Category Archives: Nutrition

Important Functions of Protein and the Role It Plays In Your Body

Maintaining Nutrition and Hydration are two of the most important factors during and recovering from a Clostridium difficile infection (CDI)

Malnutrition can develop quickly and the body needs and 20% of the human body is made up of protein.

Because your body doesn’t store protein, it’s important to get enough from your daily diet.

You can get protein from many food sources, including plants and animals.

* Always discuss dietary needs with your healthcare provider and a consult with a Registered Dietitian can be helpful. 

There is animal protein:  Animal protein sources, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy, are similar to the protein found in your body.  And there are plant protein sources, such as beans, soy, lentils and nuts.

Enzymes are proteins that aid the thousands of biochemical reactions that take place within and outside of your cells (7).

The structure of enzymes allows them to combine with other molecules inside the cell called substrates, which catalyze reactions that are essential to your metabolism (8).   Some proteins are hormones, which are chemical messengers that aid communication between your cells, tissues and organs.   Some Proteins provide structure –   keratin, collagen and elastin, which help form the connective framework of certain structures in your body (13).

Keratin is a structural protein that is found in your skin, hair and nails. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and is the structural protein of your bones, tendons, ligaments and skin (14). Elastin is several hundred times more flexible than collagen. Its high elasticity allows many tissues in your body to return to their original shape after stretching or contracting, such as your uterus, lungs and arteries (15).

Enzymes may also function outside the cell, such as digestive enzymes like lactase and sucrase, which help digest sugar. Enzymes require other molecules, such as vitamins or minerals, for a reaction to take place.

Bodily functions that depend on enzymes include (9):

  • Digestion
  • Energy production
  • Blood clotting
  • Muscle contraction

Proteins also maintain proper pH.

Proteins regulate the body ability  to maintain fluid balance.

Albumin and globulin are proteins in your blood that help maintain your body’s fluid balance by attracting and retaining water (21, 22).

If you don’t eat enough protein, your levels of albumin and globulin eventually decrease. Proteins can no longer keep blood in your blood vessels, and the fluid is forced into the spaces between your cells.  As the fluid continues to build up in the spaces between your cells, swelling or edema occurs, particularly in the stomach region (23).  This is a form of severe protein malnutrition called kwashiorkor that develops when a person is consuming enough calories but does not consume enough protein (24).

Proteins help form immunoglobulins, or antibodies, to fight infection

Proteins–  carry substances throughout your bloodstream — into cells, out of cells or within cells. The substances transported by these proteins include nutrients like vitamins or minerals, blood sugar, cholesterol and oxygen (30, 31, 32).

Protein contains four calories per gram, the same amount of energy that carbs provide. Fats supply the most energy, at nine calories per gram. The last thing your body wants to use for energy is protein since this valuable nutrient is widely used throughout your body.Carbs and fats are much better suited for providing energy, as your body maintains reserves for use as fuel.

The collective information above confirms protein is one of the most important nutrients for your health.

 

A simple and easy animal source of protein:

Baked Chicken recipe that can be served with a baked potato or mashed potato and soft cooked vegetables (Example: carrots, green beans).

Ingredients

    • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
    • 1 tablespoon water, or as needed

Directions

    1. Preheat convection oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    2. Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with salt to taste *do not use salt if a salt-free diet is prescribed.
    3. Place chicken in a broiler pan.and place broiler pan into the preheated oven.
    4. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
    5. Flip chicken and cook until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear. This should take about 15 minutes more.
    6. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
    7. Remove chicken from pan.
    8. Place  Chicken on plates and serve with a baked or mashed potato and soft cooked vegetables of choice (example: carrots, green beans).

 

 

Protein  Source with References:  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/functions-of-protein#section10

Maintaining Nutrition During a C.diff. Infection – Apricot Chicken Tenders Recipe

Low Carb, Good Source of Protein = Healthy Entree.

Add a serving of mashed potatoes or a baked potato with a low-fiber vegetable to complete this lunch or dinner entree.

