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Nutrition

Hearty, wholesome dishes to support immune systems

With their earthy flavor, mushrooms – like many other fruits and vegetables – can also play a positive role in supporting a healthy immune system.

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If feeding your family wholesome meals is a daily goal, keep in mind you can serve up tasty foods that also feed your immune system by including ingredients like mushrooms. With their earthy flavor, mushrooms – like many other fruits and vegetables – can also play a positive role in supporting a healthy immune system.

Studies at Oregon State University concluded there are a variety of micronutrients important for supporting a healthy immune system. Consider that three of these nutrients (vitamin D, selenium and B vitamins) can be found in mushrooms, meaning these family-friendly recipes for Roasted Chicken Thighs and Veggies with Mushroom Orzo Risotto; Grilled Portobello Gyros with Yogurt Dill Sauce; Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Lasagna Soup; and Asian Barbecue Sesame Salmon with Noodles and Veggies can help you add all-important nutrients to your family’s menu.

Find more ways to add mushrooms to family meals at mushroomcouncil.com.

Grilled Portobello Gyros with Yogurt Dill Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Emily Weeks of “Zen and Spice”
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

4          portobello mushrooms
1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2       teaspoon dried oregano
1/4       teaspoon smoked paprika
2          yellow bell peppers, sliced

Yogurt Dill Sauce:

1          English cucumber, grated
1          cup whole-milk 
            Greek yogurt
1/2       cup sour cream
2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2       small lemon, juice only
2          cloves garlic, minced
1          teaspoon salt
1          tablespoon minced fresh dill
4          pita breads or naan
2          tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2       red onion, thinly sliced
1/2       head green lettuce
            crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Remove stems from mushrooms and brush caps with wet towel. Using spoon, carefully scrape out gills. Slice mushrooms into 1/4-inch pieces and place in medium bowl with olive oil, oregano and smoked paprika.

Preheat indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and peppers; grill, tossing occasionally, until tender, 5-7 minutes.

To make yogurt dill sauce: Squeeze grated cucumber in clean towel to remove excess liquid. Add to large bowl with yogurt, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and dill. Stir to combine.

To serve, place mushrooms and peppers in middle of pita bread. Top with tomatoes, onion, lettuce, feta, if desired, and big dollop of yogurt dill sauce.

Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Lasagna Soup
Recipe courtesy of Emily Weeks of “Zen and Spice”
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2          cloves garlic, minced
1          medium onion, small diced
8          ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
1          jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
1          can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
2          tablespoons tomato paste
2          teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1          teaspoon granulated sugar
1          tablespoon dried basil
1/2       teaspoon salt
1          teaspoon oregano
1/2       teaspoon black pepper
1          bay leaf
3          cups vegetable broth
6          lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
1/2       cup heavy cream
5          ounces fresh baby spinach
1          cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2       cup shredded mozzarella cheese, for topping

Heat large pot over medium heat.

Add olive oil, garlic, onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and mushrooms soften, 4-5 minutes.

Add marinara, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, basil, salt, oregano, pepper, bay leaf and broth. Bring to boil over high heat then reduce heat to low and simmer.

Add lasagna noodles and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and remove bay leaf.

Stir in heavy cream and spinach until wilted, 2-3 minutes.

Divide between bowls and top with dollop of ricotta and sprinkle of mozzarella.

Roasted Chicken Thighs and Veggies with Mushroom Orzo Risotto
Recipe courtesy of Emily Weeks of “Zen and Spice”
Cook time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Chicken:

8          boneless, skinless chicken thighs
            salt, to taste
            pepper, to taste
6          tablespoons unsalted butter
16        ounces crimini mushrooms, quartered
3          zucchini, sliced in half moons
3          large carrots, thinly sliced
4          sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
4          cloves garlic, minced

Orzo:

4          cups chicken or vegetable broth
1          tablespoon unsalted butter
1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1          small yellow onion, diced
2          garlic cloves, minced
16        ounces crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
1          cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/8       teaspoon black pepper
1/3       cup white wine
1/3       cup shredded Parmesan cheese

To make chicken: Preheat oven to 450 F.

Pat chicken dry. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. In large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Sear chicken until browned, 4-5 minutes on each side.

