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Ways to Enjoy Dried Fruit as a Snack

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The word snack has become so synonymous with salty or sugary treats that we often now have to add the word “healthy” to distinguish it. This is unfortunate, however, since there are so many ways to easily enjoy healthy snacks. Natural dried fruit as a snack, for example, provides a nutrient-packed alternative to salty, oily, fatty or sugary processed snacks.

How can we incorporate dried fruit into our daily snacking? Is it just a question of eating it out of a packet? Are there any more creative ways?

1. Eating Directly

First, let’s do the obvious thing which is to enjoy dried fruit directly as a snack in and of itself. Dried fruit comes with a natural sweetness that is often compounded by the drying process, making it even more enjoyable to eat. There isn’t any need for added ingredients, and you can enjoy all manner of dried fruit directly, from dried apricots and raisins to dates, prunes, dried bananas, dried goji berries…the list goes on and on.

The best way to enjoy dried fruit as a snack is to ensure that you make it as healthy and organic as possible without any added preservatives. Most important is to favour brands that don’t put in extra sugar. Some companies, in an effort to sell more of their fruit, make it into  more of a candy-like product, which negates many of the positive health benefits that dried fruit gives.

2. Create Mixes

Another way to enjoy dried fruit directly is to create your own trail mix or other fruit and/or nut mixes. Dried fruit is a nice way to sweeten and soften the texture you experience when eating various kinds of crunchy nuts and seeds. These two food groups go together beautifully to make nutritious and satisfying snacks that will keep you going between meals without resorting to junk food.

Besides trail mix, you can also make your own granola mix with dried fruit. Dried coconut in particular works well in granola, but so too do many other fruits. You can tailor your granola to suit your own tastes. Mixes are easy to store in food bags and keep in any location where you might just need to grab a quick snack — in your car, at the office, in your home workspace, and so on.

3. Baking

Dried fruit is a natural ally in the world of baking, too. Raisins have long been used in baking cookies, muffins, bread and other cakes, for example, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Adding apricots, prunes, peaches and other dried fruit is an easy way to enrich the taste of most things you’re baking. They make for the perfect hand-held snack on a busy day!

If you try to find healthier baking recipes, you can enjoy more dried fruit without worrying too much about excessive calorie or sugar intake that’s normally associated with many baked goods.

4. Cheese

If you’re having a more indulgent snack time with something like a cheese and charcuterie platter, for instance, then dried fruit is another fantastic way to enhance it. There are some cheese makers who even use it in their cheeses, especially dried apricot and cranberry. All manner of dried fruit will sweeten up that platter though and make it a really premium snack.

5. Jams and Compotes

Believe it or not, you can even use dried fruit to make jams and compotes which you can then easily incorporate into your other snacks. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich will taste even better when more of it is truly homemade.

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6 Reasons to Incorporate Seafood into Your Diet

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6 Reasons to Incorporate Seafood into Your Diet

How many meals do you prepare with seafood each week? Whether you’re a pescatarian or a meat-lover, seafood can add some really amazing benefits to your meals. Not only do foods like tilapia and shrimp add flavor and substance, but it can be an incredibly healthy addition to your diet.

There are so many types of seafood and most of them have a unique flavor. Even different types of white fish can taste different, despite a similar flavor. Some popular seafood options include cod, halibut, salmon, tilapia, perch, and trout. Of course, there’s also lobster, crab, and shrimp.

If you’re looking for ways to prepare healthy meals you can enjoy, here are 6 of the best reasons to start cooking with seafood.

1. Seafood tacos are amazing

Most people like tacos, but there’s something extra amazing about fish tacos. You can’t replicate the flavor with beef or chicken – it just isn’t the same. The flavor is similar, but it’s too heavy. Fish tacos are lighter, and that makes certain flavor profiles stand out more. For instance, a creamy lime flavor is one of the best ways to enjoy this meal.

For example, one of the best ways to prepare seafood tacos is to combine lobster with cabbage, radish, garlic, and sour cream with cilantro and fresh lime squeezed on top. Lobster tacos with avocado and lime crema is the perfect recipe for every seafood lover.

2. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health, among other things. Eating fish one or two times per week will give you enough omega-3 fatty acids. However, you can still eat fish more often than that and get bigger benefits.

Fish contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which supports brain and eye development. Doctors recommend fish to pregnant women for this reason.

Although fish is healthy, larger fish can be high in mercury. Ideally, you should eat smaller fish because they contain less mercury. Tuna, for example, is usually high in mercury, but salmon, sardines, and trout tend to contain less mercury.

