top 10 Gut-nourishing foods

Top 10 Gut-Nourishing Foods

The holidays are around the corner. This means that you will be tempted with all kinds of unhealthy treats and comfort foods that may lead to gut inflammation. The good news is that it is possible to eat delicious food while following a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, and gut-protecting diet rich in gut-nourishing foods.

Your gut health matters. A healthy microbiome and well-functioning gut are absolutely essential for optimal digestion, absorption of nutrients, elimination of toxins, and your overall health. A compromised gut flora may lead to leaky gut syndrome, an underlying cause of many digestive issues and other health complaints, including chronic pain, fatigue, and autoimmune diseases.

Take control of your health and nourish your body with gut-friendly foods that promote well-being. Learn about the best gut-health foods and incorporate them into your diet today.

Top 10 Gut-Nourishing Foods

10 Gut-Nourishing Foods

Sauerkrauts

Sauerkrauts mean sour white cabbage in German. They are incredibly common in Germany, my motherland, Russia, and other parts of Eastern-Europe. They are fermented cabbage that serves as fantastic gut-health food. Sauerkrauts are not only rich in fiber but provide they are loaded with good bacteria. They help a healthy gut microbiome balance, promote smooth digestion, and help to prevent the leaky gut syndrome.

You can find sauerkrauts at your local health food stores, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets. You may even make it yourself. I recommend that you also try another powerful gut-friendly food, kimchi, a Korean version of sauerkrauts.

I like to get sauerkrauts in the local store, like Zabar or Fairway, sprinkle it with high-quality olive oil, shred some fresh carrots, chop some red onion and sprinkle with fennel. Takes 5 minutes to prepare and what a great salad to increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables! Bon Appetit!

Yogurt

Speaking of fermented foods, yogurt is another fantastic gut-nourishing food. It is made with fermented milk and is incredibly rich in probiotics. It helps to balance your gut flora, reduce digestive distress, and prevent leaky gut syndrome. If you like yogurt, I also recommend it’s close cousin, kefir, another gut-health food made with fermented milk with similar gut health benefits.

You may find yogurt and kefir at any grocery store. Make sure to buy organic and avoid added sugar and artificial ingredients. If you are intolerant to dairy or avoid dairy for other reasons, you may find dairy-free yogurt and kefir options made from coconut milk or nut milk. These dairy-free options are also fantastic gut-friendly foods. Trader Joy sells delicious cashew nuts kefir, it is delicious and what a great alternative to dairy!

Dandelion Greens

You may remember waving dandelion crowns as a kid. As an adult, you can use green leaves as a gut-health food that grows everywhere in the spring. Yes, the dandelions in your backyard are gut-nourishing free food. Dandelion greens may help to improve gastric motility relaxing the muscles between your stomach and small intestines. It is a powerful cholegogic (stimulates bile production and drainage). As a result, this ubiquitous plant will improve your digestion and prevent leaky gut syndrome. Dandelions may reduce inflammation balance your blood sugar, and lower blood pressure.

Dandelions are versatile and nutritious. You can eat their stems, roots, and flowers. They serve as a beautiful garnish on your salads and dishes and make gut-nourishing tea.

Recipe: Saute green leaves of dandelion in olive oil with onion and garlic. What a great garnish! Remember, more bitter is better for your digestion!

Asparagus

When you think of asparagus, the first thing that comes to mind is that they make your pee smell funny. While it’s true, asparagus is excellent gut-friendly food. Asparagus is a gut-nourishing food that may reduce inflammation, pain, and disease in your gut and body. It may improve nutrient absorption. Asparagus is a fantastic prebiotic food that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut and prevent intestinal dysbiosis.

You may enjoy asparagus steamed, grilled, roasted, sauteed, and baked. It makes an excellent side dish and is fantastic in soups, salads, and baked vegetable dishes.

