Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD, LD

Licensed Nutritionist & Environmental Health Specialist

Archive for the ‘banana’ tag

Papaya Sauce

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PapayaFifty-one million Americans visit doctors and hospitals annually with digestive system disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A papaya fruit preparation could greatly reduce bloating, diarrhea, reflux and constipation based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine.

Papayas were called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus, according to historical accounts of these yellow-orange fruits indigenous to Central America. Today, papayas are grown throughout the world. In Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit, authors Matthew Biggs, Jekka Vicar and Bob Flowerdew write that growing your own tree is as easy as sowing several black seeds in a hole and weeding out the weaklings. Because one male tree is needed to pollinate 20 female trees, a garden should have several trees. Each sex produces different flowers so both need to be represented. Be sure to select non-GMO papayas, not the 7-inch commercial dwarf, for planting seeds.

Unripe papayas keep for many days and can be cooked to release health benefits. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia describes papayas as rich in antioxidants, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, copper and potassium.

A study in Archives of Ophthalmology by E. Cho et al found that papaya lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration, a primary cause of vision loss in older adults.

Papayas can help prevent oxidation of cholesterol, according to a 2002 study in Atherosclerosis Thrombosis Vascular Biology. It is one of the richest food sources of folate, which reduces homocysteine in the blood and improves mitochondria energy production.

The highest amounts of papain from the papaya are obtained from slow cooking the fruit over low heat until a puree forms. Traditional Chinese medicine recommends papaya be cooked eight to 10 hours. The accompanying recipe results in a weaker concentration of anti-inflammation compounds than the slow cooker method, but Dr. Burkhard Schutz of Biovis Institute of Naturopathic Diagnosis and Preventive Medicine in Germany showed that both techniques yield healing properties for digestion.

Several years ago I visited John Burns, better known as Johnny Papaya, at his Sarasota home, which is surrounded by papaya and citrus trees. His fresh fruit salads always include papaya and he recommended a wedge of papaya at each meal. A spoonful of papaya sauce as a topping for a salad or fruit cup would provide even more benefits.

Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at

Papaya Sauce

2 cups fresh or unripe papaya cubes
1 ripe banana, cut into pieces

Peel and seed papaya. Cut into cubes and place in saucepan. Add banana pieces. Heat over low temperature until a soft puree forms, about 15 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Mash, then pour into bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes 2 cups.

Nutrition information per tablespoon: 52 calories, 1g protein, 8g carbohydrates, 0g fat, 37mcg sodium.

Written by PFAdmin

October 19th, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Chocolate Spinach Smoothie

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Chocolate Spinich SmoothieSmoothies are a refreshing way to get your summer fruits and camouflage vegetables for children and those who won’t even look at a slice of tomato. But many recipes are high glycemic, eliciting the same elevated sugar responses you might experience after eating a candy bar.

To keep the sugar level under control, follow this rule: Use two vegetables to one fruit. Having twice as much vegetable as fruit allows smoothies to be enjoyed by everyone.

On Thursday, I will present a “Fasting, Juicing & Smoothies” seminar at Peaks of Health Metabolic Medical Center in Largo, outlining healthy guidelines for your nutrition regimen and addressing the importance of healthy eating habits. Healthy eating can increase telomeres in all the cells of the body and provide vital information to DNA. As we age our bodies need more positive lifestyle choices, such as exercise, meditation and a nutritious diet, to preserve cell metabolism.

With our busy lifestyles, it is easy to forget how important eating good-quality food can be. Smoothies make for a fast snack or lunch when driving, studying or even answering email.

Consider adding protein powder and coconut oil or avocado to your smoothie to slow down the sugar absorption from the fruit. Consumer Reports found in 2010 that many protein products it sampled had levels of protein lower than what was stated on the label. Nonprotein nitrogen compounds can give a higher nitrogen reading, which is listed as protein on the label. Reputable manufacturers account for nonprotein nitrogen ingredients and don’t mislead consumers by overstating protein content. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not stipulate how protein content is calculated on the nutrition label, consumers should choose products from producers that certify their formulas.

Not all protein powders add amino acids to a smoothie. The processing of protein powders requires heat and oxidizing agents plus solvents to sterilize and pasteurize the product. This process deactivates protein digestibility but cannot be determined from the label. Look for Non-Denatured Protein on the label to select good-quality protein powder.

Because the accompanying Chocolate Spinach Smoothie recipe contains spinach and cocoa, people prone to kidney stones may want to limit their consumption. The most common form of kidney stone is calcium oxalate, but, according to Dr. Emanuel Cheraskin, former professor of oral medicine at the University of Alabama, stone formation is caused by poor hydration and low vitamin C in the diet, not oxalates.

William Shaw, Ph.D., of Great Plains Laboratory in Lenexa, Kan., posits that oxalates from spinach, Swiss chard, beet tops and rhubarb pave the way to kidney stones and disorders like fibromyalgia, candida, anemia and autism.

Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at​

Chocolate Spinach Smoothie

½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
½ small ripe banana
1 cup fresh spinach leaves or mixed salad greens
½ tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons amino acid or protein powder
½ cup 2 percent fat plain yogurt (optional)
3 ice cubes or ½ cup water

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

Nutrition information per serving: 109 calories, 12g protein, 12g carbohydrates, 2g fat, 62mg sodium.

