Cooking For Health

Okra: An Unsung Super-Veggie

By Lucy Ruetiman, MS, Contributing Writer

Mention okra to someone you generally get one of two reactions – a passionate declaration of undying love, or a repulsed face followed by a dismissive reference to its sliminess. Strong reactions aside, there's no denying that okra is a very healthy vegetable with some interesting medicinal properties.

Coconut Oil: From Food to Medicine and Back

By Kristen Schepker | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

For thousands of years, indigenous peoples in tropical regions have recognized the vast nutritional and medicinal value of the coconut palm. Referred to as the "tree of life" among tropical cultures, virtually all parts of the coconut palm have found use in traditional foods and medicines.

In Praise of Alligator Pears

By Erik Goldman

There are many reasons to love avocados: they're tasty and satisfying; they're packed with healthy fats, B vitamins, potassium. lutein and zeaxanthin; and they fit nicely into a wide freshavocados logorange of culinary styles.

But did you know that inclusion of half an avocado in one's lunch can markedly increase satiety and reduce the desire to eat over the next 5 hours? Or that consumption of avocados can mitigate post-prandial insulin spikes, providing plenty of calories without substantially raising blood glucose levels? Or that they can increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from other foods? Or that they're the only fruit source of monounsaturated fats?

Or how about the fact that addition of fresh avocado to a hamburger lunch will substantially reduce post-meal inflammatory cascades, improve peripheral vascular blood flow, and attenuate the triglyceride surge that usually follows consumption of guac-less burgers.

You can discover these and dozens of other reasons to eat more avocados on the brand new Avocado Central website, sponsored by the Hass Avocado Board (and note that it's "Hass" not "Haas"....named after a postman named Rudolph Hass, who began planting the small, black & bumpy variety in the 1930s).

recipe sweet-potato-and-avocado-empanadasUnder the banner "Fresh Avocados: Love One Today," the Avocado Central site amasses just about everything known to mankind about the versatile and delicious "alligator pear." There's a host of in-depth nutritional analysis, summaries of scientific studies aimed at healthcare professionals, avo-centric meal plans and culinary lessons, how-to videos, and of course bushels of recipes--many from renowned chefs--that go way beyond guacamole (who knew avocados could be combined with chocolate to make gluten-free fudgy bread?).

You can be sure that Avocado Central will have some impact here at the Upshots test kitchens, and we're looking forward to expanding our culinary "avocacy."






Meet the Meatles(s)--A Guide to Vegetarian Meat Substitutes

By Kristen Schepker, Contributing Writer - Vol. 13, No. 1. Spring, 2012
From the now common veggie burgers, "not dogs," and "chicken" nuggets to innovations like meatless buffalo wings and scallops, the selection of faux-flesh delicacies is almost as wide as that of an actual meat market. With such a great diversity of options, how can vegetarians and other meat-conscious consumers make informed, nutritionally-sound choices?

How Healthful Are Raw Food Diets?

By Kristen Schepker, Contributing Writer - Vol. 13, No. 1. Spring, 2012
As the blossoming raw foods movement spreads throughout the US, it raises many questions. How can healthcare providers best guide patients interested in exploring a raw foods lifestyle?

A Culinary Favorite, Oregano Shows its Antimicrobial Muster

By Janet Gulland - Vol. 12, No. 4. Winter, 2011
Oregano has a long legacy in traditional medicine from Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Hippocrates recommended it as an antiseptic and a treatment for gastrointestinal and respiratory ailments. A spate of recent research shows that the herb can inhibit a number of human pathogens including Staphylococcus, Salmonella and Aspergillus.

The Cure for "Listeria Hysteria?" Strengthening Innate Defenses!

By Roby Mitchell, MD (aka "Dr. Fitt")

All this "Listeria Hysteria" that followed the reports of contaminated cantaloupe reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode. We're destroying a relatively healthy food by the ton, and scaring an already scared public, without taking stock of what's really going on. Blaming cantaloupe is an example of shooting the messenger, if ever I saw one.

Got Flax?

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 12, No. 3. Fall, 2011
FlaxMilk, the latest entry into the growing market for non-dairy "milk" products, provides a convenient and delicious way for patients (and their doctors, of course!) to get the healthful benefits of milled flax seed into their diets.