Sunday, March 27, 2016

How many eggs can I eat?

Eggs have gotten a bad rap over the years.  Almost everyone knows eggs have cholesterol and for years health professionals have given warnings that eating eggs are bad for your heart.  Is this true?  Does eating eggs raise your cholesterol and raise your risk of heart disease?  For those of us who love eggs, it was hard to limit our egg consumption.  What are the facts?
  • Does eating eggs raise my risk of heart disease?  
      For most people, eggs are not the culprit they used to be.   Most of us can enjoy up to 6 eggs a week or 2 eggs every other day and not raise our risk of heart disease.  However, some people have a sensitivity to dietary cholesterol and they should heed the recommendations of their health professional.  
     The latest Dietary Guidelines note that dietary cholesterol such as the cholesterol in eggs are not the primary drivers of blood cholesterol.  Rather, the saturated fat in foods is more likely to raise our blood cholesterol.  The Dietary Guidelines state, “Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.”   within healthy eating patterns.

A Swedish study of 37,766 men and 32,805 women looked at egg consumption and heart disease including heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.  This study found no link between egg consumption and risk of heart attack or stroke.  Men who ate 6 ore more than 6 eggs a week did have a 30% higher risk of heart failure.  But study authors noted this could be from eating bacon with the eggs and not the eggs.   
  •  Should diabetics avoid eggs?
It was thought that diabetics are more sensitive to eggs with eggs more likely to raise their blood cholesterol.  But the latest research indicates diabetics were no different in their reaction to egg consumption.  WebMD  notes that people with type 2 diabetes can also enjoy up to 2 eggs a day.   The findings suggest that eating two eggs per day, 6 days a week can be a safe part of a healthy diet for people with type 2 [diabetes]. 
  • How many eggs can I eat a week?
From this study and other studies, eating up to 6 eggs a week seems unlikely to cause heart disease.  One has always been able to enjoy egg whites like an egg white omelet as only the egg yolk has cholesterol.  Rather than focus on eggs, it seems more likely the food eaten with eggs such as bacon, sausage patties, sausage links are more likely to raise one’s risk of heart disease as these processed meats have the saturated fat in them.

As the Harvard School of Public Health notes in Eggs and Heart Disease,  Recent research has shown that moderate egg consumption—up to one a day—does not increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals.. and can be part of a healthy diet.
  • Are eggs nutritious?
Yes.  As Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian noted in Cholesterol in Eggs May Not Hurt Heart Health, “Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition.”  The yolk of an egg provides Vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate and iron, choline, and healthy fats.   The egg white is an excellent source of protein and many B vitamins. 

So enjoy some eggs this week.  

Sources:  Dietary Guidelines, Swedish study, WebMD, Eggs and Heart Disease, Cholesterol in Eggs May Not Hurt Heart Health, Image source:  eggs

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Boost Your Nutrition

Can you give your nutrition a boost?   Kaiser Permanente recently had an article, 4 Easy Ways to Boost Your Nutrition.  Their focus is on easy ways to healthier eating and controlling your weight.
  1. Food is Fuel – to have energy for your everyday activities and for any workout, food is your fuel.  But not just any fuel, focus on fueling your body with high quality fuel.
  2. At Least 1 fruit or vegetable per meal – yes, 5 A Day is the goal but if you’re not even meeting that, at least start with always having a fruit or vegetable with every meal.  Packing your lunch, your kids lunch – make sure you add some fruit or a vegetable.  A piece of fresh fruit is easy to pack, baby carrots and hummus, green or red pepper strips.  So many great choices.  Fruits and vegetables not only add important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your day, they help fill you up for few calories.
  3. Drink more water.   A recent study found that kids aren’t drinking enough water.  Dr. Oz and Rozien have stated, “over half of U.S kids and teens are dehydrated.”  (Parents:  Just add water)  Serving milk at meals adds water as milk has water in it.  Between meals and at snack time, water is a good choice.   Summer is on its way and a good time to ensure everyone, adults, kids are getting enough water each day.  Water can help stave off hunger and fill you up.  If you are thirsty, your body is telling you to drink more water.
  4. Limit the fat, limit the added sugar – Americans love their fried and high sugar foods.   But these are not the healthier choices.  As Kaiser recommends, “Avoid foods with high amounts of fat, sugar and salt.”   They note these foods help trigger your brain to eat more.  Who can stop at one potato chip, one piece of candy?  Also note, the focus is on added sugar, not the sugar naturally present in fruit, milk, juice.  Kaiser quotes the former FDA commissioner as saying the high fat, high sugar and/or high salt foods cause, “conditioned hypereating”.  You may not even be hungry but can overeat these foods.  He noted “hyper” because we eat more of these foods than we need to. 

