Cancer, Health and Diet Related News
It’s not a new pill or any type of high-tech sleeping aid. Instead, researchers at Louisiana State University have shown that insomnia-plagued seniors can sleep nearly an hour and a half longer nightly by drinking two eight-ounce glasses of tart Montmorency cherry juice daily. The cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep/wake cycle, and the juice also contains proanthocyanidins (a type of antioxidant) that the research team credits with helping to promote sleep. In addition, the constituents in the juice help increase the availability of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. The investigators made the point that cherry juice may be a better sedative for seniors than prescription medications, which can increase the risk of falls and related hip fractures. The cherry juice findings were presented Monday, April 28, at the "Dietary Bioactive Components: Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Effects of Dietary Bioactive Components" section of the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition, held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in San Diego. The findings have been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
My take? We know that cherry juice can help reduce the pain of arthritis, gout and exercise related muscle pain. The Louisiana State study was pretty small – only seven seniors (average age 68) participated, but its findings are encouraging and it might be worth considering cherry juice to help address sleeplessness, especially for older individuals. I’ve recommended melatonin as an occasional sleep aid for some time. I suggest trying sublingual tablets (to be placed under the tongue and allowed to dissolve); take 2.5 mg at bedtime, making sure that your bedroom is completely dark. A much lower dose, 0.25 to 0.3 mg, is more effective for regular use. I also recommend valerian as an alternative to benzodiazepines and other prescription sleep aids. You can find standardized extracts in health food stores and pharmacies. Take one to two capsules a half hour before bedtime.
Lots of people are keeping their fat and calorie intake down by choosing plant proteins like legumes and soy along with lean meats like skinless chicken or turkey, and less red meat. If you love hamburger and want a good alternative, you may want to try ground turkey in your recipes. You can use it just as you would ground meat, like beef, lamb or pork. It’s surprisingly good, especially when combined with other flavorful ingredients. In addition to hamburgers, begin cooking with ground turkey in recipes like Veggie Packed Meatloaf with Quinoa or Taco Salad.
When substituting ground turkey for another form of ground meat, always use equal amounts unless otherwise stated in a recipe. Ground turkey can be flavored with the same seasonings, herbs and spices used for ground red meat. Remember, ground turkey breast is very lean, so you may need to add extra fat or moisture (in the form of eggs, sauces or shredded fruits and veggies) and make sure you don’t over cook it. Sloppy Turkey Janes and Mini Turkey Meatloaf and Maple Green Beans are good examples of adding extra moisture. Ground turkey thigh meat is a bit fattier making it more forgiving, so we usually like to mix the two.
- If your recipe calls for a really flavorful ground meat such as ground lamb, try substituting half the amount with ground turkey.
- Stuff bell peppers with ground turkey, brown rice or quinoa and veggies. Serve with a leafy green salad.
- Make sloppy Joes like this Slow Cooker Ham and Turkey Sloppy Joes with ground turkey.
- Grill ground turkey burgers or make our delicious Mushroom and Swiss Patty Melt with Peas in a skillet. Here are some turkey burger options:
- Chili is great when made with ground turkey. Try this Beef and Bean Chili with ground turkey breast or thigh meat in place of the beef, or for your next tailgate or game-watching party, serve this quick and easy Touchdown Turkey Chili.
- Spicy Corn and Chicken Chili is wonderful made with ground turkey!
- Add ground turkey to your favorite spaghetti sauce. It’s great served over hot pasta or baked into a casserole. For example, you can add cooked ground turkey to this Easy Baked Penne with Ricotta and Basil.
- Turkey Meatballs and spaghetti is a family favorite.
- For something unique, Apple, Sage and Turkey Meatloaf makes an excellent dinner and even better leftovers.
Need more cooked ground turkey ideas? Make tacos, put it on pizza, add it to a shepherd’s pie or sprinkle it on leafy green salads or grain salads.
Do you cook with ground turkey and have a good recipe? I’d love to hear it.