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The red blood cells in your body carry the oxygen to your vital organs and tissues while removing the carbon dioxide. The blood cells are red because they contain hemoglobin which is very rich in iron. The marrow of the bone generates the production of red blood cells, but you can increase that production and create a healthier you in the process.

This is because not consuming enough iron in your daily diet may cause anemia, the state in which your body produces fewer red blood cells than normal. Iron-deficiency anemia can affect your health and energy levels in a number of negative ways. Therefore, it is important to consume foods that are rich in iron as well as other vitamins, minerals and nutrients that provide your body with what it needs to stay active, healthy and strong.

Foods Rich in Iron, Folic Acid and B-12

There are several foods that offer plenty of iron for your body to use and create new red blood cells. Red meats, organs such as livers and kidneys along with dark, leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. In addition, dried raisins, beans, lentils and dried prunes are also great sources of iron that keeps your blood supply rich in oxygen.

You’ll also want to consume foods rich in folic acid or Vitamin B9 as well since it helps in the development of red blood cells. Increasing the amount of folic acid in your body may prevent anemia from occurring. Many of the foods that contain plenty of folic acid include sources of iron as well, such as leafy green vegetables, kale, spinach and dried beans. There are also other sources such as breads, cereals, nuts and peas that also contain folic acid.

The Vitamin B12 also helps in the production of red blood cells as well by helping to prevent abnormal divisions of cells in the bone marrow which may create smaller, immature cells known as megaloblasts which do not transport enough oxygen to the body. Foods rich in B12 include breakfast cereals, dairy products, fish, beef liver, eggs and nutritional yeast.

How Seaweed Increases your Red Cell Count

Of all the foods listed that helps in the production of red blood cells, seaweed is arguably the best in terms of combining iron with plenty of other vitamins and minerals. Seaweed offers many health benefits and is one of the plants people have been cooking with for thousands of years. Whether you choose freshwater or saltwater seaweed, it makes for excellent recipes and snacks that provide many benefits to the creation of red blood cells.

Sea life such as crab, octopus, shrimp, krill and foods such as calamari offer plenty of seafood recipes for the diet. Seaweed contains all the benefits of these creatures while having very little fat and few calories, which makes it a great compliment to your dinner table. While seaweed may not be the complete answer to increasing your red blood cell count, it is a vital one that offers many other benefits as well.

0 Comments | Posted in News By Karen B. Vance

It’s not always true that eggs are harmful to a healthy heart.

It’s complicated. Cholesterol is not easily understood and over the years people have developed many misconceptions on the topic. It is known that high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream do contribute to the risk of heart disease. But other things we supposedly know about cholesterol simply are not true. It’s important to know what is true and what is myth and in doing so you may actually be surprised.

Not All Cholesterol is bad for Our Health

Some cholesterol is actually needed for the body to properly function according to the American Heart Association. Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance which is produced by our livers. Cholesterol is necessary in the formation of certain hormones and cell membranes. This means that there is good cholesterol that our body makes naturally but there is cholesterol which we ingest from food. It’s an excess of cholesterol that comes from food that is bad for us because it can cause a narrowing in the arteries which increases the risk of stroke or heart attack.

Eggs are a Good Source of Protein

No one disputes that eggs contain a high amount of cholesterol. If someone’s diet contains too much cholesterol there is a risk for heart disease due to a build-up in the arteries. But according to the American Heart Association eggs can be included in a healthy diet by decreasing the amount consumed of other foods high in cholesterol. It should not be ignored that eggs provide a great source of not only protein but nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin which are essential to healthy eyes. We can consume up to four eggs in a week without risking heart disease. The AHA suggests that on days we enjoy an egg in our diet we can just cut back on other foods which may contain high levels of cholesterol such as whole-fat dairy foods and red meat.