So 4 simple, and easy to implement nutrition boosts to help celebrate National Nutrition Month. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

How can you get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables?

We all should be eating at least five fruits and vegetables a day.  But it may be challenging to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables.  One of my daughters had to be coaxed to eat grapes, she didn’t like feel of biting into them.  Another daughter, didn’t like tomatoes, they were to be avoided at all costs.  She would eat spaghetti sauce but not with chunks of tomato. Every kid has likes and dislikes.   A good tip sheet from CDC is Encourage Kids to Eat More Fruits and Veggies.  So what are their suggestions for encouraging kids to get their 5 A Day?
  1. Keep fruits visible – have a bowl of fruit on the counter, put cut up fruit and vegetables in small bags in the refrigerator to pack with a lunch or grab as a snack.
  2. Fruits and Veggies at Every Meal – MyPlate shows half the plate should be fruit and vegetables.   Have them as side dishes, add vegetables to soup, to entrees.  Top off a yogurt with fresh fruit, put some sliced fresh fruit on cereal, frozen fruit is always good in smoothie.
  3. Be an example – let your kid see you eating more fruits and vegetables.  Let them see you snack on fruit, bring sliced vegetables like carrots in your lunch.  Carrots and hummus is a good snack.  Let them see you order salads, vegetable sides at restaurants.
  4. Let your kids choose – at the grocery store, let them choose a fruit or vegetable to try, let them choose a vegetable as a side for dinner.
  5.  Make it fun – make sandwiches with faces of fruit or vegetables, cut up the fruit into fun shapes. 
  6. Vary the texture – some kids like smooth foods, others crunchy
  7. Try, try again - it can take a number of tries to get a kid to enjoy or even try something new.  Keep trying. 
  8. Offer old with new – serve kids a fruit or veggie you know they like with a new fruit or new vegetable.  Encourage them to take at least one bite.
  9. Challenge your kids and the family to eat 5 A Day.  Reward each kid with a sticker on the calendar if they met their 5 A Day goal. 
  10. Encourage others – friends, family to offer fruits and vegetables to your kids. 

For more ideas on getting your kids to eat more fruits go to: Tips to help you eat fruits and for vegetables – visit Tips to help you eat vegetables.

For ideas on how to make fruits and veggies fun, visit Animal Snacks - Fruit and Vegetable Creations

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March is National Nutrition Month

Hello nutrition!  March is National Nutrition Month.  The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics theme for 2016 is Savor the Flavor of Eating Right. 
What is National Nutrition Month?   It was created by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a campaign to promote nutrition education and information.  Its focuses on consumers making informed decisions about food and promoting good eating habits and physical activity.  
     What can you do to improve your nutrition and physical activity?  
      In honor of National Nutrition Month, U.S. News and World Report is has come up with  30 simple health tips to try each day of March.  They recommend “making small changes that will lead to big improvements”.  Some easy health tips to try this week are:   
  1.  “Sip while you sit” – drink water while sitting at your desk, at home, in the car.  Move more is good but at least drinking water while sitting is a good health tip.  
  2.  “Find fiber” – most Americans are not getting enough fiber every day.  Focus on oatmeal, nuts, fresh fruit.    
  3. “Flip the package” and find the nutrition label.  How many calories in a serving of the food you are eating? How much fiber?  How much saturated fat?  What are the ingredients?  How much added sugar is in the ingredients?
  4.  “Pick plants” – eating more plant foods is healthier.  Getting more protein from plant sources like beans, nuts, peanut butter, tofu can help lower cholesterol, add fiber and improve your heart health.
  5. Choose dark chocolate – enjoying an ounce or two of dark chocolate can actually be good for your health. It can improve your mood and even be good for your heart. 
  6. Tea time – tea is a very healthy beverage, sans the added sugar.  Tea has good chemicals called polyphenols that are good for your bones and overall health.  Enjoy some tea every day this week.
  7.  Cook with your kids – there are huge benefits to having kids help out in the kitchen.  Have a picture in the cupboard of a table setting and have your preschooler help set the table.  Have them stir ingredients in a bowl.  Let them help measure ingredients to teach math and fractions.  Kids that help with meals are more liking to eat the food being served. 

 There are many more tips to try that we will explore next week.   Try these 7 tips this week for a healthier you.