Best Hormone Balancing Foods – Wine is #1

What are the Best Hormone Balancing Foods? Tips for Getting Started


hormone-balancing-foods

Is your body feeling out of whack for no discernible reason? The problem might be your hormones. Imbalanced hormone levels can lead to a host of health problems, from inflamed skin to mental stress and extra belly fat. Getting your hormone levels back under control can clear up these issues, and your diet is the perfect place to start. But what are the best hormone balancing foods for restoring your health? Let’s dive into the details.

Are your Hormones Imbalanced?

Hormones are the chemicals secreted by your glands and organs that send messages throughout your body. Balanced levels of hormones like estrogen, adrenaline, insulin, and testosterone are critical for good health, and your endocrine system is responsible for keeping them in line.

However, millions of people are affected by hormone imbalances each year, most of which manifest themselves as diabetes, thyroid disorders, infertility, low testosterone, and menstrual problems. If you’re suffering from inexplicable anxiety, exhaustion, weight fluctuations, or changes in your sleep levels, appetite or sex drive, a hormone imbalance might be to blame.

18 Best Foods for Balancing Hormones

Health begins with the digestive system, which is why knowing what are the best hormone balancing foods is the right place to start.

1. Red Wine

The skins and seeds of grapes might contain most of their antioxidants, but brewing grapes into wine makes these compounds more accessible for your body. Researchers at Northwestern University Medical School have revealed that wine contains resveratrol, a form of estrogen that helps it reduce your risk of heart disease, inflammation, and even certain cancers. It’s safe for most healthy adults to drink 2-3 glasses of red wine a week, and the drink works as a stellar digestive aid when taken during or after a meal.

2. Dark Chocolate

Here’s another reason to celebrate chocolate – research from Finland shows that babies born to mothers who eat chocolate during their pregnancy show less fear of new situations, smile more, and are generally more active. This is likely because chocolate boosts endorphin levels and contains tryptophan, a compound necessary for creating the feel-good hormone serotonin. To get the benefits without drawbacks, limit yourself to a 1-inch square per day and stick to at least 70 percent cocoa.

3. Broccoli

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts are a boon for your health in most ways, but few people realize how beneficial they can be for your hormone levels, too. Dark leafy greens like broccoli contain sulforaphane and indole-3 carbinol, two natural compounds that improve the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen and put it to use. Research from the University of California at Berkeley found that diets rich in indole-3-carbinol can prevent breast cancer cells from reproducing and slow its spread. Just 2 ½ cups of broccoli a week is enough to make a profound difference for your health.

4. Quinoa

This ancient grain has been in the spotlight for years, thanks to the fact that it’s a complete protein and is packed with magnesium and phosphorus. Quinoa is a complex carb, which means snacking on it will keep your blood sugar stable and prevent it from spiking your insulin and androgen levels. Best of all, your body doesn’t process it like it does other grains. Switch out a few servings of bread or rice for quinoa each week, and your health will benefit from it.

5. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

The monounsaturated fats in olive oil make it an exceptional way to release leptin, a hormone that works as an appetite suppressant. Likewise, olive oil is known to improve insulin sensitivity and will help your body break down more fat cells than soybean oil. Stay away from highly processed fats like margarine, and embrace olive oil instead.

6. Eggs

Eggs are one of nature’s superfoods, and keeping them in your diet will work wonders for your health. The white and yolk alike both keep your good cholesterol levels high, helping it create the hormones that lead to better skin health.

7. Flaxseed

A sprinkle of ground flaxseed adds nutrition to almost every dish, as the seeds contain lignans, a phytoestrogen compound that helps reduce excess estrogen in the body. This means that incorporating flaxseed into your diet can protect you from certain cancers, including colon, breast, and prostate. Likewise, the seed’s high insoluble fiber content means they can get your bowels moving so that your body detoxes from “used up” hormones. Just add a few tablespoons at a time to your smoothies, salads, or oatmeal, making sure to grind them first or chew thoroughly to extract as much nutrition as possible.

8. Green Tea

Green tea extract is a common ingredient in weight loss products for a reason- the evidence shows it works. Research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has revealed that green tea aids the metabolism and fat-burning process, thanks both to its caffeine levels and cortisol-blocking compound theanine. Plan to drink at least four cups a day to experience the best benefits.

