The Science Behind Cilantro

The Science Behind Cilantro


Written by our in house nutritionist Alyssa Horton, RHN


Cilantro, also known as coriander or chinese parsley, is an annual herb in the Apiaceae family, which also contains other nutrient dense foods including parsley, celery, anise, carrots, and parsnip. All parts of the cilantro plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and dried seeds, also known as coriander, are most commonly used in cooking. Cilantro is a popular herb due to its fresh and bright taste, but it is so much more than just a versatile culinary herb! Cilantro is loaded with beneficial phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which have many health benefits!



Vitamins and Minerals/ Health Benefits

Raw cilantro leaves are about 92% water, 4% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and less than 1% fat. The nutritional profile of coriander seeds is different from the fresh stems or leaves. In a 100 gram reference amount, the leaves are particularly rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, with moderate content of dietary minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Although the seeds generally have a lower content of vitamins than the fresh leaves, they do provide a significant amount of dietary fiber, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Coriander has been used for thousands of years to treat digestive upset symptoms like nausea, bloating, indigestion, and heartburn, and to ease stomach cramps. Cilantro also contains the antioxidants beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. 100 grams of cilantro contains only 23 calories!

Cilantro leaves have been shown to help remove harmful heavy metals. Most people are unknowingly exposed to heavy metals on a regular basis. Over time, these toxins can build up in your tissues where they can wreak havoc on the body.  However, evidence suggests that cilantro is an effective chelator, which means the chemicals in cilantro can bind to heavy metals and allow your body to excrete them more effectively.

Cilantro has also been shown to support heart health. About one of every four deaths in North America are caused by heart disease. Those are some scary statistics! The good news is that eating a diet rich in leafy greens can help protect your heart, and cilantro is one of those foods that can give you an extra edge against oxidative damage to your heart. Evidence suggests that the phytochemicals and antioxidants in  cilantro could protect your heart from oxidative damage and other heart disease in order to keep it happy and healthy!


Did you know?

·       In a study, most people perceived the taste of cilantro leaves as a tart, lemon/lime like taste, but a smaller group, of about 4–14% of people tested, thought the leaves tasted like bath soap, as linked to a gene which detects aldehyde chemicals also present in soap.

·       Evidence suggests you can reduce your chances of getting food poisoning by consuming cilantro with a meal. A study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology found cilantro is particularly protective against listeria – a bacteria that often causes what we know as food poisoning. 


At Healthfare, cilantro is used as garnish on our soup as well as being added to the tropical salsa, which adds a fresh pop of flavour to our delicious chicken sandwiches. Make sure to stop by our Kamloops location inside the Tournament Capital Centre to ask us any questions you may have and get in your daily dose of cilantro!

Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk: The Perfect Ingredient to Boost Your Health in 2019

Written by our in house nutritionist Alyssa Horton, RHN


Coconut milk comes from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts. The milk has a thick consistency and a rich, creamy texture. Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water, which is found naturally in immature, green coconuts. Unlike coconut water, the milk does not occur naturally. Instead, solid coconut flesh is mixed with water and blended to make coconut milk.

About 93% of its calories come from fat, including saturated fats known as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s). MCT’s have been shown to supplement weight loss, promote fat oxidation, increase energy, and much more. Unlike longer-chain fats, MCTs go from the digestive tract directly to your liver, where they're used for energy or ketone production. They are less likely to be stored as fat, and have been shown to have a positive effect on cholesterol levels by lowering LDL cholesterol when consumed regularly.


Because coconuts contain minerals important for circulation and controlling blood flow, coconut milk is also useful for lowering blood pressure and keeping blood vessels flexible, elastic, and free from plaque buildup. Magnesium can help combat stress and muscle tension while aiding in circulation and keeping muscles relaxed, which is important for preventing heart attacks and strokes.

Medium-chain triglyceride fatty acids found in coconut milk can increase energy expenditure and help enhance physical performance, which is great when starting a new fitness routine. Following exercise, muscles need plenty of nutrients to repair broken down tissue and grow back even stronger. Coconut milk’s MCTs can help lower inflammation, which is associated with painful conditions like arthritis and general joint and muscle pains or aches. Coconut milk also provides important minerals and electrolytes needed to maintain blood volume, regulate heart health, and prevent dehydration and muscle aches and cramps.

Because coconut milk is high in healthy fats, it is a very filling and fat burning food! Fats help fill you up and prevent you from overeating or snacking throughout the day, which derails your efforts to improve your body composition and reach your health goals.


