Sunday, July 26, 2015

Anti-Inflammatory foods

Are there foods that can help control inflammation?  In our bodies we can have low-grade inflammation that can simmer along for years before raising its ugly head as cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or even heart disease.  There are foods that can help fight this low grade inflammation as described in Tame the Flame of Inflammation 
      1. Broccoli – not just broccoli but other vegetables in the cruciferous family – kale, Brussel sprouts, help lower inflammation.  The antioxidants in these foods seem to provide the benefits.  If you don’t like broccoli plain, add a cheese sauce, or put some in soups, on salads, in stir-fry dishes.  
      2.  Wheat berries and whole wheat – many people are shunning wheat and thus the benefits whole wheat can provide.  Wheat berries and whole wheat provide a polyphenol antioxidant that can lower inflammation.  Add some wheat berries to your cereal or salad.   
      3.  EVVO – not sure what EVVO is?  Extra Virgin Olive Oil which contains oleocanthal which has similar anti- inflammatory properties to ibuprofen but a much more natural way to get the anti-inflammatory benefit.  And add olives to your diet.     
      4.  Salmon – already known as a heart-healthy food and a brain food, salmon also offers eicosapentaenoic acid, which is an omega-3 fat with healthy benefits one being it is anti-inflammatory.   
      5.  Nuts – a handful of nuts a day is a healthy habit.  Brazil nuts provide offer a heart healthy fat, a good source of many vitamins and minerals and lowers inflammation.  Walnuts and flaxseed provide omega-3 fats which are also anti-inflammatory.   
      6. Yogurt – provides calcium, vitamin D and probiotics – all good for your health.  The bacteria in yogurt seems to help inhibit inflammation.  
      7.  Grapefruit – not the grapefruit diet but having some grapefruit in your diet offers flavonoid antioxidants which are anti-inflammatory.   
      8.  Spices: Turmeric, paprika– herbs and spices contribute essentially no calories but offer numerous health benefits.  It is the curcumin in turmeric, that offers anti-inflammatory benefits.  Paprika has capsaicin, a natural anti-inflammatory.  You can also get capsaicin from red peppers, cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger.    
      9.  Lentils – green black or brown lentils.  Or add peas and beans to your diet.  Try adding four servings a week to your diet to lower inflammation.   
     10. Mushrooms – add to salads, pizza. White button mushrooms, especially eaten raw, helped lower inflammation.

One may not be able to add all these foods to their diet, but try to add some each week.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nutrition Tips

What are some easy nutrition tips to eat healthier?   Eat This Not That  has some easy nutrition tips to follow: 
  1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind - Hide the junk food and make healthier food more visible.  A study at Google noted that people ate less M & M’s if put in an opaque container.  They ate more fruit and nuts when these were displayed prominently.  In fact, staff ate 3.1 million less calories of M & M’s in an opaque container in seven weeks’ time.
  2. The 1 in 10 Rule:   Look at the nutrient label and for every 10 grams of carbs, look for at least one gram of fiber or 10 carbs:1 fiber.    Why is this important?  You want to have whole grains in your diet and this is the ratio of carbs to fiber in whole grains.  A study in the Public Health Nutrition journal found that carbs with the 10:1 ratio had less sodium, less sugar and less trans fats.
  3. Cut calories by boosting flavor:  in the nutrition course I teach students have to modify a lasagna recipe to make it healthier.  One group took out all the spices and herbs not realizing these provided not only flavor but nutrients and essentially no calories.  Adding herbs and spices is an easy way to add flavor without the calories and without adding fat.  And if you add herbs and spices you can cut back on the sodium and still have a flavorful entree or side dish.
  4. Whole fruit vs Juice?  Although juicing is popular right now, eating whole fruit has its advantages.  Eat at least 2 servings of whole fruit a week to cut your risk of type 2 diabetes by 23 percent. 
  5. “Eat Before You Eat”  sounds like odd advice. But a cup of broth, a glass of water, an apple can reduce how much you eat at a meal by up to 20%.  This would be especially helpful at a restaurant as restaurant meals can pack a lot of calories.  The Journal of the American Medical Association notes the average restaurant meal provides 1,128 calories so cutting that by 20% would save you 225 calories.
  6. Stay hydrated and drink that water:  According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, drinking 17 ounces of water (a little over 2 cups) can raise your metabolic rate, thus burning up more calories.  So drink more water to rev up your metabolism.  The researchers in this study noted that adding 6 cups of water a day would burn up a lot of calories over the course of a year, about 17,400 calories. 

