Sleepy Time Nutrients

sleepBio-rhythms are critical to our routines from sleeping, awaking, working, and hunger. All are energy related, therefore it stands to reason that both nutrient and quality caloric intake may contribute to ones ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Consider your dietary intake before taking sleep medication; by making a few nutritional and routine changes you may find that you are able to take control of your night’s rest.

Relax, let go of your day.  32% of the population actually meet the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) of magnesium. Without it the body is unable regulate sleep, its deficiency leads to asthma, depression, diabetes, insomnia, and osteoporosis. It can reduce the severity of symptoms related to: fibromyalgia, migraines, heart attack, premenstrual syndrome, stroke. “Magnesium is required for the active transport of ions like potassium and calcium across cell membranes. Through its role in ion transport systems, magnesium affects the conduction of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm”, stated by the Micronutrient Information Center at Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

By including a variety of foods it easy to obtain the necessary amounts of magnesium needed for one to fall asleep.
Consume: dark leafy greens (spinach 1 cup raw 24 mg vs. 1 cup cooked 157 mg), pumpkin or sesame seeds (1 oz 150 mg), brazil nuts (1 oz/28 g 125 mg), almonds (1 oz/28g 93 mg), avocado (1 chopped 58mg), beans/lentils (1 cup cooked 148 mg), Mackerel fish (3 oz/85g 82mg).

Zinc Inhibits Magnesium. While it stands to reason that certain medications can interfere with proper magnesium absorption (discuss with Doctor), a study conducted on men, and another study on adolescent boys showed that the mineral zinc decreases the body’s absorption of magnesium. However increased amounts of protein (3 ozs/90g) promote magnesium absorption.

The body needs zinc for cell/energy metabolism, growth, development, cell signaling systems, immune system, neurological development, reproduction. Found in all body tissues zinc is important for enzyme and hormone function, vision, taste, smell, and in wound-healing.

Since both nutrients are critical to the life cycle, newer DRI standards suggest that amounts of magnesium should be increased to the following: Men DRI 420 mg/day and Women 320 mg/day. (old DRI: M 300 mg and W 270 mg)

Depletion of zinc & magnesium can come from consuming high amounts of coffee and tea.

Stay Asleep with potassium.  Potassium is an electrolyte that promotes fluid balance within the body, ridding excess sodium, aiding in cellular growth, and muscle contractions. It is found in most fruits and vegetables containing Vitamin C making it readily available and can be included at almost every meal.
Eat: grapefruit, berries, oranges, bananas, kiwi, avocado, melon papaya, corn, and potato.
Men and Women (DRI) 4,700 mg/day.

Wake up Rested.  Include foods with Vitamin B6 and the protein Tryptophan. Vitamin B6 helps create serotonin from the protein Tryptophan. Serotonin is neurotransmitter that is linked with happiness.  In simplified terms, a Neurotransmitter (serotonin for example), is like the super-autostrada of information in your brain that allows different parts to talk to each other. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin while one sleeps.
At dinner time find health and comfort by including variety of foods: eggs, oats, bananas, poultry, meat, whole grain pasta, fennel or sunflower seeds, figs, fish, peanuts, milk, cottage cheese, and 1 ounce chocolate.
Men and Women Vitamin B6 DRI 400 mcg/day
Men and Women Tryptophan DRI 67 mg

Exercise is equally important to de-stress the body, provide oxygen to the muscles, excite, create neurons, and promote relaxation. 30-60 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week will keep your body and brain energized and strengthened.

Foods that should be avoided are: fried, fatty in taste, salty, sugary, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine 6 hours before bedtime.

A sample menu has been put together to present an idea of what your dietary intake should look like in order to stabilize your bio-rythym and have a more restful night.

By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

Suggested Menu to Promote a Rested Body
Breakfast
Yogurt
Wheat Toast
Fruit of choice: orange, banana, kiwi, melon
Tea

Snack
1 ounce pumpkin seeds
Banana
Water

Lunch
Bean or Lentil soup
Sandwich: Turkey, Avocado, lettuce, cheese
Fruit
Peanuts
Water or tea

Snack
Apple
Celery
Water

Dinner
Poultry, Meat, or Fish 4 ounces
Pasta, rice, or potato
Dark leafy green salad
Cottage Cheese
Fruit of choice
1 ounce Brazil Nuts
Glass of Wine, Water or Milk

References:

Boost Immune System with Pork Roast

20131230_133630  The Integrity of the Immune System is critical to ones overall health. Zinc is a key mineral to assisting the function of the immune system. Found in a variety of protein based foods (meats and oysters), mushrooms, onions, garlic, orange vegetables, and orange fruits are rich in vitamin A and Zinc. Mushrooms cause the immune system to work more aggressively and should be included in a weekly dietary intake.  The following recipe can be served with beef, pork, or poultry. The meats may be filleted and layered with the puree, or roasted with the vegetables and herbs on the side.

