Nutrition, Diet, Healthy Eating
Stay Hydrated This Summer
Posted by author June 27, 2012
Whether you are outside for a leisurely stroll, swimming or playing tennis hydration is of utmost importance, especially in the heat and humidity. Losing as little as two percent body weight (3 pounds in a 150 pound person) can negatively impact physical performance. Dehydration can also increase the possibility of dangerous heat stroke.
A few tips to maintain hydration:
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- Four hours before you head out the door, drink plenty of fluids to maximize your state of hydration.
- Always carry a water bottle with you wherever you go so you can quench your thirst.
- Don't rely on thirst alone, drink fluids all day long and while exercising.
- After exercise, replenish lost fluids with water, sports drink, 100 percent fruit juice or better yet, a protein based drink like a smoothie made with yogurt or whey protein.
- Sports beverages containing carbohydrates and electrolytes are an option for water during prolonged outdoor exercise because they provide fuel for muscles and help prevent dehydration.
Are All Calories The Same?
Posted by Kathleen Zelman June 22, 2012
Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows the basic formula starts with slashing calories. For decades the research has supported the concept of reducing calories by about 3500 to reduce a pound of weight. Achieving the 3500 calorie deficit can be done alone or preferably in combination with exercise.
So does it matter what you eat as long as you cut calories? Absolutely. A small study from Pomona College in California found that diets that containing more whole foods burned more calories over diets high in processed foods. Whole foods required more calories to eat and digest than highly processed foods.
Nutrition experts always recommend cutting extra calories from foods that offer more calories than nutritional goodness such as sugars, unhealthy fats and super-sized portions.
This summer while you are trying to whittle your waistline, choose whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and seeds to fill you up, and power pack your diet with good-for-you nutrients.
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Supplement Webinar Follow Up
Posted by Kathleen Zelman June 13, 2012
We were delighted that so many of you took time out of your busy schedules to join us and engage in the Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Supplements webinar and hopefully you were inspired to more carefully choose the right supplements to enrich your diet.
Mark your calendars my next webinar Walk Off Those Extra Pounds on July 10. Exercise is an essential part of your overall healthy daily lifestyle and what could be easier than walking to integrate physical activity into your daily lifestyle? Walking is an effective way to whittle your waistline while it also strengthens your bones, muscles and cardiovascular system. Learn proper walking techniques, choosing a walking program and the benefits of using a pedometer to increase daily steps.
Now for your questions:
Calcium: Lots of concern over the recent report about calcium and heart disease risk. The researchers found an association between calcium supplements and heart attack, but the study cannot show cause and effect. While it is always preferable to get nutrients from food, many women, especially past menopause, don't get enough calcium in their diets and are at increased risk fo osteoporosis or fractures. In light of this new study, my suggestion is to talk to your healthcare provider to understand your individual risk. In the meantime, try to increase the natural calcium-rich foods in your diet along with weight-bearing exercise which is also protective for bone health.
The amount of daily calcium recommended by the Institute of Medicine varies by age and gender.
Women ages 19-50 and men ages 19-70 should get 1,000 milligrams daily. Women ages 51 and men over 70 should get 1,200 milligrams daily. A glass of milk has 300 milligrams of calcium.
Multivitamins: You do not need to cut them in half and I disagree that this results in 'expensive urine'. Purchase generic brands which are just as good as most designer brands so the investment is more reasonable.
Anemia: This is a condition that should be managed by your health care provider. Most cases involve iron or vitamin B12 deficiencies and can be managed with supplements.
Tolerable Upper Limits: Check out this reference table for specific amounts.
Supplements with Food or Empty Stomach?: This is mostly a personal choice. Some nutrients perform better with food so in general I would recommend taking your supplements with food. But if you have trouble digesting them, taking yours before bedtime may decrease your sensitivity.
Gluten Free Diets: There are no specific supplements for individuals following a gluten free diet other than a general multivitamin with minerals.
Vitamin B12: As you get older, the acids in your stomach are reduced and it becomes more difficult to absorb vitamin B12 from food. Supplements don't need acid for absorption which is why many older adults are encouraged to take vitamin B12 supplements.
Fish oil: Fish oil is considered cardio protective and helpful to reduce risk of heart disease, stroke and to lower blood pressure or triglyceride levels (fats related to cholesterol) when taken in correct doses. It has earned a reputation as a brain food based on research that suggests it may help with depression and other related disorders.
Raspberry ketones: Save your money, the evidence that these are effective is limited.
Weight loss supplements: In general, most weight loss supplements are nothing more than a temporary fix and not worth the money. Spend your money on high fiber fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains that will help fill you up.
