Jun 29, 2009

Mineral Facts: Magnesium, 12 Facts, 8+ Sources

This is a start of several posts on minerals. As more posts are added on the topic, you'll be able to look at just those posts by visiting the "Mineral Facts" link in the Categories list or just below this post.

Here are some Magnesium facts:

  1. About 60% of this mineral is found in our bones
  2. Magnesium is needed so our bodies can metabolize (use) Vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.
  3. Take with calcium, it helps the calcium utilize calcium properly, some suggest taking magnesium:calcium in a 1:2 ratio. So if you're taking 250 mg. Calcium, take with 125 mg. Magnesium
  4. Magnesium benefits the bones and teeth.
  5. Consider this mineral if you are having trouble with restless leg syndrome.
  6. Enzymes are important to our bodies, that's a topic for another post. For now, just know that over 300 enzymes are made more useful to the body by magnesium.
  7. Helps with insulin production.
  8. Magnesium comes in different forms, two of the best are Citrate and Malate. 
  9. Magnesium has a relaxing affect on the smooth muscle tissues in the body, which may account for the following benefits:
  10. May reduce the frequency of migraines
  11. May reduce severity of asthma attacks
  12. May help with PMS symptoms
Food Sources for Magnesium:
  1. Green Leafy vegetables (central atom in the chlorophyll molecule)
  2. Figs
  3. Grapefruit (remember, Grapefruit is contraindicated with many meds...visit this link for more information on this)
  4. Apples
  5. Lemons
  6. Peanuts
  7. Whole-Grain Bread
  8. Natural un-refined Cereal
350 mg. is the generally agreed to be the maximum to take in supplement form, this can vary depending upon the individual. Excess amounts may cause diarrhea.

Updated 3/21/16 

Jun 24, 2009

16 Facts About Vitamin A

I thought that it was high time we focused in on some of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that we find in our foods. There will be posts on other topics between, so be sure as the list grows, use the "Vitamin Facts" here or below to find all posts on Vitamins.

Vitamin A Facts:

  1. As the letter implies, it was the first vitamin to be discovered.
  2. It is essential to good vision
  3. It helps promote normal growth
  4. In animal tissue, it is occurs as retinol
  5. Fish Oils are a common source of Vitamin A
  6. In plants, carotene (beta carotene) is the precursor to Vitamin A...in other words, beta carotene, the orange color in carrots and other vegetables, has what is necessary to be converted into Vitamin A by the body.
  7. Needed for health of epithelial cells
  8. Benefits the Immune System
  9. Needed for reproduction 
  10. Nursing Moms need it for lactation
  11. Helps in the formation of steroidal hormones
  12. So important to healthy skin and the tissue linings within and outside the body
  13. An antioxidant 
  14. Absorbed best when taken with fat or oil
  15. When pregnant don't exceed approximately 5,000 IU
  16. Otherwise, generally best not to exceed 10,000 IU
Updated 3/21/16

Jun 22, 2009

Recipe: a Twist on Tuna Casserole

Basic tuna casserole, with a few embellishments, is still a favorite around this house.

In the past couple of years, there have been a few changes. For example, now I love multi-grain pasta, and have you noticed the shrinking tuna cans? Now we move away from 6.5 oz cans to 5 oz. cans. Oh, and pasta isn't a lb. a box anymore, but 12 oz., but you know that already, don't you, so why don't we move on to my simple, quick recipe, this one is the main course for the 3 of us that live in our home, adjust accordingly for more:

  • 2/3 of an 11 oz. Box Multi-Grain Pasta of Your Choice
  • Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 Cup of Lowfat Milk or Soy Milk
  • 2 5 oz or 6+ oz cans of Solid White Tuna
  • 1 T Onion Powder OR Dried Chopped Onion
  • 1 T Dried Basil
  • 1/4 t. of salt or to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Bread Crumbs (so-so) or Wheat Germ (healthier choice)
How to make, it's simple:
  • Boil your pasta until it is just tender, not overdone
  • While it is boiling, combine all of the other ingredients in a Casserole bowl except the bread crumbs/wheat germ.
  • When Pasta is just right, drain and stir in well with the ingredients in Casserole bowl.
  • Sprinkle top with bread crumbs or wheat germ.
Microwave for 20 min to 1/2 hour depending upon your microwave oven, or cook in a regular oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until heated through.