Ingredients

Make a cut length wise on pork at about 1/2 in from top. Continue to unroll meat with each length wise cut.

Make a cut length wise on pork at about 1/2 in from top. Continue to unroll meat with each length wise cut.

3 pound pork carefully filleted to extend the span of 18 inches.
3/4 cup sausage browned in skillet and drained
2 portabella mushrooms
1 garlic clove peeled
1/4 cup parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
String for tying meat
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup fluid (water, or marsala or red wine.)

Directions:
Heat oven to 400 F

In a blender puree: sausage, mushrooms, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, olive oil and soy sauce for about 20 seconds.
(IF CHOOSING NOT to fillet the meat, sear meat, place all ingredients into roasting pan.)
While lacing the meat to secure the meat is typically done, consider cutting 5 cutting strings at about 9 inches in length to utilize for encircling the meat and tying in knots.

Place puree into center of meat and roll the fillet. Encircle string around pork every 1-2 inches and tie a knot or lace the string.

With a spoon layer the puree mixture onto the center of the pork. Carefully begin to roll meat and pull inward as to tighten the meat roll. Either lace the meat or slide a string under the meat, encircle it and tie a knot, each knot will be about 1-2 inches apart.

Sear meat on stove top, turn on heat to high, place pan on burner. Wait for 1 minute. Add butter, once melted add meat roll and place meat in pan. Allow to brown on all 4 sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Turn off heat and remove skillet from burner.

Place meat into a roasting pan add fluid. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to bake for 20 minutes per pound. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes, place on a grooved cutting board and thinly slice the meat. May be served with roasted potatoes and saute asparagus.

By: Kim Crocker-Scardicchio

Euphoria, Pleasure, Happiness! Which Nutrient do You Need?

Need a pick me up? Do you feel deflated, demotivated, or depressed? Such pessimistic symptoms can leave one dragging their feet, however, can also be combatted through an intake of dietary nutrients that provide a natural supplementation for enhancement of moods

Foods that Increase Euphoria & Pleasure Release Dopamine

A good reason to consume 1 ounce of dark chocolate a day is that it has the chemical phenylethylamine which releases dopamine.  Dr. Mindy Dopler Nelson of Stanford University,  states that, “The compound is thought to be  responsible for the high you experience after eating chocolate because it releases natural feel-good chemicals called endorphins in your brain.  According to All Chocolate, PEA is released by the brain when people are falling in love, and this might explain why chocolate and Valentines Day are so closely linked.”

Chocolate has a chemical that causes dopamine to be released in the brain, inspiring a sense of euphoria and pleasure.

Dr. Nelson explains, “Chocolate is a stimulant that will release the dopamine that creates that pleasure feeling. It’s in the cocoa. There’s more of it in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate. But there’s something about the fat in the milk that also will make you feel good. Some people associate a comfort food with a high-fat food. There also are antioxidants in the dark chocolate, but watch the dosage! Excess can be harmful for your liver and pile on the pounds. Dopamine has an amphedamine effect, hence the term chocoholic. You also cannot ignore the fact it contains mucho caffeine that will keep you up at night. (And if you don’t get enough sleep it will effect your serotonin level.)

Other food sources of phenylethylamine are: Almonds (can promote migraine headaches if too many are consumed.) and Cheese should be consumed in 1 ounce or 28 grams per day, Red Wine (4-6 ounces or 125-200 ml per day) and Tomatoes.  An apple a day contains tyrosine which also converts to dopamine.

Eat to Improve Mood, Memory, & Sleep: vitamin B6 & Trytophan

If diagnosed with depression, try pursuing some dietary changes before starting medication, or implement in addition to the intake of medication.  Facing depression head on, incorporating walking twice a day along with new nutritional choices and professional help can give you a new perspective on life.  Your daily dietary intake should consist of 2-3 of the following through out the day:

  • Nuts (1 ounce, or 28 grams a day) Cashews or Brazilian Nuts are also linked to reducing coronary, depression, and diabetic symptoms in addition to promoting weight loss.
  • Bananas (1 banana per day)
  • Poultry for protein (tryptophan. 4-6 ounces)
  • Salmon
  • Tofu
  • Milk  (8-16 ounces or 245-490 ml per day)
  • Yogurt (4-6 ounces a day or 125-200 ml day)
  • A plate of Sri Lanken Chicken Cashew has nutrition properties to reduce symptoms of depression.