Coconut Milk is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals. Just one cup contains:

  • Calories: 552

  • Fat: 57 grams

  • Protein: 5 grams

  • Carbs: 13 grams

  • Fiber: 5 grams

  • Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI

  • Folate: 10% of the RDI

  • Iron: 22% of the RDI

  • Magnesium: 22% of the RDI

  • Potassium: 18% of the RDI

  • Copper: 32% of the RDI

  • Manganese: 110% of the RDI

  • Selenium: 21% of the RDI

    *RDI - Recommended Daily Intake

How To Choose The Best Coconut Milk

  • Read the label: Whenever possible, choose a product that contains only coconut and water. Many brands will contain added sugars, preservatives, and additives.

  • Choose BPA-free cans: Purchase coconut milk from companies that use BPA-free cans. This information will usually be displayed on the packing, or can be found using a quick google search!

  • Make your own: For the freshest, healthiest coconut milk, make your own by blending 1.5–2 cups (355–470 ml) of unsweetened shredded coconut with 4 cups of hot water, then strain through a cheesecloth.


Coconut Rice with Tumeric & Black Beans

 Part A

1 cup brown rice

1 cup water

1 cup coconut milk taking the fat first ( the thick part of the coconut milk)

1 tbsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp lemon juice

Part B

1 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley


In a rice cooker add all ingredients in except for parsley which should be stirred in once rice is cooked fully.

If cooking on the stove. Add Part A in pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Turn down to a simmer on low-medium heat and place lid on. Let simmer for 40-45 minutes. Lift lid and add part B, put lid back on and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Ready to serve. 


Coconut Milk is a diverse ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of dishes. At HealthFare, Coconut Milk can be found in several of our menu items including our Thai Lime Peanut Sauce, Apple Coconut Curry Sauce, and our newest menu item, the Coconut Curried Yam Soup!

This blended soup combines the warmth of curry spices, the silkiness of coconut milk, and the health benefits of yams all into one fresh and healthy dish! Cozy up this winter with a warming, wholesome cup of soup for the perfect post-holiday meal!


The Power of Root Vegetables

The Power of Root Vegetables


Written by our in house nutritionist Alyssa Horton, RHN


Tis’ the season for root vegetables! Roots are some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables in the world. While each root contains its own set of health benefits, they share many of the same characteristics. Yams, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, onions, garlic, horseradish, turmeric, radishes, and ginger are all considered roots. They are not only amazing for your health, but they are super versatile in the kitchen, and can be prepared and eaten raw, steamed, boiled, roasted, sautéed, or grilled!



Root vegetables are used widely at HealthFare! You can find root vegetables in several of our menu items such as our Gingery Carrot Soup, Sweet Beet Salad, Roasted Yam Fries, Several of our Sauces, and the Purple Roots and Orange Refresher fresh pressed juices. As there is so much to say about Root Vegetables, this blog post will focus on Carrots and Ginger!




Carrots are perhaps the most popular root vegetable because they are perfect for eating raw or cooked. They match well with just about any vegetable in both cooked and raw applications and can be paired with any spice or herb. Carrots are usually orange in colour, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow varieties exist.You can find carrots in our Gingery Carrot Soup, and Orange Refresher and Purple Roots juices.


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Ginger is a powerhouse root due to its natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties. With a sweet, spicy, yet creamy flavor, ginger can be used in a large variety of foods and drinks. Feeling sick? Ginger is often used to boost the immune system! Ginger can be found in both our Gingery Carrot Soup, Orange Refresher and Purple Roots juices, Tandoori Marinade, Teriyaki Sauce, and Apple Coconut Curry Sauce.



Vitamins and Minerals/ Health Benefits

Because root vegetables grow underground, they absorb a great amount of nutrients from the soil. They are packed with a high concentration of antioxidants,Vitamins A, B, C, and iron. They are also filled with complex carbohydrates and fiber, which make you feel full for longer, and help regulate your blood sugar and digestive system. This factor, plus the high-octane nutrients and low calories, make roots excellent for people who are trying to lose weight, or simply stay healthy. Root vegetables are disease-fighting, immunity and energy-boosting, and are also extremely versatile in cooking. Carrots are best known for being rich in Beta-Carotine, a compound that may reduce heart disease and certain types of cancer, and Vitamin A, which promotes vision, bone growth and tooth development. In 100 grams, raw ginger contains 80 calories, and contains moderate amounts of Vitamin B6 (12% of the daily value), magnesium (12% daily value), and manganese (11% daily value).


