Diane May Nutrition Blog

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What To Do After You Pick Your Pumpkin

October 8th, 2018

Its that time of year when the weather gets crips and people are apple and pumpkin picking.  We eat those apples, but only decorate the poor pumpkins.  Pumpkins are incredibly healthy and loaded with nutrients. Yes, they are a superfood! Although fresh is always best, using canned pumpkin is just as good, just do not get pre- seasoned pumpkin, as it may contain added sugar and may have flavors you do not want. It is a member of the squash family and you can cook the flesh and roast the seeds.  Pumpkin has about 30 calories per cup, is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese. There are many health benefits to consuming pumpkin:

  • The potassium can help to lower blood pressure and reduce risk of stroke.
  • The beta carotene is a powerful antioxidant that has shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers and assist with eyesight (as well as the Vitamin A). It can also improve the immune system. A study published in The Journal of Pharmacological Science showed promise for the benefit of pumpkin and cancer prevention, especially prostate and colon. 
  • A great source of fiber, can assist with bowel function and blood glucose control.
  • Can assist with weight loss due to its high fiber content, which keeps us feeling full longer.
  • Give you glowing skin due to the fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids.
  • Can reduce inflammation due to the high levels of beta cryptoxanthin ( a pro vitamin A carotenoid).

Pumpkin puree can replace oil or butter when baking (ratio of one to one for oil, for butter, multiply the amount of butter by 3/4), Add 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin for each egg, puree can replace a banana in a recipe,  you can roast the flesh, puree it into a creamy soup or filling, add to yogurt or even make a healthy spiced latte. Always store in a cool, dark place.  If you eat too much, your skin may turn orange due to the beta carotene-don’t panic, its not permanent! So just don’t carve that pumpkin, eat this superfood!

Pumpkin-Oat Mini Muffins

From: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2018

These flourless pumpkin muffins are made entirely in the blender, making cleanup a breeze. If you’d rather make 12 regular-size muffins, bake for 18 to 20 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes before turning them out of the pan.

Ingredients       24 servings

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips or chopped dried cranberries

Preparation

  •  Prep       15 m
  • Ready In     45 m
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 24-cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Pulse oats in a blender until finely ground. Add baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt; pulse once or twice to blend. Add eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, oil and vanilla; puree until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips (or cranberries). Fill the prepared muffin cups two-thirds full.
  3. Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.
  • Tip: People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use oats that are labeled “gluten-free,” as oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat and barley.

 

Nutrition information

 

  • Serving size: 1 muffin
  • Per serving: 82 calories; 3 g fat(1 g sat); 1 g fiber; 13 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 6 mcg folate;16 mg cholesterol; 9 g sugars; 8 g added sugars; 1,611 IU vitamin A; 0 mg vitamin C; 26 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 66 mg sodium; 64 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (32% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: ½ starch, ½ other carb

 

 

 

Why We Need Magnesium

September 3rd, 2018

Magnesium is a mineral naturally found in the body and in certain foods. The human body contains approximately 25 grams of magnesium, of which 50-60% is stored in the skeletal system. It has many functions in the body.  A few are: protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, bone health, producing energy, muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation and helping to regulate blood glucose. The DRI’s (Dietary Reference Intakes) for Magnesium Are 420 mg for adult males and 320 mg for adult women. Some people are at greater risk of developing magnesium deficiency. Those include: People with Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Alcoholics, and the elderly. These people should make sure they are consuming enough magnesium through food. Magnesium should mostly be consumed in food and is also available in supplemental form.  Some good sources of Magnesium include:

  • Dairy-1 cup skim milk 27.8 mg
  • Cereals-1 cup oatmeal 57.6 mg
  • Rice-white 1/2 cup cooked 10 mg
  • Chicken-1 ounce 7.6 mg
  • Cod-1 ounce 9.9 mg
  • Shrimp 1 ounce 9.9 mg
  • Avocado-1 cup cubed 44 mg
  • Chard-1 cup 29 mg
  • Banana-1 medium 33 mg
  • Almonds- 1.4 cup 105 mg
  • Cashews-1/4 cup 89 mg