Cashew nuts are very rich source of minerals. Minerals especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium are concentrated in the nuts. A handful of cashew nuts a day in the diet would provide enough of these minerals and prevent deficiency diseases.

 “Vitamin B6 and Tryptophan”.   Foods such as turkey, chicken, quail, banana, and even milk can fight depression symptoms. All contain Vitamin B6 (which helps create serotonin) and have the protein Tryptophan  that can be converted to the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is linked with happiness, or known as a “Mood” enhancer.  In simplified terms, a Neurotransmitter (serotonin for example), is like the super-autostrada of information in your brain that allows different parts to talk to each other!!!

Tryptophan can be found in a variety of foods to help fight depression, they include: chocolate, bananas, poultry, meat, whole grain pasta, fennel seeds, figs, fish, peanuts, milk and cottage cheese.  A list that many can pick and choose from and find health and comfort.                                                         

Artificial sweeteners are often found in beverages and processed foods; such sweeteners depress pleasure hormones dopamine and interfere with the production of serotonin.

Foods to AVOID.  Any foods or drinks (Diet) with artificial sweetners should be avoided.  Multiple studies have shown this aritficial sweetner to depress serotonin levels. Those with a history of mood disorders or depression have been linked to a severe reaction after consuming aspartamine. Additional weight gain is attributed to aritificial sweetners, as they interfere with an individual’s “internal calorie counter” causing the hormones ghrelin (go eat) and leptin (stop eating) to malfunction. While consuming a diet drink with a meal of 700 calories, the leptin hormone does not respond to the feeling of satiety because the internal calorie counter thinks that only 300 calories have been eaten; that kind of deficit adds up to weight gain and to depression.

Stay on the medication.  Do talk to your doctor about how you can work with them in pursuing necessary dietary changes that will nutritionally benefit you as well.

Nutritional Facts:  Include foods in your diet with B Vitamins. They contain two amino acids: Phenylalanine and Tyrosine, which are precursors to noraepinepherine and tryptophan, which are precursors to the neurotransmitter, serotonin.

Other vitamins which may contribute to mood enhancers are: zinc, selenium, calcium, Vitamin D, iron and magnesium.

By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

Literature Research

Roasted Parmesan Fennel & Rosemary Potatoes

Roasted Parmesan Fennel and Rosemary Potatoes

A fantastic combination of  flavors that will have you dipping into the vegetable dish for second and third helpings! Fennel is known for its digestive properties and healing of upset stomach. While Rosemary is “a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) as are: oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender. The name rosemary derives from the Latin ros meaning “dew” and marinus meaning “sea” – “sea dew.”  The herb has been hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth.”

Ingredients
1 fennel bulb (greens removed. bulb washed and quartered. Pull layers apart with fingers)
4 Red, or, Yellow, or Yukon Gold potatoes (washed, unpeeled, quartered)
Olive Oil
Salt
4 sprigs of Rosemary
Bread Crumbs
Parmesan Cheese

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes with Red, Yellow, or Yukon Gold Potatoes

Directions
For Potatoes
In medium size sauce pan, fill half way with water. Add cubed potatoes and allow to lightly boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain from water. In a baking dish, place potatoes, 1/8 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and freshly chopped rosemary. Stir together. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes on 400 F.

Roasted Parmesan Fennel Bulb. Excellent with Pork. Perfect as a vegetable to assist in digestion.

Directions: Parmesan Fennel
In a medium size sauce pan fill half way with water. Add fennel to water and place on high temperature to boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain water. Place in baking dish, add 1/8 cup olive oil to pan, add cooked fennel, 1/2 tsp salt, scatter bread crumbs and parmesan cheese on top and drizzle 1/8 cup olive oil on top of vegetables. Place into oven and allow to bake for 20 minutes on 400 F.

Remove both vegetables from oven and combine into a single dish and serve along side of Pork Roast or Cod with herbs and potatoes

by: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

Reference

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266370.php

Almond Citrus Talapia

Almond Citrus Talapia

Improve on the dietary benefits by adding almonds to talapia fish! Talapia is an easy fish to prepare, but carries lower amounts of nutrients compared to other fish.  Adding a handful of crushed nuts to coat the fish, boosts the health of  the heart and blood pressure by more than tripling  the amounts of: omega oils, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.