Did you know?

Root Vegetables are best stored in a cool, dark, humid room. When storing them in the refrigerator, keep roots in a paper bag in the crisper. Storing them uncovered causes them to soften and go bad quickly.




- from Executive Chef Gina

Wash and peel 4 carrots, cut into coins.
Toss cut carrots,  2 tbsp olive oil, 2tbsp maple syrup, pinch of salt and pepper, in a mixing bowl.
Take a baking sheet lined with parchment and spread out your coated carrots. 
Roast in oven for 15-20 mins at 350. Carrots should be caramelized and fork tender.
Rough chop 2 tbsp of Fresh dill and sprinkle of carrots. Put into serving dish. 

See you next month!

The Benefits of Fresh Pressed Juices

The Benefits of Fresh Pressed Juices

The Benefits of Fresh Pressed Juices

Blog written by Alyssa Horton, RHN

At HealthFare, we are always brainstorming and trying to come up with new ways to improve our menu and the health of our customers. We already serve a variety of delicious and nutritious smoothies, but felt that something was missing….

We are pleased to introduce you to our new fresh pressed juices! We have created 3 amazing flavours that are all packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These simple juices have so many amazing health benefits in one little cup.


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Purple Roots

Purple Roots contains beets, apple, carrot, ginger, and oranges. This vibrant combination is not only delicious, but contains loads of vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and iron!

Beets contain nitrates that have been shown to lower blood pressure, enhance athletic performance, act as an anti-inflammatory, and improve mental and cognitive function. Beets boast an impressive nutritional profile. They are low in calories, yet high in valuable vitamins and minerals. In a 100 gram serving of beetroot, there are 44 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 1.7 grams of protein, 20% recommended daily intake of folate, 16% recommended daily intake of Manganese, and much more.


-         Studies have shown that beets can significantly lower diastolic blood pressure by up to 4-10 mmHg over a period of only a few hours. These blood pressure-lowering effects are due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets. In your body, dietary nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels, causing blood pressure to drop. The dilation of blood vessels also increases blood flow to the brain. A reduction in blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain has been noted as one of the major causes of cognitive decline with age and dementia.  

-         Several other studies have shown that dietary nitrates may enhance athletic performance. Nitrates appear to effect physical performance by improving the efficiency of mitochondria, which are responsible for producing energy in your cells. Blood nitrate levels peak within 2–3 hours. Therefore, to maximize their potential, it's best to consume beets 2–3 hours before training or competing.



Green Zinger

Green Zinger contains cucumber, kale, pineapple, parsley, and lemon. This tropical tasting mix makes the perfect green juice!

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Although often overlooked, parsley is a key ingredient in this recipe. Parsley is a nutritional powerhouse with vitamins A, B, C, and K, and the minerals Zinc and Potassium. Parsley aids in balancing blood sugar levels, improving immune function, reduce pain and swelling due to an oil called Eugenio that has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, and is a natural diuretic which can help reduce water retention and bloating.




Orange Refresher

Orange Refresher contains carrot, apple, ginger, and apple cider vinegar. This invigorating mix is packed full of vitamin A and C, and is the perfect option to help prevent or fight off those nasty cold and flu symptoms.


Apple Cider Vinegar is made by fermenting the sugar from apples. This turns them into acetic acid, which is the active ingredient in vinegar. Apple Cider Vineger has many impressive health benefits such as lowering blood sugar levels, lowering chlosterol, and improving cardiovascular health.


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Our fresh pressed juices make the perfect snack on the go, or addition to one of our sandwhiches or rice bowls. For only $8 plus tax, you can easily drink up over 80% of your recommended daily value of several vitamins and minerals. Pop into our Kamloops locations inside the Tournament Capital Centre to try one for yourself!

Come try our Orchard Harvest Salad!

Come try our Orchard Harvest Salad!

Orchard Harvest Salad

-Post written by Alyssa Horton, RHN

At Healthfare we believe in simple, fresh, and real ingredients. The Orchard Harvest Salad is just that, simple and delicious. This salad is packed full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and much more! Made with Baby Kale, Apples, Quinoa, and our homemade Buttermilk Dressing, it’s the perfect lunch while you’re on the go this fall.

