Buttross Dentistry Blog

5 Health Benefits of Avocados

Article Credit: http://www.southernliving.com/healthy-living/mind-body/avocado-nutrition

Avocados, the buttery-smooth, antioxidant-rich fruit, are the perfect complement to a variety of dishes. Natural oils give the nutty-flavored favorite its rich texture, while the high protein content makes it a satisfying meat substitute. Some studies even suggest that the ingredients found in avocados help to combat certain forms of cancer.

Not only are avocados tasty, but they are also packed with healthy benefits.

  1. They protect your eyes from disease.
    Avocados have a high content (more than any other fruit) of the carotenoid lutein, which protects against cataracts and macular degeneration—a leading cause of blindness.
  2. They will lower your cholesterol.
    Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance that has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. In one study, 45 people saw an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for just one week.
  3. They help regulate and reduce blood pressure.
    Avocados are a great source of potassium, containing even more than bananas. Studies confirm that eating foods high in potassium (and low in sodium) can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke.
  4. They are a great source of vitamin E.
    Avocados are the greatest fruit source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects against many diseases and helps maintain overall health.
  5. They will moisturize your skin.
    Avocado butter and oil, two deep-conditioning emollients, will soften skin, eliminate dry patches, and restore your skin’s elasticity. Try some of our favorite beauty products, enriched with avocado butter and oil, at right.

6 Tips for Lowering Cholesterol Naturally

Article Credit: www.Pritikin.com: https://www.pritikin.com/your-health/health-benefits/lower-cholesterol/1468-7-tips-for-improving-your-ldl-cholesterol.html

HERE ARE 6 DRUG-FREE ALTERNATIVES FOR LOWERING LDL (BAD) CHOLESTEROL.

To avoid a heart attack, research has found that a key strategy is getting LDL (bad) cholesterol way down. Striving for LDL levels of 100 and below is good, but dropping to 80 and lower may be even better.

Go ahead, binge on beans! Enjoy all kinds! Black beans. White beans. Red beans. Pinto beans. Adzuki beans. They’re all champions at actively lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.

LDL levels of 81

Ground-breaking research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) studied nearly 9,000 European patients. All had previously suffered heart attacks. The trial found that those who reduced their LDL levels to an average 81 with high-dose statins significantly reduced their risk of major coronary events like heart attacks and strokes at the 4.8 year follow-up compared to patients who reduced their LDL to 104 on usual-dose statin therapy.

Lower LDL Levels are better

In a JAMA editorial accompanying the study, Christopher P. Cannon, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School wrote that aggressive LDL lowering is the ideal – “lower is better.” The JAMA study’s findings echo those of another large 4,162-patient study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It concluded that LDL cholesterol levels of 62 were even better than levels of 95 at preventing death, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular-related problems in people with heart disease.

Drugs’ negative effects

In both studies, mega-doses of statins (a doubling and tripling of regular doses) drove LDL levels way down. But in both studies, mega-doses also caused problems. Suffering from adverse side effects like muscle pain, memory loss, and elevated liver enzymes, patients on the high doses stopped taking their medications at twice the rate of patients on regular doses. Muscle pain, also called myopathy, occurs in 2% to 11% of people treated with statins, reported investigators at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, and although the pain usually subsides once the statin is discontinued, it can take several months to do so. Like previous studies, the Wisconsin scientists also found that the negative side effects of statins increased as dosages increased.

Medication-free alternatives

“That’s why drug-free alternatives like the Pritikin Program are so important,” advises Dr. William McCarthy, UCLA School of Public Health and member of the Pritikin Scientific Advisory Board.

“For people who cannot tolerate maximum doses of statins, or for those wanting to minimize their dependence on drugs, the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise – or a combination of low-dose statins plus the Pritikin Program – offers a much safer option for lowering LDL cholesterol to levels significantly below 100.”

