Tips from Lisa
March is colon cancer awareness month. Did you know that colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States? The American Cancer Society estimates that this year 95,520 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer, 39,910 will be diagnosed with rectal cancer, and 50,260 will die from this disease.
Since the mid-1980s, the colorectal cancer survival rate has been increasing, due in part to increased awareness and screening. By finding polyps and cancer in the earlier stages, it is easiest to treat. Improved treatment options have also contributed to a rise in survival rates.
Screening is the number one way you can reduce your risk of colon and rectal cancer. Despite its high incidence, colorectal cancer is unique in that it is one of the most preventable and treatable (if found early) forms of cancer. Screening is easy! From colonoscopy to at-home stool tests, there is an option for everybody. If you’re over 50, high risk or symptomatic (a change in bowel habits, persistent abdominal discomfort, rectal bleeding, or fatigue) don’t put it off. Talk to your doctor about getting screened.
If you are unsure whether or not you should be screened, take this quick quiz from the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.
Consider the healthy living tips below from the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. An important component is to avoid all processed meats and reduce your intake of red meat. Processed meats are considered meats that have been smoked or cured and/or contain nitrates. Nitrates are considered carcinogenic, which means they are known to cause cancer. In place of deli meat for sandwiches one can use tuna, grilled chicken, turkey burgers (raw, not pre-cooked) or veggie patties. Since consuming more plant based foods are also part of the recommendations creating sandwiches or wraps made with all vegetables is a good option. Ingredients such as sliced tomato, bell peppers, onion, avocado and hummus stuffed in a whole-grain pita or wrap are fresh, flavorful, and full of cancer fighting nutrients.
Consistent evidence shows diets high in vegetables, fruits and other plant foods reduce risk for many diseases, including colorectal cancer. In addition to these foods containing lots of dietary fiber and nutrients, plant foods are good sources of substances called phytochemicals, which help protect cells in the body from damage that can lead to cancer. Plant foods can also help us maintain a healthy weight – also important in reducing risk of colorectal cancer – because many are lower in calories.
Diets high in red and processed meats have also been linked to colorectal cancer. Red meats include any meat that is red when raw, like beef, pork or lamb. Try to keep your red meat intake to 18 ounces (cooked) per week or less. Processed meats, on the other hand, should be avoided if possible. Processed meats include hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausages, among others, and cancer risk increases even with low consumption.
GET YOUR EXERCISE
Research consistently shows adults who increase their physical activity, either in intensity, duration or frequency, can reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer by 30 to 40 percent. It’s estimated that 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day is needed to protect against colorectal cancer. Exercise also helps you to maintain a healthy body weight, which reduces your risk for colorectal cancer. In fact, studies show people who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop colon polyps, a possible precursor to cancer, and higher weights are associated with higher polyp risk.
Dark Chocolate: Additional Health Benefits Discovered
Dark chocolate is known for having heart healthy benefits. New research has come out finding even more benefits of dark chocolate. The first is menstruation pain. A study in Indonesia separated adolescent women into two groups: those who would eat dark chocolate during the first three days of their menstrual cycle and those who would eat milk chocolate during the first three days. It was found that the women who would eat the dark chocolate had significantly less menstruation pain. This was due to an increase in blood flow to the uterus.
The next research involves the brain. There are new studies coming out all the time, but one study in Norway found a correlation between people who consumed foods high in flavonoids, such as dark chocolate, wine, and tea and cognition. These individuals did better on a comprehensive cognitive test than those who ate less. When it comes to mood, there was a study done that evaluated people’s moods 1, 2.5, and 4 hours after drinking a dark chocolate drink mix. Unfortunately, there was no difference in mood at these time frames, but after consuming dark chocolate for 30 days, people reported improved calmness and contentedness. One study looking at blood flow via an MRI machine when eating cocoa flavanols found that cerebral blood flow was increased. More studies need to be done to evaluate these findings, but who would say no to a little dark chocolate in the mean time?
1. Sandy Isna Maharani, Noor Pramono, & Sri Wahyuni. (2017). DARK CHOCOLATE’S EFFECT ON MENSTRUAL PAIN IN LATE ADOLESCENTS. Belitung Nursing Journal, 3(6), 686-692.
2. Sokolov, Pavlova, Klosterhalfen, & Enck. (2013). Chocolate and the brain: Neurobiological impact of cocoa flavanols on cognition and behavior. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 37(10), 2445-2453.
