Healthy Cooking and Baking Tips Continued….(#health, #nutrition, #wellness)

As a continuation of my last post I would like to go into more detail about a few of the beneficial ingredients I use; mainly in baking. *Pumpkin seeds; *Chia seeds; and unrefined, cold-pressed, virgin organic *Coconut oil.

There are many reasons I use these which include: added health benefits, the ability to sneak them in easily without even being noticed, and usefulness in baking for texture/taste. Really they just pack a lot of nutrition & are super easy to toss/mix into baking and cooking 🥘(mostly oatmeal & pan frying).

Pumpkin seeds won me over when I found out they help eliminate parasites. My husband thought my daughter might have pin-worms at one point, about 4 years ago, and once I began reading about these nasty little creatures, getting more freaked out😵 & disgusted as I read, it was time to research how to prevent and eliminate them naturally. Prevention initiatives are my motto!!!

After reading this Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds Article I wanted to list some of the highlights I think are important to remember. There really are some amazing nutritional advantages for eating pumpkin seeds (by adding them to oatmeal, cookies🍪, muffins, pancakes🥞, granola, toast🍞 with sunbutter/jam/honey I have been able to make sure we get a serving of these every day):

Nutritional Facts & Health Benefits
Pumpkin seeds:

  • Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan, which helps promote sleep and fight depression. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin and niacin, which aids in sleeping.

  • Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.

  • Pumpkin seeds are filled with lots of minerals including phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron and copper.

  • They are a good source of vitamin K.

  • High in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis, since zinc deficiencies can lead to higher rates of osteoporosis. In a study of almost 400 men (age from 45-92) published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found a correlation between low dietary intake of zinc, low blood levels of the trace mineral and osteoporosis at the hip and spine.

  • Pumpkin seeds are a good source vitamin E; they contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol per 100 g.

  • They are the most alkaline-forming seed.

  • Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of vitamin B group (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates).

  • 100 g of pumpkin seeds contains about 30 grams of protein.

  • According to studies, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.

  • Pumpkin seeds reduce inflammation and counter arthritis pain without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • They are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.

  • Pumpkin seeds are good for prostate health. The oil in pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult urination that happens with an enlarged prostate.

    Here is another article that goes into more detail about most of the nutrition benefits listed above: Top 11 Science Based Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds.

And if you want an easy method for making pumpkin seeds more digestible, try soaking them in water for 6 hours.

You may notice listed 1 up from the bottom is the reason that convinced me it was essential to add pumpkin seeds to our diet. We did give my daughter some of the over-the-counter pin-worm medication and never had to bring her into the doctor because the itching subsided. Then it was time to be sure, so I wouldn’t have to think about this spreading among all of us, to begin the preventative strategies. At first we also were taking grapefruit seed extract in water as well as, incorporating the pumpkin seeds. Now it seems, after 4 years, we have prevented another occurance of these creepy little parasites. Thanks goodness!!

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*I literally buy raw organic pumpkin seeds, take about 1/3 of a cup, dump them into an electric coffee grinder, pulse them on and off for about a minute until they are ground into a course powder; scraping the inside with a spatula or wooden spoon to work up the stuff stuck to the bottom. Then re-blend for a few seconds and when ready, transfer into a jar with a tight fitting lid. This usually lasts about a week to a week and a half, and then I grind some more. This makes it really easy to toss a few Tablespoons in when I’m baking muffins, cookies, breads, pancakes, sprinkled on french toast with some cinnamon, or when I’m cooking oatmeal. Another thing I add to most of these, as well, is chia seeds.

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Chia seeds are small and look like poppy seeds but a bit bigger. They do get stuck in the teeth but with normal brushing/flossing, they come out easily. The thing that is really nice about using them in baking is their ability to help bind the ingredients together as an egg substitute. Many times it seems to make whatever I’m baking a little more moist and gives it a nice fluffy texture.

Chia seed egg substitute

The general rule for using chia seeds or flax seeds as an eggsubstitute is: 1 tablespoon ground chia or ground flax to 3 tablespoons water = one egg.

To quote an article I read:

Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.

They are an ancient Aztec & Mayan food source that gave them a “whole grain,” non-gluten, protein & fiber packed, with the added health benefits of having Omega 3s diet; in one tiny seed!

Here is the article I read: 11 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds.

The piece I want to really point out is how easy they are to incorporate into baking/cooking. They really are worth the addition because of their amazing values for overall health and wellness.

Now, to add to what I have mentioned already about chia seeds and give some more examples of how to use them, I have quoted the part of the article talking about how to easily add them to your diet:

Chia Seeds Are Easy to Incorporate Into Your Diet

Okay, this last one is not a health benefit, but important nonetheless.

Chia seeds are incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet.

The seeds themselves taste rather bland, so you can add them to pretty much anything.

