Nutrition

Health Benefits of Coconut

Coconut milk

Coconut health benefits have been getting lots of attention in recent years. While there was a panic at one point about the high level of saturated fat in coconuts, studies have shown that there isn’t as definitive a link between saturated fat and heart disease as researchers once thought.

While much of the saturated fat we consume in our diets is made up of long-chain fatty acids, the saturated fat in coconuts is made of medium-chain fatty acids, which go to the liver to provide a quick source of energy or are turned into ketones; and some research indicates that ketogenic diets have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. more→

Tips and Strategies for the Vegan Athlete Diet

Green detox smoothie cup and woman lacing running shoes before workout on rainy day. Fitness and healthy lifestyle concept.

For a vegan athlete, diet is a critical consideration. There are lots of accomplished vegan athletes from across the world of sports, and many more who, though not famous, are thriving on their plant-based diet. Here are some of VegKitchen’s in-depth posts featuring tips and strategies to stay healthy and fit as you pursue your athletic goals on a vegan diet. more→

Top 10 Health Benefits of Brown Rice

White and brown rice

Brown rice is better for you than white — the evidence is compelling when you look at the top 10 health benefits of it that follow. The majority of consumers typically choose white rice over brown because of the difference in appearance.

While it’s true white rice might look more appealing to some than its brown relative, it doesn’t mean it’s the healthier alternative. According to a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, brown rice is the top choice in terms of both nutritional and other inherent healthy benefits. Let’s compare: brown vs white rice.

Tasty, Easy Brown Rice Recipes e-bookIf you’d like to make more use of it, and want easy, tasty recipes right at your fingertips, consider our Tasty, Easy Brown Rice Recipes pdf e-book, part of our affordable e-book series. With 30 of our most popular recipes and 20 full-color photos, you can print out this concise guide or view it right on your computer.

Why Brown Rice? Before white rice went through the refining process, it at one time looked exactly like the brown stuff. Brown, unlike white rice, still has the side hull and bran. The side hulls and brans provide “natural wholeness” to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. For those trying to lose weight or those suffering from diabetes, it can prove a healthful staple given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.

Unfortunately, all white rice packaging has a label that reads “enriched.” Since white rice has been stripped of iron, vitamins, zinc, magnesium and other nutrients during the refining process, manufacturers must add unnatural fortifications in the form of synthetic vitamins and iron so it can be marketed to the public as a “nutritious food.” Although white rice is fortified, it still doesn’t reach the minimum nutritional requirements for one serving of food as specified by the FDA. The healthy benefits of brown rice are listed below.

1. Rich in Selenium It is rich in selenium which reduces the risk for developing common illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

2. High in Manganese One cup of it provides 80% of our daily manganese requirements. Manganese helps the body synthesize fats. Manganese also benefits our nervous and reproductive systems.

3. Rich in Naturally-Occurring Oils Naturally occurring oils are beneficial for the body as these healthful fats help normalize cholesterol levels.

4. Promotes Weight Loss The fiber content of brown rice keeps bowel function at it’s peak since it makes digestion that much easier. It is the perfect addition to the daily diet for those seeking bowel regularity. In addition, it also makes the tummy feel full which translates to smaller meal portions.

5. Considered Whole Grain Brown rice is considered a whole grain since it hasn’t lost its “wholeness” through the refinement process. Whole grains are proven to reduce the buildup of arterial plaque and reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.

Brown rice in a bowl6. Rich in Anti-Oxidants This is one of the best kept secrets regarding brown rice. We usually associate anti-oxidant rich foods with blueberries, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables. Its antioxidant capacity is right up there with these super stars.

7. High in Fiber It is high in fiber and on top of the list for foods that can help prevent colon cancer. This can be attributed to the high levels of fiber naturally contained in brown rice. These fibers attach to substances that cause cancer as well as to toxins in the body, thus eliminating them and keeping them from attaching to the colon wall.

8. A Slow-Release Sugar Brown rice helps stabilize blood sugar levels; therefore, it’s an excellent food choice for those suffering from diabetes. Studies show that those who consume one half cup eaten daily reduce their risks of developing diabetes by 60%. On the other hand, those who consume white rice regularly increase their chances of developing diabetes one hundred-fold.

9. Perfect Baby Food Brown rice cereal or even just by itself is the perfect baby’s first food due to the dense natural nutrition and fiber it contains. This is a much better choice than refined white rice cereal products as rapidly growing babies and toddlers require nutrient rich diets to help maintain rapid growth cycles.

10. Candida Yeast Infections It is the perfect adjunct for candida yeast infection treatmentsgiven that high glycemic and otherwise sugary/starchy foods are prohibited during most candida treatment protocols. Its natural digestibility coupled with the high fiber content can help sensitive digestive systems heal from an overgrowth of candida organisms. Finally, it is simply delicious and a fantastic staple for both vegetarian and vegan diets. It can be used as a white rice alternative in most vegetarian recipes and provides a full, rich and somewhat nutty flavor. Its flour can be used for vegetarian pancakes, breads and other baked goods. All in all, it is clearly the healthy choice.

Dr. Linda Kennedy MS SLP ND is an avid animal activist and nature lover.

How to Cook brown rice

The amount of water recommended for cooking long- and medium-grain brown rice varies depending on the source, from as little as 1½ parts water to as much as 3 parts water per 1 part rice. I’ve always preferred 2 1/2 parts water to 1 part rice. For example, 2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice.

Remember to rinse the rice well before cooking. Combine in a medium saucepan with the water. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, Cover (leave lid ajar) and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If the rice isn’t tender to your liking at this point, add 1/2 cup additional water and continue to simmer until it’s absorbed.