Food trends can really influence consumers. Obviously it is beneficial when the trend is healthy and promotes a nutritious diet. However, trends can be harmful when they are unhealthy, misleading, or based on poor quality research. 2019 promises to bring forward some familiar food trends from the previous year but also a few new ones.
In this article registered dietitians chime in on popular food trends for this year and provide advice on following them. Healthy food trends for 2019 include plant-based diets, processed foods made with less added sugars, and preparing meals cooked in foil. These are certainly great features to adopt this year.
The Best and Worse Diets of 2019
For many people the month of December brings thoughts of how we can improve in the next year. Diet, exercise, and weight are common areas of concern. We all need to eat healthier and be more active. It is tempting to follow trends, popular diets, and quick fixes. However, many fad diets are not only unhealthy but not practical or easy to follow long-term.
Here are some great tips from a registered dietitian about the best and worst diets for 2019. The main point is to focus on the unhealthy behaviors causing you problems and incorporate lifestyle changes to help such as drinking more water, prioritizing sleep, scheduling exercise into your busy routine, and of course eating more fruits and veggies.
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
In 2015, Alzheimer’s is reported as the 6th leading cause of death of Texas with a number of 8,903 total deaths.
Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Visit https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers for more details.
Some basic nutrition tips to help boost the brain:
Include the following foods:
- Green leafy vegetables (like spinach and salad greens): At least six servings a week
- Other vegetables: At least one a day
- Nuts: Five servings a week
- Berries: Two or more servings a week
- Beans: At least three servings a week
- Whole grains: Three or more servings a day
- Fish: Once a week
- Poultry (like chicken or turkey): Two times a week
- Olive oil: Use it as your main cooking oil.
- Wine: One glass a day
- Limit foods with saturated fat and cholesterol
- Cut down on refined sugars
For more tips on adopting a healthy diet: https://www.alz.org/search?searchtext=nutrition
Healthy Eating in the Work Place
Eating healthy during the work day can be challenging for several reasons. Many people spend at least 40 hours per week at the office which offers a lot of opportunities for diet sabotage. The endless bowl of office candy, leftover birthday cake, and the mini bundt cakes someone ordered to boost office moral can be difficult to pass up. In addition, trying to decide what to eat Monday-Friday for lunch is often not a priority. Business meetings, finishing projects, and answering emails can supersede meal planning. This causes us to skip meals or go on caffeine and sugar for energy. Also, ignoring hunger pangs can lead to feeling ravenous later on which encourages poor food choices in both quantity and quality. Despite these obstacles it is possible to stick to a healthy eating plan during the week. Here are some important rules to follow to help keep you on track. (Adapted from, https://www.upmcmyhealthmatters.com/10-tips-for-healthy-eating-in-the-workplace/)
Rule #1: Meal plan and prep
Don’t munch, eat lunch. Eating just a snack to push through lunch or skipping it all together is sure to lead to poor choices later in the day. Here is where you need to plan ahead:
- Schedule your lunch. If you find yourself skipping meals and relying on snacks to make it through the day, break the cycle now by scheduling your lunch. This will ensure you can tackle the challenges ahead with a clear mind and feel energized.
- Make a shopping list once a week with easy grab and go snacks and food choices.
- Turn your car and desk into a mini refrigerator. Purchase a mini cooler bag to keep in your car and stock it with fruit, yogurt, bite size veggies and water.
- Cook in bulk: make an extra serving to pack for lunch the next day. Grill a few extra chicken breasts to have throughout the week for lunches and snacks.
