Foods, Uncategorized

Chicken Tacos

 

Chicken Tacos

 

Fried Chicken Tacos | When done well there may not be a better comfort food than fried chicken. And it's versatile to boot. From sandwichesto tacos to ramen, click through ...

Chicken Tacos
Ingredients
• 1 tablespoons (tbsp) of chopped fresh garlic
• 1 teaspoon (tsp) of chili powder
• 1 tsp of cumin
• 1 tsp of smoked paprika
• 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
• 2 tbsp of chopped fresh scallions
• Half a cup of Mexican blend natural shredded
cheese*
• One package of eight taco shells**
• One-quarter of a cup of chopped fresh cilantro
leaves
• Three-quarters of a pound (lb) of ground chicken
* Make sure to choose a low-fat (less than 20%
M.F.) cheese. Also, choose natural cheeses compared
to processed cheeses. They tend to be lower in
sodium and phosphorus.
** Some shells can be close to 200 milligrams
(mg) for the two shells compared to only about 5 mg
for other brands.
Directions
1. Brown the ground chicken in butter on medium
heat along with the seasonings.
2. Fill two taco shells for each person with
meat mixture, cilantro, scallions, and cheese.
Measuring the cheese is the key! It should be
one-eighth of a cup per two tacos. Remember
to read the food labels, as shells can have quite
a bit of sodium.

Serves 4; one serving = half a cup of chicken
mixture and two taco shells.
Optional Serving Suggestions
Ingredients can also be served in a lettuce wrap,
pressed between flour tortillas to make a quesadilla,
or tossed with spaghetti or rice.
Nutrient Analysis: Chicken Mixture
Calories: 270, total fat: 20 grams (g), saturated fat:
7 g, trans fat: 0 g, cholesterol: 85 mg, sodium: 146
mg, protein: 19 g, carbohydrates: 2 g, potassium:
264 mg, phosphorus: 82 mg.
Nutrient Analysis: Two Taco Shells
Calories: 122, total fat: 6 g, saturated fat: 0.8 g,
trans fat: 0 g, cholesterol: 0 mg, sodium: 4 mg,
protein: 2 g, carbohydrates: 16 g, potassium: 46
mg, phosphorus: 64 mg

 

Remember, we are in this together!

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

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Foods, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How To Make Your Thanksgiving Menu Healthier with Recipes

How To Make Your Thanksgiving Menu Healthier with Recipes

 

 

Preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that’s lower in fat and calories but still thrills the crowd isn’t hard. All it takes is a few ingredient substitutions and some clever fat-busting techniques. Let’s take a look at how to make a delicious, healthier Thanksgiving meal.

The Turkey

If you’re hosting a small gathering, buy a turkey breast rather than the whole bird, as breast meat is lower in calories than dark meat.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

“This is simple and delicious, and certainly not rocket science,”  “No need to really add anything or change anything other than the cooking time — mine was done perfectly at 5-1/2 hours. The meat is tender, juicy, and delicately seasoned.”

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Photo by Lori

 

 

Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breasts

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
  2. With a sharp knife, butterfly breasts open to lay flat. Place each breast between two sheets of waxed paper, and flatten with a mallet. Spread the prepared stuffing to within 1/4 inch of the edge of each breast. Sprinkle each one with chopped pecans and dried cranberries, reserving some of the cranberries for garnish. Roll up tightly in a jellyroll style, starting with the long end. Tuck in ends, and tie in sections with string, about 4 sections around the middle and one running the length of the roll to secure the ends.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully brown rolls on all sides.
  4. Place skillet in oven, uncovered. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature is at 170 degrees F (78 degrees C) when taken with a meat thermometer. Do not let these get overly dry.
  5. Allow rolls to set for 15 minutes before removing string, and slicing into 1/2 to 3/4 inch circles. Leave one roll whole, and slice the other for presentation. Stuffing will be spiraled into meat. Present on your prettiest platter on a bed of curly lettuce, and garnish by sprinkling with the remaining 1/2 cup pecan halves and the reserved dried cranberries.

“This one is a keeper,” “I make it every thanksgiving instead of the whole turkey — it turns out beautifully every time! Very pretty presentation, too!”

Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breasts
Photo by lutzflcat

 

If you do buy a whole turkey, avoid “self-basting” turkeys, as they often contain added fat. And, it goes without saying, stay away from the deep fryer this year, and roast or smoke the turkey. Stuff the turkey cavity with whole or halved onions, halved lemons or apples, and sprigs of fresh herbs such as sage, marjoram, thyme, and/or rosemary. Rather than rubbing the skin with butter or oil, spray it with an oil spray and season it with salt and pepper.

Guilt-Free Gravy

Gravy is one of the biggest calorie culprits on the table. Use vegetable oil rather than turkey drippings when making the gravy — it’s still fat, but vegetable oil is lower in saturated fat and is cholesterol-free.

If you use turkey drippings to add flavor, use a gravy separator. Pour the gravy into a separator and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Some of the fat in the gravy will rise to the top of the glass where you can skim it off easily. Better yet, make a low-fat broth-based gravy or a vegetarian gravy instead.

Lightning Gravy

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a microwave safe dish heat water and bouillon on high, stirring occasionally until just boiling.
  2. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and cold water and mix together; stir into the hot broth and cook on medium for about 1 minute, or until thick, stirring at 30 second intervals.

“This is awesome because it’s low fat, low cal, (for gravy!) and quick,” “I added a black pepper and a small pinch of ground sage.”

Lightning Gravy
Photo by Marianne

 

Slimmed-Down Sides

Instead of loading up your mashed potatoes with lots of butter and cream, add some of the starchy water you used to boil the potatoes. The starchy water will give your mashers a low-cal creamy texture and help cut back on fat.

You can also add turkey or chicken broth, evaporated skim milk, or fat-free sour cream to your mashed potatoes. For extra flavor, stir in roasted garlic and herbs. For added nutrition, add pureed cooked cauliflower, parsnips, or turnips — or replace the potatoes entirely with Mashed Parsnips or Mashed Turnips.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine potatoes and chicken broth in a slow cooker.
  2. Cook potatoes on Low for 3 hours. Add cauliflower and continue cooking on Low another 3 hours.
  3. Stir milk, butter, sour cream, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and salt into the potato mixture. Mash with a potato masher or blend with an immersion blender to desired consistency.
  4. Continue cooking until hot, about 10 minutes more.

