Claxton Dietetic Solutions Articles

The Runner's Guide to Nutrition
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Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise, and for good reason! Running doesn't require lots of special gear, coordination, and can be done almost anywhere. However, avid runners know that good nutrition and running go hand in hand. Making sure you are fueling your body correctly is essential to get the most out of your runs, prevent injury, and aid in recovery. Whether you are new to running or have been racking up miles for years, here is a quick reference guide to the ins and outs of running nutrition.Pre-Run: Exercise requires energy and water. Having a small snack 30-60 minutes before your run ensures that you have the energy you need to complete your miles and really push your muscles. Aim for a snack with a mix of carbohydrates (15-20 grams) and protein (7-10 grams) such has an apple and cheese stick or graham crackers and peanut butter [1]. Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Nothing makes the miles seem longer than being dehydrated.During Run: Snacks: You may think that only marathon runners need to worry about nutrition during runs, but that simply isn't the case. Any time a run exceeds 60 minutes you need to start thinking about snacking during your run. After approximately 30 minutes your body will be running low on energy stores and electrolytes which can lead to fatigue, reduced performance, and increased risk of injury. Mid run snacks are all about easy to digest carbohydrates. While some people prefer to use special prepackaged supplements, it's easy to get the energy you need from simple foods like dried fruit, pretzels or other light crackers, or bananas. You can have one big snack per hour, or snack all along the way. Whatever snack you choose it's best to aim for 30-60 grams of carbohydrate for every hour you run. Hydration: It is essential that you maintain proper hydration during runs, even during the winter. Sipping on water, sports drinks, or coconut water throughout your run helps keep you hydrated and electrolytes in balance better than just chugging water before and after your run. Aim for three to six ounces of water every 15-20 minutes while running. Running water belts, water backpacks, or even hiding water bottles along your route are great ways to make sure you have what you need to stay hydrated [2]. Be sure to follow any snacks and/or energy supplements with plenty of water as well. Post Run: Providing your body with the nutrition it needs to replenish and rebuild your muscles is critical to recovery and improving future runs. Post run snacks should be a mix of carbohydrates and protein to rebuild muscle and energy stores within the muscle. Aim for 12-15 grams of protein and 35-50 grams of carbohydrates [1]. Low-fat chocolate milk makes a great post-run snack with a great balance of carbs, protein, and electrolytes. Other great post run snacks can include fruit and yogurt, pb&j sandwich, or a hummus wrap. Try to eat within 15-45 minutes of completing your run.Running for Weight Loss: Running is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and reduce the risk of Type II Diabetes [3]. Running can also be an excellent addition to a weight loss program if you keep these key things in mind:~Running makes you hungry: Running is a high intensity sport that burns a high number of calories compared to other exercises. Also, as we've mentioned in this article, you need to fuel correctly to make the most of your runs. In order to reach your weight loss goals you have to pay attention to total daily calories. Be sure to include all your pre/post/ and mid run snacks in your daily meal plan. In addition, make sure that you aren't eating too few calories. If you are decreasing daily calories in addition to running you may be eating too little and setting yourself up for failure.~You may actually gain a little weight at first: When you first start running you may experience a slight weight gain. Running, like all exercise, breaks down muscles in order to rebuild them stronger. However, this initial breaking down process can cause the muscle to retain fluids and thus increase the scale slightly. As you continue to run this process begins to even out. In addition, the large muscles in your legs involved in running burn more calories sitting still than fat does. So the more you build these muscles, the more calories you will be burning on a daily basis, increasing your ability to lose weight. ~Muscle weighs more than fat: As you build more muscle your weight may go up or stay the same even as you lose inches and improve your body shape. Muscle weighs less than fat but takes up much less space. Therefore, make sure that you have multiple measurements to track your progress and don't focus solely on the scale.Working with a Registered Dietitian is a great way to ensure you are able to maximize your weight loss efforts while still meeting all of your nutritional needs. Running is awesome for the mind and the body; but the next time you lace-up make sure you are maximize your results by pairing your runs with awesome nutrition! References: 1. http://www.eatright.org/resource/fitness/sports-and-performance/fueling-your-workout/top-snacks-for-....2.http://www.runnersworld.com/hydration-dehydration/prevent-dehydration-while-running3. Warburton DE, Nicol CW, Bredin SS. Health benefits of physical activity: The evidence. CMAJ. March 14, 2006; Vol 174: 6.  Picture Credit: 