Rule #2: Don’t skip breakfast
Studies consistently show those that skip breakfast weigh more. And the National Weight Control Registry which includes over 10,000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year has shown successful losers eat breakfast every day. Breakfast can actually include eating within 2 hours of waking so it is fine to wait until you are more awake and possible already checking emails at work. I always recommend including enough protein so you are not left with a sugar spike then crash later on. Good protein sources at breakfast include eggs (in any form, boiled is very quick), yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, nut butters, smoothies, protein fortified cereals, or energy bars. Here are some healthy breakfast options sure to keep you energized:
1. Khashi GoLean waffle (2) with 1 Tbsp almond butter & a small banana
2. Greek yogurt with fresh fruit of any variety (6 ounces yogurt + 1 cup fresh fruit) (add ¼ cup bare naked granola for crunch) OR Greek yogurt with 2 Tbsp almonds, ½ cup mangos, and ¼ cup granola)
3. Same as above but with cottage cheese
4. 1 hard-boiled egg, 1-2 pieces of whole wheat toast (such as Ezekiel bread) with 1 Tbsp almond butter
5. 1 cup Khashi GoLean cereal dry with ½ cup blueberries & 1 hard-boiled egg
6. Smoothie-1 cup low fat milk, 1 banana, 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed, 1 cup fresh berries
7. Fiber-rich cereal (≥ 3grams dietary fiber) mixed with nuts and dried fruit (1 cup cereal, ¼ cup nuts, ¼ dried fruit)
8. Muscle milk light with 1-2 sheets graham crackers and 1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter
9. McMuffin-Whole wheat English muffin toasted with 1 egg (microwave covered in small round Tupperware for 1-2 minutes-spray with PAM) with 1 slice provolone cheese
10. 1 pkg instant oatmeal, 2 Tbsp almonds, and ½-1 cup fresh berries (add water, microwave 2-3 minutes)
Rule #3: Eat regularly.
Be sure to eat every three to four hours throughout the day. Include a healthy snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon for example. Balance protein, carbohydrates and fats at each meal. Mix some protein from a lean source with fiber rich carbs and some healthy type of fat. For example, some great snacks include: a small handful of nuts, a piece of fruit with either a low fat cheese or tablespoon of peanut butter, a nonfat yogurt topped wit
- Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator What is your healthy weight? Click here to learn more.
Shopping for Produce
Shopping for produce at your local grocer or farmer’s market can be a piece of cake when you know what is in season and how to pick it. I stumbled across this helpful website that shows you what is in season in your area, how to pick, store, and the best way to cook seasonal produce. It also provides interesting historical facts, cultivation and environmental data, extensive nutrition information, and recipes. For example, here is an exert about apples which are in season right now…
“For about 95 calories, a medium apple provides about four grams of fiber, and about 14 percent of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. But the apple really shines in the phytonutrient department. It is loaded with a variety of polyphenols and anthocyanins that are found not just in the pigmented skin but in the flesh and the seeds. The potential benefits include blood sugar regulation and lung support; a 2004 study links apples to a lowered risk of lung cancer and asthma.
Apples are naturally rich in pectin, a fat-soluble fiber that makes you feel full and satiated, a good reason to choose one for your next mid-afternoon snack. A Chinese study published earlier this year shows a potential link between apple pectin and the slowing of colon cancer.”
“Is it Still Milk??”
Many people are opting for ‘milks’ derived from almonds, cashews, coconut, flaxseeds, hemp, oats, rice and other plants. But, at what point can we still call these “milk”? And are they even good for you to drink?
Check the protein content—Soy milk typically contains the same amount of protein as cow’s milk (6-8 Grams per cup). Many others contain less than 5 grams per serving. Some exceptions are Silk Protein+Fiber Nutmilk, and Good Karma Protein+ Unsweetened Flaxmilk. If your meal is limited in protein all around (such as cold cereal for breakfast) make sure you choose a milk with higher protein content (at least 7 grams per cup).
Minimize added sugars—Each cup of cow’s milk contains 3 tsp. (12 grams) of naturally occurring sugar. However, most non-dairy milks contain added sugars like evaporated cane syrup, cane sugar, honey, or brown rice syrup. To avoid this purchase unsweetened varieties. Most contain no more than 1 gram of naturally occurring sugar. If you dislike unsweetened kinds try original. Most original almond and soy milks have 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of added sugars. It helps to avoid vanilla, chocolate, and coffee flavored as these contain as much as 5 tsp of added sugar per cup.
Look for Nutrients—Keep in mind cow’s milk is full of important nutrients such as calcium, B12, potassium, and vitamin D. Some non-dairy milks fall short. So be sure to look for varieties with added nutrients. Choose soy for potassium as most soy milks match the potassium content of cow’s milk. Potassium can help keep your blood pressure in check. Caution! Be careful of calcium claims such as “50% more calcium than dairy milk”. It is recommended that adults get 1,000mg of calcium per day and 1,200mg for women over 50 and men over 70 (from food and supplements). But more isn't always better. High intakes of calcium from supplements may raise your risk of kidney stones and hip fractures. The calcium that’s added to non-dairy milk counts as a supplement.