9. Almonds

Nuts like almonds are almost the perfect snack. They keep you feeling full and increase levels of the adiponectin hormone, which prevents blood sugar levels from spiking. Thanks to their vitamin E content, almonds stimulate the release of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) a compound that stimulates healthy reproductive systems. Eating at least eleven almonds (one serving) a day is optimal for promoting health.

10. Salmon

There’s a lot to like about salmon, especially when it comes to balancing hormones. The healthy fats it contains will improve both hormone and cholesterol synthesis, and salmon’s anti-inflammatory properties are ideal for calming skin outbreaks like eczema and acne too.

11. Organic Soy

Not everyone’s body responds well to soy, but if you find that you can eat it without experiencing gas, bloating or digestive problems, it’s smart to add more of this plant-based protein source to your diet. A few servings of organic soy per week will lower cholesterol, strengthen bones, reduce menopause symptoms, and even protect the prostate.

These therapeutic effects from soy come from the phytoestrogens they contain. Stick with a 1-cup serving size each day for a boost to your health.

12. Avocado

This delicious plant-based fat is as healthy for you as it tastes indulgent. Because they are rich in beta-sitosterol, eating avocados regularly will help your body maintain a healthy level of cholesterol, which is essential for normal hormone synthesis. Likewise, consuming healthy fats boosts your skin cell’s lipid bilayers, helping their membranes retain water so that your skin stays plump, not wrinkled. Beta-sitosterol will also help your body raise its DHEA levels, which helps reduce inflammation after intense exercise.

13. Whey Protein

Not just fuel for bodybuilders, whey protein is an excellent source of tryptophan that naturally works to raise serotonin levels and combat stress. Taking whey protein as a powdered supplement will also aid your body with insulin sensitivity, preserve muscle tissue, and promote fat loss.

14. Oat Bran

A meal built around oats will fill you with ample nutrition, including vitamin E, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium, as well as impressive levels of protein and fiber. This means that regularly eating oats keeps your blood sugar balanced, reduces cholesterol levels, and lowers your risk of heart disease. Oatmeal can be added to most baking recipes, or you can start your day with a fiber-filled bowl.

15. Apples (Preferably Organic)

You already know that apples are fiber-rich and keep your teeth clean, but they also contain quercetin, a natural antihistamine and flavonoid antioxidant. Quercetin also has phytoestrogenic properties, meaning that regular servings can reduce your risk of chronic diseases associated with aging, including diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. To lower your pesticide load, stick with organic as much as possible.

16. Pomegranates

Color is often an indicator of health in the natural world, and the ruby-hued pomegranate is no exception. Research shows that pomegranate extract can suppress cancer growth in the skin, breast, and colon. This is because they possess natural compounds that prevent female bodies from converting a weak form of estrogen (estrone) into its potentially more harmful counterpart estradiol. You can get the benefits from pomegranate juice concentrate or from eating the fruit fresh.

17. Cinnamon

Thanks to its ability to balance out your insulin levels, cinnamon works as a natural diabetes aid by triggering your muscle and liver cells to prevent spikes in your blood pressure. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to your breakfast cereal or add a dash to your coffee for convenience.

18. Plain Yogurt

Yogurt has earned fame in recent years for being a natural source of probiotics, and regular servings will help you restore your body’s bacteria levels to support a healthy immune system and keep your hormone levels in check.

Eat For Your Hormones, Eat for Health!

Keeping your hormones in balance is a key to good health, and eating a well-balanced diet will work wonders for it. By regularly eating the foods on this list, you can ensure you give your system what it needs to thrive. So when you plan your next menu, take your hormones into account. Your body will benefit from it.

PRO TIP: The Truth About Vitamin Waters

vitamin-waterWalking down the beverage aisle of a supermarket, one is dumbstruck by the sheer number of options available. A growing category, with dazzling colors that scream “buy me”, is vitamin waters.

Vitamin Water XXX is a classic example of unsubstantiated health marketing. Named for its “triple antioxidants” formula of acai, blueberry, and pomegranate flavors, the triple X logo has additional, naughty, connotations: the kind of xxx you can consume in front of your mother, according to the brand’s manufacturer.

With the help of this marketing drivel, the manufacturer, a Coca Cola subsidiary, is making billions of dollars a year. Unfortunately, the nutrition facts panel and the ingredient list is full of deceit.

This is what an honest ingredient list would read:

water, sugar, colors, needless vitamins & minerals.

