What’s Actually in Protein Powder?

  in Extra Crispy for Well Done shared that  a common post-workout breakfast is often a protein shake or bar, tasting of chalk and chocolate or berry. That vaguely dusty flavor in these meals comes from protein powder, the substance sold in giant tubs in the supplement area of the grocery store. Often selected by those looking to add a significant amount of protein to their diets (without spending all their money on chicken breasts), protein powder helps repair muscles after an intense workout, or simply provide your body with enough nutrients to start the day. Ultimately, protein powders are shrouded in a cloud of mystery, and selecting one tub of magic dust from a shelf of seemingly identical products can be overwhelming. Plus, each jar of the stuff can run you over $30 if you’re not careful, so really, how effective is protein powder? And what’s really in that tub?

Protein powder can be made from a variety of protein-rich ingredients, from whey to hemp to yellow peas. Both animal- and plant-based protein powders offer unique nutritional properties. The most common protein powders are made from whey, boasting high levels of amino acids that are essential to muscle repair. Whey protein is the liquid byproduct of cheese production—though you’re probably more familiar with it as the substance you pour off the surface of your yogurt. Cheap and nutritious, whey protein is often consumed just before or after a hard workout. To become protein powder, the flavorless liquid is dehydrated and mixed with flavorings and sometimes other nutritional supplements.

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All or Nothing Holiday Healthy Eating

Nancy Nance,Nnance@comcast.netwww.nancynance.com Healthy Lombard Board Member and Certified Personal Trainer, Women and Fitness Specialist shared that at this time of year, she starts to hear people say they plan to wait until the beginning of the year to start eating better and starting an exercise program.

While she understands it’s a busy time of year and there are a lot of special foods that we eat this time of year, you have to wonder,  we really need to wait to start a healthier lifestyle? No, and here are some reasons why.

We still have several weeks before the end of the year and great progress can be made in those few weeks. You will be 85% more successful if you start now and not wait until the new year. The average American gains 7-9 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s. You can avoid that weight gain and go into the new year with a head start on your resolutions.

You can navigate the holidays and still eat well. Plan healthy meals, knowing that there will be days that you will be tempted with holiday cookies or special meals. If you can eat healthy most of the time, you can indulge on those special occasions.

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Who Should Avoid Coffee?

The largest study ever conducted on diet and health put that question to the test, examining the association between coffee drinking and subsequent mortality among hundreds of thousands of older men and women in the United States. Coffee drinkers won, though the effect was modest, a 10-15% lower risk of death for those drinking six or more cups a day. This was due specifically to lower risk of dying from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections.

However, in another study that amount of coffee was found to increase the death rate of younger people under age 55. It may be appropriate, then, to recommend that you avoid drinking more than four cups a day. But if you review all the studies, the bottom line is that coffee consumption is associated with no change or a small reduction in mortality starting around one or two cups a day, for both men and women. The risk of dying was 3% lower for each cup of coffee consumed daily, which provides reassurance for the concern that coffee drinking might adversely affect health, or at least longevity.

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8 Foods You Should Eat Every Day

David Zinczenko, the New York Times best-selling author of Eat It to Beat It!, Eat This, Not That, The Abs Diet, and the Nutrition and Wellness Editor at ABC News, suggests the following 8 foods you should eat every day in his post in The Blog for Huffpost:

Spinach
It may be green and leafy, but spinach is no nutritional wallflower, and you know from reading Eat This, Not That!. This noted muscle builder is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Bonus: Folate also increases blood flow to the nether regions, helping to protect you against age-related sexual issues. And spinach is packed with lutein, a compound that fights macular degeneration (and may help your sex drive). Aim for 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked per day.SUBSTITUTES: Kale, bok choy, romaine lettuce

Yogurt
Various cultures claim yogurt as their own creation, but the 2,000-year-old food’s health benefits are not disputed: Fermentation spawns hundreds of millions of probiotic organisms that serve as reinforcements to the battalions of beneficial bacteria in your body. That helps boost your immune system and helps provide protection against cancer. Not all yogurts are probiotic, though, so make sure the label says “live and active cultures.” Aim for 1 cup of the calcium and protein-rich goop a day. And choose wisely: Use our Best and Worst Yogurts.

