beans and water together until smooth.  Pour into a bowl.
  3. Stir brownie mix into black bean mixture until batter is smooth; fold in ¼ cup chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips over batter.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted two inches from side of pan comes out clean, 25-27 minutes. Cool brownies completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Adapted from AllRecipes

Nutrition Facts per serving: 150 calories; 5.6 g of fat; 25 g of carbohydrates; 2.3 g of protein

Nutrition Benefits of black beans:

  • ½ cup serving contains 113 calories
  • 1 cup serving of black beans ~15 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein
  • Boost iron intake: 3.6 mg iron per cup
  • Folic acid, magnesium and potassium rich
  • 0 saturated fat

While the black bean brownies with mix recipe is great to have to have on hand with a time crunch, do you see a difference in nutrients between the black bean brownie recipe made from scratch and from the box? Have you tried black bean brownies before? What other ways have you added black beans into your dishes?

Photo Credit: Health and Happy Herbivore

Sources:http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/eating-black-beans-good-you-3605.html

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/beans-protein-rich-superfoods

http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/6-health-benefits-of-black-beans.html

http://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/black-beans.php

Healthy Pasta Alternatives


Original Image by Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr
Original Image by Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Love the taste of pasta, yet struggle to eat a balanced diet?  Switch up your meals with healthier pasta options and pair with your favorite vegetables and seasonings.Whether you’re trying to limit your refined carbohydrates and/or increase  whole grains and vegetable intake, by making some small changes, you can still enjoy some great tasting dishes!

Healthy Pasta Alternatives

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Black bean spaghetti
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Soybean pasta
  • Sprouted wheatgrass
  • Farro pasta
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Soba Noodles
  • Shirataki Noodles
Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves:8Ingredients:

  • 3 small heads cauliflower
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ c. heavy cream
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Chop cauliflower. Bring vegetable broth to a boil over medium-high heat and add cauliflower.  Cook until cauliflower is soft, ~15 minutes.
  2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute 4-5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Transfer cauliflower to a blender with about 2 cups of broth. Add sautéed garlic, salt, nutmeg and black pepper and puree until smooth .Stream olive oil into blender and add more broth or water if too thick.
  4. When smooth, transfer back to butter/garlic skillet and add cream over low heat
Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Make It Yours: Cauliflower is an underutilized food in the kitchen, yet you should always have it on hand! Besides using as a healthy pasta alternative, use cauliflower to make pizza crust, cauliflower mash, replace chicken, cauliflower rice burrito bowl, cauliflower mac and cheese, cauliflower tots, cauliflower breads rolls, cauliflower calzones and/or baked breaded cauliflower “mozzarella” sticks.

Health Benefits of cauliflower:

Original Image by dollen via Flickr
Original Image by dollen via Flickr
  • Rich in fiber, which helps stay full longer and eases digestion
  • Folate rich to form red blood cells
  • Rich in vitamin C, which protects the immune system during cold and flu season
  • Rich in vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting
  • Full of potassium, which helps regulated blood pressure
  • Good source of manganese, which helps nerves function properly
  • Increases HDL cholesterol—“good” cholesterol à reduces risk of stroke
  • Has anti carcinogenic effects—antioxidant rich
  • Helps unborn babies develop properly
  • Low calorie
  • Fat free
  • Vegetarian source of omega 3 fatty acids
  • Improves healthy cell growth
  • Assists with kidney and bladder disorders
  • Blood and liver detoxifier

Customizing Pasta Alternatives: Now that you’ve ventured out and tried non grain pasta, don’t stop there! Add more color, flavor and nutrients to your meal with the addition of your favorite vegetables and seasonings: asparagus, broccoli or broccoli rabe, spinach, arugula, mushrooms, limes, carrots, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, corn, artichokes, pesto, garlic and/or onions.

What’re your favorite pasta add ins? Suggestions for how to make regular dishes more exciting?

Acidity and Alkalinity of Foods


acidic-alkaline-phchartBy: Nikki Nies

T/F: The foods you eat can impact the output of your urine? Of course, the answer is true! Acid’s formed by anions, phosphorus and sulfur while alkalinity is due to an intake of cations/electrolytes–potassium, sodium, calcium and/or magnesium.  This is why fruits and vegetables are responsible for the alkaline “ash” in urine, except prunes, plums and cranberries, which are considered “acid-ash” foods.  Also, high protein (i.e. meat, fish, poultry, eggs and cheese)and grains (i.e. breads, cereals).

Consumption of milk impacts the acid and alkalinity in one’s body.  Eating more alkaline rich foods helps to oxygenates one’s body and shifts body’s pH.   Alkaline foods provide proper functioning to prevent and combat cancer.

