Monday, February 25, 2013

Big things are coming! I am going to be active on Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest but the site will be dark for a few days this week. I can't wait to show you what I have in store for Tapps Tips. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

10 of my favorite antioxidant-rich foods

Walnuts- This heart healthy nut has a high amount omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. They are also one of the best plant sources of protein.

Cloves- This nutrient-dense spice has, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anesthetic properties. Cloves are very high in anti-oxidants and can easily be added to a number of dishes. Sprinkle on apple sauce or cook into an aromatic tea.

Cranberries- Second only to blueberries, these little red powerhouses are teaming with antioxidants. Though they are considered a 'holiday' food, cranberries are available all year round. Add them to smoothies, cook them with your oatmeal or into a muffins.

Pomegranates-This powerful red fruit is very high in antioxidants. Pomegranates can also help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The best part? They are sweet like candy.

Aduki Beans- Aduki beans have one of the highest antioxidant level of all beans. High in fiber, these little red beans are also an excellent source of B vitamins. A great detox tool, aduki beans contain an enzyme called molybdenum which is crucial for lever detoxification.
Artichokes -surpisingly high in antioxidants. Known to stimulate and improve liver function by increasing bile production which helps with liver purification and protection.

Green Tea-More than a decade's worth of research about green tea's health benefits has shown it's potential to fight disease, burn fat, and protect against neuro-degenerative diseases. The high levels of antioxidants are readily bioavailable, so are easily utilized by the body.

Raspberries  have significantly high levels of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals. Scientific studies show that the antioxidant compounds in these berries have potential health benefits against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neuro-degenerative diseases. 

Kale: The King of Greens. Kale is on a scale all of it’s own. Pound for pound it is one  the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It has high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. This fiber in this powerhouse also helps to bind and neutralize bile toxins which helps to keep cholesterol levels low.

Blueberries are little blue superstars. They have the highest antioxidant level of all fruit. Blueberries are low in sugar and have been shown to improve both memory and metabolism.

Dark Chocolate-And, Drumroll please! My favorite, dark chocolate. By dark chocolate I am talking about real dark chocolate. At least 70% Cacao. I usually use it in the form of Raw Cacao which can be added to any number of recipes like Nut Milk Hot Chocolate, Vegan Chocolate Pie, or Chocolate Cashew Spread. Dark chocolate is rich in cell-protecting anti-oxidants, as well as containing a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. This wonderful bean not only makes everything taste good, it makes us feel good too.

February's Focus: Antioxidants

A Reason To Celebrate Chocolate
Try my vegan cheesecake - for the antioxidants, of course

 With February comes Valentine's day, one of my favorite holidays of the year. Not for the schmaltzy cards or the flowers, but for the excuse to eat copious amounts of chocolate.  Dark chocolate in particular. The best thing about dark chocolate is that it's very rich in antioxidants.  You've probably heard a lot about antioxidants, and many of you know what they do - but I wanted to take a closer look at why they are so essential to good health.

What is an antioxidant?

It may sound more like politics than nutrition, but antioxidants are like the superheroes of the food world, rounding up and shutting down the bad guys .  The bad guys are called free radicals.

So what exactly are " free radicals"  and why are they the bad guys? Simply put,  "free radicals"  are partial, destructive molecules. Molecules are supposed to be made up of pairs of electrons,  but  when a molecule has been damaged as a result of pollution, poor nutrition, pesticides, infection, stress or just plain aging, it loses one of its electrons. These incomplete  molecules wreak havoc on your system. They race through your body trying to steal an electron from complete molecules in order to complete themselves. The free radicals do an enormous amount of damage on their rampage.   This is called oxidation.

Antioxidants are complete molecules that fly through your system with their little red superhero capes on, donating electrons to the incomplete molecules and stopping the free radicals in their path of destruction. No matter how many electrons these  antioxidants  give away, they  remain stable, complete molecules.   Is that a cool superhero power or what? 

Think of an apple slice. It turns brown when it is exposed to the air. That is naturally occuring oxidation. If you squeeze some lemon juice on the apple slices the browning process slows down. That is because lemons contain a lot of Vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant. The antioxidants significantly slow down the oxidative process.

Where are antioxidants found?

Antioxidants are present in varying degrees in all fresh fruits and vegetables as well as meats, dark chocolate, whole grains, nuts and even red wine.

The more variety you eat, the greater your antioxidant levels will be. Eating a wide variety of foods including different  colors of fruits and vegetables will give you the best array of antioxidants.

Dairy is like kryptonite to antioxidants; it binds with them and reduces their potency.  To ensure you get the full benefit of antioxidants , it is best to eat antioxidant rich foods away from any dairy.   

Have lemon or almond milk in your tea instead of milk, combine your fruit with a coconut kefir instead of dairy yogurt and, use a non-dairy milk in your smoothies to make sure these powerful little molecules have a clear and healing path.