Ingredients Needed:

(Serves 5)

½ cup fruit-only apricot preserves
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 lb  chicken tenders

Instructions:

1. In a medium skillet combine the apricot preserves,  vinegar, and sweet paprika. Place over low heat and mix often for 4 minutes. Rinse the chicken tenders and place in a large bowl. Pour the apricot mixture over the chicken, and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

2. Turn on the oven and set to broil. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a wire rack in the center of the sheet and arrange the marinated chicken in a single layer. Place in the oven on the top rack. After 5 minutes, use tongs to turn the chicken. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Allow the chicken to blacken slightly. (Chicken should be well cooked).

Nutrition Data:
One serving equals: 215 calories, 1g fat, 91mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and 27g protein

 

Watermelon; A Fruit Filled With Healthy Benefits

The healthy or beneficial effects of watermelon are mainly derived from its unique nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds.

These include significant amounts of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, fiber, protein, and a large amount of potassium. Furthermore, they contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, and a wide variety of carotenoids and phytonutrients, including lycopene.

Did you know that Watermelon is effective in reducing both your body temperature and blood pressure?

Many people in tropical regions eat Watermelon on a daily basis during the summer to protect themselves from heat stroke. The high amount of water found in watermelons also helps in preventing dehydration.  At only 46 calories per cup, it is a beneficial fruit to add into the daily diet, especially during the hot summer weather, before/after a workout and when a patient is being treated for a G.I. diagnosis, such
as a C. difficile infection, that can cause a fluid shift and loss of body fluids.

According to a new study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, drinking watermelon juice before a hard workout helped reduce athletes’ heart rate and next-day muscle soreness. That’s because watermelon is rich in an amino acid called L-citrulline, which the body converts to L-arginine, an essential amino acid that helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation.

The study’s seven participants, all men, were given 17 ounces (500 mL) of either natural watermelon juice, watermelon juice enriched with additional citrulline, or a placebo drink an hour before their workouts. Interestingly, the natural juice was just as effective as the enriched juice. The researchers also determined that intestinal cells can absorb more citrulline from watermelon juice than from citrulline supplements, especially when the juice is unpasteurized.

In just one cup, watermelon has 1.5 times the stuff than a large fresh tomato, 6 milligrams compared to 4 milligrams, according to the USDA. That matters because lycopene is thought to act as a super antioxidant, stopping free radicals from damaging your cells and messing with your immune system.

 

Watermelon can prevent dehydration. Watermelon is 91.5% water, according to the USDA. That’s a big deal seeing as how being dehydrated is bad for your health. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that individuals with even mild dehydration experienced headaches, poor concentration, fatigue, and worse moods.

Here are a few cooling and refreshing melon recipes:

Cantaloupe Sherbet
For less than 100 calories, you can enjoy a refreshing dessert. Cantaloupe adds a natural sweetness to the sherbet plus a luscious peach color.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe cantaloupe, peeled and finely chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 1/3 cup “measures-like-sugar” calorie-free sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton vanilla fat-free yogurt sweetened with aspartame
  • Cantaloupe wedge (optional)

HOW to prepare:

  • Combine cantaloupe, and lemon juice in a blender of choice or food processor; process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl.
  • Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small saucepan; let stand 1 minute. Cook over low heat, stirring until gelatin dissolves, about 4 minutes. Add to cantaloupe mixture, stirring well. Add yogurt, stirring until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into an 8-inch square pan; freeze until almost firm.
  • Transfer mixture to a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Spoon mixture back into pan; freeze until firm.

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Watermelon Smoothie

Just 25 calories a 8 ounce serving.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • cup watermelon (cut into cubes)
  • cucumber (peeled and sliced)
  • mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup ice

HOW to prepare:

Place cubed watermelon, one cucumber thinly sliced, two min leaves and 1/2 cup of ice

into blender of choice with 1/4 cup of water.  Blend until smooth.

Pour into glasses and serve.

Freeze remainder of beverage for a refreshing frozen treat.