Lowering cholesterol naturally

In research on more than 4,500 men and women following the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise, LDL levels plummeted 23%, and in just three weeks.

39% drop in LDL Levels

And in a study by UCLA scientists in conjunction with the nonprofit Pritikin Foundation, men and women nearly doubled their reductions in cholesterol, averaging a 39% drop, when they supplemented regular-dose statin therapy with the diet-and-exercise lifestyle of the Pritikin Program.

Is Coconut Water Good For You?

Article Credit: www.Pritikin.com

Vitamin waters. Sports drinks. Fruit-flavored teas. “Naked” juices. And now, grocery stores nationwide are sporting entire refrigerator cases full of various brands of coconut waters. Is coconut water good for you?

Coconut water (when pure and unflavored) is a clear liquid tapped from the center of coconuts. The only sugars it has are naturally occurring, just as fruit has naturally occurring sugar.

Coconut water (when pure and unflavored) is a clear liquid tapped from the center of coconuts. The only sugars it has are naturally occurring, just as fruit has naturally occurring sugar.

Is coconut water good for you?  Well, if you’re trying to lose weight, tread carefully.

Certainly, coconut water is a far better choice than saturated-fat-rich coconut oil or coconut milk, but coconut water is liquid calories – about 45 calories per cup (8 ounces). If you do what some “experts” on the Internet and elsewhere suggest and guzzle coconut water before, during, and after your exercise workouts, the calories you burned during exercise may be cancelled out by the coconut water.

Your best bet for hydrating yourself, as always, is water. Pure, calorie-free water.

If your weight is fine and you’re engaged in intense physical activity, particularly workouts lasting more than one hour, coconut water can be used as fluid/electrolyte replacement. Just be careful that it’s pure coconut water you’re drinking, none of those chocolate, vanilla, or other flavor-added varieties popping up on supermarket shelves.

To make sure there’s no added sugar, sodium, or anything else in your coconut water, read the Ingredient List. All you want to see on the list is one ingredient – coconut water.

Check out the Nutrition Facts label, too. If you’re seeing more than 50 calories per 8-ounce serving, chances are sugar or another form of calories has been added.

Summing up:  Is coconut water good for you?

Like all calorie-containing drinks, including fruit juices, coconut water would likely not be good for you, particularly if you’re trying to shed excess weight.

9 Steps For Improving Heart Health Naturally

Article credit: Ronald J. Scheib, MD, FACC, FACP – Cardiologist and Educator at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami.

For most of us, preventing heart disease depends largely on our lifestyle, which means there’s much that’s in our power to improve our odds of living long and well. Here are 9 key steps for improving heart health naturally.

The use of medications, when appropriate, can be beneficial, but medications should be an adjunct to lifestyle improvements like healthy food. In this article are 9 steps for improving heart health naturally.

Healthy changes in the way we live, particularly diet and exercise, have been proven to:

  • Dramatically reduce heart disease risk factors
  • Stabilize plaques in the arteries so they are less likely to burst and trigger blood clots that block blood flow to the heart
  • Reverse the progression of coronary artery disease, or atherosclerosis

A heart-healthy lifestyle like the Pritikin Program can help reverse the progression of atherosclerosis.

Prevention

In decades past, we physicians were trained in the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease after it occurred. However, the present epidemic of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and their complications of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and sudden death have necessitated a change of focus to prevention. Prevention is emphasized in the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology’s statement “2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk.”1

Medications Vs Lifestyle

Certainly, the use of medications like statins, when appropriate, can be beneficial, but they should be an adjunct to lifestyle improvements rather than a replacement of personal responsibility for our health.

As a cardiologist, I have prescribed medications to lower cholesterol, blood glucose, and other heart disease risk factors, particularly for patients who will not change their lifestyle or for whom this change is not enough.

But time and time again, I have seen that my patients who take steps to improve their heart health naturally – with a healthy Pritikin lifestyle – look and feel better. Their quality of life is far superior. They’re thinner, more physically fit, more energetic, and happier.