They also don’t need to be ground like flax seeds, which makes them much easier to prepare.

They can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, added to porridge and pudding, or added to baked goods.

You can also sprinkle them on top of cereal, yogurt, vegetables or rice dishes.

Because of their ability to absorb both water and fat, they can be used to thicken sauces and even used as egg substitutes in recipes.

They can also be mixed with water and turned into a gel.

Adding chia seeds to recipes will dramatically boost the nutritional value.

If you want to buy chia seeds, then there is an excellent selection on Amazon with thousands of customer reviews.

They do also seem to be well tolerated… but if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, then there is a possibility of digestive side effects if you eat too much at a time.

A common dosage recommendation is 20 grams (about 1.5 tablespoons) of chia seeds, twice per day.

I order a bag of these Organic Chia Seeds(32oz.) from Amazon and they last for months. Here and there I will sprinkle about an 8th of a cup into some oatmeal or pancake batter as well as, use them when baking bread, cookies, muffins, or even rice crispy treats(trying to give them at least the tiniest bit of nutrition).

 

 

 

I have even made quick jam (Quick Jam Recipe) & added chia seeds which I prefer to putting them into smoothies (this is an easy way to incorporate them, too, though).

***Just note: They should be added to another food or soaked before eating.

The last thing I both bake & cook with is (the whole title is critical for health benefits): cold- pressed, unrefined, virgin, organic Coconut oil. I purchase mine from Aldi’s because it is $4.50 for a 14 oz. jar. It goes pretty fast because it is my #1 oil to cook with ( eggs, sausage, leftovers, burgers, sauteed mushrooms/onions/garlic/veggies, soup, pancakes, French toast, or pretty much anything in a pan. On occasion I will use butter.

Coconut oil is high in fats called medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than most other fats. These special fats are responsible for a lot of the health benefits of coconut oil.

In the article I’ve referenced for this post, Health Benefits of Coconut Oil, there are so many reasons to start replacing other oils in cooking/baking with this super healthy alternative! My favorite part of using it in cooking is that with a gas stove, it has a much higher smoking point & does not burn the way butter does. I used to use olive oil more often but have learned that olive oil should not be heated & is recommended for cold applications only. This is now used as salad dressing or for bread dipping (mixed with balsamic), only!

Here are a few more benefits listed in the article above:

  Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms

The 12-carbon lauric acid makes up about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil.

When lauric acid is digested, it also forms a substance called monolaurin.

Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi (6).

For example, these substances have been shown to help kill the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans (7, 8).

 Coconut Oil Can Raise The Good HDL Cholesterol

Coconut oil contains natural saturated fats that increase the good HDL cholesterol in your body. They may also help turn the bad LDL cholesterol into a less harmful form.

By increasing HDL, many experts believe that coconut oil could be good for heart health compared to many other fats.

In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil (15).

Another study in 116 patients showed that a dietary program that included coconut oil raised levels of the good HDL cholesterol (16).

In regards to raising good, HDL, cholesterol this is something I’ve experienced personally. Since using coconut oil, daily, my last cholesterol screening for HDL was 76MG/DL & the standard range is 40-59. My LDL is still too high at 122MG/DL but hopefully now that I have started adding Chia seeds & exercising more, this will have improved for my next screening.

I also strongly believe this has helped with reducing my IBS symptoms. There are mixed reviews on this but there have been significant differences in my health since I started using it regularly. I’m sure it is a combination of all the different diet changes I have made; which I really do credit my children with. They motivated me to want to eat healthier, nourish their bodies and minds with the best nutrition possible, and get creative in how I incorporate healthy ingredients into my cooking and baking! I leave you with one last, really promising and important, benefit to using/eating coconut oil in your diet.

The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals.

In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain.

Researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning brain cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s (24).

In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s (25).

However, keep in mind that research is still early and there is no evidence to suggest that coconut oil itself helps with Alzheimer’s disease.

*One really simple way to add a bit of coconut oil into your diet, daily, is put a tiny bit in your coffee or tea. It adds a bit of delicious flavor while making it simple to get a little each day without much effort!

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My favorite way to add beneficial herbs and spices is in eggs. We eat them daily to every other day. Here I have added nutritional yeast, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. I always cook them in Coconut Oil!
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Here turmeric has been sprinkled on top of our eggs for added health benefits. The taste is fairly neutral and well worth adding to cooking because it is so essential for its anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties!

 

Happy eating & I hope some of these suggestions make it a bit easier for you to add some essential ingredients to your cooking & baking to boost your bodies defenses against sickness, fatigue, poor digestion, parasites, and poor nutrition!

Thank you so much for reading, liking, commenting, & visiting my blog!!

Love,

Anne🌻🍵💕🌞🦋✌️☯️

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