SUBSTITUTES: Kefir, soy yogurt Read more

7 Foods You Should Always Have in Your Pantry

Christa Sgobba wrote in Silver Sneakers by Tivity Health that maintaining a well-stocked pantry is vital if you want to eat healthy. Think about it: When hunger hits, whatever’s in reach is what goes on your plate.

“If you don’t have healthy items on hand, you’re more likely to pick a convenience food, order takeout, or run out for fast food or to a restaurant,” says Nathan Myers, R.D., a clinical dietitian at James J. Peters VA Medical Center and an adjunct professor of clinical nutrition at New York University. “Most restaurant food and convenience foods like frozen meals and the stuff you pop in the microwave generally have a worse nutritional profile than something you might put together yourself, even if it’s something simple.”

Keeping certain staples on hand means you’ll always have a healthy meal at your fingertips. And if you stock smartly, you could be doing your body some big favors. The shelf-stable options below will help you replenish after your favorite gym workout or SilverSneakers class. And they’ll deliver some surprising health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, healthier blood sugar, and natural pain relief.

Open up your pantry. If these foods aren’t there for the taking, it’s time to go grocery shopping.

1. Low-Sodium Canned Beans

The type—garbanzo, black, or pinto, for instance—is up to your taste buds. They can all add heft to any soup or salad, says Kristin Willard, R.D.N., a dietitian who specializes in senior nutrition in Chico, California.

Canned beans are not only affordable and versatile, but they’re also nutritional powerhouses with disease-fighting antioxidants and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Best of all, a ½-cup serving of cooked black beans has 7 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber.

Why that’s good: The combo of fiber and protein helps the glucose (sugar) from the starch of the beans to be slowly released into the bloodstream. While simple carbs—including processed foods like cookies, cereal, and refined grains—release sugar into the bloodstream very quickly, beans keep you full for a long time and help control blood sugar levels.

Choose a can that has “low sodium” on the label, and rinse them before you serve, Willard says. A study in the Journal of Culinary Science and Technology found that draining and rinsing canned beans can cut their sodium content by 41 percent.

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Junk food: Eating for two while Lactating leads to Obesity

College of DuPage Nursing Student Syeda Tariq researched that according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), at least one in five children in the US between the ages of 6 to 19 years is currently obese. The rate of childhood obesity since the 1970s has at least tripled, 1 and recent research suggests the time for prevention begins during pregnancy. Dr Stéphanie Bayol from Science Daily, found that consuming large quantities of junk food during pregnancy and/or while breastfeeding may impair normal appetite regulation and encourage the desire for junk food in the offspring. According to the CDC, an extra 300 kcal/day are recommended during pregnancy, and 500 kcal/day while breastfeeding, however, this is not the time for binge eating or consuming junk food. These temptations are relatively normal due to hormonal changes or a lack of knowledge regarding healthy food choices, but unhealthy eating at these crucial times in the child’s life may contribute to childhood obesity. Research also indicates that obesity during childhood may lead to obesity as an adult and increase the likelihood of high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint complications, or even cancer. Obese children may also suffer from self-esteem issues resulting in social isolation, depression, or bullying.

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Can America’s Favorite Drink Stop Diabetes? A New Study Says Yes!

College of DuPage Nursing Student Brian Gallagher writes that every morning millions of Americans wake up and have a cup – or more – of coffee, to get their day started. Does this simple act keep diabetes at bay? A recent study, published in the, Journal of Natural Products, by Fredrik Brustad Mellbeye et al., says that it does. Mellbeye and colleagues followed up on previous studies showing a link between the consumption of coffee and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Original studies showed that four cups of coffee a day reduced the risk of developing T2DM, originally thought to be from caffeine, although, this was later disproven when the same effects were observed from decaffeinated coffee. According to Mellbeye et al., a compound in coffee called, cafestol, increases the secretion of insulin, thereby, increasing glucose uptake in the cells similar to certain commonly prescribed anti-diabetic drugs. Insulin is necessary to transport glucose into cells for use as body fuel.