Here is the ingredient list on the package:

reverse osmosis water, cane sugar, less than 0.5% of: citric acid, magnesium lactate and calcium lactate and potassium phosphate (electrolyte sources), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), fruit and vegetable juice (color), natural flavors, stevia leaf extract, vitamin B5 (calcium pantothenate), beta-carotene, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), manganese citrate, gum acacia.

The ingredients listed are named to get you excited about how chic this product is.

For example, it’s not just any water being provided – you are getting reverse osmosis water, whatever that means. Probably better than regular water, right?

Next up – the sugar. Not just any sugar – it’s cane sugar. Sugar comes from beets or sugar cane. Someone must have decided that cane sugar sounds more sophisticated or healthy. Baloney.

A single serve bottle of this beverage has 8 teaspoons of needless, harmful sugar. Actually, the sugar actually does have a role to play in this beverage – to mask the very bitter taste of the vitamins added. However, 120 calories is a high price to pay when you can get non-bitter water out of the tap for zero calories and zero dollars.

Onwards, down the ingredient list, electrolyte sources also sounds cool. Admit it. However, did you know that a banana is also an electrolyte source?

The vitamins added will likely be mal-absorbed (read: you will urinate them). Their bio-availability is much lower than if consumed as part of whole foods.

Lastly, rest assured that a laboratory has perfected the right combination of natural chemicals to excite your olfactory and taste receptacles. It’s probably not the fruit and vegetable juice, which makes a guest appearance here, with less than 0.5% of the content.

Bottom Line
Marketing hype will not make vitamin waters a healthy hydration choice. Ever.

Supermarket Tip
Get your antioxidants from real fruit, not sugar water. Skip the supermarket beverage aisle and stick with tap water. With the money saved you’ll be able to afford all the tasty, healthy fruits you desire.
Article written by:
fooducate-logo

7 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Road Trip

road

A familiar summer sight on American highways is a family on a road trip headed for fun and adventure many miles away. These voyages require stops for eating, drinking, and energy release. Fast food joints have established themselves as the go-to solution, with huge signs visible from the distance. Unfortunately, they usually steer you to make unhealthy food choices. Here is some advice to help you make the best of the situation.

1. Prepare in advance by packing healthy snacks:

  • Fresh fruits – apples, bananas, berries of all sorts (pre-washed!)
  • Fresh vegetables – baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, etc.
  • Canned items – corn, carrots & peas, etc.
  • Homemade trail mix. see this recipe
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Beef jerky
  • Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on whole grain bread.

2. Food safety: make sure that chilled foods are stored in a cooler with ice-packs, or that they are consumed before they warm up.

3. Bring plenty of water. You can freeze a bottle or two in advance and then enjoy ice cold water later in the day. Have extra water available for washing hands and utensils.

4. If you’ve run out of food and need to stop to eat, look for supermarkets instead of restaurants. You can buy fresh ingredients to prepare your sandwiches, or simply enjoy fresh fruit. Many supermarkets have a do-it-yourself salad bar and other deli items available. Some even have a seating area. As an added bonus, you will pay less than at a restaurant.

5. If you are traveling on a weekend, try to stop by a farmers market. This website has a comprehensive list of locations across the country.

6. If you do end up at a restaurant, here are a few recommendations:

  • Try to appraise the menu for the healthier options before ordering
  • Give specific instructions to the chef – use less butter, gravy on the side, etc.
  • Have the salad first. Ask for dressing on the side
  • Ask the waiter NOT to bring bread to the table
  • If the portions at the restaurant are very large, ask your waiter to pack half your dish in a doggy bag even before it is served.
  • Drink at least one glass of water before you eat.

7. Find a really good place for ice cream. You can’t bring it from home 🙂

Bottom Line
Prepare in advance and make your road trip pleasurable, memorable, and diet-able!
Thank you Fooducate Pro for this information.fooducate-logo

How to Enjoy Ice Cream Without Guilt

ice cream 2Raise you hand if you don’t love ice cream. It’s one of the highlights of summer (and all year long, for some of us). Unfortunately, it’s a treat comes with a lot of nutritional baggage. As its name implies, ice cream is made with cream, which is loaded with fats and saturated fats. It’s rich in calories and sugars, and that’s what makes it so tasty. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should abstain. Here are some tips to help you make the right choices this summer.

