Sweet potato fries have a reputation for being healthier than French fries, but you may wonder whether they’re really better for you.

After all, both kinds are usually deep-fried and served in oversized portions.

This article reviews the nutrition of sweet potato and French fries, as well as their potential health effects.

Nutrition Comparison

Detailed nutrition information is most readily available for store-bought, frozen fries.

The following nutritional comparison is for a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving — or 10–12 pieces of frozen fries — which can be baked as-is from the freezer:

French fries Sweet potato fries
Calories 125 150
Total fat* 4 grams 5 grams
Saturated fat 1 gram 1 gram
Trans fat 0 grams 0 grams
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 mg
Sodium* 282 mg 170 mg
Carbs 21 grams 24 grams
Fiber 2 grams 3 grams
Protein 2 grams 1 gram
Potassium 7% of the RDI 5% of the RDI
Manganese 6% of the RDI 18% of the RDI
Vitamin A 0% of the RDI 41% of the RDI
Vitamin C 16% of the RDI 7% of the RDI
Vitamin E 0% of the RDI 8% of the RDI
Thiamine 7% of the RDI 7% of the RDI
Niacin 11% of the RDI 4% of the RDI
Vitamin B6 9% of the RDI 9% of the RDI
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) 8% of the RDI 8% of the RDI
Folate 7% of the RDI 7% of the RDI

*Fat and sodium content may vary between different brands of either type of fries.

Sweet potato fries are slightly higher in calories and carbs but also more nutrient dense than French fries.

The greatest nutrient difference is that French fries have no vitamin A, while sweet potato fries are high in this nutrient. Vitamin A is important for your vision and immune system.

Serving Size and Cooking Methods Matter

The table in the previous chapter shows that a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of baked French fries has 125 calories, compared to 150 calories for the same serving of baked sweet potato fries.

In contrast, fries at restaurants are typically deep-fried — which nearly doubles the calorie content.

Here’s a comparison of the average calories, fat, and carbs in different size orders of deep-fried fast food fries:

Small (2.5 ounces or 71 grams) Medium (4.1 ounces or 117 grams) Large (5.4 ounces or 154 grams)
French fries
• Calories 222 365 480
• Fat 10 grams 17 grams 22 grams
• Carbs 29 grams 48 grams 64 grams
Sweet potato fries
• Calories 260 400 510
• Fat 11 grams 18 grams 22 grams
• Carbs 37 grams 57 grams 74 grams

A large serving of each kind of fast food fries has as many calories as some people need in an entire meal.

Additionally, the carb and fat content are about doubled if you choose a large rather than a small serving — regardless if they’re French or sweet potato fries.

Concerns Over Frying

Two issues that have made news headlines over the past few decades are trans fat and acrylamide in fries.

Is Trans Fat Still a Problem?

Trans fat in fries and other processed foods became a big concern in the 1990s, as studies linked it to increased heart disease risk.

Fortunately, new FDA rules ban the use of partially hydrogenated oil — the primary source of trans fat — in the U.S. food supply as of June 2018, though some may remain in the food supply until January 2020 as inventories are depleted.

Therefore, you should no longer see “partially hydrogenated oil” in ingredient lists of fries, nor should you find any trans fat listed in their nutrition information.

However, it’s likely still wise to limit your intake of deep-fried foods, as two studies suggest that small amounts of trans fat may form when oil is repeatedly used in a deep fryer.

Acrylamide Forms in Both Types of Fries

Acrylamide is a potentially harmful compound discovered in 2002 in cooked, starchy foods — including fries. In fact, fries are one of the major dietary sources of acrylamide.

It’s formed through a reaction between the amino acid asparagine and certain sugars when starchy foods are fried and — to a lesser extent — when they’re baked or roasted.

Though most studies on acrylamide levels in fries have tested French fries, this compound also forms in sweet potato fries and is what makes fries brown.

Acrylamide is classified as “probably carcinogenic” in humans. However, this is based on studies of animals given high doses of the compound.

A review of human observational studies suggests that typical acrylamide intakes are unlikely to be related to the most common causes of cancer — but more research is needed.

Additionally, food suppliers may use several strategies to reduce acrylamide levels — such as treating fries with certain additives — though this isn’t required by law.

If you’re making fries from scratch, you can reduce acrylamide formation by avoiding refrigerating potatoes, baking instead of frying, soaking potato slices in water for 15–30 minutes before cooking, and heating them just until golden, not brown.

Regular Consumption May Increase Disease Risk

French fries have come under increasing scrutiny due to new studies suggesting that higher intake may raise your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Obesity

In observational studies, higher intake of French fries is linked to an increased risk of weight gain and obesity.

One study associated an additional daily serving of French fries with gaining 3.35 pounds (1.5 kg) over a four-year period.

Studies also suggest that eating French fries at least once or twice a week may double the risk of food addiction in adults and children.

These observational studies don’t prove that French fries were what really contributed to weight gain or food addiction, but they do suggest that it may be wise to limit your intake.

Type 2 Diabetes

French fries and sweet potato fries are both rich in carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar.

The glycemic index (GI) — a measure of a food’s potential blood sugar impact — is 76 for fried sweet potatoes and 70 for fried white potatoes on a 100-point scale.

These are moderately-high values and suggest that both types of fries may raise your blood sugar similarly.

In an observational study, people who reported eating 3 or more servings of French fries per week had a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes, regardless of their body weight.

Additionally, a review of eight studies linked each daily 5.4-ounce (150-gram) increase in the consumption of French fries with a 66% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Though these studies don’t prove that fries increase diabetes risk, it may be wise to cut back on both types if you’re trying to lower your blood sugar.

Heart Disease

Some observational studies suggest that a higher intake of fried foods may increase heart disease risk — though studies haven’t been able to pinpoint French fries as a culprit.

Still, if you frequently eat fries, you may be more likely to develop heart disease risk factors, such as obesity and high blood pressure.

