August brings many types of ripening produce to the Central Sierra, but some of the most striking summer colors and flavors come from peppers. Peppers come in sweet varieties, which include but aren't limited to bell peppers, and spicy varieties, which are also known as chiles. Few foods offer as much variety in color, shape, and flavor as peppers do, so look out for less common types in local markets or when choosing plants for your garden. All peppers start out green, and will ultimately become sweeter and change color as they ripen. Green bell peppers or green chiles are less sweet because they are less ripe; red, orange, or yellow colors indicate that a pepper has ripened and will be sweeter. Chiles become spicier as they ripen, although spice level also varies widely between chile varieties, growing conditions, and even from plant to plant in the same garden. Any type of pepper should be firm and glossy when fresh, although many chiles are also preserved and sold dried. Peppers contain fiber and Vitamin A, and are excellent sources of Vitamin C. A single serving of peppers usually provides all the Vitamin C recommended for an entire day. See below for pepper recipe ideas to try this August, or learn more about peppers and view their nutrition facts at the USDA's Seasonal Produce Guide.
- Evidence suggests that limiting added sugars to 6% of our daily calories, rather than 10% as is currently recommended, may be warranted.
- While this advisory committee was tasked with developing guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding women for the first time, it found limited research on which to make specific recommendations. For pregnant women, the committee found, "Evidence suggests that consuming foods within healthy dietary patterns before and/or during pregnancy may modestly reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, and preterm birth." More research in the area of diet and lactation/breastfeeding is needed.
- This advisory committee was also tasked with developing recommendations for infants and young children ages 0 to 24 months, and found some evidence that children who had ever been breastfed had lower rates of type 1 diabetes and asthma. The report highlighted the importance of feeding young children nutrient-dense foods in addition to breastmilk or infant formula, and also advises that children younger than 2 years old should not be given any sugar-sweetened beverages to drink.
- The committee found the longstanding advice that healthy diets "include higher intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, low- or nonfat dairy, lean meat and poultry, seafood, nuts, and unsaturated vegetable oils" is still supported by the evidence.
- The committee found the advice to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats (but not necessarily with carbohydrates) is still supported by the evidence.
Visit these links for a round-up of recent health and nutrition news, information, and events. For general healthy eating information based on an expert analysis of nutrition research, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov. For individual questions, consult a registered dietitian or medical provider.
In July many areas of the Central Sierra can expect to see tomatoes beginning to appear in local markets or ripening in gardens. This much-awaited crop is one of the best foods to enjoy in season, when its flavor is truly at its peak. Tomatoes need warm weather and plenty of time to ripen fruit, but cherry tomatoes are often one of the earliest types of tomatoes to begin ripening. Look for tomatoes in all different sizes and colors this summer to enjoy a range of different textures, tastes, and nutrients. A good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, tomatoes also provide dietary fiber and other trace nutrients. Red tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that is better absorbed by our bodies when tomatoes are cooked. Whether eaten fresh or cooked into dishes, tomatoes pair well with many different herbs, including basil, cilantro and thyme, and with most other foods that grow alongside tomatoes in the garden. See below for fresh tomato recipe ideas to try this July, or learn more about tomatoes and view their nutrition facts at Harvest of the Month.
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