Benefits of Beets

* By Susan Conley, creator of cookthestone.com 

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet.

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet.

Beets won’t exactly be the first thing that comes to your mind when asked about favorite vegetables. This root vegetable may not be as well-known as carrot or squash, but only a few veggies can match up with its nutritional value.

Health benefits of beets

  1. Control blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease like stroke, heart failure, and heart attacks. Heart disease also happens to be one of the top causes of death today.

Eating beets can improve your blood pressure. Experts say this is due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets, which our bodies convert to the compound nitric oxide that relaxes and dilates the blood vessels. When this happens, the blood vessels promote improved blood circulation and consequently lower blood pressure.

There have been numerous studies backing up this claim. Some studies have also indicated that beets can lower blood pressure by as much as 10 mmHg a few hours after consumption. The positive effect on blood pressure is stronger when raw beets are eaten.

  1. Improve digestion

Like most vegetables, beets are rich in dietary fiber which has been linked to numerous health benefits such as improved digestion.

Did you know that a cup of beetroot already has 3.4 grams of fiber? That’s about 20 percent of the recommended daily value for dietary fiber!

Fiber can promote digestive health by bypassing digestion and heading straight to the colon, where it can add bulk to stool or feed gut-friendly bacteria. By getting more fiber out of your foods, you can regularly eliminate waste and lower your risks of digestive problems like constipation and inflammatory bowel disease.

Plus, fiber can also lower your risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

  1. Enhance your stamina

While eating beets won’t really make you into a world-class athlete, regular consumption of this root vegetable can improve your stamina and enhance your athletic performance.

This wonderful benefit of beets is believed to come from the high nitrate contents of beets. Nitrates have been associated with enhanced efficiency of mitochondria which produces energy in the cells. Numerous studies have also backed up these claims, and many elite athletes are known to incorporate beets into their diets.

One study conducted and published in 2009 showed that cyclists who drank beet juice were able to pedal up to 15 percent longer. The author of the said study says eating 3-5 beets at least two hours before an event can give an individual a boost in performance.

  1. Enhance your brain’s performance

Eating beets can make your brain work better. I suggest you eat beets before taking an exam as it could enhance cognitive function.

Again, the nitrates found in beets are responsible for this wonderful benefit. By relaxing and dilating the blood vessels, nitrates can promote increased blood flow to the brain which could lead to improved brain function.

This effect is particularly critical for senior adults because studies have shown that the body’s capacity to generate nitric oxide decreases with age.

In one study conducted in 2010, 14 participants with an average age of 74 were asked to eat a high-nitrate diet that included beet juice. They were then observed to have increased focus and attention to detail for two days afterward.

  1. Lose weight

Beets are low in calories and high in water which makes them a good food to incorporate into your weight loss diet.

But what’s intriguing is that beets also have protein and fiber despite their low-calorie content. Protein and fiber are two essential nutrients for maintaining a healthy weight.

You will also be able to lose weight when you eat more beets because the vegetable can increase the feeling of satiety and reduce your appetite.

  1. Lower your risks of cancer and other diseases

Beets contain the potent antioxidants called betalains which can lower your risks of chronic disease like cancer and heart disease. It also has betacyanin which can protect the body against carcinogens. Betacyanin is the pigment responsible for the purple hue of beets.

Conclusion

With the many health benefits of beets, we should be eating more beets as a good way to incorporate a vegetable into your diet.

There are many ways to enjoy beets. You can juice or steam it. You can also roast or pickle it. But I would suggest avoiding the boiling beets to preserve the nitrates which are water soluble. Or simply let your home blender do all the work, then you will have a perfect drink for good health after few minutes.

Besides those ideas above, there are many excellent ways to prepare beets that you can use in your daily life.

Let me know what you usually do with beets in the comment section below.

Happy cooking!

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet./>

Healthy Living and Modern Society

Healthy lifestyles should work for us, keep us fit, both body and mind, improve our health and well-being… healthy lifestyles should make us happy but how do we achieve it in modern society?

7 tips on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle in modern society. Healthy lifestyles should work for us, keep us fit, both body and mind, improve our health and well-being… healthy lifestyles should make us happy but how do we achieve it in modern society?That is the million $ question… what steps should we take to achieve healthy living?

We are all different and my happy balance will probably be different to yours but some main rules will always apply… in the end, we both want to achieve the same state of happiness, being fit, energetic and simply feeling good!

Since we left the busy life style of the city and moved to the countryside, I am more content, calm and happy… I know this change worked for me and I would never go back but lately, I find myself searching for a deeper meaning of healthy living and the different steps I can take in order to improve even more the quality of my life.

I came up with some tips, which I believe if followed should improve one’s life and put them on the path towards healthy living.

Stress Reduction

I know this is easier said than done, but it can and must be done. Try to identify what is stressing you and take steps to reduce it or preferably make it go away completely. Stress is part of life, there is no question about it but high-stress levels can be very damaging to our health especially if they accrue over a long period of time, so stress less… or at least try.