In a large observational study, people who ate 4 or more servings of French fries per week had a 17% higher risk of high blood pressure, compared to people who ate fewer than one serving per month.

The reasons behind these findings are uncertain but may be related to weight gain, which may increase high blood pressure risk.

Which Type Should You Choose?

To make the best choice, it would be ideal to have studies that directly compare the health effects of sweet potato and French fries when eaten in the same quantities. However, such studies are unavailable.

Still, many people’s diets fall short of meeting the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin A. Sweet potato fries boost your vitamin A intake whereas French fries lack this vitamin.

Furthermore, you can compare the two types of fries based on what is known:

French Fries Sweet potato fries
Nutritional content Low Moderate
Acrylamide Yes Yes
Trans fat May contain trace amounts May contain trace amounts
Linked to obesity Yes No
Linked to type 2 diabetes Yes No, but high in carbs
Linked to high blood pressure Yes No

Based on this comparison, sweet potato fries may be the better choice. Still, you shouldn’t eat oversized servings of deep-fried sweet potato fries on a regular basis.

It’s possible that the lack of studies and evidence on the health risks of sweet potato fries comes from people not eating as many sweet potato fries as French fries. Moderation is likely key.

The Bottom Line

Sweet potato fries are slightly higher in calories and carbs than French fries but also high in vitamin A — giving them a nutritional edge.

Still, deep-fried fries of any kind served in over-sized portions — as in many restaurants — may increase your risk of weight gain and related health problems.

A better choice is to bake frozen or homemade fries — regardless of what kind they are. This gives you more control over your serving size and helps limit your calorie intake.

Source: HealthLine 

Eggs are one of the world’s healthiest foods.

They contain numerous important nutrients and can provide you with impressive health benefits.

Raw eggs do have all the same benefits as cooked eggs.

However, eating raw eggs or foods containing them raises concerns about the risk of Salmonella infection.

Also, your absorption of some nutrients may be reduced or even blocked completely.

Raw Eggs Are Nutritious

Just like cooked eggs, raw eggs are extremely nutritious.

They’re rich in high-quality protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, eye-protecting antioxidants and various other nutrients.

One whole, large raw egg (50 grams) contains:

  • Calories: 72.
  • Protein: 6 grams.
  • Fat: 5 grams.
  • Vitamin A: 9% of the RDI.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 13% of the RDI.
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 8% of the RDI.
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 7% of the RDI.
  • Selenium: 22% of the RDI.
  • Phosphorus: 10% of the RDI.
  • Folate: 6% of the RDI.

In addition, one raw egg contains 147 mg of choline, an essential nutrient important for healthy brain function. Choline may also play a role in heart health.

Raw eggs are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin. These important antioxidants protect your eyes and may reduce your risk of age-related eye diseases.

It’s important to note that almost all the nutrients are concentrated in the yolk. The white mostly consists of protein.

The Protein in Them Isn’t as Well-Absorbed

Eggs are one of the best sources of protein in your diet.

In fact, eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids in the right ratios. For this reason, they’re often referred to as a “complete” protein source.

However, eating the eggs raw may decrease your absorption of these quality proteins.

One small study compared the absorption of protein from both cooked and raw eggs in 5 people.

The study found that 90% of protein in cooked eggs was absorbed, but only 50% in raw eggs. In other words, protein in cooked eggs was 80% more digestible.

Although protein is better absorbed from cooked eggs, some other nutrients may be slightly reduced by cooking. These include vitamin A, vitamin B5, phosphorus and potassium.

Raw Egg Whites May Block Biotin Absorption

Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin, also known as vitamin B7.

This vitamin is involved in your body’s production of glucose and fatty acids. It’s also important during pregnancy.

While egg yolks provide a good dietary source of biotin, raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin. Avidin binds to biotin in the small intestine, preventing its absorption.

Because heat destroys avidin, this is not an issue when the egg has been cooked.

In any case, even if you eat raw eggs, it’s highly unlikely it will lead to actual biotin deficiency. For that to happen, you would need to consume raw eggs in large amounts — at least a dozen per day for a long period of time.

Raw Eggs May Be Contaminated with Bacteria

Raw and undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella, a type of harmful bacteria.

This bacteria can be found on egg shells but also inside eggs.

Consuming contaminated eggs can cause food poisoning.

Symptoms of food poisoning include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, fever and headache. These symptoms usually appear 6 to 48 hours after eating and may last 3 to 7 days.

Fortunately, the risk of an egg being contaminated is very low. One study found only 1 of every 30,000 eggs produced in the US is contaminated.

However, from the 1970s through the 1990s, contaminated egg shells were the most common source of Salmonella infection.

Since then, some improvements have been made in the processing of eggs, leading to fewer Salmonella cases and outbreaks.

These changes include pasteurization. This process uses heat treatment to reduce the number of bacteria and other microorganisms in foods.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers it safe to use raw eggs if they are pasteurized.

Bacterial Infection Is More Dangerous for Certain People

Salmonella infection is more of a concern in certain populations. In some people, it can have serious or even fatal consequences.

These include:

  • Infants and young children: The youngest age group is more susceptible to infections due to immature immune systems.
  • Pregnant women: In rare cases, Salmonella may cause cramps in the uterus of pregnant women that can lead to premature birth or stillbirth.
  • The elderly: People over the age of 65 are more likely to die from food-borne infections. Contributing factors include malnutrition and age-related changes in the digestive system.
  • Immune-compromised individuals: The immune system is weaker and more vulnerable to infections in people with chronic disease. People with diabetes, HIV and malignant tumors are among those who should not eat raw eggs.

These groups should avoid eating raw eggs and foods that contain them. Homemade foods that often contain them include mayonnaise, cake icings and ice cream.

How to Minimize The Risk of Bacterial Infection

It’s not possible to completely eliminate the risk of infection from eating raw eggs. However, there are ways to reduce it.