In large bowl, toss mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, garlic and rosemary. On large baking sheet, spread vegetables. Nestle chicken into vegetables. Drizzle with butter and juices from pan.

Bake 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

To make orzo: In small pot over medium-low heat, warm broth.

Using skillet from chicken, add butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften, 3-4 minutes.

Add orzo and black pepper. Stir and cook 2 minutes. Add white wine and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute.

Add warm broth to orzo 2/3 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth, waiting until last batch is absorbed before adding more. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan.

Serve in individual bowls with chicken and roasted vegetables atop mushroom orzo risotto.

Asian Barbecue Sesame Salmon with Noodles and Veggies
Recipe courtesy of Emily Weeks of “Zen and Spice”
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Sauce:

1/2       cup soy sauce
2          tablespoons brown sugar
1          tablespoon rice vinegar
2          cloves garlic, minced
1          teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1          teaspoon chili garlic sauce (optional)
1          tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2          tablespoons barbecue sauce
2          tablespoons water
2          teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2    pounds salmon (4 filets)
12        ounces stir-fry (pad thai) rice noodles
1          tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1          pound white mushrooms, sliced
1          cup sugar snap peas
1          large broccoli head, cut into bite-size florets
2-3       green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
            sesame seeds, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In small saucepan, whisk soy sauce; brown sugar; rice vinegar; garlic; ginger; chili garlic sauce, if desired; sesame oil; and barbecue sauce. Bring to boil over high heat then reduce heat to simmer.

In small bowl, whisk water and cornstarch. Pour into pan and cook on low, whisking often, until sauce thickens, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pour 3 tablespoons sauce into small bowl. Brush salmon filets with reserved sauce and place on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, or until salmon is flaky. Discard small bowl sauce if any remains.

Cook stir-fry noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.

Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add sesame oil. Add mushrooms, snap peas and broccoli. Cook, stirring often, until veggies are tender-crisp, 7-8 minutes. Add noodles and remaining sauce from pan; toss to combine.

To serve, divide noodles, veggies and salmon between plates.

Top with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

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Nutrition

It doesn’t matter much which fiber you choose – just get more fiber

The benefit of dietary fiber isn’t just the easier pooping that advertisers tout. Fermentable fiber — dietary carbohydrates that the human gut cannot process on its own but some bacteria can digest — is also an essential source of nutrients that your gut microbes need to stay healthy.

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Photo by Nadine Primeau from Unsplash.com

That huge array of dietary fiber supplements in the drugstore or grocery aisle can be overwhelming to a consumer. They make all sorts of health claims too, not being subject to FDA review and approval. So how do you know which supplement works and would be best for you?

A rigorous examination of the gut microbes of study participants who were fed three different kinds of supplements in different sequences concludes that people who had been eating the least amount of fiber before the study showed the greatest benefit from supplements, regardless of which ones they consumed.

“The people who responded the best had been eating the least fiber to start with,” said study leader Lawrence David, an associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University.

The benefit of dietary fiber isn’t just the easier pooping that advertisers tout. Fermentable fiber — dietary carbohydrates that the human gut cannot process on its own but some bacteria can digest — is also an essential source of nutrients that your gut microbes need to stay healthy.

“We’ve evolved to depend on nutrients that our microbiomes produce for us,” said Zack Holmes, former PhD student in the David lab and co-author on two new papers about fiber. “But with recent shifts in diet away from fiber-rich foods, we’ve stopped feeding our microbes what they need.”

When your gut bugs are happily munching on a high-fiber diet, they produce more of the short-chain fatty acids that protect you from diseases of the gut, colorectal cancers and even obesity. And in particular, they produce more of a fatty acid called butyrate, which is fuel for your intestinal cells themselves. Butyrate has been shown to improve the gut’s resistance to pathogens, lower inflammation and create happier, healthier cells lining the host’s intestines.

Given the variety of supplements available, David’s research team wanted to know whether it may be necessary to ‘personalize’ fiber supplements to different people, since different fermentable fibers have been shown to have different effects on short-chain fatty acid production from one individual to the next.

“We didn’t see a lot of difference between the fiber supplements we tested. Rather, they looked interchangeable,” David said during a tour of his sparkling new lab in the MSRB III building, which includes a special “science toilet” for collecting samples and an array of eight “artificial gut” fermenters for growing happy gut microbes outside a body.