In supplemental form, you can find magnesium oxide, citrate and chloride.  Zinc supplementation can interfere with the absorption of magnesium.  If you are taking oral availability (such as Fosamax), separate supplementation of magnesium by at least two hours.  If you are taking antibiotics, take two hours before or 4-6 hours after magnesium supplementation. PPI’s used for acid reflux, such as Nexium can be tied to lower magnesium levels.  Always check with your doctor if you are taking medications and you want to supplement with magnesium to check for possible interactions and absorption rates.

Supplementation can be used in higher doses for relief of constipation.  It is the primary ingredient in Milk of Magnesia (500 mg elemental Mg).  I recommend 500-800 mg of elemental magnesium for those experiencing constipation.  It can also be used in lower doses for muscle relaxation, heart health as well as cognitive function and energy.  Be aware that magnesium toxicity is possible if the body does not clear supplements properly.  The most common signs are:

  • Hypotension
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Facial flushing
  • Difficulty breathing

For general health, I always recommend patients consume their magnesium in food form for its bio availability and safety.

Some of the most important benefits of magnesium are:

  • Hypertension and CVD-Magnesium intake can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke and can lower blood pressure. There have been many studies supporting the benefits of magnesium and heart health.
  • Type 2 Diabetes-Although there is insufficient evidence that routine use of magnesium can improve glycemic control in those with diabetes, diets with higher amount of magnesium have been shown to reduce risk of diabetes. This is probably due to magnesium’s role in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism. 
  • Osteoporosis-Since magnesium in involved in bone formation, it can improve bone density and is especially important for postmenopausal and elderly women.
  • Migraines-Magnesium deficiency has been associated with migraines. The American Migraine Foundation recommends supplemental Magnesium Oxide 400-500 mg to help prevent migraines.

Before starting any supplement, you should reach out to your physician and/or RD. Magnesium can easily be found in many foods and is a great addition to everyone’s diet.  We need magnesium to stay healthy, so do not ignore this nutrient!

Chard & Feta Tart

From: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2008

Fragrant lemon zest, briny olives and salty feta balance the bitterness of the dark leafy greens in this Greek-inspired tart. The cracker like crust is quite sturdy so you can serve this as finger food at your next party or alongside a mixed green salad for a light supper.

Ingredients 8 servings

  • Crust
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, or oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • Filling
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 6 cups chopped chard, (about 1 bunch), leaves and stems separatedCrust
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, or oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • Filling
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese

Preparation

  • Active 1 h
  • Ready In 2 h
  1. To prepare crust: Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, thyme (or oregano), salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add ⅓ cup oil and 5 tablespoons water. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry to form a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic and chill for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F. Coat a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.
  3. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to the prepared pan and press into the bottom and up the sides. Trim any overhanging dough and use it to patch any spots that don’t come all the way up the sides. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork in a few places. Bake the crust until firm and lightly brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
  4. To prepare filling: Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chard stems and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add chard leaves and 2 tablespoons water and cook, stirring, until the leaves are just tender and the water has evaporated, 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer the greens to a sieve over a bowl and let drain and cool for 5 minutes. Whisk eggs, ricotta, lemon zest and ⅛ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Fold in the greens, olives and feta. Pour the filling into the crust. Bake the tart until the top is lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Store at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
  • Equipment: 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

 

Nutrition information

 

  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Per serving: 191 calories; 12 g fat(3 g sat); 1 g fiber; 14 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 11 mcg folate; 41 mg cholesterol; 1 g sugars; 1,262 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C; 99 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 351 mg sodium; 126 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (25% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: 8 servings: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 medium-fat meat, 2½ fat 12 servings: 1 starch, ½ medium-fat meat, 2 fat