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health benefits of food

Food Myths: Sweet Tooth Edition

With misleading labels and health halo foods around us, it’s hard to determine what is really good and bad for us. With proper research and improved FDA regulations and food labels, we can better understand the pros and cons of our favorite foods. Here are some common food myths that may or may not disappoint you.

Honey is healthier than white sugar.
People may believe that honey is healthier than sugar because it can be found in nature. However, sugar is made from sugar cane or sugar beets, which are both plants found in nature, making sugar just as “natural” as honey. In addition, both honey and sugar contain 16 calories per teaspoon. And while the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of honey have only been proven in lab studies, they have yet to be proven in the “real world.”

As with any added sugar or sweetener, they should be used sparingly. Some added sugars include brown sugar, agave, brown rice syrup, molasses, evaporated cane syrup, Demerara sugar, and date sugar.

Eating chocolate is good for your health.
The known health benefits of chocolate come from an antioxidant called flavanoids or flavanols. Unfortunately, most chocolate doesn’t contain enough of this antioxidant to be effective.

Because of the variability in processing chocolate, even 70% cacao might not be rich in flavanols. In lab studies that resulted in flavanols moderately lowering blood pressure, purified preparations were likely used.

In comparison to what we eat, people who ate a quarter pound of dark chocolate daily for three weeks only saw a minor drop in blood pressure. And at 160 calories per ounce, that equates to 640 calories per day from chocolate alone, which is about 1/3 of the RDI.

Frozen yogurt is a low-sugar choice.
While it is a lower-fat option in comparison to ice cream, frozen yogurt is not a low-sugar option. In fact, when fat content is lowered in foods, more sugar is usually added to balance the taste.

The only way to know for sure what you are getting is to read the label or access nutritional information online. Because it is perceived as healthier (thus, flavor is assumed to be compromised), consumers often overcompensate with toppings, which further adds to the sugar content.

If you decide to indulge, there are low- or no-sugar added options available for frozen yogurt.

Watermelon is loaded with sugar.
Watermelon does contain fruit sugar (fructose), however, it is nearly 92% water. While it does taste sweet, it is not loaded with sugar.

Watermelon has a glycemic index (GI) of 75 out of 100, which can be misleading. While its GI score may be high, its glycemic load (GL) is 4. While the GI measures how quickly a carbohydrate will absorb into your bloodstream, the GL takes into consideration the carbohydrates per serving size, making it a better indicator of a food’s affect on blood glucose levels. With that being said, a serving of watermelon will have little impact on your blood sugar.

As a red fruit, watermelon is loaded with lycopene, and with such high water content, is ideal for hydration. One serving (1 cup) contains:

  • 45 calories
  • 20% of daily vitamin C needs
  • 17% vitamin A

Do you have any other food myths or facts to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also find us on Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest!

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for yummy signature sandwiches, salads, and desserts made from the finest and freshest ingredients available to us. Dine in, enjoy our patio seating, or take it to go!

New Health Foods To Add To Your Diet

Have you heard about these new health trends? Listen up – you will want to take notes and heard to your local grocery store.

What? Never heard of them, you say? Well, Kalettes are the beautiful hybrid of Brussels sprouts and kale. Yes, this hybrid veggie was created by Tozer Seeds, but it is not a genetically modified product. Kalettes cook faster than Brussels sprouts, are more versatile than their parent veggies, and boast a savory, nutty flavor. Delicious served fried or raw, kalettes are so versatile that they make it easy for you to get your daily veggie serving.

Bone Broth
You’ve likely heard about the bone broth craze by now. While the proof of its benefits has yet been inconclusive, it is said that its high amounts of collagen, gelatin, protein, essential vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium can help to improve your bones, digestive and immune system, along with your hair, skin, and nails. The flavor is much like stock used for soups and sauces, and it made by simmering bones for much longer than regular broth, usually with meats and herbs added for flavoring.

Originating from North Africa and the Middle East, harissa is a spicy paste made from chili and other spices and herbs, often used to flavor soups, stews and couscous. It may also be served with meats, or as a simple dip for bread. Because of its high levels of capsaicin and other disease fighting antioxidants, harissa can be used to flavor your dishes while delivering an added health boost. It has also been said that eating spicy foods can help to temporarily boost your metabolism and combat inflammation.