Note: You can throw in half of a ripe avocado to improve satiety, adding another 40 calories and 2g of fat.

Written by PFAdmin

October 19th, 2015 at 2:38 pm


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blueberry-cocoanut-date-slicesBlueberries are one of the most potent foods in terms of protecting the brain according to Martha Clare Morris, PhD, nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago. Berries are the only fruit specifically identified in the MIND diet (Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay).

The diet emphasizes vegetables, berries, fish and healthy fats. The study focused on 923 volunteers from Chicago retirement communities who earned points if they ate brain-healthy foods frequently and avoided unhealthy foods. The March 2015 Journal of the American Alzheimer’s Association reported the diet lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) when the diet was adhered to rigorously.

Since no one wants the devastating toll AD causes on cognitive function, blueberries have become brain food ever since a preliminary study of daily consumption of wild blueberry juice in 9 older adults with cognitive issues was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2010. Subsequent studies using rats fed a blueberry rich diet for 2 months added more excitement to the blueberry health message.

Ronald Prior, PhD at the USDA found one cup of wild blueberries had more total antioxidant capacity than 20 other fruits (including cranberries, strawberries, plums, raspberries and cultivated blueberries). Wild blueberries had the highest total phenolic content among the 25 fruits and vegetables reported by Rui Hi Lui in the Journal of Food Science 2013. Phenolics are phytochemical compounds in plants that protect them from climate insults and pests so they can grow and reproduce.

The USDA Database for Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods 2014 shows the difference between choosing wild vs cultivated blueberries. Wild blueberries (lowbush variety) are smaller and have more antioxidant power with intense flavor. Cultivated (highbush variety) blueberries are bigger with less antioxidants like anthocyanin.

Anthocyanins help protect the body against age related disorders like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. When the diet does not include enough antioxidants like anthocyanins, free radicals build up in the body and cause oxidative stress which is associated with disease.

High anthocyanin containing foods like blueberries are consumed on faith since there are no immediate short-term benefits that can be felt or tested.

My favorite way of enjoying blueberries- wild or cultivated- is a healthy breakfast of Sweet Potato Pancakes with Blueberry Banana Fruit Sauce. Both of these recipes are low glycemic and are tasty additions to a healthy paleo diet.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 large sweet potato, peeled and baked
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 egg
2 tablespoons coconut or whole grain flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Beat together all ingredients until smooth. Heat lightly oiled large skillet or griddle. Spoon batter onto griddle. Cook over medium heat 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown (do not turn too soon or pancake will fall apart). Repeat with remaining batter. Makes 6- 3 inch pancakes. Serve warm with fruit sauce.

Calories per pancake 84
Protein 3g
Carbohydrates 12g
Fat 2g
Sodium 129 mcg

Note: Raw sweet potatoes can be used by grinding in food processor before combining with rest of the ingredients and adding 1 additional egg to the batter.

Blueberry Banana Fruit Sauce

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 ripe banana
1 orange, peeled
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Serve over waffles or pancakes. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Calories per 1/4 cup 48
Protein 1g
Carbohydrates 12g
Fat 0
Sodium 39mcg

Written by bwsl

April 24th, 2015 at 12:49 pm

Pumpkin & Eye Health

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Pumpkin Banana MuffinsDon’t throw that Halloween pumpkin away! It could help improve your eyesight better than the carrots your mother told you to eat. As we age our eyesight begins to diminish and carotenoids from orange and green foods become more important.

Research suggests that oxidative damage on eye lens leads to cataract formation- one of the leading causes of age-related blindness in the U.S. A cataract is the process of clouding in the lens caused from free radicals. Carotenoids reduce free radicals within the eye and body.

While most canned pumpkin is really winter squash (pumpkins are in the squash family), it still contains lutein and zeaxanthin for macular eye health. I recently watched how the macular carotenoids were calculated in foods and dietary supplements. The darker green and deeper orange foods were the best foods to support eye health. Trace amounts of these carotenoids were even found in 21 samples of fish, shrimp and sea turtles. Eggs from chickens fed marigold flowers, oranges and peaches even showed levels of zeaxanthin, a carontenoid speciifically evaluated for macular degeneration protection.

A daily intake of 6 mg lutein/zeaxanthin is recommended to provide cataract and macular degeneration benefit. This equals 1/2 cup cooked pumpkin/winter squash or 1 cup cooked kale/spinach or broccoli daily.

Enjoying fresh cooked or canned pumpkin year round in tasty nutritious recipes like Pumpkin Banana Muffins is a great way to maintain eye health. The recipe is features whole grains and hemp hearts, the most nutrient packed gluten-free grain grown for centuries. Don’t risk eye health problems like glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy by using convenience foods loaded with sugar and unknown vegetable oils. Fresh homemade foods are better!

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup hemp hearts or hemp flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
2 ripe small bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup chopped almonds or pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pan with muffin cups. Combine flour, hemp hearts, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves in mixing bowl. Beat together pumpkin, bananas, honey, eggs and oil. Pour into center of flour mixture. Stir until blended. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Top with chopped nuts. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool or serve hot. Makes 12.

Calories per muffin 265
Protein 5 g
Carbohydrates 24g
Fat 11g
Sodium 189 mg

Written by bwsl

December 24th, 2014 at 7:32 pm