MARCH IS NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH!

Cindy Maloney, R.N, B.A, PEL-CSN, Certified School Nurse at Glenbard North High School, shared this Wellness Tip:

Color your plate! A good variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure nutritional quality. The colors to include regularly are: dark green (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, green beans), yellow/orange (sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe), red (Cherries, strawberries, red peppers, tomatoes) and blue/purple (blue berries, purple grapes, eggplant, plums). Each of these colors contributes a unique health-promoting phytonutrient to you diet. Enjoy!

 

Source: Lynn Dugan, Registered Dietitian – check out Lynn’s web site for great recipes and more nutrition tips http://www.myplate2yours.com/ 

Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free: What Do They Really Mean?

Sandy Getzky, is the executive coordinating editor at The Global Nail Fungus Organization, a group committed to helping the 100+ million people suffering from finger and toenail fungus and is also a registered Herbalist and member of the American Herbalist’s Guild.  She was very gracious and wrote the following article especially for the Healthy Lombard blog:

Not all diets can get you the results that you need. Many fad diets that can be quickly completed only offer short-term results because you go back to eating normally after the diet period. If you’re aiming for a long-term solution, consider diets that offer permanent changes to your eating habits.

Vegan, Paleo, and Gluten-free, for example, are all diets that can change your lifestyle, even more so, if you follow them religiously. Many people adapt these lifestyles because of the nutritional benefits, such as getting more antioxidants and vitamins, that can boost your immune system. These can help reduce the risk of health complications such as diabetes, fungal infection, and arthritis.

Just like any major change in your life, proper planning and accurate information can help you reach your goal more efficiently. Consulting an expert is always a great first step – especially if you already have allergies or dietary restrictions. If you want to try a diet that entails a big lifestyle change, then read on to find out exactly what you may be getting into.

Veganism, A Way Of life

A Vegan diet means that all animal-derived ingredients are excluded from your meals. Yes, this includes meat, egg, and dairy products. Instead, a normal vegan diet usually includes dishes that have grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Popular food, such as ice cream, cheese, and hot dogs, have their own vegan versions that usually involve the use of soy milk and tofu.

In a vegan diet, you need to correctly plan out all of your meals otherwise you might be missing key nutrients such as protein, omega-3, calcium, and vitamin B12. More often than not, people who rush going through a vegan diet replace animal products with junk food, such as white bread and pasta, that have little nutritional value. Also, carefully read the labels of soy-based products to ensure that they are not laden with sodium and preservatives. Some complications arising from a poorly executed vegan diet include skin disease, tooth cavity, anxiety, and exhaustion.

While it is possible to get all the nutrients you need from a vegan diet, it is difficult to put into practice – often requiring lots of knowledge and discipline. If you are planning to start this diet, it is best to do it slowly while consulting a professional. Read more

15 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Jen Miller shared in her newsletter that chia seeds are a versatile superfood. They are rich in vitamins and minerals the support good health in many ways.

These low calorie, high nutrient grains of goodness are important for both the body and the brain.

Below, Jenn offers 15 amazing health benefits of chia seeds, and 8 recipes to try. It’s easier than ever to add this superfood to your diet!

1. Chia Seeds are nutrient-rich yet low calorie

Chia seeds are rich in nutrition but low in calories, making them superior for anyone looking to cut calories but still keep nutritional value high.

With slightly more than a hundred calories per serving, these healthful little seeds pack quite a nutritional punch for their calorie count.

Chia seeds are high in fiber, antioxidants, protein, and low in carbs and saturated fat.

Chia is high in omega-3 fatty acids (the same good fat found in foods like salmon and avocados), making them a great food for anyone looking to get more Omega-3s but doesn’t like seafood.