 

“This was good and a great way of adding extra veggies into a meal,”  I had mine along side some corn and stuffing. It was the perfect accompaniment and easy to make.”

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower
Photo by bd.weld

Cndied sweet potato casseroles in favor of a low-fat, naturally-sweetened sweet potatoes. Try a cranberry relish or cut down on the amount of sugar in your cranberry sauce by adding fruit juices or apple sauce.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese

 

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool until potatoes can be handled, about 20 minutes.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large baking sheet.
  3. Meanwhile, place olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook and stir until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell. Set shells aside. Place pulp into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, ginger, and sugar to the blender; blend until smooth.
  5. Return potato mixture to a bowl; stir in shallots, Parmesan cheese, and sage. Spoon mixture back into potato skins. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.

“These were absolutely fabulous,” says “We aren’t fond of sweet potato dishes that have a lot of added sugar, so this was really to our taste.”

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese

y, where it absorbs fat from the turkey as it bakes. It’s hard to slim down a stuffing recipe, so take a small serving if it’s your Thanksgiving favorite. If you can avoid recipes using too much sausage or bacon; wild rice and grains are more nutritious than bread stuffings.

Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Cook and stir sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, crumbling coarsely, for about 10 minutes. Remove sausage to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Empty pan of grease.
  2. Into the same pan melt the butter. Add the leeks or onions, apples, celery and poultry seasoning; cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rosemary, dried cranberries and cooked sausage. Mix all with the dried bread cubes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Moisten with the chicken stock.
  3. Stuff turkey with about 5 cups for a 14 pound turkey. Add additional chicken stock to moisten stuffing if needed. Remaining stuffing can be baked in a covered buttered casserole at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes to brown top.

 

LivinOurLuvSong. “I left out the sausage and used veggie broth. I baked it in a pan and it was perfect.”

Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing
Photo by alexandra5

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Most of the fat in a pie comes from the crust. Try a crust-free pumpkin pie recipe or a reduced-fat graham cracker crust.

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in flour. Fold in oats. Press into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, until set.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs with white sugar. Beat in pumpkin and evaporated milk. Mix in salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Pour over baked crust.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, until set. Let cool before cutting into squares.

 

“This is a great recipe,” raves LAURA J JOHNSON. “It makes homemade pumpkin pie much easier and it tastes great.”

Pumpkin Pie Squares
Photo by CC
Remember, We Are In This Together!
-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Nutrition Plays An Important Role In Brain Shrinkage

Nutrition Plays An Important Role In Brain Shrinkage

 

Those with diets high in a number of vitamins as well as omega 3 fatty acids are not as likely to get the brain shrinkage linked to Alzheimer’s disease than those whose diets aren’t high in these nutrients. According to the research, elderly people with higher amounts of a number of vitamins as well as omega 3 fatty acids within their blood had much better results on mental acuity tests and also less of the brain shrinkage found in Alzheimer’s disease – whereas “junk food” diets resulted in exactly the opposite.

These omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamin D are found mainly in fish. The B vitamins as well as antioxidants C and E are found mainly in vegetables and fruit. The research also revealed that those that had diets that were high in trans fats were more prone to have brain shrinkage as well as lower scores with the memory and thinking tests than those that had diets that were low in trans fats. Baked goods, prepackaged food, fast food, fried food and also margarine spreads are the main foods that trans fats are found in.

The research involved 104 individuals with an average age of 87 with very few memory and thinking problem risk factors. Blood tests had been made use of to ascertain the amounts of various nutrients within the blood of each person. Each of the participants also took memory and thinking skill tests. Forty two of the people had MRI scans to determine their brain volume.

On the whole, they had good nutritional status, but 7 % were vitamin B12 deficient and 25 % were vitamin D deficient .

The nutrient levels within the blood accounted for a lot of the variation in both brain volume as well as memory and thinking scores. The levels of nutrients accounted for 17% of the score variations for the memory and thinking tests. Other factors like age, amount of years of education as well as hypertension accounted for 46 % of the variation. The levels of nutrients accounted for 37% of the variation for brain volume. The potential to help stop brain shrinkage just by adjusting diet is exciting.

Everything You Need to Know About Fast Food Infographic

 

Remember we are in this together!

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

Foods, Uncategorized

Enjoy the Fall Apple Harvest

Enjoy the Fall Apple Harvest

appleharvest

Crisp, juicy apples are a fall tradition. Take advantage of the bountiful selection of apples available this time of year. There are hundreds of varieties to sample. They range from red to yellow to green, crunchy to tender, sweet to tart and simple to complex.

Apples contain a wide variety of phytochemicals, many of which have been found to have strong antioxidant activity. They are particularly high in quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant.1 Epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes and obesity.2-7 Not only can eating an apple a day help keep the doctor away, an apple a day might keep the pounds away too; adding apples to the diet has been shown to enhance weight loss.8-9 To optimize phytochemical content, it is important to eat the pigment-rich apple skin. Choose whole, organic apples over applesauce or apple juice.

Apples are also a rich source of pectin, a type of soluble fiber that is found in plant cell walls and tissues. This soluble fiber works to lower cholesterol by reducing the amount that is absorbed in the intestines. Studies have shown that the pectin in apples interacts with other apple phytonutrients to achieve an even greater reduction in cholesterol.10 Researchers have also discovered that apples can boost intestinal health by increasing the numbers of good gut bacteria which feed on apple pectin.11

Portable and easy to pack, apples are great to include in your on-the-go meals. For an easy dessert, enjoy them baked with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. I like to dice an apple, toss it with baby greens, some chickpeas, maybe a handful of walnuts or pumpkin seeds and then top it off with one of my flavored vinegars or perhaps my Almond Balsamic Dressing.

Experiment with the many different varieties of apples to discover which ones are your favorites. Have fun seeking out your local organic apple growers, farm stands and farmers markets and look for different types of interesting apples. They do not have to look perfect. The smaller and more imperfect they look, the better they taste. If you go apple picking and get lots of them, don’t worry, you can store them for several months. Just wrap each apple in a paper towel to prevent them from touching each other and store in a closed cardboard box in a cool place such as the basement or garage.