The Return of Traditional Diets
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Since the early 1900's, new methods of production, processing, and preservation have drastically changed how people eat, especially in the United States. In a little over a century we have gone from eating foods with very few ingredients to foods that contain dozens of ingredients. This change from whole foods to highly processed foods has been paralleled by an increase in chronic diseases [1,2]. However, in recent years we have seen a resurgence in the interest of traditional diets. Traditional diets refers to those diets followed for thousands of years by indigenous populations around the world. Research has shown that individuals who follow a traditional diet have lower instances of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, obesity, and depression [2,3]. Some examples of Traditional Diets are the Ayurveda Diet (India) and the Mediterranean diet (circa 1960); however, traditional diets include the eating patterns of any indigenous people world wide [2,3]. Traditional diets are composed of the foods available to a population in the local environment and season. While the actually foods of each diet may vary widely by location, almost all traditional diets have major similarities that account for their beneficial effects on overall health [2,3].1. High in plants: Traditional diets are typically high in fresh plant foods including leafy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and root vegetables. Fresh plant foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals which are lost during processing and production.2. Include Fats: From olive oil and nuts to fresh fish, traditional diets include fats. Our bodies need fats (especially mono and polyunsaturated fats) to function correctly. Not getting enough fat in the diet can lead to decreased feelings of fullness (causing increased intake and weight gain), and increased risk of mental illness and depression [4]. 3. Protein: Almost all traditional diets include some form of animal protein.  Often, diets included a range of animal proteins from sources such as fish and other aquatic life, birds, eggs, some dairy, large game, reptiles, and insects. In addition, the majority of the animal was consumed, not just the large cuts of meat. 4. Mindfulness: Another component of traditional diets is a mindfulness and connection to food. Individuals are more aware of how the food was procured and therefore more mindful during eating. Many traditional diets (such as the Ayurveda diet) are closely related to spirituality and religion. A great emphasis is placed on the effects of eating, not just on the body but on the soul as well. Therefore, individuals may be less likely to eat past fullness or to waste food by eating too much at any one time. 5. Minimal Processing: While traditional diets rely on natural processing techniques such as smoking and fermentation to preserve foods, overall processing of food items is minimal. Foods are free from the plethora of added sugars, salts, fats, and chemicals seen in contemporary diets. It is important to consider that traditional diets are also associated with an overall higher level of daily activity and exercise which contributes to decreases in chronic disease [1-3]. Are you interested in switching to a more traditional diet? You don't have to follow a strict manual of what to eat and what not to eat. Seek out fresh fruits and vegetables and a variety of protein sources. Don't try to cut fat out of your diet but instead include an appropriate amount of healthy fats like those found in plant oils and seafood. Reduce your intake of overly processed items by checking the label. If an item has more than five ingredients you might want to select a less processed choice. On the most basic level, the return to traditional diets is a return to whole foods. References1- Popkin BM. Nutritional patterns and transitions. Population and Development Review. Vol 19, No 1; March 1993: 138-57.2- Willett WC, Sacks F, et al. Mediterranean diet pyramid: a cultural model for healthy eating. Am J Clin Nutr. Jun 1995; 61:1402s-1406s.3- Jacka FN, Pasco JA, et al. Association of Western and traditional diets with depression and anxiety in women. Am J Psychiatry. 2010; 167:1-74- Sathyanarayana Rao TS, Asha MR, et al. Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. Indian J Psychiatry. 2008 Apr-Jun;50(20): 77-82Photo Credit: Harsha K R via www.flickr.com   
