13 Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated

Humans are not natural water lappers. We are supposed to get our need for moisture from the foods we eat.  Since, meat, dairy and especially grains dehydrate us, we should be eating plenty of foods likes fruits, salads and veggies.  The advice that we hear about drinking 8 eight ounce glasses of water is bad advice if you eat well.  If you are on a Standard American Diet you DO need that much water to protect the kidneys.   But on a healthy diet of low protein consumption, healthy fats and lots of fruits and veggies, you do not need to drink much water. Doing so will wash a lot of nutrients from the body, especially minerals.

Food & Wine: 15 Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated

By Amanda MacMillanPosted April 24, 2017

These high-water-content foods are refreshing, filled with nutrients, and naturally low in calories.

According to the old rule of thumb, you’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water per day (and some experts recommend even more). That can seem like a daunting task on some days, but here’s the catch: You don’t have to drink all that water. Roughly 20% of our daily H2O intake comes from solid foods, especially fruits and vegetables.

It’s still important to drink plenty of water—especially in the summertime—but you can also quench your thirst with these 15 hugely hydrating foods, all of which are at least 90% water by weight.

Cucumber

Water content: 96.7%

This summer veggie—which has the highest water content of any solid food—is perfect in salads, or sliced up and served with some hummus, says Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner and Healthier You and a consultant to Mindbloom, a technology company that makes life-improvement apps.

Want to pump up cucumber’s hydrating power even more? Try blending it with nonfat yogurt, mint, and ice cubes to make cucumber soup. “Soup is always hydrating, but you may not want to eat something hot in the summertime,” Gans says. “Chilled cucumber soup, on the other hand, is so refreshing and delicious any time of year.”

Iceberg lettuce

Water content: 95.6%

Water content: 95.6%

Iceberg lettuce tends to get a bad rap, nutrition-wise. Health experts often recommend shunning it in favor of darker greens like spinach or romaine lettuce, which contain higher amounts of fiber and nutrients such as folate and vitamin K. It’s a different story when it comes to water content, though: Crispy iceberg has the highest of any lettuce, followed by butterhead, green leaf, and romaine varieties.

So when the temperature rises, pile iceberg onto sandwiches or use it as a bed for a healthy chicken salad. Even better: Ditch the tortillas and hamburger buns and use iceberg leaves as a wrap for tacos and burgers.

Celery

Water content: 95.4%

That urban legend about celery having negative calories isn’t quite true, but it’s pretty close. Like all foods that are high in water, celery has very few calories—just 6 calories per stalk. And its one-two punch of fiber and water helps to fill you up and curb your appetite.

This lightweight veggie isn’t short on nutrition, however. Celery contains folate and vitamins A, C, and K. And thanks in part to its high water content, celery neutralizes stomach acid and is often recommended as a natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux.  MILLIE ; If you have these symptoms you have leaky gut!)

Radishes

Water content: 95.3%

These refreshing root vegetables should be a fixture in your spring and summer salads. They provide a burst of spicy-sweet flavor—and color!—in a small package, and more importantly they’re filled with antioxidants such as catechin (also found in green tea).

A crunchy texture also makes radishes a perfect addition to healthy summer coleslaw—no mayo required. Slice them up with shredded cabbage and carrots, sliced snow peas, and chopped hazelnuts and parsley, and toss with poppy seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Tomatoes

Water content: 94.5%

Sliced and diced tomatoes will always be a mainstay of salads, sauces, and sandwiches, but don’t forget about sweet cherry and grape varieties, which make an excellent hydrating snack, Gans says. “They’re great to just pop in your mouth, maybe with some nuts or some low-sodium cheese,” she says. “You get this great explosion of flavor when you bite into them.”

Having friends over? Skewer grape tomatoes, basil leaves, and small chunks of mozzarella on toothpicks for a quick and easy appetizer.

Green peppers

Water content: 93.9%

Bell peppers of all shades have a high water content, but green peppers lead the pack, just edging out the red and yellow varieties (which are about 92% water). And contrary to popular belief, green peppers contain just as many antioxidants as their slightly sweeter siblings.