Here are a few effective tips:

  • Buy pasteurized eggs and egg products, which are available in some supermarkets.
  • Only buy eggs kept in the refrigerated food section of the grocery store.
  • Keep eggs refrigerated in your home. Storing them at room temperature may induce rapid growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Don’t buy or consume eggs past their expiration date.
  • Get rid of cracked or dirty eggs.

However, the only sure way to eliminate the risk is to cook your eggs thoroughly.

Take Home Message

Raw eggs do have all the same benefits as cooked eggs.

However, protein absorption is lower from raw eggs, and the uptake of biotin may be prevented.

Most concerning is the small risk of raw eggs contaminated with bacteria leading to Salmonellainfection. Buying pasteurized eggs will lower your risk of infection.

Whether eating raw eggs is worth the risk is something you need to decide for yourself.

Just remember that very young children, pregnant women, elderly people and individuals with weak immune systems should not eat them.

Source: HealthLine 

As the long days of summer arrive, you might imagine yourself carrying overflowing platters of hot dogs and juicy burgers at the next big family cookout.

And summer is a time for relaxation and time with loved ones. But with rising temperatures and outdoor gatherings lasting from morning to night, it’s definitely not a time to relax those important, science-based safety standards for food.

Each year, 48 million people fall sick from food poisoning, whether in a restaurant or in their own home, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s not entirely clear how many of these cases occur in the home specifically. Researchers say it may be anywhere as low as 12 percent to as high as 80 percent. But no matter the statistic, it’s up to you to safely store and handle your food at home.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines for refrigeration and food safety, there are two kinds of bacteria that can grow on your food:

  • Pathogenic bacteria. These are especially dangerous as they cause foodborne illness. They grow rapidly in unrefrigerated foods and can’t usually be detected by how a food looks, tastes, or smells.
  • Spoilage bacteria. These develop and grow as food spoils. They do change the taste, look, and smell of your food. However, they’re far less likely to actually make you sick.

In either case, following the rules of safe food storage will help keep the food you eat both delicious and safe.

So, if you’ve been wondering how long you can keep that steak in the fridge or whether that can of tuna in your cabinet is still good enough for your casserole, we’ve got you covered. From freezer and fridge to canned foods in the cupboard, we’ve outlined the rules for safe food storage of beef, pork, poultry, and fish, all in time for your next set of leftovers.

Best practices for storing meat

Whatever the meat — beef, chicken, pork, or fish — there’s no question about it: You can safely store your food the longest in the freezer. That’s because you can safely freeze meats indefinitely.

According to USDA guidelines on freezing and food safety, freezing these foods to 0°F (-18°C) inactivates microbes like bacteria, yeasts, and mold as well as slows enzyme activity — all of the stuff that can cause your food to go bad.

The good news is no fancy vacuum sealer is required to safely freeze meat. However, sealing out moisture certainly does help keep these foods tasting fresh for longer when you eventually defrost and cook them.

So while you can safely store these foods in their original packaging, the USDA recommends that you add another layer of plastic wrap or foil before plunging your meats into the frozen abyss. That extra layer will help keep out moisture and keep those foods tasting fresh. Freezing meats when they’re as fresh as possible also helps preserve taste and nutrients.

You can even safely refreeze thawed meats that you don’t end up cooking. This assumes you thawed them properly to begin with (more on that later).

According to USDA guidelines, however, don’t refreeze foods left outside the refrigerator for longer than two hours or one hour in temperatures above 90°F (32°C).

Despite your freezer’s capacity to store meats and fish for a millennium, you probably shouldn’t keep these foods in your freezer for quite that long (unless you enjoy eating meat that tastes of shoe leather). Freezing your uncooked meats and fish is a safe practice, but at some point, it’s no longer a tasty one. It’s important to consider the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source and USDA recommended time limits for freezing cuts of meat and seafood.

Whether you follow those time limits or keep these foods frozen for much longer, the freezer will always be your safest bet. Raw meats and fish will always last longer in the freezer than they do in the fridge.

In addition to food storage guidelines, it’s just as important that you take care in defrosting these foods once you take them out of the freezer. USDA guidelines on safe defrosting say you should only thaw frozen meats in the fridge or in a leakproof plastic bag submerged in cold water. That’s because defrosting those foods at room temperature allows bacteria to grow too rapidly.

And as you defrost those frosty meats in the fridge, you also want to make sure they don’t drip on anything else as they thaw out. The same goes for marinating raw meat in the fridge. Place the meat in a covered dish to avoid spilling.

Beyond the freezer, canned meats and fish also offer you a very long storage life: between two and five years. This assumes you store these foods in proper conditions.

Your options for canned meats and fish are more limited than what you can store in your freezer or fridge, however. This is because canned meats and fish tend to come in a very specific format, like Spam, a tin of anchovies, or canned tuna fish.

Canning involves a different process to keep your food safe and unspoiled. The food is heated to kill bacteria then vacuum sealed to create a sterile environment and prohibit new bacteria growth.

There are very few examples where the fridge is your best storage option over your freezer or canned foods in your cupboard, but these examples do exist. The FDA recommends you skip freezing prepared meats that have been stuffed, for instance, and only refrigerate those before cooking.

Also, the USDA says mayonnaise, cream sauces, and lettuces don’t freeze well. Don’t freeze these foods or any meats that have been prepared with them.

Freezer storage guidelines

So just how long is “too long” before frozen meats won’t be so tasty?

how long can I store meat
Beef

When it comes to most uncooked cuts of beef, you can freeze them for several months without sacrificing quality.

According to the FDA,  you can keep cuts, like roasts, frozen for anywhere from 4 to 12 months and steaks for 6 to 12 months. Ground beef should be frozen for no more than three to four months.