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Watermelon and Ginger-Ale Smoothie

Just 100 calories per 8 ounce serving.

 

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 3 1/2 cups watermelon (cut into cubes and de-seeded)
  • lime
  • 1 1/2 cups ginger ale
  • cups ice

 

HOW to prepare:

Place cubed watermelon, ginger-ale and ice into blender of choice or a food processor.

Blend well and serve.  Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime.

Freeze the remainder beverage for a tasty treat in a freezer safe container.

 

References:

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130820-watermelon-nutrition-health-food-science/

The Importance of Protein, More Than a Food

Protein is an important substance found in every cell in the human body. In fact, except for water, protein is the most abundant substance in your body. This protein is manufactured by your body utilizing the dietary protein you consume. It is used in many vital processes and thus needs to be consistently replaced. You can accomplish this by regularly consuming foods that contain protein.

Please Note: It is important to discuss daily dietary intake amounts of Protein with your Primary Care Physician and Health care Provider before changing diets. For patients being treated for any diagnosis involving the Renal System and Kidney function,  it is extremely important to discuss your daily dietary intake of Protein.    Obtaining a referral for a Dietary Consult to discuss Dietary Needs with a Registered Dietitian may also be recommended/suggested during illnesses to maintain balanced nutrition.  Please contact your healthcare insurance provider to determine medical benefits with Registered Dietitian visits prior to scheduling a visit.  Thank You.

When an individual is ill it is normal for appetites to decrease and when being treated for a C.difficile infection not only can the appetite decrease but the ability to tolerate a number of food groups can also occur.  Maintaining protein intake is important.

Why?  Protein is termed the building block of the body. It is called this because protein is vital in the maintenance of body tissue, including development and repair. Hair, skin, eyes, muscles and organs are all made from protein. This is also why children need more protein per pound of body weight than adults; they are growing and developing new protein tissue *consult with Pediatricians to discuss protein dietary needs in all children’s diets.

Protein is a major source of energy. If you consume more protein than you need for body tissue maintenance and other necessary functions, your body will use it for energy.

Protein is  also involved in the creation of some hormones. These substances help control body functions that involve the interaction of several organs.  For example: Insulin, a small protein, and is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. It involves the interaction of organs such as the pancreas and the liver. Secretin, is another example of a protein hormone. This substance assists in the digestive process by stimulating the pancreas and the intestine to create necessary digestive juices.

Let’s not forget enzymes that are proteins that increase the rate of chemical reactions in the body. In fact, most of the necessary chemical reactions in the body would not efficiently proceed without enzymes. For example, one type of enzyme functions as an aid in digesting large protein, carbohydrate and fat molecules into smaller molecules, while another assists the creation of DNA

Did you know that Protein is a major element in the transportation of certain molecules?  It is amazing that Protein has such a responsibility in our body maintenance.  Hemoglobin is a protein that transports oxygen throughout the body. Protein is also sometimes used to store certain molecules. Ferritin is an example of a protein that combines with iron for storage in the liver.

And Protein forms antibodies that help prevent infection, illness and disease. These proteins identify and assist in destroying antigens such as bacteria and viruses. They often work in conjunction with the other immune system cells. For example, these antibodies identify and then surround antigens in order to keep them contained until they can be destroyed by white blood cells.

Protein even has an important role in pH Balance — your bodily fluids (lbood, saliva, etc.)  function best at a neutral pH, or approximately 7.0. Many things that you encounter daily, such as foods, beverages and pollution, can change the pH of bodily fluids. A drastic and persistent change in pH can lead to chronic symptoms and various health problems.  The proteins in your body act as a buffers that help keep your pH neutral. When the pH of your blood becomes too acidic, the protein buffers in the blood will pick up hydrogen ions until the pH returns to neutral. If the pH becomes too high, or basic, protein buffers release hydrogen ions to lower the pH.

Protein is  in every single cell in your body – from your hair to your nails to your muscles and organs. These proteins are known as structural proteins; they quite literally provide the structure for your body. Without them, you could not walk, run or even stand. In fact, the most abundant protein in your body is collagen, which is present in skin, ligaments, tendons and bones.

