Tips & Tall Tales

Get Your Daily Dose of Fruits & Vegetables

Think you’re getting enough fruits and veggies? Think again.

At least seven out of 10 Americans aren’t meeting the recommended amount of fresh produce needed for a healthy lifestyle. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Every five years the Dietary Guidelines are published. These guidelines give recommendations on how to maintain a healthy and nutritional diet.

What sticks out? You guessed it. Americans need to increase their fruit and vegetable intake.

Fruits add to healthy eating patterns. They are a great source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. Pineapples are a superfruit that can help achieve a healthy lifestyle. From being a great source of Vitamin C (which is a very important topic in Dr. Lloyd’s Corner) to providing the powerful enzyme bromelain, pineapples are great if you’re looking for a better diet.

How can you follow the guidelines for eating more fruit? Choose fruits as snacks, side dishes and desserts to cut down on foods with added sugars. Stay away from juices that do not contain 100% fruit juices. Many juices contain less than 50% juice and are made up of added sugars.

Check out our own list of recipes to see how you can incorporate more fruits into your diet.

Want to take a look into the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines? Click here.

Best,

Dr. Lloyd

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2016: The Year of the Pineapple

The New Year is almost upon us!

Many of us have prepared for 2016 by drafting new year’s resolutions. And you know what? I agree with the tradition. There really is something magically inspiring and motivating about resolutions! In fact, down here on the farm, we have a few “new beginning” traditions and customs that we follow on December 31st.

Among them are some fun ones such as crossing the neighborhood street with a suitcase in hand to ensure travelling in the coming year. Or sweeping the entire house to sway away past evils. Many people here in Costa Rica even make it a point to ring in midnight with yellow underwear for good luck in the months ahead.

Maybe these customs aren’t exactly your cup of tea, but there is one thing you can’t deny: Taking steps to better yourself is always a smart thing! Among your own resolutions, we’re pretty certain that “eating better” or “making healthier choices” is on your list. And that’s terrific!

So, alright then. In 2016, introduce more fresh produce to your diet! We’re partial of course, but pineapple will really be a great addition to your fruit basket this year. As the year continues, check Lloyd’s Corner for more reasons on how this star food can help you. (Can’t wait? Check out a few health posts from 2015 here, here and here.)

Without further ado, from our family to yours:

pineapplemintgoldHAPPYNEWYEAR

Image Created by Sisters, What!

Cheers!

Dr. Lloyd

 

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Christmas in 1840: What Tree?

ColonialWreath

Happy Saturday!

We stumbled across an interesting story today that we thought would be a neat post to share with our regular readers. Remember when ole’ Dr. Lloyd here told you about the history of the pineapple, or how pineapples were once a status symbol among Europeans?

Well, down in South Carolina, the Historic Columbia Foundation will be sharing similar anecdotes during candlelight tours of the capitol’s historic buildings later this month. The tours will showcase exactly what Christmas in the late 19th century was like for the buildings’ residents. Surprisingly, Christmas trees weren’t common as decoration until after the 1850s. But you know what was? You guessed it – pineapples!

This article by TheState.com gives great insight into what a Christmas celebration would have looked like during the American historical era – and give some reasons as to why the pineapple crazes seems to endure.

To read the full story, click here.

Enjoy!

Dr. Lloyd

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Vitamin C: Pineapples Say A Mouthful

It’s pretty well known that Vitamin C is an essential nutrient. Some might even argue that Vitamin C is the “power-house vitamin.” Doing everything from serving as an antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage to boosting the immune system, Vitamin C is vital in building human tissue and repairing it.

Pineapples are a great source of Vitamin C! Due to their high Vitamin C content, pineapples can positively assist a plethora of bodily functions. (Here’s some to name a few).

In today’s post, we wanted to focus specifically on how pineapple consumption can benefit oral health. That’s right. Your tongue knows what’s good for it!

Aside from its delicious taste, this lip-smacking fruit’s Vitamin C contribution can even reduce your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Vitamin C also increases the body’s ability to fight invading bacteria that contribute to such oral diseases, especially gum disease.

Does it replace going to the dentist? You wish. Of course not! But with a toothbrush, floss and –surprisingly– a few slices of pineapple a day, your mouth will be thanking you!

Dr. Lloyd Berg  

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Boo! A Freakishly Healthy Halloween Snack

It’s the week of Halloween and you’ve just had a terrifying epiphany…there is absolutely no candy in the pantry! You can’t believe it. You’ll need to run out and grab a few bags for those ravenous trick-o-treaters before it’s too late.

