Monday, December 11, 2017

Holiday Health

With Christmas right around the corner, desserts are becoming very popular. Many people think that desserts are extremely bad for you and that you shouldn’t eat them. However, desserts are not going to kill you, and there are many ways that you can make eating desserts healthier. One of the ways to do this is by controlling your portion size. It is much easier to incorporate desserts into your lifestyle if you watch the amount that you eat. Another way that to make desserts healthier is by changing up some of the ingredients. Add some shredded or pureed fruits and vegetables to replace butter or oil, use a whole-grain flour instead of all-purpose flour, incorporate different kinds of flours (such as almond flour) to add more nutrients, and use low-fat dairy products. One more way to make desserts healthier is by reducing saturated fats and added sugars. You can do this by swapping butter for a heart-healthy oil, and by cutting out about twenty-five percent of the sugar in a recipe. Dessert can still be enjoyable as long as you pay attention to your portion size and ingredients in the dessert. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Fads Aren't Facts

It is the holiday season, and the newest diet trends tend to sound very appealing to those concerned with losing that holiday weight! However, some of these trends can do more harm than good to your body. People are commonly blinded by the misleading, false claims that these new, popular diets make. Rapid weight loss is not as beneficial as it may seem and can actually cause you to quickly pack the pounds back on. It is better to lose weight at a slow pace in order to maintain your muscle and bone mass. Some diets completely restrict some foods and instruct for large intakes of others. This can decrease intake of important vitamins and minerals, and can lead to boredom throughout the diet process. Diets that instruct you to eat certain combinations of foods at certain times of the day in order to prevent the food from harming your body are false! A majority of the trendiest diets are complex and involve specific meals and ingredients. This can become stressful to an individual who has a busy schedule; therefore, pick a diet plan that works best with your lifestyle instead of stressing to make a rigid one work. Certain diets claim that no exercise is needed, but exercise is most certainly needed in order to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle! When searching for a new, trendy diet to shed off those holiday pounds be on the lookout for the misleading, false claims that some diets use. Instead of following these fad diets, try to adapt to healthier eating habits and a more active life style in order to maintain muscle, get adequate nutrient intakes and maintain a healthy weight. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Hunger

With the holidays quickly approaching, it is the perfect time of year to partake in gatherings and holiday parties filled with a great amount of delicious seasonal foods. Here are some helpful tricks for lightening up your dishes without eliminating the great taste all your guests love. 

  • Instead of butter or margarine, try adding a low sodium vegetable broth to your mashed potatoes.
  • Substitute small amounts of applesauce for oils, margarine, or butter in muffins and quick breads, like banana bread.
  • Replace fried onion rings with sliced almonds for a more nutritious, great tasting crunchy topping on casseroles.
  • Use fat-free yogurt, sour cream, and whipped topping for dips, sauces, and pies.

If you are a guest at a holiday party, make sure you are eating a small breakfast the morning of the party that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins. Eating small meals or snacks leading up to the party will prevent you from overeating at the event.

These small, but helpful tips will ensure that you and your guests have a happy holiday, leaving feeling satisfied while being able to enjoy the festivities the holiday season has to offer.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fighting Iron Deficiency

Iron is essential to transporting oxygen from the lungs throughout the body as well as taking carbon dioxide out of the body via red blood cells. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the US. However, symptoms only show up if the deficiency has reached the point of iron deficiency anemia. Anemia is a condition in which there is not enough iron available for the body to make enough normal red blood cells to efficiently transport oxygen. Some symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include: fatigue, pale skin and nails, weakness, dizziness, headache, and inflamed tongue. Iron can be consumed through both plant and animal sources, but we absorb two to three times more iron from animal sources. Some excellent sources of iron include: lean beef, turkey, fish, beans, dark leafy vegetables, and whole-grain breads. 

Pregnant or breastfeeding women, young children, adolescent girls, and women of childbearing years are at a greater risk for developing an iron deficiency. To prevent a developing iron deficiency, focus on consuming a balanced diet inclusive of the aforementioned sources of iron. Another method to increase iron absorption, especially if on a vegetarian diet, is to combine plant sources of iron with a source of vitamin C, such as berries or lemon juice. It is not recommended to add an iron supplement without first consulting a doctor or registered dietitian nutritionist!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

This recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving with friends and family!


4 cups sweet potato, cubed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

Benefits of sweet potatoes:

Sweet potatoes contain a vast amount of nutrients that are essential to our daily lives! These include vitamin A, C, B-6, and potassium. There are also small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, and folate. Possible health benefits include fighting diabetes, as they are low on the glycemic index scale. The potassium present in these mighty vegetables is just as important in maintaining a low blood pressure as having low sodium intake. Digestion and regularity can also be influenced because of the fiber content, which tends to promote a regular digestive track. Immunity is also a potential benefit because sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C.  In addition, vision health can be improved due of the high levels of vitamin A present, which is essential to maintain vision and prevent deficiencies. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Genetic Link to “Fault Free Obesity”

Genetic links exist for numerous disease states, obesity being one of them. Researchers from the University of North Carolina Health Care System have identified that a mutation of the gene ankyrin-B may cause people to gain weight regardless of their diets. The research showed that this gene increases the amount of glucose taken in by fat cells. Vann Bennet, MD, PhD describes the effect of this gene as “fault-free obesity.” The study involved either eliminating or mutating ankyrin-B within mice, which caused Glut-4’s (the proteins that help bring glucose into fat cells) to take in glucose more quickly than normal. Another interesting point to note was that the mice with the eliminated or mutated gene still seemed to gain weight without increasing their caloric intake. The hypothesis as to why this gene exists in the first place is that our ancestors needed this gene in times of famine to help maintain energy stores. Now that the food supply is readily available to most, this gene may actually be one of the main contributors to the obesity epidemic. These findings could help identify individuals at risk for obesity in the future, but further research needs to be done before they identify this gene as an actual risk factor for obesity.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Skip the Midnight Snack

A recent study showed the relationship between late night snacking and increased risks of heart disease. When given food at the beginning of their rest period, rats experienced a large spike in blood lipid levels as opposed to when they were given food at the beginning of their active phase. With this research, we can see that getting into the habit of eating late night snacks can lead to an increase in blood lipid levels, which puts us at a greater risk for heart disease. Try putting the snacks away before bed, and getting some rest and eating a well-balanced breakfast instead.