March is National Nutrition Month!

March is National Nutrition Month! This month, the theme is biting into a healthy lifestyle. I believe that all of us, no matter what age, should take control of what we are eating. It’s time to make healthier lifestyle changes and recognize how many chronic diseases we can prevent just from making small changes to our lifestyles! It’s time to focus on all colors of the rainbow from each food group (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy) and making the healthiest choices for a better life. You will never have to “diet” again when you take control of your lifestyle and realize that the focus here is everything in moderation and watching portion sizes! You don’t have to give up any foods when it comes to living healthier, but just know the more healthier choices you make, the better off you will be. Once you start, you are going to feel much better and have much more energy!

Don’t wait to start living a healthier life– start today!!

http://www.nationalnutritionmonth.org/nnm/

Could you be Magnesium Deficient?

If you are feeling exhausted or noticing weird muscle cramps, you might be suffering from a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body. It affects everything from your heartbeat to your muscles to your hormones

The 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) revealed that at least half of the U.S. population had inadequate intakes of magnesium.

Loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue — the initial symptoms of magnesium deficiency. While initial symptoms can be minor, a magnesium deficiency may eventually cause noticeable problems with your muscle and nerve function such as tingling, cramping, numbness and contractions. In its worst stages, magnesium deficiency could even cause seizures, personality changes, or abnormal heart rhythms. Since only 1% of magnesium is found in your blood (most is in your bones or organs), a simple needle prick often won’t help determine your levels. Instead, diagnoses are usually made through process of elimination and by examining a patient’s lifestyle.

The main culprits seem to be soda, caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Consuming too much alcohol can interfere with your body’s absorption of vitamin D, which aids magnesium absorption. Food sources are the safest to consume of magnesium rather than supplementation. Focus on consuming leafy greens — one cup of cooked spinach provides 157 milligrams of magnesium. Legumes are a solid choice too, with a cup of cooked white beans coming in at 113 milligrams of the nutrient. And if you’re a fan of squash and pumpkin seeds, one cup packs in a whopping 649 milligrams. Other great options are nuts, including almonds and cashews, most types of fish, and whole grains.

For more information: http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/31/health/magnesium-deficiency-health/index.html?hpt=he_c2

Ergogenic Aids- Performance Enhancing Supplements

Beetroot Juice: This is a source of dietary nitrate. It occurs naturally in vegetables. The high nitrate content of vegetables recommended in the DASH diet may be responsible for the diet’s ability to lower blood pressure. Nitrate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of exercise resulting in greater oxygen delivery to work muscles which increases the capacity for high-intensity exercise. The only noted negative side effect is red-hued urine– and researchers do not know yet if high intake of nitrates over a long period of time will have negative health consequences.

Beta-Alanine: Has the potential to increase carnosine which reduces acidosis. When you take doses ranging from 3 grams-6.5 grams per day for 2-12 days, beta-alanine has been shown to increase the buffering capacity of lactic acid. Some studies have shown improvement in sprint performance while others demonstrate no benefit. More research is needed to determine precise performance benefits in athletes.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine): These are used by endurance athletes as an energy source late in exercise when muscle carbohydrate stores are low. Research suggests that BCAA also may delay mental fatigue by altering brain neurotransmitters that contribute to fatigue. Leucine is identified as an anabolic trigger to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. It is a key amino acid in whey (a protein in milk). Whey is a “fast” protein rapidly digested and absorbed which leads to a rapid rise in amino acids in the blood while casein is a “slow” protein which results in a slow release of amino acids. This combination of fast and slow release of amino acids leads to a more sustained availability of amino acids to muscles.

Creatine: Found in meat and fish– a typical meat eater ingests about 1 gram of creatine daily. In muscle, creatine combines with phosphate to create a high-energy compound that resynthesizes ATP to perform muscular work which increases muscle mass. According to a recent study published in 2012 in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, supplementing with 20-25 grams of creatine monohydrate for 5-7 days followed by 5-10 grams daily for up to 2 months increases muscle creatine content by about 20%. This can increase an athlete’s ability to train, leading to improvements in strength and power. Creatine is safe when used in the recommended doses.

For more information: Food & Nutrition. The Sports Issue. May/June 2014. Volume 3, Issue 3. Christine Rosenbloom.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 250,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 11 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are a naturally sodium-free food. Every 2 tablespoon serving of hemp seeds contain about 90 calories. These seeds are a source of high quality protein containing 5 grams of total protein a serving. 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds also provide you with 3 grams of total carbohydrate including 2 grams of fiber– that’s impressive! Each serving contains 6 grams of fat (only 1 gram from saturated fat) with no cholesterol. This super food is also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin E and provide potassium and calcium as well.