Which foods contain Protein?

Protein food sources, such as animal products, contain all of the essential amino acids. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy are all considered complete proteins. If you consume two to three servings of these foods a day, you will meet your daily protein needs. Quinoa, a plant-based seed that is often called a grain, is also a complete protein and a healthy option if you do not want to eat animal foods. Soy products, like tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy milk, are other plant-based complete protein options.

What if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet?

A vegetarian, you can consume complete protein foods by eating dairy products and eggs in addition to plant-based proteins. If you are a vegan, you can still get all the essential amino acids your body needs with careful meal planning. Just make sure you are eating a wide variety of plant-based incomplete protein foods. Healthy plant-based high-protein options include 1/4 cup of nuts like almonds, 1 to 2 cups of beans or lentils and 1/2 cup of quinoa.

What about Protein Powders?

There are a variety of protein powders on the market that come from  BOTH incomplete protein sources –  proteins from plant-based foods are typically considered incomplete proteins because they only contain some of the essential amino acids – and  complete protein sources – animal products, contain all of the essential amino acids. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy .

If you want a complete protein source powder  a good option is whey protein, which comes from dairy. A plant-based complete protein powder option is soy protein. Other plant-based protein powders include brown rice protein and pea protein. In order to get a plant-based complete protein with all of the essential amino acids, look for a powder that combines these two protein sources.

 

Protein Packed Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

        1 Box 4 Serving Size – Instant Pudding (Chocolate Flavor or Vanilla Can Be Substituted).
      2 cups 2% Milk or 2 cups Soy Milk or Milk of your choice.

1 scoop whey protein (Whey Protein Powder Works Best For This Recipe).

Directions

Mix all three ingredients together following Box Pudding Directions. Divide Pudding into serving cups and refrigerate for at least four hours.
Nutrition Information  Per Box of Instant Pudding Mix:
  • Servings Per Recipe: 4
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 112.0, Total Fat: 1.6 g,
  • Cholesterol: 6.1 mg
  • Sodium: 215.4 mg
  • Total Carbs: 10.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
  • Protein: 10.4 g

Grilled Turkey Burger Recipe

Choosing  lean meat – a good source of protein – and easy digestion

a Grilled Turkey Burger is a winner.

Using a skillet, or broiling the turkey burgers instead of utilizing the grill is

also acceptable – as long as the turkey burger is well cooked inside and out.

First begin by washing hands – follow the hand washing instructions

https://cdifffoundation.org/hand-washing-updates/

What ingredients are needed?

1 pound ground turkey

salt and pepper to season

How to cook the burgers:

If Grilling: Preheat a grill for high heat

If using a skillet – place large skillet on top of the stove – pre-heat skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes.

If using the over – place the over temperature to 350F and pre-heat for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, Season with salt and pepper.
Mix lightly using your hands, and form meat into 4 patties.

Lightly oil the skillet, or the grill grate. * Do not oil the broiler pan or rack being utilized in the oven.

Cook patties 5 to 10 minutes each side, until well done. (time may vary due to temperature variations).

 

 

 

 

Enjoy a turkey burger with well cooked boiled green beans (fresh or can or frozen), and mashed potatoes.

At the end of the meal – it is the perfect time to take any form of food or supplement probiotics.   (Yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha Tea, supplement).

Wait two (2) hours before taking any prescribed dose of antibiotics treating

a C. difficile infection or any infection.

***  Always discuss supplements of any kind with your health care

provider / Physician prior to adding them

to daily dietary routines

 

Gut Health and Nutrition

Your digestive, or gastrointestinal (GI), tract is a long, muscular tube that runs from your mouth to your anus. It’s about 30 feet long and works with other parts of your digestive system to break food and drink down into smaller molecules of nutrients. The blood absorbs these and carries them throughout the body for cells to use for energy, growth, and repair.