 For all 10 tips, go to The 10 Best Nutrition Tips Ever.

Sources:   The 10 Best Nutrition Tips Ever, Image source:  Drinking water

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Foods for a longer, healthier life?

Are there foods that will lead to a healthier, longer life?   Students in my classes love to ask questions and one student noted:  “I want to live a long time.  What foods do I need to eat?”   Great question and there are foods that will decrease your risk of disease and increase your changes of living longer.  Actually, there are two food groups that will lead to a longer life: fruits and vegetables.  So boring yet so important to our health. 
  • What is the minimum servings of fruits and veggies we need?  5 A Day, a minimum of 5 A Day.
  • Who is lacking in fruits and veggies?  Most of us are. 
                87% of Americans are not eating enough fruit (at least a 1.5 to 2 cups a day)
                75% of Americans are not eating their veggies (2-3 cups a day)

CNBC quotes Marion Nestle, a professor nutrition at New York University as saying, “Everyone would be healthier eating more vegetables.”   (You're Still Not Eating Enough Vegetables)

CDC and the National Cancer Institute found that less than 18% of adults in every state consumed the recommended amount of fruit each day and less than 14% consumer the recommended amount of vegetables.  (And if you are counting French Fries – no go.  Too high in fat and calories.)

Goal – eat 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day to lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many other health conditions. 

Even better, eat 7 or more servings a day and  lower your risk of dying from any cause over they next 8 years by 42% compared to your fellow Americans who eat only 1 serving of fruit or veggies a day. 

You can help not only yourself by eating more fruits and veggies but others.  Yesterday, my daughter was sponsoring a pizza party for youth volunteers.  She added fresh strawberries, a veggie plate to round out the lunch. The youth ate the veggie plate and devoured every strawberry.  Having a luncheon at work?  Make sure fruit and veggies are offered.  

Make your day 5 A DAY, every day.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

General Mills taking out artificial colors and flavors

One more manufacturer is getting on the bandwagon of taking out artificial flavors and colors from its products.  General Mills has announced it will be removing artificial colors and flavors from its cereals.  General Mills is already way ahead of its competitors when it comes to nutrition.  General Mills has taken out all high fructose corn syrup.  All General Mills cereals are whole grain.  In contrast, the first ingredient in Froot Loops made by Kellogg’s is sugar.  This means Froot Loops are mostly sugar. 
Trix – a popular cereal among kids and even adults.  Trix will still have those vibrant colors but not from artificial ingredients.  General Mills will be using fruits and vegetable juice and spices to provide the colors so many kids like.  But probably good bye to blue and green as they haven’t yet figured out how to make those colors with natural ingredients.
Reese’s Puffs will also be undergoing a color changes. 
Lucky Charms is on the list for reformulation but it will take longer to figure out how to color the marshmallows. 
General Mills goal is to have all artificial colors and flavors removed by the end of 2016. 

Don’t want to wait until 2016?
General Mills already makes many cereals without artificial colors and flavors:
  • Cheerios – no artificial colors and flavors, just a very nutritious, whole grain cereal.  Choose Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch, Multi-Grain Cheerios, Cheerios + Ancient Grains, Cheerios Protein Cinnamon Almond, Cheerios Protein Oats and Honey, Banana Nut Cheerios.
  • Total – Total Whole Grain, Total Raisin Bran
  • All Chex Cereals
  • All Kix Cereals
  • Wheaties
General Mills has made other healthier changes in their cereals.  (See General Mills cereals)

1997 Heart Healthy

2005 Whole Grain

2011 Sugar Reduction
2015-2016 Removing artificial colors and flavors
Soluble fiber such as that in Cheerios, helps reduce risk of heart disease.
All General Mills cereals became Whole Grain cereals.  Whole grain is the first ingredient in all General Mills cereals.
All cereals have 10 grams or less per serving. 
General Mills removing artificial colors and flavors from cereals over the next 2-3 years.

General Mills is already a leader in making cereals healthier.  Good for General Mills to take the lead in removing artificial ingredients from its cereals.  Let’s see if Kellogg’s, Post, and other cereal manufacturers follow General Mills lead.