Updated 3/21/16

Serve with a vegetable low in carbs because you're getting plenty in this dish. Low carbohydrate veggies include most except peas, corn, and legumes/beans other than green beans.

Jun 16, 2009

Eating Vitamin K Foods Safely when on Coumadin or Warfarin

In earlier posts I had shared about the tests and things we've been going through to address my husband's heart conditions. We are happy that the nuclear stress test did not show any blockages, however he has quite a prominent atrial flutter, irregular beats, so is on Warfarin which is the generic for Coumadin, I believe, to prevent clots from forming in the heart chambers since they aren't "emptying" properly due to inefficient heartbeats...this until the doctor does whatever he is going to do to get the rhythm back to what it should be.

The last visit to the doctor office they checked his blood levels since he is taking Warfarin and we were told to avoid Vitamin K foods.

Wee had been eating a very regular diet, which includes salad every single day consistently..and green leafy vegetables are supposed to be things that are avoided because they are among the foods that contain higher levels of Vitamin K. 

When we went for the blood level check, it was at a very good level. So in my thinking, it seemed that we should not suddenly stop what we were doing...the greens in the salad, didn't seem to be all that bad for him. We could, however, avoid things like spinach, kale, and the darker greens for a time, since we don't eat them as consistently.

We talked to the doctor about this and were told that as long as we eat these things regularly, it should be okay, as the blood levels should remain stable. Always feel free to ask you doctor whether it is safe to eat the foods you are accustomed to, especially if the food is as healthy as salad.

Updated 3/21/16

Jun 3, 2009

Recipe: Simple Healthy Barley Salad

This morning I made a barley salad that we will have as our carbohydrate side dish at dinner tonight. It's so easy to make. I used dried barley that has been in our freezer for..oh my..it could be a few years. I store all my dried grains and beans in the freezer where they last indefinitely.

The instructions on the package suggested cooking the barley for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, I checked the barley about 45 minutes into the simmering process, and was happy with the size and consistency, so stopped the boil and flushed the barley with cold water right away removing excess starch and stopping the cooking process. Barley will swell to quite a large size if you cook long enough, I like mine chewy and not over-cooked.

Here's what you need:

  • 1/2 1b. dried barley (1/2 a 1 lb. bag)
  • Water
  • Few Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • Vinegar to taste
  • Dried Dill (you can use fresh if you like, but dried mixes better)
  • 1/4 cup chopped Onion - any kind you like
  • 1 cup cubed Tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pepper - green, any mild type that you like
  • Sea Salt (better for blood pressure concerns)
  • Ground Pepper
  • Optional: A little Italian Dressing if it's not "tasty" enough for you
And here's what you do (easier than it looks at first glance):
  • Clean the barley well in a colander running water through it and removing any bits that don't belong
  • Put barley in pan, cover with water so there is a couple of inches of water over barley
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, set your timer for 30 to 45 minutes
  • Check the barley when timer goes off, taste a little to see if you like the consistency
  • Rinse the barley again with cold water to cool
  • Sit for a bit to drain
  • Put in the bowl you will be using to serve it in.
  • Stir in the Olive Oil right away to coat the barley
  • Add vinegar to taste - don't overdo
  • Add Dill quite liberally, stir in, there should be flecks of green on all your barley grains
  • Add Chopped Onion, tomato and green peppers (stir in each item as you add)
  • Season with the remaining ingredients to taste (if you want to add a touch of sweetness, add a little Stevia.)
Cover, and refrigerate until you are ready to eat. On hot days, I make this in the cool of the morning as it requires boiling. I like to make it early and refrigerate for a while so the flavors blend. You may also want to boil the grains the night before.