Once cooked, you can also safely freeze those beefy leftovers. But the FDA recommends you keep these frozen for only about two to three months. Again, this is purely a matter of quality. Meat can be kept longer in the freezer than these guidelines espouse. But at that point, you may begin to sacrifice quality.

Poultry

If you want to freeze a whole chicken or turkey, the good news is that frozen poultry can keep for up to one year without sacrificing much quality. The FDA says chicken parts like thighs, breasts, or wings keep well for up to nine months, but giblets should be kept no longer than three to four months. Ground chicken should probably be kept for no longer than three to four months as well.

Pork

For uncooked pork, freezer guidelines are similar to beef. Roasts can be kept frozen for between 4 and 12 months. Chops are OK in the freezer for four to six months.

For cooked cuts of pork, the FDA recommends you keep these frozen for only two to three months to maximize quality.

When it comes to smoked and processed pork like ham, hot dogs, bacon, and lunch meats, the FDA recommends you only freeze these foods for one to two months.

Seafood

Recommendations for freezing seafood are a bit more complicated. Lean fish like catfish or cod can be kept frozen for six to eight months. Fatty fish like salmon should be kept frozen for only two to three months.

Shellfish like shrimp and other seafood like scallops can be kept frozen for three to six months. Cooked fish should be kept frozen for no longer than four to six months. And smoked fish should only be kept frozen for two months before sacrificing taste.

Fridge storage guidelines

When we shift to thinking about storing food in the fridge, unlike the freezer, safety as well as taste is a concern. A fridge kept at 40°F (4°C) does slow the growth of dangerous bacteria. But since it’s not as cold as a freezer, you want to pay close attention to storage time limits set by the FDA and toss any foods that have been kept too long.

how long can I store meat
Beef

Most uncooked meat, regardless of cut, can be stored in the fridge for three to five days. But there are definitely exceptions. Ground meat and offal like liver and kidneys should only be kept in the fridge for one to two days. Leftovers containing cooked meat should be kept for no longer than three to four days before tossing.

Poultry

Raw poultry, whether whole, parts like breasts or thighs, or ground giblets or meat, can only be kept for one to two days in the fridge. But, once cooked, you get a bit of an extension. The FDA says you can keep cooked poultry in the fridge for three to four days.

Pork

Fresh, uncooked pork can be refrigerated about as long as other meats: three to five days. This is regardless of whether it’s a roast or pork chops. Raw ground pork should also only be kept in the fridge for one to two days. Once cooked, pork dishes should be kept for two to three days in the fridge before tossing.

The guidelines are different for processed pork products. Unopened packages of hot dogs and lunch meat can be kept for two weeks. Once those packages are opened, only keep hot dogs for a week and luncheon meat for three to five days.

Only keep bacon for seven days. The same goes for a whole, cooked ham. But for half a ham, you can refrigerate it for three to five days. Ham slices can be kept in the fridge for three to four days.

Seafood

Lean or fatty fish and shellfish can only be refrigerated for one to two days before needing to toss. You can keep cooked fish leftovers for three to four days. Smoked fish, on the other hand, can be kept longer. You can safely refrigerate it for 14 days. Once opened, canned fish like tuna can be safely refrigerated for three to four days.

Canned food storage guidelines

how long can I store meat

In the world of safe food storage, canned food is a real boon. It provides many affordable and long-lasting options. According to USDA guidelines, you can keep canned food for two to five years, whether it’s fish, poultry, pork, or beef.

Commercially canned food is placed in a sterile, vacuum-sealed container and heat processed at 250°F (121°C). This process kills microorganisms, halts enzymes from forming, and prevents new bacteria from entering the stored food.

Things can, however, go wrong. Sometimes canned food can be damaged during the manufacturing process or become badly rusted. If your canned food is heavily rusted or damaged, you’ll definitely want to discard it. You’ll also want to get rid of any canned food that’s bulging or smells bad. It might be a sign of C. botulinum, a bacterium that can cause a deadly form of food poisoning. Botulism is incredibly rare, especially in commercially canned foods. But there’s a risk of it developing in foods canned improperly at home.

Once in your home, you’ll definitely want to make sure to store canned food properly. That means keeping canned food somewhere that’s cool, dry, and dark, ideally below 85°F (29°C) and no higher than 100°F (38°C). Never keep canned food somewhere that’s damp or hot, like under the sink or next to the stove.

Once you open canned food, bacteria can begin to grow, so you’ll want to quickly refrigerate and store any unused portion. According to the USDA, you can safely put your leftover canned food right into the fridge. In order to preserve taste and flavor, it’s recommended that you refrigerate any unused portion in a separate, clean storage container.

You can also freeze unused canned seafood in a proper storage container for up to two months.

Takeaway

So, what if after reading all of this, you immediately forget all of these best practices? If you find yourself staring blankly at your open fridge, wondering what to do, keep the following contact information tacked to your fridge.

Source: HealthLine 

Bananas and milk is a common combination often featured in smoothies and shakes.

However, despite the popularity of this pairing, many believe that bananas and milk may not quite be a match made in heaven.

In fact, the internet is flooded with claims that consuming bananas and milk together can damage digestive health, cause congestion, and wreak havoc on your waistline.

This article takes an in-depth look at whether eating bananas with milk is healthy.

Benefits

There are several potential benefits of consuming bananas and milk together.

Highly nutritious

Both bananas and milk are rich in several important nutrients.

For example, milk is a great source of protein, potassium, B vitamins, and phosphorus.

It’s also rich in calcium, an essential mineral that plays a key role in bone health, muscle contractions, nerve function, and more.

Meanwhile, bananas are loaded with fiber, manganese, potassium, and vitamin B6.

Like other fruits, bananas are high in vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that doubles as an antioxidant to protect against cell damage.

Enjoying bananas and milk together can help squeeze more nutrients into your diet and boost your intake of several vitamins and minerals.

Promotes post-workout recovery

What you eat after working out is incredibly important. In fact, filling up on the right foods can fuel muscle growth, enhance performance, and speed recovery.

