January 1, 2017

Nature’s Candy

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Nature’s Candy

     Candy is sweet, tangy, and delicious. With one bite, childhood memories come rushing through our heads. Do you remember the Snickers, Baby Ruth, Twizzlers, M&Ms, or Now & Later that brought you pure joy even in the toughest of times? How about the Pop Rocks candy that gave you the tickles, or the Sour Fruit Ball candies that brought you to your knees? My wife loves the taste of many varieties of Swedish candy (especially black licorice) because she was born there. For the life of me, I can’t understand how licorice is considered delicious, but she lives on them.

     Candy may taste amazing, but now we are at risk with sugar destroying our lives. In our country, added sugar consumption has taken over our society. Sugar wins the battle of additives when it is added into our foods, especially processed meals. The American Heart Association recommends how much sugar per day we should take, it is known as the recommended daily sugar intake. This sugar is healthy and not harmful for the body, and it has been developed for men and women, see below.

  • Intake for Men: 36 grams = 9 teaspoons = 144 calories
  • Intake for Women: 20 grams = 5 teaspoons = 80 calories
  • Intake for Children: 12 grams = 3 teaspoons = 48 calories

What are we taking in now on a daily basis? We are taking in 88 grams (22 teaspoons = 352 calories)  of sugar daily, which climbs to 124 grams (31 teaspoons = 496 calories) when we include our teenagers. WOW!

We have heard how bad refined sugars are from several sources. I want to encourage you to switch up processed candy for nature’s candy. Fruits carry natural sugar and flavor. In the meantime while you are digesting them, your body is taking in so many essential nutrients to restore and strengthen you. One of the mightiest of the earth is the Blueberry. Sweet, tangy, soft, with a burst of flavor can substitute those killer candies. Below you’ll see one of my past favorite candies, M&M’s taking on my new favorite treat. The numbers will shock you.

Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts on caloriecounter.com.

M&M’S

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 cup (208 g)

Calories 1010

Calories from Fat 386

Total Fat 44.571g 59%

Saturated Fat 26.743g 149%

Polyunsaturated Fat 2.971g

Monounsaturated Fat 11.886g

Cholesterol 30mg 0%

Sodium 119mg 0%

Potassium 543mg 30%

Carbohydrates 148.571g 59%

Dietary Fiber 5.943g 30%

Sugars 133.714g

Protein 8.914g

Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%

Calcium 30% · Iron 0%

Blueberries

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 cup (145 g)

Calories 83

Calories from Fat 5

Total Fat 0.5g 1%

Saturated Fat 0g 0%

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g

Cholesterol 0mg 0%

Sodium 1mg 0%

Potassium 111.65mg 3%

Carbohydrates 21g 7%

Dietary Fiber 3.5g 14%

Sugars 14.4g

Protein 1.1g

Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 38%

Calcium 0% · Iron 11%

Notice, this is measured at a 1 cup size. Generally a package of m&m’s would be a serving size of 10 pieces. Please explain to me, who eats only 10 pieces? Even at 10 pieces you would still consume 233 calories and 30 grams of sugar. Blueberries will forever win.

     The history of blueberries stems back to our Native Americans who used it for health and medicinal purposes.  In 1916, Elizabeth White and USDA botanist Frederick Coville cultivated desirable crops, creating blueberry varieties, to eventually selling the first commercial crop of blueberries in New Jersey.

    The two types of blueberries are the highbush blueberries which you find in the fresh produce section, and the lowbush blueberries you will find in processed foods.

     The history of blueberries is rich and  the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council has it covered perfectly. Please take a minute to check them out!

What does the most powerful fruit do and what does it contain?

*Antioxidants = substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as seek out “by-products” then prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are one of the causes of oxidative damage.

Health Benefits

  • Stronger Immunity Vitamin A, B complex, C, E, anthocyanin, copper, iron, selenium, and zinc in blueberries are motivating antioxidants that build up the immune system. The stronger your immunity, the more viral and bacterial diseases are fought off. The M&M’s I used to love, won’t help cure anything, but will help cause everything bad to happen our bodies.
  • Help Prevent Cancer Ellagic acid and Pterostilbene (say that 5 times fast) are helpful compounds in blueberries that can prevent cancer. Cancer is destroying our nation. This is one way we can possibly prevent it from showing up. Everyone knows someone or many who have suffered from cancer.
  • Improves Memory – If you know a friend who remembers everything you ever did to them, they probably ate lots of blueberries. Blueberries increase the potential of neuron signals. They protect the brain against oxidative stress and help reduce age related issues, like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Great Eyesight – This is your chance to finally be part of the Xmen. Vitamin A is a must have nutrient to maintain good eyesight. Blueberries can enhance your lovely eyes.
  • Improve Digestion – The fiber in blueberries is rich. Your tummy will love you for it! Another benefit is the ability to prevent and cure urinary tract infections.
  • Burn Belly Fat – Blueberries provide all the required nutrients that play the role in weight management. They help lower down the LDL cholesterol triglycerides. This is essential in FAT BLASTING.

Other Interesting Facts

  • America’s favorite muffin is blueberry, matter of fact, the month of July is National Blueberry Month in America, and August is National Blueberry Month in Canada.
  • Blueberry Jelly Bellies were created especially for Ronald Reagan.
  • There are about 20 blueberry festivals held in the U.S. and Canada each year between June and September.
  • Peak season of blueberries starts about mid June and runs through mid August.
  • Soldiers in the Civil War regularly drank a blueberry beverage due to it’s health benefits.
  • Blueberries have the most antioxidants than other fruits and vegetables.

Fibbing Blueberries

There are so many processed foods that say “blueberry” on them, but in fact they don’t contain any real blueberries. According to the Consumer Wellness Center investigation back in 2011, bagels, cereals, breads and muffins from a few brands were reported using sugar, starch, oil, dyes and artificial flavors to create fake blueberries. How does that make you feel? Kelloggs, Betty Crocker and General Mills were some of those brands.

Amazing Source to Watch: The Blueberry Deception

Different Ways to Use Them

  • Oatmeal
  • Salads
  • Granola Bowls (Eat with caution, because of added sugars in processed granola)
  • Yogurt
  • Chia Seed Pudding (see Minimalist Baker, our favorite cooking site for everything.)
  • On the side of your whole grain bagel, like in the picture above.
  • Pancakes, Waffles or Crepes
  • Smoothie with Kale or Spinach
  • Blueberry Cornbread (Yep, I said Cornbread.)
  • Salsas or sauces to go with your protein
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa Salad
  • Chicken Salad Wraps
  • Even on a Sweet Pizza. Try Ricotta and Blueberries.
     Blueberries are life savers, tasty and can be used in many different food combinations. Think about how you can start using them in the foods you already eat or what candy can you substitute them for. My hope and prayer is that our society continues the change it has been on in improving our eating habits. There is hope. Keep hope alive and eat a handful of blueberries right now so that you can become a superhero.
#blueberries#calories#cholesterol#diabetes#fitness#health#saturated fat#sodium#sugars
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