With such a long GI highway, it’s common to run into bumps in the road. About 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). GERD happens when your stomach acid and/or contents come back up into your esophagus (swallowing tube) or throat. This causes uncomfortable symptoms like heartburn and indigestion. IBS is a group of symptoms that includes pain in the abdomen and changes in bowel habits. People with IBS may have constipation, diarrhea, or both. Many more people have other digestive problems, like bloating and stomach pain.

“There are many factors that can impact gut health,” says Dr. Lin Chang, a GI expert at the University of California, Los Angeles. How your body’s built, your family and genetic history, how you manage stress, and what you eat can all affect your gut.

“I see a lot of lifestyle-related GI issues, and there are often no quick fixes for that,” she says. “In general, people do well when they create a more routine schedule, eat a healthy diet and smaller more frequent meals, add in some exercise, and get a good amount of sleep.”

Chang studies the connection between stress and IBS. Her research group has found that people who have early life stress are more likely to develop IBS. “However, this increased risk for IBS went down when people confided in someone they trust about the stress they experienced,” she explains. “Finding healthy ways to manage stress is important for GI health, and your health overall.”

What you eat can help or hurt your digestive system, and influence how you feel. “Increasing fiber is really important for constipation,” says Chang. “Most Americans do not eat a lot of fiber so you have to gradually increase the fiber in your diet. Otherwise you might get gas and more bloating, and won’t stick with [the changes].”

Chang says you should eat at least 20–30 grams of fiber a day for constipation. You can spread out your fiber in small amounts throughout the day. Start with small servings and gradually increase them to avoid gas, bloating, and discomfort.

Try to eat fruits and vegetables at every meal * cooked well for post-C.diff. infection patients until tolerated.

A variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains can provide a healthy mix of different fibers and nutrients to your diet. An added benefit is that the more fiber and whole foods you eat, the less room you’ll have for less healthy options.

But some fiber-rich foods, called high FODMAP foods, can be hard to digest. Examples include certain fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and wheat and rye products.

If you have IBS, your doctor may recommend a diet low in FODMAPS.

Researchers are coming to understand the complex community of bacteria and other microbes that live in the human GI tract. Called gut flora or microbiota, these microbes help with our digestion.

But evidence has been growing that gut microbes may influence our health in other ways too. Studies suggest that they may play roles in obesity, type 2 diabetes, IBS, and colon cancer. They might also affect how the immune system functions. T

his can affect how your body fights illness and disease.

Recent studies have found that microbes’ effects on the immune system may impact the development of conditions such as allergy, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.

You might have heard that probiotics—live microbes that are similar to those found in the human gut—can improve your gut health. These are also called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria.” Probiotics are available in dietary supplements and in certain foods, such as yogurt.

There is some evidence that probiotics may be helpful in preventing diarrhea associated with antibiotics and improving symptoms of IBS, but more needs to be learned.

Researchers still don’t know which probiotics are helpful and which aren’t. They also don’t know how much of the probiotics people would have to take or who would most likely benefit from them.

Certain food additives called emulsifiers are something else that may affect your gut health. Emulsifiers are added to many processed foods to improve texture and extend shelf life. But studies show they can affect our gut flora.

“Our work and other research indicate that emulsifiers and other food additives can negatively impact the microbiota and promote inflammatory diseases,” says Georgia State University’s Dr. Andrew Gewirtz. His group has been studying the relationships between food additives, gut bacteria, and disease in mice. The team also plans to examine how different food additives may affect people.

Based on what his team and others have found, Gewirtz advises, “The take home message: Eat a balanced diet and less processed foods.”

“The GI system is complicated and such an important part of our health,” Chang says. “It takes a real partnership between patient and doctor to get to the root of issues. Everyone has to find a healthy routine that works for them.”

She encourages you to take an active role in finding a doctor who makes you feel comfortable. The right doctor will listen carefully to your health history and symptoms. You can help keep your gut in check by talking with your doctor and—together—making the right choices for you.