Nutrition and Mental Health
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Millions of Americans are  affected by mental illness [1]. From Depression and Anxiety Disorders to Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia, it's very likely that either you or someone you know is affected. Unfortunately treatment for these conditions often rely solely on pharmaceuticals and rarely take into account perhaps one of the most significant factors in prevention and treatment of mental illness: Nutrition. Mental illness and Nutrition are linked by many different routes including genetics, changes in societies and typical diets, food insecurity, antioxidant effects on damage to brain tissues, long term nutritional deficiencies, and nutrition during pregnancy and early childhood [2]. Ongoing research is providing strong evidence that nutrition has a huge impact on the prevention and treatment of many of the most prolific mental illnesses. Let's take a closer look at a few of the most well understood connections between nutrition and mental illness. Depression: One of the most common mental illnesses worldwide, Depression affects more than 350 million people [3]. Depression is typically characterized by loss of interest and productivity, increased sadness and anxiety, poor appetite, and depressed mood [2-4]. Multiple studies have shown that the diets of individuals diagnosed with Depression are typically deficient in many important nutrients including: essential vitamins, minerals, certain amino acids, and omega 3 Fatty acids. In addition, individuals with Depression frequently favor foods high in added sugars and fats which increase oxidative stress and damage to neurons and other brain tissues [2-4]. Interestingly, many of the common nutritional deficiencies seen in Depression are important elements in the healthy production and maintenance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine [2-4]. Supplementation with these essential nutrients has been shown to significantly decrease symptoms and in many cases result in compete recovery [2-4]. In addition, diets high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish have been shown to reduce the risk of Depression [3-4]. Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia: Another set of mental illnesses that affect millions of people worldwide are Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of Dementia. Frequently affecting older adults, Dementia impairs memory, the ability to complete daily tasks, thinking, and emotions. Most Dementias are progressive in nature. Middle-aged obesity has been shown to increase an individual's risk of Dementia as they age [2-4]. It is thought that poor diet choices high in added sugars and fats increase the oxidative stress and damage to brain tissues. In addition, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases can cause damage to the blood vessels of the brain and thus increase the risk of Dementia. Research in long term nutritional deficiencies indicates that Dementia in later life is frequently linked to a lifelong history of poor nutrition [2-4]. However, some Dementias are reversible and are the result of specific nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin B 12 [5]. Elderly individuals are at increased risk for poor nutrition due to decreased appetite, inadequate access to food, and other risk factors. Therefore, it is important to rule out specific nutrient deficiencies during the diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias.   Schizophrenia and Schiozoaffective Disorders: Studying the victims of famines worldwide has long linked Schizophrenia and related mental diseases to poor nutrition and low caloric intake during pregnancy [6]. Now, new research is showing certain nutritional interventions may result in decreased symptoms for people diagnosed with Schizophrenia and related conditions [7]. Treatment is individualized but seeks to correct blood sugar problems caused by traditional pharmaceutical treatments, improving levels of essential fats, providing essential vitamins and minerals especially B6, B12, and zinc, increasing antioxidants, and diagnosing and treating any food allergies [6]. Many other areas of mental health are also being investigated for their connections with nutrition including: Attention Deficit Disorders, Hyperactivity, Bipolar, Seizure disorders, and many more. What we