Yet, on your way to the store you’ve started to think about it. “Do I really want my kids to eat THAT much candy in one sitting?”

We hear you! For any parent out there looking to give their kids a bit more of a healthy dose of Halloween, we have the recipe just for you!

healthycandycornbowl

Created by Family Fresh Meals.com this Candy Corn Fruit Bowl has all the perfect Halloween trimmings without the scary ingredients.

What you’ll need?

The Perfect Pineapple, cut into  bite sized chunks

– oranges, cut into bite sized chunks

– whipped cream

– candy corn

{I’m sure you know what to do from here, but just in case, check out the full recipe via Family Fresh Meals.com for more details.} 

 

Happy Halloween!

Dr. Lloyd

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Come Visit Us @ Booth #459 This Weekend!

JuiceBarImage alone

In Atlanta for the weekend? Well if you are, you’re in for a real treat!

The 2015 PMA Fresh Summit kicks off tomorrow, Friday, October 23 at the Georgia World Congress and with it a gatherings of the industry at the world’s largest produce trade show.

Chestnut Hill Farms will be exhibiting during the event (#Booth 459) and will be joined by local juice experts, Rawesome Juicery. Together, we’ll be serving up some of the tastiest cold-press juices on the floor. Recipes featuring The Perfect Pineapple were created by Rawesome Juicery and include:

The Refresh: Pineapple, Mint, Lime, Apple, Chlorophyll

The Pura Vida: Pineapple, Orange Juice, Cactus Fruit, Ginger

The Pain Killer (Smoothie): Pineapple, Coconut Cream, Orange Juice, Nutmeg

Juice image alone

Why juice? As our partners at Rawesome so eloquently put it:

“When we consume whole foods our system immediately recognizes it as familiar and can utilize its nutrients immediately.

This is the number one reason why everyone should juice! It allows the system to rest and catch up on other issues in the body that need repair. Fresh pressed juice is absorbed within minutes, giving your system a reboost of vital vitamins and minerals.”

If you’re around, please stop by and say hello!

Hope to see you there,

Dr. Lloyd

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Pineapples: So Versatile, It’s Scary!

With Halloween just around the corner, we thought it might be fun to show our readers a creative alternative to the standard Jack-O-Lantern. Instead of carving a pumpkin this year, try slicing a pineapple into a slightly scarier form.

Like a werewolf during a full moon, The Perfect Pineapple can actually be very spooky once a year and, we think, quite possibly a better candidate for this annual doorstep tradition.

I mean, come on. A pumpkin just brings its roundness to the (carving) table, but a pineapple? A pineapple comes pre-made with a pretty creepy face and a kooky top hat!

JackOlantern

Don’t believe us? Give it a whirl tonight in preparation for next week’s big bash. Simply pick up a pineapple at your nearest grocery store and follow these simple steps, demonstrated by this short stop-motion tutorial.

The results might just be terrifyingly good.

Happy Halloween!

Dr. Lloyd

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Keep Heart Healthy

In the United States alone, there are more than 3 million cases of vascular disease reported each year. Often associated with vascular disease are blood clots. Now let’s be fair – blood clots are healthy and lifesaving when they stop bleeding. But they can also form when they aren’t needed. That’s when things get tricky. Blood clots can also cause a heart attack, stroke or other serious medical problems.

Why do blood clots form? Causes of blood clots may include certain heart conditions, pregnancy, prolonged immobility, smoking, certain medications, surgery and inherited blood clotting disorders.

For some of those causes, there’s not much you can do to prevent a clot from possibly happening. But for others, believe it or not, pineapple can help!

A proactive and very natural approach, consuming pineapples has been proven to reduce the risk of blood clots by thinning the blood. Get ready, because here we go with that bromelain again. (It’s a very, very busy enzyme)!

Bromelain helps to trigger an anti-inflammatory response. Because of their bromelain levels, pineapples can help reduce excessive coagulation of the blood. This makes pineapple a good snack for frequent fliers, pregnant women, long-time “sitters” and others at risk for blood clots.

Actually, this is one reason why you will almost always see flight attendants have a full stock of pineapple juice.

Neat fact, right? The more you know!

Dr. Lloyd

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The Plantain’s Past

In addition to recipes and prep tips, we at Chestnut Hill Farms like to educate our readers about every aspect of the fruit they purchase from us. It’s part of our company culture. We want our customers to be as passionate about the products we sell as we are! We’re even crazy enough to give those visitors to Lloyd’s Corner a science tutorial on El Niño. (We know…it was a tough one).

Much like our previous post on pineapples, the history of the plantain is fascinating. It’s had its very own world tour. Yet, in this instance, the origins of the plantain can be found on the other side of the globe.