We are in this together!

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth
Dr Furhman

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

 

 

Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Health Benefits of Cherries

Health Benefits of Cherries

 

Cherries for gout

100g of cherries has 50 caloriesCherries are especially useful for treating gout.  Gout is a kind of arthritis linked to an unusually high amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is made in the liver and sometimes too much uric acid is made. Needle-like crystals form as uric acid levels increase, and these crystals build up in the joints over time, resulting in the pain and inflammation typical of gout.

Bing cherries have antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties, in particular a compound known as cyanidin, which has been found to inhibit the activity of the enzyme involved in the making of uric acid. Research has revealed that eating the equivalent of a pound of fresh cherries each day is highly effective for lowering uric acid levels.

One study demonstrated that healthy people who ate Bing cherries for 28 days had reduced inflammation markers and they stayed low for days despite discontinuation of cherry consumption.

Another study has also shown that eating cherries may lower risk of gout attacks. Gout sufferers consuming cherries for a 2 day period had a 35 % reduced risk of gout attacks when compared with those not eating cherries. The risk of gout flare continued decreasing with the increase of cherry intake, up to 3 servings over 2 days. It was found that additional cherry intake did not provide any extra benefit.[3]

Nutritional value of cherries (red) per 100g:

  •     How many calories in cherries – 50
  •     How much protein in cherries – 1g
  •     How many carbs in cherries – 12g
  •     What is the fat content of cherries – 0.3g

Nutrients in cherries

Cherries are a very good source of vitamins C and A. They are a good source of copper, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese.

 

Cherries and blood pressure

Cherries and blood pressure

Montmorency tart cherry juice lowers blood pressure

Consuming tart cherry juice is as effective for reducing high blood pressure as blood pressure lowering medications. Participants of a 2016 study who had early signs of hypertension experienced a blood pressure reduction of 7% three hours after consuming a Montmorency tart cherry concentrate and water mixture.[4]

The blood pressure readings of the 15 participants was least 130/90 mmHg, which means they had a higher risk of having cardiovascular related problems. They consumed either 60ml of tart cherry juice concentrate or 60ml of a commercial fruit-flavored drink.

Blood pressure was taken before consuming the Montmorency cherry concentrate and was measured thereafter on an hourly basis. The participants consuming the Montmorency cherry concentrate experienced a blood pressure reduction of 7 mmHg in the 3 hours after consumption.

The greatest systolic blood pressure improvement occurred when vanillic and protocatechuic, the cherry concentrate’s phenolic acids, reached peak plasma levels. The reduction in blood pressure from the consumption of the Montmorency cherry concentrate was comparable to the reduction achieved by blood pressure lowering medication.

A 2018 study found that consuming Montmorency tart cherry juice reduced systolic blood pressure in individuals between the ages of 65 and 80. The 34 study participants in this 12-week randomized controlled trial were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups.[5]

The 1st group drank 240ml of Montmorency tart cherry juice in the morning and 240ml in the evening every day for the 12 weeks. The 2nd group drank the equivalent amount of a cherry flavored placebo drink devoid of tart cherries. Blood pressure as well as blood sugar, insulin, weight and cholesterol were measured when the study began and again when it ended.

The Montmorency tart cherry juice group had a significant reduction (4.1 mmHg) in systolic blood pressure in comparison to the drink placebo drink group.

How much tart cherry juice should you drink a day to lower blood pressure?

The participants in the 2016 study drank 60ml of tart cherry juice concentrate, which is estimated to be equivalent to about 500g of whole tart cherries.

The participants in the 2018 study drank 480 ml tart cherry juice, which was prepared from 68ml Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate diluted with 412ml water.

Health Benefits of Cherries

Tart cherry juice for sleep
Melatonin in cherries

Montmorency tart cherries have been found to contain substantial amounts of the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Although some other foods also have melatonin, the quantity is too low to be effective, but, according to research, Montmorency cherries have 0.1 to 0.3 milligram of melatonin a serving,[6] and contain about 6 times more melatonin compared to Balaton cherries. At this dosage melatonin has been proven to be an efficient sleep inducer.

 

A 2014 study concluded that Montmorency tart cherry juice helps in improving the quality and duration of sleep, as well as help in reducing insomnia severity.[7] The 7 study participants who suffered from insomnia that consumed the cherry juice in the morning as well as at night slept over an hour longer each night.

Besides Montmorency tart cherries being a good source of melatonin, tart cherry juice also helps in increasing the availability of the essential amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin which helps with sleep.  The tart cherry juice inhibits a tryptophan degrading enzyme and degradation of tryptophan is a predictor of insomnia. The researchers suggest the melatonin and tryptophan combination in Montmorency tart cherries is likely contributing to the benefits of tart cherries for sleep.

Cherries for weight loss

The Chemistry of Cherries

A 2008 animal study has suggested that tart cherries have significant potential for reducing belly fat. Obese rats that were given tart cherry powder combined with a high-fat diet gained less weight than rats that were not given cherries. After 12 weeks, the rats that were given the tart cherry powder had 54% body fat in comparison to 63% for rats that were fed a “Western diet”. The difference in weight gain was particularly pronounced in fat around the waist area, the rats that were given the cherry powder gained less belly fat.

The rats were given either a high fat and moderate carbohydrate diet,  or a low fat and high carbohydrate diet, both of which came either with or without tart cherry powder. The cherry enriched diet rats experienced a total cholesterol level reduction of approximately 11%.The TNF-alpha inflammation marker was reduced by 40% and interleukin 6 (IL-6) was reduced by 31%.

Health Benefits of Cherries

Cherries and cancer

Cherries have quite high levels of anthocyanins (the flavonoids giving cherries their intense red color), which give them anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and chemopreventative properties. Tart cherries contain the natural compound perillyl alcohol, which seems to be very effective in reducing the incidence of all kinds of cancer.  Perillyl alcohol has tested well for treating advanced prostate, breast and ovary cancers.[9] Research suggests that substances in tart cherries can reduce the formation of the carcinogenic chemicals (HCAAs) that develop from the charring of meat.