eat really does have a BIG effect on our bodies, and our minds! What can you do? The evidence is clear, eating a balanced healthy diet over a lifetime can help prevent the risk of some mental illnesses. Focus on eating whole foods whenever possible, avoid added fats and sugars, and get those fruits and vegetables! Maintaining a healthy weight is also important. Working with a Registered Dietitian is a great way to ensure you are meeting all your estimated nutritional needs and get help overcoming any challenges you may be facing with your weight. References: 1-http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers2-http://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Nutrition-and-Mental-Health-1.aspx3-http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/99/1/181.long4-http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3848350/5-http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/156816266-http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=497518&resultclick=17-http://www.foodforthebrain.org/media/485129/nutritional_interventions_for_the_adjunctive_treatment_o...  Photo Credit: HUSO via https://www.flickr.com/photos/hus0/
Declare Freedom From Diets
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Its seems like every week we are bombarded by the newest super diet "guaranteed to make you lose 10 pounds a week!". However, a quick look at the rising rates of obesity around the world shows that it's obviously not that simple. The truth is diets don't work. You may loses a little (or a lot) of weight in a short amount of time, but in the end the weight comes back. So what is the answer? Instead of quick fix diets, true and maintainable weight loss requires changing our lifestyles. Let's take a closer look at why diets don't work and how a lifestyle change is different.Diet: Super restrictive. Most quick fix diets are extremely restrictive and often forbid many foods or even entire food groups. Our bodies need a variety of nutrients from different sources. Cutting out entire food groups can be damaging to your health. In addition, many people experience strong cravings and food desires when they are told they cannot have a certain food. They may be able to avoid those foods for a few days or weeks, but often then find themselves bingeing on those foods in the end. Super restrictive diets for weight loss are simply not sustainable for extended periods of time. Lifestyle Change: All things in Moderation. Lifestyle change focuses on making healthy choices the majority of the time and focusing on wholesome and well-balanced nutrition. No foods are "forbidden". If you adore ice cream it's better to have a small amount a few times a week rather than feeling deprived and eating a whole carton on the weekend. Diet: Has an End Date. Diets are finite. For most people, they believe that once they reach their goal weight they can go back to their normal eating habits. They do not learn the skills they need to lose weight and then maintain their weight loss in a healthy way. Therefore, the weight slowly creeps back on and the individual is forced to diet again creating a dangerous cycle of weight gain and loss. Lifestyle Change: There isn't a finish line. Lifestyle change focuses on small sustainable changes that last a life time. The goal is to get to a healthy weight, improve physical ability and health, and maintain those changes. Individuals learn healthy approaches to nutrition and exercise. Diet: Weight loss is misleading. Diets frequently promise extremely rapid weight loss. Unfortunately, this rapid weight loss is the result of lost water weight and lean muscle mass, not fat. When lean muscle mass is lost it reduces your ability to burn calories. This reduction can make it even more difficult to lose weight. Additionally, when individuals gain weight back after a diet, they are gaining back fat and not lean muscle mass. This cycle means that each time a person diets it is harder and harder to lose weight. Lifestyle Change: Improved health is the overall goal. Weight loss is slow and is supported with good nutrition which allows for fat loss while preserving and building lean muscle mass. A healthy weight is easier to maintain because the body is able to burn a higher level of calories on a daily basis. It's time to break out of the quick fix mentality of diets. Focus on making small changes to your nutrition and daily habits that are sustainable. Need help figuring out how to transition from yo yo dieting to a lifestyle change? Working with a Registered Dietitian is a great way to learn how to make healthy decisions and make changes that will work for you. Remember, it's not about looking good in your bathing suit for one month. It's about getting healthy and staying healthy for a life time. Photo Credit: Qui Marin Larios via flickr.com at https://www.flickr.com/photos/indefinibleencanto/ 