Peppers are a great pre-dinner or late-night snack, Gans says. “We tell people to munch on veggies when they have a craving, but a lot of people get bored of carrots and celery pretty quickly,” she says. “Peppers are great to slice up when you get home from work, while you’re making or waiting for dinner.”

Cauliflower

Water content: 92.1%

Don’t let cauliflower’s pale complexion fool you: In addition to having lots of water, these unassuming florets are packed with vitamins and phytonutrients that have been shown to help lower cholesterol and fight cancer, including breast cancer. (A 2012 study of breast cancer patients by Vanderbilt University researchers found that eating cruciferous veggies like cauliflower was associated with a lower risk of dying from the disease or seeing a recurrence.)

“Break them up and add them to a salad for a satisfying crunch,” Gans suggests. “You can even skip the croutons!”

Watermelon

Water content: 91.5% water

It’s fairly obvious that watermelon is full of, well, water, but this juicy melon is also among the richest sources of lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant found in red fruits and vegetables. In fact, watermelon contains more lycopene than raw tomatoes—about 12 milligrams per wedge, versus 3 milligrams per medium-sized tomato.

Although this melon is plenty hydrating on its own, Gans loves to mix it with water in the summertime. “Keep a water pitcher in the fridge with watermelon cubes in the bottom,” she says. “It’s really refreshing, and great incentive to drink more water overall.”

Spinach

Water content: 91.4% water

Iceberg lettuce may have a higher water content, but spinach is usually a better bet overall. Piling raw spinach leaves on your sandwich or salad provides nearly as much built-in hydration, with an added nutritional punch.

Spinach is rich in lutein, potassium, fiber, and brain-boosting folate, and just one cup of raw leaves contains 15% of your daily intake of vitamin E—an important antioxidant for fighting off the damaging molecules known as free radicals.

Strawberries

Water content: 91.0%

All berries are good foods for hydration, but juicy red strawberries are easily the best of the bunch. Raspberries and blueberries both hover around 85% water, while blackberries are only slightly better at 88.2%.

“I love strawberries blended in a smoothie or mixed with plain nonfat yogurt—another hydrating food,” Gans says. Strawberries add natural sweetness to the yogurt, she adds, and the combo of carb

Broccoli

Water content: 90.7%

Like its cousin cauliflower, raw broccoli adds a satisfying crunch to a salad. But its nutritional profile—lots of fiber, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C—is slightly more impressive.

What’s more, broccoli is the only cruciferous vegetable (a category that contains cabbage and kale, in addition to cauliflower) with a significant amount of sulforaphane, a potent compound that boosts the body’s protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals

Grapefruit

Water content: 90.5%

This juicy, tangy citrus fruit can help lower cholesterol and shrink your waistline, research suggests. In one study, people who ate one grapefruit a day lowered their bad (LDL) cholesterol by 15.5% and their triglycerides by 27%.

In another, eating half a grapefruit—roughly 40 calories—before each meal helped dieters lose about three and a half pounds over 12 weeks. Researchers say that compounds in the fruit help fuel fat burn and stabilize blood sugar, therefore helping to reduce cravings.

Cantaloupe

Water content: 90.2%

This succulent melon provides a big nutritional payoff for very few calories. One six-ounce serving—about one-quarter of a melon—contains just 50 calories but delivers a full 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamins A and C.

“I love cantaloupe as a dessert,” Gans says. “If you’ve got a sweet tooth, it will definitely satisfy.” Tired of plain old raw fruit? Blend cantaloupe with yogurt and freeze it into sherbet, or puree it with orange juice and mint to make a refreshing soup.


Orange Sabayon

Berries with Orange Sabayon

There is no better breakfast or dessert than fruit sabayon!   This very low sugar dessert can be made with stevia so that it is sugar free!    You can make it with a nice white wine, or my preference, lemon and orange juice.

Serves 4

1/3  cup granulated sugar OR 1/3 teaspoon stevia

Zest from 1 orange

6 egg yolks-    save the whites, freeze in ice cube trays and use for meringue (they make better meringue after being frozen.