You can sprinkle these seeds over yogurt or oatmeal or try them baked in breads or in soups or stews! Toss them in a salad or stir-fry. Hemp seed oil is best in salad dressings or over soup or vegetable dishes!

For more information: Food and Nutrition Magazine: November/December 2014 by Jessica Cording MS, RD, CDN

Photo credit: guysandgoodhealth.com

Add Pears To Your Season Menu This Fall

One medium pear is 100 calories, has 5.5 grams of fiber, 10% of the daily value of vitamin C, and 5% of the daily value of potassium! The high pectin in pears makes them ideal for jams and spreads.

A member of the rose family, pears are delicious in both sweet and savory dishes and can be enjoyed raw, stewed, sauteed, baked, roasted, poached and grilled!

If you enjoy pears, here is a wonderful salad to share with family and friends during the Fall season!

Pear waldrof salad:

Ingredients;

4 large crisp, green pears, unpeeled, chopped into chunks

5 stalks of celery trimmed, coarsely sliced

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup walnuts

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 cup low fat cottage cheese

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Place chopped pears, celery, raisins, walnuts and lemon rind into a large bowl and toss together. Place cottage cheese, yogurt, lemon juice, and honey into the container of a blender and process for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Pour cottage cheese dressing over pear mixture and stir to combine well. Chill until serving. Serves 8 people.

Nutrition information:

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 182

Total fat: 6g

Sat. fat: 1g

Cholesterol: 13mg

Sodium: 147mg

Carb: 29g

Fiber: 5g

Sugars: 20g

Protein: 6g

For more information: Food and Nutrition Journal September/October 2014. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Matcha: Will It Be The Replacement of Coffee For Americans Soon?

Matcha is a powdered green tea made from crushed leaves. Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid that relaxes the mind. It is sold in a Japanese cafe in Brooklyn, New York where several people have reported a relaxed energy and ease on their stomachs compared to coffee. The drinks served at the cafe contain 70 milligrams of caffeine which is almost as much as a cup of coffee. The powder is also available online at www.matchabarnyc.com ($22 for a 30-gram tin which makes 20 cups)

Would you substitute this product for your coffee?

CLASSIC MATCHA TIN 30g

Photo credit: http://www.matchabarnyc.com

For more information: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-10-16/matcha-americas-latest-caffeine-fix

Eggs – A High Quality Protein

Eggs seem to have a bad reputation these days. There’s always new information coming out from health professionals stating eggs are great for your health one day and are extremely bad for your health the next day. I’m here to tell you that as of now, having an egg a day will not hurt your cholesterol and there are plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in one single egg!

Eggs make a great breakfast food. One egg contains at least 6 grams of protein. This is a high quality protein which helps you feel fuller longer. Eggs also contain Choline which aids in the body’s ability to transport nutrients in liver function and basic cell activity. Eggs have all nine essential amino acids and do not contain a long list of packaged ingredients because guess what… they’re all natural! Eggs are the least expensive form of high quality protein – 15 cents a serving! And they are only 70 calories per egg.

Are eggs a part of your daily meals? How do you like to eat your eggs? Please share below!

Photo credit: http://www.forbes.com

For more information: Health watch: Benefits of Eggs: http://www.blackhillsfox.com

Summer Squash

Squash is considered one of the oldest cultivated crops in the Western Hemisphere. It is low in calories – 1 cup contains fewer than 20 calories and it’s water content is more than 90 percent. They are excellent sources of vitamin C and potassium.

Zucchini: This is the most popular summer squash. It can be baked, fried, sauteed, grilled, steamed or shredded. It can be eaten raw or cooked!

Squash blossoms: These yellow or orange flowers can be used as a colorful garnish or can add to a mild squash flavor. You can stuff these with soft cheese and bake them or coat them in batter and lightly fry them!

Pattypan: This has a distinct saucer shape! You can slice this squash and pan fry, or scoop out the interior and stuff them.

Ronde de Nice: This French zucchini is firm and mild flavored. It is also sometimes called eight-ball squash. It is perfect for scooping out and stuffing with grains or vegetables before baking.

Yellow Crookneck: This bumpy yellow squash can be steamed, boiled, or sauteed. It is often used in soups and stews.

Source: July/August 2014: FoodandNutritionmag.org

Photo credit: www.homesteadanywhere.com