Five Common Reasons You're Not Losing Weight
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Whether you are just starting a healthier lifestyle or you've been on your journey for a while, it can be extremely disappointing and frustrating to not see the results you expect on the scale. Don't give up! Chances are a little tweaking here and there and you'll start seeing those numbers drop. Let's take a closer look at the top reasons why weight loss may be stalled. 1. You're not keep a food journal. The research is clear, Physicians and Dietitians agree, people who keep daily food journals lose more weight. You might ask "what difference does it make?" There are several reasons keeping a food journal is so important to losing weight. Keeping track of daily intake lets you know exactly how much you're eating, spot problem foods ("That bagel has HOW many calories?!"), and keeps you honest with yourself. It's hard to overlook that second helping when it's staring back at you in black and white. In order for a food journal to work, make sure you are recording everything from the  mustard on the sandwich at lunch to licking the spoon after making peanut butter crackers for the kids.2. You're not measuring your food. Many of us fall victim to "eyeballing" our portion sizes. The difference between a cup of pasta and "about a cup" can be 100 calories or more. Being off just a little on how much you are eating can add up a lot over the course of the day. Do yourself a big favor and take the time to measure your food whenever possible. 3. You're overestimating your exercise. Unfortunately, most people greatly overestimate how many calories they burn through exercise. How many calories you burn is based on your weight, sex, intensity of the workout, and how long you workout. It's important to use a exercise calculator that is based on all these factors. For example, a 20 year old, 6ft, 200 pound Man burns approximately 319 calories lightly jogging for 30 minutes. A 35yo, 5'6 ft, 140 pound woman doing the same workout would only burn around 223 calories; that's almost 100 calorie difference! (calculator used: https://www.healthstatus.com/perl/calculator.cgi ) Make sure you're getting a realistic report on how many calories you are burning during exercise, especially if you are using those numbers to justify eating increased calories. 4. You're not drinking enough water. In order to function properly, your body needs a certain amount of water every day. A lack of water can even inhibit your body's ability to efficiently burn fat. One study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking 17oz of water increased metabolism by 30% in both men and women [2]. In addition, when you aren't drinking enough water, your body tends to hang on to excess water which can affect the scale as well as make you feel bloated and uncomfortable. When you increase your water intake your body stops hanging on to this extra water. So how much do you need? The adequate intake for men is 3 Liters (13 cups) and women is 2.2 Liters (9 cups), this includes water in foods, so you may need less if you consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables or foods with high water content such as soups [3]. 5. Your Numbers are wrong. In order to lose weight, you have to be burning more calories everyday than your body needs to function forcing your body to burn fat stores. You can do this by eating less, exercising more, or ideally a combination of both. In order to find out what the base number of calories you need most people rely on a Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator. This calculation based on age, weight, sex, and height. BMR can be a great place to start; however, it's important to remember that as you lose weight, this number will change. Many people lose weight initially but then find themselves stuck at a certain weight. Often this means that your BMR has gone down and you may need to adjust your calories and exercise. Working with a Registered Dietitian is a great way to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need as well as adjusting your diet to meet your goals. Sources:1- http://articles.extension.org/pages/24799/what-is-the-difference-between-physical-fitness-exercise-a...2-  http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-200442563- Michael Boschmann, Jochen Steiniger, Uta Hille, Jens Tank, Frauke Adams, Arya M. Sharma, Susanne Klaus, Friedrich C. Luft, and Jens Jordan. Water-Induced Thermogenesis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Apr 2011; 88:12. Photo Credit: Rohit Mattoo via flickr.com  https://www.flickr.com/photos/mar00ned/73144557/in/photolist-eW5JU-7sTk4-7sr9X-7B2bCs-3nJ61w-4Rp2Ne-... 