Jerusalem Artichokes

Don’t confuse Jerusalem artichokes with globe artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes are actually related to sunflowers. They are delicious tubers that are one of the best gut-nourishing foods. They are rich in fiber and promote the absorption of nutrients. They may help to keep your microbiome balanced and gut inflammation levels low. Jerusalem artichokes may also prevent diarrhea, constipation, and leaky gut syndrome.

You may find Jerusalem artichokes in the produce aisle and try them instead of potatoes next time. You may steam, boil, bake, or saute them, or even eat them raw (shredded) in a salad.

Onions

Onions are one of the best gut-nourishing foods. They are rich in prebiotics that supports your healthy digestion. They also contain flavonoids and antioxidants, including quercetin that fight free-radical damage. Besides boosting your gut health, they are beneficial for your immune system and heart health.

You may enjoy onions raw or cooked. They add a delicious flavor to most soups, salads, stir-fries, baked vegetables, and other main dishes.

Garlic

When talking about the best gut-nourishing foods, you cannot forget about garlic. As fantastic prebiotics, they have similar benefits as onions do. They are rich in manganese, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6. It has a significant antibacterial effect and also works against parasites and fungi, like candida. I use garlic in tablets (Garlic Forte by MediHerbs) as part of the gut flora restoration protocol. If you choose to do raw garlic, then one clove twice a day will give you close to a therapeutic dose.

Garlic is the most nourishing when eaten raw, however, you can enjoy its gut-health food properties when it’s cooked as well. If you choose to cook garlic, first crush or chop it and allow it to sit for 10 – 15 minutes to activate its beneficial gut-healthy enzymes before cooking. You may add garlic to your soups, salads, and favorite dishes.

Seaweed

Seaweed is also referred to as a sea vegetable. It is a form of algae that I recommend you to try as a gut-nourishing food. Seaweed is incredibly rich in antioxidants and fiber. It may help gut flora balance, promote gut health, and aid digestion. Seaweed is full of polysaccharides that help the production of short-chain fatty acids that protect and feeds your gut cell lining.

Add seaweed flakes to your salads and meals. Try nori snack as a crunchy treat. Be adventurous and enjoy a seaweed salad.

Pineapples

Pineapple is a delicious tropical fruit that is also powerful gut-nourishing food. They are rich in bromelain, an enzyme that helps your digestive system by breaking down protein from large food molecules into smaller, more digestible peptides. Bromelain in pineapples, if eaten on an empty stomach, also helps to reduce pain and inflammation, including gut inflammation. As a result, it may help to promote a healthy gut lining and prevent the leaky gut syndrome.

You can find pineapples at any grocery store or health food store. You can eat it as it is, or as part of a fruit salad, salad, vegetable stir-fry, or pineapple salsa. Make sure to eat it fresh and avoid canned pineapples that are full of added sugar.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is one of the best gut nourishing foods. It is a nutritious clear liquid made from brewed bones and connective tissue. It is a fantastic source of collagen, glutamine, and amino acids that may help to reduce gut inflammation, maintain a healthy gut lining and prevent the leaky gut syndrome. Besides being a delicious gut-friendly food, bone broth may also support your metabolism, joints, and immune system.

You can make your own bone broth from organic, free-range poultry, pasture-raised beef, and wild-caught fish bones. You may also find organic bone broth at your local health food stores. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you may substitute bone broth for a vegetable broth. While vegetable broth doesn’t have collagen, it is still a gut nourishing food. However, bone broth is a high histamine food, so some people may not tolerate it well. If you are one of them please consult with your functional medicine practitioner and get tested.

Conclusion

If you are experiencing digestive troubles or suspect that the root cause of your health issues is your gut health, as a functional medicine practitioner, I am happy to help. Together, we can identify and address the root cause of your health complaints. With the help of a personalized treatment plan along with some gut-nourishing foods, I can help you to repair your body, and regain your health and well-being.

If you would like to get more information about my integrative and functional medicine services or to schedule a functional medicine consultation, please call my office at 212-696-4325.

In the meantime, share this article with your friends and family to help them regain their health with the power of gut-nourishing foods and holistic medicine.


