Home » Posts tagged "Healthy Eating" (Page 2)

Jog, hop or skip for health, but don’t skip breakfast

breakfast

I often hear people say that mornings always feel rushed. Even on weekends it seems like there are a million things to get done. For many, one way to save time is to skip breakfast. However, that is not a very wise choice. Even though there might be kids to drop off at school, work to get to on time and other deadlines in the morning, breakfast is important: it helps with attention span, weight control and helps replenish your body with nutrients.

While it is preferable to have a sit-down breakfast, sometimes that’s simply not an option that fits into our schedules. Many people have shared with me their strategies and food items that ensure breakfast is part of their morning routine, no matter how hurried they feel. Below are a few recommendations.

1. Set the breakfast table the night before. Give kids simple but healthy options to choose from and put non-perishable items (breakfast cereals, fruit cups, whole fruit, etc.) out on the table.

2. Pack a breakfast bag and put it in the fridge. Grab it as you walk out the door. Continue Reading »

8 Healthy Foods for Cancer Patients

healthyfoodsNutrition is an important part of remaining healthy for everyone, but for individuals receiving cancer treatment, nutrition is critical. Side effects of treatment—such as nausea or decreased appetite—can make eating a healthy, well-balanced diet challenging. While not all foods work for everyone, below is a list of foods to assist in maintaining adequate nutrition when fighting through the side effects of cancer treatment.

  1. Eggs – Extra protein may be necessary at times during treatment and eggs are a great source for it, packing in seven grams per egg. Egg yolk is also rich in vitamins D and E. In some studies, vitamin E, an antioxidant, was shown to protect the body from the powerful toxins of cancer drugs that cause side effects.
  2. Ginger – Chemotherapy treatments are known for causing nausea and vomiting. From ginger supplements to ginger ale, ginger has been found to help reduce chemotherapy side effects.
  3. Soy – Soy contains a phytoestrogen called Genistein, which studies show to be toxic to cancer cells. Genistein may also assist in making chemotherapy work faster by helping the drugs kill tumor cells or inhibit further dividing. Sources of soy include tofu, soy flour, soy protein isolates and some dietary supplements. Discuss adding soy to your diet with your provider, as there are some contradictory findings with its efficacy. Continue Reading »

12 fun egg hunt treasures

egg huntMany families across the United States will soon be celebrating Easter and partaking in the fun activities associated with the holiday. This often includes egg hunts, especially for those families with young children. My daughter has participated in many of these and it is not uncommon for her to bring home lots of junk food that she doesn’t even like.

While we appreciate the occasional sweet treat, it seems that every celebration is overloaded with junk food; Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day parades, Labor Day parades, Fourth of July parades, Halloween, Easter, birthdays…the list goes on. This year, why not try something new? Below are some food and non-food items to consider using for filling traditional plastic colored Easter eggs.

  1. Dark chocolate. If you are going to spend your money on candy, then go all out and get good quality candy like dark chocolate. Choose chocolate that is 70 percent or more cacao. Dark chocolate contains beneficial antioxidants and other healthy substances while providing something sweet and delicious to enjoy.
  2. Nature’s candy. Mini boxes of raisins or individually wrapped prunes are a wonderful treat for many kids who like chewy sweet treats. Before you laugh at the suggestion of prunes, try it. You will be amazed by how many kids like them, especially if you call them (dried) plums. You may also want to use a few dark chocolate or yogurt-covered raisins as an extra treat. Continue Reading »

The anatomy of a grain

grainanatomy

The seeds of certain plants such as wheat, corn and rice that are used for food are called grains. There is much confusion about what constitutes a whole grain, the benefits of whole grains and what foods routinely contain whole grains.

To better understand what constitutes a grain it is important to understand the anatomy of a grain.

Bran
A single grain kernel has a multi-layered, outer, edible coat or skin called the bran. The bran contains a variety of B-vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.

The Germ
Inside the kernel of grain is a small ‘embryo’ which has the potential to grow into a new plant. The germ contains B-vitamins, some protein, minerals and health fats.shutterstock_75767707

The Endosperm
The majority of the space inside a kernel of grain is made up of endosperm.  It is the largest portion of the kernel and is rich in starchy carbohydrates, contains some protein and small amounts of vitamins and minerals. The germ feeds off of the endosperm which can provide necessary energy should the seed sprout and grow roots.

Whole grains
According to the Whole Grain Council a whole grain contains “all the essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions.” That is, a whole grain contains all of the bran, germ and endosperm.

If the grain has undergone any kind of processing such as cracking, crushing, rolling, extrusion or has been cooked the food “should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients found in the original grain seed” to be considered a whole grain.

Corn is an example of a whole grain as well as oats, wild rice, brown rice, barley, millet, quinoa, amaranth, wheat berries and others.

Whole grain stamp
Knowing when a food product contains whole grains can be tricky. Claims like natural grains, multi grain and more flood food packages. There is a quick way to ensure that the product you are buying is made from whole grains, and that is by locating the whole grain stamp on the product packaging.

StampCollage150dpiWhole grain stamps are yellow and have the shape of a postal stamp. There are two types of stamp: the basic and the 100% whole grain stamp.

If a product has at least eight grams of whole grain (half a serving) it can list the basic stamp on the package and list how many grams of whole grains it has. Even if a product has a large amount of whole grain, it will use the basic stamp if it also contains refined flour, extra bran or germ. If all of the grain ingredients of a food is whole grain, AND it has the minimum requirement of 16 grams of whole grains per serving (a full serving), then it will use the 100% stamp.

The stamps on the packaged food are an easy way to ensure that you are choosing a food with whole grains. You can of course always read the ingredient labels to make sure that they list whole grains such as whole wheat.

Happy shopping!

Cooking oils: What you need to know

shutterstock_48666388

Some of the most frequent questions I get asked have to do with oils. “Which oil is the healthiest?” “Which oil should I use for cooking?” “Is coconut oil good for you?” These questions came up at the most recent grocery store tour I did this past weekend.

There are no straight answers to any of these questions. In some circumstances a very healthy oil is not one most chefs would use for cooking; and in some cases a good cooking oil is not one a dietitian would recommend for health.

Oils that are suited for cooking have to withstand high heat. Certain oils, when heated, undergo changes that render them unstable and therefore are not the best choices for cooking. For example, olive oil – which is recommended for good health since it contains unsaturated fats and has low levels of omega 6 fatty acids – is not well suited for frying.  Olive oil has a low smoking point, meaning it will start to smoke at a lower temperature than other oils. Olive oil is better used for dressings, marinades and baking. Conversely, palm oil, which is good for frying, scores low for health. So that’s the dilemma.

After reviewing many sources, searching the Internet and exploring nutrition and culinary references, I came across a chart that does a nice job presenting the dichotomy between culinary and health preferences. It includes information about the nuances of different oils such as the level of refinement, the presence of omega 3 and 6, and even includes some information about genetic modification. Continue Reading »

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.