Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible – all which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and incorporating them in a way that works for you.
Choose the types of foods that improve your health and avoid the types of foods that raise your risk for such illnesses as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Expand your range of healthy choices to include a wide variety of delicious foods. Learn to use guidelines and tips for creating and maintaining a satisfying, healthy diet.
We understand that food provides certain essential macronutrients, namely protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Without these nutrients in balance no diet can be completely healthy. However, some qualities of certain nutrients are healthier than others, and some foods provide these healthy items better than others. Understanding the "ingredients" of a "healthy" food will help you to build a diet that can better fuel the body and prevent disease.
If you have a great healthy recipe, please share with us. If you have questions regarding this recipe page, please fill out our online contact form and it will be our pleasure to respond. ♥ The Italian Cook
Good Fats, Bad fats
Not all fats are created equal. We know that an excess of fat can lead obesity, heart disease, and chronic illnesses like cancer. However, there are several kinds of fat that are not only beneficial but essential to healthy living.
They are needed for the transportation and absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, which cannot be absorbed and used by the body without fats; the regulation of cholesterol in metabolism; for the creation of certain chemicals used by the body; and for healthy skin and hair. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are actually good for cardiovascular system, lowering bad cholesterol.
Additionally, some fats that exist in the form of fatty acids, like Omega-3 and Omega-6
fatty acids, help prevent disease, lower bad cholesterol, control high blood pressure, and treat ailments like depression and anxiety disorder.
Polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, Omega-3's, and Omega-6's are elements of healthy foods; even though a serving of nuts may appear very high in fat, you'll notice that saturated fat quantities are low; the rest of come from this "good fat" category.
Most ingredient labels now list poly and mono unsaturated fats, so knowing a good fatty food from a bad fatty food is as easy as checking the package. Some sources of good fats include:
Sesame and sunflower seed oils
Nuts like walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, pistachios, and cashews
Oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, bass, and sardines
Whole grains like flaxseed and wheat germ
Try to replace bad fats, like butter and margarine, with the good oils and fats listed above. Replacing sources of saturated fats, like excessive quantities of cheese, fried food, or red meat, a few times a week with the healthier options above can add an extra nutritious edge you your diet. Sautee items in olive or walnut oils rather than frying in tradition oil and use ground nuts as flavorful sauces instead of cheese or cream, and substitute fish for red meat at least once a week.
Protein makes up our hair, nails, skin, blood, hormones, enzymes...the list goes on. Suffice to say that protein is essential to the human diet. Broken down by special acids and used to perform countless functions, protein must be replenished daily through our diet, making it a very healthy ingredient in food. Good sources include:
meat and poultry
milk and other dairy products, like yogurt or cheese
legumes like beans, peas, and nuts
The problem with protein is that when consumed in the form of many meats and/or animal products, protein can be accompanied by saturated fat. Lean protein, or protein that is accompanied by less than 10 grams of fat, is the best choice for weight and health conscious eaters.
Choosing lean meats, like chicken, turkey, or lean beef (beef that has been trimmed of excess fats) provides plenty of protein without the added calories and fats.
Fiber, though not scientifically considered an essential nutrient, plays many important roles in healthy living and nutritious foods. It lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar levels, slows the digestion of carbohydrates, regulates the digestive system/prevents constipation, and slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Fiber rich diets have been linked to lower instances of heart disease and obesity.
Fiber, like the different fats, is also listed on all food labels. Good sources include: whole grains, unrefined grains, grains, whole grain products like bread and pasta, brans, oatmeal, wheat germ, fruits, and vegetables.
These food elements work together to fill in the rest of the nutritive properties of food. Deficiencies often lead to illness and death, as is often in the case in third world countries where well rounded diets are not easily accessible. The list of these elements and the roles they play is long... B vitamins alone could take up an entire page, but here is a guideline to some of the most important:
Vitamin A: helps build and maintain healthy skin and promotes eye health; found in dark leafy greens like spinach, and yellow/orange fruits or veggies like carrots
Vitamin B-complex: performs many roles, including releasing food energy, building healthy skin, aiding the development of red blood cells, and assisting metabolism; found in dairy, meat, nuts, legumes, some fruit, and vegetables (individual vitamin sources vary)
Vitamin C: maintains healthy blood vessels and tissues, speeds healing, and boosts the immune system; found in citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, strawberries, and green tea
Vitamin D: maintains healthy bones and teeth and helps them harden, aids in calcium absorption; found in dairy, eggs, some fish, and sunlight
Vitamin E: fights the destruction of healthy cells and vitamins like A and C by free radicals; found in dark, leafy greens, vegetable oils, whole grains, wheat germ
Vitamin K: helps blood to clot; found in dark, leafy greens, milk, egg yolks
Recipe List - Healthy Recipes
1 /4 cup Pure Olive
8 celery stalks diced
1 large onion,diced
3 medium potatoes,sliced
1 can 28 oz. Italian Peeled Tomatoes, chopped, with juice
1 can Red Romano Beans (drained and cleaned)
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 /4 lb Spaghetti
2 tbsp fresh basil,chopped
salt and pepper
1 • Heat olive oil in skillet.Add celery, carrots and onion.Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2 • Add potatoes, beans, tomatoes with juice,and chicken stock.Season with salt and pepper to taste.Cook for 15 minutes.
3 • Add peas and spaghetti broken in small pieces.Cook 7-8 minutes,or until spaghetti are tender.Add basil and serve with Parmesan cheese on top.
Serves 6 to 8 people.
(8-ounce) package penne
4 cups chopped seeded tomato
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 Cook pasta according to package directions (omit salt and fat). Drain.
2 In large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion first and then add the garlic in vegetable oil with a touch of olive oil until soft and slightly browned. Stir in ground tomatoes, whole tomatoes and seasoning. Wait for boil and then after 20 minutes reduce heat and simmer not less than 1 hour. The longer it simmers the better it tastes.
3 Combine pasta and remaining ingredients, tossing to coat.
4 4 servings (serving size: 1 3/4 cups)
1/4 c Parsley, fresh; chopped
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 tb Vinegar, cider
2 ts Mustard, prepared
1 ts Salt
1 ts Honey
1/4 ts Pepper
1 Garlic clove; minced
1 Onion; finely sliced
6 sm Tomatoes; firm, ripe, cubed
1• Combine ingredients, mixing well. Place tomatoes in serving bowl, and pour dressing over all. Cover and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.
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