References:

Eggplant: the Good and the Bad

Eggplant: the Good and the Bad

A favorite in vegan and omnivore cuisine, eggplant, can be baked, roasted, grilled, and used as a pizza topping or in stir-fry recipes. It has a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture that may vary depending on the color/variety of eggplant selected. Dress your cooked eggplant with herbs, sauces, and condiments and you’ll be sure to please even the pickiest guest at your dinner table.

Like everything else in life, eggplant comes with the good and the bad.

It is a member of the nightshade family of vegetables along with tomatoes, potatoes, and all types of peppers and even some fruit.

GOOD. Eggplant contains a phytonutrient (plant chemical with nutritional benefits) and antioxidants, protecting from cells damage, supporting brain and heart health and a great source of fiber, copper, potassium and B vitamins.

BAD. Eggplant contains cholinesterase that blocks anti-inflammatory substances in the body and therefore promotes INFLAMMATION.

The amount of these substances may vary but usually small and good often negate the bad, however some patient may be very sensitive to those substances.

Especially people with high pre-existing level of inflammation will respond with more symptoms, usually pain, after eating eggplant and other nightshades (potato, peppers, etc). That is why we ask our patients to avoid those vegetables for 4-6 weeks during the elimination food plan. Upon reintroduction of these foods, some people will report increase in symptoms, usually inflammatory joint pain (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) and some gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, etc.).

The bottom line, if the level of inflammation in the body is low, one can enjoy eggplant and nightshades in moderation. But if you suffer from any chronic inflammatory conditions you might consider limiting your consumption of eggplant until the causes of inflammation resolved.

In our functional medicine practice, Dr.Klimenko and entire team of Healthy Wealthy & Wise Medical, P.C. will help you to understand which foods are best for you and why. Call our office 212-696-HEAL if you want to receive a medical consultation and guidance on how to improve your health.

For those who can and love to eat eggplant, enjoy this recipe.

Eggplant Caponata

Satisfying and versatile, eggplant can handle a variety of flavorful accompaniments, several of which give a kick to this Sicilian favorite. The tomato base is spiked with anchovies, garlic, and capers, creating a mouth-watering aroma and a burst of flavor in every bite. Serve as an appetizer, a main dish or as a side with your favorite fish.

Makes 4-6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large Italian eggplants, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • 2 Tbs kosher salt
  • 5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 anchovies, in oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup capers, in brine

Preparation:

  1. Peel and dice the eggplants, peel and slice the onion, peel and slice the garlic, slice the celery.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with the salt. Transfer the eggplant to a colander to drain for 2 hours. In order to facilitate the draining, top the eggplant with a heavy weight, such as a dinner plate topped with full cans.
  3. Heat 3 Tbs of the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and celery and sauté for 5 minutes more, or until the garlic softens but does not brown. Add the anchovies and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir to thoroughly combine. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the paste turns a deep red, almost brown, and starts to stick to the pan. Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  5. In another large sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the eggplant and carefully toss it in the oil, letting it sear before stirring. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is translucent and soft.
  6. Transfer the eggplant to the caponata mixture and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, until the flavors combine. Add the capers and their brine and stir to incorporate.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature accompanied by toast points or crostini.
References
  • Worlds Healthiest Foods. “Eggplant” Accessed on 4 July 2016: http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=22
  • Whitaker, B.D., Stommel, J.R. “Distribution of hydroxycinnamic acid conjugates in fruit of commercial eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) cultivars.” J Agric Food Chem. (May 2003) 51(11): 3448-54. Accessed on 5 July 2016: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf026250b
  • Murray, Michael T., Pizzorno, J. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods (2005). Atria. Excerpt on eggplant available at: https://doctormurray.com/healing-facts-eggplant/
  • Das, S. et al., “Cardioprotective properties of raw and cooked eggplant (Solanum melongena L).” Food Funct. (2011) 2, p. 395-399. DOI: 10.1039/C1FO10048C. Accessed 5 July 2016: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2011/FO/c1fo10048c#!divAbstract
  • EatingWell.com. “10 Healthy Eggplant Recipes.” Accessed 5 July 2016. http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_eggplant_recipes

Food & You: The Body-Mind Connection

“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.” – Dorothy Day

There’s no doubt about it: what we eat, and how much we eat, has a direct impact on our physical health. But did you know that those same choices also influence mood, mental alertness, memory, and emotional wellbeing? Food can act as medicine, have a neutral effect, or it can be a poison to the body and mind.