What we can achieve, in short, from natural, lifestyle-based approaches like Pritikin has no drug substitute.

Essentially, the Pritikin Program involves:

  1. An eating plan based on natural whole foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nonfat dairy products, seafood, and limited lean meat
  2. Daily exercise with a three-pronged approach – cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, and flexibility
  3. Lifestyle education that focuses on practical real-world training such as cooking healthfully, as well as skills for stepping around stress and achieving optimal mental/emotional health.

Improving Heart Health Naturally

Here are 9 key steps for improving heart health naturally that my colleagues and I teach year-round at the Pritikin Longevity Center.

1 | Spend Less Time Sitting and More Time Moving

“I have two doctors, my left leg and my right,” wrote British historian and avid cross-country walker G. M. Trevelyan.

He was right. In hundreds of studies, regular exercise has been proven to have profound – and numerous – health benefits. States the Centers for Disease Control: “Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.”2 It can help:

  • Control weight
  • Decrease risk of heart disease
  • Improve body composition (your fat-to-muscle ratio)
  • Lower blood sugar and reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome
  • Lower blood pressure and reduce risk of hypertension
  • Reduce risk of some cancers
  • Strengthen bones
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve your ability to perform daily activities and prevent falls
  • Increase your chances of living longer

2 | Lose Excess Body Fat, Particularly Belly Fat

As our body weight rises, so does our risk for plaque build-up in our arteries and a heart attack.

Being overweight is linked with several major risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and bad forms of cholesterol.

What’s good for your heart is also good for losing belly fat.

Obesity also can lead to heart failure, a very serious condition in which the heart is incapable of pumping enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

Numerous studies have found that belly fat is particularly dangerous. In fact, in one recent study3, a pot belly even in people who were otherwise normal weight dramatically increased the risk of dying.

Fat in the belly doesn’t just sit there, taking up space. It pumps out chemicals like cytokines that trigger chronic inflammation throughout the body. That’s a big problem because chronic inflammation is thought to be one of the major factors linking obesity to various life-crippling diseases, including heart disease.

Fat cells in the belly also produce chemicals, including steroid hormones, which make you more likely to gain fat. Yes, it’s a vicious cycle. The more belly fat you have, the more fat-storage hormones you produce, and the harder it is to lose weight.

There are more hormonal horrors. When belly fat reaches abdominal obesity levels (a waist greater than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men), another very important fat-storage hormone called insulin is often negatively affected, creating more problems for our metabolism.

Optimal Way To Shed Fat

The optimal way to shed fat, including belly fat, and keep it off is with a healthy eating and exercise program like Pritikin.

With the Pritikin Eating Plan, you’re focusing on foods like whole fruits, vegetables, water-rich whole grains, and beans that naturally keep overall calorie intake for the day low.

With Pritikin living, you’re also stay physically active, helping create a calorie deficit.

3 | Lower Non-HDL Cholesterol

For years, we in the medical community taught that lowering LDL (often called the “bad” cholesterol) was the primary treatment target for reducing cardiovascular events. And certainly, improving LDL is still very important.

But there is now growing consensus that non-HDL cholesterol is a better predictor of cardiovascular disease risk because non-HDL contains not only LDL but other “bad” particles that contribute to the build-up of cholesterol-filled plaques in the artery wall.

Nowadays, most standard lipid panels will tell you what your non-HDL cholesterol is.

4 | Stop Smoking and Start Living

Did you know that in the U.S. alone, tobacco kills the equivalent of three jumbo jets full of people crashing every day, with no survivors.

Here is a sampling of the serious, life-threatening conditions that are the direct result of smoking:

  • Heart disease
  • Breathing problems
  • Lung cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Emphysema

Moreover, the science is strong and consistent that when you smoke, the people around you, especially children, are at risk for developing serious health problems.

