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Root vegetables are comfort foods from nature that we get to enjoy every fall, but they're also nutritional powerhouses. Here are the best nutrient-filled root veggies to add to your table, and the healthiest ways to cook them.
These jewel-toned bulbs are a marvellous source of antioxidants. Though you might think beets are too sweet to be good for you (certain varieties are used in sugar production), the root as a whole vegetable is super healthy. Beets' dark purple pigments support your body's natural detox process and may help fight cancer. The vegetables also contain the nutrient betaine, which is known to combat inflammation, a factor connected to many chronic illnesses. For the healthiest beet dish, keep the skins on and don't overcook them. Healthy pigments are lost through cooking, so the longer you steam or roast beets, the fewer phytonutrients you'll end up with.
Orange vegetables are known to be great for your heart, and carrots are no exception. A study found that carrot consumption was related to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. But that's not the carrot's only claim to fame. Its carotenoids, specifically beta-carotene and lutein, can help protect eyes to keep vision healthy later in life. Studies have also shown that carrots have promising effects on the prevention of colon cancer. While the orange variety have lots of benefits, switch it up once in a while to try red and purple carrots in order to benefit from different nutrients. When cooking carrots, try leaving the skin on, then steaming rather than boiling to avoid loss of nutrients.
These aren't your typical starchy root vegetables. Onions belong to the allium family, but they are roots too. Leeks and onions are potent with polyphenols. The vegetables are great for the heart, containing flavonoids that protect blood vessels and sulfur compounds that prevent clotting. They're also super anti-inflammatory, and packed with B vitamins like B6 and folate. Don't overpeel an onion. Some of the most concentrated nutrients occur in the outermost layers.
This knobby root might look intimidating, but it's worth it to get below the dirty, bumpy exterior. Celeriac, a member of the celery family, has a low caloric density, weighing in at just over 60 calories a cup. But there is no shortage of nutrients, including cancer-fighting antioxidants and bone-building vitamin K. Celeriac is a lower-calorie alternative to potatoes. Try mixing it half-and-half with your mashed potatoes—no one will ever know.
Sweet potatoes pack in a lot more nutrients than regular potatoes. They're brimming with vitamin A—more than the recommended daily value in half a cup. But that's not the only antioxidant you'll find in these. Sweet potatoes are also full of vitamin C and anthocyanins (particularly in purple sweet potatoes). They're also anti-inflammatory and, though they're sweet, they can actually help with blood sugar control. Skip the sugary toppings, but don't be afraid to add a little butter or oil when you bake or boil sweet potatoes. A small amount of fat will help you absorb all that vitamin A. And try using pureed cooked sweet potato in baking—such as muffins—the same way you would use pumpkin puree.
These peppery little vegetables are great for weight loss. With just 20 calories per cup, they add flavour and help fill you up without fattening you up! Full of vitamin C, fibre and potassium, as well as flavonoids called anthocyanins, they are great for your heart health. Radishes have long been used to help the body's natural detoxification process, aiding with the breakdown and removal of toxins (they also act as a diuretic, flushing out the kidneys). Enjoy radishes on salads, as crunchy crudités or roast them in the oven like potatoes.
Here's another vegetable that will let you feel like you're filling up on carbs without costing you too many calories. Turnip comes in at just over 30 calories a cup! Still, the root vegetable is surprisingly sweet, and you'll get plenty of vitamin C, fibre and potassium. Turnip contains phytonutrients called indoles, which may protect against colon cancer and even lung cancer, as well as glucosinolates, which may protect against prostate cancer. Turnip is typically roasted, but you can enjoy it many ways: thinly sliced turnip can be added to a slaw , it can go into soups or stews, or it can even be cubed and pickled.
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What to ask your doctor about Angelina's cancer surgery.
When Angelina Jolie writes about her personal health struggles in the New York Times, it makes a splash. In 2013, Jolie set off a media storm by writing about her double mastectomy and genetic predisposition for cancer, then wrote about a second surgery, this time to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, in 2015.
High drama, yes, but it’s hard not to admire her candour. Jolie writes that she is now in full menopause and using bio-identical estrogen patches and an IUD to replace the hormones she’s lost. That’s no small reveal for anyone, let alone an actress known for her vitality and sex appeal.
Jolie also added a note of caution, knowing that the "Jolie effect" is now a recognized factor in doctor-patient conversations and that her preventative surgeries are an extreme course of action.
"I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this. A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery," she writes.
On this point, Canadian doctors and cancer experts agree. High drama may be a good way to start a conversation but calm heads makes the soundest decisions.
A cancer doctor weighs in
Dr. Marcus Bernardini a surgical oncologist at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at University Health Network told us there are a few things Canadian women should know in the wake of Jolie’s announcement:
1. There is actually no effective general screening for high-grade serious ovarian cancer and screening is not recommended.
2. Preventative surgery is recommended for high-risk women (those who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation).
3. Jolie mentions a scenario in which only the fallopian tubes are removed (called a salpingectomy) for women who still hope to get pregnant. Dr. Bernardini calls this "an intriguing strategy," but for now the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (a salpingo-oophorectomy) is the recommended course of action.