Quick Tips to Stay on Track
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One of the most challenging parts of any lifestyle change or weight loss program is staying the course. Too often, after the first couple of days, the excitement and enthusiasm of a new program wears off and people struggle to stick to the changes. Fortunately there are some steps you can take to help you stand firm and reach your goals. Here are five quick tips to help you stay on track. 1. Back up your Big Goal with Mini Goals: It's fantastic to keep the big picture in mind, but day in and day out that goal can seem far away and unattainable. By setting mini goals you can see progress all along the way and maintain your excitement and enthusiasm. Ex: If your goal is to lose 50lbs, set mini goals at 10lbs, 15lbs, 20lbs and celebrate each milestone as the accomplishment that it is. 2. Plan Ahead: What is your downfall? Do you always find yourself eating out for lunch, or lurking around the vending machine at 2pm? Do you hit the snooze instead of getting up to workout because hunting down your workout clothes seems like a pain? By pin pointing your individual stumbling blocks you can plan ahead to minimize their effect on your goals. You could pack a week's worth of lunches on Sunday, keep health snacks in your desk, sleep in your workout clothes (or at least lay them out the night before). 3. Find Accountability: Skipping a workout or eating a second brownie is a lot harder to do when somebody else will know. Building a network of friends, family, or professionals who are on your side and want to help you achieve your goals is critical for success. Not only can an accountability partner help you make better choices or encourage you to keep going when you want to quit, they will be there to celebrate your awesome achievements along the way. 4. Keep Moving Forward: People frequently feel like if they make one mistake they have failed and they quit. One poor decision or mistake does not erase the dozens or hundreds of good choices you've made along the journey. Take note of mistakes or bad choices and make a plan for how to avoid the same issue in the future. Then move on. Keep going.5. Make it FUN: Sure, there are always going to be parts of a lifestyle change that are just going to be hard work. However, this is your life, it should be fun and enjoyable! There are so many ways to keep the excitement and enthusiasm flowing. If you hate everything about your new lifestyle, chances are pretty good that it won't be your lifestyle for very long. Changing your diet? Check out new recipes and cooking styles to do them with a friend or family. Hate running on the treadmill? Play basketball or go swimming. Find things that help you achieve your goals but are also fun and exciting for You!Image Credit: One Way Stock via Flickr.com (https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulbrigham/) 
Pumping Iron
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Feeling tired? Worn down? Frequently dizzy? You might just need a good night's sleep, but you could be experiencing symptoms iron deficiency. Iron is essential for the hemoglobin in red blood cells to work correctly [1]. Red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the tissues in the body. Without iron, the red blood cells are unable to deliver the oxygen needed. When the body isn't absorbing enough iron, an iron deficiency can develop and can lead to iron deficiency anemia [1-2]. In the United States, iron deficiency is the leading nutritional deficiency and cause of anemia [1-3]. Symptoms can include:  dizziness, fatigue, weakness, pale skin and finger/toenails, inflamed tongue, headache, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, cold hands and feet, chest pain, cravings for no nutritive things such as ice or dirt [1,3]. Iron deficiency anemia can be caused by blood loss, inadequate dietary intake, poor absorption, or pregnancy. Anyone can experience an iron deficiency, however, certain individuals may be at greater risk including women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, young children, women of childbearing age, adolescent girls [1-3]. Individuals following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet may also be at risk. The good news is Iron Deficiency can frequently be prevented and resolved by increasing iron in the diet. Animal sources of iron are more readily absorbed by the body than plant sources [1-3]. However, plant based foods can also provide an important source of iron in a balanced diet [1-3]. Good sources of dietary iron include:BeefChickenTurkeyPorkSeafoodBeansDark Green Leafy VegetablesFortified breads, cereals, and pastasDried fruitsYou can boost your body's ability to absorb iron by drinking and/or eating foods high in Vitamin C at the same time as high iron foods. Good sources of Vitamin C include citrus juices, fresh citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, dark green leafy greens. In certain cases, an iron supplement may also be recommended.If you suspect you may have symptoms of an iron deficiency be sure to work with a Physician and a Registered Dietitian. You may need additional testing to identify the cause of deficiency and develop a plan to improve your iron levels.  Sources:1- http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/basics/causes/con-200193272- http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/preventing-illness/iron-deficiency3- http://www.irondisorders.org/Websites/idi/files/Content/854293/Dietironavidity.pdfPhoto Credit: Irene via www.flickr.com https://www.flickr.com/photos/irenetong/