The dinner is easy to prepare and in less in than twenty minutes is ready to serve!

Preheat Oven to 350 F

6 fillets of Talapia
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup crushed almonds
Zest of 1 lemon

For Rice
1 & 1/2 cup Arborio Rice
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame seeds

Side of Spinach
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
6 cups of packed spinach

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F
16 minutes to prepare rice
In a large pan add 4 cups of water and rice, bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and cover allow to boil for 14 minutes.

4 minutes to prepare fish
While the rice is boiling, begin to coat the talapia fillets with bread crumbs and place in a baking dish one at a time. Sprinkle with salt. Scatter almonds over all the fillets. Top off by placing lemon zest onto each fillet. Drizzle olive oil over the fish. Place into oven and allow to bake for 12 minutes.

3 minutes to prepare soy sauce
Place sauce pan on medium heat, add soy sauce and sesame seeds. Bring to a simmer for 3 minutes and turn off heat. Cover with lid.

2 minutes to prepare spinach
In a frying pan, warm oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add garlic and spinach to pan. With 2 spoons or tongs begin to toss the spinach in pan for 30 seconds. Turn off heat remove pan from heat and cover pan with a lid to seal heat; spinach will continue to slightly wilt.
Drain water from rice.

Presentation
Place rice onto dish. Pour soy sauce over rice. Next, layer spinach onto bed of rice. Lastly, place baked almond talapia on spinach! Enjoy!!!

Chard or Kale Saute`

Saute` Kale topped off with parmesan cheese and pine nuts.

3 Cheers for Cruciferous Vegetables! They are proving to be an added health factor in dietary intake. Exciting studies link the kale power house to inhibiting tumor growth “at the top of the cancer-related research for colon cancer and breast cancer, but risk of bladder cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer have all been found to decrease in relationship to routine intake of kale.”  While all of this is promising, it is also important to note that some digestive tracks can be more sensitive to the the large amount of Vitamin K and fiber that is present, and therefore is linked to diarrhea as a side effect of kale.

The AARP promotes Kale for nutrition and age related disease, stating the 4 following facts:

“For your eyes: Kale is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals found in the retina, which could help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older people. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation says research has indicated that eating red, orange, yellow and dark green fruits and vegetables, which are high in phytochemicals, seems to have a protective effect against vision loss.

For your immune system: Kale is rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), a powerful antioxidant that may help boost the immune system and possibly protect against some chronic diseases and cancer. At least one study also found that long-term consumption of beta-carotene had cognitive benefits.

For your bones: Kale is is one of the few vegetables with a decent amount of calcium, but it’s especially high inmagnesium — just a cup contains 40 percent of the RDA — which is very important for bone health and to protect against osteoporosis. Magnesium has a crucial job working with vitamin D to help your bones absorb calcium. In addition, research has shown that the vitamin K in kale also contributes to bone health by improving bone density.

For your heart: While recent studies have found that antioxidant supplements, like vitamin E pills, don’t protect against heart disease, foods like kale that are naturally high in antioxidants are definitely heart-healthy, says the Cleveland Clinic. Plus, kale’s magnesium and potassium help lower blood pressure, and its high fiber content can help lower cholesterol — all beneficial factors in lowering your risk of cardiovascular illness.”

Kale maybe substituted for a variety of spinach dishes. Steamed and sautéed are the optimal way to maximize the nutrients within kale and let it work for your body. However, it can be boiled and then seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and served on the side.

Green or Cruciferous Vegetables of all types are a key source of specialized chemical signals that our immune systems use to self-communicate. Four servings of cruciferous foods throughout the week will enrich the overall health of your body and promotes a sound mind.

INGREDIENTS  1 bunch is 6 servings

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of Kale (cut into bite size pieces.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt  to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 Tablespoons parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 6 teaspoons pine nuts (optional)

In a frying pan add olive oil, garlic and onion. Place on medium heat and allow

Saute` onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes.

onion to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile,  wash kale leaves and remove access water. Cut leaves into bite size pieces. (May remove or keep center stem.) Add kale to frying pan, rotate leaves, combining with oil until well coated, add salt, reduce temperature to medium low, add water. Cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Serve on side of meal by itself or with parmesan cheese and pine nuts.

