(People with intestinal symptoms should wait until healed
before eating nuts or seeds.)
One of the top challenges everyone seems to face is making quick SCD legal healthy snack foods. It’s so easy to make your own healthy trail mix snack.
Many people, however, shy away from nuts because they contain fat—but these fats are one of the best reasons to eat them. Unlike animal fats, or trans-fatty acids, nuts contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These are the essential fatty acids (EFAs) you need in your diet to help support a healthy heart.
Instead of falling for the deceptive foods that giant food corporations spend billions to convince you is healthy, keep a mix of organic raw nuts, seeds and raisins in the refrigerator. In the beginning of the SCD, I even kept a Ziploc baggie with nuts, seeds and raisins in my purse . . . just in case I got hungry and couldn’t find anything SCD legal when I was out and about. That bag was like a ‘security blanket’ to me until I felt more confident about choosing SCD legal foods.
It’s also a good idea to not even walk down the candy/cookie/cracker isle at the grocery store. I also try never to grocery shop when I’m hungry . . . because in that state, I’m more easily tempted. The giant corporations know that is where people are heavily challenged, so that is one of their primary targets.
By mixing your own healthy trail mix of organic raw nuts and seeds, you will have a snack that is satisfying, delicious and nutritious:
- A trail mix very high in antioxidants and wonderful healthy oils
- No partially hydrogenated oils or fats.
- A high-energy snack with no added sugar or harmful preservatives.
Nuts: Your Delicious Source of
Essential Healthy Fat
Some people have been hesitant to eat nuts fearing the high fat content could cause significant weight gain. The Adventist health study proved this theory to be flat-out untrue. The study found that nuts provided increased satisfaction to a meal and that those who frequently ate nuts were actually leaner than those who didn't eat nuts.
It's important to keep in mind that nuts have ZERO trans (bad) fats if they are processed properly. Instead, the fat in nuts is overwhelmingly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated -- meaning these are actually "good" fats for cholesterol health. There is no easier way to add extra nutrition, flavor and crunch to a snack than by adding a handful of nuts. An ideal combination of the nuts includes:
- Pecans - 53 percent fat by weight, 29 of the 47 grams of fat contained in one daily ration is in the form of mostly monounsaturated fat (oleic acid) Oleic acid is a stable oil that protects pecans from rancidity and gives them a longer shelf life. Pecans are also good dietary sources of fiber, vitamin E, copper and magnesium.
- Walnuts - an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, with just a quarter of a cup of providing over 50 percent of your daily value for this essential fatty acid. Walnuts contain an antioxidant called ellagic acid that supports the immune system, and are relatively high in L-arginine, an essential amino acid that is converted in your body to nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide helps keep the inner walls of your blood vessels smooth and allows blood vessels to relax.
- Almonds - rich in phytochemicals - plant components that may provide protection against heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Just one handful (one and one-half ounce) of almonds is a leading source of vitamin E and magnesium and offers protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron.
According to a Harvard study, women who ate nuts five or more times per week had better cardiovascular health compared to those who ate them only once a week, or not at all.
Plus, ounce for ounce, nuts provide as much protein as red meat—without the cholesterol—as well as fiber. The combination of the healthy fats, fiber, and protein will make you feel full longer, so you’re less likely to overeat.
And the health benefits don’t stop there. Nuts are naturally low-glycemic foods, which means they won’t raise your blood sugar levels as quickly as other foods can.
Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds: Natural source of essential vitamins,
minerals, healthy oils & fiber
By adding pumpkin and sunflower seeds you get a better-balanced food source, free from artificial additives and preservatives and packed with flavor and goodness.
Pumpkin seeds have a malleable, chewy texture and a subtly sweet, nutty flavor. While pumpkins seeds are probably best known for their role as a perennial Halloween treat, these seeds are so delicious and nutritious, that they should be enjoyed throughout the whole year.
When you treat yourself regularly with a serving of pumpkins seeds, you get:
- Essential amino acids like L-tryptophan - A natural sleep aid that raises your brain serotonin levels.
- Prostate protection - Pumpkin seeds contain chemical substances called cucurbitacins that can prevent your body from converting testosterone into a much more potent form of this hormone called dihydrotestosterone. Without dihydrotestosterone, it is more difficult for your body to produce more prostate cells, and therefore more difficult for your prostate to keep enlarging.
- Fortification for your bones - Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc. Studies have shown clear correlations between low levels of zinc and osteoporosis of the hip and spine.