Cherries for colon cancer

Two of the anthocyanidins present in cherries, quercetin and isoquerxitrin, have been found to prevent the growth of colon cancer.

Cherries for breast cancer

Cyandin-3-glucoside, another anthocyanin found in cherries and other fruits, has antioxidative and anti‐inflammatory properties and also induces the death of  breast cancer cells. Cyandin-3-glucoside inhibits the cytokine VEGF, which plays a key role in tumor angiogenesis. Angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation) plays a major role in breast cancer progression by providing cancer cells with nutrients, oxygen, and blood vessels for cancer cells to spread.

Delphinidin is another  anthocyanin found in cherries and other brightly colored fruits and veggies, and is also found in certain dietary supplements used as complementary cancer treatment. Delphinidin induces cell death in HER2+ breast cancer cells. Delphinidin also inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in breast cancer cells.

Cherries and muscle soreness

Tart cherry juice benefits for exercise

Tart cherry juice improves exercise recovery

Cherries help to alleviate muscle soreness after exercising. A cup of tart cherry juice can help in reducing the soreness and inflammation of the muscles that is experienced after strenuous exercise. Marathon runners consuming tart cherry juice twice a day for 7 days before a race experienced less post race pain compared to runners not consuming cherry juice.

A 2011 study revealed that men who had tart cherry juice after weight training exercises experienced less muscle pain as well as less strength loss.

A 2019 study found that active women consuming tart cherry concentrate twice a day for eight days experienced reduced muscle soreness after exercising.

Tart cherry juice improves exercise performance

A 2019 study concluded that Montmorency cherry supplementation improves cycling performance. Eight trained cyclists supplementing Montmorency tart cherry for 7 days improved cycling time-trial performance. The exercise performance improvement was accompanied by muscle oxygenation enhancement which suggests that the cherry polyphenols’ vasoactive properties could be supporting the performance improvement effects.

Cherries and osteoarthritis

Tart cherry juice for arthritis

Commonly used pain medication for osteoarthritis doesn’t actually reduce inflammation and has  unwanted side effects such as kidney or liver damage. The pain relieving properties of tart cherries have been show to be effective for the relief of pain associated with osteoarthritis without the side effects of conventional treatments.

A 2007 study revealed that pain and function improved significantly in osteoarthritis of the knee patients when they were given tart cherries in supplement form for 8 weeks.

Cherry juice for inflammation

In a 2012 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 20 patients suffering from inflammatory osteoarthritis had significant reductions in inflammation markers after consuming tart cherry juice twice daily for 3 weeks.

The study participants included twenty  40 to 70 year old women experiencing at least moderate osteoarthritis pain. They consumed 10.5-ounces of tart cherry juice or a placebo cherry drink twice daily for 3 weeks. There was a statistically significant reduction in inflammation among those individuals who consumed the tart cherry juice, which was indicated by reduced C-reactive protein levels. The reduction in inflammation was greatest for individuals who had shown the highest levels of inflammation at the beginning of the study.

Cherry juice for pain relief

Cherries are a natural pain reliever. Researchers have found that anthocyanidins from cherries have the ability to block both COX-1 and COX-2, enzymes considered to cause pain. Of all the fruits which were tested, cherries had the highest amounts of key anthocyanidins. The COX-inhibitory activities of the anthocyanidins in cherries were even found to be comparable to those of naproxen and ibuprofen.

Cherries and heart health

Tart cherries and cholesterol

Elevated LDL cholesterol levels are a risk factor for atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. The standard medical approach to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels to a safer range is to prescribe statins to reduce blood lipid levels. However, some patients encounter Statins are however not without side effects such as muscle pain to liver dysfunction.

A 2011 study reported a 26% reduction in cholesterol levels in mice fed tart cherry powder. A  reduction in early death of 65% was also reported, which was believed to be as a result of an improvement in cardiovascular health.

Another 2011 study in humans reported a reduction in of triglycerides levels of more than 17% on average after consuming 8-ounces of tart cherry juice daily for 4 weeks.[21]

A 2018 study reported a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol levels after participants drank Montmorency tart cherry juice made from concentrate. Study participants drinking 480ml of Montmorency tart cherry juice daily for 12 weeks experienced a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels as well as lower levels of total cholesterol.

How to Freeze Cherries

Benefits of cherries for skin

What is oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress when the body has an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals. Free radicals are produced by the cells of the body during normal metabolic processes, and free radical neutralizing antioxidants are also produced by the cells. The body usually maintains a balance between free radicals and antioxidants.

Oxidative stress plays an important part in the aging process, especially in the skin. Aging results in the thinning of the epidermal (outer) as well as dermal (under) layers of the skin. This leads to fine wrinkles as a result of reduction of elastic fibers, collagen, and hyaluronic acid.

What are antioxidants?

Free radicals are unstable molecules which can cause damage in the body, and antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving the free radical an electron. Antioxidants are produced naturally by the body and can also come from food such as fruit and veggies.

Several human studies have shown that sweet as well as tart cherries reduce oxidative stress. Melatonin, carotenoids, anthocyanins, polyphenols,  and vitamins C and E are all contributors to the antioxidant properties of cherries.

Cherries are an excellent source of anthocyanins, the flavonoid pigment that gives the cherry it’s color, and which has the greatest antioxidant capacity of any of the flavonoids. Tart cherries have more anthocyanins in comparison to sweet cherries. Scientific evidence has suggested that anthocyanins could possibly delay the appearance of signs of skin aging.

Health Benefits of Cherry Juice

Cherry juice and diabetes

There is some evidence to suggest that consumption of cherries could help in promoting healthy glucose regulation and reducing diabetes risk.

The enzymes dipeptidyl peptidase-4 and α glucosidase which are involved in the promotion of diabetes are inhibited by chlorogenic acid, one the main polyphenols of tart cherry juice.

Study results suggest that blood glucose could be reduced from anthocyanins by slowing the production of glucose from complex carbohydrates. The production of glucagon by pancreatic α cells could also be reduced, and hepatic glucose uptake and production of insulin by pancreatic β cells increased.