The newest grain in town, hailing from the Middle East, is freekeh. Freekeh is wheat that is harvested while it is still young, green, and soft, and then sun-dried. This grain retains a firm but slightly chewy texture and is comparable to a lighter version of orzo. It also seems to pack more bang for your buck. Low in fat, plus high in protein and fiber (more so than quinoa), freekeh also contains essential nutrients and is low on the glycemic index.

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that contains high amounts of chlorophyll. In plants, chlorophyll is used during photosynthesis to convert light to energy. In humans, it’s said that chlorophyll helps your body heal faster, controls and stabilizes hunger levels and cravings, promotes healthy iron levels and helps clear out free radicals, thanks to its antioxidant content. Because of these benefits, spirulina is often taken by cancer patients going through chemotherapy.

Used in either tablet or powder form, it can be rather expensive, but a little can go a long way. Drawbacks are its distinct odor, but mixing the powder in smoothies, juices, or other meals, make it palatable.

Have you tried any of these? Which is your favorite? Any health trends we missed? Feel free to share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For healthy sandwiches and salads made from the finest and freshest ingredients, visit Your Neighborhood Deli. Save time & order online or dine in at 105 E Arrow Highway in Pomona, CA.

Health Care And Food Go Hand-In-Hand

When it comes to health, there are many factors that can attribute to the state of our well-being. However, based on our expenditures alone, food plays a significant role on our overall health. While we spend $2.9 trillion annually on health care, we are spending $1.4 trillion on food. By consuming better foods and paying attention to how we feed and fuel our bodies, we can decrease our health care spending while improving our health.

Sustainable Foods
Thanks to new technologies, techniques like hydroponics and aquaponics are enabling new food production frontiers. Crops are requiring less water and can be harvested in unlikely places, such as rooftop gardens. By enabling this, cities are able to produce fresh foods, reducing transportation costs and making produce more accessible.

Farm To Table
The Farm to Table movement encourages the community to help support local farmers, thus decreasing the demand for large food distributors. From this movement, fresh food delivery companies were born. Weekly home delivery boxes include only the freshest produce, breads, cheeses, and other popular local food items.

Cooking At Home
The act of cooking at home has gotten easier. There are companies who deliver pre-portioned and pre-packaged meals that are ready to cook. No need to prep, simply cook and eat. And because the internet is a glorious thing, recipes for nearly anything and everything under the sun is simply an internet search away. Not only are recipes available, but there are a growing number of cooking videos online that may be easier to follow than reading instructions. Since these resources are readily available, more people are testing their skills and building confidence in the kitchen.

Even more impressive is the way tech is entering the cooking field. The June Intelligent Oven uses advanced technologies to determine if your food is done cooking.

Dining Out
Thanks the internet and a variety of apps, consumers have cuisine and nutritional information at their fingertips. They can utilize apps to find out more about the food they are consuming. And they can use platforms like Yelp to see what’s good around their area, and find diet specific menus and restaurants. While this allows consumers to be more conscious about what they put in their bodies, it does not necessarily mean that people will stop their bad habits for a healthier lifestyle.

Prescribing Food
In most cases, prescribing a diet and exercise regimen change can prove more beneficial than prescribing meds alone. For example, with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, medications can help to control it, but a change in dietary habits may eventually eliminate the need for the medication all together. While doctors may suggest changing eating and exercise habits, prescribing a diet and exercise plan could fare better.

Health Insurance
Ideally, this proposal for prescribed foods would be covered by health insurance. The growing number of meal kit delivery programs could work with doctors and insurance companies to develop and implement prescribed diet plans.

Reward Good Food Behavior
Who doesn’t like being rewarded? Along with this prescribed food idea, adding incentives to a health care plan could help aid in the success of this proposed program. For example, much like a safe driver discount with car insurance, by reaching a specific health care goal, insurance deductibles would decrease. If we can offer incentives in other realms, why not apply the principle to our health and health care?

Do you think encouraging better eating and exercise habits should be incorporated into our healthcare in a more serious way? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For sandwiches and salads made with the finest and freshest ingredients available, visit the Brick Market & Deli in Pomona, open weekdays 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm.