Healing Herbs and their Benefits – Ginger Root

As of late, I've been trying to incorporate more herbs into my routine whenever I can for their many healing properties. A recent favorite : Ginger. It has been toted as a cure-all by the ancient Chinese and Indians for many common ailments. As a Registered Dietitian, I only practice evidence based research - that means that I evaluate every claim with peer-reviewed journals and I do not follow fads or claims without adequate evidence to back them up. Best believe, if I write about it, I have the science to back it up. Very important! Not a problem, because there is so much evidence to support the health benefits of ginger.

6 easy ways to up the fiber in your diet

In my previous post, I talked about how important fiber is to our body - from keeping you "regular" to lowering your risk of diabetes to knocking your cholesterol down a few points, the benefits are many.

One thing to keep in mind, is to make sure you drink enough fluids - upping the fiber without upping the fluids can lead to constipation, because the way fiber works is absorbing or dissolving in water - if you are dehydrated, it won't serve it's purpose.

There are many simple ways to incorporate extra fiber into your diet - here are a few easy ones:

5 reasons to up the fiber in your diet

5 Reasons to Up the Fiber in Your Diet - find out why you need to increase the amount of fiber you eat on a regular basis, TODAY.

Fiber is essential.

If you are like most people, you don't get enough. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women 50 and under should be getting 25 grams a day, men 50 and under should be getting 38 grams a day. What is fiber?

COCONUT OIL : superfood or hype?

Can I just start out by saying that I really, really, really do not like Dr Oz.

Or rather, I dislike the outrageous claims he makes on national television without having the scientific evidence and clinical research to back them up.

Last year on his show, Dr Oz told us that “superpowers” are what coconut oil is full of.

…..what???? Where did you get this, Dr. Oz????! That’s a pretty bold statement considering how little solid research we actually have.

One of the things I am most proud of as a dietitian is that we are truly focused on evidence based research. We do not (or most of us, anyway) become swayed by the fads and claims of the media. When presenting nutritional information, we carefully highlight if things are “still being researched” and use words like “potential” and “possible”. That’s because we can’t make hard and fast claims off of one or two clinical trial or a few testimonies. You cannot make guarantees that may never actually come true. It’s just wrong, not fair to the general public, and an abuse of power. read more

Potassium : the underdog nutrient

There are many, but for the sake of this article I'm focusing on its role in preventing cardivascular disease. I am sure you have heard often that too much sodium (salt) will contribute to high blood pressure. This is because sodium constricts the blood vessels of the heart which in turn elevates the total pressure of the blood against the heart walls. High blood pressure is dangerous because it is a stepping stone for heart disease, which includes heart attacks and strokes. Potassium performs the exact opposite - it is a "vasodilator", which means it RELAXES the blood vessels of the heart

The Paleo Diet

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What is the Paleo diet?

It consists of anything that can be hunted, fished or gathered. This also means exclusion of the following : grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, salt. It is based on the premise that if we eat the way our ancestors eat, we will avoid the chronic diseases of our current generation such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc, and will overall be healthier.

Generally, when a diet requires you to omit entire food groups, it is a huge red flag. There are plenty of proven health benefits to be found in both dairy AND whole grains. Low fat dairy has been suggested to aid weight loss benefits in addition to providing Vitamin D and Calcium. Whole grains have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and provide a great source of fiber. Exclusion of entire food groups (ones that have proven to provide more benefits than they do harm, for that matter!) also tends to make the meal plan hard to stick with. read more

Diet myth series #3: High fructose corn syrup is more harmful than sugar

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photo: health.com

Before I begin, I want to say I completely understand why the average consumer would believe that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is somehow more “dangerous” than regular sugar. Any google search on the subject will bring up multiple results enforcing this belief. Many of these page results come from the media and from non-scientific sources. One of the beautiful things about being a dietitian is you learn to only trust evidence based claims, and you become very careful about what you believe when it comes to new research. It is very hard to sift through all of the information as an average consumer. This is a very hot topic in the media right now, so I thought it was perfect for my next diet myths post. read more

Myth series #2: Red wine is good for your heart

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You’ve seen it in magazines, on the news, and on the web. Red wine is good for your heart. Drink it and you will “slash” your risk of heart disease dramatically…Right?

Sort of.

It all started with the French – we observed over the years their consumption of red wine and also observed their rate of heart disease still remained well below that of America, and we started to correlate the two with each other. There have been multiple studies and loads of research on the topic. So is there at least some truth in red wine’s ability to lower our chance of heart disease? Yes, but it’s benefits are HIGHLY exaggerated and are not enough to warrant starting a new drinking habit. read more

The ins & outs of juicing

I love juicing.

I don’t do the whole “detox” thing (people, that’s why we were blessed with a liver and kidneys…) or buy into much of the hype that’s circulating in the media right now, but even as a dietitian it’s hard for me to get the recommended daily servings of fruits & veggies (USDA is recommending ~9 servings of fruits\veggies daily, which translates to about 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies a day).

So, its those times that I’m finding eating healthy to be the most difficult that I do the most juicing. read more

Diet myths series – #1 Eating cholesterol raises your cholesterol

Yup, I said it.

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Every 5 years the USDA releases new dietary guidelines for Americans.
Limiting cholesterol has always been a key part of these guidelines, that is, until 2015 (potentially).

The 2010 guidelines recommended a daily consumption of 300mg cholesterol or less per day: that’s equal to about less than 1 and 1\2 eggs! as a meat loving girl, that’s not a whole lot, i agree.

To be fair, the 2015 guidelines have actually not yet been released.

However, they did release the preliminary scientific report which now specifies that: “cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for over-consumption”, and also, that “no available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol, consistent with the conclusions of the AHA/ACC report”. read more