“Regardless of which of the test supplements you pick, it seems your microbiome will thank you with more butyrate,” David said.

The average American adult only consumes 20 to 40 percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber, which is believed to be a root cause behind a lot of our common health maladies, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders and colon cancer. Instead of having to go totally vegetarian or consume pounds of kale daily, convenient fiber supplements have been created that can increase the production of short-chain fatty acids.

The Duke experiments tested three main kinds of fermentable fiber supplements: inulin, dextrin (Benefiber), and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) marketed as Bimuno. The 28 participants were separated into groups and given each of the three supplements for one week in different orders, with a week off between supplements to allow participants’ guts to return to a baseline state. 

Participants who had been consuming the most fiber beforehand showed the least change in their microbiomes, and the type of supplement really didn’t matter, probably because they were already hosting a more optimal population of gut bugs, David said.

Conversely, participants who had been consuming the least fiber saw the greatest increase in butyrate with the supplements, regardless of which one was being consumed.

In a second study the David lab performed with support from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, they found that gut microbes responded to a new addition of fiber within a day, dramatically altering the populations of bugs present in the gut and changing which of their genes they were using to digest food.

Using their artificial gut fermenters, the researchers found the gut microbes were primed by the first dose to consume fiber, and digested it quickly on the second dose.

“These findings are encouraging,” said graduate student Jeffrey Letourneau, lead author of the second study. “If you’re a low fiber consumer, it’s probably not worth it to stress so much about which kind of fiber to add. It’s just important that you find something that works for you in a sustainable way.”

“It doesn’t need to be a supplement either,” Holmes added. “It can just be a fiber-rich food. Folks who were already eating a lot of fiber, which comes from plants like beans, leafy greens, and citrus, already had very healthy microbiomes.”

“Microbiota Responses to Different Prebiotics Are Conserved Within Individuals and Associated with Habitual Fiber Intake” by Zachary Holmes, Max Villa, Heather Durand, Sharon Jiang, Eric Dallow, Brianna Petrone, Justin Silverman, Pao-Hwa Lin, and Lawrence David appeared in Microbiome.

“Ecological Memory of Prior Nutrient Exposure in the Human Gut Microbiome” by Jeffrey Letourneau, Zachary Holmes, Eric Dallow, Heather Durand, Sharon Jiang, Verónica Carrion, Savita Gupta, Adam Mincey, Michael Muehlbauer, and James Bain, Lawrence David appeared in ISME Journal.

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Nutrition

5 Reasons to add lobster to summer meals

In addition to its distinctly sweet flavor, consider these reasons to add Maine lobster to your menu this summer.

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The arrival of summer means favorites like fresh seafood are back on the menu for many families. This year, as you explore new and inventive ways to add variety to weeknight dinners and backyard barbecues, consider including lobster as a versatile, indulgent ingredient.  

Throughout the summer months, lobstermen up and down the Maine coast set off before dawn in pursuit of one of the most beloved crustaceans in the world. As one of the oldest fisheries in the country, the industry boasts a rich history with an unparalleled commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship that has allowed it to thrive for generations.

In addition to its distinctly sweet flavor, consider these reasons to add Maine lobster to your menu this summer:

Sustainability

To help protect the lobster population and the livelihood of those in the fishery, the lobstermen pioneered sustainability and traceability practices before it was fashionable. The sustainability measures developed and adapted over generations, such as protecting egg-bearing females and releasing juvenile lobsters, have preserved the fishery and produced abundant lobster stocks.

Small Business Support

Unlike many commercial fisheries, the Maine Lobster industry consists of more than 5,000 independent lobstermen who own and operate small day boats. Many lobstermen are from multi-generational lobstering families, which, along with a mandatory apprenticeship program, ensure its continued survival.

Front Lines of Science

Mother Nature and science guide the fishery, meaning ongoing collaboration between scientists and fishermen to research the health of the lobster population and adapt to the effects of climate change to help protect the oceans.

Protection of Endangered Species

Sustainability for the industry means taking care of the larger marine environment and the species that rely on it. Since the 1990s, Maine lobstermen have taken proactive steps to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales by eliminating surface float rope, incorporating weak links to allow whales to break free in the event they encounter gear and marking rope to ensure traceability.

