Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Memory Boosting Munchies

Feeling forgetful? This could be due to lack of sleep, low levels of physical activity, or genetics. The types of food you eat play an important role in cognition, as well. In order to enhance overall brain function there must be good blood flow to the brain, which can be encouraged by a person’s diet. The following foods listed below have proven to do just that!
  • ·      Vegetables and lots of them! Vegetables a part of the cruciferous family, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and dark leafy greens are great foods sources that will boost your memory. These are a great source of folate, which is a water soluble vitamin that is known to help cognitive function. Vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables also help to keep cognition, memory and overall brain function sharp as we age.
  • ·      Berries are another type of food that will boost your memory. Dark colored berries, such as black berries, cherries and blue berries are rich in flavonoids which have been shown to reduce inflammation, not only in the brain, but all over the body. This reduced inflammation plays a role in increasing cognitive function.
  •  My oh my, do Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in memory! Omega-3 fatty acids also known as docohexaenoic acid (DHA) is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain. By keeping a sufficient amount of it your blood stream, the brain is able to extract this and use it in order to operate properly. Fatty fish, such as salmon, Bluefin tuna, and sardines are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Other types of seafood like scallops, shrimp, and algae are good sources of this important fatty acid, as well. In effort to consume a sufficient amount of omega-3 try substituting fish for meat 2 to 3 times a week. If you are not a seafood person there are fish oil, seaweed or microalgae supplements you can take, as well. Before taking a supplement be sure to discuss the options with your primary care doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).
  •      Get wacky for walnuts! Walnuts are not only good for heart health, but they support good brain function, as well. Walnuts like fatty fish contain high levels of DHA.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Platypus Venom: The Diabetes Treatment of the Future?

The native Australian mammal the platypus is quite the anomaly! For starters, it is one of the only mammals that lay eggs. Professor Frank Grutzner from the University of Adelaide and Associate Professor Briony Forbes at Flinders University, conducted research on this extraordinary mammal which yielded some exciting findings that could affect how diabetes is treated in the future.
What Professor Grutzner and Proffessor Forbes found was that glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is the hormone that stimulates the release of insulin in both humans and animals in order to lower blood glucose levels, is not only found in the guts of platypus, but in their venom, as well. The platypus use their venom for mating purposes, and the GLP-1 found in their venom is a much more stable form compared to the GLP-1 found in the guts of humans. Individuals who suffer from type II diabetes have an insufficient amount of GLP-1 circulating in order to keep blood glucose at a normal level. The researchers apart of this experimental team believe that this stable form of GLP- 1 found in the platypus can potentially be used  to treat type II diabetes in the future. Of course there will have to be further research done on this matter, but Professor Grutzner and Professor Forbes believe that their findings are a step in the right direction to finding a new treatment for this disease that effects nearly 30% of the American population.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Beat Your Kid's Winter Blues

            On those cold, snowy days we all have the winter blues. Especially children. Not being able to exercise and get outside regularly can affect our children’s moods during the winter. Believe it or not we can help eliminate this gloomy mood, even for our little ones with these five simple foods.

1.     Salmon
            Tryptophan is a forerunner to serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood.

      2. Clementines
Kids love these because they are fuss free and parents love all the nutrients they are full  of! Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium are essential for bone strength and muscle development to keep our kids going.

     3. Winter Squash
Squash is high in Vitamin A and carotenoids to promote a healthy immune system.

     4. Sweet Potatoes
        Sweet potatoes are full of fiber, Vitamin A, and potassium. Because of their mellow flavor,   they can   be incorporated with all kinds of recipes kids love.

     5.  Cauliflower
            Cauliflower can blend into recipes easily which makes it easy to eat for those picky eaters, while being high in Vitamin A, C, K, many B-Vitamins, and a small amount of protein so you get the bang for your buck.

 Cording, Jessica. "The Best Winter Foods for Kids." Www.eatright.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2016.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Staying Allergy Free This Holiday Season

This time of year is highlighted for its fun holiday festivities.  However, the holidays can be a more complicated and dangerous time for those with food allergies.  Because of this, it is extremely important for those hosting holiday events to be aware of any allergies their guests may have in order to determine the safety of the food they are serving.  Luckily, there are a few simple ways to ensure that your guests remain unharmed.

Communication is the first step in keeping the holiday safe.  Knowing if your guests have an allergy to specific foods is the most important step.  In addition, don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding others’ food allergies if uncertain. 

Along with open communication comes menu modification.  When preparing the holiday meal, be sure to read each ingredient’s food label, looking for key words  such as “contains”, “may contain”, and “processed in a facility with.”  If the allergen is listed in the ingredient list or after these statements, don’t use that product.  Today’s grocery stores are stocked with alternative allergen-free ingredients that could prevent you from spending your holiday in the emergency room—use these products instead.  Some common household ingredients can even be used as substitutes for allergen-containing products, such as using applesauce or ground flaxseeds instead of eggs.

Another important part of keeping dishes allergen free is to prevent cross-contamination.  This is often a result of serving an allergen-containing dish and an allergen-free dish at the same time with the same utensil.  This can be avoided by designating utensils for each dish and setting any allergen-containing and allergen-free foods apart from one another.  Cleanliness within the kitchen and serving area can also prevent courses from mixing with one another.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tips For Eating Out

As the holidays approach, making dinner at home can become a drag, especially after hosting a large gathering. While making your own meals is often considered the healthiest option, some days you just want to eat out! Eating out doesn’t have to damage your healthy lifestyle. In fact, there are many tactics that can be employed to make your dining experience more nutritious, yet still delicious!

To begin, simply prepare before eating out. If possible, plan ahead! If you know where you’re going, it is easier to scan the menu for healthy options and determine if that particular restaurant is the best fit. Choosing restaurants with a broad range of items can help to ensure whoever is joining will find a satisfying option, while still allowing you to find a dish to meet your nutrition needs. When ordering, weigh your selections and look at the details. Look at how the items are cooked, what they are served with or whether the restaurant has options of leaner meat or an entrĂ©e with more balanced contents. When looking at cooking style, remember that those items fried, scalloped, pan-fried, or stuffed are often higher in calories, while those steamed, broiled, baked or grilled have less calories and are considered healthier options. To avoid overly large portion sizes and to control sodium intake, try to ask for butters, dressing, sauces and gravies on the side.  Also, don’t be afraid to talk to your server! They have answers. If you are unsure of the details of cooking methods or contents of a menu option based on the description, or if you are wondering if healthier substitutions are possible, ask your server.

Lastly, eat slowly. Enjoy the experience. Eating slowly can also ensure that you’re not eating out of false hunger, as it has been shown that it takes a full twenty minutes for your brain to receive the message of fullness from your stomach. Eating quickly can increase your chances of overeating, which can contribute to discomfort and weight gain.

Keeping these tips in mind, you can increase your chances of maintaining your healthy lifestyle outside of the comforts of your own home. Bon appetite!