Nine New Foods and Drinks to Try this Month
This probiotic fermented tea is a totally fresh way to get your daily dose of healthy bacterial goodness. This probiotic bacteria can do beneficial wonders for your gut and immune system. Better yet, kombucha is a perfect alternative to soda because it is bubbly, tangy, low in carbohydrate, and comes in a variety of flavors.
These grains and seeds have recently become trendy, but, ironically, their consumption was common before the advent of modern food production. Because grains are actually just seeds, they can be soaked and sprouted prior to consumption. Sprouting unleashes a seed’s potential because they keep their nutrition stores locked up until germination—a process that sends a signal to the seed to release the nutrients needed to grow a plant. Sprouting thus increases digestibility and the availability of nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and even protein. Most of these nutrients are hard to get enough of—especially for those with limited meat intake—which makes sprouts extra beneficial. These foods—rice, wheat, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and a variety of others—are “sprouting” up regularly now, so give them a try!
So maybe you tried radishes once or even twice, and you subsequently wrote them off as something on the “don’t like” list. Please, TRY THEM AGAIN. You see, radishes are not the kind of thing you should just bite into and decide whether you like them. Instead, they belong as a beautiful complement to other foods. Slice radishes thinly and add them to salads for a beautiful pop of color and a zesty crunch with a faintly peppery bite. Better yet, toss them in with a batch of roasted veggies. When roasted they lose their peppery bite and become sweet little veggie orbs. Here’s the deal: Olive oil, salt, and pepper + any other roasting veggie of your choice + 425F degrees for about 20 minutes = RADISH MAGIC. You can even throw in the radish leaves with your roasted veggie mashup and they’ll crisp up in the oven to make nicely toasted chips.
Turnips are cooked like potatoes and have a similar flavor, except they’re very low calorie and extremely nutritious. Consider shaking your next soup up with turnips in place of potatoes—and don’t toss the turnip greens! With a little butter, salt, and pepper, sautéed turnip greens make for a delicious side dish. Or, try tossing the greens in your vegetable soup similar to the way you would use spinach. Delicious, nutritious, and thrifty—turnips have it all.
Kefir is a probiotic fermented milk product that is similar in flavor to yogurt, but typically has many more strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast. AKA, it’s great for gut health. You can find it in a variety of flavors similar to smoothie drinks. However, be aware that—like yogurt—it often has added sugars, so keep an eye on portion size or choose plain products. A fun twist on kefir is to make it savory rather than sweet by choosing plain kefir and adding salt to taste.
Lentils are nutrition powerhouses. They are an excellent source of protein and rich in a variety of nutrients, including folate, vitamin C, iron, zinc, vitamin K, choline, and the other B vitamins. Lentils are most frequently found in soup recipes, but they can also be used in salads, rice dishes, or standalone side dishes.
Sauerkraut may have a funny name, but it’s definitely a star when it comes to adding a salty crunch to sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, or even as a snack. Fermentation is the simple process of adding salt to the cabbage to create brine; thus, sauerkraut is traditionally made without heat canning. If the right amount of salt is added, the conditions are perfect for the beneficial bacteria naturally present on the vegetable’s surface to multiply and “cure” the cabbage, creating flavorful compounds. The bacteria even improve the nutritional qualities of the cabbage because it can produce nutrients as the cabbage cures. Fermented sauerkraut that has never been heated retains its wonderful probiotic qualities, plus it’s crispier than canned or cooked varieties. Better yet, you can even find different flavors, such as my favorite— Farmhouse Cultures Smoked Jalapeno Sauerkraut.
Okay, so most people like butter, so it shouldn’t be a big ask to get you to try a new brand. Kerrygold butter is worth a try because the flavor is rich and the beautiful golden hue is due to the high beta-carotene content of the premium quality milk. Once you taste it, you’ll never look back.
November is American Diabetes Awareness Month and our pharmacists are taking a stand on diabetes.
What is diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Diabetes is a long-term condition where the body does not produce insulin (Type 1) or it does not produce enough insulin (Type 2) to maintain blood sugar at optimal levels.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
The more common and recognizable symptoms are frequent urination, sudden unexplainable weight loss, and constant thirst for liquids. Other symptoms could include nausea, abdominal pain, drowsiness, and blurred vision.
What should I do if I think I have diabetes?
If you have some of the symptoms listed above, share your concerns with your physician. A blood glucose or A1C test can be used to confirm your symptoms are being caused by diabetes. The earlier the diagnosis, the more likely you can avoid some of the diabetic complications.
How can I manage diabetes?
There are many lifestyle modifications that can be made to better manage your blood sugar. Meals consisting of fruits, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats are encouraged. A diet low in salt and sugar as well as saturated or trans fats can help lower risk of diabetes significantly. Developing and maintaining an exercise regimen is another good way to not only manage, but even prevent abnormally high blood sugar levels. Exercise is not limited to going to the gym or running for long periods of time. By simply taking a fifteen-minute walk, doing some extra chores around the house, or even stretching during TV commercials, your risk of a high blood sugar episode can be decreased significantly.
Monitoring your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter is a simple yet necessary preventative against abnormally high and/or low amount of sugar in your blood. Also, if you are prescribed medications to help keep your diabetes under control, be sure to take them as directed and not only when you are experiencing symptoms. Noncompliance to diabetic medications can lead to dangerous blood sugar levels and can possibly speed up the progression of the effects of diabetes on your body.
Talk with your pharmacist about any concerns or unanswered questions you may have regarding diabetes or healthy lifestyle choices. Pharmacies and pharmacists are a great resource to further your knowledge and make sure you are on the best path.
Josun Holub, PharmD
Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy District Director