1/3 cup orange juice

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoons orange zest

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 cups of berries of your choice. I mix strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

1)     Whisk yolks and sugar (or stevia) until they are pale yellow and frothy.

2)   Using a double boiler pan, add enough water so the top pan does not touch the water when placed on top. Bring water to boiling.

3. Place pan with egg yolk mixture over boiling water. Turn heat down to medium to low and whisk continuously for about 7 minutes, until thickened. . You can alternate between slow and vigorous whisking but if you need to stop whisking, remove the pan from the heat. If at all possible, try not to break the cooking cycle.

4)   When thickened, add juice and zest mixture and continue whisking until thickened again.  

4. You know the sabayon is ready when the mixture becomes thick and when you lift the whisk, the sabayon can hold its shape.

5. Remove from heat and spoon the warm sabayon over fresh berries


Avocado Mayo is the Delicious Answer to all Your Sandwich Needs

NO ONE should eat the chemical mess that store bought mayo has become.  It is made with soy oil (it’s cheap!)   You should make your own.  Just replace half of the oil in your homemade mayo with avocado.

Mayo is one of those love it or hate it condiments. Some folks put it on everything; others can’t be within arm’s length of the stuff. But what about avocado mayo?

Made with avocados and olive oil, this earthy green spread is honest-to-goodness good for you.

The recipe, created by Lauren Gallucci of Sweet Laurel, is super easy. Furthermore, it’s slim on ingredients, and on steps. Additionally, it’s lower on calories than regular mayo. And, because of the addition of lemon juice, a jar of this creamy heaven will last for up to a week in your fridge.

Furthermore, it’s egg-free, but still a great source of healthy fats. You can check out the full recipe over at Sweet Laurel.

Put it on your sandwiches, in your deviled egg mix, on bruschetta, in tuna salad, chicken salad… anywhere you’d usually use mayo, use this instead. Gallucci also recommends using it as a veggie dip, salad dressing, or burger spread. She writes:

“This mayo doubles as salad dressing, veggie dip, toast topper, you name! Enjoy this avo mayo as a condiment any day of week! I love it on a lettuce wrapped bison burger. Delish!”

So give it a try. Your taste buds will probably thank you.


Carrot Dogs with Grilled Onions

Remember that fried foods eaten occasionally are fine as far as health goes, as long as you use traditional fats, NOT vegetable oils!     I use duck or beef fat.

carrot-dogs-4

10     carrots, ends trimmed to make hot dog-size shape

1       cup soy sauce   –  since soy is so toxic I use Coconut Aminos or you can use Braggs Liquid Aminos

2      cups white wine

2      Tablespoons dill

minced fresh ginger root

2      cloves garlic, minced

   ground pepper to taste

2 large yellow onions, sliced, grilled or sautéed in heavy iron pan on medium high heat.

 

1)   Steam carrots until about half way cooked, should still be hard in the very middle.

2)    Place carrots in marinade for two hours or overnight if you have the time.

3)    In heavy iron skillet, with butter hot, brown on all sides.

4)    Serve with onions and condiments of your choice.

5)  My family uses toasted Ezekiel bread as buns but there are gluten free buns available.


Why You Can’t Have Organic Food Without Soil

BY ELIOT COLEMAN  |  Agroecology, Commentary
04.13.15

Long time supporters of organic food need to realize that the ground is shifting beneath their feet. Rapidly. Ever since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was given control of the word in 2000, the integrity of the “USDA Certified Organic” label has been on a downhill slope.

We now have 4,000-cow dairies with very limited access to pasture and 1,000-acre vegetable fields fed fertilizers of suspicious provenance producing food that is called organic. But, even more dismaying, we also now have certified organic hydroponics.

What’s wrong with that?

For starters, there isn’t any soil in hydroponic production. One of the appeals of organic food is that it is grown in a biologically active, fertile soil. That type of soil adds immeasurably to the plants’ nutritional value.