A 2008 study revealed a significant decrease in hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) after diabetic women supplemented 40 mL of concentrated tart cherry juice day for 6 weeks. Fasting blood glucose was also decreased by 8%.

History of cherries

Cherries were named after the ancient Turkish town of Cerasus and go as far back to at least 300 B.C.

Cherries were among the first fruits the early settlers brought to America. The first cherry orchard was planted in northern Michigan in the 1600s. The 1st commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893.

The ultimate celebration of cherries is the National Cherry Festival, which is held each year in July in Traverse City, Michigan.

Cherry trees have played a part in American folklore since George Washington chopped down his father’s cherry tree, then couldn’t tell a lie and told his father what he’d done.

Sweet cherries are cultivated throughout North America and Europe. France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Russia are big producers in Europe. Sour cherries are cultivated in Eastern Europe, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Germany tops the world in cherry production, followed by the United States.

Remember We Are In This Together!
Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth
Article reviewed by Dr Patricia Carrothers, Regenerative and Preventative Medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foods, Uncategorized

Gluten-Free Lower-Carb Lemon Bar Recipe

Gluten-Free Lower-Carb Lemon Bar Recipe

 

Low-Carb Lemon Bars

 

There are two kinds of lemon bars in this world. First are the bright yellow ones that usually have a lot of lemon and a lot of sugar (as much as 3 1/2 cups of sugar for a 13×9-inch pan of lemon bars). Then there are lemon bars with a light yellow hue, such as this one. These dessert bars have the addition of milk or cream, which mellows the bright lemon color. The milk or cream rounds out the sharpness of the lemon, requiring less sugar in the recipe while maintaining plenty of lemon flavor.

Fresh lemon juice is much better than bottled for this recipe (and in general), and the zest of the lemon adds a lot more flavor. Plus, these lemon bars feature an almond flour crust making them gluten-free. But don’t think you will feel deprived—this is a rich dessert sure to satisfy a lemon lover.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups ​almond flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold, unsalted butter
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
  • Enough water to make a total of 1 1/4 cups liquid when added to the lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon zest (a microplane grater works best for this)
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Prepare a 13 X 9-inch pan—either butter it very well, or line it with greased parchment paper or foil.

  3. For the crust, put the almond flour, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the lumps are gone. Alternatively, use a bowl and whisk.

  4. Cut the cold butter into medium cubes (16 cubes is about right). Add a few at a time to the mixture, either pulsing the food processor or, if mixing by hand, using a pastry blender or two table knives. Blend until the mixture looks like a crumbly meal.

  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth with your hand until crust is even, then press until firm.

  6. Bake until just golden brown, about 15 minutes, but start checking at 10 minutes, as once it starts to brown it goes quickly. Remove the pan, then turn the oven down to 300 F.

  7. Cool the crust at room temperature for a few minutes, and then pop it into the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes, until firm (but not completely cold).

  8. For the filling, mix all the ingredients in a blender, and pour over the crust.

  9. Bake until the filling is just set (the center should barely jiggle when you gently shake the pan). This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

  10. Remove from the oven and cool until room temperature, then place in the refrigerator and chill completely before cutting (at least 2 hours). If you like, sprinkle additional powdered sugar over the top (sift through a sieve).

     

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EHS Telehealth

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Uncategorized

Goat Cheese & Artichoke Dip Recipe

Goat Cheese & Artichoke Dip Recipe

 

Goat cheese & artichoke dip recipe - Dr. Axe

INGREDIENTS:

  • One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 pound chévre goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup pecorino romano, grated
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chives
  • ½ tablespoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional*)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a food processor, mix all ingredients except the pecorino romano until well incorporated and creamy.
  2. Top with freshly grated pecorino romano.

 

If you’re someone who enjoys snacking or dips, you’ve likely had your share of artichoke and cheese dips. And sure, they’ve probably been tasty. You might have even prepared a few. But if you’re ready to take your dips to the next level, it’s time to make this artichoke dip recipe. Trust me — this one’s tastier (and much healthier) than any spinach and artichoke dip or cheesy dip I’ve ever had.

 

Goat Cheese Appetizers: A Crowd Favorite

Goat cheese is one of my favorite cheeses. It’s tangy and creamy, perfect for adding to your favorite dishes. It’s also lower in the milk proteins some people are sensitive to, so often even if you struggle with digesting traditional cow’s milk cheeses, you might find you can tolerate goat’s milk better. Different countries call goat’s cheese by different names; one of the most common is the French chèvre, which is what we’ll use here.

Goat cheese & artichoke dip recipe ingredients - Dr. Axe

 

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Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

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Foods, Uncategorized

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

 

Chicken and rice casserole recipe - Dr. Axe

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2–3 cups wild rice, cooked
  • 1 cup goat milk
  • 6 medium mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 chicken thighs, chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1½ cup kale, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup goat cheese, grated
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, create roux by whisking butter and arrowroot starch until it bubbles, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add broth, whisking continuously to thicken for about 10 minutes.
  4. Once the mixture is visibly thicker, add goat milk and continue to whisk for about 5 minutes, allowing to thicken a bit more.
  5. Combine all ingredients except for goat cheese in a casserole dish, mixing thoroughly.
  6. Top with goat cheese and bake for 40 minutes.

 

I think you’ll find that not only is this chicken and rice casserole recipe super tasty and comforting, it’s also energizing, filling and gentle on your stomach.

The week nights can get very busy, and we often find ourselves rushing to make dinner choices that are quick, easy and inexpensive. When you need to throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot and call it a day, there’s nothing better than slow cooker recipes and casseroles.

Unlike most casserole recipes that are made with refined carbohydrates and other processed ingredients that can be hard on your digestive system, my chicken and rice casserole is made with gluten-free wild rice, chicken thighs, mushrooms, kale and goat cheese. It’s also made with a tasty roux that’s made with arrowroot, one of my go-to gluten-free flours, and goat milk.

The Healthiest Rice Option

When you roam through the rice options at the grocery store, you may be a bit confused about all of the options. There’s white rice, brown rice, black rice, wild rice, jasmine rice — the list goes on. Do you need some help choosing the healthiest rice options for your home cooking? Well, I’ve got you covered.

