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Archive for July, 2015

Eat these 5 foods to help boost bone health

Below is my blog post for Huffington Post, Eat these 5 foods to help boost bone health.

You can also read it here HERE.

Our bones tend to remain strong through early adulthood. As we age, however, our bones tend to become thinner. And when a woman enters menopause, she loses additional bone. Men and women alike, however, can get osteoporosis, a disease characterized by breaking bones. It happens when you make too little bone, lose too much bone, or both.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 54 million Americans have osteoporosis. About 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men ages 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Good news you can control. The foods that you eat — as well as other lifestyle habits — can affect your bones. To build strong bones, several key nutrients play a pivotal role, including calcium and vitamin D. Calcium supports the structure of your bones while vitamin D improves calcium absorption. Other key nutrients to build strong bones include vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium.

To boost bone health, include these five foods in your diet.

Milk

When we think about calcium, we tend to think milk, and for good reason. An 8-ounce glass of fat-free milk contains under 100 calories and around 300 mg of calcium, and 30 percent of the calcium recommendation for a 50-year-old. If you are not a milk drinker, try blending it with your favorite fruit and making a smoothie. Choose a brand that is fortified with vitamin D to get additional bone-health benefits.

Yogurt

Eating a serving of yogurt each day is a great ways to get your daily intake of calcium. Yogurt is portable, tasty, and packed with nutrients. Yogurt also contains probiotics, shown to promote gut health. Yogurt makes for a great breakfast option and also an easy snack. While Greek yogurt contains less calcium than regular yogurt, I tend to prefer it due its higher protein content helping to promote satiety, a feeling of fullness. Even if you are lactose intolerant and have a hard time digesting milk, you can probably eat yogurt without a problem.

Turnip greens

While most of us know that dairy products are good for our bones, we rarely think of fruits and vegetables as being linked to bone health. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables is healthy for a multitude of reasons, one being that it contributes to stronger bones. Produce contributes antioxidants and polyphenols, in addition to vitamin K, magnesium and potassium, shown to promote skeletal health.

Greens such as turnip greens, bok choy, and kale are also rich in calcium. Turnip greens are one of my favorites: one cup cooked contains nearly 200 mg calcium, and 20 percent of the calcium recommendation for a 50-year-old. These greens are also chock full of other nutrients including vitamin K, beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, potassium, iron, and fiber. Sautee them with a little olive oil, add them to a salad or smoothie, or add chopped turnip greens to veggie casseroles.

Prunes

Got prunes? Move over milk. Prunes, also known as dried plums, may help strengthen bones, prevent bone loss, and perhaps even reverse bone loss due to osteoporosis. In fact, research found that eating just 5-6 medium prunes per day may do the trick. Prunes also contain plenty of fiber (helping our digestive help), vitamin C, and are alkalizing to the body, which may help to protect our bones.

Salmon

While we know that fatty fish, including salmon and sardines, are good for our heart (thanks to its heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids), believe it or not, fatty fish have also been linked to skeletal health. In addition to being an excellent source of protein and omega-3s which help support skeletal health, salmon is rich in vitamin D which improves calcium absorption and bone health. A 4-ounce serving of cooked salmon contains around 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D, the recommended intake for adults under 70 years old. While we can get vitamin D from sunlight, nearly half of Americans are deficient in this vitamin, and few foods are naturally rich in this bone-protecting nutrient.

Still think your diet is low in calcium and vitamin D? Try taking a supplement. While I recommend that you get your nutrients from foods, if your diet is low in calcium or vitamin D, a supplement may help fill the gap.

While you can take calcium in pill form (citrate or carbonate are preferred), if you are the type to forget to take it, try ending your lunch or dinner with an Adora, a yummy chocolate supplement. Each wafer provides 500 mg calcium and 500 IU of vitamin D. Be sure to stop at just one. Additional calcium will not provide any added benefits for bone health. In fact, too much calcium can lead to kidney stones and other problems. So proceed with caution, and as I like to say, practice moderation.

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9 tips for a guilt-free July 4th BBQ

Below is my latest blog post for Huffington Post, 9 tips for a guilt free July 4th BBQ.

You can also read it HERE.

The 4th of July marks the season for summer barbecues. For many of us, that means burgers, hot dogs, and more diet disaster. But it doesn’t have to be.

As a nutritionist, I spend a lot of time educating clients on how to stay healthy, or even lose a few pounds, when attending summer BBQs and parties. While I know lots of people who simply decline invitations to parties for fear of overeating, I generally suggest that you enjoy the company of great friends and family, and make some wise food choices as well.

These days, most hosts, offer some healthy choices in addition to the usually barbecue fare. So, it is not too difficult to choose health.

Here are 9 simple and painless strategies to try at your upcoming July 4th barbecue.

1. Eat before you go.

Eating a healthy snack before heading to your summer food fest may seem silly, (after all, you are going to eat at your party, no?), but it is actually one of the best ways to fend off overeating. Eating a healthy snack, preferably with fiber and protein, will cut the edge off your hunger so that you don’t arrive at your party famished and ready to eat anything. Some good choices include: a yogurt with fruit, hummus and baby carrots, or an apple with a thin schmear of nut butter.

2. Wear tight fitting clothes.

Wearing tight fitting clothes is a simple way to remind you not to overeat. After all, you don’t want to see your belly bulge. For men, this means wear a belt. It would be great, of course, if we listened to our internal hunger as a cue to stop eating. But unfortunately, so many of us are not in tune with our bodies in that way. While we are working on it, wearing tight fitting clothes can help.

3.  Drink a glass of water or seltzer before eating.

Oftentimes, we think we are hungry, when we really are just thirsty. So I suggest starting off with a glass of water or flavored seltzer as a way to hydrate.  Also, if we drinking water, we are less likely to guzzle down sugar-laden soda.

4. Do a lap around the buffet line before filling up your plate.

Check out what foods are available instead of starting at the beginning of the buffet table and piling up on everything in sight. When we survey the selections first, we can pick a few healthy choices while also choosing a small portion of our favorite treat food. Taking a treat also makes it easier to skip the high calorie unhealthy foods we can do without.

5. Choose something green.

Yes, I know it’s July 4th and we’ll be patriotic for dessert (more on that later), but be sure to fill up in some greens: mixed lettuce, spinach, kale, cucumbers, celery, or broccoli. Your host will probably offer at least one of these healthy vegetables.  These green veggies are low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants—a great way to fill up. Another healthy green option is choose some guacamole which contains heart-healthy unsaturated fat.

6.  Try a veggie burger.

These days, with so may people following vegetarian diets, many hosts offer veggie burgers, a healthy addition to a summer barbecue. Give it a try. Top your burger with tomatoes, fresh avocado and you’ve got a super healthy meal. Free of  artery clogging saturated fat.

7.  Go bun-less.

I often suggest skipping the refined white bread and choosing a whole wheat bun, if available, or skip the bun altogether. Choosing a fresh salad and topping it with a burger makes for a delicious and nutritious meal. And you save room for a healthier starch option.

8.  Enjoy corn on the cob

If you decided to skip the bun, corn on the cob makes for a great starch option. Corn on the cob is high in fiber and will keep you feeling full for a while.  And fresh corn on the cob also tastes delicious right off the grill.

9. Be patriotic for dessert.

Here’s how to be patriotic—enjoy a delicious fruit salad for dessert. Choose red cherries, fresh blueberries, watermelon, and pear. If your host doesn’t make a fruit salad, offer to bring one.

We would love to hear your healthy tips.

Happy 4th! Safe travels.

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