Frozen vs Fresh Veggies & How to Cook Them

We already know veggies are good for us. First, vegetables are packed with fiber, which helps us stay regular and shuttle cholesterol out of our system. Secondly, veggies offer an array of essential vitamins and minerals; sweet potatoes have potassium, necessary for electrolyte balance while beets are rich in antioxidants, hence their purple color. Thirdly, eating vegetables is associated with decreased risk for chronic diseases. For example, increased intake of cruciferous veggies, like brussel sprouts and cauliflower, may be inversely related to the risk for lung cancer (Lam, et al 2009).

Okay, so what about frozen veggies- are they better than fresh? Ask Michael Pollan, author of the popular Omnivore’s Dilemma, and he’ll tell you that: “Frozen vegetables and fruits are a terrific and economical option when fresh is unavailable or too expensive. The nutritional quality is just as good — and sometimes even better, because the produce is often picked and frozen at its peak of quality.” (Pollan, 2011)

Eating veggies in college is hard. Those of us who live on campus only have a microwave or access to campus eateries. Sometimes, we don’t have options we enjoy, or we get tired of the offerings on campus. That is why learning to cook veggies in the microwave is a great idea. If you get one trip to the grocery store each month, you can stock up on some frozen veggies. Steam, and then enjoy with hummus or white bean dip for a snack. And, if you have a kitchen in an off-campus apartment, you still may not have the time to steam veggies on the stove or have adequate pots and pans. By using the microwave method for steaming, you can save time, money, and lock in the nutrients available from the veggies!

Spice up your vegetables with these easy tips:

  • Add cinnamon, cloves and ginger to vegetables. While these spices are  typically reserved for sweet foods, these spices can enhance the flavor of carrots, squash and sweet potatoes.

  • Spice up steamed broccoli with lemon, olive  oil and a pinch of salt. If you prefer eating broccoli raw, add paprika, yogurt,  garlic and chives to enhance its flavor.
  • Add a little olive oil, garlic powder and lemon to asparagus, peas or spinach to add some flavor.
  • Looking for some real spice? Try adding hot sauce or cayenne pepper to the mix!

 

 

By: Kate Sweeney

Editor: Toby Beckelman

Sources:

Lam, T.K., Gallachio, L., Lindsley, K., Sheils, M., Hammond, E., Tao, X., Chen, L., Robinson, K., Caulfield, L., Herman, J., Guallar, E., and Alberg, A. 2009. Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption and Lung Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review. 2009. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 18; 184

Pollan, Michael. Oct 2, 2011. The Food and Drink Issue: Mysteries Solved, Riddles Explained and Readers’ Questions Answered. New York Times. New York, NY.

School’s Out for Summer!

Hi Tufts Students!

Enjoy Summer 2012. Be healthy, happy and if you want to find some great recipes, check out: www.tastespotting.com!

We’ll see you in the fall!

Connecting Sleep Deprivation and Obesity

How often do you pull an “all-nighter” for exams and assignments? Do you find yourself exhausted the next day and reaching for the first item of fattening food that you see? Sleep deprivation not only affects your ability to function throughout the day, but it can also pack on the extra pounds. According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep-related problems affect 50 to 70 million Americans every year, and the health effects of these issues are staggering.

Most adults need a recommended 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and these hours spent sleeping improve your energy levels, concentration, and mood for the next day. In terms of health, a lack of regular sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, infection, and heart disease. Hormones released during sleep help control the body’s use of energy during the day, so the less sleep you get at night, the more likely you are to be overweight from eating high-caloric foods in order to boost your energy levels. Another reason for this overeating is due to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which rises with sleep deprivation and thus causes hunger. Essentially, a person will compensate for the energy they did not receive from sleep by eating more…and it usually won’t be anything healthy!

Fortunately, there are many ways to sustain (and improve) your sleep health:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends.
  • Avoid caffeine for 8-12 hours before bedtime in order for it to fully leave your system. The same goes for alcohol, which might assist you in falling asleep, but it won’t help you to stay asleep as its sedative effects wear off.
  • Don’t exercise 2-3 hours before your bedtime. You need time to “cool down” and relax your body in order to sleep.
  • Avoid naps after 3:00pm and keep them under an hour. Late and long naptimes will only keep you up at night.
  • Take time to relax before bedtime – read a good book, listen to calm music, or soak in a hot bath.
  • Make sure you have a sleep-friendly environment – this includes a dark room, cool temperatures, little noise, and a comfortable bed.
  • Maintain your usual healthy eating and exercise routine, and don’t forget to start your day with a balanced breakfast to keep the hunger away!
  • Avoid big meals before sleeping to decrease stomach discomfort and acid reflux.
  • If you feel your sleep troubles are not alleviated by the above suggestions, contact your doctor right away. You might have a sleep disorder.

Sleep is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, and it is closely tied with nutrition, emotional well-being, and productivity. To learn more about this topic, go to the National Sleep Foundation website at http://www.sleepfoundation.org/ . Sweet dreams!