The first and most important piece of advice is to mind your portion size. Unfortunately, no matter what frozen treat you eat, the serving size always seems too small…

The standard serving size for ice cream is just half a cup. That’s about the size of your fist. If your ice cream has 200 calories per serving and you are tempted to eat a full cup, you will be doubling your calories to 400!

As an addendum to the above, never ever eat ice cream directly from the package it came in. It’s a surefire way to over-consume.

When ordering at an ice cream stand, you’ll almost always be served a large portion. Try to stick with one scoop, or ask for the kid-size option.

Enjoy your ice cream in a bowl or cup, not a cone or other edible instrument. You’ll save 50 to 100 calories.

One way to consume less calories is to opt for low fat or non-fat ice creams. Some taste better than others, but if you do go down this road, read the ingredient list to see what ingredients have replaced the fat. In some cases, they are worse than a full fat ice cream.

If you’re planning on frozen yogurt, you should know that it may not be any lower in calories compared to regular ice cream. Although yogurt sounds healthier than ice cream, it may not have any live and active cultures – which are the main health benefits of yogurt. Read the label to make sure.

Fruit based sorbets or bars are a lower calorie choice. They barely have any saturated fat and taste great. They tend to be very high in sugar, though. Don’t get thrown by “made with real fruit”. Read the ingredient list to make sure that fruit is the first ingredient.

Ice pops are low in calories because they are mostly water, sugar, and colors. Read the ingredient list to avoid products with artificial colors, which may cause hyperactivity in some children.

Bottom Line
Treat yourself to ice cream and other frozen delights in small portions!

Supermarket tips
Read the ingredient lists to make sure your frozen treat does not include unwanted artificial fillers, colorings, or additives.
fooducate-logo

Bread buying tips…

breadYou can make bread at home with just four ingredients:

  1. flour
  2. water
  3. yeast
  4. salt

With the right equipment and experience, the result is exquisite. But only for a day or two, until the bread goes stale. By day four, it starts to grow mold.

That’s why a majority of people purchase their bread at the supermarket. In order to stay soft and fresh for a week or more, packaged breads need the help of some additives. Some are OK, while others are not. We’ll discuss them in a bit.

Besides the additives, the nutrition grade of a bread depends largely on the type of flour used. Three tips:

  • Make sure the first ingredient is whole grain (100% whole wheat).
  • The bread should be made with 100% whole grains.
  • The fiber count should be 2 or more grams per ounce. sometimes that’s 2 grams per one slice, but not always. Check the serving size.

Bread manufacturers often confuse shopper with tricky terms for the flour used:

  • Enriched flour – This is NOT whole wheat flour. This is refined flour that is enriched because it was stripped of its nutrients when the whole grain was processed into refined flour. Here’s what is added (as mandated by the government) – Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), folic acid, and iron.
  • Multi-grain – Does not mean whole grain. It simply means that several types of grains have been used. For example, wheat and rye instead of just wheat.
  • Organic – indicates how the wheat was grown, not if it was stripped of its nutrients. You can definitely have refined organic wheat.
  • Unbleached / Bleached – indicates if the flour has been subjected to a whitening process or not. Bleached flour goes through more processing and chemicals, so you should prefer non-bleached flour. Whole grain breads are not bleached.
  • Unbromated / unbrominated – In the past, many bakeries used potassium bromate as a dough conditioner to improve the rising of the dough and the texture of the bread. Unfortunately, it is a carcinogen. It is not often used these days, and if it is, should appear on the ingredient list, regardless of its use as an adjective describing the flour.

Now to the additives. Try to avoid bread that uses one of these:

  • Potassium bromate – used as a dough conditioner. (Reminder: dough conditioners (1) shorten dough rising times (2) increase shelf life, and (3) make the dough easier for their machinery to process). Potassium bromate is harmful in its raw form, but disappears during the baking process. Unless some of it doesn’t. Europe, Canada, and many other countries have banned the use of this additive.
  • Azodicarbonamide – another dough conditioner. It also bleaches the flour (makes it whiter). It’s considered safe in the US at up to 45 parts per million, but is banned from use in Europe because studies showed it could cause asthma or allergic reactions.
  • DATEM – an acronym for Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Monoglycerides. Another dough conditioner used to improve volume and uniformity. It is considered safe by the FDA, but a 2002 study on rats showed “heart muscle fibrosis and adrenal overgrowth”.
  • Partially hydrogenated oils – yes, the evil trans-fats lurk in the bread aisle too. Make sure they don’t make the jump to your shopping cart.
  • Mono and di-glycerides, ethoxylated mono and di-glycerides – derived from animal or plant sources, these additives have multiple roles – they are dough conditioners (improve texture, increase volume), emulsifiers, and release agents (make it easier to get the bread out of the baking pan).
  • Calcium propionate – a preservative that inhibits mold and bacterial growth. Considered safe, but in the early 1990’s it was linked to attention deficit disorder in children.
  • High-fructose corn syrup – many breads employ a sweetener to improve taste as well as help the dough rise. (Yeast love sugar – they ferment it to create carbon dioxide which is what makes the bread rise). HFCS is the cheapest sugar, and that is why manufacturers use it.
  • Artificial colors – you’d be surprised, but some breads use artificial colors.
  • sugars / honey / etc…
TEST YOURSELF

For each of the terms below please indicate if it is whole grain or not:

  • organic unbleached unenriched wheat flour
  • ground wheat flour
  • 100% stone ground wheat flour
  • organic heirloom wheat flour
  • unbromated hard red spring wheat flour

Answer: NONE of the above are whole grains flours.

Last tip for today
Here’s another manufacturer trick to look out for. Even if the product package boasts 100% Whole Wheat, you may be getting nutritionally short-changed. You see, manufacturers can add bran and germ to an ingredient list that kicks off with enriched flour. As long as the proportion of endosperm, bran, and germ is equal to what one would find naturally in a whole grain, the package claim “100% Whole Wheat” is technically correct. That’s like buying a car that has been taken apart into a thousand pieces and put back together instead of a new car directly from the dealership. Which would you prefer?
This article was written by:  The Fooducate Team
If you would like help with “cleaning up” your diet, contact Beth Mincher to set up an hour long consult to determine how you can improve your eating to lose weight and/or feel better.  Beth is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and received her training through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She focuses on helping people achieve optimal wellness through a whole body approach; emphasizing the importance of diet, but also other factors such as: physical activity, personal relationships, career, emotional wellness, lifestyle, prevention and the use of natural therapies.
Beth Mincher – (832) 506-9961    or    [email protected]

The Problem With Canned Soup

soup in canSome of us are experiencing a brutal winter with snow and bone-seeping cold that does not seem to be letting up. Soup is a great way to warm up; it can also be a nutritious meal. There is nothing quite like homemade soup, but many people prefer to settle for ready-made. The food industry has known this for decades, hence prepared soups are a billion-dollar industry.

There are several problems with prepared soups. The most obvious is that they simply don’t taste as good as home made. Of course, if you don’t know how to make your own soup, this is a non-issue.

Another problem is the use of lower quality ingredients than you would use at home, for example meat scraps that would never be sold in a supermarket. Additionally, some of the ingredients used would never be found in your home kitchen. Here is an example ingredient list, for Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup:

Chicken Stock, Cooked Enriched Egg Noodles with Added Calcium (Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate (In excess of standard), Eggs, Egg Whites, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Cooked Chicken Meat, Contains Less than 2% of: Salt, Cooked Mechanically Separated Chicken, Vegetable Oil, Potato Starch, Chicken Fat, Monosodium Glutamate, Onion Powder, Yeast Extract, Modified Food Starch, Spice Extract, Beta Carotene, Soy Protein Isolate, Sodium Phosphates, Chicken Flavor (Contains Chicken Stock, Chicken Powder, Chicken Fat), Dehydrated Garlic.

Lastly, one of the biggest problems with prepared soups is their extremely high sodium content. America has a long standing love affair with salt, and consumes almost twice as much as the 2300 milligram daily limit. Excessive salt intake contributes to hypertension and heart disease. A single serving of the chicken soup above has 890mg of sodium, 39% of the maximum recommended daily intake Like all liquids, people often consume more than one serving at a time, exacerbating the sodium issue.

Bottom Line

If you love soup, consider preparing your own soup at home. You will know exactly what ingredients go in, and will be able to control just how much salt is added.