Mellbey et al., studied two groups of rats with differing cafestol levels; they then compared blood glucose levels and insulin secretory capacity between the groups. After ten weeks both groups had lower glucose levels and an improved insulin secretory capacity, when compared to the control group. Interestingly the compound cafestol was also found to be less harmful to the human body than the traditional anti-diabetic medications; there was no incidence of hypoglycemia or low glucose levels which is a common side effect from anti-diabetic medications. Read more

The D-A-S-H Diet

College of DuPage Nursing Student Michael Zaremba shared that high blood pressure (hypertension) is a common medical problem in America. Just how common you might be asking? Hypertension affects 1 out of every 3 American adults. In fact, 1 out of every 6 adults with hypertension do not even know that they have the disease. High blood pressure can lead to numerous health problems including heart attack, stroke and kidney issues.

Many individuals with hypertension have no symptoms initially. Diagnosis of hypertension can be made by under the guidance of your General Practitioner or Primary Care Provider. He or she will have you come to their office for blood pressure screenings regularly and monitor your blood pressure numbers. If a diagnosis of hypertension is confirmed, you can take several steps to improve your cardiovascular health. Some interventions include exercise, medicine and changing your lifestyle factors.

One of the most important steps to improving your cardiovascular health and blood pressure numbers is making slight modifications to your diet. By using a specially designed D-A-S-H diet you can treat your blood pressure with or without the aid of medication. The D-A-S-H diet stands for “Dietary Approaches to Slowing Hypertension” and is recommended by the American Heart Association.

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The Truth About Celery

Celery as a culinary plant produces a root, called celery root or celeriac, which has a nutty, potato-like flavor. It’s usually peeled and mashed. There are also celery seeds, which come from mature celery plants, and are dried and used as a spice, particularly in pickling. Most common are the stalks and leaves — though the leaves are often removed in grocery store bunches. Both are edible in full. The leaves have a ton of flavor but they’re bitter, making them a great addition to soups or chopped fine into salads. The stalks are mild, crisp and herbaceous — in short, the perfect snack.

Those seeking weight loss will love celery’s low-calorie count — there are only 10 calories in a hearty foot-long stalk. (Would you like to burn those 10 calories? Try chewing gum for an hour. Feel the burn!)

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Tis’ The Season for Fresh Veggies & Fruit

Sue, Rachel & Yash at Health Track Sports Wellness shared in their recent newsletter that we are at the height of fresh summer fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of the season to visit a French Market or Farmers Market. This is a great opportunity to expose your kids to new and interesting produce.

With the variety of choices comes a great opportunity to fill your plate in a new and different way: “backwards.” Most of us fill our plates with the carbs first, leaving less room for the nutrient rich fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Try loading up with the fruits and vegetables first then add the lean protein, which leaves a smaller area for the carbs like noodles and rice. This way, you have lots of room for your fruits and vegetables, which provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fiber and even water to help nourish your body.  Add some activity at Health Track and you have a recipe for healthy living!

Here’s a recipe they shared for Avocado toast from the Food Network

Hint:There are two secrets to these simple avocado toasts: rubbing the bread with garlic for just a hint of flavor and adding a pop of crunchy sea salt on top.

Ingredients – Vegetarian   –  Serves 4

Produce
  • 1 8-ounce ripe avocado, ripe pitted and peeled
  • 1 clove Garlic
Baking & Spices
  • 1 Red pepper flakes
  • 1 Salt and freshly ground black pepper, Fine
  • 1 Sea salt, Flaky
Bread & Baked Goods
  • 4 slices Whole grain or whole wheat bread
Dairy
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil or unsalted butter, extra-virgin