Gingko: Learn more about this botanical.
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Dig In The Dirt
Posted by Kathleen Zelman June 8, 2012
First Lady Michelle Obama is launching her new book, "American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America." With the success of a garden on the South Lawn, rich with rows of greens, leafy vegetables, broccoli, snap peas, herbs and peppers, she is sharing her story about the four seasons of the White House garden.
Mrs. Obama shares tips for how to start your own garden even when all you have is a pot on a windowsill. The real message is about good nutrition, the health of our nation and getting everyone (children and adults) to eat healthier. And according to My Plate, a healthy plate contains one-quarter fruits and one-quarter vegetables.
Not only will a garden peak the curiosity of your children and encourage them to try new foods but it can be also be a fun, family activity. And when there are not enough windowsills, pots or space in the yard for a garden, Mrs. Obama recommends Farmer's Markets.
Now is the time to sow those seeds and take inspiration from the "Mom-in-Chief' to start a garden, visit your local market or simply stock your grocery cart with a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables.
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De-bloat Your Belly
Posted by Kathleen Zelman June 3, 2012
Do you ever get that bloated feeling when zipping your pants is a real struggle? Stomach bloating can be avoided if you follow a few simple guidelines. I am not talking about belly fat, but the temporary distention that most of us deal with on occasion.
Experts say the most likely cause is intestinal gas, not water weight, because the abdomen does not accumulate fluids unless there is a medical condition. Swelling, or water weight, is more likely to be seen in your feet or ankles when upright.
There are several possible causes for stomach bloat:
- Wheat allergy or lactose intolerance
- Fast eating and not adequately chewing your food
- Too many carbonated drinks can trap gas in your belly
- Overdoing chewing gum
- Too many foods with sugar alcohols
- High sodium foods
- Too many beans, especially if you are not used to eating them
Eating more frequent meals that are smaller or trying peppermint tea, ginger, parsley and yogurts with probiotics may help reduce bloat.
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Posted by Kathleen Zelman May 27, 2012
Calories are not the only thing that matters when you are trying to lose weight. A few recently published studies showed how eating whole foods like almonds and chewing your food thoroughly can give you the dieter's edge.
Researchers found that when each bite of food was chewed 40 times, participants in the study ate 12 percent less. And an hour later, blood levels of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, were lower. It may not be rocket science but slowing down the pace of eating and chewing your food more may boost your weight loss.
Almonds, when incorporated into a breakfast meal, can help make you feel more full for the rest of the day. Participants in the study who ate 225 additional calories with their meal of cream of wheat and orange juice felt fuller during the day than those who ate the same number of calories as almond butter. The protein, fiber and healthy fats can be waist friendly when controlled in portions.
Every little bit counts! Use these tips along with your other healthy habits to shave calories and whittle your waistline.
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The Halo Effect
Posted by Kathleen Zelman May 17, 2012
Don't be misled by manufacturers that wordsmith the benefits of their products to encourage you to buy them.
Popular claims are: trans fat-free, gluten-free, low-fat, whole grain, natural and organic to name just a few.
Not all foods deserve the claims.
For example, most shoppers are looking for foods that are whole grain because the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommends making half your grains whole. And whole grains are indeed healthier and should be on your grocery list. But don't be fooled by foods marketed as 'made with whole grain'. Instead, look for products marked 100 percent whole grain. Confirm the label indicator by checking the ingredient list where you will see the word 'whole' in front of the grain such as wheat or oats. If the ingredient list says wheat flour, it is not the same as whole-wheat flour.
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Diet vs. Exercise Follow Up
Posted by Kathleen Zelman May 11, 2012
We were delighted that so many of you took time out of your busy schedules to join us and engage in the Diet vs. Exercise for Weight Loss webinar and hopefully you were inspired to learn how what you eat, physical activity and sleep can impact your energy level and mood.
Mark your calendars and register today for my next webinar Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Supplements on June 12. From daily multivitamins, vitamin D to herbal botanicals learn which ones are essential to help fill in the nutritional gaps of your diet and give you the competitive edge and which ones are more hype than anything else.
Now for your questions:
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- Eating before exercise: It is important to have a light meal prior to exercising to give you energy to do your physical activity. Ideally, the meal provides fluids, smart carbs and lean protein like an egg, whole wheat toast and orange juice, fruit smoothie, low fat yogurt, chocolate or almond milk, protein shake, protein bar or half a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread and water. The choice is yours, just make sure you eat light and right before exercising.
- Eating after exercise: This is most important to repair and replenish muscle tissue, especially after strength training. The composition of this meal is similar to the pre exercise suggestions above with an emphasis on fluid replacement.
