Cooking Shows

Leafy Recipes Series: Mysterious Mustard Greens for Better Health!

Hello and welcome to today’s edition of Cooking with Fey! After surviving yet another round of snow in my area, I’m officially dreaming of warmer days and some summer sun. To help ease my imagination into warmer daydreams, let’s explore the mysterious leafy green called Mustard Greens.

But I realize that you might be asking yourself, “What on earth are mustard greens?” This leafy green is a part of the mustard plant that is used commonly in Japanese and Indian cooking. Mustard greens are a part of the cruciferous family (think kale, Brussel sprouts and cabbage). Foods from the cruciferous family are amazing for digestive health and pack a punch in terms of other health benefits. Mustard greens are no different, this yummy vegetable has many health benefits to add to your diet such as: lowering cholesterol, cancer prevention, heart health, digestive tract health and they have anti-inflammatory properties.

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Mustard greens also contains these helpful nutrients:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Dietary fiber

Vitamin A is necessary for human growth and development, cell recognition, sight, proper immune system function, sexual reproduction, as well as helping the heart, lungs, and kidneys to function normally. While Vitamin A sounds like a miracle, be careful how much you take. If you ingest too much it can be harmful to the body. Most doctors recommend that adult men consume 900 mcg per day, and women take 700 mcg per day to stay within healthy levels.

As you may know, mustard greens is a fantastic source of Vitamin C, which is an important nutrient linked to immune system health. Having a strong immune system helps the body ward off illness or recover faster from sickness. Which is especially important now that cold weather seems to be here to stay for most parts of America.

Vitamin C is also great for the heart. In a research study published by the Harvard School of Public Health, the diets of 126,399 adults were examined over the course of many years to reveal that for every serving of fruits and vegetables a person consumed, there was a 4% reduction in their risk of developing coronary heart disease. The study also pointed out that leafy green vegetables, and foods high in Vitamin C, had the largest positive impact.

Other studies have found that activities such as daily walking, combined with mustard greens intake, can reduce blood pressure. So if you are concerned about your heart health talk to your doctor about adding mustard greens to your healthy lifestyle diet.

Vitamin C also increases iron absorption in the body, so if you suffer from an iron deficiency or anemia, then mustard greens might be the answer you’ve been looking for.

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Vitamin K is important to the body because it is needed for the body to product a protein called prothrombin, which allows the body to support bone metabolism and form helpful blood clots (like when you get a papercut and the blood clots to stop the bleeding, not the scary kind of blood clot). Vitamin K creates healthy, strong bones by increasing their density. Denser bones are less likely to break or sustain injury.

Vitamin E is important to protecting the bodies’ vision, reproductive organs, blood, brain and skin. Gosh, that’s quite the list of benefits from one little nutrient! Vitamin E is also a source of antioxidants. As you may remember from a previous blog on strawberries, antioxidants have been shown in studies to delay cognitive issues like memory less, fight some cancers and decrease your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes. These same antioxidants also keep our skin looking young and beautiful. Science is starting to show that consuming antioxidants can help slow the onset of wrinkles, age spots or decreased elasticity in our skin.

Science is also starting to show that diets rich in antioxidants have a positive effect on cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases. While these illnesses currently have no known cure, diets rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can lower the risk of developing these diseases later in life.

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Folate, which is one of the B vitamins, is important for tissue growth and normal cell function. Further, folate is especially important for pregnant women and our active aging populations.

Meanwhile, potassium helps the body maintain a normal blood pressure and nerve function. This means that mustard greens can help the nervous system regulate muscle movements more effectively. This is important for weightlifters such as myself, as it maximizes all that hard work we put in at the gym each week.

Calcium is the essential mineral everyone was taught as a kid would help us build strong bones. And you are right in remembering that from 3rd grade science. Calcium is vital for the health of our bones, and for slowing down bone density loss as we age. The mineral calcium also impacts the muscle that surrounds blood vessels, causing it to relax. Which is important for blood pressure and muscle contraction. Just remember, it is difficult for the body to effective absorb calcium without the presence of Vitamin D in the body, so be sure to have an adequate source of Vitamin D in your diet to maximize the effects of calcium.

Think of manganese as a superhero for our bones. This mineral helps bones grow and then maintain their density. Manganese, when combined with calcium, zinc and copper, supports bone mineral density in any age of human development. However, this is very important in our active ageing populations. As you may have heard, when we age our bones begin to lose their density. This can cause bones to become weak and break easily, so manganese is important to make sure we are ingesting enough of as we get older.

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Copper is a very vital mineral that every part of the body needs in order to function. Why, you might ask? Because copper helps our bodies make red blood cells, keep our nerve cells healthy and support our immune system. Copper also helps our body form collagen, absorb iron from the food we eat and assists in energy production. That sounds like a super important mineral to me!

Now, you may be thinking, “why on earth do I care about fiber?” But worry not, I am about to explain about the different types of fiber, and why you should care.

