24 Jan Case Managers – February 2022
Foods with Surprising Benefits
Often times we are either told or telling ourselves not to eat certain foods because of negative consequences or we steer towards certain foods because of what we hear. Let’s explore some foods with surprising benefits!
Since there is such a push for us to eat our green veggies, people often forget about white produce such as cauliflower, garlic and onions. They are also often thought to have less nutrients because of their lack of color. This is far from true. Cauliflower is packed with vitamin C, folate (type of B vitamin) and can help protect us from cancer. It also lacks anything bad, is low in cholesterol, sodium and calories. Have you ever tried cauliflower rice? It’s delicious added to or in place of rice! Onions and garlic are often used for flavor, but also contain compounds known to protect us from cancer.
Popcorn is often seen as unhealthy, but without all of the butter and salt that you find at a movie theater, it’s a great source of whole grains and a great source of fiber. Additionally, it can help prevent degenerative diseases like osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. You will want to avoid this if you have diverticulosis though!
When I was a kid I only remember pumpkin being used for pie filling or in bread and never thought of it as necessarily healthy. In truth, pumpkin is packed with vitamin A which is a great way to improve on your eye health. It contains antioxidants that can prevent cataracts and slow the development of macular degeneration. Pumpkin is also packed with vitamin C and can fight infections and help you recover from illness! Have you ever had a pumpkin smoothie or pumpkin pie in a cup?
Honey is a natural sweetener that is also full of antioxidants and can be good for inflammation. It also contains bacteria that is good for gut health and gut health is important for absorbing nutrients. Don’t forget to thank a honey bee today!
A great way to start your day is with some protein and one way to do that is with eggs. Eggs contain a full range of vitamin B, amino acids, as well as some nutrients not found in many foods like vitamin D and selenium. Eggs also make you feel full for a while. To read more on this go to https://www.webmd.com/
Fun fact! Years ago I heard someone say she buys brown eggs because they aren’t bleached like white eggs. Little did she know bleach has nothing to do with the color of an egg! What does? The color of the egg is actually determined by breed of the chicken. You can tell this by either learning the breeds or looking at their ear lobe color. Chickens with white ear lobes lay white eggs and chickens with dark ear lobes lay brown eggs!
Be well, Julie Larson, Lead Case Manager
The History of Chocolate
When people think of Valentines Day, the first thoughts that come to mind are most likely love, hearts and roses, but right there with the other holiday staples must be chocolate. Chocolate is one of the world’s most popular sweet treats and can be found in a number of dishes, not just desserts! I tracked down a Smithsonian Magazine article on the history of chocolate and thought it would be a good time to share some of the history with you! If you would like to know more, just web search “Smithsonian History of Chocolate” and you will find the full article.
Chocolate, as we all know, is made up of the seeds of a cacao tree, also known as cocoa beans or cacao. These beans can be traced back all the way to the Aztecs, where they developed a bitter drink involving cacao beans. Chocolate has been around for at LEAST 2,000 years, many historians believing even longer. Early writings and other evidence has pointed out that cacao beans were used as currency back in the 16th century. Not only did they hold monetary value, but several cultures believed that the cacao bean held magical properties and were used in different rituals and ceremonies. Chocolate in Europe was used throughout the 17th century as a medicinal and nutritious drink only the wealthy could afford. It wasn’t just other countries where chocolate held value. In the United States during the Revolutionary War, chocolate was a prominent staple in soldiers’ rations, sometimes taking the place of wages.
The sweet product that we know and love today, didn’t take form until the early 1800’s. 1828 to be exact, when a Dutch chemist found a way to create powdered chocolate, which, only a few twenty or so years later, would be turned into a solid bar. In 1847, Joseph Fry invented the first ever chocolate bar by creating a thick chocolate paste by adding the melted cacao butter into the powered chocolate. It is crazy to think about where the chocolate industry is now! The manufacturing of this treat is an over FOUR BILLION dollar industry! The average American eats over nine pounds of chocolate each year; that’s a lot of candy. So, while chocolate and cocoa beans may not be used as currency in today’s world, that is not to say that chocolate isn’t valuable! It is an industry that brings in a ton of cash around the world.
This Valentine’s Day when you sit down with your box of chocolates, think about the long journey that chocolate has taken to get to the sweet treat it is today!
Happy Valentines Day! Stay warm and I hope to see you soon at the senior center! Check out all of our events on page 10 and 11!