Community Engagement

The lobster industry goes well beyond the fishermen on the water; including the dealers, processors, restaurant owners, trap and boat builders and more. The fishery is part of the identity of Maine, which means enjoying lobster rolls, grilled tails or steamed lobsters this summer directly supports the community and the lobstermen who call it home.

To find more ways to support the industry and recipes to enjoy this summer, visit lobsterfrommaine.com.

Chilled Lobster with Orange and Basil Vinaigrette 

Recipe courtesy of Erin Lynch on behalf of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative 
Servings: 4Dressing:

1          tablespoon minced shallots
2          tablespoons olive oil
2          tablespoons fresh orange juice
1          tablespoon fresh lime juice
2          tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1          tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2       teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste, divided 
1/4       teaspoon Dijon mustard
            pepper, to taste
1          pound cooked Maine Lobster meat, cut into 1-inch pieces

1          head butter lettuce, torn
1          ripe avocado, peeled and diced
3          radishes, thinly sliced
            kosher salt 
            freshly ground black pepper

To make dressing: In medium bowl, whisk shallots, olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, basil, parsley, salt and Dijon mustard. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Add lobster to bowl; toss to coat. Chill at least 1 hour, or up to one day.

To serve: Arrange lettuce on serving plate and place lobster on top. Sprinkle with avocado, radishes, kosher salt and ground black pepper.Traditional Lobster Rolls

Recipe courtesy of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative 
Yield: 4 rolls

1          pound cooked Maine lobster meat 
            mayonnaise, to taste, for binding
            freshly ground black pepper, to taste
            salt, to taste
            fresh lemon juice, to taste
4          buttered, toasted rolls or preferred bread 
            sliced chives, for garnish

In bowl, combine lobster meat; mayonnaise, to taste; pepper, to taste; salt, to taste; and lemon juice, to taste.

Place 3-4 ounces lobster salad on each roll.

Garnish with chives and serve.

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Nutrition

Revamp your pantry, start living healthy

Eat and live better with products that make healthy living a lifestyle.

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In the past, many Filipinos put wellbeing and wellness on the back burner until major health concerns arose. But since the pandemic began, health has been thrust into the forefront, taking on a new importance for many.

Now more than ever, individuals are finding ways to live healthier lifestyles. Whether that means taking precautions against getting sick, eating wholesome and nutritious food, or managing a healthy weight. 

A quick Google search about healthy living and dieting will result in a ton of information that it can be hard to know what is accurate. Be wary of fad diets all over social media that promise quick and easy results. The truth is these quick fixes don’t work. What does work is a lifestyle change. It’s more sustainable too. Here are a few tips to make a healthy change to one’s lifestyle.

Munch on good snacks

Not all snacks are bad. Go for snacks that include protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Good snacks also help curb sugar cravings. In fact, snacking is beneficial when increasing intake of nutrient-rich foods for a burst of energy. Snacks that are good to have on hand are those that will keep the stomach full throughout the day. Consider the Macro Fruit Free Muesli Bar and Classic Fruit & Nut Muesli Bar for great sources of fiber. 

Eat whole, organic food

Whole foods are those that have not been overly processed. They have many benefits because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help keep the immune system and body strong. Try products that can be used in more ways than one such as Macro Tomato Garlic & Basil Chunky Pasta Sauce which can be used as a sauce for fish or chicken. Another versatile product is Macro Quick Oats which can be used in baking or to make a classic oatmeal recipe or overnight oats. These products promise more than just great taste, but also healthier alternatives to traditional ingredients.    

Stock up on superfoods

Superfoods are those that are rich in antioxidants, good fat, and fiber. Instead of foods that are high in sugar, consider superfoods like Macro Turmeric Latte and Macro Black Chia Seeds. Turmeric helps lower inflammation levels in the body and reduces the risk of health problems. Chia seeds on the other hand are packed with antioxidants and fiber which can help lower high blood pressure and regulate the digestive system.

All Macro products are available in Shopwise, Robinsons Supermarket and The Marketplace Rustans branches nationwide. Woolworths products are also available via the GoCart website.

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