Kids Can Actually Develop High Cholesterol

Physicians treating adults are concerned about middle-aged people developing a problem with high cholesterol. But pediatricians have discovered that children who have a diet high in junk food and sugary desserts and who become obese as a result are developing high levels of cholesterol in their bloodstreams. This can eventually lead to heart disease. The Nemours Foundation recommends that kids in age groups 2 – 8 and in 12 – 16 who suffer from obesity, who have a diet high in fat or who are from a family with members who have high cholesterol need to have a cholesterol test when they see their pediatrician. If high cholesterol is found early it is much easier to control than when it’s discovered later in life. Parents must watch their kids’ diet and use recipes low in fat and sugar for snacks and meals. Healthy eating habits are learned early in life and can last a lifetime.

Cholesterol Medication is Not the Best Treatment

Although there are many effective cholesterol drugs on the market a healthy diet, exercise and losing weight can very often lower cholesterol in the bloodstream. Any medication is bound to have bad side-effects but living a healthier lifestyle only has good side-effects. If you log onto MayoClinic.com you will find that they recommend having less fat in your diet, reduce your intake of meat and dairy products, exercise for a minimum of a half hour a day and if you’re overweight, lose those excess pounds. Try this first before you take prescription medication. There are many free recipes online to help you change your diet. Whether it’s for a healthy snack, or an entire meal, you will discover that a healthy diet can be very satisfying and delicious to boot. Happy cooking!

0 Comments | Posted in News By Karen B. Vance

It’s rather amazing that in the US people consume an average of just over 2 snacks each day which accounts for 1/4th the daily calories we consume. Unfortunately, most of the snack foods that are consumed have high amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, fats, starches and so forth that can add additional weight to our bodies and have a negative impact on our health.

However, eating healthy snacks can actually be beneficial as long as the calories consumed do not exceed the amount that is burned off on a daily basis. Foods that are loaded with nutrients can provide you with the nutrition your body needs while providing plenty of energy as well.

Healthy Snack Ideas

Of course, the question is just what type of snack foods do we consume in the place of the junk food that fills up our diet? Consider that on average Americans eat less than 60% of the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products. This means that there are plenty of sources for snacks that are perfect for adults and kids alike.

There are many snack ideas to choose from, including putting vegetables in yogurt or adding fresh fruit to oatmeal. Taking healthy foods and combining them results in getting more good nutrition in your body while helping to eliminate the fats and sugars that add unnecessary weight.

Increase Your Energy

One of the main reasons we eat snacks is to give our bodies a quick boost of energy. Healthy snacks can prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping too much between meals. You’ll want to avoid sugar filled snacks because the energy burst will be fast and over with leaving you worse off than before.

Instead, eat snacks that are rich in fiber and protein such as carrots or even better, dipping your healthy snacks in bean dip which offers plenty of protein as well. Being slow to digest, you’ll feel full without being bloated and stave off any additional snacking between meals. When you finish exercising, your body will need some energy to properly recover and increase the recovery of your muscles. A mix of protein and good carbohydrates will provide the energy your body needs and the materials for your muscles to properly recover. Try peanut butter on whole wheat toast or yogurt and a banana to get the right mix of snacks for your body.

Kid Snacks

Kids love snacks probably more than adults, but it still proper to provide them with plenty of healthy foods. Try trail mix which has plenty of tasty nuts and dry fruits that will provide them with plenty of potassium and fiber so that they conquer the cravings and have the energy needed to get on with their day.

Cantinastar offers many healthy snack foods and free recipes to fit your diet while providing the health benefits that your body needs. Eating healthy foods is what our company is all about, including main dishes such as calamari, lobster, shrimp, crab and other healthy snack ideas that include kelp and seaweed which has many different uses in popular foods. Let Cantinastar be your place for snack foods and healthy meals.

0 Comments | Posted in News By Karen B. Vance

sundried cherry tomatoes on dehydrator

Healthy snacks are an important part of any healthy diet, and ensuring that there is plenty of variety in the snack foods that you eat will help you to maximize the health benefits of healthy snacking. If you're interested in cooking your own snacks, using a food dehydrator is one way to experiment with different ways of preparing seafood, fruits and vegetables.

What Is a Food Dehydrator?

A food dehydrator is an appliance that removes moisture from foods. It can be used with plants, meats and fish to eliminate moisture. Most fruits and vegetables get 80 to 90 percent of their volume from water while meats are half to three-quarters water. Food dehydrators remove this moisture and with it, the likelihood of food spoiling. Without moisture, bacteria can not readily grow in food, so dry snacks last for a long time.