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Have you ever wondered exactly why people say this? Well, apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. At just 65 calories per one cup, apples really are one of the best snacks.

Not only can you find apples in our Orchard Harvest Salad, but they are also in our Strawberry Apple Banana Supergreen Smoothie, Apple Oat Muffins, and Apple Coconut Curry Sauce.



Quinoa is a powerhouse food packed with a ton of nutrition! It is one of the most protein rich foods we can eat, as it is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. If you read my blog post on protein, you will be familiar with the health benefits of protein and the importance of the amino acid content of foods. Quinoa also contains 2x as much fiber as any other grains, and high amounts of Iron, Lysine, Magnesium, Riboflavin, and Manganese.

Quinoa can also be found in the Ruby Red Rice Blend used for our Rice Bowls.

Baby Kale


At just 33 calories, one cup of kale has nearly 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K, Folate, Potassium, Magnesium, and Alpha-linolenic Acid, an important Omega-3 Fatty Acid. 

Kale can be found in both of our Super Green Smoothie flavours, as well as in a new menu item coming soon (stay tuned!).

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The Orchard Harvest Salad makes the perfect lunch with back to school, especially when you add a protein of your choice. You can pick from chicken, beef, turkey, or tofu for just $5! It is the perfect blend of healthy, sweet, and hearty.

Come and try any of our selection of salads for $5 small / $8 large!

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-Post written by Alyssa Horton, RHN

Why We Love Pineapple!

Why We Love Pineapple!


-Post written by Alyssa Horton, RHN

Pineapples are  tropical fruits that are rich in vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants. They may help boost the immune system, build strong bones and aid indigestion. Also, despite their sweetness, pineapples are low in calories. One cup of pineapple contains only 82 calories! This tropical fruit makes the perfect snack this summer! 

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Fun fact, Pineapples are actually made of many individual berries that fuse together around a central core as it grows and matures. Each pineapple “scale” was once an individual berry. 


Vitamins and Minerals/ Health Benefits

Pineapples have several vitamins and minerals that can help improve oral and eye health, boost immunity and improve blood circulation, help prevent arthritis, reduce inflammation of joints and muscles, help heal wounds, reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and improve digestive health! Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme (an enzyme that digests proteins) that is naturally found in pineapples. Many supplement companies extract this enzyme from pineapples and sell it as a digestive aide for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and other digestive problems.  

They are excellent sources of vitamin C, manganese, copper, vitamin B1, B6, folate, fiber and much more! 

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Recipe Ideas and Different Uses For Pineapples

Sure, fresh pineapple is a delicious and healthy snack on its own, but here are some more recipe ideas for anyone looking to get a bit more creative in the kitchen! 

  • Smoothies  

  • Grilled pineapple to add to your summer barbeques (simple grill slices of pineapple on the bbq for a few minutes per side) 

  • Tropical pineapple salsa 

  • Add fresh pineapple to salads and rice bowls for a fresh kick of flavor  

  • My favourite summer treat, Pineapple Coconut Sorbet (made with only 2 ingredients! It’s a simple, plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar free recipe that you will love on a hot summer night!) 

Pineapple Coconut Sorbet: 

  • Add 3 cups fresh pineapple

  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk

Optional add in: Unsweetened coconut shreds, fresh mango, other fruits of your choice, or honey/maple syrup/stevia for extra sweetness if needed. 

Simply blend the coconut milk and pineapple, pour into a container, freeze for a few hours, scoop, and enjoy!  


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Did you know? 

The best ways to tell if a pineapple is ripe…. 

  1. The bottom of the pineapple should be the most fragrent, and should smell sweet like pineapple juice.  

  1. The color is also a good guide if the pineapple is ripe enough to eat. They will generally be more yellow looking, but some pineapples stay slightly green, even if they are ripe.  

  1. Try pulling out one of the top inner leaves. They should resist a bit, but will pop out with a slight tug. If they leaves won’t come out, it’s not quite ripe enough.  


We are big pineapple fans at HealthFare! You can find this sweet and delicious fruit in several of our menu items such as our tropical fruit smoothies,  pineapple mango teriyaki sauce, tropical salsa, and HealthFare parfaits! Our tropical fruit smoothies are a sweet and refreshing treat, especially with the hot summers here in Kamloops! Our Super Fresh Tropical smoothie is made with yogurt, and our Super Green Tropical smoothie is made with kale and almonds for our green smoothie loving customers!