For example, eating a good amount of protein after exercise can help repair tissues and promote muscle synthesis.

Consuming carbs can also rebuild glycogen stores in your muscles, which may have been broken down for fuel during your workout.

Milk, in particular, is often recommended as a post-workout snack due to its content of high quality proteins like whey and casein.

Bananas are also a great option that can help provide carbs to replace glycogen stores in your muscles.

For best results, try pairing milk and bananas in a post-workout smoothie for a simple way to bump up your intake of both protein and carbs.

Potential downsides

Despite the possible benefits of pairing milk with bananas, there are a few potential downsides of this common combination.

May contribute to weight gain

Though milk and bananas are both very nutritious, they each provide a moderate number of calories in each serving.

For instance, one medium banana has 105 calories.

While both ingredients are fine in moderation, enjoying multiple servings of bananas and milk each day can cause your calorie intake to start stacking up quickly.

Without making other adjustments to your diet, this may contribute to increased weight gain over time.

May be incompatible

Based on Ayurvedic food principles, bananas and milk are two ingredients that are considered incompatible.

Ayurveda is a holistic form of medicine that’s focused on balancing several forms of energy within your body to promote better health.

According to Ayurveda, eating bananas and milk together can diminish agni, or fire, which is the entity responsible for the digestion and metabolism of foods.

Consuming bananas and milk is also anecdotally claimed to contribute to sinus congestion and increase the production of toxins in your body.

However, while some research suggests that an Ayurvedic diet may be beneficial for weight management, there’s little research on how it may affect other aspects of health.

Furthermore, there’s also no evidence to suggest that combining foods, such as bananas and milk, can interfere with digestion or be harmful to health in any way.

The bottom line

Bananas and milk are both tasty and rich in important nutrients.

Though bananas and milk are considered incompatible according to Ayurveda, there’s no research to support the claim that they harm your health or digestion.

Therefore, these two nutritious ingredients can be safely enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet.

Source: HealthLine 

Pickled beets are a convenient alternative to fresh beets.

They’re rich in nutrients and offer many of the same health benefits as their fresh counterparts but have a much longer shelf life.

However, pickled beets can also be high in salt and sugar, so you may wonder whether they’re truly good for you.

This article discusses the pros and cons of eating pickled beets.

Rich in nutrients

Beets are a root vegetable that’s often pickled.

Though pickling causes a small loss of nutrients, pickled beets remain a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Just 3.5 ounces (100 grams) provide:

  • Calories: 65
  • Protein: less than 1 gram
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Carbs: 16 grams
  • Sugar: 11 grams
  • Fiber: less than 1 gram
  • Copper: 13% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Manganese: 10% of the DV
  • Folate: 7% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 4% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 4% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 3% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid: 3% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 3% of the DV
  • Choline: 3% of the DV

They’re especially rich in natural sugars, copper, folate, and manganese. These nutrients help boost your energy levels, make DNA, regulate your immune system, and build and repair tissues and bones.

Packed with beneficial compounds

Beets are likewise a rich source of flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants, which protect your body against disease by fighting unstable molecules called free radicals.

In fact, beetroot is considered one of the 10 plants with the highest antioxidant activity. They’re especially rich in betalains and betanins, two polyphenols that give this veggie its deep red color.

However, the pickling process reduces antioxidant levels by 25–70%. Thus, pickled beets contain lower antioxidant levels than those of other forms of beets.

Beets are also a rich source of nitrates and saponins.

While nitrates help lower blood pressure and enhance athletic performance, saponins may boost immune and heart health.

Pickled beets made via fermentation or the addition of raw, unpasteurized vinegar also contain probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria linked to improved immune function, as well as better heart and digestive health.

These types of pickled beets are difficult to find in most grocery stores, so you can either make your own or look for them at farmers markets.

May offer certain health benefits

Pickled beets are linked to certain health benefits.

May boost heart health

Pickled beets are naturally rich in nitrates, which your body converts into nitric oxide. This molecule helps blood vessels dilate, which protects against high blood pressure.

Research suggests that beet products can lower blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg. However, this effect likely only lasts a few hours, so you need to eat nitrate rich-foods regularly to prolong this effect.

Nitrates may also preserve endothelial function. The endothelium is a thin membrane lining the inside of your blood vessels that helps regulate blood clotting and immune function.

May improve digestion

In pickled beets made through natural fermentation, the healthy bacteria on beets’ skin break down their sugars over several days.

Fermented pickled beets are rich in healthy bacteria called probiotics, which improve your digestion by making it easier for your body to break down foods and absorb their nutrients.

Probiotics may also protect against toxins and harmful bacteria, as well as reduce gas, constipation, and bloating. What’s more, they may relieve symptoms of gut disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.

May improve physical performance

The nitrates in pickled beets may improve athletic ability by boosting your muscles’ power and performance.

Some studies suggest that beetroot juice increases performance on timed endurance or high intensity exercise by around 3%.

However, these effects appear strongest in untrained individuals and are typically observed with beetroot juice, not pickled beets. It’s unclear how many pickled beets you’d have to eat to see the same effects.

May regulate your blood sugar levels

Pickled beets may lower your blood sugar levels.

Most varieties of pickled beets are made with vinegar, which studies suggest may reduce blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal.

Experts believe that beets’ nitrates and antioxidants also keep blood sugar levels in check.

In one study, concentrated beetroot juice caused a lower spike in blood sugar and insulin levels than a similar sugary beverage. Nonetheless, other studies failed to find the same result.

What’s more, none of these studies examined the direct effect of pickled beets on blood sugar and insulin levels. Therefore, more research is needed.

Possible downsides

Depending on how they’re made, some varieties of pickled beets may pack salt and added sugars.

