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!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ceramide Research Makes Scientists Rethink the Cause of Type II Diabetes

When thinking about the body type of individuals with Type II diabetes, people often envision obese men and women. Well, researchers from the University of Utah are suggesting that skinny people may have just as much of a chance, or an even greater chance of developing this disease that affects about 29 million Americans today.

Type II diabetes is a disease in which a person’s body cannot use insulin properly in order to maintain healthy blood-glucose levels. Although an excess of adipose tissue can predispose an individual to this disease, the research done in Utah suggests that the accumulation of ceramides, which are toxic fat metabolites, have a greater impact on the chances of a person becoming diabetic. When a person overeats food high in fat content, the extra fat consumed can be stored as triglycerides, used for energy, or converted to ceramides.  The accumulation of ceramides in a person’s adipocytes negatively affects a person’s ability to properly respond to insulin and burn calories.  

Over the course of three years, research was done on both mice and human subjects in which the number of ceramides were observed in both populations. The results from both groups linked higher numbers of ceramides to a higher risk of developing diabetes. They also observed that if a subject proved to have less ceramides, they were actually protected from being insulin resistant. A group of obese individuals from Singapore, some with and some without type II diabetes, were observed after gastric bypass surgery, as well. What they found was that those with type II diabetes had more ceramides than those who did not have the disease. These findings suggest that the accumulation of ceramides in adipose tissue is actually a better indicator of a person’s predisposition for obtaining this Type II diabetes, rather than if a person is obese or not. Accumulating ceramides is something that the researchers believe some people are genetically wired to do. The next step of their research will be to determine which gene is responsible for this unfortunate mutation.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hunger: Why Can't We Turn it Off?

            It is now generally recognized that hunger is not turned off after a specific amount of calories. A recent study demonstrated that there is no link between appetite and calorie intake. Lead research Dr. Bernard Corfe from the Molecular Gastroenterology Research Group at Sheffield and his team reviewed 462 studies examining the association between perceived appetite and energy intake and found that less than 5 % of these studies found a true statistical correlation between the two variables. So what exactly does this mean? Well, essentially, if you feel you are so hungry that you can eat a whole horse, you’re probably not going to. Hormones are what modulate hunger. Hormones are friendly little chemicals released in the body that run our life. What happens is that hormones are released from the stomach when it is empty, and this tells us that its time to eat again. It’s kind of like having an internal gas light that tells us when to fill up the car. The authors of this study warn consumers to not be be fooled by the food industry into thinking that eating certain prepackaged meals will make you not hungry. Remember, hunger is hormonally driven, and we can’t control this. Rather than buying special meals, why not consume a varied, pigmented diet and let the hormones tell you when you’re hungry and full? Let’s stop planning our meals around our “busy” lives, and plan our lives around our wonderful meals with the people we care about.