By: Kimberly Crocker Scardicchio

References

  • AARP “Hail Kale why you should….eat it” http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/25/hail-kale-why-you-should-or-shouldnt-eat-it/
  • Indole-3-carbinol inhibits the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase-6 and induces a G1 cell cycle arrest of humanbreast cancer cells independent of estrogen receptor signaling.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9461564      “A component of cruciferous foods inhibits growth of mammary tumors”.
  • Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009.
  • Angeloni C, Leoncini E, Malaguti M, et al. Modulation of phase II enzymes by sulforaphane: implications for its cardioprotective potential. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jun 24;57(12):5615-22. 2009.
  • Banerjee S, Wang Z, Kong D, et al. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane enhances chemosensitivity of multiple chemotherapeutic agents in pancreatic cancer. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane enhances chemosensitivity of multiple chemotherapeutic agents in pancreatic cancer. 2009.
  • Bhattacharya A, Tang L, Li Y, et al. Inhibition of bladder cancer development by allyl isothiocyanate. Carcinogenesis. 2010 Feb;31(2):281-6. 2010.
  • Bryant CS, Kumar S, Chamala S, et al. Sulforaphane induces cell cycle arrest by protecting RB-E2F-1 complex in epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Molecular Cancer 2010, 9:47. 2010.
  • Carpenter CL, Yu MC, and London SJ. Dietary isothiocyanates, glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1), and lung cancer risk in African Americans and Caucasians from Los Angeles County, California. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(4):492-9. 2009.
  • Christopher B, Sanjeez K, Sreedhar C, et al. Sulforaphane induces cell cycle arrest by protecting RB-E2F-1 complex in epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Molecular Cancer Year: 2010 Vol: 9 Issue: 1 Pages/record No.: 47. 2010.
  • http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

Health Benefits of Lemon Water

Relieving digestive problems can be done through food and beverages that you may already have in your own kitchen.

Squeeze juice from 1 lemon into a glass of water.

Constipation, upset stomach gas pains, kidney stones and edema? Can all be uncomfortable and difficult to overcome. A solution that works and practiced in many countries is Drinking Lemon Water.

There is a natural way to soothe body pain,or reduce flatulence and relieve constipation, providing your body with the necessary fluid intake, Vitamin C  and potassium to flush out excess sodium, keeping your organs (i.e. heart, kidneys ) and muscles healthy and the electrolytes in balance. 

 

Malic Acid, a common ingredient used in over the counter “upset stomach” medication, is a “Naturally occuring Organic element” within lemons.  The alkaline malic acid is introduced to the stomach working with the pH balance and then into the intestinal tract, reducing the negative effects of enzymes that contribute to gas and bacteria. 

The SECRET HEALTH HINT comes from one of the many benefits of a lemon.  A simple recipe will provide immediate results:

1.  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into a glass of water. Do this once or twice a day if you are under 150 pounds/83 kilo’s, once in the morning and once at night.

2.  Over 150 pounds/ 83 kilo’s, squeeze the juice of 1 whole lemon in a glass of warm water, twice a day.

Fiber  and exercise will also “get things moving” and should be a regular part of ones daily dietary intake.  

Food and beverages that may assist in synthesizing bile salts and secreting bile acids, returning you to comfort are: berries, watermelon, celery, spinach, dandelion, artichokes, fennel or dandelion tea and spices like fennel seeds, turmeric, or red pepper flakes. (see quantities below.) All credited to contributing to the success of a healthy body. (Suffer from IBS?  Include these foods & beverages in your daily intake.) 

Lastly, keep your muscles toned by scheduling a walk 20 minutes per day to improve your overall digestion and stay in a regular way! 

 

By Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

Include the following foods into your daily routine to relieve stomach discomfort and promote regular bowel movements.

 

1/3 cup berries of choice

1/2 cup watermelon

1-2 stalks celery

1 cup spinach salad

1/3 cup sauteed dandelion greens

1/4 cup artichokes

1/3 cup sliced fennel

12-18 fennel seeds can be chewed on per day

1/4 tsp turmeric added to potatoes, rice or pasta

1/8 tsp of pepper flakes to soups and vegetables

Drink plenty of water and tea! 2-4 cups of fennel or dandelion tea a day will also relieve discomfort of the stomach.

More nutrtion articles to read:

Fast Relief: Fennel Seeds Combat Gas and Upset Stomach  and  Turmeric to Ease Acid Reflex

References

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/benefit_of_drinking_green_tea

Nephron Protectively due to effects of Vitamin C

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23009987

Anti-bacteria activity reversed by Vitamin C and E