When food acts as poison, it creates inflammation, which alters the body’s balance of nutrients, hormones, and neurotransmitters. This directly affects your body’s ability to manage and heal from stress or illness.

While some body-mind effects are due to naturally occurring nutrient content in food, much is due to hidden additives. Below, are four common culprits. If you’re experiencing symptoms that interfere with your quality of living, talk with your holistic health practitioner about the role these or other foods may play in your health.

Foods that Impact Body-Mind Well being Caffeine:

The most socially accepted psychoactive substance in the world, caffeine is used to boost alertness, enhance performance, and even treat apnea in premature infants. Caffeine is frequently added to other foods, so be mindful of total consumption. Too much caffeine (500-600 mg daily) interferes with sleep quality which affects energy, concentration, and memory. It can aggravate other health conditions, cause digestive disturbances, and worsen menstrual symptoms and anxiety.

Food Dye:

The brightly colored, processed and packaged foods we buy come with a rainbow of health risks. Listed on ingredient labels as “Blue 2,” or “Citrus Red,” food dye has been documented to contain cancer-causing agents (e.g., benzidine). They’re also associated with allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. Dyes are sometimes used to enhance skin color of fruits and veggies, but not in organic produce. A number of dyes have been banned from use in foods and cosmetics around the world.

Sugars:

Increased sugar consumption (as much as 30% over the last three decades for American adults), is linked to decreased intake of essential nutrients and associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammatory disease, joint pain and even schizophrenia. Too much dietary sugar can result in blood sugar fluctuations, causing mood swings, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and increased depression. Sugars that can act as poison include High Fructose Corn Syrup, table sugar, artificial and “natural” sweeteners.

MSG:

Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer common in packaged and prepared foods. Although the FDA considers MSG “generally safe,” some individuals experience a complex of physical and mental symptoms after eating MSG-containing foods. Symptoms vary but can include headache, sweating, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, and overstimulation of the central nervous system which can lead to alterations in sleep, mood, and immunity.

Becoming aware of your food choices, why you make them, and how you feel mentally and physically is important. It is the first step in understanding your personal body-mind food connection. Your integrative or functional medicine practitioner may ask you to keep a mind-body food journal to provide a clear picture of how your food choices affect your health.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition. In her practice, she uses lifestyle modification, herbal and food based supplements to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

The Fig: Sweet. Succulent. Sensual.

The Fig: Sweet. Succulent. Sensual.

One of the “Seven Spices of Israel” and referenced in many religious texts as a sacred fruit, the fig (Angeer), is rich in nutrition and history. For centuries, figs have been referenced in mythology and traditional medicine as a powerful sexual supplement. While they have yet to be adequately studied as an aphrodisiac in humans, some animal studies show figs can increase sperm count and motility. The health benefits of figs are far ranging. They are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, and the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E.

The fig offers a unique combination of textures – chewy flesh, smooth skin, and crunchy seeds. California figs are typically harvested June through September. European varieties are available into the fall months. The majority of figs are dried fruits that can be enjoyed anytime of the year.

When selecting dried figs, they should be plump and soft. They will keep for long periods in a cool, dry place. When choosing fresh figs, which are beautifully delicate, select those with deep color, little bruising and sweet fragrance. Keep them in the fridge and plan to eat them in one or two days; don’t wash until ready to eat. If figs are not yet ripe, keep them at room temperature to ripen.

Figs can add a sweet sensation to just about any dish. But the high fiber can produce a laxative effect, so don’t over do it.