Supermarket tips

If you do decide to buy prepared soups, keep in mind the following:

  • The serving size should make sense (one cup). Often manufactures suggest a tiny serving to make it seem like the calories and sodium content are low.
  • Read the ingredient list to make sure you aren’t getting more than you bargained for, for example MSG.
  • Last but not least, choose soup with less than 600mg of sodium per serving, ideally less than 450mg

Here is a healthy and yummy soup to make at home…

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup
1 large head cauliflower
Few dashes garam masala (optional)  or try a few dashes of turmeric  (optional)
3 medium to large sized peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
6 cups organic vegetable broth
1 tsp. sea salt  (Use Himalayan pink salt or grey sea salt for best health benefit)
2 handfuls of washed kale (shredded) OR diced Kohlrabi   (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Wash and cut cauliflower, then sprinkle lightly with garam masala or turmeric.

Place cauliflower onto parchment covered baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Roast about 20-30 minutes. In large stockpot, bring sweet potato, onion, garlic, salt and broth to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Add in cooked cauliflower and kale (optional).  Simmer about 20 minutes.
This recipe is a great way to boost your antioxidants with winter vegetables and upgrade your nutrition by controlling your ingredients since you’re preparing it at home from scratch!  Plus it’s quick and easy.
Bonus fact:  Did you know that sweet potatoes are high in magnesium which is the anti-stress and relaxation mineral!
Beth - NutritionBeth Mincher, CHHC
Certified Holistic Health Coach @ Body Edge Fitness
Member of AADP, American Association of Drugless Practitioners
Beth Mincher Health Coaching ~ Elemental Wellness

8 Ways to Improve Your Salad Dressing

salad dressingWritten by: The Fooducate Team

What’s a salad without a dressing?  It’s like Bert without Ernie, a burger without a bun, Sunday without football on TV. A salad is not a salad without some good stuff drizzled on top.

Food manufacturers realized this long ago, and today, entire supermarket aisles are dedicated to salad dressings and toppings. Unfortunately, some dressings do more harm than good. Here are 8 tips to help you make the best choices.

1. Make your own dressing
This is a no-brainer. In most parts of the world, it’s unthinkable to buy salad dressing. People prepare the dressing as part of the salad making process. It’s as easy as mixing 1 part oil, 1 part lemon/vinegar, and adding salt and pepper to taste. From there, you can build your dressing with additional herbs and spices. There’s no shortage of recipes.

If you do find yourself buying salad dressing, read on:

2. Decrease the serving size and calories
The standard serving for salad dressing is 2 tablespoons, ranging from 50 to 200 plus calories. An easy way to cut the calories is to use less dressing. Work the dressing into the salad until you can’t see any blobs of sauce, just a shiny coating all over the salad greens.

3. Don’t water down you salad
Many of the low-fat or non-fat dressings are primarily water. You’re paying over $4.00 for a bottle of dressing, the least they could do is fill it up with a more expensive ingredient like fine olive oil. Also – why drown your greens after you’ve dried them up so nicely before serving?

4. A little bit of fat is not bad
Vitamins A, D, E, and K, found in salad vegetables, are fat soluble. This means your body will be more likely to absorb them when they’re mixed with some oil.

5. Skip the toppings
They may add extra crunch and flavor, but the extra calories and sodium in bacon bits and croutons almost negate the purpose of the salad – a nutrient dense addition to your day.

6. Avoid added sugars
Some dressings can get really tangy, so a bit of added sweetener rounds out the flavor remarkably. The problem is that in many cases, manufacturers add too much sugar. For example, almost 25% of Wishbone’s Red Wine Vinaigrette Salad Dressing calories come from sugar. In other dressings, the sugar content can reach up to 50% of the calories!

7. Salty?
One of the challenges with salad dressing is the sodium content, which can be higher than 500mg per serving. That’s close to 25% of the daily maximum. Look for 300mg per serving, or less.

8. Avoid Phosphoric Acid
Many dressings use phosphoric acid (E338), an artificial additive that provides a tangy taste for a much cheaper price than lemons. Phosphoric acid is widely used in soft drinks. Some studies have linked it’s consumption to lower bone density.

Bottom Line
Salad dressing is a great way to help increase vegetable consumption. Make sure to choose a dressing that does not negate the health benefits of your greens. Better yet, make your own dressing!