In an ideal farming system, soils are nourished, as in the natural world, with farm-derived organic matter and mineral particles from ground rock. Green manures and cover crops are included within crop rotations to maintain biological diversity. It’s a “plant positive” rather than “pest negative” philosophy, focused on growing vigorous, healthy plants and animals imbued with all their natural powers of resistance.

The original USDA definition of “organic” stressed “soil biological activity” as one of the processes enhanced by organic practices. But to many farmers’ dismay, the agency rewrote that definition in 2002 to remove any reference to the word soil.

Then, in 2010, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the group of farmers, scientists, and public interest advocates in charge of recommending changes to the organic standards, strenuously objected to the inclusion of soil-free farming in the standards. In their recommendation, they wrote:

The abundance of organisms in healthy, organically maintained soils form a biological network, an amazing and diverse ecology that is ‘the secret,’ the foundation of the success of organic farming accomplished without the need for synthetic insecticides, nematicides, fumigants, etc.

Despite this objection, Miles McEvoy, the director of the National Organic Program (NOP), has unilaterally allowed organic hydroponics. And many of the organic certifying agencies have jumped right on the bandwagon and started certifying hydroponic operations.

Now, investors are pouring money into hydroponic “vertical farms” where production is hermetically sealed in huge warehouses filled with LED lights and nutrient pumps.

Some of the regional certifying agencies have refused to certify hydroponic operations. That’s a step in the right direction, but what will they do when the produce from “vegetable factories” begins putting their local soil-based growers out of business?

Back in the 1990s, I engaged in long conversations with many of the organic bureaucrats who participated in establishing federal organic standards. I told them that organic should be left alone as the historical word for the overall concept. The quest to figure out how to grow the most nutritious food with the least environmental stress is still a continuing process.

I suggested that anyone selling food without chemicals should create their own label and explain the standards enforced by that label. Such a system was in use in Europe up until the late 1990s. Labels like Nature et Progres, BioFarm, Lemaire-Boucher, Demeter, and even the Swiss supermarket chain Migros, all published the standards to which their chemical-free labels adhered and enrolled farmers who sold under their label. Customers had a range of choices as to how much purity they wished to pay for.

The benefit of that system was that when new research came out, the customers could see which labels had responded, and shift their purchases as they saw fit, forcing the other labels to shape up. In other words, it was a system driven by customer pressure. If one of the labels allowed hydroponics, the customers would know and could decide for themselves, and customers who were aware of the nutritional benefits of plants grown in soil, would patronize the other labels.

Under present organic standards, customers who believe in a soil-based agriculture don’t know when their food is produced hydroponically because that information is nowhere on the label.

Fertile soil is the most important factor in organic growing because of all its known and yet to be discovered benefits on the nutritional quality of crops. Hydroponic growing removes the crucial soil factor and replaces it with soluble nutrient solutions that can in no way duplicate the complex benefits of soil.

The traditional motto of organic growing is “Feed the soil, not the plant.” Hydroponic growing is based on the opposite strategy. 2015 is International Year of Soils. Let’s mark this important milestone by insisting that the USDA keep the soil in organic farming.


Beetroot Juice Before Exercise Might Keep Brains Young

beetroot juice

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but beetroot juice has been shown to offer a number of health benefits relating to blood flow. These have included reducing blood pressure, improving running performance and boosting blood flow to the brain. New research has built on this by looking at how it can improve brain performance in older adults, finding that a swig of beetroot supplement before exercise can make it mirror the activity of a younger brain.

Beets are a good source of nitrate, which the body turns into nitric oxide when consumed, increasing blood flow and improving exercise performance. Exercise itself, meanwhile is thought to strengthen the brain’s somatomotor cortex, the region responsible for processing information coming from the muscles. In what they say is the first experiment of its kind, researchers at Wake Forest University investigated what happens to the brain’s networks in older folks when these factors combine.

The team recruited 26 men and women. The subjects did not exercise and had high blood pressure, but took no more than two medications for that condition. Over a period of six weeks, three times a week they drank the beetroot juice Beet-It Sport Shot and then took a 50-minute walk on a treadmill one hour later.