Roasted Fig and Goat Cheese

You and your partner will swoon over the delectable combination of sweet, ripe fig filled with creamy goat cheese and drizzled with tangy balsamic and honey. All natural and gluten free, perfect for a romantic appetizer or healthy snacking after a little love in the afternoon!

Ingredients

  • 12 Black Mission figs, halved vertically
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbs honey
  • 2-3 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. While the oven preheats, melt the butter in a small saucepan, along with the balsamic vinegar, honey, and a hefty pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  3. Place the figs, cut side up, in a baking dish the size of a pie pan. Top each fig half with a 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of goat cheese. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar syrup over the figs.
  4. Roast in the oven until very soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with flaky salt.

 

Call our office 212-696-HEAL if you want to receive a medical consultation and guidance how to improve your health. Here, at Healthy Wealthy & Wise Medical, P.C. we evaluate our patients through holistic and functional medicine understanding of health and balance of vital organs and system and prescribe a comprehensive treatment plan.

 

References

  • Patil, V. & Patil, V.R., “Ficas carica: An Overview.” Research Jl. of Medicinal Plants. (2011) 5:3, 246-253. Accessed on 10 June 2016: http://docsdrive.com/pdfs/academicjournals/rjmp/2011/246-253.pdf
  • California Rare Fruit Growers. Accessed on 10 June 2016: https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/fig.html
  • The World’s Healthiest Foods. Accessed on 10 June 2016: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=24#nutritionalprofile
  • Organic Facts. “Health Benefits of Fig.” Accessed on 10 June 2016: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-figs-or-anjeer.html *Has a terrific chart How to Stay Healthy on Figs that is downloadable.
  • Naghdi M., Maghbool M., et al. “Effects of Common Fig (Ficus carica) Leaf Extracts on Sperm Parameters and Testis of Mice Intoxicated with Formaldehyde.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, (2016) doi:10.1155/2016/2539127. Accessed 10 June 2016: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4745414/
  • http://www.popsugar.com/food/Easy-Roasted-Fig-Goat-Cheese-Recipe-9205886
Avocado Chocolate Mousse Recipe (gluten and dairy free!)

Avocado Chocolate Mousse Recipe (gluten and dairy free!)

There are so many reasons – and so many ways – to love avocado. A culinary superfood, avocados provide up to 20 nutrients including vitamins K, C and E, as well as folate, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. In fact, they actually have more potassium than bananas.

Unlike most fruits, avocado is low in carbohydrates and high in a healthy fat called oleic acid. Like olive oil, oleic acid has been linked to health benefits such as reducing inflammation, protecting cells against cancer, and reducing cholesterol. This amazing fruit also improves digestive health and helps your body absorb other nutrients.

There are limitless ways to add avocado to snacks or meals: Use avocado as a healthy spread on toast; blend it into scrambled eggs; add it to dips, salsa, or soup; slice for a salad topping.

Avocado is optimally ripe when the fruit is mildly soft to touch. Its flesh should be creamy and green-gold in color. If you don’t use the whole fruit at one time, keep leftover avocado fresh by leaving the pit in the unused portion and allow it to sit, uncovered, on a counter for a few hours before placing it in the fridge (still uncovered) for up to two days. When you want to use the other half, simply peel off the brown crust to reveal a soft and deliciously ripe avocado beneath.

Vegan Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Want to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding inches to your waistline? This rich, creamy avocado mousse is about as close as you’ll get to a truly healthy chocolate treat. Serves 1.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, skin and pit removed, mash slightly with a fork
  • 3 1/2 Tbs unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs RAW honey
  • Unsweetened almond, coconut or hemp milk

Preparation:

  1. Place avocado and cocoa powder in food processor. Add honey.
  2. Process avocado, cocoa powder and honey for approximately 1 min, pausing to scrape the sides, or until a thick, smooth mousse forms.
  3. Add milk as needed to bring to desired consistency.
  4. Spoon mousse into a small bowl; top with almonds or fresh fruit.