They’re also perfect for low-carb diets, and won’t put you over your daily calorie limit. (1)

The nutritional profile of Chia seeds (per one ounce serving) breaks down like this: (2)

  • 138 calories
  • 9 grams of fat
    • 0.9 grams of saturated fat
    • 7 grams of polyunsaturated fat
    • 0.7 grams of monounsaturated fat
    • 0 grams of trans fat
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 5 grams of sodium
  • 115 milligrams of potassium
  • 12 grams of carbohydrates
    • 10 grams of dietary fiber
  • 4.7 grams of protein
  • Vitamins including calcium, iron, and magnesium

Bottom line: Chia seeds are called a superfood for a reason! They are low in calorie count but pack serious nutritional value.

2. Chia seeds are high in fiber and help keep you full

With 11 grams of fiber per serving, chia seeds provide almost half of the daily recommended amount of fiber. This is fantastic news for anyone looking for high nutrient foods that keep you full for a long time.

Doctors recommend you should get between 38 grams and 50 grams of fiber daily, depending on your age and gender.

The fiber found in chia seeds is largely soluble, meaning they’re a great food for anyone with stomach issues. Soluble fiber also binds with cholesterol to help effectively flush it out of the body, adding to its many health benefits. (3)

Bottom line: Fiber helps keep you full, meaning if you’re counting calories, it’s a smart addition to your diet. Chia has tons of fiber per serving, helping you stay fuller, longer. Read more

The reason for supplementation

The Shaklee March Newsletter shared that with busy lives and food choices that are less than ideal, it is hard to get the essential nutrients we need for good health. Based on Daily Values (DV) for just 16 nutrients, 11 of the 16 were deemed to be “gap nutrients”.i And DVs reflect expert consensus about generally adequate amounts to meet basic requirements in most healthy people – not what may be required to achieve optimal health.

Why Supplement? – Ensuring we are getting the nourishment needed to support our bodies’ optimal functions can be a challenge, but nutritional supplementation can help fill in those gaps. Countless research studies and health experts agree that supplementing with key nutrients, including a multivitamin and multimineral complex, phytonutrients, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids, provides a good nutritional foundation.

The Landmark Study – To understand the relationship between supplementation and long-term health, the first-of-its-kind Landmark Study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Researchers gathered a group of long-term (20+ years) multiple-supplementiii users and compared their health to non-supplement users.

The Findings – Researchers discovered that the overall health of long-term multiple-supplement users was dramatically different from that of non-supplement users. The multiple-supplement users had improved levels of important heart-healthy biomarkers.

As expected, the multiple-supplement users also had substantially higher levels of nutrients in the blood.

Lower Risk of Disease – As a group, the multiple-supplement users had a lower risk of high blood pressure (39%) and diabetes (73%), and multiple measures of cardiovascular risk trended in favor of supplementation.

When you eat and how frequently may benefit heart health

What times someone eats during the day and how frequently may play a role in having a healthy weight and heart.According to an American Heart Association scientific statement published Wednesday, eating breakfast, avoiding late-night eating and mindful meal-planning are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, blood vessel diseases and stroke.

However, current research doesn’t dictate the best approach.

“There’s conflicting evidence about meal frequency,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D., writing group chair and associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City. She said studies have shown the benefit of intermittent fasting and eating smaller, frequent meals throughout the day.

Fasting every other day helped people lose weight in the short-term, but its long-term effects haven’t been studied, according to the statement. And there’s no guarantee that such fasting can be sustained.

“I can see scenarios where intermittent fasting can backfire,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., a statement co-author and nutrition professor at Penn State University. For example, people who fast one day could eat more than twice as much the next day, she said. She also questioned what would happen if someone who fasted regularly for lengthy periods of time – weeks or even months – then started eating regularly every day.

Because there’s not a lot of information about how people could practice intermittent fasting, Kris-Etherton cautioned against using it as a weight loss or weight management strategy until further information is available.

Eating frequent meals has also been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease risk factors, says St-Onge. One study of men showed that those who ate more than four times a day had a lower risk of obesity than those eating three or fewer times a day. But other studies have found the opposite, with a greater risk of weight gain over time in those reporting eating more frequently. Read more

Is Miso Healthy?