4. There are four questions Dr. Bernardini suggests discussing with your doctor if you have concerns raised by Angelina Jolie’s story:
- Am I at risk for ovarian cancer?
- Is there a history of ovarian cancer in my family?
- How does one find out if they are eligible for testing?
- I know there are different types of ovarian cancer, are all preventable in this way?
Family history is the starting point
Responding to the Jolie news this week, Gillian Bromfield, the director of Cancer Control Policy at the Canadian Cancer Society also pointed out that it’s important that people try to learn their family health history.
The group also has information for women with a known strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer, including information on genetic testing, and preventive strategies that may be available to them, she says.
"The decision to have a preventive surgery is a very personal one that a woman would make in consultation with her healthcare provider based on her medical history and her personal preferences," she says.
Here’s hoping Jolie’s candour leads to more information being shared – not more panic.
Read on for more information on menopause and genetic testing.
It's time to rethink your beauty biases toward oils. Oil is no longer a dirty word in the language of beauty, these hydrating elixers are the key to supple skin, soft hair and a glowing complexion. We've rounded up our must-have oil cleansers, anti-agers and de-frizzers—and how to use them.
This product is full of 8 essential oils that help to protect the skin's moisture barrier. It's light, non-greasy and incredibly nourishing.
This two-in-one dry oil and toner combines the nutritive properties of four precious oils with the benefits of a fresh tonic water within a fifty/fifty bi-phase formulation. It helps target dryness while helping to give skin firmness.
The packaging calls it a balm, but this product is full of coconut, grapeseed, sweet almond and coffee arabica seed oils to help target stretch marks, cellulite, psoriasis and eczema.
This luxury organic skin care line is made in Vermont and knows a thing or two about oil. One of its newest launches is a oil cleanser which has quickly become a favourite among staffers at Canadian Living. The Biocompatible oils and esters dissolve makeup and cleanse skin while leaving the skin's barrier in perfect harmony. Great for anyone with dehydrated skin or if you live in a climate that experiences extreme cold—aka Canada.
The great thing about body oils? They also work aromatherapy wonders. This blend is a combination of sesame, safflower and rice bran oils as well as grapefruit, chamomile and vanilla essential oils for an uplifting treat for mind and body.
This oil is a favourite among some of the most stunning women in Hollywood, but it works wonders on everything and claims to work with all skin types. This luxury facial oil consists of 11 different kinds of oils. Some of which are arnica, it helps with healing the skin, perfect for any rough patches or acne. Primerose helps with hydration and redness and jasmine and neroli oil can help you relax.
A great skin soother, this oil also works to reduce the appearance of cellulite using algae extract (a powerful antioxidant).
There are a lot of serums and hair oils on the market, but one of our favourite ones is Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil. The formula uses argan, coconut, macadamia-nut, sweet-almond and grape-see oil to help enhance shine, smooth away flyways and stop frizz in its tracks.
Another multi-tasker, this dry oil (for hair, face and body) includes a blend of grapeseed, sesame, and argan oils leaving your skin super soft and hydrated.
This oil based balm is packed with 12 essential oils to help reduce imperfection and rebalance skin's barrier. Sitting just under $100 bucks a pop it's pricey, but worth the splurge. The texture and smell is super indulgent and makes the mundane task of cleansing your face so much more enjoyable.
This multi-purpose oil works for both hair and body, and is formualted with organic Community Trade argan oil frm Morocco.
This organic body oil helps to improve skin and visibly improve it's texture after one month of regular (a few times a week) use. The star ingredients are organic birch leaves, organic rosemary, rusks, apricot kernel oil and jojoba oil.
A cult favourite, this oil (with a non-oily texture) is lightweight and full of vitamin E.
Water and oil seem to get along pretty well in this formula. The hydrating formula improves skin elasticity and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while a cold-pressed blend of seed oils allows for maximum potency of actives for optimal results.
This limited edition oil features the fragrance of the brand's Amazing Grace Eau de Toilette. Apply to skin fresh out of the shower, or put a couple drops in your bath for a subtle, clean scent.
After spending the day soaking up UV rays your skin becomes dry because its barrier breaks down, preventing it from retaining lipids and moisture. Sooth sun exposed skin with a light oil, like this one from Vichy. Its comprised of sheer oil; apricot kernel oil, coriander and blackcurant seeds, plus its jam packed with fatty acids that help nourish and build up your barrier. If you don't like anything heavy on your skin apply in the shower then rinse off, but if you're craving something weightier apply on dry or post shower skin.
Formulated for skin post-wax, this product contains coconut oil, arnica oil, aloe vera and calendula oil that works to soothe skin and heal irritations.
This incredibly moisturizing oil is perfect for summer when quick-dry and sunkissed are your main priorities.
This multi-purpose—skin, hair, lips, nails—hydrating oil is 100 percent again oil and is super lightweight. Although it does absorb quickly, a little goes a long way.
If it ain't broke... If coconut oil is your go-to, we won't tell you to pick up something more complicated. Make sure to buy organic if you're putting this straight on your skin.
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