Gut Microbiota

A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains allows beneficial bacteria to dominate and inhibits the growth of  harmful strains. Here are some general tips for helping microbes in our body, however more research is needed on what the optimal solution is:

  • Focus on fruits and vegetables: A plant based diet rich in vegetables, fruit, legumes and high in dietary fiber and polyphenols seems to help the microbiota. These foods offer prebiotics.
  • Fermented foods may affect microbiota by influencing the gene expression of the bacteria that already exists. Yogurt and kefir are both naturally fermented foods with live active cultures and sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and raw vinegar are high in Lactobacillus bacteria.
  • Garlic and leeks contain natural sources of prebiotic inulin.
  • Focus on minimum processed foods and limit sugar and unhealthy fats.
  • Consider taking a probiotic supplement (L. acidophilus, L. reuteri, B. longum and B. bifidium) — during and after antibiotic use to help manage antibiotic-induced diarrhea. Antibiotics kill all bacteria (good and bad!), so it is helpful to take probiotic supplements two hours before or after taking antibiotics.

Food & Nutrition May/June 2015. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Food Safety

Good food safety practices are critical to preventing the spread of bacteria and foodborne illness.

It is a good idea to follow these steps to keep food safe:

  1. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom.
  2. Wash food preparation surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after preparing foods.
  3. Consider using paper towels to clean up. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of a washing machine.
  4. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under cold running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Do not use soap or detergent.
  5. Rub firm-skinned fruits and vegetables under running tap water, or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water.
  6. Keep books, backpacks, and shopping bags off work surfaces where food is prepared or served.

**Remember to refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Do not over-stuff the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to help keep foods safe. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temperature is consistently 40 degrees F or below. The freezer temperature should be 0 degrees F or below.

http://www.foodsafety.gov

Spring Clean Your Diet

As warm weather approaches us, spring is a perfect time to take advantage of seasonal spring produce! Seasonal fruits and vegetables are at their highest quality and optimal flavor during the months of March-June. There are also more fruits and vegetables available in season, so they cost less at the grocery store or farmer’s market. What is better than healthy choices at great prices? Some examples of fruits and vegetables that are seasonal during this time are apricots, asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, Swiss chard, chives, mustard greens, mangoes, oranges, spinach, and strawberries! Spring is also a great time to think about growing your own food. Have you ever thought about having your own vegetable garden? Whether you start a garden big or small, there is nothing like picking fresh produce for you and your family in the summer. It also doubles as a great activity for you and your family to do, as well. No matter what time of the year it is, you can always incorporate a lot of healthy, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. The springtime is just a perfect time to jump start your excitement about eating and living well all year around!

http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalguide/seasonalfoodguide.php

Boost Your Metabolism

By eating these foods you can boost your metabolism naturally:

  • Egg whites
  • Lean meat
  • Water
  • Chili peppers
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Milk
  • Whole grains
  • Lentils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Herbs and spices
  • Non-starchy vegetables

foods-boost-metabolism

 

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20746339_10,00.html

Photo credit: bowloffun.com

Fun Facts on Fruits

  • Tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable.
  • Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heart burn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
  • An average strawberry has around 200 seeds!
  • Dark green vegetables contain more vitamin C than light green vegetables.
  • Because bananas are easy to digest and are very nutritious, they are one of the first fruits given to babies.
  • An apple tree can produce up to 400 apples a year.
  • A banana ripens quickly when you put it in a brown paper bag with an apple or a tomato.
  • Dried fruits contain more calories than whole fruits since drying takes out the water.
  • An avocado has more fat content than any other fruit.
  • An average fruit is 1/4 only made of water.
  • Bananas are great for athletic and fitness activity because they replenish necessary carbohydrates, glycogen and body fluids burned during exercise.
  • One orange supplies a healthy dose of Vitamin C, which plays an important role in cancer prevention, healthy blood circulation and wound healing. 
  • Kiwis are packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange.
  • Nectarines are a great source for vitamin A and various phytochemicals that are good for your eyes and joints.
  • Mangoes belong to the same family as the cashew and the pistachio nut.

What else do you know about fruits? Add to the list!!

http://www.fruitsinfo.com/did-you-know.php

http://www.fruitatwork.com.au/fruit-information.html#oranges

Getting Into The Fall Spirit With Food

Healthy, Fall foods can provide a boost to our immune systems to prepare us for the cold season. Here are some Fall favorites full of antioxidants and other great nutrients!

  • Pomegranates – Pomegranates are high in antioxidants, vitamin C and folic acid, a B vitamin.
  • Dates – Naturally sweet, dates contain tannins, which are antioxidants that help prevent illness, as well as potassium, magnesium and copper.
  • Apples – high in fiber and contains the active ingredient quercetin, a natural antihistamine to combat seasonal allergies and clear up colds.
  • Pears – Great source of fiber
  • Acorn squash – Excellent source of Vitamin A
  • Brussels sprouts – Great source of Vitamin K and folate
  • Kale –  Full of natural flavonoids that help protect against several types of cancers.
  • Kiwi -High in Vitamin C
  • Pumpkin – Rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin E

fall-foods-superfruit-400x400

Photo credit: www.health.com

Thanks to Joan Endyke, who is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in food and nutrition.

Small Steps Is All It Takes!

We all want fast results to keep us motivated on the right path. But guess what?! The smaller the steps we take, the more likely we are to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Make a small goal each week to keep you motivated!

1. Increase your exercise a little each day. If you’re completely sedentary, start making small changes such as taking the dog for a 20 minute walk, or walking up and down the stairs for 15 minutes!

2. Start smiling more. Be happy with yourself going toward a new healthy lifestyle and all the small accomplishes you make each week! Your positive energy will make others around you happy as well!

3. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Each added daily portion of these fiber rich foods lowers your risk of stroke, heart disease, and cancer. Start small and you will feel the difference!

4. Cut back on salty foods. A lot of us don’t realize how much salt processed foods contain. Slowly cut back on processed foods and switch over to FRESH foods to lower your blood pressure and have more energy!

5. Incorporate healthy fats into your diet. Replace saturated fats like butter with corn, sunflower, or safflower oil. But remember to watch your portion sizes because 2 tablespoons will be just fine! Healthy fats will lower your LDL cholesterol and chances of heart disease.

6. Say no to soda and other sugary beverages. If you drink one less soda a day, you will be saving 240 calories and this will help you lose weight! Save your calories for nutrient-dense foods and make soda a TREAT in moderation. Remember water is the only beverage our bodies need to survive. Even if you think this is an impossible task, believe in yourself– you can get there!!

7. Put down your phone, computer, and turn off that T.V. at night! Respect your body and give it the rest it needs to keep you well rested for tomorrow! Each night, go to sleep a few minutes earlier until you’re at your target sleeping pattern!

8. Watch your portion sizes. Instead of going for a super-size, go for a super food! Eat less with nutritious foods rather than  eating more with junk food.

9. Cut back on sugar, eat more natural foods. The more natural you eat, the less sugar you will consume. Take small steps to cutting back on one sugary snack each day. It will be hard at first, but you can do it if you keep your mind to it!
small changesPhoto credit: www.quoteswave.com

For more information: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/nutrition/15-ways-to-eat-healthy/?page=7

Keep Your Skin Glowing, Naturally!

“Certain foods are naturally rich in nutrients that may help keep skin healthy and even fight signs of aging. Vitamin C, beta-carotene and antioxidants found in fruits like peaches, plums and nectarines work beneath the surface to protect and rejuvenate skin from the harmful damage of ultraviolet rays. Peaches are especially rich in alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), a key nutrient added to many age-defying cosmetics.

Watermelon, ruby red grapefruit and tomatoes are all rich in lycopene. Lycopene actually protects skin cells from the sun’s burning rays which can lead to premature aging and even skin cancer, and replenishes the cells.

Bright-colored fruits and vegetables, such as bell peppers, tomatoes, pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe, oranges, carrots, spinach and broccoli, are your best choice for vitamins A and C. Colorful fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C and A are important for collagen formation, which helps keep skin firm.

And don’t forget about water!! Staying hydrated keeps your skin firm and well-hydrated.”

skin

For more information: http://www.nujournal.com/page/content.detail/id/535768/Head-to-toe-healthy-glow.html?nav=5087

Tasty Summer Treat Ideas

Are you looking to keep the weight off, but yet enjoy summer snacks during the heat? Here are some healthy options to choose from..

 

  • Smoothie: Aim for adding fresh fruit, ice, and non-fat yogurt if needed. Some places use ice cream or full-fat yogurt or add whole milk and high-sugar fruit juice, so make sure to ask or simply, make your own!
  • Iced coffee: While the coffee itself isn’t high in calories, everything added to it can quickly turn into a high calorie beverage! Save calories by opting for low-fat milk, skipping the whip cream and choosing the smallest size.
  • Frozen Yogurt: The new trendy, frozen yogurt places opening up can quickly add up to a high calorie treat! In order to keep it healthy– aim for low-fat yogurts and stick with healthier toppings like a variety of fruits or nuts.
  • Frozen fruit bars: You can buy these in a grocery store. They are a quick, already portioned, frozen treat that are about 70 calories each and aren’t too high in sugar!
  • Frozen grapes: If you haven’t tried freezing your grapes before, I suggest you give it a try! This is definitely a refreshing, healthy snack on a hot day!
  • Frozen banana bites dipped in chocolate: Craving chocolate and you like bananas? This is a perfect summer snack for everyone! Just be sure to watch your portions.
  • Grilled Pineapple: An easy recipe with only 4 ingredients: 1 20-oz can of Pineapple chunks in pineapple juice, 3 bananas, 1 lemon, and 7 skewers you can make 7 servings of a delicious treat! Instructions: Drain pineapple and slice bananas into small pieces (the same size as the pineapple). Stick pieces onto skewers and place on a plate. Squeeze lemon juice over the sticks, cover, and store in refrigerator until ready to grill. Grill at medium heat, turning every 2 minutes until slightly charred (5-7 minutes). Dust with cinnamon and enjoy! Can be served hot or room temperature.
  • Snap Peas and Warm Goat CheeseAn easy snack with only 2 ingredients: 10 snap peas and 1 oz. of goat cheese. Instructions: Melt goat cheese in microwave for 10 seconds. Be careful not to overheat because the cheese will separate. Dip snap peas in goat cheese one at a time and enjoy! You can also use this warm dip with celery, carrots, and pretty much any veggie imaginable!
  • Mango Parfait: Top plain Greek yogurt with chunks of fresh mango and a couple of tablespoons of granola.
  • Strawberry Cheesecake BitesCut out the leaves and stems of 20 strawberries and fill each berry with the cream cheese mixture. Then, roll the tops of the berries in Graham cracker crumbs.

 

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What are some of your favorite summer time treats?

Simple Healing Foods

Remedies straight from the kitchen!

basil

1. Banana

2. Raisins

3. Yogurt

4. Apricots

5. Tuna

6. Ginger tea

7. Basil

8. Pear

9. Buckwheat Honey

10. Cabbage

11. Turkey

12. Figs

13. Orange Juice

14. Garlic

15. Chamomile Tea

16. Potatoes

 

Find out why these foods help heal stress, stomach aches, and headaches! http://www.prevention.com/food/food-remedies/16-simple-healing-foods?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-Prevention-_-Food-LT-_-16FoodsThatHeal