Hot Cereals – How to Choose Your Oats

Hot oatmeal is a great way to start your day on a cold winter morning.

oatmeal 2Unfortunately, the most popular products are pre-sweetened packets, full of sugar and other needless ingredients. Here, for example, is the ingredient list for Quaker Instant Oatmeal, High Fiber, Maple & Brown Sugar:

Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Maltodextrin, Sugar, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Guar Gum, Oat Flour, Sucralose, Niacinamide (One of the B Vitamins), Vitamin A Palmitate, Reduced Iron, Caramel Color, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (One of the B Vitamins), Riboflavin (One of the B Vitamins), Thiamin Mononitrate (One of the B Vitamins), Folic Acid (One of the B Vitamins).

Instead of settling for such mediocre offering, try a single ingredient product – plain oatmeal. Cook it with hot water or milk. Then sweeten it with fresh or dried fruit, or add some chopped nuts. If you need a sweeter kick, add a touch of honey or brown sugar to suit your palate.

When it comes to plain oatmeal, there are several types you can choose:

  • Whole oats (groats or kernels) – the least processed of the oatmeal cereals, and require the most time to cook. It is not very common to use these oats for breakfast.
  • Steel cut (Irish or Scottish) oats – These oats are cut, not rolled, and look similar to chopped up rice. They have a chewy, nutty consistency and take a long time to cook (15-60 minutes). They contain more fiber, protein, calcium and other minerals than other varieties of oats. They also have slightly more calories and fat. (At Costco, in the freezer section, you can buy individual servings – 6 to a box – that have already been cooked and only take 3 minutes to thaw in the microwave! My personal favorite!!!)
  • Rolled (“old fashioned”) oats – These look like flat little ovals. They are faster to cook than steel cut oats, but take longer to prepare compared to quick oats. Mueslis and granolas are usually made with rolled oats.
  • Quick oats – similar to rolled oats, but have been cut before being steamed and flattened. They are even faster to cook, and are generally used in breads and muffins. Nutritionally, they are very similar to rolled oats. They are digested more quickly, though, and may not keep you as full for a long time.
  • Instant oats – These cook the fastest, because they have been rolled very thinly. While they are more convenient than other oats, you’ll often find them with added flavors and salt. They also lose much of their nutritional content because of the excessive processing they have undergone.
  • Oat bran – made from the outer layer of the oat kernel. Oat bran is very high in fiber and can be eaten as a hot cereal, or sprinkled on cold cereal. It’s also great way to naturally boost the fiber content of baked goods.
Bottom Line
Choose plain oatmeal and add your own flavors through fruit, nuts, and a touch of sweetener.

10 Tips for Better Eating…

Do you need to improve your eating?

vitamins 3Finding the right diet tips to lose weight is a great first step for anyone who is trying to shed a few pounds. One of the biggest obstacles that many people run into when they are trying to lose weight is a lack of knowledge. Many people are under the misconception that losing weight is complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Exercise is definitely something that needs to be part of your day, but by improving your nutrition you will reach your goals even faster!

Tip #1 – Slow Down!

Take time to breathe.  Enjoy your food and savor each bite. Sit in a comfortable place and take time to chew.  Yes it sounds crazy but the more you chew your food the less digesting your gut will have to go.  You will actually process your food better. Also, by eating slower you will feel full sooner and eat less.

Tip #2 – Show your food gratitude!

Have a positive attitude about the food you are eating.  Enjoy trying new vegetables, they may become one of your favorites.  Think about the seasons and buy local whenever possible. In the winter root veggies are grounding.  In the summer leafy greens are light easy.

candyTip #3 – Stop thinking of food as a reward!

You are not a dog in training!  If you do something good don’t reward yourself with a treat.  Food is for nourishment and fuel.  If you accomplished something at work or lost that 10 pounds go buy a new shirt, don’t stop for ice cream!!!

Tip #4 – Analyze  your food environment!

Maybe you need to change the lighting in your kitchen or how your kitchen is set up to enjoy the art of cooking. Sometimes simply buying a new kitchen gadget like a great new salad bowl or a spirializer will encourage to spend more time prepping your food.

avocado 2Tip #5 – Shop more, buy less!

Good nutrition starts in the grocery store. When you go grocery shopping the majority of your food should be fresh fruits and vegetables. Adding fresh herbs will make your healthy foods even better tasting and better for you. Buy what you need for two or three days so your food is fresh and more desirable.

Tip #6 – Add plant based protein and super foods!

