Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Functional Foods

Functional foods can be found in grocery stores everywhere, but what are functional foods and why are they important to incorporate in one’s diet? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, functional foods are "whole foods along with fortified, enriched or enhanced foods that have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as part of a varied diet on a regular basis at effective levels based on significant standards of evidence."  However, the term “functional” is currently not regulated by the FDA, so it is up to consumer to evaluate the claim.

Functional foods can be divided into several categories including conventional foods (grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts), modified foods (yogurt, cereals, orange juice), medical foods (special formulations of foods and beverages for certain health conditions), and foods for special dietary use (infant formula and hypoallergenic foods). 

Incorporate functional foods in your diet by eating these nutrient dense foods:
· Sardines and/or Salmon for a protein with lots of omega-3 fatty acids which can help with heart disease or joint pain. This functional food is also known to help improve brain function.
· A variety of nuts such as cashews, almonds, pecans, and walnuts. Not only are they a yummy snack, but they can help maintain blood sugar levels while also lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
· Whole grains, such as barley, that are packed with fiber can help lower cholesterol.
· An assortment of beans - a source of protein, potassium, folate, and fiber.
· Multiple berries, including strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, as they are low in calories and contain anthocyanin pigments which have been shown to have multiple health benefits.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Does it really matter when you eat?

A recent study at the University of Pennsylvania looked at the impact that eating later in the day has on weight, cholesterol, hormones, and metabolism.  The results may have you shifting your meals to earlier in the day!

A group of healthy-weight individuals was studied through two different, long-term eating conditions: a daytime condition, in which three meals and two snacks were eaten between the hours of 8am and 7pm, and a delayed condition, in which three meals and two snacks were eaten between the hours of 12pm and 11pm. In the delayed condition, weight increased, respiratory quotient rose (indicating fewer lipids and more carbohydrates were metabolized), and increases in insulin, fasting glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides were observed. 

In addition, the appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, peaked earlier in the day while the appetite-inhibiting hormone, leptin, peaked later in the daytime condition. These hormone alterations suggest that eating earlier may help to prevent overeating in the evening and night. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Memory Boosting Meals

Forgetfulness can be caused by a number of different factors, including diet.  This is because the brain functions best when it has good blow flow, which can be encouraged by consuming the foods below.

There are many reasons why vegetables are great things to eat!  They provide various vitamins and minerals that can help the body function better.  This effect is not lost when it comes to the brain, especially when the vegetables eaten are cruciferous.  This category includes: broccoli, cabbage, and dark leafy greens.

Berries and cherries.
Fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, and cherries contain anthocyanins and other flavonoids that have shown to increase brain function.  These are present in the berries these whether they are fresh, frozen or dried.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is the most abundant fatty acid within the brain. Consuming this gives the brain the power to function better than before.  Fatty fish, algae, and other types of seafood are great sources of omega-3’s.  Eating these foods 2-3 times a week or taking fish oil, seaweed, or microalgae supplements will give your brain what it needs to work at its best.

These nuts are usually marketed for their positive effects on heart health, but are also great for memory improvement!  Adding them to a salad or stir-fry is all it takes to reap the benefits from this powerful nut.

In addition, these foods aren’t just good for brain health!  All are commonly recommended by Registered Dietitians and other health professionals in order to improve overall health.  Whether or not any memory improvement is noticed, your body will thank you.

This information and more can be found at: 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Injured? Eat this!

As the condition of one's body changes, its nutritional needs change as well.  This trend can easily be seen during certain life events, such as pregnancy and aging, but also comes into effect while a wound is in the process of healing.  During this time, your body needs extra energy, protein, and water in order to compensate for lost materials and provide for the synthesis of new tissue.

Some tips for a quicker recovery include:
Consuming more calories.  While this is a top priority, be sure that they come from various sources, as the diet must remain balanced.
Include protein.  Ideally, 20-30 grams should be given in each meal and 10-15 grams in each snack.
Stay well hydrated!  Water, tea, juice, and milk are great ways to accomplish this.  Milk may be especially helpful because every ounce is packed with protein.
Talk with a Registered Dietitian.  These professionals carefully analyze every situation in order to identify specific vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients to be included in an individualized meal plan.  This is important as no two people and no two wounds are exactly alike.
Control blood sugar levels.   This is the best way for diabetics to treat their wounds.  A Registered Dietitian and physician can work together to find the best treatment option for any given situation. 

Find this and more at:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Weight Gain Due to Lack of Sleep

A lack of sleep does more than leave you feeling tired. Studies show that people who get less sleep are at a greater risk of weight gain for a couple of reasons: they tend to consume larger portions of food, choose higher calorie foods, make impulse food choices, get more pleasure from food, and expend less energy. One explanation for these appetite changes is that sleep loss causes a change in the hormones that control appetite. 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended amount of sleep for 18-25 year olds is 7-9 hours. Although it may seem hard to get more sleep, whether you’re in school or enjoying summer nights, you may find it is worth going to bed an hour or two earlier when you feel better and make healthier choices! 

The full article can be found at

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pear-Berry Breakfast Crisps

The recipe below will be sure to boost your morning with antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber.  These crisps can also be used in conjunction with yogurt or ice cream for a delicious dessert.


1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

1/4 cup vanilla low-fat Greek yogurt
Pear-Berry Filling
3 ripe pears (about 18 ounces), cored, cut in _-inch slices*
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries or any berries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. To prepare the topping, combine the oats, flour and salt in the medium bowl. Stir well to combine; set aside. Stir together honey and margarine in a small bowl. Add the honey mixture to the oat mixture; toss gently to coat the ingredients. Stir in the hazelnuts. Set aside.
  3. To prepare the filling, combine the pears, blueberries, cornstarch, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together honey and vanilla extract in a separate small bowl; gently toss with the pear-berry mixture.
  4. Pour the pear-berry mixture into an 8-x-8-inch baking dish. Spread the oat topping over the fruit. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  5. Serve warm or cold, topped with Greek yogurt.

Nutritional Information:

Makes 6 servings of:
Calories: 330; Calories from fat: 110; Total fat: 12g; Saturated fat: 1.5; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 220mg; Total carbohydrate: 52g; Dietary fiber: 7g; Sugars: 26g; Protein: 6g

Find the full recipe and more information at:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Flavorful Grilling

Grilling is not only a way to cook, it is also an excellent way to add flavor to all types of food. Before the barbecue session, ensure that the grill is clean and that it is adequately fired up to a sufficient temperature.  In addition, the proper equipment, such as a food thermometer, extra plates and utensils, should be available to ensure food safety. There are the traditional grilled dishes, but think outside of the box this summer. Try adding these new items to the barbeque menu:

Lean Alternatives - Try ground turkey breast, which can be up to 99 percent fat free. Instead of grilling up a beef burger, try making turkey burgers as ground turkey can be substituted in a delicious burger recipe and forms excellent patties. Or substitute a grilled marinated Portobello mushroom as the meat on a burger. 
Vegetables - A variety of vegetables can be cooked on the grill. They can be cooked in tin foil or placed directly on a hot grill. Grilling creates rich flavor, seasoned or unseasoned.  Grilled vegetables are also great for you as they are low in calories and packed with nutrients. Try grilling red peppers, eggplant, asparagus, summer squash, or cherry tomatoes. 
Fruit - Grilled fruit can be a tasty and nutritious dessert. Make fruit kabobs or place fruit slices onto the grill. Try grilling pineapples, peaches, or watermelon for unique flavors.