The Power of One Fruit

College of DuPage Nursing Student Aesha Patel asks, “What if I told you that you can achieve optimal health benefits by eating just one green fruit, a zucchini?” That’s right, zucchini is a fruit that is cooked as a vegetable because it is best when eaten in cooked dishes.

You might be surprised to know that consuming zucchini will help you lose weight tremendously. According to LiveStrong Foundation, the calories presented in a zucchini is only thirty-three, but it still satisfies your stomach fully. Not only does zucchini have low calories, it is also rich in fiber and has a high water content. Zucchini is also a source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. Having that one go to vegetable without having the feeling of an empty stomach, makes your life that much more easier.

The easiest way to fill your stomach in a healthy manner is by making zucchini chips. You will need six simple ingredients: olive oil, bread crumbs, freshly grated parmesan, salt,  pepper,  and a zucchini.

Directions are simple:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Slice the zucchini into thick rounds and toss them into a bowl with olive oil.
  • In another bowl mix in the parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper as well.
  • Dip each individual zucchini piece into the mixture, making sure each side of the zucchini gets coated well.
  • Spray cooking spray on a baking sheet and spread each zucchini piece onto it.
  • Bake the zucchini until they are golden brown and crisp. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Enjoy this simple recipe and enjoy the power of the zucchini.

Some foods and herbs may help ward off the flu

Patrick B. Massey, MD, PH.D., medical director for complementary and alternative medicine at Alexian Brothers Hospital Network and president of ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy, shared in the Daily Herald that he is often asked in winter is “should I get the flu shot?” He answered that his answer varies. Some people need all the protection they can get and others not as much. Truth be told, it is rare that the flu shot actually prevents the flu. Fortunately nature has provided some natural options to the flu vaccine. There is reasonable medical research that some foods, herbs and supplements may be effective in the prevention and treatment of influenza.

Glycyrrhiza lepidota is the name for the American licorice plant. The active ingredient is a group of compounds termed glycyrrhric acids. Licorice stimulates the production of anti-viral compounds called interferons. It also has anti-inflammatory properties so the symptoms of the flu may be blunted. The most interesting aspect of licorice root (at least to me) is that it actually prevents the influenza virus from getting into the cell, reducing the risk of the cell actually becoming infected. Overall licorice root is safe, however the glycyrrhric acids may cause high blood pressure.

Ginseng is an herb that is often used in Oriental medicine. Ginseng is classified as either red or white. Heat white ginseng and it becomes red ginseng. A number of medical studies have shown that red Korean ginseng helps to significantly reduce the symptoms and duration of upper respiratory tract infections. Although not shown specifically to reduce the incidence of influenza, it is historically used during influenza season to maintain health. Red ginseng can cause an increase in blood pressure in those with high blood pressure. Insomnia can be an issue as well as migraines in those who are sensitive to the effects of red ginseng. Read more

Want to Avoid Munching on Unhealthy Foods? Serve Yourself

Having to serve yourself doesn’t curb appetites for healthy foods, the study found. It only stopped people from eating unhealthy food.

“If they’re served by someone else, they can outsource responsibility to someone else,” says Dr. Linda Hagen, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. “But if they serve themselves, they have to accept responsibility and that makes them feel bad.” Read more

What the ancient Greeks can teach us about herbs

 in the Washington Post shared that at a point in the 9th century, someone noticed a problem with all those ancient handwritten texts: The scribes had left their Caps Lock on.
Every character had been rendered in uppercase, or, in the terminology of philologists, majuscule. Suddenly, people who could read found this EXTREMELY ANNOYING and clamored for minuscule script.This shift created a new industry among the quill pushers of the day who would take moldy papyrus works — say, the landmark 1st-century herbal by Dioscorides describing 600 medicinal plants — and render them into manuscripts in the new style.Alain Touwaide, an expert in this field, says this development was an advancement in information technology as momentous as the appearance of digital books in our own time.