5 | Lower Your Resting Blood Pressure To Below 120/80

It is vital to keep your blood pressure under control because the higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, impotence, loss of mental function, and dementia.

To lower your blood pressure, start with a heart-healthy, lifestyle-based approach like Pritikin.

Most people with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, can control their blood pressure without the need for medications by following the Pritikin Program. Those who still need pills usually require lower dosages and/or fewer pills.

Key guidelines we teach at the Pritikin health resort for lowering blood pressure naturally include:

  • Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and 4 servings of fruits daily

A vegetable- and fruit-rich eating plan helps ensure that you’re eating plenty of foods full of stomach-filling volume, yet low in calories, enhancing your weight-loss efforts. Losing excess weight is one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables also means you’re eating rich sources of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Many studies have found that foods rich in these minerals help blunt some of the toxic effects of sodium.

  • Cut back on calorie-dense foods loaded with fat, sugar, and/or refined grains

Doing so will also enhance your weight-loss efforts.

  • Limit consumption of sodium to a healthy level

The physicians and other faculty at Pritikin agree with sodium guidelines established by the Institute of Medicine’s Expert Panel.4 The Institute of Medicine advises that adult Americans limit their consumption of sodium to 1,200 to 1,500 mg a day, depending on age:

People aged 19 to 49 should consume 1,500 mg or less of sodium a day
People 50 to 69 should consume 1,300 mg or less
Those 70 and older should consume 1,200 mg or less

Limiting salt intake really works, especially for those most in need. Many studies have shown that the higher blood pressure is and the more salt is restricted, the greater the fall in blood pressure.

  • Limit alcohol drinking

Excess alcohol drinking (more than 3 drinks daily) has been shown to increase the risk of hypertension.

  • Exercise daily

Daily physical activity promotes loss of excess weight, vital for controlling blood pressure. It also stimulates the body’s production of beneficial chemicals like nitric oxide that expand blood vessels and increase blood flow.

6 | Prevent or Control Diabetes

Preventing or controlling diabetes could save your heart – and life. Heart attacks occur two to four times more often in people with diabetes compared to non-diabetics. Strokes occur two to four times more often.

Other conditions, many life-crippling, caused by diabetes include blindness, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease (blockages in the major arteries that feed the legs), erectile dysfunction, diabetic neuropathy (burning pain and loss of feeling in the feet and hands), poor wound healing, gangrene, and amputations.

The sad news is that many countries worldwide are now suffering epidemic rates of type 2 diabetes because many people live in food toxic and sedentary environments.

The hopeful news is that since diabetes is largely a lifestyle-related disease, there is much we can do in the way of lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of this horrible, life-threatening disease.

Daily exercise and healthy eating, as our guests learn at Pritikin, can greatly improve blood glucose levels as well as help shed excess body fat, a major risk factor for diabetes.

Research published on people with type 2 diabetes who came to Pritikin illustrate how profoundly beneficial lifestyle changes can be. One study5 followed 243 people in the early stages of diabetes (they were not yet on medications). Within three weeks, their fasting glucose fell on average from 160 to 124.

Research6 has found, too, that the Pritikin Program can reverse in two to three weeks the clinical diagnosis of a pre-diabetic condition called the metabolic syndrome.

7 | Reduce Inflammation

Chronic inflammation in our bodies is often brought on by excess bad cholesterol and other lifestyle-related insults like high blood pressure, high blood glucose, being overweight, and smoking.

We want to quell these inflammatory “flames” because they often lead to the formation of fatty streaks throughout our arteries, which can eventually lead to plaque build-up, heart attacks, and strokes.

One key marker of chronic inflammation is high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, or hs-CRP. Your hs-CRP score measures a protein produced by the body when blood-vessel walls are inflamed.

In several studies, the Pritikin Program has been proven to lower hs-CRP in men,7 women,8 and children.9

Other markers of chronic inflammation include noxious chemicals released by both white blood cells and fat cells called inflammatory cytokines.