Practice “Me Time”

We all have things we love to do, things which calm us down and bring us joy. No matter how busy life gets it’s important to find the time for these activities, being a long bubble bath or a lonely walk in the woods… “me time” should never be optional… this is something which keeps us sane and can be extremely helpful when trying to achieve a healthy living state.

Good Night Sleep

Everyone knows that sleep is an essential part of life; an uninterrupted good nights’ sleep will go a long way to making our life better… make your bedroom nice and cozy, air it well, leave your phone outside the door, turn the TV off, pull the curtains too and sleep… try to leave day to day worries behind and just sleep… focus on your breathing, relax and sleep… everything will look much brighter after a good night sleep.

Stay Fit

We all need some form of exercise in our lives, walking, running, cycling or swimming, the choice is yours… but we all need it. It’s hard to know what form of exercise will suit us well, improve our well-being and bring us the most satisfaction, so you might want to consider a personal trainer for a while; trainers like Stephen Coleclough can guide us on the right track, can help to make us healthier, fitter and stronger.

Right Nutrition

This is most likely the more difficult one to achieve. Wherever you look there is a fast-food joint on every corner, shops are packed with unhealthy snacks and processed food, and we always lack time! But where there is no pain there is no gain… as they say… start from a position of smart shopping, buy raw ingredients instead of packed food, plan your meals, cook in batches when you have time so you have some healthy nutritional meal in your freezer once you don’t… swap crisps for nuts and cookies for fruit… take care of your body and in return, it will take care of you.

Right Friendships

We don’t live in a vacuum. Every day we are surrounded by 10s or 100s of people, we interact with them because we have to but what about the people we really want to spend our time with? A good, real friendship is the best cure… there really isn’t a better thing in life than having someone you can always count on. Look after those friendships, they take work too but in the end, it is worth it!

Do What You Love

Do what you want, do what makes YOU happy; after all life is short! Hate your job? Maybe it is time to quit and find something else which will give you an income? Drowning in debt? Maybe it’s time to downsize and finally put your life on the right track? Always wanted to see Paris? Why not buy the last minute ticket and go for a trip?

I know we all have our own burdens and responsibilities but at the end of the day ask yourself: Am I happy? Is this all I can expect from my life? If you are satisfied with the answer… good for you but if you are not, maybe it is time for a change… take baby steps but do something to improve the quality of your life before it’s too late.

7 tips on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle in modern society. Healthy lifestyles should work for us, keep us fit, both body and mind, improve our health and well-being… healthy lifestyles should make us happy but how do we achieve it in modern society?

“Sustainable happiness is important, because it not only elevates our own well-being locally, but also contributes to the collective global flourishing.”
Lisa Cypers Kamen,

* This is a collaborative post.

Countryside Plum Cake

Light, moist and very refreshing this countryside plum cake is the perfect treat any time of the day.

Light, moist and very refreshing this countryside plum cake is the perfect treat any time of the day.Living in the countryside and finally having our own garden and an orchard means that we get to enjoy a lot of fresh produce straight from the source. We still can’t get used to this fact; it’s so surreal sometimes… In the past things had to be planned… I couldn’t just bake a plum cake on the whim, I couldn’t mainly because I had no plums in the house… I had to drive to the supermarket and purchase some, which 99% of the time were unripe and thus still too hard to use… now, I just walk out into the garden and pick some from my tree… how cool is that?!

Anyhow, after months of baking brownies and chocolate based cakes and muffins, it was time for a change… summer has finally brought us a lot of super juicy and extremely tasty fruit, so I thought it was about time we added them to our menu.

The recipe below makes one 8 inch square tin, just like you would use to bake brownies, which is as it happens the perfect size for just the two of us, but if you have a bigger family or you are expecting some guests then simply double the volume of the ingredients and turn it into a sheet cake. Also, I should add that this cake tastes the best on the 2nd day, so make sure you bake a portion big enough to allow for plenty of next days “leftovers”.

On the first day, you have a defined cake with plums – crumbly light cake with refreshing moist plums inside. However, on the second day, the cake is becoming much moister with fruity juices spreading throughout the cake part think of it as a self-drizzling cake. Try for yourself and tell me which day you like best.

Now, let’s get baking.

Light, moist and very refreshing this countryside plum cake is the perfect treat any time of the day.

Ingredients:

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 15 large Damsons plums
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • Icing sugar – for decoration (optional)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C fan and prepare an 8-inch square tin by lining it with baking paper.

In a small saucepan over a very low heat melt the butter, once melted put aside to cool.

Wash, halve and pit the plums then put them on a large baking tray to air dry whilst you continue with the rest of the cake.

In a large mixing bowl mix together the sifted flour, both sugars, and salt.

In a separate small bowl beat the eggs, then add the vanilla essence and stir well.

Once the butter has cooled down to room temperature combine it with the eggs and mix well.

Finally, add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and with a silicon spatula mix well until combined.

Pour the mixture into the earlier prepared baking tray.