- Weight loss supplements: In general, most weight loss supplements are nothing more than a temporary fix and not worth the money. Spend your money on high fiber fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains that will help fill you up.
- Post menopause weight loss: There is no mystery that as you age, your metabolism slows down but generally your appetite remains about the same. Unless you are working out to build muscle (which is the primary means of increasing metabolism), you need to trim calories or increase activity to balance weight. Further, women tend to start depositing fat in their midsections with the shift in hormones.
- Fruits: While fruit does contain natural sugars, it also has fiber, vitamins, minerals and good-for-you phytonutrients. Eat fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth instead of calorie rich sweets and treats. Three-four servings per day is a good number to strive for and 100% fruit juices are included in small portions.
- Alcohol: A glass of wine, beer or a cocktail after exercise (once you have hydrated sufficiently) is fine. Guidelines recommend men limit their intake to two drinks and ladies one drink per day.
- Calorie counting: There is no need to count calories to lose weight. Instead, keep portion sizes reasonable and choose healthy foods. A diet rich in healthy foods will fill you up without excess calories so you don't need to worry about counting them.
- Real vs light: It is a personal choice if you would rather have a smaller portion of the real thing (i.e. ice cream) or a larger portion of a lighter version (i.e. frozen yogurt) one is not necessarily better than the other.
- 7 calories/pound: Use this formula at your current weight if you are looking for the least number of calories according to Dr. Dansinger.
- Losing weight without exercise: You can lose weight solely by cutting calories but exercise and physical activity are recommended regardless for health and wellness. Exercise is especially important in weight maintenance and maintaining weight lost.
- Time of day to exercise: Another personal choice but studies show people who exercise in the morning are more likely to exercise than those who put it off until later in the day.
- HCG diet: I do not recommend this diet plan because it is a very low calorie diet of approximately 500 calories per day.
- Weight loss standards: The BMI (body mass index) is a crude benchmark to determine healthy weight that is used by health care providers. Another crude method for women is 100 pounds for the first five feet plus 10 pounds for each inch, adjusted plus 10% for larger bones and minus 10% for smaller bones. These are nothing more than rough estimates.
Does Eating Healthy Need to be More Expensive?
Posted by Kathleen Zelman May 3, 2012
The short answer is absolutely not.
While some fresh fruit, vegetables and top of the line meats and fish can be pricey, there are plenty of options in the grocery store that are healthy and affordable.
Here are my tips to help stretch your food dollars for a healthy diet:
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- Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season when they are at their peak quality and least expensive.
- Stock your freezer with simple (no added sugar or sauces) fruits and vegetables in resealable bags that allow you to use as much as you need without waste.
- Consider alternative protein sources like beans, nuts, tofu and quinoa that can stand in for meat, fish and poultry.
- Eat a meatless meal once a week.
- Canned foods are usually less expensive than fresh and if you choose the lower sodium and fruits in juice, they can be just as nutritious.
- Plan your menus in advance using coupons and supermarket circulars to take advantage of items on sale.
- Save money by limiting the amount of extras or treat foods that taste good but generally offer little nutritional value.
Are You Getting Enough Fiber?
Posted by Kathleen Zelman April 25, 2012
Make no mistake about it; fiber is important for your health. Mountains of research have demonstrated the health benefits of fiber for heart health, blood glucose control, digestion and gut health. The problem is that the average intake is only about half of the recommendation for health benefits. Even more disturbing, roughly 90 percent of adults and children fall short of meeting their daily fiber intake. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, fiber is a nutrient of concern because it is a critical nutrient lacking in most diets.
How Much Fiber?
Men need 38 grams per day and ladies 25 grams daily.
Whole grains, bran cereal, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts top the list. Start your day off with a high fiber bran cereal topped with fruit for an easy way to add up to 10 grams of fiber in one meal. Other tips to increase fiber intake:
- Eat more whole fruits.
- Add a vegetable salad with dinner.
- Top your sandwiches with slices of veggies and lettuce.
- Replace refined grains with whole grains like brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, whole grain cereals and crackers.
- Snack on veggies with hummus.
- Eat more beans toss into salads, soups, stews, egg dishes.
- Add nuts on cereal, salads, yogurt or eat them plain.
- Snack on popcorn.
Drink More Water
As you increase your fiber intake, experts recommend doing it gradually and increasing your fluid intake also since fiber absorbs water.
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What's Wrong With Trans Fats?
Posted by Kathleen Zelman April 20, 2012
When a product claims it is has zero trans-fats, did you know that it could still contain up to .5 grams of trans fats per serving? That's right, according to the Food and Drug Administration guidelines, processed foods can claim they have no trans fats as long as it does not exceed .5 grams per serving.