Sources:

 

  1. Bell, Vaughan. Don’t Neglect the Obvious: Sleep, Nutrition, and Exercise. (2006). Accessed at http://mindfull.spc.org/vaughan/Vaughan_MPH_SleepNutritionExercise.pdf on March 25, 2012.
  2. Berkowitz, Myra. The Sleep and Nutrition Connection. (2008). Accessed at http://www.gannett.cornell.edu/cms/pdf/sleep/upload/sleep_nutrition_connection.pdf on March 25, 2012.
  3. Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Sleep and Health. (2008). Accessed at http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/whats-in-it-for-you/health on March 25, 2012.
  4. NHLBI Health Information Center. In Brief: Your Guild to Healthy Sleep. (2011). Accessed at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/sleep/healthysleepfs.pdf on March 25, 2012.

By: Julia Canfield

Editor: Kate Sweeney

 

Yummy Thai Cuisine

Looking to satisfy some serious Thai food cravings? Yummy Thai Cuisine is just a 5-10 minute walk from the Davis Square T-station, and it is open 7 days a week from 11:00am-11:00pm for lunch and dinner. The restaurant serves over 100 menu choices, from pan fried dishes to noodle soups, so it has something to offer for everyone. Although the restaurant is small and casual in its appearance, the food quality and service are superb.

After a long day of exploring the Somerville/Medford area, I decided to head over to Yummy Thai Cuisine for a satisfying dinner. I was greeted by a friendly and attentive older man and an older woman cooking in the kitchen behind him. I ordered a cup of the Miso Soup for the appetizer. It was filled with spinach, scallions, tofu, and a rich, delicious broth. My main dish was Mango Chicken with white rice, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and sauce on the side. The roasted chicken was juicy and tender, and I was impressed by the well portioned dish (I was able to finish every bite without feeling stuffed!).

 Following my entrée course, I was tempted by their ginger ice cream. And, I wasn’t disappointed; it was one of the best I’ve had in the city! The dessert was full of that sharp ginger flavor, which I love, paired with the smooth richness of the ice cream. Finally, rounding out the entire meal was my drink choice – the standard Thai Iced Tea, which was delicious and refreshing as well. Including tip, my meal came to around $24, which for the quality of food and a 3-course meal, was definitely worth it.

For more information about Yummy Thai Cuisine, go to http://yummythaicuisinema.com/

Yummy Thai Cuisine

2261 Massachusetts Ave

Cambridge, MA 02140

(617) 354-7070

By: Julia Canfield

Editor: Kate Sweeney

 

It’s Finals. Time to get serious about your health.

It has come to the end of the semester again. Group meetings for projects, reviews for exams, as well as endless papers are all starting to take up more and more of your time. Sometimes you may feel like you have to sacrifice your sleep, your exercise, you regular meal time, and thus, your health to make a final boost of your GPA.  But, sacrificing these things can actually be a detriment to your academics.

The following tips for finals month will not only help you find a balance between working hard and being healthy, but remind you that often times, they go hand in hand as well.

  • Relax and Release Stress.  One thing you feel at the end of every semester may be stress. Both physical and psychological stress can cause chronic inflammation in your body, with an immediate effect of dampening your brain and body function, as well as a long term effect of increasing your risk for chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Your overall performance and wellness could be determined by how well you manage your stress. Getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet, and participating in regular physical activity are all effective ways of reducing stress, and have all been shown to reduce inflammation.
  • Keep a Regular Schedule. An irregular schedule can create metabolic stress in your body and affect your health and academic performance. Thus, staying on a schedule that is similar to your typical day is best. When you change things up- like staying awake later or eating late-night- your body is stressed by this and has to adjust, which requires you to use energy that isn’t directed toward your studies. Regardless of whether you are a “morning person” or a “night person”, if  you eat, sleep, workout etc at similar times day to day, you are minimizing the stress you put on your body.
  • Stop Skipping Meals. Regular meal time is also a part of your schedule, and an important one.  We all know that it’s bad to skip breakfast, and it’s actually bad to skip lunch and dinner too. Skipping meals can slow down your metabolism and cause your body to store the food you eat as fat since your body won’t know when it will get fed again. Therefore, try to have an apple, banana, cup of yogurt, or granola bar on hand so that you have something healthy to snack on if you get hungry and you’re in the middle of doing work.
  • Stay Hydrated. During periods of intensive brain activity, water serves as the primary media and reactant in the massive metabolic reactions going on in your body and brain. To maintain health and a high level of functionality, you need to watch out for dehydration. Oftentimes, thirst is a sign that you’re past the point of dehydration. Headaches and fatigue may come first. Water is the healthiest and most hydrating choice to replenish lost fluid stores. Sugary drink like soda and sports drinks do not provide as much water and can actually be dehydrating. Other healthy options include iced or hot tea.

Sources:

Nielsen, Forrest. March 15, 2010.Inflammation- Bad or Good. United States Department of Agriculture. Available online at http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=19563.

Shacter, E. and Weitzman, SA. 2002. Chronic Inflammation and cancer. Oncology. 16(2):217-229.

By: Xuan Qin

Editor: Kate Sweeney