What are Carbohydrates and Why Do We Need Them?

pesto pasta with potatoes and green beans

Excerpted from Questioning Meat by Robin Schaper, reprinted by permission. What are carbohydrates, and what are carbohydrate foods? Why do we need carbohydrates? And what is the difference between good and bad carbs? We’ll answer these questions, but first, a distinction: We all need plenty of good carbs. Meat and other animal-based food contains hardly any carbohydrates, while plant-based food are rich sources. more→

7 Top Health Benefits of Maca Root

maca root

Here are the 7 top maca root health benefits. An ancient Peruvian root crop, maca is gaining popularity as a supplement and superfood. Maca root belongs to the radish family, and is most commonly available in powder form. Grown in the mountains of Peru, it has been called “Peruvian ginseng.”

There are no serious known side effects of maca root powder, but like any other superfood or supplement, it shouldn’t be taken in large amounts. When you first start using maca root, it’s best to begin by taking smaller amounts and building up; as little as 1/2 teaspoon is a good place to start. Just 1 tablespoon is an average daily dose. Rotating a few days on and a few days off is often recommended. For more on this, see 5 Easy and Tasty Ways to Use Maca Powder in Food.

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Foods That Support a Healthy Microbiome

Organic vegetables. Farmers hands with freshly harvested vegetables. Horse radish

When considering your health, one important factor that is being studied more and more is the gut. Researchers have found that the bacteria which lives in the intestines, plays an important role in our overall health and wellness. What is most interesting is that the health or sickliness of the gut depends on what a person eats. So by making a few dietary changes, you can transform the state of your gut bacteria. Let’s take a closer look at what a microbiome is exactly, why it matters, and which foods support its health. more→

A Vegan Protein Sources Chart

A vegan's guide to protein

It seems like when anyone goes vegan, the first question they’re asked is “How do you get your protein?” The idea that it’s hard to get enough protein on a plant-based diet seems hard to shake, even though it’s not difficult at all. The following vegan protein sources chart demonstrates what a wide array of healthful options are available for those considering a plant-based diet.

Let’s put it simply: Yes, you need an adequate amount of protein. But evidence proves that a whole foods diet featuring a variety of healthy foods provides plenty of protein. Whole grains, beans, minimally processed soy foods, and nuts and seeds all offer high-quality protein. more→

7 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight on a Vegan Diet

water detox — why it's important to drink water

The decision to go vegan is not necessarily one that should be solely about achieving specific weight loss goals. However, many people do enjoy some weight loss while living a vegan lifestyle. While there’s no silver bullet vegan weight loss diet, there are things you might be doing that are preventing you from losing weight, including these listed below.

1. Consuming Hidden Calories in Drinks
Smoothies are a dietary staple for many followers of a vegan diet. They can be a good source of nutrition when you’re a vegan. Unfortunately, they can also be filled with hidden calories and may do little to help you feel full or satiated. Other drinks, such as alcohol, some fruit drinks, sodas and even some sports drinks can be high in calories. When you’re drinking these in excess, they can be a stumbling block for your weight loss goals. When you’re thirsty, your first instinct should be to reach for water until it becomes your beverage of choice. more→

Let’s Go Nuts for Good Health

Glazed and spiced mixed nuts

Here’s a look at the benefits of eating nuts regularly, and the best nuts to eat. If you’re going for a more balanced diet, trying to lower your cholesterol, and even want to lose weight, be sure to include nuts in your daily fare. Just a single handful can have a powerful, positive impact on your diet. Nuts are high in fiber, protein, and – most important – good fats. The fiber and protein will leave you feeling full and can help curb cravings.

People who eat nuts daily tend to feel satiated and, as a result, eat fewer calories throughout the day. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats will help regulate cholesterol, reduce your risk of cancer, and deter type 2 diabetes. They even help keep skin hydrated and plump – meaning you will look younger. more→

Supercharge with Superfoods for Weight Loss & Health

Superfoods for weight loss

The word “superfood” is popping up everywhere these days. It’s no surprise — superfoods are gaining popularity as incredibly beneficial foods that are more nutritious than conventional food. Conscious eaters have discovered superfoods for weight loss, too. Did you know that these foods can actually help you naturally slim down and manage your weight?

Before going into the superfoods that will help with weight loss, it’s important to understand why they can help. more→

7 Benefits of Plant-Based Diets for Seniors

Wicker basket with assorted raw organic vegetables in the garden.

Are you thinking of exploring a more plant-based diet? Here are 7 benefits of plant-based diets for seniors — the new, doctor-prescribed and research-approved trend that boosts health and helps you enjoy a longer life and more vibrant lifestyle.

What Is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is not simply a diet of vegetables. It is impossible to get all your necessary daily nutrients from just vegetables, and it is essential that seniors eat a well-rounded diet.

Instead, plant-based meals consist of avoiding anything that either once had a face, or came from something with a face. Avoid animals and their by-products, including meat, eggs, or dairy, and substitute them with fruits, vegetables, tubers or starchy foods, and whole grains. The diet also requires the abstinence of sugar and oil. more→

Ayurvedic Herbs to Add to Your Diet

Top view image of turmeric latte over white wooden table with copyspace

As far as holistic health trends go, Ayurveda has been popping up everywhere in recent years. There are even Ayurvedic health drinks and recipes being offered in some of the trendiest restaurants. It’s no surprise that this ancient Indian system of medicine is becoming more popular.

Ayurveda takes a truly holistic approach toward the entire human body and mind. It seeks to balance a person, rather than treating illnesses after they manifest. Though it can do that, too. With how popular and versatile ayurveda is, it’s tempting to just throw a bunch of Indian herbs into your cooking and hope it helps. But there’s a rich philosophy behind Ayurveda that will help you make the most of Ayurvedic herbs. more→

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