Tag Archives: dietitian

Eat Red for Your Heart

by Laura Stepp, MA, RD, LD, CDE at Lexington Medical Center

The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign brings awareness to the fight against heart disease in women. There a several lifestyle and dietary habits that can contribute to increased risk factors associated heart disease or stroke. On the positive side, there are several lifestyle habits such as daily exercise, drinking water, not smoking, and limiting alcohol that can help to reduce risks associated with heart disease.

Red Foods HeartProbably the most talked about is diet. In the spirit of Go Red for Women, I want to explore the benefits of adding red fruits and vegetables to our meals to “Just Say Know” to heart disease.

Red fruits and vegetables and their cousins blue and purple plants offer several health benefits associated with lowering risk factors of heart disease and stroke. Red foods have heart healthy folate, potassium and fiber. They also are sources of the antioxidants Vitamin C and A, and anthocyanin Lycopene that may help reduce the risk of developing cancers and developing macular degeneration (associated with blindness).

red foodsTry some of these fruits and vegetables today!

Vegetables:
•Tomatoes
•Red Bell Peppers and Hot peppers
•Beets
•Red/Purple Cabbage
•Red Onion
•Red New Potato
•Rhubarb

Fruits:
•Apples
•Blood Orange
•Cherries
•Cranberries
•Pomegranate
•Red/Purple Grapes
•Red Pears
•Strawberries
•Watermelon

Take the “Chopped” challenge and try combining several of these foods into a single recipe. If you need inspiration, websites such as Cooking Light or the USDA’s MyPlate.gov offer several recipes.

GMOs – What’s The Latest?

by Jennifer Benedetto MS, RD, LD, CNSC at LMC

The United States House of Representatives recently passed a bill that will block states from requiring GMO food labels. What are GMOs? Should we be concerned that these items are hidden in our food supply?

CornGMOs are genetically modified organisms.These plants, animals or microorganisms have had their genes changed in a way that is not possible in nature. These changes make the organisms thrive in their environment. For example, GM crops are produced by transferring a gene responsible for a beneficial characteristic into the DNA of a host plant’s cells. The cells within the seeds grow into a mature plant that displays the desired characteristics. Plants have been changed to be insect resistant, drought resistant, and virus resistant. GMOs are argued to be sustainable crops that will be available to feed a growing population.

SoybeansThe first GMO crops became commercially available in 1996. The major commercially available genetic engineered crops include alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, squash, sugar beet and sweet corn. GMO varieties became the majority of the US corn crop in 2005 and the majority of the soybean crop in 2000. It has been reported that “trillions of GM meals” have been consumed in the US. It is estimated that there is at least 1 GMO in a given processed food. High fructose corn syrup is a frequent GMO ingredient. But since these foods are not monitored or labeled, there is no way to study patterns of consumption and their impacts. Even though the vast majority of scientists say that eating GMO’s is safe, their inclusion in the food supply is controversial. In a January poll, 57% of Americans feared that GM foods are unsafe.

GMO SealUnfortunately it seems the jury is still out on the safety of GMOs. For the time being, the only way to know that you are avoiding GMOs is to either eat organic foods or find foods with the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal. The USDA National Organic Program prohibits the use of GMOs in any product that carries the “certified organic” label. The “Non-GMO Project” is an independent verification system dedicated to identifying products made without GMOs. A list of tested and approved products can be found on their website: www.nongmoproject.org.

PapayaSo for now, the government is not going to require GMO labeling, but with a little leg work, you can find non-GMO foods at your local supermarket.

The Skinny on Juice Cleanses

by Morgan Robbins, RD, LD at LMC

Cleansing is the red-hot health trend sweeping the world by storm. Checking Instagram, I see pictures posted by friends and celebrities with a rainbow of juices in their refrigerator and a caption talking about starting a cleanse. I often overhear conversations of people thinking about starting a cleanse because they feel sluggish or have been eating poorly. “Cleansing” the body of toxins, chemicals and impurities sounds appealing to most people, but are the claims accurate?

The 411-
shutterstock_132040193There are many different cleanses. The celeb-endorsed juice cleanses are most popular. Most juice cleanses consist of a series of juices to drink during the day for a set period of time, usually 3-14 days. Some cleanses allow foods while others do not. They range from $20-$70 per day. There are also cleansing options that come in pill form and are to be consumed with a healthy diet.

The Claims-
Rid your body of toxins, weight loss, improved energy levels, increase fruit and vegetable intake, reduce inflammation, reset the digestive system, strengthen your immune system and glowing hair and skin. Drinking juice for a few days to boost the immune system and improve energy levels? Sounds like a good bargain to me.

The Science-
The scientific evidence is lacking to prove that one will reap the sworn benefits that are promised while cleansing. The thing most juice bottles leave off the label is that the kidneys, liver and intestines do an excellent job of filtering out the garbage we put into our body. Will you lose weight? Probably yes, however if you go back to eating the way you were before the cleanse, you’re more than likely going to gain the weight back and could possibly slow down your metabolism in the process. Supplementing a healthy diet with a juice drink will likely cause no harm, but there is needed research regarding juice cleanses.

Thoughts-
Until there is solid scientific evidence about juice cleanses and their effect on the body, I would recommend thinking twice before taking another swig of your green juice as your sole dietary intake for the day. Skip the juice, skip the diet and just eat healthy. It’s really quite simple. There is truth behind the saying “you are what you eat”. If you eat well, you’ll feel well. Keep in mind, some cleanses contain a high amount of sugar and minimal fiber. Often people are looking for shortcuts and quick methods for weight loss, however healthy eating will always be the gold standard for living a healthy lifestyle.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/detox-diets