Only when a product says 100% trans-fat-free can you be sure there are not any trans fats in the food.
That is important information to know because trans fats are the worst kind of fats for your health. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommends a limit of one gram or less per day.
Why? Because trans fats can raise your levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol and also decrease your HDL, or "good" cholesterol. The impact of trans fats can increase your risk for heart disease.
Where Trans Fats Lurk
Trans fats are lurking in many commercially made food products containing partially hydrogenated oils or shortening. Read the first few ingredients in the ingredient list for terms like hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils as a red flag for trans fats.
These foods may contain trans fats:
- Margarines and shortenings
- Frying fats in processed foods
- Deep-fried fast food, like french fries
- Crackers, cake mixes, snack cakes, snack foods, chips, doughnuts, pie crusts, biscuits, breakfast cereals, frozen waffles, microwave popcorn, packaged cookies, and other baked and fried items
The good news is many food manufacturers are reformulating products to remove trans fats since trans fats were added to the nutrition facts panel.
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Connections of Food, Energy and Mood: Your Questions Answered
Posted by Kathleen Zelman April 13, 2012
We were delighted that so many of you took time out of your busy schedules to join us and engage in the Connections of Food, Energy and Mood webinar and hopefully you were inspired to learn how what you eat, physical activity and sleep can impact your energy level and mood.
Mark your calendars for my next webinar Diet vs. Exercise for Weight Loss on May 8. Which is more effective for weight loss diet or exercise? Learn how to get the best results for your weight loss efforts. This webinar will review success stories of weight loss along with the science that shows the most effective combination of diet and exercise to maximize weight loss. Best weight loss practices and the multiple health benefits of exercise, beyond weight loss, will be addressed.
Now for your questions:
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- Food and Mood Resources: Joy Bauer's Food Cures by Joy Bauer and Serotonin Power Diet by Judith Wurtman, PhD are both great resources for additional information.
- Which are the best snacks when I am stressed at work? Plan ahead and take nutritious snacks with you so you won't be tempted to make unhealthy choices. Hummus and veggies; apple and peanut butter; low fat cheese and whole grain crackers; fruit and yogurt; and low fat popcorn are all easily portable snacks.
- Eating before exercise: It is important to have a light meal prior to exercising to give you energy to do your physical activity. Ideally, the meal provides fluids, smart carbs and lean protein like an egg, whole wheat toast and orange juice or a fruit smoothie with yogurt or whey protein or half a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread and water.
- How much caffeine per day? It all depends on the sources of caffeine. If you drink coffee or cola beverages, try to limit to two servings a day. Check medications and keep in mind chocolate has a type of stimulant similar to caffeine.
- Are all nuts healthy? Absolutely, they all contain healthy fats, fiber and protein but they differ in their nutrient composition. Walnuts, for example, are rich in plant omega 3 fatty acids whereas almonds are rich in vitamin D. Eat a variety of nuts, in limited portions, to gain all the benefits.
- How much sleep? Most people perform best with 6-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Vitamins and mineral supplements: For multivitamins, choose one for your age and sex to make sure it has the right amounts geared for your health.
- Vitamin D the best form is D3 for the body to absorb but D2 is acceptable and not harmful. Cod liver oil is one of the best sources of naturally occurring vitamin D.
- Bones in sardines: If you eat them, you boost the calcium content of the fish but if you prefer to skip them, that is fine.
- Fast breakfast ideas: toast a waffle, cut in half and top with peanut butter and sliced banana; fruit smoothie; egg sandwich; bag of dried fruit, nuts and whole grain cereal; half a bagel with low fat cheese or a yogurt parfait with fruit.
- Water: most of us need about 8 glasses a day of liquids but don't forget you also get fluids from foods. Hydrate yourself often and don't rely on thirst to tell you to drink more fluids.
Cancer Fighting Strategies
Posted by Kathleen Zelman April 4, 2012
Everyone knows it is important to eat a healthy diet but there are some diet and lifestyle strategies that can help you increase your odds against getting cancer. The most beneficial tactic: be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
Most Americans are unaware of the important association between being overweight or obese and cancer risk.
Other cancer fighting strategies from the American Institute of Cancer research:
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- Be physically active at least 30 minutes every day.
- Eat more or a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
- Limit consumption of red meats and avoid processed meats.
- If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day.
- Limit consumption of salty foods and food processed with salt.
- Avoid sugary drinks and limit consumption of energy-dense foods especially processed foods high in added sugars, high in fat or low in fiber.
- Don't use supplements to protect against cancer.