In research on children at the Pritikin Longevity Center, scientists at UCLA found that within two weeks, levels of inflammatory cytokines dropped markedly.10 Similar results published in several studies over the past decade have been observed in adults at Pritikin.

8 | Lower Triglyceride Levels

Triglycerides are fats in the blood. Immediately after eating a fatty meal, most triglycerides are temporarily packaged in particles called chylomicrons. If fact, blood drawn shortly after a fatty meal will appear creamy, like a strawberry milkshake. It takes hours for these fat-rich particles to be cleared from the bloodstream.

Research has found that high levels of chylomicrons nearly triple the risk of heart problems.11Scientists refer to chylomicrons as “silent but deadly” because by the time we have a fasting blood test, their dirty work is done and they’re gone, and therefore undetected by the standard fasting blood lipid test.

The Pritikin Program has been proven12 to dramatically lower triglyceride levels, on average 33%, which means Pritikin living likely lowers chylomicron levels as well.

High triglyceride levels (greater than 150) are considered an additional risk for cardiovascular disease, especially when part of a cluster of conditions called the metabolic syndrome, which includes:

  • High triglycerides
  • Belly fat (a waist circumference more than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men)
  • Low HDL (less than 40 in men; less than 50 in women)
  • High blood pressure (130/85 or higher), and
  • Fasting blood glucose of 100 or higher.

If you have at least three of the above five criteria, you have the metabolic syndrome.

Key lifestyle actions to lower triglyceride levels are:

  • Lose excess weight
  • Eat less sugar and other highly refined and processed carbohydrates, like white breads
  • Eat more fish high in omega-3 fats
  • Drink very little alcohol
  • Exercise regularly

9 | Keep a Lid On Stress

The neighbor’s dog is barking at 3 am. The checkout line at the grocery store is 12 people deep. Your car battery just died. Your mother called with troubling news about her health.

How do you react to each of the above? Are you calm or crazy? When life’s hurdles get the best of us, it can contribute to everything from high blood pressure to irritable bowel syndrome.

The link between stress and our hearts is real. Studies have shown that earthquakes and Mondays double the incidence of heart attacks, and that heart disease kills men three times as frequently in the year following a wife’s death.

Feeling stressed can also lead to behaviors that increase heart disease risk, such as smoking, skipping exercise, and skipping out to our favorite fast food joint.

Improving Heart Health Naturally | Summing Up

Lifestyle changes are the key to living a healthy, happy life.

It may be tempting to take small steps. Maybe you’re thinking of altering just one aspect of your life. But I strongly encourage you to embrace all nine steps in this article.

In doing so, you will find, as the more than 100,000 people who have attended Pritikin over the last four decades have found, that life gets appreciably better, and in so many ways. You’ll lose weight without feeling hungry, and you’ll likely feel stronger and more energetic than you’ve felt in years.

Now’s your chance. Take care of your heart. And launch a whole new life, a better life.

Diabetes and Gum Disease from pritikin.com

Good oral health is extremely important for individuals with diabetes.

Over the past decade, there has been a substantial amount of research conducted on the link between diabetes and gum disease, also called periodontal disease. It is the sixth-leading complication associated with diabetes. That puts it in the same classification as other serious health issues such as vision loss, kidney failure, and nerve damage.

To learn how to treat periodontal disease while dealing with diabetes, it is a good idea to learn more about the culprit itself and what you can do to help protect your teeth and gums.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are at a greater risk of developing periodontal disease as well as at a higher risk of ending up with bone loss in the jaw and ongoing gum infections.

Information on Diabetes and Gum Disease

To learn how to treat periodontal disease while dealing with diabetes, it is a good idea to learn more about the culprit itself and what you can do to help protect your teeth and gums. Diabetes is a disease that occurs when our bodies do not produce the right amount of insulin or do not properly use insulin as they should. Insulin is a hormone naturally produced by the body to convert sugars and starches into energy. In a healthy individual, insulin helps to transport sugar from the bloodstream to our body’s cells, where it may be used for energy. In a diabetic, the body has trouble making or using insulin naturally and therefore does not get the right amount of energy that it needs. This causes blood sugar levels to remain high.