- Anti-Inflammatory benefits - In animal studies, the addition of pumpkin seeds to the diet has compared favorably with use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in reducing inflammatory symptoms. Unlike indomethacin, pumpkin seeds do not increase the level of damaged fats (lipid peroxides) in the linings of the joints, a side effect that actually contributes to the progression of arthritis.
- A rich source of healthful minerals, protein and monounsaturated fat - Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will get 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, 19.7% of the DV for monounsaturated fat, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc.
Beneficial for everyone, pumpkin seeds have been used medicinally for thousands of years for parasites, gout, kidney and bladder stones, for their minerals and vitamins to help prevent tooth decay, and to nourish and heal the digestive tract.
According to research at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the sunflower kernel is rich in a number of components that have been shown to protect you from cardiovascular and other diseases - and to act as antioxidants and anti-carcinogens.
In comparison to other nuts and foods, sunflower seeds offer a variety of health benefits because they are high in the following nutrients:
- Vitamin E (tocopherols) and Betaine- protects you from cardiovascular disease.
- Phenoleic Acids (chlorogenic acid) - antioxidant and anticarcinogen
- Choline - Plays an important role in your memory and cognitive function
- Arginine - Associated with potential heart health benefits
- Lignans - May protect against heart disease and some cancers
Now, throw in a few delicious, nutritious raisins. Compounds found in raisins fight bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities and gum disease, according to research presented today at the 105th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
"Our laboratory analyses showed that phytochemicals in this popular snack food suppress the growth of several species of oral bacteria associated with caries and gum disease," said Christine D. Wu, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and lead author of the study.
Routine chemical analyses identified five compounds in Thompson seedless raisins: oleanolic acid, oleanolic aldehyde, betulin, betulinic acid, and 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-furfural. All of these are known phytochemicals--antioxidants found in plants.
Oleanolic acid inhibited the growth of two species of oral bacteria: Streptococcus mutans, which causes cavities, and porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes periodontal disease.
The compound was effective against the bacteria at concentrations ranging from about 4 to 1,000 ug/ml. At a concentation of 31 ug/ml, oleanolic acid also blocked S. mutans adherence to surfaces. Adherence is crucial for the bacteria to form dental plaque, the sticky biofilm consisting of oral bacteria that accumulates on teeth. After a sugary meal, these bacteria release acids that erode the tooth enamel.
Wu said that the data counter a longstanding public perception that raisins promote cavities.
"Raisins are perceived as sweet and sticky, and any food that contains sugar and is sticky is assumed to cause cavities'" Wu said. "But our study suggests the contrary. Phytochemicals in raisins may benefit oral health by fighting bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease."
"Foods that are sticky do not necessarliy cause tooth decay; it is mainly the added sugar (sucrose) that contributes to the problem," Wu said.
According to the study, the binding of bile acids by dietary fiber and other components found in raisins may have a positive health impact by reducing the risk of both heart disease and cancer.
In addition to the fiber and essential vitamins and minerals raisins contribute to the diet, recent independent laboratory analysis sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board (CRMB) found that raisins are a good source of inulin and several antioxidants, including catechins, plant sterols and flavonoids. Inulin, a fiber-like carbohydrate, ferments in the colon and creates conditions that promote healthy colon cell growth and help prevent growth of abnormal cells that may lead to disease. Only a few other commonly eaten foods, such as onions, garlic and wheat, are known to be good sources of inulin. Also, many other studies have shown that catechin and other phytochemicals are effective in helping to inhibit tumor development in animals.
New research sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board (CRMB) shows that California raisins are a good source of inulin, a naturally occurring fiber-like carbohydrate that helps keep the colon healthy.
"When inulin from raisins ferments in the colon, beneficial bacteria grow, and harmful bacterial growth is limited," explains Julie Jones, Ph.D., licensed nutritionist and college professor of nutrition. "Thus, inulin fermentation creates conditions that promote healthy colon cell growth and that help prevent growth of abnormal cells that may lead to disease." (Inulin is only SCD legal in whole natural foods, not as an additive.)
Many nutrition experts believe adults should be eating 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and various national surveys report that most Americans consume about half of the recommended 25 grams of fiber daily. Adding California Raisins - with naturally-occurring inulin - to the diet can be an easy way to protect the colon while helping to meet daily fruit and dietary fiber goals.
Raisins rank among the top antioxidant foods, according to USDA government tests. Antioxidants may protect cells and their components from oxidative damage - a little like "rust protection" for the body. Early findings suggest that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants -- such as raisins -- may help slow the process associated with aging in both body and brain.
(Fyi: Grapes and raisins can cause renal failure in dogs. Walnuts, macadamia nuts, along with chocolate, cocoa, onions, and cigarette nicotine can also prove deadly to dogs.)