To Learn More About FODMAP, Probiotics, Prebiotics, C. difficile and post-C.difficile nutrition

join Karen Factor, RD every 3rd Thursday each month for free sessions.  Sign up today through

the website:  https://cdifffoundation.org/cdiffsupport/

To read this article in its entirety click on the following link:

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/May2017/Feature1

References
Adverse childhood experiences are associated with irritable bowel syndrome and gastrointestinal symptom severity. Park SH, Videlock EJ, Shih W, Presson AP, Mayer EA, Chang L. Neurogastroenterology & Motility. 2016 Aug;28(8):1252-60. doi: 10.1111/nmo.12826. Epub 2016 Apr 8. PMID: 27061107.

Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome. Chassaing B, Koren O, Goodrich JK, Poole AC, Srinivasan S, Ley RE, Gewirtz AT. Nature. 2015 Mar 5;519(7541):92-6. doi: 10.1038/nature14232. Epub 2015 Feb 25. PMID: 25731162.

Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms. Alcock J, Maley CC, Aktipis CA. Bioessays. 2014 Oct;36(10):940-9. doi: 10.1002/bies.201400071. Epub 2014 Aug 8. PMID: 25103109.

Good Reasons to Add Bananas Into a Healthy Diet

Did You Know that a banana gives an instant, sustained, and substantial boost of energy?

They do and bananas have healthy benefits for a lot of diets.

  • If you are allergic to bananas and banana products please do not add this food item into your diet.  Always speak with a healthcare professional prior to making changes in diets.  Thank you.

Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose, and glucose combined with fiber. And research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.

How much potassium is in a banana? (4)

We are often asked ‘how much potassium is in a banana?’ Well, the average Chiquita banana contains about 422 mg of potassium (a little less than ½ a gram), making bananas a potassium superfruit—that’s 13% of the daily-recommended amount of potassium from only one Chiquita banana!

And did you know that the potassium in bananas stimulates your muscles, nerves and brain cells, and as a bonus, can also help reduce blood pressure and risk of stroke.

Get the Potassium You Need – Recommended Amounts per Age Group
With all of the incredible benefits of potassium in bananas, it’s no wonder the Chiquita banana is one of the first solid foods new moms feed their babies. The Food and Nutrition Center of the Institute of Medicine has recommended the following potassium amounts per day for infants, children and adults.

(1 banana = 0.422g of potassium)

Potassium for Infants:
0-6 months: 0.4 grams a day (g/day)
7-12 months: 0.7 g/day
Potassium for Children and Adolescents:
1-3 years: 3.0 g/day
4-8 years: 3.8 g/day
9-13 years: 4.5 g/day
14-18 years: 4.7 g/day
Potassium for Adults:
Age 19 and older: 4.7 g/day

Quick Protein Powder Banana Smoothie Recipe

Here’s a simple and delicious way to add protein to fresh fruit and juice.

 Ingredients:
  • 2   whole Bananas, sliced
  • Add  protein powder of choice, and for a smoother version add 3 oz. non fat , low sugar, Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4   cup chilled Pineapple juice
  • 1/2   cup  of soy or coconut, or rice or *if not allergic to nuts – cashew or almond – milk.

Instructions for quick Protein Power Chiquita Banana Smoothie Recipe

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve immediately or place in a freezer safe container and freeze to make a frozen treat.

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Eating bananas can also help prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions when added to the daily diet.

  1. Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so help in cases of anemia.
  2. Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood, and generally make you feel happier. (2)
  3. Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body. When suffering from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
  4. High Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat high blood pressure. So much so, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. (3)
  5. Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
  6. Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins, which help calm the nervous system.
  7. PMS: The vitamin B6 that bananas contain regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
  8. Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain, and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be re-balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.  (2)
  9. Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%  (1)

(1) http://www.jwatch.org/na35633/2014/09/18/banana-day-stroke-prevention

(2) http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM195907022610104

(3) http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/beating-high-blood-pressure-with-food

(4) http://www.chiquitabananas.com/worlds-favorite-fruit/bananas-and-potassium.aspx