 

Call our office 212-696-HEAL if you want to receive a medical consultation and guidance how to improve your health. Here, at Healthy Wealthy & Wise Medical, P.C. we evaluate our patients through holistic and functional medicine understanding of health and balance of vital organs and system. As a result we rescribe a comprehensive treatment plan.

References
  • Dreher, Mark L., and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 53.7 (2013): 738-750. PMC. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
  • WorldsHealthiestFoods.com. “What’s New and Beneficial About Avocados?” http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5 Accessed on March 29, 2016
  • AuthorityNutrition.com “Avocado 101” https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/avocado/ Accessed on March 29, 2016
  • “12 Proven Benefits of Avocado” https://authoritynutrition.com/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado/
  • Ding H, Chin YW, Kinghorn AD, et al. “Chemopreventive characteristics of avocado fruit. Semin Cancer Biol.” (2007 May 17). Accessed on March 29, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17582784
Flaxseed Nutrients (And A Tasty Flaxseed Muffin Recipe!)

Flaxseed Nutrients (And A Tasty Flaxseed Muffin Recipe!)

While research results are mixed around flaxseed and its ability to reduce menopausal symptoms, there are enough positive findings to support use of this nutrient-rich herb. For many women it has made the difference between comfort and discomfort when it comes to reduction of hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings). Here are three nutrients unique to flaxseed, all of which play a role in supporting good health.

 

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: beneficial for preventing or treating certain health conditions, including heart disease and depression.

 

2. Mucilage: refers to water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that can provide special support to the intestinal tract. This makes flaxseed an excellent support to digestion and relief of constipation.

 

3. Lignans: provides fiber-related polyphenols that have two important health benefits. They provide antioxidants, which help prevent damage to other cells in the body and are associated with preventing disease. Additionally, polyphenols in lignans influence hormone metabolism.

 

Purchasing and Storing Flax

Raw flaxseed ranges in color from amber/gold to tan/brown. White or green flaxseed has been harvested before full maturity; black flaxseeds were likely harvested after full maturity. To reap the full health benefits, select the amber or brown variety. If possible, purchase the whole seed in bulk, store in the freezer and grind only the amount needed for immediate use. Flaxseed can be ground, sprinkled on cereal, added to baking mixes and used as a thickening agent in many recipes.

 

Gluten-free Flaxseed Apple Muffins

Whether you’re serving breakfast on the deck or packing a picnic lunch, these muffins add a perfect combination of sweetness and nutrition to your meal. Enjoy them plain or topped with preserves.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 medium apples
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/2 cups flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole flaxseeds

Makes 6 muffins.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a six-muffin tin with large paper cups and set aside. Peel and puree the apples in a blender or food processor. Set aside (mixture will turn brown).

In a large bowl, mix flour, flaxseed meal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well, and slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring. When wet and dry ingredients are combined, add the apple puree; stir to combine.

Using a measuring cup or scoop, evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups. (fill nearly all the way to the top; because these are gluten-free, they won’t rise very much.) Sprinkle flax seeds on top of each muffin. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 5 to 10 minutes.

Muffins will keep in an airtight container for 3 days.

 

References
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)
  • WorldsHealthiestFoods.com “What’s New and Beneficial About Flaxseed?” Accessed on March 23, 2016. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81
  • University of Maryland Medical Center Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. “Menopause” Accessed on March 23, 2016. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/menopause
  • Goyal, A., et al., “Flax and Flaxseed Oil: An Ancient Medicine & Modern Functional Food.” Journal of Food Science and Technology 51.9 (2014): 1633–1653. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152533/
  • Peterson, J., et al., “Dietary Lignans: Physiology and Potential for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction.” Nutrition reviews 68.10 (2010): 571–603. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951311/
  • Poluzzi, E.,et al., “Phytoestrogens in Postmenopause: The State of the Art from a Chemical, Pharmacological and Regulatory Perspective.” Current Medicinal Chemistry 21.4 (2014): 417–436. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3963458/
  • Ewies, AA. “Phytoestrogens in the Management of Menopause: up-to-date.” Obstet Gynecol Surv (2002, May). 57(5): pp 306-13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11997677
  • Dew, T.P., et al., “Controlled Flax Interventions for the Improvement of Menopausal Symptoms and Postmenopausal Bone Health.” Menopause. (2013) 20:11, pp. 1207-1215. Accessed on March 23, 2016.
  • Botanical-online.com “Mucilage Properties” Accessed on March 24, 2016. http://www.botanical-online.com/english/mucilage.htm
Gluten-free Flaxseed Apple Muffins
Adapted from: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/gluten-free-flax-seed-muffins
Go Wild with Dandelion Greens

