Beverage Tips

Down the Nutrition Rabbit Hole

Summertime and the Living's Easy

Eee!  Day off!  I worked this past weekend and while I usually use my weekday off thereafter for errand running, today is most glorious because it is 64 degrees and sunny and I have no obligations.  No errands to run, no appointments to keep.  It's great.  And since it's gorgeous outside what do I do?  Go for my requisite run (great day for running and makes me feel good to be active) and stay inside and get lost in my own world of reading up on nutrition and following up on social media.  Well, and also maybe looking at homes on zillow I wish I could buy right now..

Rabbit Hole

Ever go down the rabbit hole when you begin looking at something online and two hours, five websites, three articles, and 15 twitter pics later find yourself coming-to?  That happened to me today and it was great because I learned a few new things about childhood nutrition and found some interesting CSPI pinterest boards that I feel compelled to share.

Better Beverages

Sugar-sweetened beverages are a big contibutor to our obesity epidemic.  Additionally, the pervasiveness of "fake sugars" in drinks and products is really starting to scare the bejeezus out of the nutrition and health professional community.  With that said, I understand that 64 ounces of plain water per day can get boring, so learning about natural ways to mix up the flavoring is an important health strategy.

 Image links to CSPI Pinterest Board: Better Beverages

Fruits and Veggies: Good for Your Wallet and Health

Unfortunately healthy eating gets billed as expensive and unattainable by many but it's simply not true!  It does take more diligence, basic food prep skills, and some creativity to eat healthy on a budget but I really like how CSPI illustrates serving for serving comparisons of cost and calories for the consumer.

 Image links to CSPI Pinterest Board: Fruits and Veggies Good for Your Wallet and Health

Lean and Hydrating Foods for that Summer Slim-Down

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot....

It's that time of the year (at least up here in the tri-state area) where spring is palpable, new years resolutions are long forgotten, and the warmer weather is motivating people to get outside and get in shape for the impending summer.  Maximizing fruits and vegetables is important for that slim-down because they are volume-filling, provide a variety of fantastic nutrients, and help to maintain hydration.  Combine that with lean sources of protein and it will help the energy from that meal last even longer.

With What Foods?Personal photo from a summer night last year. It was one of those obscenely hot days where one could only imagine eating something hydrating for dinner. And it was delicious. [@whitneyba Instagram]

Try to pack some of these foods into your diet over the coming months to feel good all spring and summer long!

Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Cucumber - these fruits/veggies have a very high water content (all are above 90%) and also provide nutrients like vitamin C and potassium

   *Tip: Use cucumber slices to replace crackers while snacking with low fat cheese

Summer Squash, Zuccini, Peppers, Onions - practically a variety pack of nutrients, slice up these veggies and throw them on the grill with your spices of choice for a low-calorie base to almost any meal

Oranges, Grapefruit, Citrus - no more juice! fresh cut citrus can be ever-so refreshing, so load up on nutrients while enjoying these straight from the fruit bowl or cut up and leave in refrigerated water overnight for a healthy flavor-infused alternative to water

Frozen Berries and Grapes - a great snack when you're craving something sweet, these frozen fruits are filled with anitoxidants to fight off those free radicals

Greek Yogurt - with a high protein content and low fat content, greek yogurt is creamy and delicious while maintaining that envious nutrition facts profile (yes it's what we RDs check out - every time)

Grilled Chicken - it never hurts to cook up a little extra chicken to have slices to pair with almost anything for a great snack or to complete a meal (spritzed with balsamic and thrown on a lettuce salad, mixed in with quinoa and diced veggies, with some light ranch and cucmbers as a snack, oh the list goes on...)

Now go enjoy these foods and share any creative tips for incorporating healthy into the everyday!

The Science Behind Antioxidants

Antioxidants

Photo courtesy of MarthStewart.comGreen tea gets touted as a wonderful source of antioxidants - and deservedly so.  So what are antioxidants?  Antioxidants are tiny compounds that help to grab up free-radicals that float around the body and do damage.  These free radicals are a natural by-product of many oxidation reactions that go on inside our bodies.  The problem often is that once they're formed and let loose, they "go rogue" on our other cells and do the kind of damage that causes aging and trigger.

Providing the body with phytonutrients (nutrients contained within the pigmentation of all those wonderful fruits and vegetables) and antioxidants help to slow down these processes at the cellular level.  Tea of all colors contain a large number of antioxidants with green teas and white teas topping the list.  They also provide a subset of antioxidants called catechins.  Catechins get little face time in the media (they're just not sexy enough) but are important because they help to increase our basal metabolic rate (translated to increase the number of calories your body burns at baseline) and are associated with weight management.  There is even some interesting research that points to their role in helping to regulate insulin metabolism.

The Bottom Line

All in all, incorporating green and white teas into your routine can and will help your bod to fight off oxidative stress and free radicals, decrease systemic inflammation, and rev up that metabolic baseline.  Antioxidants are a great buzzword to know when discussing nutrition but I wanted to help clarify the scientific picture behind these oft-talked about compounds.