One of the healthiest rice options out there is wild rice. Did you know that wild rice is actually a grass and not a grain? It’s a semi-aquatic grass that grows naturally in waterways throughout the United States. It’s completely gluten-free and rich in antioxidants.

Chicken and rice casserole recipe - Dr. Axe

Wild rice has a nutty flavor and texture, so it really adds depth to a recipe. Plus, you may notice that after eating a meal with wild rice, you feel energized, which is because of the magnesium content.

Aside from the wild rice in my chicken and rice casserole, some other ingredients that make this a healthy and filling dinner option are the goat milk, chicken broth and arrowroot flour that makes up the roux. You get a creamy texture and rich flavor, but this roux is easy on your digestive system.

Plus, the combination of mushrooms, kale, garlic and shallot gives this chicken and rice casserole a boost of vitamins and minerals that will support your immune system and help to reduce inflammation. Who knew a casserole can do so much for your health?

 

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Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Heart-Healthy Eggs Benedict Recipe with Asparagus

Heart-Healthy Eggs Benedict Recipe with Asparagus

 

Eggs benedict recipe - Dr. Axe

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch asparagus (16 pieces)
  • 1–2 teaspoons coconut or avocado oil
  • ¼ tomato, sliced
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 2 eggs, poached
  • hollandaise sauce  ( recipe below)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium-size frying pan over medium heat, add coconut or avocado oil.
  2. Add the asparagus to the frying pan and pan fry until for tender, about 8–10 minutes.
  3. In a small pot, bring 2–3 cups of water to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, gently lower the eggs into the water and allow to boil for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs once finished and set them aside for assembly.
  5. Divide the asparagus on two separate plates and add sliced tomato and avocado on top.
  6. Add the eggs and drizzle on the hollandaise.
  7. Top with chives.

Eggs Benedict is one of those items that you’ll always see on a breakfast or brunch menu. It’s a breakfast classic. But, when prepared with the traditional ingredients, it can be hard on your waistline, heart, brain and digestion.

In my eggs Benedict recipe, I use immune-boosting, heart healthy, anti-inflammatory foods like avocado, asparagus and tomato. This low-carb breakfast is also high in healthy fats that are key for maintaining optimal health. So give this eggs Benedict recipe a try — you’ll never go back to the traditional dish again.

5-Minute Blender Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

Hollandaise sauce recipe - Dr. Axe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoon grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter or ghee over medium-low heat.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a high-powered blender until well combined.

 

Remember we are in this together!

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

Foods, Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Vitamin K2 Foods Benefit Cardiovascular Health

Vitamin K2 Foods Benefit

Cardiovascular Health

 

Vitamin K2 - Dr. Axe

 

Full-fat cheeses, eggs and beef liver might not be the types of foods that come to mind when you think about eating a heart-healthy diet. But, you’d probably be surprised to know that in recent years, one of the most researched nutrients in the field of cardiovascular health has been vitamin K2, found in these very foods.

What are the benefits of vitamin K2? While vitamin K1 has the important role of preventing blood clots and bleeding disorders, K2 works differently.

According to a 2019 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, K2 benefits include helping with nutrient assimilation, growth in infants and children, fertility, brain function, and bone and dental health. Unfortunately many people don’t get enough of this type from their diets.

Something that makes vitamin K unique (both types: K1 and K2) is that it’s not usually taken in supplement form. K2 seems to be much more beneficial when obtained naturally from vitamin K foods.

Unlike vitamin K1, which is mostly found in plant foods like leafy greens, you get K2 from animal-derived foods, like grass-fed meats, raw/fermented cheeses and eggs. It’s also produced by the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome.

What Is Vitamin K2?

While we hear the most about vitamin K1 and K2, there are actually a bunch of different compounds that fall into the “vitamin K” category. Vitamin K1 is also known as phylloquinone, while K2 is known as menaquinone.

Compared to many other vitamins, the roles and health benefits of vitamin K2 were only recently discovered. What does vitamin K2 help with? It has many functions in the body, but the most important is helping the body to use calcium and preventing calcification of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Emerging studies show a lack of this vitamin is also associated with diseases including osteoporosis.

If there’s one thing that we need K2 for, it’s preventing calcium from building up in the wrong locations, specifically in soft tissues. Low intake of vitamin K2 can contribute to plaque building in the arteries, tartar forming on the teeth, and hardening of tissues that causes arthritis symptoms, bursitis, reduced flexibility, stiffness and pain.

Some evidence also suggests that K2 has anti-inflammatory properties and may offer some protection against cancer, including research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.

What the difference between vitamin K2 and MK7? K2 is a group of menaquinones compounds, which are abbreviated as “MK.” MK7 is one type of menaquinones that is responsible for many of the benefits attributed to vitamin K2. MK4 has been the focus of many vitamin K2 studies, but other types like MK7 and MK8 also have unique abilities.

Vitamin K2 vs. Vitamin K1

  • There’s some evidence that people tend to get about 10 times more vitamin K1 (or phylloquinone) from their diets than vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Vitamin K1 deficiency is very rare, even said to be “almost nonexistent,” while K2 deficiency is much more common.
  • A growing body of research now demonstrates that vitamins K1 and K2 are not only different forms of the same vitamin, but basically operate like different vitamins all together.
  • Vitamin K1 is more abundant in foods but less bioactive than the vitamin K2. 
  • Vitamin K2 from animal foods is more active in humans. This doesn’t mean that plant foods that provide K1 are unhealthy, just that they are not the best dietary sources of bioavailable vitamin K2.
  • When we eat foods with K1, vitamin K1 mostly makes it to the liver and then the bloodstream once converted. K2, on the other hand, gets distributed to bones and other tissues more easily.
  • Vitamin K1 is very important for supporting blood clotting, but not as good at protecting the bones and teeth as K2.

 

 

Uses

What is vitamin k2 used for? Here are some of the major benefits and uses associated with this vitamin:

1. Helps Regulate Use of Calcium

One of the most important jobs that vitamin K2 has is controlling where calcium accumulates in the body. Vitamin K2 benefits the skeleton, heart, teeth and nervous system by helping regulate use of calcium, especially in the bones, arteries and teeth.