Food is your best source of vitamins and minerals.  The additional fiber from plants will help your digestion. Some of the best sources are beans, nuts, mushrooms, lentils, broccoli, seeds, pomegranate juice, dark green veggies, citrus fruits and squash. Green leafy vegetables are loaded with healthy vitamins and nutrients, are low in calories, and they help to keep you feeling full longer.

sleep

Tip #7 – Sleep for better nutrition / Eat for better sleep.

Being on a “diet” can be mentally exhausting. It is proven that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain.  Some foods will actually help you sleep better, such as gogi berries, chia seeds, hemp seeds, fish, jasmine rice and tart cherry juice.  Add some of these to your evening meal to help you unwind.

Tip #8 – Cook more at home, but if you go out…

Plan ahead by looking at the menu online and choosing what you will order before you go out. Many times you will make a healthier choice by knowing what you want before you get there. Make healthier choices like having fish instead of pasta, veggies instead of fries, vodka tonic instead of margarita (that uses a pre-made mix). Also beware of additional sauces and dressings – those calories can add up quickly.

Tip #9 – Detox!

Detoxing with the change of the seasons is a great idea.  Eat seasonal veggies, low glycemic fruit, increase water, eat high quality animal protein and good fats, eliminate caffeine and alcohol (it’s only temporary) and most importantly cut out sugar. Carbohydrates that come from refined sources such as white flour, white sugar, and high fructose corn syrup are all definitely in the bad category, and should be avoided at all costs. Processed sugars have very little nutritional value, cause your blood sugar to spike, and will definitely add inches to your midsection.

Tip #10 – Find your element!

Make life fun, make cooking fun, have fun exercising and nurture yourself.  People that are happy and have little stress lose weight easier.

These 10 tips are a great starting point for anyone who has decided that it’s time to eat better. Remember that any successful diet plan is one that is planned out.  Stay tuned for more info about our “21 Day Recharge” program!

Beth - NutritionIf you need help formulating a plan and sticking with it please contact the Body Edge Wellness Coach, Beth Mincher.  She will meet with you to help you get on the right track and stay there.  She can be reached at (832)506-9961 or by contacting Body Edge at (910)575-0975 to schedule a coaching session. A coaching session is 60 minutes long for $50. But if you mention this article you will receive 25% off!   Beth is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and received her training through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She focuses on helping people achieve optimal wellness through a whole body approach; emphasizing the importance of diet, but also other factors such as: physical activity, personal relationships, career, emotional wellness, lifestyle, prevention and the use of natural therapies.  Beth’s goal is to educate and empower people to make positive, healthy food and lifestyle choices that will lead to more energy, less stress and a stronger, happier body, mind and spirit.

Two Simple Steps to Improve your Health

written by Wayne Westcott, Ph.D

shakeThere are two relatively simple steps that you can take that will have a major impact on your health, fitness and appearance. The first step is to begin a basic and brief strength training program, and the second step is to increase your daily protein intake.

Consider the results of three recent research studies that examined the effects of these two lifestyle changes.

Our first research project involved 46 men and women (average age 59 years) who did a standard program of resistance exercise (11 Nautilus machines) with or without a protein shake after each training session.  The participants who performed the exercise program without extra protein added 4 pounds of muscle and lost 5 pounds of fat for a 9 pound improvement in their body composition.  The participants who preformed the exercise program with extra protein added 5 pounds of muscle and lost 9 pounds of fat for a 14 pound improvement in their body composition, a 50% better result!

Our second research project included 52 man and women (average age 52 years) who did no exercise or who did a standard program of resistance training (12 Nautilus machines) with or without a protein shake after each training session. While both exercise groups achieved far better results than the no-exercise group, the improvements were significantly greater in participants who took supplemental protein.  These individuals added 5 pounds of muscle, increased their bone density by 1%, reduced their systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg, and reduced their diastolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg, all of which were very impressive and healthful achievements.

Our third research project involved 121 men and women (average age 59 years) who did exercise only, or exercise with increased daily protein intake and decreased calorie intake.  The exercise-and-protein group experienced much better results than the exercise-only group, including more than twice the muscle gain.

Every survey reveals that the greatest obstacle to regular exercise is lack of time.  It should therefore be encouraging to know that the three relatively brief (30 minute) weekly exercise sessions are sufficient for significantly improving body composition (lean weight, fat weight) and for attaining relatively high levels of overall physical fitness especially when protein consumption is increased.