Soluble Fiber is like the police force of the body. This type of fiber attaches itself to cholesterol particles in the body and helps them to be removed when we visit the restroom. This is very important because it helps to reduce the body’s overall cholesterol levels, which can be a contributing factor to heart disease.

Insoluble fiber can be thought of like a massive sponge in the large intestines. This type of fiber draws in water and helps regulate the movement of food through our intestines. So if you are having problems going to the restroom, then the insoluble fiber in prunes can help.

 

RECIPES:

 

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Cooking Shows

Meal Planning for a Healthy Diet

Hello and welcome everyone to today’s blog post on eating healthy. This is a huge topic so I thought I would start off small and just touch on the topic of meal planning. Meal planning is amazing. It’s saved my butt so many times and kept me on track to meeting my fitness goals. How, you ask? Because meal planning means I have everything I am going to eat for the week mapped out and ready to go so it takes the thinking and guess work out of what I eat in a day.

Grilled Meats, Steak, Sausage, Meat, Beef, Food, Grill
My typical strategy is to make all my breakfasts and lunches on Sunday, package them in Tupperware containers, and then nab them each morning as I race out the door. Dinners I tend to cook in smaller batches that only last for two or three days.

Chicken, Raw, Oven, Food, Eat, Frisch, Cook, Garlic
Now, this might sound dreadful, but not to worry, I’m not eating the exact same thing every single day. When I cook on Sunday I make several smaller meals all at once and bake them all in the oven together or on the stove top. For example, say I got a bunch of chicken thighs on sale at the store on Sunday. I’ll take aluminum foil and put some chicken, carrots, onions and cumin in one packet and wrap it like a Christmas present. Then, I’ll take another packet of aluminum foil and place some chicken in it with asparagus, mushrooms, shallots and garlic. I’ll keep adding different veggies and spices to each packet so that I can pop all of that in the oven together and have instant meals to eat throughout the week. But did you notice how each aluminum foil packet was different? They all may contain the chicken I bought on sale, but there is enough variety in vegetables and spices to keep it interesting and so I won’t get bored eating chicken all week.

Breakfast, Oatmeal, Walnuts, Blueberries, Berry
I do something similar with breakfasts. I adore oatmeal- really, it’s my jam. So I’ll make a week’s worth of oatmeal, then add various fruits, spices or other ingredients to keep it interesting. Like this week, I added the following items to my oatmeal: cranberries (because why not), chia seeds, coconut milk, cinnamon, fresh mango, diced apple and raisins. See? Even a tiny addition can really change the flavor and texture of a dish.
However, if you’ve never done it before, here are some handy tips on how to meal plan. (I also did some digging and found an interesting read on the MyFitnessPal Blog that I’ve linked for you to read as well.)

Time, Calendar, Saturday, Weekend, Day, Days, Date
First, take stock of the upcoming week. Whip out those phones and open your calendars. What do you have going on? Are you racing from work to soccer practice with the kids? Do you have late meetings? These are things you need to take into account when meal planning. If you are running with the kids to practice directly after work, you’ll probably want to make meals that are more portable and easier to eat from the stands while the kids practice. If you’re staying late at work, does your office have a refrigerator where you can put your lunch and dinner to eat later? Nothing kills good intentions better than having to get fast food for a meal rather than eating something nutritious and homemade. Also, look to see if you’ll have time to make dinner each night, or if you need to make a large dish that will last several days (like I do).

Spices, Jar, Kitchen, Cooking, Wooden, Pepper, Glass
Next, poke around in your kitchen to see what you already have. I like saving money, so anything that I already have at home that I don’t need to buy twice is great. Try to think of meals that can incorporate what you already have to save money. Google is a great resource for finding yummy recipes using what you already have on hand. Another great thing for new cooks is that most recipes will tell you how many people the dish feeds (or how many days of leftovers you can expect), this is valuable information when planning your meals for the week.

Grocery Store, Supermarket, Vegetable, Shop, Tomato
Now it’s time to go to the store. If you don’t have a bunch of recipes memorized like I do, feel free to bring your recipe food lists with you to the store so you make sure you get everything you need for the coming week. I try to buy seasonal produce that’s on sale to further stretch my money. I do the same thing with the meat section. I head straight to the “Manager’s Sale” section and inspect the meats there for anything appealing to me. Remember those chicken thighs I was talking about earlier? I got those on sale for 50% off! The feeling of getting a pound of organic, non-GMO chicken for less than $5 is a great feeling.

Cooking, Pies, Vareniki, Pelmeni, Cook, Food, Kitchen
You’re almost done! You’ve looked at your week, taken stock of the kitchen, gathered your bounty from the store, and now you are home. So let’s get cooking. Now you just need to cook all this great food and you’ll be done. Granted, depending on your recipes this may take a bit, but your Future Self will be so grateful to Past You for being able to open the fridge and see all this amazing food sitting inside ready to be eaten.
And you’re done! Let me know what you thought about this post in the comments.

As always, please like and subscribe to this channel to stay up to date on new content, and head on over to Instagram (@fey_fitness) to give me a follow or to YouTube at Fey Fitness.

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Cheers,

Fey

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