Touwaide, with his wife and fellow researcher Emanuela Appetiti, created an organization named the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions 10 years ago whose mission, in part, has been to study the proliferation of manuscripts after this development.

This subject speaks to a deeply important and interesting aspect of garden history: how our forebears relied on a knowledge of herbs (and to a lesser degree, animal products and minerals) to manage maladies and keep themselves healthy.

Years before the institute was formed, Touwaide came to see a problem: Manuscripts were lost or misfiled, and the actual number of copies of a given text was often significantly understated. Now 63, he has haunted dozens of national, university and private libraries over his career in search of missing or hidden manuscripts.

The result is a new book, essentially an inventory of Greek medical manuscripts spanning the Byzantine Empire between the 5th and 15th centuries.

A Census of Greek Medical Manuscripts: From Byzantium to the Renaissance” will not make any bestseller list: It is a list of specific manuscripts that Touwaide and Appetiti, a cultural anthropologist, have tracked down, often by going to the libraries that hold them. One entry alone may have taken them days to pin down, especially if they had to find their way by bus and taxi to visit a monastery on a Greek hilltop somewhere (population: one monk).

The census is an inventory of all known surviving Byzantine medical manuscripts — it lists their titles and locations — and is primarily a tool for other researchers to spread knowledge of horticulture, botany, medicine and literature in the Middle Ages. It took 30 years of concerted effort, Touwaide said, and increases the number of known manuscripts from approximately 1,500 to 2,300, tracked to some 150 locations. Although they were written during the Byzantine Empire, they record texts dating to 5th century B.C.

Among Touwaide and Appetiti’s richest haunts have been the National Library in Paris and the Vatican Library, though Washington has its own riches in such places as the Library of Congress and the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda. The Austrian National Library is extremely proud of having Codex Vindobonensis, the most impressive of the more than 100 manuscript copies of Dioscorides’s seminal work. An early physician, Dioscorides was so good at identifying the therapeutic value of certain plants that his knowledge is still valued today.

This is more than just an exercise in logging historical documents. No two manuscripts of the same text turned out quite the same, and the fascination is in how they differ. Some of the manuscripts were copied by healers who would add their own pharmaceutical notes based on local practice and knowledge.

Comparing the manuscripts, Touwaide could see that the same plant might have different utility based on its location. This is because herbs take on varying chemical properties based on their terroir and because different human populations developed different genetic tolerance or susceptibilities to disease.

The more a given herbal preparation appears between texts, the higher the probability it’s the correct remedy, Touwaide said. The couple have been based in Washington for 17 years but are moving the institute, formerly affiliated with the Smithsonian, to Southern California, where Touwaide now teaches.

Far from quackery, these herbals were lifesavers, and the people who copied the words and illustrations shine through the murkiness of the Dark Ages as heroic figures to Touwaide and Appetiti. “I have admiration for these people but more than that, respect,” Touwaide said. “I’m amazed by what they have done, the exactness of the observations, the accuracy in keeping the information, and all the pain” of copying for long hours by candlelight.

Sometimes they didn’t know the plants firsthand and would wing it. Touwaide likes to show students an image of a cinnamon “tree” that the scribe rendered as a stick of cinnamon with a tuft of leaves on top.

“Alain would show this to students and they would laugh,” Appetiti said, “but then he asked them if they could describe a pepper plant, and they were, of course, lost.”

Touwaide said that in contrast to the learning embodied in these manuscripts, “we live in an age of inflation of information and deflation of knowledge.”

Another lesson from these texts is that there was little or no separation between medicine and diet, a link that is at best tenuous in the West today.

I asked them if they were stranded on a small island, what plants they would extract from antiquity to keep themselves healthy. At the top of the list would be rosemary, oregano, garlic, lavender and onions. But they would also seek out a pomegranate tree. The fruit “has a lot of properties,” Appetiti said.

Touwaide would also want those biblical gifts of frankincense and myrrh, derived from tree gum resins. “They are the antibiotics of history,” he said. “But I would need to find a merchant.”

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