What about the foods that are exactly in the middle of the spectrum of the alkaline and acid scale you ask? Butter, margarine, oils, plain candies, sugar, syrups, honey, arrowroot, corn, tapioca, coffee and tea are called “neutral foods.”

Knowing which foods are classified as acid and alkaline is important to treat kidney stones since formation of these stones are due to an acidic urine pH.  It’s believed eating acid-ash foods in moderation can help treat the stones, while also excluding purine rich foods.

Photo Credit:Asana Foods 

Sources: http://www.nutrition411.com/patient-education-materials/ck98-miscellaneous-topics/item/1460-acidity-and-alkalinity-of-foods/

http://www.chimachine4u.com/AA.html

Hummus and Guacamole Showdown


HummusVSGuacamole

Source: http://www.prevention.com/which-healthier-hummus-vs-guacamole?cid=socFO_20140813_29676476

Functional Foods


Functional-foods-at-the-forefront-of-innovation-and-adulteration-says-USP_strict_xxlBy: Nikki Nies

 As consumers, we’re always looking for the best deal, option and/or product that offers the most features or characteristics.  That type of decision making is strongly integrated in what people choose to consume and eat.  If you’re looking for foods to maximize the nutritional benefits, you may want to take a closer look at functional foods.  Specifically, functional foods are known to have the potential to offer a positive effect beyond basic nutrition.  Consumption of functional foods can not compensate for other poor eating habits.

Some foods are naturally considered functional, while others are modified to become more functional.  Foods are categorized as a conventional food (i.e. grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits), additives, modified foods (i.e. yogurt, cereal, and orange juice) , dietary supplement, medical food (i.e. special formulations of foods and beverages) or for specific dietary use (i.e. infant formula).  For example, oatmeal’s naturally a functional food that contains soluable fiber to lower cholesterol levels.  Orange juice is a modified functional food that is often fortified with calcium to improve bone health.

Suggested functional foods: Functional-Foods-300x232

  • Cold Water Fish: such as salmon and/or sardines, contain a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids–may lower overall risk of heart disease, reduce joint pain, improve brain development and function; recommended to consume at least eight ounces of fish per week
  • Whole grains: such as barley–a fiber rich food that can also lower one’s cholesterol levels and help control blood sugars.
  • Nuts: can help control blood sugars, cashews and almonds are also great sources of magnesium, which is known to lower one’s blood pressure
  • Beans: Potassium, fiber, protein and folate rich, beans are an all around optimal functional food! Opt for low sodium beans if you’re purchasing canned! By rinsing beans prior to consumption can also reduce sodium content by up to 40%
  • Berries: All types of berries are not only low in calories, but contain the pigment anthocyanin, which delays or prevents cell damage.

One may argue all foods provide a function, which is true, but in terms of what the health world considers functional may have a different connotation in mind.  Again, functional foods are praised for their additional benefits to promote optimal health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases–such as cancer or heart disease.  There is no standard definition that foods adhere to be considered functional, but the FDA regulates manufacturers’ claims regarding health and nutrition promotion, impact on body and/or nutrient content.

It takes a little bit of discernment to push through the bombardment of health and nutrition claims manufacturers confuse consumers with, but by incorporating more berries, beans, barley, nuts and/or salmon into your daily meals is a great start!

Sources: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442472528

http://www.drrodney.com/wellness/functional-foods/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/functional-foods/faq-20057816

http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=9491

http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Markets/Functional-foods-at-the-forefront-of-innovation-and-adulteration-says-USP

Legume Land


intro-legumes-photo2By: Nikki Nies

Often times, it’s recommended to get your fair share of beans and legumes.  Every one knows what beans are: black, kidney, lima, pinto and garbanzo.  Yet, how quickly can you roll of your tongue legumes? I sure have to think about it for a second.

Legumes deserve the acclaim they receive next to beans.  Beans are part of the legume family, yet there are more to the legumes than beans.  Make sense?

They’re low in fat, high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium and contain no cholesterol!  Additionally, they’re a great filler upper instead of meat,which can be high in fat and cholesterol.

Yes, legumes are often associated with soups and stews, they do play a great part, but tossing some edamame (yes it’s a legume) on your salad is always a plus.

Common Legumes: edamame, peas, peanuts, lentils, beans,

Legumes are great for salads, casseroles, snacks, stews, soups and rice dishes.Legumes are often canned or dried, which are great to have on hand at all times for last minute additions to your meals. Now that you’re well versed in legumes, why not try your hand at Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage.  Let me know what you think!

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/legumes/art-20044278

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/foods/legumes/

http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/legumes.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11718588