Mushrooms #bebetter52

Although mushrooms are considered a part of the veggie world, they actually belong to the fungi kingdom. This fungi holds many nutrients and vitamins many people may not realize. For example, eating naturally grown foods such as mushrooms can help decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, mushrooms in your diet improve complexion and hair and increase one’s daily energy.

This weeks #bebetter52 challenge is to incorporate mushrooms into a meal. Although most people know what mushrooms are, not everyone understands the health benefits they have.

To dive into more specifics, mushrooms contain a mineral called Selenium which plays a role in liver enzyme function. This mineral helps prevent cancerous compounds and decreases tumor growth rates and inflammation. The selenium, as well as high vitamin D, inhibit these cancer growth rates. Mushrooms also contain fiber, potassium and vitamin C. They promote a healthy heart by regulating blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels.

There are many ways to cook mushrooms, and if you're not a huge fan of fungi, expand your horizons! Some ideas for non-mushroom eaters might be trying a portobello burger or feta stuffed mushrooms. Many cool mushroom recipes can be easily found on the internet and are definitely worth a try, especially with all the added health benefits.

So, be sure to go out to your nearest grocery store and grab some mushrooms to get your week started right! 

Kombucha #bebetter52

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If you haven’t heard of kombucha, it is a fizzy drink made by fermenting sweet tea with mixture of bacteria and yeast. Not only does it have a distinct taste, but it also provides a number of health benefits, including boosting the immune system, increasing digestive health, losing weight, and lessening depression.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge: Drink kombucha. If you have never tried kombucha, pick up a bottle from your local grocery store and try it out. The drinks have a distinct taste that can take some getting used to, but try to finish at least one bottle this week. Your body will thank you.  

Kombucha has been around for over 2,000 years and originated in China. The Chinese referred to Kombucha as the “Immortal Health Elixir” because of the countless health benefits it provides. Many diets use kombucha as a way to detox the body from harmful molecules such as free radicals and to counteract liver cell toxicity. A strong antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL) is created during the fermentation process and helps maintain a healthy immune and digestive system. Kombucha has many other health benefits including cancer prevention and candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, joint care, higher energy, detoxification, mental clarity, mood stability, and weight loss. Most of these health benefits are due to the high amount of antioxidants kombucha creates during the fermentation process. A bottle of kombucha a day can do wonders for your body, but this week we will just start with one. Kombucha comes in many flavors such as raspberry, strawberry, guava, ginger, and many more. This week, experiment with kombucha, find the flavors you like and try to make this “Immortal Health Elixir” part of your diet.

For those brave enough to make their own, here's a Kombucha Recipe.

More Info on Kombucha

Antioxidant Salad

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unnamed-1Antioxidant Salad #bebetter52

In the heat of the summer, a salad is a perfect way to stay cool and refreshed and also help your body stay clean and healthy.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge: Eat an antioxidant salad. Whether you make it yourself using fresh ingredients, or order one while out to lunch, focus on eating antioxidant-rich foods and keeping your body healthy this week.

Antioxidants, found in substances such as vitamin C and E, help fight and remove damaging oxidizing molecules from the body. Antioxidants fight against damaging agents called free radicals, which are linked to nerve cell damage that can eventually lead to diseases such as cancer.

Consuming antioxidant-rich foods will neutralize the free radicals already in your body and decrease the formation of new ones (stanford.edu). 

The cause of free radical development in the body can stem from the air we breathe to the food we eat, which is why it is important to make sure we are putting antioxidant-rich substances in our bodies.

Below is a list of foods with the highest levels of antioxidants (rd.com):

Prunes

Raisins

Berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries)

Red Grapes

Cherries

Oranges

Plums

Kale

Spinach

Brussels Sprouts

Broccoli

Beets

Red Bell Peppers

Onions

Corn

Eggplant

Making a salad using these fruits and vegetables is the best way to get antioxidants into the body. Next time you are preparing your own meal or out at a restaurant, try to include a salad with a few of the ingredients above. Anti oxidant salads will not only provide your body with a healthy defense against damaging molecules, but they will also serve as a tasty, easy-to-make meal.

Here are a few recipes to get you started:

Martha Stewart Antioxidant Salad 

Mega Berry Antioxidant Spinach Salad 

Broccoli Antioxidant Salad Recipe

Cheesecake Factory Super Antioxidant Salad