Go Wild with Dandelion Greens

You might not want dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) grow across your lawn, but you definitely want to make them a part your healthy diet. For centuries, the sunny yellow dandelion, its greens and roots, has been embraced across cultures for its culinary and medicinal uses.

Dandelion roots contain several compounds beneficial to health, one of which is bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion. The leaves are rich in potassium, antioxidants such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and several B vitamins.

Dandelion helps filter waste products from the blood by the liver. In many cultures it has been used as a liver tonic, diuretic, and digestive aid. Herbalists have used dandelion to treat jaundice, cirrhosis and liver dysfunction. Some research suggests dandelion may even strengthen liver and gallbladder function.

All parts of the dandelion are edible. The bittersweet roots may be eaten raw, steamed or dried, roasted and ground for a coffee substitute. The flowers are commonly used to make wine and jam. Dandelion greens can be eaten steamed, boiled, sautéed, braised or raw in salads.

Try adding dandelion greens to:

  • quiche, omelette
  • pesto
  • sauce such as garlic & olive oil
  • dips
  • seafood soup
  • sautéed vegetables
  • to replace some of the kale in a green smoothie
  • stuffing

Dandelion packs as much power in its flavor as it does in its nutrition. It can quickly overpower more delicate herbs and flavors; a little goes a long way.

When harvesting dandelion, especially for salad, take greens from young and tender plants, before the first flower emerges. Greens from older plants will be larger, but also tougher and bitterer. Older leaves are more suited for cooking. At the grocery store, look for organic dandelion with vibrant green color.

Dandelion Salad Recipe with Fresh Goat Cheese & Apples

Dandelion greens pack a nutritional punch. Serve them raw in this salad recipe with fresh goat cheese and apples for added flavor. If you don’t have apples in season, or stored, substitute any firm fruit that’s in season. You can embellish this salad with the colors of the season by sprinkling in any of our ‘SuperSalad Substitutions’ listed below.

Ingredients

  • 2 T. cider vinegar
  • 3 T. vegetable or nut oil
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • 1 t. honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens, washed and dried, stems removed
  • 1/4 lb fresh white goat cheese, crumbled
References
Go Wild with Dandelion Greens
  • Herb Wisdom.com. Benefits of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Accessed on Jan. 4, 2016. http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-dandelion.html
  • University of Maryland Medical Center, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Database. “Dandelion”. Accessed on January 4, 2016. https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion
  • Self-Nutrition Data.com. Raw Dandelion Greens- Nutrition Facts. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2441/2
  • Whole Foods Market.com Dandelion Greens-No Common Weed! Accessed on January 4, 2016: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/whole-story/dandelion-greens-%E2%80%93-no-common-weed
  • González-Castejón, M., Visioli, F. & Rodriguez-Casado, A. “Diverse biological activities of Dandelion.” Nutrition Reviews. (Sept 01, 2012), 70,9: 534-547. Oxford University Press Journals. Accessed on Jan. 4, 2016. First published online: 1 September 2012.
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00509.x
Dandelion Salad Recipe with Fresh Goat Cheese & Apples
  • Recipe Adapted from Mother Earth News. Roger Doiron (April/May 2008) http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/dandelion-salad-recipe-zmaz08amzmcc.aspx