While half of the subjects had the regular Beet-It Sport Shot containing 560 mg of nitrate, the others received a placebo version with very little nitrate. Analysis following the experiment examined the functional brain networks in the motor cortex and those between the motor cortex and insula, which supports mobility.

The team says those receiving the supplement unsurprisingly had much higher levels of nitrate, but that consuming the juice prior to exercise created an excellent environment for strengthening of the motor cortex. The upshot of that was, that when examining the brain networks with MRI, the team found they were significantly enhanced and mirrored that of a younger brain.

“We knew, going in, that a number of studies had shown that exercise has positive effects on the brain,” said W. Jack Rejeski, study co-author. “But what we showed in this brief training study of hypertensive older adults was that, as compared to exercise alone, adding a beet root juice supplement to exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembles what you see in younger adults.”

The scientists note that further research is needed to build on these findings, but the results do suggest that diet could be vitally important as we age, as a way of keeping our brain healthy and functioning properly.

The research paper was published in the Journals of Gerontology.


Sunflower Seeds Traced as Source of Toxic Mold, Potent Liver Carcinogen

Image result for sunflower seeds

Michigan State University researchers have shown that sunflower seeds are frequently contaminated with a toxin produced by molds and pose an increased health risk in many low-income countries worldwide.

In the current issue of PLoS ONE, the team of scientists documented frequent occurrence of aflatoxin — a toxin produced by Aspergillus molds that commonly infect corn, peanuts, pistachios and almonds — in sunflower seeds and their products. This is one of the first studies to associate aflatoxin contamination with sunflower seeds.

The study was conducted in Tanzania, but the problem is by no means isolated there. Chronic exposure to aflatoxin causes an estimated 25,000-155,000 deaths worldwide each year, from corn and peanuts alone. Since it is one of the most potent liver carcinogens known, the research to detect and limit its presence in sunflower seeds and their products could help save lives and reduce liver disease in areas where sunflowers and their byproducts are consumed, said Gale Strasburg, MSU food science and human nutrition professor and one of the study’s co-authors.

“These high aflatoxin levels, in a commodity frequently consumed by the Tanzanian population, indicate that local authorities must implement interventions to prevent and control aflatoxin contamination along the sunflower commodity value chain, to enhance food and feed safety in Tanzania,” he said. “Follow-up research is needed to determine intake rates of sunflower seed products in humans and animals, to inform exposure assessments and to better understand the role of sunflower seeds and cakes as a dietary aflatoxin source.”

Smallholder farmers in Tanzania grow sunflowers for the seeds, which are sold to local millers who press the seeds for oil and sell it to local consumers for cooking. The remaining cakes are used as animal feed.

The seeds become infected by Aspergillus flavus or Aspergillus parasiticus, molds that produce aflatoxin. This contamination has been well studied in other crops, but there is little research published on sunflower seed contamination.

Juma Mmongoyo, a former MSU food science doctoral student and lead author of the study, analyzed aflatoxin levels of seeds and cakes in seven regions of Tanzania in 2014 and 2015. Nearly 60 percent of seed samples and 80 percent of cake samples were contaminated with aflatoxins.

In addition, 14 percent of seeds and 17 percent of cakes were contaminated above 20 parts per billion, the level considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some samples had levels of several hundred parts per billion.

“Billions of people worldwide are exposed to aflatoxin in their diets, particularly in places where food is not monitored regularly for contaminants,” said Felicia Wu, the Hannah Distinguished Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition and Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at MSU and study co-author. “Our previous work with the World Health Organization on the global burden of foodborne disease showed that aflatoxin is one of the chemical contaminants that causes the greatest disease burden worldwide.”

To help solve that problem, Wu founded the Center for the Health Impacts of Agriculture. The center tackles global issues, such as antibiotics given to livestock and poultry that seep into soil and nearby bodies of water, and the association between malaria incidence and irrigation patterns in sub-Saharan Africa.

MSU scientists John Linz, Muraleedharan Nair and Robert Tempelman contributed to this study. Jovin Mugula of the Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania) also contributed to this research.