Keeping the Holidays Happy and Healthy
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Jingle bells and Cinnamon smells are in the air, the Holiday Season is upon us! Time for family and friends, good will, presents, and delicious FOOD! Many people worry about gaining weight over the holidays. However, it's important to remember there may be something scarier hiding in the kitchen than a few extra pounds.Food poisoning affects around 48 Million Americans every year (1 in 6) [1]. Not only can food poison put a damper on your holiday plans, it can have serious consequences including hospitalization and even death [1]. So before the baking marathons and office parties begin here's a crash course in food safety.Temperature, Temperature, Temperature: One of the most important steps you can take to keep food safe is ensuring proper cooking and storing temperatures. Cold foods should be kept at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Hot foods should be kept at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Turkey, other poultry products, stuffings, casseroles, and leftovers must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit [1-2]. Using a digital thermometer is a quick and easy way to check food temperature, just be sure to sanitize between items. Time Matters: Holiday meals tend to start at twelve and then linger throughout the afternoon. While it may be convenient to leave food out, this practice is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours and throw away any food that has been sitting out for more than two hours [1-2]. Thaw Safely: Frozen meats should never be left to thaw on the countertop or in standing water. The safest way to thaw meats is in a refrigerator (24hrs for every 5lbs). You can also safely thaw meats in cold running water [1-2]. Cross Contamination: It is extremely important to keep raw products like meats and eggs separate from cooked items and items that will be served uncooked such as salads and fresh fruits. Bacteria can be passed between produce as well as meats [3]. Properly wash knives, cutting boards, peelers, and hands between handling different products, even between vegetables and fruit. It is also important to thoroughly wash all produce before cutting [1-2]. Holiday Hands: Be sure to wash your hands frequently while cooking and handing food. In addition, you may want to limit the number of helpers in the kitchen to avoid sneaky "tasting" fingers from contaminating the meal. Remember, certain people are more at risk for food borne illnesses such as older adults, pregnant women, small children, and anyone who is immunocompromised. Don't let food poisoning ruin your holidays! Follow these food safety tips to help keep your family celebrating all season long. Sources:1- http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/2- http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/holidays/holiday-food-safety-planning-to...3-http://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/food-and-nutrition-news-316/kitc...Photo Credit: Satya Murthy via https://www.flickr.com/photos/inafrenzy/
Health Nuts
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If you've been avoiding nuts because you've heard they are fattening and bad for your health, well that's just...Nutty! Nibbling on tree nuts as part of a healthy diet is associated with decreased cardiovascular risks (such as high blood pressure, high LDL levels), decreased risk for metabolic syndrome, improved weight control, improved body fat levels, and increased diet satisfaction and satiety [1-3]. These health benefits should come as no surprise when you consider that nuts are full of minerals, vitamins, healthy fats, protein, and phytochemicals [1-3]. Few foods can boast such a complete range of nutrients. Nuts sometimes get a bad reputation due to a higher calorie content than many foods that are considered traditional "health" foods; however, in this case good things really do come in small packages. One ounce of nuts (typically 20-24 nuts) per day is all you need to enjoy the many health benefits of regular nut consumption [1-3]. On average, 1 ounce of nuts is 165 calories, 15g Fat (mostly poly and monounsaturated), 179mg of Potassium, and 6g of protein. Looking for ways to slip nuts into your diet? Tree nuts are great:-in salads-toasted in vegetable side dishes-blended in a smoothie-as a yogurt topping-mixed into cereal-to add crunch to pasta dishes-as a delicious and satisfying snack!Don't feel limited to just one kind of nut. From walnuts to almonds, each type of tree nut has it's own special blend of beneficial fats, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals so it's a great idea to mix it up. Just be sure not to cover up all those benefits with too much sodium. Choose lightly salted or unsalted varieties to keep it healthy.  Sources:1-O’Neil, C.E., V.L. Fulgoni, T.A. Nicklas. Tree Nut consumption is associated with better adiposity measures and cardiovascular and metabolic syndrome health risk factors in U.S. Adults: NHANES 2005–2010.20152-Yang, M., F.B. Hu, E.L. Giovannucci, M.J. Stampfer, W.C. Willett, C.S. Fuchs, K. Wu, Y. Bao, 2015. Nut consumption and risk of colorectal cancer in women. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  doi:10.1038/ejcn.2015.66.3-Tan, S.Y., J. Dhillon, R.D. Mattes, 2014. A review of the effects of nuts on appetite, food intake, metabolism, and body weight. Am J Clin Nutr.  doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071456.Photo Credit: s58y via https://www.flickr.com/photos/s58y/