Why Eat Dry Food?

There are many reasons why dry food recipes are great snack ideas. For one thing, dried foods are easy to take with you on the go because they typically don't require refrigeration, so they can be packed in a lunch bag or backpack as kids snacks or snacks for work without worrying about ice packs and other cooling solutions. Dry food is also incredibly nutritious. Unlike cooking food with heat, dehydrating food does not typically cause vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and other essential nutrients to break down. You also don't need to add fat, sugar or salt to foods to dry them. As a result, dry fruits, dry vegetables and dry fish provide plenty of health benefits while remaining low in calories, saturated fat, sugars and sodium.

How Do Dehydrators Work?

There are two main types of dehydrators: those that receive power from the sun and those that run on electricity. Most food dehydrators consist of three main parts. A heating element is used to raise the temperature inside of the dehydrator and cause the moisture in the food to evaporate without causing the food to fully cook. The fans and vents keep air circulating throughout the dehydrator and release the water vapor from the food to the outside of the appliance. The amount of time that it takes for a dehydrator to remove moisture from food depends on which type of food is being dried and the efficiency of the model. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours for foods to become fully dried.

What Are the Benefits of Dehydrators?

Foods can be dried without food dehydrators in the oven or outdoors in the sun; however, dehydrators greatly simplify making dry food at home. This is because dehydrators not only provide heat but also adequate air flow, helping to ensure best results. Of course, you don't have to purchase a dehydrator or hunt for free recipes to enjoy the health benefits and taste of dry food. Cantinastar has a wide range of dry seafood and dry fruits that make great snack ideas.

0 Comments | Posted in News By Karen B. Vance

Seafood is one of the foods recommended by nutritionists and physicians to serve as a foundation for a healthy, balanced diet. Fish and shellfish like shrimp and crab are rich in lean protein, low in saturated fat and packed with healthy vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Still, despite all the health benefits of seafood, many people are hesitant to work with lobster, octopus, calamari and fish in their home kitchens.

If you'd like to start enjoying fish and seafood dishes at home, here are some tips to help you get started:

- When choosing freshly caught fish, look for four signs of freshness: red gills, clear, shiny eyes, a mild odor and shiny skin.

- When purchasing skinned fillets, choose fish that is all one color. You should not see brown spots, and its hue should be vibrant throughout.

- Keep fresh fish and seafood in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic surrounded by ice. It will keep this way for one to two days.

- If you do not intend to cook with fish or seafood within one to two days, you can freeze fish.

- Shrimp, crab, lobster and other shellfish can be purchased pre-cooked and flash frozen for simple use in recipes. You can also cook many recipes with dry fish if you're concerned about freshness.

- When you thaw frozen fish or seafood, do so in the refrigerator, not in the microwave or by running it under warm water. Always cook with the fish or shellfish the day that you thaw it.

- Pin bones are best removed from fish fillets using needle-nose pliers. Just press down on the fish to expose the bones and pull them out.

- Over-marinating fish can leave it being mushy and unappealing in texture. Keep marinating times to a maximum of 30 minutes. Do not pour leftover marinade over the cooked fish, as this can result in food poisoning.

- Overcooking fish is the biggest reason for unpleasant odors in the kitchen. Always cook your fish for a few minutes less than what is suggested in recipes. Make a small cut in the fish and examine the meat. It should form flakes easily.

- When cooking with shellfish like clams and oysters, discard any that are open. This indicates that the seafood is already dead and no longer fresh.

- Avoid cross-contamination when preparing seafood dishes. Don't put cooked fish onto a plate or cutting surface where you had placed raw fish and don't use the same utensils with cooked and uncooked fish. Clean counter tops with an antibacterial solution after cooking to remove microbes.

- Serve cooked fish with sliced lemons or limes to enhance flavor and balance any strong tastes.

If you'd like to try your hand at cooking with dry fish, be sure to shop Cantinastar for a wide variety of options for use in recipes or for enjoying as snacks.

0 Comments | Posted in News By Karen B. Vance

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