Research links excess sugar and salt intake to poor health and an increased risk of illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it’s best to read labels carefully and pick varieties with little or no added sugar or salt, whenever possible.

Beets are also rich in oxalates — compounds that may reduce nutrient absorption and promote kidney stones. Therefore, people predisposed to kidney stones may want to limit their intake.

Though pickled beets may turn your urine pink or red, this side effect is harmless.

The bottom line

Pickled beets are popular on salads or as a side or snack.

These naturally sweet root veggies may have a number of health benefits, including improved digestion, physical performance, blood sugar levels, and heart health.

However, you should avoid varieties with high levels of added salt or sugar. To reap the greatest benefits, choose those made via natural fermentation or with raw, unpasteurized vinegar.

Source: HealthLine

Your body runs off what you feed it. The best way to get the most energy from your food is to make sure you’re giving yourself the best food possible.

Besides what you eat, when you eat can also impact your energy. Did you ever notice how you feel sluggish after a big lunch or dinner? That’s because your body is using its energy to digest that big meal instead of powering the rest of your body.

The easiest way to avoid the post-meal coma is to eat several smaller-portioned meals throughout the day. This will keep your body fueled regularly and may even help you lose weight.

1. Unprocessed foods

While a cheeseburger and fries might be comforting while you’re eating it, it’s nutritional value is low. Processed foods, such as some packaged or canned foods, candy, boxed meals, and precooked meats are typically full of preservatives, additives, sodium, trans fat, and artificial ingredients that may slow you down.

2. Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables

The fresher your food is, the more nutrients it will contain. Unlike processed foods that may be stripped of nutrients for a longer shelf life, fresh foods typically contain higher nutrients. Eating in-season fruits and vegetables means they ripened naturally.

3. Non-caffeinated beverages

Caffeine is OK in moderation, and it has been shown to have some health benefits. Although it provides a short-term boost, it doesn’t actually provide the body with energy. The first sips may give you a jolt, but if you’re not providing your body with good nutrition and balanced meals and snacks, you’ll eventually feel run down.

If you must have your fix, opt for black coffee or unsweetened tea. Sodas and energy drinks can be full of refined sugar and artificial ingredients that can cause you to crash, and lead to other health issues if overconsuming.

4. Lean proteins

Red meats marbled in fat adds saturated fat to your diet. Leaner meats, like chicken, turkey, and fish, still provide quality protein, but contain less saturated fat. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and tuna, can add beneficial, heart healthy fats.

5. Whole grains and complex carbs

Just like processed foods, refined carbohydrates like sugars and white flour add little nutrition. Choosing whole grain foods and complex carbohydrates ensures that your body gets the full benefits of the hull of the grain that adds fiber to your diet.

6. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are some of the best foods to beat fatigue and fight hunger. Getting a variety of nuts and seeds in your diet can provide healthy nutrients and energy. Try almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Eating raw, unsalted versions is recommended. And they’re the perfect midafternoon snack.

7. Water

Drinking water is essential for optimal functioning of the body. Although water doesn’t provide energy in the form of calories, it helps facilitate the energetic processes in the body, which is an energy boost in itself. Sip on water throughout the day, and try to swap out sodas, coffee, and other drinks for a glass of water. This simple change can make a big difference, and you’ll feel better before you know it.

8. Vitamins and supplements

If you’re not getting everything you need from your food, you may want to consider taking a daily vitamin. Consulting with a nutritionist or homeopathic doctor could get you started on a nutritional supplement regimen. Make sure to talk to your doctor about any and all nutritional supplements you’re considering.

9. Bananas

Researchers compared bananas to carbohydrate sports drinks in cyclists who needed sustained energy for their long rides. They found that the banana offered just as much fuel to the riders as the drink. Bananas, right? Turns out, bananas are packed with potassium, fiber, vitamins, and the perfect amount of carbohydrates that provide you with a big boost of natural energy. Plus, bananas are often less than a dollar per fruit, and that’s a price you can’t beat for so much extra energy.

10. Oats

They’re not just for breakfast. A big bowl of oats packs a punch of filling fiber and even a little protein. Plus, it’s good for people who experience blood sugar spikes and drops with other processed breakfast cereals. Choosing the plain versions of instant packets of oatmeal, steel-cut oats, or old-fashioned oats is best as they aren’t filled with extra sugar. You can then have control of what you put in it such as milk, a little honey, and some mixed berries. Then you can be on your way with more energy to get you through the day.

11. Chia seeds

While you might not be training for an endurance exercise event, chia seeds may be an excellent source of prolonged energy thanks to carb content, healthy fats, and filling fiber. Two tablespoons of chia provide about 24 grams of carbs and a whopping 4,800 grams of omega-3s, which are heart healthy and anti-inflammatory. According to one small study that involved six endurance athletes, eating chia seeds offers just as much energy as carbohydrate sports drinks. For everyday purposes, sprinkling in a few tablespoons of chia seeds with your morning smoothie or adding a scoop to your afternoon yogurt may provide just enough of an energy boost for you to keep fatigue at bay.

Takeaway

Being mindful of what’s on your plate can be a healthy and effective way to keep your energy up. With regular exercise and good nutrition, you can maintain healthy levels of energy during depressive episodes.

Source: HealthLine

Summer brings many opportunities to light a grill and cook up a bounty of juicy meats, corn on the cob, and potatoes for a backyard barbecue.

But as more Americans are embracing a plant-based way of eating, traditional BBQ foods are shifting.

In fact, a survey from Nielsen found that more than one-third — 39 percent — of Americans say they are actively trying to eat more plant-based foods.

“We know that eating more plant-based [food] is good for us and also the environment,” says Vanessa Rissetto, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian in the New York City area. “Tofu, lentils, Impossible Burgers are all great alternatives to meat that are tasty and not just brown rice and steamed vegetables. Also, more plants means more fiber, which is good for your gut health and helps with feeling full.”