Skip coconut’s saturated fat—Non-dairy milks have no more than 1 gram of saturated fat per cup. Coconut milk has 4 to 5 grams of saturated fat which raises LDL (“bad”) cholesterol along with HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Opt for almond-coconut milk blends which have just 1 gram of saturated fat.
Recipes of the Month
Recipe and photo by Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, author of “Prediabetes: A Complete Guide”
This recipe is great for many reasons. In particular, it is very heart healthy since the sodium content is quite low, it is high in fiber, and contains very little fat. Barley as well as beans are high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to reduce cholesterol levels and does not contribute to blood sugar spikes.
January 2019 Brussels Sprouts & Pepperoni Pizza
Good nutrition does not need to be boring or tasteless. The unique combination of Brussels sprouts, pepperoni, and fontina cheese packs a lot of flavor without a ton of calories. It is suggested to use pre-shredded Brussels as a time-saver and there are many varieties of frozen whole wheat or cauliflower rice pizza crusts available today. An added bonus is 1 serving provides over 50% of your daily Vitamin C.
© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission. EatingWell magazine and EatingWell.com
December 2018 Baked Apple Crisp
Many people enjoy baking this time of year but it doesn’t have to wreck your diet. This recipe uses whole wheat flour and heart healthy ingredients such as oatmeal and walnuts. Since apples are in season and very flavorful right now you could likely reduce the sugar by 1/3 to 1/2 and still get enough sweetness. Instead of ice cream try topping it with a dab of low-fat yogurt.
November 2018 Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potato Frittata
Instead of soup try making this frittata with your leftover turkey. This meal is low in carbs and provides 16 grams of protein per serving which can help keep you full. You can throw in any additional veggies such as bell pepper or kale if you like, and frozen diced sweet potatoes are available at most grocery stores to make this even easier to prepare. Don’t be afraid to use whole eggs as they are no longer thought to significantly raise blood cholesterol levels. Saturated fats and trans fats are more dangerous for the heart than foods that contain cholesterol.
November 2018 Green Bean Saute
This simple recipe using fresh or canned green beans can be a great substitute for traditional mashed potatoes and gravy and a great way to get in more green vegetables. This recipe is low in fat (0 grams for this recipe), carbohydrates (6 grams per serving), and sodium (175 mg per serving). It is also very low in calories compared to many other side items served at Thanksgiving. Try filling half your plate with vegetables to help reduce the overall calorie content of the meal while providing more fiber and nutrient dense foods.
October 2018 Whole Wheat Pumpkin Applesauce Bread
This recipe is pumpkin spice and everything nice! I chose this recipe because it is a great healthier way to satisfy your fall cravings. This time of year I am craving all sorts of pumpkin foods with cinnamon, nutmeg, and all the spices that make you feel warm inside. This “light and decadent” bread is easy to prepare and is great for a sweet breakfast, an afternoon snack, or even dessert. The pumpkin in this recipe is a good source of fiber, low in saturated fat, and vitamin A. A serving size of this bread is 162 calories. Eating a slice of this delicious bread instead of a pumpkin scone from Starbucks, which is 500 calories, would save you 338 calories!
October 2018 Canned Tuna Ceviche
A quick lunch using pantry ingredients, this is great and it’s inexpensive. With under 200 calories per serving you can pair with a whole grain pita or hearty cracker. You could also sneak in some leafy greens by placing on a bed of spinach or spring mix. A nice fruit salad or cup of melons would pair well with this meal for a well-balanced and nutrient rich meal.
August 2018 - Kale Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash
“This flavorful recipe is great because it is quick and easy to put together and does not require numerous ingredients. Nutritionally it is a powerhouse due to providing almost 25% of your daily fiber intake, a substantial amount of vitamin A, and over 100% of your daily intake of Vitamin C. It is also high in potassium which is good for your heart and blood pressure.
If I had to make any improvements in this recipe it would be to reduce the oil to 2 tablespoons instead of 3 which would lower the overall fat content. Two tablespoons of oil is plenty to cook with in my opinion. I would also reduce the salt by half. Since many other herbs and seasonings are used in this recipe you probably don’t need an entire teaspoon of salt. Better yet, try eliminating the salt altogether to help reduce the sodium content. To complete the meal I would add 1 to 2 eggs for additional high quality protein. Protein will help keep you fuller longer and slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. This may aid in keeping your blood sugar stable.” ~ Lisa