Fingerling Potatoes and Your Health

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One fingerling potato is less than 30 calories.  The tasty root vegetable has no fat, cholesterol or sodium, but it is rich in potassium. The main health benefit of potassium is lower the blood pressure.  Many athletes eat a potassium rich diet as it helps to prevent cramps and cardiovascular irregularities. A lot of potassium is lost during exercise which is why athletes need to have more potassium in their bodies than the average person.

Potassium works alongside sodium to maintain a healthy water balance in the body. It is thought that an increase in potassium leads to an increase in sodium excretion. This is thought to help to prevent hypertension.

Chinese Chicken Salad

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Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 head napa cabbage, thinly shredded (about 6 cups)
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, greens included (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges in water, drained
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce or chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees  Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon  sesame oil and brush onto chicken breasts. Arrange in a baking dish and bake until juices run clear, about 13 to15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely, and cut into 1/4-inch slices.

In a large bowl, combine Napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrot, scallions, water chestnuts, Mandarin orange and sliced chicken. In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, brown sugar and chili sauce. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Divide among bowls and top each serving with 2 teaspoons toasted almonds.

Lemony Parmesan Chard

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Ingredients:

1 bunch Grow Alabama organic chard, separate leaves from stems (don’t throw away), chop separately
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and onion, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the chard stems and the white wine. Simmer until the stems begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chard leaves, and cook until wilted. Finally, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Serve. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Yellow Squash Muffins

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2 lbs crookneck yellow squash
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Wash squash, peel and trim ends, and cut into 1-inch slices. Cook in a small amount of water for 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain well and puree in blender. Measure 2 cups of the cooked squash, combine with eggs, butter, and applesauce, and set aside. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in center of mixture. Add squash to dry ingredients, stirring only until moist. Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Cantaloupe and Your Health

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A wedge of cantaloupe (1/8 of a melon) is about 24 calories.  The fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin A, providing about 112% of recommended daily levels.  Cantaloupe is chock full of Vitamin A with powerful antioxidants essential for vision.  Your skin and mucus membranes also get a boost.  Eating cantaloupe fortifies you against lung and oral cavity cancers.

Cantaloupe is also rich in beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants have the ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen free radicals, and hence, offer protection against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial and pancreatic cancers.

Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eye where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions; thus it protects eyes from “Age related macular degeneration” disease in the elderly.

It is a good source of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps control heart rate and blood pressure; thus offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.