So, if you’re one of those people who are trying to increase the amount of plant-based foods in your diet — or you’re cooking for someone who is — let this list of plant-based foods inspire your next summer BBQ menu.

1. Fake meat burgers

You don’t have to fuss with making your own meat-free burger mixture. Many brands have mastered the best texture and flavor for spectacular sandwiches, and you can buy them frozen or fresh right at your grocery store.

“With burgers, there are amazing options, from those that mimic a classic beef patty, such as Beyond Meat’s widely available Beyond Burger, to legume-based burgers such as the classic — and crowd-pleasing — Spicy Black Bean burger from Morningstar Farms,” says Ann Taylor Pittman, recipe developer and author of Everyday Whole Grains: 175 New Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice.

Just be aware that some of these burgers have more sodium than traditional beef patties. With fixings like cheese and condiments, you could really whip up a salt storm. Cut back on high-sodium toppings, and opt for a low-sodium side like slaw or corn salad instead of fries.

2. Veggie hot dogs

In addition to plant-based fake meat options, roasted carrots look a great deal like hot dogs, and if they’re cooked right, they can taste and feel like one, too.

“A roasted carrot spiced with cumin is excellent in a whole-wheat hot dog bun topped with well-seasoned cabbage,” says Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and founder of Maya Feller Nutrition.

Low and slow is the key to the carrot-turned-hot dog. This temperature setting for roasting allows the veggie to become tender and toothsome, and it infuses the vegetable with any spices or rubs you’ve applied.

Carrots are low-calorie, so you might feel a bit is lacking from your meal if you only eat one. You can help your satiety by eating a spoonful of a hearty grain salad in place of potato chips.

3. Tofu steaks

With proper handling, tofu tastes and cooks a lot like chicken or pork.

“Extra-firm tofu grills really well,” Feller says. “I like to marinate it in ginger, garlic, and coconut aminos with a dash of red pepper flakes.”

If presenting tofu steaks in place of regular ones won’t fly, get a bit more creative.

“You can go a little unexpected by grilling slabs of extra-firm tofu and building your menu around tofu banh mi, with a build-your-own sandwich bar with all the fixings — pickled carrots and radishes, sliced jalapeños, cilantro, hoisin sauce, mayo,” Pittman says.

4. Vegetable fritters

You may think of potato fritters as winter fare, when they’re often topped with sour cream or apple sauce and eaten as part of a holiday celebration.

But really the small, round veggie pancakes are great as a year-round alternative to meat and fish patties.

Feller likes potato and broccoli fritters. Pan-fried in a bit of oil, fritters can seem rich, so balance them with a topping of fresh tomato salsa. Or dress them up with a no-cook sauce like chimichurri or pesto.

5. Pulled ‘pork’ jackfruit sandwiches

Jackfruit has made a name for itself in vegan and vegetarian circles as a dense and chewy meat alternative that’s so good it frequently convinces carnivores they are eating the real thing.

“You can make a wonderfully messy pulled jackfruit sandwich instead of the usual pulled pork. Upton’s Naturals makes a tasty, not-too-sweet version that’s great on a soft bun with a scoop of coleslaw,” Pittman says. The fleshy interior of the Southeast Asian fruit handles a bit like meat.

Marinate it with barbecue sauce and sauté it on a skillet on the grill for a fast meat-free option.

Like some other plant alternatives, jackfruit can have a great deal of sodium. Cut back with low- and no-sodium sauces to keep the numbers manageable.

6. A veggie platter

Of course, you don’t have to try to hide the fact you’re eating veggies in place of meat. You can own it and really put on a show-stopping presentation.

“Flip the script by doing something a little unexpected: a grilled veggie and hummus platter as the centerpiece of your barbecue. Grill bell pepper strips, zucchini and yellow squash slices, asparagus spears, blanched Brussels sprouts, baby artichokes, broccoli spears, blanched carrots, fennel wedges, or any other veggies that would go well with hummus,” Pittman says.

Plus, the presentation is destined to be so beautiful, everyone will be proud to show off their non-traditional BBQ spread on social media.

It’s all about options

If these options don’t sound like they may be for everyone and you’re hosting a backyard barbecue that will include a mix of guests — those who eat meat and those who prefer plant-based alternatives — don’t feel the need to have an entire menu for both.

Remember, all you need is a few options that you can pull together with your traditional menu in order to make sure everyone at the get-together is well-fed.

“Don’t make a big deal out of it; just have meatless burgers and dogs alongside the traditional versions,” Pitman says. “There might be meat-eaters who are excited to try some of the plant-based options, too.”

Source: HealthLine

Many people have a love-hate relationship with bacon.

They love the taste and crunchiness but are worried that all that processed meat and fat could be harmful.

Well, many myths in the history of nutrition didn’t stand the test of time.

Let’s find out if the idea that bacon causes harm is one of them.

How Is Bacon Made?

There are different types of bacon and the final product can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Bacon is made from pork, although you can also find similar products like turkey bacon.

Bacon typically goes through a curing process, during which the meat is soaked in a solution of salt, nitrates and sometimes sugar. In most cases, the bacon is smoked afterward.

Curing and smoking are ways to preserve the meat, but these processing methods also contribute to the characteristic taste of bacon and help preserve its red color.

Adding salt and nitrates makes the meat an unfriendly environment for bacteria to grow. As a result, bacon has a much longer shelf life than fresh pork.

Bacon is a processed meat, but the amount of processing and the ingredients used vary between manufacturers.

Bacon Contains a Lot of Fat

The fats in bacon are about 50% monounsaturated and a large part of those is oleic acid.

This is the same fatty acid that olive oil is praised for and generally considered “heart-healthy”.

Then about 40% is saturated fat, accompanied by a decent amount of cholesterol.

The remaining fat in bacon is 40% saturated and 10% polyunsaturated, accompanied by a decent amount of cholesterol.