High blood sugar levels can lead to many other health complications aside from gum disease, including heart diseasekidney failure, and eye disease that can lead to vision loss. In order to protect people with diabetes from further health issues, their doctor will usually suggest a healthy diet plan that will aid in weight loss if they are overweight, exercising regularly, and taking their medication or insulin injections as prescribed.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are at a greater risk of developing periodontal disease as well as at a higher risk of ending up with bone loss in the jaw and ongoing gum infections.

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums, bones, and ligaments that provide support for your teeth. If you have gum disease and it is not treated properly, you could experience tooth loss over time. The primary cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque. This sticky, colorless membrane forms on your teeth after you eat and produces toxins that irritate the gums and lead to infection.

The Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease

It is important to recognize the early warning signs of periodontal disease so that you can receive treatment. If left untreated, it could cause other complications to occur with diabetes, such as an increase in blood glucose levels. Some of the warning signs to look for with gum disease include:
• Consistent foul breath
• Milky white or yellowish plaque present with tender or swollen gums
• Red and swollen gums that bleed easily after brushing
• Pus located between the teeth
• Swelling or tenderness in the gum area
• Root exposure due to gums that have pulled away from the teeth

Keep Your Physician and Dentist Informed at All Times

If you are a diabetic who is showing symptoms of periodontal disease, your dentist and physician will want to work together in order to provide you with the best possible outcome for your overall health. It is important that both professionals are kept up to date on your condition so that necessary changes can be made to your medication if needed. If you have yet to develop gum disease, your dentist will still need to stay informed so that they can help you stay in control of your diabetes in order to prevent periodontal disease.

Staying On Top of Your Diabetes Will Help to Prevent Periodontal Disease

If your diabetes remains in controlv, your chances of developing periodontal disease will decrease as long as you stick to a healthy diet plan, take your insulin and other medication as directed by your physician, and see your dentist on a regular basis. Diabetes can cause other oral health issues to occur aside from gum disease, so even if your gums are in good shape, you could still develop other issues if you fail to care for your teeth. Dry mouth is a common issue among diabetics. The condition is commonly referred to as xerostomia, and it occurs when your salivary glands are unable to produce the right amount of saliva in order to keep your mouth moist. Instead the tissues of your mouth become sore and inflamed. Other mouth issues that are common with diabetes patients include fungal infections, such as thrush, and burning mouth syndrome.

It is possible to avoid periodontal disease if you are a diabetic. By taking good care of your teeth at home and doing what you can to keep your blood sugar levels where they need to be, you can ensure that your chances of developing gum disease or other complications due to diabetes will be much lower. Your doctor may suggest a  diet plan that will enhance weight loss attempts if you are overweight in an effort to help keep your blood sugar stable. Your doctor may also suggest that you brush frequently each day, floss, and visit your dentist on a regular basis for a thorough cleaning in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

The Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkin

Naturally sweet and low in calorie density, pumpkins are a healthy and nutritious vegetable to add to your well-rounded healthy eating plan. Learn more about the health benefits of pumpkins and get new pumpkin recipes.

But did you know that there are also a number of health benefits to eating pumpkin? This season, don’t just use the bright orange, lush and round derivative of the squash family merely for decorative purposes, consider these delicious recipes and health benefits instead.

The health benefits of pumpkins are packed into very few calories. Pumpkins are a great source of vitamins A and D, and only have about 25 calories per cup.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

This festive gourd offers much more than just its appearance. Similar to all other member of the squash family, the pumpkin is filled with a number of nutritious health benefits, according to Pritikin’s Chef Anthony Stewart. “All yellow fruits and vegetables contain the sunshine vitamin, making them a great source of vitamins A and D,” Chef Anthony said. “They’re a good source of potassium and minerals as well, because these plants grows on the ground allowing them to absorb minerals from the earth.”