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Our Pineapple Mango Teriyaki Sauce is the perfect addition to one of our delicious rice bowls which are made with broccoli, peppers, onion, and our Ruby Rice blend. You’ll find the Tropical Salsa on our chicken sandwhiches, which adds a fresh pop of flavour. All of these items are made fresh in-house with no preservatives, artifcial flavours, colors, or additives. Simple, fresh, and delicious foods are our specialty at HealthFare! Come try out one of our pineapple filled foods next time you’re in, and enjoy knowing all the wonderful health benefits that you’re getting!  

-Post written by Alyssa Horton, RHN


Protein 101

Protein 101

-Post written by Alyssa Horton, RHN

I’m sure most of you have heard of and even tried some different protein powders by now, but many of you may still have lots of questions! You see protein powders being marketed all over social media and at supplement stores, but what does it really do? Who should take it? How much should you consume? What are the best sources of protein? These are all questions that can be hard to find proper answers to, so here is a little “Protein 101” to help guide you through the sea of information out there!




First Thing First, What is Protein?

Protein is one of the 4 main macronutrients required by the human body. Proteins are made up of different combinations of amino acids. Of the 20 amino acids, our bodies can make 11 of them. The other 9 we must get from our diets, and they are considered “essential amino acids”. It is very important to ensure we are getting a combination of all of the essential amino acids, as they all have different roles in our bodies. Proteins are considered to either be complete or incomplete. Complete proteins contain all nine of the essential amino acids, where incomplete proteins only contain some of them. It is important to eat a variety of foods and combine protein sources in order to obtain all of the essential amino acids on a daily basis.



What Are The Health Benefits of Protein?

There are endless benefits of protein, but here are some of the biggest:

-         Proteins are used to make bone, skin, nails, hair, muscle, cells, and play a major role in the production and action of enzymes, which are involved in nearly every function in the body.

-         Increase in muscle mass and lean tissue. Eating protein triggers the synthesis of the building of muscle tissue.

-         Less hunger and lower calorie intake. Protein is filling, and can help keep you feel full for longer. This reduces the total amount of calories taken in.

-         Better bone density and less risk of osteoporosis.

-         Stronger tendons and faster recovery from injury. Greater protein synthesis accelerates the repair of tissue and strengthens connective tissue, which results in less risk of injury.


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Animal Sources of Proetin:

Beef, Poultry, Eggs, Seafood, Greek Yogurt, Milk, ect.



Plant-Based Sources of Protein:

Quinoa, Lentils, Beans, Hemp Hearts, Chia Seeds, Nuts and Seeds, Tofu, ect.



Choosing a Protein:

Protein supplements have become quite popular, especially in the fitness industry. Even though they will techniqually help you meet your protein and amino acid requirements, there are a few problems with protein powders:

1.     Protein powders are heavily processed in order to isolate the protein. They lack other important nutrients that naturally accompany whole food sources of protein. For example, fish also contains healthy fats.

2.     During the processing of protein supplements, companies are often left with a bad tasting protein product. In order to improve the taste and increase sales, most protein powders are filled with sugars, artificial colors and flavours, MSG, trans fats, and other additives. 

Real food sources of protein are much more easily digestible, contain other beneficial vitamins, minerals, and nutritents, and even cost less than expensive protein powders.



How Much Protein Should I Consume On A Daily Basis?

This number is very dependant on your activity level, but the average person should consume around 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. If you’re training heavy in the gym, or looking to eat a higher protein diet, around 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight is often recommended. For example, a 150 pound person could eat anywhere from 120 g- 195g of protein per day.

*This number is very different for everybody based on their goals, activity level, history, and many other factors.

At Healthfare, we strive to create meaningful connections with food and with people. We take your health seriously, and only want to serve the best quality foods possible! We believe in real food made simple. With that being said, we would love to introduce you to our newest menu item, the Healthfare Protein Blend! Our protein blend is made with a mixture of Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, and Hemp Hearts. This real food, plant-based, all-natural blend packs a punch with 18g of protein per serving! This easily digestible protein blend contains all 20 amino acids (and most importantly, all 9 essential amino acids), ensuring the best results and health benefits possible! Not only will our blend help you meet your protein needs, it also contains fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, magnesium, B vitamins, calcium, and many other amazing nutrients! The Healthfare protein blend goes perfectly when added to our delicious smoothie options, or could even be added to our yogurt parfaits.


-Post written by Alyssa Horton, RHN