Dietary cholesterol was a concern in the past, but scientists now agree that it has minor effects on cholesterol levels in your blood.

In contrast, the health effects of saturated fat are highly controversial. Many health professionals are convinced that a high intake of saturated fat is a major cause of heart disease.

Although high saturated fat intake may increase certain risk factors for heart disease, studies have failed to reveal any consistent links between saturated fat intake and heart disease.

In the end, the health effects of saturated fat may depend on the type of saturated fat, the dietary context and people’s overall lifestyle.

You shouldn’t be worried about the high fat content of bacon, especially since the typical serving size is small.

Bacon Is Fairly Nutritious

Meat tends to be very nutritious and bacon is no exception. A typical 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion of cooked bacon contains:

  • 37 grams of high-quality animal protein
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12
  • 89% of the RDA for selenium
  • 53% of the RDA for phosphorus
  • Decent amounts of the minerals iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium

However, all nutrients found in bacon are also found in other, less processed pork products.

Bacon Is High in Salt

Since salt is used in the curing process, bacon has a pretty high salt content.

Eating food high in salt has been associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer.

Excessive salt intake may also raise blood pressure in people with salt sensitivity.

Although high blood pressure is harmful in the long term, studies have not revealed a consistent association between salt intake and death due to heart disease.

Nevertheless, if you have high blood pressure and suspect you may be sensitive to salt, consider limiting your intake of salty foods, including bacon.

Nitrates, Nitrites and Nitrosamines

Processed meat also contains additives like nitrates and nitrites.

The problem with these additives is that high-heat cooking causes them to form compounds called nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.

However, antioxidants like vitamin C and erythorbic acid are now frequently added during the curing process. These effectively reduce bacon’s nitrosamine content.

Bacon contains much less nitrosamine than it did in the past, but scientists are still concerned that a high intake may increase the risk of cancer.

It also contains various other potentially harmful compounds, which are discussed in the next chapter.

Other Potentially Harmful Compounds

When it comes to cooking meat, it is important to find balance. Overcooking is unhealthy, but undercooking can also be a concern.

If you use too much heat and burn the meat, it will form harmful compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines, which are associated with cancer.

On the other hand, some meats may contain pathogens like bacteria, viruses and parasites.

For this reason, you need to cook meat well enough, but not too much.

Concerns About Processed Meat

For the past decades, nutritionists have been concerned about the health effects of bacon and other processed meats.

Many observational studies have associated a high intake of processed meat with cancer and heart disease.

In particular, processed meat has been associated with colon, breast, liver and lung cancers, as well as others.

There are also links between processed meat and heart disease.

A large analysis of prospective studies found that processed meat was significantly associated with both heart disease and diabetes.

However, people who eat a lot of processed meat tend to follow an unhealthy lifestyle in general. They are more likely to smoke and exercise less frequently.

Regardless, these findings should not be ignored because the associations are consistent and fairly strong.

The Bottom Line

Many studies have linked processed meat products, such as bacon, with cancer and heart disease.

All of them are observational studies, which cannot prove causation. Nonetheless, their results have been fairly consistent.

At the end of the day, you have to make your own choice and take a look at the matter objectively.

If you think including bacon in your life is worth the risk, then stick to a simple rule that applies to most processed food products: moderation is key.

Source: HealthLine

Healthline created a short quiz which shows if you are at a risk of Type 2 Diabetess because of your habits or not.

Click and check it out: https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/risk-assessment-tool#1

Apple cider vinegar is often used in cooking and baking, or to make marinades, dressings, and even beverages.

To make it, chopped apples are covered with water and left to ferment to form ethanol. Natural bacteria convert the ethanol into acetic acid, which is the main component of vinegar.

It’s not often that an entire bottle of apple cider vinegar is used in one sitting, which may leave you wondering whether it ever expires.

This article reviews whether apple cider vinegar goes bad, plus storage tips to improve its quality and shelf life.

Shelf life and proper storage tips

The acidic nature of vinegar makes it a self-preserving pantry staple, which means it generally never sours or expires.

The pH scale, which ranges from 0–14 indicates how acidic a substance is. A pH lower than 7 is acidic, and a pH greater than 7 is basic. Acetic acid, the main constituent of apple cider vinegar, has a highly acidic pH between 2 and 3.

Vinegar has natural antimicrobial properties, which likely contribute to its long shelf life. In fact, vinegar can prevent the growth of illness-causing germs like E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans. 

In one study, vinegar had the most antibacterial characteristics when compared with coffee, soda, tea, juice, and olive oil.

The best way to store apple cider vinegar is in an airtight container in a cool, dark place away from sunlight, such as in a kitchen pantry or basement. Refrigerating apple cider vinegar is unnecessary and does not improve its shelf life.

How apple cider vinegar changes over time

As vinegar ages, it may undergo aesthetic changes, such as becoming hazy or separating. You may also notice cloudy sediments or fibers at the bottom of the bottle.

This is largely due to exposure to oxygen, which happens every time you open the lid.

Over time, oxygenation also causes the release of citric acid and sulfur dioxide, two preservatives in vinegar.

This could affect how it tastes or contributes to a recipe, but these changes don’t significantly affect the nutritional value or shelf life of apple cider vinegar.

Before using apple cider vinegar that you’ve had for a while, you can smell and even taste it to make sure it’ll still work well in your recipe.

Keep in mind that even though apple cider vinegar products may have an expiration date on them, many manufacturers note that its safe to use well beyond this date.

The bottom line

Apple cider vinegar is acidic and has antimicrobial properties that make it self-preserving. This means that it’s safe to consume and use in recipes even if it’s old.

However, apple cider vinegar can undergo aesthetic changes over time that may slightly change its taste, texture, or appearance. This is primarily due to chemical changes that happen when it’s exposed to oxygen.

Still, these types of changes do not affect the shelf life of apple cider vinegar, and it’s not dangerous to consume it when it gets old.