Lunch Today: Sweet Potato Cakes

Sweet Potato PancakesThese delicious easy to make patties are chock full of vitamin C, beta carotene and fiber, perfect for when you feel like something hearty and nourishing. They can be served as a main course or shape the patties into small bites and serve as an appetizer, with your favorite salsa. They are also great frozen. Just make a double batch, shape into patties, and freeze. Delicious for an after-work supper when you have little time!

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Snack Today: Butternut Squash Lentil Dip

lentilsAnother butternut squash recipe? Yup. Lately I have been getting one a week in my organic bin, so I need to find creative ways to use it. Made with butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, lentils and ginger, this hearty dip is a nutrition powerhouse, best served warm.

As a reminder, butternut squash is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and manganese. It also has a ton of beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps ward off diseases while supporting a healthy immune system and glowing skin. By weight, pumpkin seeds contain more iron than liver, are rich in omega-3s, and are a good source of protein, making them great for vegan and vegetarian diets. And lentils have a wide spectrum of essential amino acids and are a good protein source. They’re rich in folic acid, iron, phosphorus, and copper. Continue reading “Snack Today: Butternut Squash Lentil Dip”

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Orange Is the New Pink for Breast Cancer Prevention

orange-is-new-pinkDaily Beta-Carotene Intake Reduces Breast Cancer Risk by 19%

Want to reduce your risk of breast cancer? Walk past the pink balloons, wrist bands, and packaged treats at the grocery store and head straight to the produce aisle. Orange is the new pink.

Research shows women who consume 3 to 6 mg of beta-carotene – the amount you’ll find in six baby carrots, half a sweet potato, or one cup of mashed pumpkin – each day slash their risk of breast cancer by about 19%. Leafy greens count, too. One cup of steamed spinach, kale, and mustard greens provide at least 10 mg of beta-carotene, twice the amount recommended by the Institute of Medicine to mitigate breast cancer risk.

If you don’t have a beta-carotene chart handy, then simply reach for foods with bright green, red, or orange hue.

Here are some seasonal options to get you started: Continue reading “Orange Is the New Pink for Breast Cancer Prevention”

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Antioxidant Power of Carotenoids

Found in many yellow, orange and red fruits and veggies, carotenoids are a class of compounds related to vitamin A. The carotenes include beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Beta-carotene, often used in place of vitamin A for supplementation, is converted to vitamin A in the liver when your body needs it. The beta-carotene that is not converted still has antioxidant power. It protects the body against free radicals which cause damage to cellullar genetic material, causing cancer. Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect the body against environmental pollutants and other substances that lead to aging.

Lycopene is a carotenoid that functions as an antioxidant for the prostate gland and has been shown to help lower the risk of prostate cancer. Continue reading “Antioxidant Power of Carotenoids”

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