Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Is it Okay to Drink Milk Past the Expiration Date?

When you check out the milk in the fridge and see that it is just a day past the expiration date, do you pitch it right away or keep it around? If it looks and smells fine, it is perfectly safe, right?

Expiration and/or sell by dates are listed on the milk container. It is important to identify which is listed on the milk you typically by. If the expiration date is listed, and you see that your milk is still in the fridge past this date, the milk might be fine, but there is no way to be sure. A food or beverage may contain harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness, even if it doesn't look or smell rancid.

How can you help deal with this issue? If you have excess milk approaching the expiration date, freeze some in single serving containers that you can then use as needed. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How do Almonds Grow?

Did you know that almonds grow inside an inedible fruit from the almond tree? Pinkish purple flowers blossom around the fruit found on the tree. This fruit is very similar to that of a peach or a plum that contains a pit. The outer covering of the almond isn't fleshy like other fruits, but instead actually has a thick, grayish green coat called the hull. Inside the hull is a hard and woody shell, similar to a pit, called the endocarp. Inside this shell is the actual edible seed, called the nut. Bitter and sweet almond trees are able to grow, but the fruit stemming from a bitter almond tree does not produce edible almonds because of the compound cyanide it contains (cyanide can be removed in order to be eaten). Almond trees grow in areas with hot summers and cool winters. California is actually one of the only states with the proper climate capable of producing these nuts.  

Check out the link to learn more about the almond growing process!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Type 2 Diabetes Risk may be Reduced by Drinking Coffee

Research has found that chemicals found in coffee including phenolic compounds and lignans may improve glucose metabolism, therefore reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Coffee is also rich in magnesium which has been linked with lowering type 2 diabetes risk. Previous studies found that just increasing your coffee intake by 1 cup per day decreased your risk by 11%.

But it is important to remember that the type of coffee matters. Lattes and other sugary coffee drinks were not studied. The type of coffee used in the experiments included an 8 oz cup of black coffee with minimal amounts of milk and sugar. So stick to the fresh brewed coffee with moderate amounts of sugar and milk in order to reap the benefits. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Coconut Oil: Good of Bad?

Coconut Oil has recently being marketed as a “health” food. Is this plant based oil really “healthy”?  There are two types of coconut oil; Virgin and Refined. “Virgin”-This term means the oil is unrefined and not extracted from the coconut using high temperatures or chemicals. “Refined”- This term means the oil comes from dried coconut meat. Refined coconut oil is often bleached and/or chemically bleached.  Both “Virgin” and “Refined” Coconut Oil are high in saturated fat. In fact, there more saturated fat is found in Coconut Oil than in butter! Many Processed foods contain coconut oil that is processed that is called Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil. Processing of coconut oil transforms some of the unsaturated fats into trans fats. Trans fats are associated with increased total cholesterol (LDL) “bad” cholesterol. These fats are also associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. Coconut oil is a plant based oil and therefore contains no cholesterol. It also has some antioxidant properties from its phenolic compounds. Coconut Oil may be beneficial with helping your cholesterol levels, however, more research is needed.

What’s the take home message?    
When choosing coconut oil it is recommended to pick “Virgin” coconut oil and consume it in moderation.
Virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid which is a saturated fat that can help raise “good”(HDL) cholesterol but it can also raise “bad” cholesterol as well.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Reasons Why You're Not Losing Belly Fat

Getting in shape for swim suit season isn’t the only reason you should try to lose belly fat. Excess abdominal fat, especially visceral fat (fat around your organs and causes the stomach to bulge) increases risk of heart disease, type II diabetes, insulin resistance and some cancers. Here are some reasons why you may not be reducing fat in your mid-section.

1. Aging- As you age your body changes how it gains and loses weight. Men and women experience declining metabolic rate. The drop in hormones like estrogen and progesterone in women after menopause and testosterone in men can cause fat to be stored in the abdominal region.

2. Doing the wrong workout- Doing just cardio workouts won’t help your waist. Weight training can help the body build muscle, which in turn will help burn fat. So a combination of weight training and cardio each week is recommended.

3. Eating too many processed foods- Processed foods like white bread, chips, crackers, sweetened beverages and desserts can increase the inflammation in our body and can inhibit your ability to lose belly fat. Try eating more natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains which have anti-inflammatory functions to help prevent belly fat.

4. Eating the wrong fats- Not all fats are created equal. Saturated fat, mostly found in meat and dairy products, can increase visceral fat. On the other hand monounsaturated, found in olive oil and avocados, and polyunsaturated fats, found in fatty fish like salmon and walnuts, have anti-inflammatory effects in eaten in proper portions.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Is Weight Loss all about Calories in vs. Calories Out?

Most people understand that diet and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. The number of calories taken in needs to balance with the number of calories being used. In the case of weight loss, more calories need to be used than taken in. So if most people understand this concept why is weight maintenance and loss so difficult? Research shows that most people overestimate the number of calories burned during exercise and underestimate the number of calories they put in their mouths, thus throwing the calorie balance off. In one study, participates were asked to walk on a treadmill. After they were done they were asked to go to a buffet and told to eat what they considered was a caloric equivalent to their workout. Results showed that most participants ate two to three times more calories than they burned during the workout. There is no doubt that exercise is necessary to help maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle just be careful not to overindulge. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mushroom Muck

Many consumers are concerned about the dirt that they find on their commercially purchased mushrooms. Is this safe to eat even if all of the dirt is not removed? A Cornell professor of Mycology says that all fruits and vegetables should be washed before consumed but that this dirt should not be harmful to eat. The mushrooms are typically heat treated and this kills most of the harmful organisms that would be on the vegetable. Like any produce, mushrooms can rot and these ones should not be consumed. Commercial mushrooms are much safer to consume than ones that are unidentified and gathered in the woods.