Decorate however you want with the plums, or simply place them next to each other in a grid. Whichever way you go ensure that the skin side is pointing up. When your work of art is completed just pop into the oven.

Bake at 180C for 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

Once totally cooled down, decorate with icing sugar (if using), then finally cut into portions and enjoy.

Light, moist and very refreshing this countryside plum cake is the perfect treat any time of the day. #plumcake #cake #fruitcake #baking

How to Prevent Air Pollution in Your Home

Air pollution is a really big problem all over the world. Due to industrialization, people living in big cities all around the globe may suffer from lung diseases that can be directly related to air pollution.  

Most people think that it’s only the pollution outside that is dangerous to their health. To the contrary indoor pollution can be just as dangerous; some reports even go so far as to claim that this is even more of a problem than outdoor pollution.

There are many sources of indoor air pollution, such as air fresheners, dusty furniture dust mites or just poor ventilation. If you want to make sure that your family will remain healthy, check out the following tips to reduce the levels of indoor pollution in your home.

Fill your home with many indoor plants – Sometimes synthetic cleansers can do more harm than good, therefor it would be a good idea to use natural air cleaners instead. The perfect example of these are indoor plants as they can remove harmful elements like benzene, carbon dioxide, and formaldehyde. Some plants that you can put inside your home are lady palm, rubber plant, Boston fern and peace lily. Check this article for the “Top 10 Plants for Removing Indoor Toxin” and see if any of them takes your fancy and would fit in with the aesthetics of your home.

Ban smoking inside your house – everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health. This is also true for people who inhale second-hand smoke. If you or anyone in your family is a smoker, then try your best to quit or at least do not allow smoking inside your home. When you have guests coming to your home, make it clear to all visitors that you do not allow smoking inside.

Use natural cleaning supplies – there are many cleaning supplies containing what are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause fatigue, headaches, and sinus congestion. To avoid these symptoms, make sure that you just use natural cleaning supplies. There are many simple home products that can be used instead of shop bought harsh chemicals. Ingredients like baking soda, which works well as a deodorizer and scouring agent, vinegar, which will help you disinfect things or lemon juice which is a perfect freshener.

Clean your air ducts regularly – proper ventilation is needed to make sure that the air is clean and pure. While you need to make sure that your house is properly ventilated, it’s also important that your air ducts be free from particles which may cause sickness. You can try to deep clean your house on your own or you can hire the services of a professional so that they can rid your house of indoor air pollution.

 

Most of these tips above only require a little bit of your attention, but that little attention can result in big benefits for you and your family’s health. Take time and make the effort so that you can ensure that every member of your family is as free as possible from air pollution hazards in your home in future.

 

Honey Pickled Cucumber Slices

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.The recipe below is from my Mum. She has been preserving cucumbers this way for years now and everyone who tries them always complements her on their taste. They aren’t your standard pickled cucumbers; that sharp vinegary taste is replaced with a sweeter, honey based brine, which puts a totally new spin on your pickled cucumbers… Try it and you will not be disappointed.

The batch below will allow you to make five 0.72l jars (if you pack the cucumbers pretty tight).

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.

Ingredients:

  • ~3.5kg cucumbers
  • 750ml filtered water
  • 250ml 6% vinegar
  • 150g white sugar
  • 1tbsp salt; heaped
  • 5 whole allspice or 1/4tsp if using grounded one
  • 5tbsp honey

Additional per jar:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 10 mustard seeds
  • 3 cloves whole

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.Method:

Fill a cooking pot with the water, add vinegar, sugar, salt and allspice and bring it to a boil. Make sure everything is dissolved (well all but the allspice that it). Put aside to cool, then add the honey and stir well till dissolved.

Wash your cucumbers and slice them into about 1cm thick slices. Too thin slices will make the final pickled pieces to soft and wobbly 🙂

Now, it’s time to pack the cucumber slices into the clean jars… pack them tightly, the tighter the better.

Once the cucumbers are packed in, add garlic, mustard seeds and cloves, and finally slowly pour the earlier prepared brine into the jars until they are full. Put the lids on and close tightly.

Take a large cooking pot and test to see how many jars you can fit comfortably inside, you may need to do the cook in batches. Remove the jars and add a wet folded kitchen cloth to the bottom of the pan, return the jars to the pot making sure none of the jars touch the bottom and the side of the pot directly. Fill with cold water until the jars are covered to ¾ of the jar height and bring to a boil, once boiling cook for 5 minutes. Do not over boil them… the longer you boil them the softer the final slices will be we are after a pasteurising effect here to kill off any bacteria not to actually cook them.

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.Whilst they are happily bubbling away, somewhere on the worktop make a temporary resting den for the jars… they will have to stay there for about 24h. Place a thick towel or two on the worktop. When the five minutes of boiling are up, using thick kitchen gloves remove the jars from the boiling water, check the lids are still tight and put to rest on the towels in an upside down position, yep stand them on their lids. Once all the jars are placed on the towel then cover with a few more towels or even a blanket and let them stay like this until the next day.

Move to their long term storage place and enjoy as and when needed.

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.