As AfricanFoods.co reports:

Around 327 B.C, Alexander the Great came in contact with this fruit during his world conquest and introduced it into Europe. The plantain eventually found its way from Malaysia and India to Madagascar through trading Asian and Arab merchants during the Trans-Saharan trade boom… [It] became a very important factor in the wealth, prosperity and rapid expansion of the Bantu Kingdom of central and southern Africa around 1500 AD. To date, the plantain is still a major and popular staple meal across Uganda and the rest of the former Bantu region. The history of the banana and plantain in the Caribbean has also been traced to the activities of the Portuguese Franciscan Monk who is credited for introducing it to the Dominican Republic in 1516, having himself come in contact with this fruit in the Canary Islands, brought there by his compatriots about a hundred years earlier.”

Since then, the plantain has become a staple product in many countries across several continents. From Asia to Africa, to many parts of Latin America, and even among communities in the United States, the plantain is widely eaten year-round.

And now you know!

Dr. Lloyd

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10 Easy Facts to Understanding “El Niño”

Agriculture is dictated by weather patterns.  It might be a very simple fact, but nonetheless essential in understanding what, when and how much produce reaches your local grocery store.

Weather phenomena such as droughts or hurricanes can severely impact what any farm around the world can produce. In Costa Rica, where our farms are based, recent storms have caused workers to press the pause button on much of our vital agricultural practices. These storms, many have claimed, are due to this year’s El Niño event.

In fact, forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced this past month that this year’s El Niño could become among the strongest on record and will likely last into early spring 2016.

Screen-shot-2014-03-07-at-10.17.17-AM

So, what exactly is El Niño and why have you heard it before? Here are 10 quick facts you should know!

  1. “El Niño” is the name of an occurring, temporary change in the climate of the Pacific Ocean.

When someone says there’s an “El Niño” event this year, they’re talking about unusually warm ocean temperatures recorded in the Pacific region around the equator. 

  1. During a non-El Niño year, warm water storms are usually created in the Pacific Ocean and move westward.

To understand how El Niño changes things, first it’s important to understand what’s considered “normal”.  In the Pacific Ocean, the water closest to the equator is warmed by the sun. Wind in the region will blow from east (the Americas) to west (Asia and Australia). These gusts of wind—called prevailing winds—take the newly formed warm surface water temperatures with them, making the water near the Americas, as a result, usually cooler by comparison.

  1. El Niño is a disruption of this “normal” system. During El Niño, trade winds tend to relax and fail to send the rest of the warm air westward.

As a result, warm water builds and builds in the east “until at some point, the system says, ‘Whoa, too much! I’m going to get rid of it!’”  Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, explains.  This is when an El Niño event has the potential to kick in.

  1. The El Niño change is then marked by higher than average ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, for at least three months.

All of this commotion happening between west and east trade winds results in warmer than normal surface temperatures.  This shift in warmth increases the potential of heavy rains, flooding and disrupted fish habitats near the Americas and creates drought conditions in the western Pacific.

  1. El Niño’s timing usually follows a pattern each decade.

It usually happens every three to seven years, starting slowly in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, peaking in its winter and dying off quickly in the New Year.

  1. El Niño translates to “The Christ Child” in Spanish.

Peruvian fishermen are credited with naming the event after they noticed that every few years, around Christmas, virtually no fish could be found in the unusually warm waters.

  1. Forecasters can quantitatively state how “strong” an El Niño event can be.

Officially, an event is deemed a weak El Niño event if the sea surface temperatures increases by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal. At 1.0 degree Celsius above normal, an event is moderate, while anything above 1.0 degrees is considered strong. Currently, this El Niño event is reported at 1.5 degrees Celsius above normal.

  1. Strong El Niño events can have a major impact on global weather phenomena.

More frequent and intense storms and heavy rain and snowfall in certain parts of the United States will usually occur as a result of a strong El Niño winter. An increase in tropical cyclones in the Pacific and decreased hurricanes in the Atlantic can result as well.

  1. El Niño developed in March of this year.

Many local Costa Rican operations, like Chestnut Hill Farms, have felt the impact of El Niño. As the event continues to strengthen, the region continues to see major rainfall.

  1. NOAA provides monthly update for El Niño activity.

Can’t get enough El Niño now that you know what it actually is? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) keeps the world abreast of its latest forecasts. Check them out here.

Dr. Lloyd

 

*Many facts were taken from both the NOAA’s website and a wonderful explanation by Maria Gallucci of the International Business Times. Read her full article here. 

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