Food Profile: Blueberries

Blueberries are second only to strawberries in popularity in the United States.  They are one of the very few fruits that are native to North America, so be proud of these little bundles of joy.  Blueberries have a wide range of health benefits, making them one of the healthiest foods you can put into your body.

Phytonutrients – Phytonutrients are simply nutrients that are found naturally within a certain food.  Almost every single nutrient found in blueberries – too many to list – serve either an antioxidant or anti-inflammatory role within the body.

Antioxidant – antioxidants serve to fight against free radicals within the body.  F.R.’s are known to damage cellular structure and DNA, making individuals susceptible to sickness and disease development.  The interesting thing about blueberries is that their antioxidant support seems to be a full body task.  Most antioxidants focus on one particular area or system within the body, but blueberries have been shown to affect every system within the body!

Cardiovascular – consistent consumption of blueberries has been shown to improve fat balances, decrease total cholesterol, raise HDL levels, and lower triglycerides.  It has also been proven to protect cells lining blood vessel walls, helping to improve blood flow and overall cardiovascular function

Blood Sugar – When comparing to other fruits, blueberries are not “super low” in their GI rating (GI rating is essentially how quickly your blood sugar is elevated by a certain food).  Blueberries score around a 50, while some other fruits have been scored at 30-40.  With that, however, blueberries have been reported to have positive effects on overall blood sugar, particularly in people with Type II Diabetes.  This is because they contain about 15% of our daily requirement of fiber.  Even though they’re higher amount fruits, blueberries have a relatively low GI rating when compared to other foods.

Blueberries, fresh
1.00 cup
(148.00 g)
GI: low
BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES
nutrient amount DRI/DV
(%)
Protein 1.10 g 2.20
Carbohydrates 21.45 g 9.53
Fat – total 0.49 g
Dietary Fiber 3.55 g 14.20
Calories 84.36 4.69

 

Blueberries, fresh
1.00 cup
148.00 grams
Calories: 84
GI: low
Nutrient Amount DRI/DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
vitamin K 28.56 mcg 31.7 6.8 very good
manganese 0.50 mg 25.0 5.3 very good
vitamin C 14.36 mg 19.1 4.1 very good
fiber 3.55 g 14.2 3.0 good
copper 0.08 mg 8.9 1.9 good

How much do we need??

There are a lot of different recommendations out there for fruit/vegetable servings per day.  Since were talking about a fruit here, I’ll limit to that.  Some organizations so you only need about 2.5 cups of fruit per day, while others believe you need closer to 3-3.5 cups to see the full benefits of fruits.  So I will put it somewhere in the middle, saying 2.5-3 cups of fruit per day.  Now, this doesn’t all have/need to come from blueberries.  But, because of their superb health benefits, they should be a key part of your everyday food intake.

So, next time you’re in the grocery store, make a note to throw some of these bad boys in the cart.  Throw them in some oatmeal for a great breakfast, or take them with you to work and make them a healthy snack.  Either way, this food choice is too healthy to not have in your diet.

Shaking My Head

I really could watch these videos all day long.  The box jump and pullup clips are my absolute favorite.  Just for the record, these aren’t all Crossfit fails, just a majority of them.  Regardless, they’re freakin’ hilarious.  Enjoy…

Nutritional Profile: Sweet Potatoes

A lot of the times, the problem with healthy eating is that people simply don’t know what they’re putting in their body.  Whether it’s a healthy or unhealthy product, they simply don’t know what is in it and what makes it good or bad.  While I do have a pretty good knowledge on healthy foods, I’m not completely exempt from this.  That’s why I’m starting this Nutritional Profile for you.  Every week I’ll pick a food product and give you a relatively in depth look at not only what the food’s nutrient/vitamin/mineral composition consists of, but also how it applies to your health.  This week, I’m choosing one of my favorite foods: the sweet potato.

Kumara

  • Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes may be one of nature’s unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene. Several recent studies have shown the superior ability of sweet potatoes to raise our blood levels of vitamin A. This benefit may be particularly true for children. In several studies from Africa, sweet potatoes were found to contain between 100-1,600 micrograms (RAE) of vitamin A in every 3.5 ounces—enough, on average, to meet 35% of all vitamin A needs, and in many cases enough to meet over 90% of vitamin A needs (from this single food alone).
  • Sweet potatoes are not always orange-fleshed on the inside but can also be a spectacular purple color. Sometimes it’s impossible to tell from the skin of sweet potato just how rich in purple tones its inside will be. That’s because scientists have now identified the exact genes in sweet potatoes (IbMYB1 and IbMYB2) that get activated to produce the purple anthocyanin pigments responsible for the rich purple tones of the flesh. The purple-fleshed sweet potato anthocyanins—primarily peonidins and cyanidins—have important antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties. Particularly when passing through our digestive tract, they may be able to lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals. For more details on purple-fleshed and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, please see our Description section below.
  • It can be helpful to include some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable. Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. Of course, this minimal amount of fat can be very easy to include. In our Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe, for example, we include 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and with just this one tablespoon, each of our 4 servings for this delicious recipe provides 3.5 grams of fat.

 

What’s in it:

Sweet Potato, baked
(Note: “–” indicates data unavailable)
1.00 medium
(200.00 g)
GI: medium
BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES
nutrient amount DRI/DV
(%)
Protein 4.02 g 8.04
Carbohydrates 41.42 g 18.41
Fat – total 0.30 g
Dietary Fiber 6.60 g 26.40
Calories 180.00 10.00

Health benefits:

Serves as  a source of key antioxidants, such as beta-carotene.  Antioxidants are important for killing free radicals throughout our bodies, which have a known association with the development of cancer.

Helps reduce inflammation and promotes healthy blood clotting

Helps regulate blood sugar levels.  The fiber content helps to steady the digestion process, preventing blood sugar from rising too quickly

 

How to Cook:

Optimal for nutritional value and taste – Steaming allows you to cook quickly while avoiding submersion in water.  Submersion allows for water-soluble vitamins to leak out

Other methods – boiling, baking, stir-fry

 

For a very full, very in-depth profile of sweet potatoes, click here

 

Workout of the Week

This week I’ve got a bodyweight workout for you. Don’t think that it’ll be easy because you’re not using weights. I won’t let you down, you’ll still be tired. Here are your three exercises:

1. Bodyweight Squats – 25
2. Situps – 20
3. Pushups – 15

Complete 10 Rounds of this cycle as quickly as possible. End result will be 250 squat, 200 situps, 150 pushups.

WORK HARD!!!