HEALTH / FITNESS
Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss
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In this Section....
- September Recipes
- Daily Diet Tip
- Nutrition for Joint Health
- Packing Healthy School Lunches Your Kids Will Eat
September Recipes - Click Here
This month we are looking at foods that make us all feel a little more spry, puts a new spring in our step, and just basically help lubricate our working parts!! Everyone from time to time can use a boost in their mobility, and these recipes are chock-ful of good fruits and anti-oxidants that will deliver a blast to the joints!! Since it's also back-to-school, we made most of this month's recipes good for adults and kids. Have a great Labor Day, and look forward to a 'pain-free Fall'!!!
We'd love to feature one of your favorite recipes in any one of our monthly issues, just send them on to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to hear from all of you in the following months!
Nutrition for Joint Health
Most often we hear that it is wear and tear on the joints that is responsible for the reduction of cartilage that leads to pain. However, sometimes we see apparently conflicting advice on how to keep your joints healthy. A recent article said that weight bearing exercise several times a week was the best osteoarthritis preventative there is. However, somewhere else it states that the occupations most likely to need joint replacements were farmers, nurses, and other people who spend hours every day on their feet. Maybe this is another instance of some is good, but more is not necessarily better?
A study published last year seems to indicate that this is yet another area where diet may be a big influence. People who consumed the most vitamin C, mainly from eating fruit, had the lowest likelihood of developing joint problems. Osteoarthritis is a problem that as many as 21 million people in the U.S. suffer from. The risk of the disease increases as we age, so with the aging American population, help in the form of diet would be most welcome.
As with myriad other health issues, there’s a very real connection between food and joint health. Just as proper nutrition can keep your heart healthy and cholesterol levels low, certain foods can ease and improve joint function. Here’s a few:
Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which may be damaging to the joints. Aim for a diet high in Vitamin A, C, E, and selenium. Choices include yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, peaches, and dark leafy greens for the A; grapefruit, oranges, papaya, mangoes, raspberries, pineapples, asparagus, red peppers, and broccoli for the C; avocados, whole-grain breads and cereals, sunflower seeds and peanut butter for the E; and salmon, brazil nuts, oatmeal, and brown rice for the selenium.
Also, certain fatty acids, such as omega-3s, are anti-inflammatory by nature and can reduce swelling and discomfort in joints. Excellent dietary sources include coldwater fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and herring, as well as green vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
For an additional boost, a glucosamine-based dietary supplement can help. Look for trusted brands that offer at least 1,500 mg of glucosamine, and take it consistently. Whether a supplement works or not still seems to be an open question. On the same day you can hear a so-called health expert state that supplements have no preventative effect, while another will say that they do. Consumers, whether they are correct or not, are saying that they think they work by purchasing millions of dollars in joint health supplements every year. In fact, supplements for joint health are one of the biggest sellers in the vitamin and supplement industry, and as our population ages, their use will only increase.
The foods listed are fantastic for joint health. There are also many foods that can cause joint pain. The nightshade family which includes bell peppers, tomatoes, and egg plant can cause inflammation. If someone is intolerant to any food, for example sugar, wheat or dairy, it can certainly make the situation worse. It is good to have a food intolerance test so that you know what you are intolerant to.
So what should we do as we age? A study on fruit consumption did not indicate how much fruit the participants ate. Because the results were summarized as “people reporting eating the highest amounts of fruit had the most benefit”, it would seem that the more you eat the better. I would suggest caution, however. As we get older and our calorie requirements decrease, it becomes much harder to eat a varied diet. Tilting your diet too much towards any one food, healthy or not, may not be the best approach to take.
Written by: Maria Albus
Packing Healthy School Lunches Your Kids Will Eat
Back to School, back to English, Math, Science, and our children’s favorite subject…lunch! But do school cafeterias really provide healthy lunches? If your child is among the 26 million children a day that eats the “nutritionally balanced, low-cost lunch” provided by the National School Lunch Program, you assume that they are eating healthy. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Healthy School Lunch Campaign state that most 'menus dished up in school lunchrooms are excessive in saturated fat and cholesterol and are also low in fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes'? Sadly enough, eating in the cafeteria is probably a better choice than sidestepping the cafeteria altogether and head straight to a vending machine, which might supply a lunch made up of a bag of Doritos, a candy bar, and can of soda.
Start your kids off right by packing school lunches with nutritious foods that taste good will help them create healthy eating habits for life. Instead of a sandwich on white bread, bag of chips, and cookies, try some of the following healthy (and more interesting) items for your child's lunch box:
- Wraps made with whole wheat tortillas, containing either lean cold cuts or low fat cream cheese with veggie slices. Even the classic PB and J is healthier in a wheat wrap.
- Trail mix made with cereals, nuts, pretzels, dried fruit or raisins, and a few chocolate chips.
- Low fat cheese spread on whole wheat crackers.
- Individual serving-sized packages of low fat yogurt, cottage cheese, or yogurt smoothies.
- Bagel sandwich: Leftover cooked, chopped chicken tossed with grapes and low-fat mayo on a 2-ounce whole-wheat bagel. (You can buy these frozen and keep on hand for lunches.)
- Mini-burritos made with rice and black beans or refried beans in a tortilla with tomato salsa. These can be heated or eaten cold.
- Drinks made from water with a splash of cranberry, peach, grape, or other fruit juice are healthier than sodas. Excess consumption of pure sugar-laden juices can increase the risk of obesity.
- Whole grain bagels topped with cream cheese-vegetable spread.
- Low fat cheese cubes, grapes, and peanuts make a delicious side dish for sandwiches or wraps.
- Cold strips of grilled chicken with honey mustard dip.
- Soups with vegetable and chicken in a thermos with whole wheat crackers.
- 1 cup of cooked whole-wheat pasta (cooked the night prior) mixed with cubes of grilled chicken, carrots, zucchini, and pine nuts, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Serve with an individual serving of fruit.
- Mixed green salad with grape tomatoes, sliced yellow peppers, cucumbers, shredded carrots, ? cup chickpeas, mandarin oranges and grilled lean meat, such as chicken, turkey or fish, with 2 tablespoons of salad dressing.
- Grilled vegetables (bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, and zucchini) with sliced cheese, goat cheese, or pesto sauce on a sourdough roll.
Don’t forget about leftovers! Packing leftovers in your child’s lunch can save you time and energy, and kids love them. If you make chicken breasts, prepare an extra serving and slice it for sandwiches the next day instead of purchasing deli meat. If you’re making a salad for dinner, slice some extra vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, and celery, and put it in a Tupperware with a dip compartment.
While you’re making dinner, boil a few eggs. Pack lunch boxes with the eggs whole, make deviled eggs, or use them in egg salad. Make extra pasta, couscous, or rice and make side salads for lunch by cutting up vegetables and adding salad dressing. Grill extra vegetables on the grill and use them as a topping on your sandwiches for the week.
Talk with your child about nutrition and the importance of developing a healthy body. Together, come up with a family plan, including a list of steps the family wants to take to transition to a more healthful diet. Give your child some choices within the limitations you establish. For example, instead of asking, “What do you want for lunch?” pose “Would you like a tuna sandwich, or a soup with crackers?” Forbidding foods can quickly become the foods of greatest desire. At school, for example, children are more likely to swap for foods that are not permitted at home. Agree to allow your children to pick a special food from time to time and let them eat it guilt free. Teach your children the difference between everyday foods and occasional foods. In time, they will start making healthy choices on their own.
Written by: Marianne Westervelt