The “calcium paradox” is a common term for the realization by medical professionals that supplementing with calcium can somewhat reduce the risk of osteoporosis but then increases the risk of heart disease. Why does this happen? Vitamin K2 deficiency!

K2 works closely with vitamin D3 to helps inhibit osteoclasts, which are cells responsible for bone resorption.

The Vitamin D and calcium relationship is important, as vitamin D helps transport calcium from the intestines as it digests into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, vitamin D’s job is done at that point. Next, vitamin K2 must activate one of its dependent proteins, osteocalcin. Research shows it then takes calcium out of the bloodstream and deposits it into bones and teeth.

For the best overall health benefits, it’s important to get enough calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K. Depending on your age, health and diet, you may need to take a vitamin D3 supplement, and possibly other supplements, too.

Vitamin K2 is essential for the function of several proteins in addition to osteocalcin, which is why it helps with growth and development. For example, it’s involved in the maintenance of structures of the arterial walls, osteoarticular system, teeth and the regulation of cell growth.

2. Protects the Cardiovascular System

Vitamin K2 is one of the best vitamins for men because it offers protection against heart-related problems, including atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries), which are the leading causes of death in many developed countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year more than half of deaths due to heart disease are in men.

A 2015 report published in the Integrative Medicine Clinician’s Journal explains that

Vitamin K2 is associated with the inhibition of arterial calcification and arterial stiffening. An adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been shown to lower the risk of vascular damage because it activates matrix GLA protein (MGP), which inhibits the deposits of calcium on the walls.

The Rotterdam Study, a very large study done in the Netherlands that followed more than 4,800 adult men, found that the highest intake of vitamin K2 was associated with the lowest chances of suffering from aortic calcification. Men who consumed the most K2 were found to have a 52 percent lower risk of severe aortic calcification and a 41 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

The men in the study with the highest K2 intake also benefited from a 51 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease, and a 26 percent lower risk of dying from any cause (total mortality).

A 2017 study found that this vitamin was associated with a 12 percent increase in maximal cardiac output and that supplementation seemed to improve cardiovascular function in diseased patients. It seems to do this by restoring mitochondrial function and playing a “key role in production of mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate” (ATP).

3. Supports Bone and Dental Health

For decades, vitamin K was known to be important for blood coagulation — but only recently human studies have uncovered how it support bone health and protect against vascular diseases, too.

According to a 2017 article published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, “K2 may be a useful adjunct for the treatment of osteoporosis, along with vitamin D and calcium.”

Another 2015 meta-analysis supports the hypothesis that “vitamin K2 plays kind of a role in the maintenance and improvement of vertebral bone mineral density and the prevention of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.”

K2 benefits the skeletal system by taking calcium and helping usher it into bones and teeth to make them solid and strong. A number of animal and human studies have investigated whether or not vitamin K2 can be useful for helping prevent or treat fractures, osteoporosis and bone loss.

Certain clinical studies have found that K2 slows the rate of bone loss in adults and even helps increase bone mass, plus it may reduce risk of hip fractures and vertebral fractures in older women.

K2 can enhance osteocalcin accumulation in the extracellular matrix of osteoblasts inside bones, meaning it promotes bone mineralization. A 2018 review reports that there is also evidence to support the effects of vitamin k2 on differentiation of other mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts.

Additionally, it helps maintain the structure of the teeth and jaws. Many traditional cultures included K2 foods in their diets because they believed it could help prevent cavities, tooth decay and plaque formation. This impact was observed in the 1930s by dentist Weston A. Price, who found that the primitive cultures with K2-rich diets had strong, healthy teeth although they’d never been exposed to western dental hygiene.

It turns out that getting plenty of K2 during pregnancy is also important for fetal growth and bone health. During fetal development, having limited osteocalcin proteins activated (which require vitamin K2) equates to undergrowth of the lower third of the facial bone and jaw structure. Some experts believe this is the reason so many children in modern society need braces.

4. May Protect From Cancer

Some research shows that those who have high amounts of K2 in their diet are at lower risk of developing some types of cancers. For example, vitamin K2 may help to protect specifically from leukemia, prostate, lung, and liver cancers.

5. Defends From Rheumatoid Arthritis Damage

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, supplementing with vitamin K2 has been shown to result in a slowdown of bone mineral density loss and to decrease the amount of RANKL, an inflammatory compound, in the blood of subjects.

This suggests that K2 might be a useful supplement to a rheumatoid arthritis diet.

6. Improves Hormonal Balance

Inside our bones, K2 can be used to produce osteocalcin hormone, which has positive metabolic and hormonal effects.

Fat-soluble vitamins are important for the production of reproductive/sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Because of its hormonal-balancing effects, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and postmenopausal women can benefit from getting more K2 in their diets, according to recent studies.

K2 can also helps promote blood sugar balance and insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk for metabolic problems like diabetes and obesity. Some research suggests that K2 helps regulate glucose metabolism by modulating osteocalcin and/or proinflammatory pathways.

7. Helps Promote Kidney Health

K2 may benefit the kidneys by helping prevent the formation of calcium accumulation in the wrong places, the underlying cause of kidney stones. It may also do the same for other organs, too, including the gallbladder.

In addition, a lack of K2 and vitamin D has been associated in studies with a higher occurrence of kidney disease.

Foods

What foods are high in vitamin k2? Vitamin K1 is found in mostly vegetables, while K2 is found in mostly animal products or fermented foods.

K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it’s present in animal foods that also contain fat, specifically saturated fat and cholesterol.

Animals help transform vitamin K1 into K2, while humans do not have the necessary enzyme to do this efficiently. This is why we benefit from getting K2 directly from animal-derived foods — and why sticking to grass-fed animal products provides the most K2.

