Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD, LD

Licensed Nutritionist & Environmental Health Specialist

Archive for the ‘blueberry’ tag

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