heart disease

What’s On The Menu – Let’s Ketchup on this Micronutrient Superfruit

I apologize for the brevity of this post. I had a full blog written, with funny anecdotes and informative nutrition details about this week’s menu spotlight. Bbbbbbbuttttt, when I woke up yesterday morning to do the final edit, I discovered that I didn’t save it.

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My reaction when I realize I didn’t save this week’s blog

I don’t want to leave you all hanging this week, so the following is a short summary of why you need to start incorporating more tomatoes & tomato products, besides ketchup, into your diet.

  • Tomatoes’ macronutrient content isn’t anything spectacular – 1 medium size tomato contains no fat, 1 gram (g) of protein and 5 g of carbs; its carbs consist of mainly simple sugars & insoluble fiber (source).
  • Tomatoes’ micronutrient content is what really sets them apart – they contain a significant amount of vitamins (C, K & B-complex), minerals (molybdenum, potassium & copper) and antioxidants (lycopene, rutin, beta cartoene & many more – source).
  • The consumption of the micronutrients contained in tomatoes has been shown to mitigate certain health conditions – The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants contained in tomatoes have been shown to help with the treatment of high blood pressure, heart disease, degenerative vision conditions, depression and more (source). Lycopene, which tomatoes contain a significant amount of, has been shown in epidemiological & animal studies to lower the risk of certain types of cancer (source).
  • Shannon makes the best tomato dish EVA! –  Some may say this is an opinion, but if you’ve had Shannon’s Saucy Tomato Eggs, you would know it’s a fact. Do yourself a favor and click here to check out the recipe.

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Hopefully the wizards at WordPress can work some magic and recover the previous blog. If they do, I’ll update this one with any additional info.

In the meantime, please feel free to send us your favorite tomato recipes. Doesn’t matter if you like’em raw, stewed or smashed into a paste, send those recipes to us at elementaltampa@gmail.com. You can also send us pics of your go-to tomato dishes on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter).  Shannon and I will pick the most tasty looking one and repost it on all our channels.

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What’s on the Menu – Get’em while their fresh

Today’s menu spotlight is asparagus, which is why I want to address the stinky elephant in the room right off the bat. Yes, most people experience some unpleasant odors when they visit the restroom after eating asparagus. The reason why is a chemical contained exclusively in asparagus known as asparagusic acid.

Clever name right?

When digested, this chemical produces foul-smelling sulfur-containing compounds. As unpleasant as this olfactory side effect may be, it pales in comparison to the health benefits eating asparagus can provide (source).

Asparagus is full of healthy micronutrients but the one that is most prominent is vitamin K. One cup of asparagus contains over 100% of our daily value (DV) for vitamin K. This vitamin is essentially necessary for blood clotting. Studies have also found that the vitamin K in asparagus could help increase bone density, while decrease fracture rates among individuals with osteoporosis (source). The health benefits of vitamin K are extremely important, but asparagus contains a large amount of a another nutrient that I’m much more interested in, especially at this point in my life.

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The day this blog is posted, my wife Shannon will be 27 weeks pregnant. Anyone that has gone through this process knows that proper nutrition is a HUGE part of a healthy pregnancy. One component of pregnancy nutrition is making sure the woman receives an adequate amount of certain nutrients. Folate happens to be one of those nutrients and asparagus contains over 60% of our DV per cup. Folate aids in several functions critical to a developing fetus like preventing neural-tube defects, red blood cell formation and DNA construction (source).

Which is why it’s safe to assume that I’ve been essentially force feeding Shannon anything high in folate over the last six months. We’ll have to cross asparagus off that list soon because its peak growing season has nearly ended and freshness definitely affects the plant’s nutrient density.

Asparagus is a spring time crop. Yes you can buy canned and frozen asparagus year round, but the plant’s biology drastically reduces its available nutrients once it’s harvested. You may not know this but plants don’t instantly “die” once they’re picked. Metabolic functions continue to occur and in asparagus, these functions occur at a very rapid rate. In fact, asparagus’ post harvest “metabolism” is approximately 5 times greater than onions and potatoes stored at room temperature. This fact is why the George Mateljan Foundation recommends eating asparagus within 48 hours of purchasing (source).

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Hopefully this post inspires you to grab some fresh asparagus if you see it at the grocery store or farmer’s market this weekend. It may be your last opportunity! If you do grab an asparagus bunch during your next shopping trip, please let us know. Feel free to snap a pic and tweet it to us or post it on our Facebook page (FacebookInstagram or Twitter). We want to know if you were able to enjoy fresh asparagus before the season ends this year.

In addition to your asparagus pics, you can also contact us at elementaltampa@gmail.com to take advantage of the complimentary fitness consultations we’re currently offering. Whether you need advice on nutrition or just want workout tips, I’d be happy to set up an appointment with you to discuss how you can improve your fitness.

What’s on the Menu – Office Friendly Seafood Snack

I claimed in the title, and on Instagram, that this week’s menu spotlight can be an exception to the “no fish” rule that most office lunchrooms advertise. I make that claim for two reasons: smoked salmon does not have to be warmed up in the microwave to be enjoyed and I’ve never worked in an office before. Which is why you should take my office friendly claim for smoked salmon with certain level of skepticism.

One thing I can tell you with the utmost certainty is that smoked salmon is a FANTASTIC healthy snack food. Two ounces of wild caught sockeye smoked salmon from Trader Joe’s contains 6g of fat, 12g of protein and zero carbs. I always harp on the fact that you should try to eat foods that provide a significant amount of protein and/or fat because they’ll keep you fuller longer, which will prevent you from forging for snacks during the day. Not only does smoked salmon provide both those macronutrients, but the fat contained in smoked salmon is not only healthy, it’s essential.

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This bear knows whats up

Essential nutrients are nutrients that are body is incapable of producing on its own, which means we must obtain them through diet or supplementation. One such essential nutrient that all types of salmon (fresh, smoked, canned, etc.) is high in is omega 3 fatty acids. Research has shown that consuming omega 3 fatty acids on regular basis has been linked to decreased inflammation, lowered blood pressure and improved function of the cells that line your arteries (source). These benefits are uber important since according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the leading cause of death worldwide for last 15 years has been heart disease. Can you see why I’m such a fan?!

Let’s review: Salmon, specifically smoked salmon, doesn’t have a pungent fishy smell, IMO; it contains a significant amount of protein, which will help prevent additional snacking; it contains omega 3 fatty acids, which can help you avoid the #1 leading cause of death worldwide! The only problem I see is that a 4 oz package cost almost $9. But honestly, it’s a fair price to pay for a food that is packed with life saving nutrients.

I can eat it straight from the package but I know lots of people love adding some cream cheese and capers (yes, I purposely left out the bagel). Let us know how you enjoy your smoked salmon. We’d also love know what “nutritional powerhouse” foods you snack on. Leave your feedback in the comment section below and hit us up at elementaltampa@gmail.com.

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