3. Fish is high in essential nutrients

When you eat fish, you’ll get plenty of essential nutrients like protein, iodine, vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals. Fish is an easy source of these nutrients because it doesn’t take much time to cook. You can toss a filet in a pan and fry it up in butter, oil, or even water in just about 20 minutes.

If you don’t have much time to cook, but you need a good source of nutrients, start adding fish to your meals at least three times per week. Fish is considered to be heart-healthy. According to data published by Healthline, over 40,000 men who ate fish every week had a 15% lower risk of heart disease.

4. Fish is versatile

Fish can be added to just about anything. It’s good by itself, in salads, soups, sandwiches, and more.

Have you ever had fish pasta? It’s actually quite good. Just like you can make pasta with tomato or alfredo sauce and meat, you can also make the same dishes with fish. Shrimp is especially delicious in most pasta dishes and makes them taste hearty.

Fish tastes amazing with just about any vegetable, sauce, or topping. You can make a fish salad topped with ranch dressing and cheese, or put cheese directly on your fish filet. You can make lighter dressings, like cilantro lime or lemon, or you can just eat a fish filet with pepper and lemon.

5. Fish goes great with side dishes

Side dishes that go well with fish include ratatouille, potatoes, risotto, French fries, South Indian lemon rice, and various slaws. Technically, you can eat fish with just about anything on the side because it’s so light, it rarely clashes with other foods.

6. It’s easy to find pre-cooked fish

One of the best reasons to add fish to your diet is that you can find pre-cooked fish. When you’re pressed for time, finding pre-cooked meals is important, and thankfully, there are plenty of pre-made fish dishes that only require being heated. Even shrimp comes pre-cooked, de-veined, and with the tail off for easy preparation.

Add variety to your meals with fish

If you’re looking for variety at the dinner table, try adding fish to your meals. In addition to easy cooking, fish is tasty, light, and nutritious. Once you start eating fish regularly, you may even start to like it better than beef and chicken.

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How Probiotics can Help Improve Your Health

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Many people take supplements to improve their health in a variety of different ways. Some of the most popular supplements taken are those that improve digestive health. With 20 million Americans suffering from chronic digestive diseases, it’s no wonder so many people are looking for ways to heal their digestive system! There are many different kinds of supplements to improve gut health, and it is important to know what they each do in order to find the best one for you.

One of the most popular digestive supplements is probiotics. Found in yogurt, cheese, and other fermented foods, probiotics colonize the digestive tract and provide various health benefits. While these are typically considered safe, they could potentially pose a risk to people who are immunocompromised. 

Immunocompromised people can still take supplements to help their digestive health. These are known as immunobiotics and help trigger a stronger immune response but do not colonize in the body. These are a safer alternative to probiotics and can still provide similar health benefits. 

Prebiotics are another supplement, but these are not digested by the human body. Instead, these feed beneficial bacteria in the digestive system, keeping the bacteria healthy and encouraging the absorption of nutrients. These are typically found in high fiber foods like broccoli, yams, and apples.

Clearly digestive supplements work in a variety of ways to help improve your health. It is important to know how they work and the benefits they provide in order to understand which supplement can benefit you the most. Always make sure to consult your doctor before starting a new supplement or diet to make sure you stay healthy and safe. For more information, take a look at the infographic below:

Do Probiotics Really Work?: Why Probiotics are Necessary
Source: Nouri


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Why Energy Drinks Are a Staple in the Home

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Rapidly growing and reaching new markets, the energy drink industry is booming, with its profitability augmenting as well. Internationally, current projections predict that energy drinks will have reeled in a whopping $255 billion (USD) by 2026, as the business’s monetary rise continues.

Convenience stores are the bedrock of energy drink sales, creating a conundrum during the pandemic when lockdowns kept consumers out of them. Providing 10% of revenue for bottled water, 10% for sports drinks, 27% for carbonated drinks, and 31% for energy beverages, the inability to visit these stores created a pause in steady sales. Recent gym reopenings reversed the damage done, inducing a spike in sales and raising the energy drink industry to the sales success it reels in today.

Energy brands are beginning to seek more natural forms of caffeine, expanding their selections to offer a more diverse array of flavors, and are recruiting organic ingredients to produce higher quality drinks. As this focus on quality continues, the upward success of the energy drink industry will as well, as more consumers savor the boost we all too commonly need.

Financially, projections paint a bright future for energy drinks, but with brands turning to more organic ingredients and natural sugars, its future is delish too. Be a part of it and recharge with the boost of energy drinks.

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