The 20 best vitamin K2 foods include (percentages based on daily value requirement of 120 micrograms):

  1. Natto: 1 ounce: 313 micrograms (261 percent DV)
  2. Beef liver: 1 slice: 72 micrograms (60 percent DV)
  3. Chicken, especially dark meat: 3 ounces: 51 mcg (43 percent DV)
  4. Goose liver pate: 1 tablespoon: 48 micrograms (40 percent DV)
  5. Hard cheeses (such as Gouda, Pecorino Romano, Gruyere, etc.): 1 ounce: 25 micrograms (20 percent DV)
  6. Jarlsberg cheese: 1 slice: 22 micrograms (19 percent DV)
  7. Soft cheeses: 1 ounce: 17 mcg (14 percent DV)
  8. Blue cheese: 1 ounce: 10 micrograms (9 percent DV)
  9. Ground beef: 3 ounces: 8 micrograms (7 percent DV)
  10. Goose meat: 1 cup: 7 micrograms (6 percent DV)
  11. Egg yolk, specifically from grass-fed chickens: 5.8 micrograms (5 percent DV)
  12. Beef kidneys/organ meat: 3 ounces: 5 mcg (4 percent DV)
  13. Duck breast: 3 ounces: 4.7 micrograms (4 percent DV)
  14. Sharp cheddar cheese: 1 ounce: 3.7 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  15. Chicken liver (raw or pan-fried): 1 ounce: 3.6 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  16. Whole milk: 1 cup: 3.2 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  17. Canadian bacon/cured ham: 3 ounces: 3 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  18. Grass-fed butter: 1 tablespoon: 3 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  19. Sour cream: 2 tablespoons: 2.7 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  20. Cream cheese: 2 tablespoons: 2.7 micrograms (2 percent DV)

The more vitamin K1 an animal consumes from its diet, the higher the level of K2 that will be stored in the tissues. This is the reason that “grass-fed” and “pastured-raised” animal products are superior to products that come from factory farm raised animals.

Going back to the fact that vitamin K2 comes in several forms, MK7 is found in the highest concentration in animal foods, while the other types are found in mostly fermented foods. MK4 is the synthetic form of K2.

For those following a vegan diet, K2 can be hard to come by — unless you love natto! This “stinky sock” fermented soy food is an acquired taste and is also the only vegan source of K2. Fortunately, it’s also the richest source (and the food used to make the type of K2 supplement I recommend).

 

Dosage

How much vitamin k2 do you need each day?

The minimum daily requirement of K2 in adults is between 90–120 micrograms per day.

  • Some experts recommend getting about 150 to 400 micrograms daily, ideally from K2 foods as opposed to dietary supplements.
  • Overall it’s recommended to tailor your dosage depending on your current health.  People with a higher risk of heart disease or bone loss (such as older women) may benefit from getting a dose on the higher end of the spectrum (200 micrograms or more).
  • Those looking to maintain their health can get a bit less, especially from supplements, such as around 100 micrograms.

Is it beneficial to take vitamin K dietary supplements?

If you take a supplement that contains vitamin K, the chances are very likely that it’s vitamin K1 but not K2.

While some newer K2 supplements are now available, the type of supplement matters greatly.

  • MK4, the form of K2 found in many vitamin K supplements, is a synthetic K2 with a short half-life. This means that to get the full benefit of it, you have to take it multiple times throughout the day.
  • Often, an MK4 serving size is thousands of micrograms to counteract the half-life of the compound. However, MK7 derived from natto has a much longer half-life and can be taken in more reasonable doses like those listed above.

Remember that vitamin K works with other fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A and D, so the best way to obtain these nutrients is to eat foods that provide many different vitamins — like eggs and raw, full-fat dairy products.

Particularly for those at risk of osteoporosis, calcium should also be a nutrient you aim to eat a lot of while increasing your K2 intake.

Deficiency Symptoms

What happens if you get too little vitamin K?

Symptoms of vitamin K2 deficiency can include:

  • Blood vessel and heart-related problems, like arterial calcification and high blood pressure
  • Poor bone metabolism and possibly higher risk for bone loss and hip fractures
  • Kidney and gallstones
  • Cavities and other dental issues tied to tooth decay
  • Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, like bloody stool, indigestion and diarrhea
  • Poor blood sugar balance and higher risk for blood sugar issues and diabetes
  • Metabolic problems
  • Higher chance of having morning sickness in pregnant women
  • Spider veins/varicose veins

Among adults living in industrialized nations, deficiency in this vitamin is considered to be rare. However, newborn babies and infants are much more susceptible to deficiency due to how their digestive systems lack the ability to produce K2.

Adults are at a greater risk of developing vitamin K2 deficiency if they suffer from any of these health conditions:

  • Diseases that affect the digestive tract, including types of inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or celiac disease
  • Malnutrition, due to calorie restriction or poverty
  • Excessive alcohol consumption/alcoholism
  • Use of drugs that block K2 absorption, which can include antacids, blood thinners, antibiotics, aspirin, cancer treatment drugs, seizure medication and high cholesterol drugs — cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and certain osteoporosis drugs inhibit the conversion of K2, which can greatly lower levels
  • Prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhea

Risks and Side Effects

Is too much vitamin K2 bad for you? While it’s rare to experience side effects or vitamin k2 toxicity from getting high amounts from food alone, you might develop symptoms if you take high doses of vitamin K supplements.

However, for most people even high doses of this vitamin, such as 15 milligrams three times a day, have been shown to generally be safe.

Are there potential drug interactions to worry about? If you’re someone who takes the drug Coumadin, a potential side effect associated with taking too much vitamin K is increasing your risk for heart-related problems.

Too much vitamin K can also also contribute to complications in people with blood clotting disorders.

Look for a supplement that specifically lists menaquinone if you plan to supplement. Because vitamin K supplements can interact with many medications, talk to your doctor if you plan to take a vitamin K supplement and are taking any daily medications.

Final Thoughts

  • Vitamin K2 (also called menaquinone) is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with calcium metabolism, bone and dental health, heart health, and hormone balance.
  • Vitamin K1 is found in mostly green vegetables, while vitamin K2 (the more bioavailable form) is found in mostly animal products or fermented foods.
  • Benefits of getting more vitamin K2 from your diet include: helping to reduce your risk for calcification of the arteries, atherosclerosis, cavities, tooth decay, kidney problems, and hormonal imbalances.
  • This vitamin seems to be much more beneficial when obtained naturally from foods high in vitamin K2, rather than supplements. Consuming raw, fermented cheeses and other full-fat dairy products is the best way to get adequate amounts. Eggs, liver and dark meats are other good sources.

 

Remember we are in this together!

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/