In fact, each part of the pumpkin from its golden-yellow flesh to its seeds has nutritional value. Pumpkin seeds – which can easily be roasted in the oven for snacking – are filled with protein, vitamins and minerals and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. The soft, naturally sweet inner flesh of the pumpkin is rich in vitamins and minerals as well. It also boasts antioxidants and dietary fiber, without containing any cholesterol or saturated fats, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

The best pumpkins for cooking will be anywhere between three and six pounds, with their stem intact. While the larger, tougher pumpkins are great for Halloween carving, the smaller, softer ones will be best for cooking.

In North America, the pumpkin was one of the original crops grown specifically for eating. This was largely because of their long shelf life, which was due to the thick outer flesh that could last through bitterly cold winters. One of the very first recipes using pumpkin was written down around 1670. Similar to what would become the common dish of mashed potatoes, the pumpkin was diced and boiled down during the day. The popular pumpkin pie, however, didn’t come about until the early 1800s.

How to Buy Pumpkin

Perhaps you’ve never cooked with this seasonal staple before, saving your trip to the pumpkin patch for the once-a-year Halloween celebrations. However, it’s time to add pumpkin to your healthy eating plan on a regular basis.

“This is a vegetable that people can find readily, readily available,” explained Chef Anthony. “People see pumpkin every day but pass over it, only using it for Halloween.”

This bright and festive gourd is actually in season beginning in September and lasting through November, enjoying its peak in October. While the larger, tougher pumpkins are great for Halloween carving, the smaller, softer ones will be best for cooking. These pumpkins contain less moisture and are much denser and fleshier, according to U.S News & World Report. They can be found at farmers stands and farmers markets, as well as grocery stores.

Pumpkins best for cooking will be anywhere between three and six pounds, with their stem intact. However, be sure not to carry the gourd by its stem. The pumpkin should be uniform in color without any green spots. It’s also important to check for any soft spots on the outside, which could indicate mold.

How to Cook Pumpkin

Once you’ve picked out the perfect pumpkin, it’s time to get cooking. Contrary to popular belief, the pumpkin is good for much more than just the traditional confectionery pie. In fact, there are numerous creative and nutritious recipes that are low in calorie density and easy to prepare. First, there are a few basics to prepping the pumpkin for cooking, as explained by the Farmer’s Almanac:

  1. Use a vegetable brush to wash the outside of your pumpkin.
  2. Cut the gourd in half and scrape out the fibers and seeds with a spoon.
  3. Save, rinse and dry seeds if planning to use them later.
  4. Cut pumpkin halves into smaller chunks.
  5. Place them skin side up in a shallow baking dish.
  6. Add a little bit of water just to coat the bottom of baking dish.
  7. Cover tightly.
  8. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees, until pumpkin is tender with a touch of the fork.
  9. Cook time will vary depending on size and thickness of pumpkin.
  10. Allow pieces to cool and then cut off peel or scoop out flesh.

Now you have cooked pumpkin to use with any of your favorite recipes!

ARTICLE CREDIT: Pritikin Longevity Center.  www.Pritikin.com

Reasons to Use Xylitol Chewing Gum

The right xylitol chewing gum can help you boost your overall oral health. Beginning in Finland in the 1970s, researchers began studying the diverse benefits of xylitol and were, in fact, quite surprised by what xylitol had to offer. Xylitol turned out to be far more than just a sweetener that was low-calorie and low on the glycemic index. As research progressed, it quickly became apparent that xylitol was an excellent way to protect overall oral health and even prevent cavities. In this article, we will explore why xylitol chewing gum is one of the single smartest moves that anyone can make to boost oral health and safeguard against cavities.

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Dr. Mylene Buttross Professional Credentials

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