3 Tips for Staying Happy & Healthy this Winter!

  1. Consider a Vitamin D supplement

With fewer daylight hours and the bitter cold keeping many of us indoors, our natural production of vitamin D is much lower in the winter months. Low levels of vitamin D may cause issues with depression, immune function, bone health and even heart disease and cancer. Some studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin D improved mood regulation and wellbeing scores in healthy subjects. In addition, other studies showed that people who take daily vitamin D supplements were 3 times less likely to report cold and/or flu symptoms. When Princeton Longevity Center tests vitamin D levels in our patients, we find that many have low or deficient vitamin D levels and therefore, would benefit from vitamin D supplementation. Talk to your physician to determine if taking a vitamin D supplement is recommended for you and what dose would be appropriate based on your current vitamin D level.

2. Focus on another “D”, DHA

DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, is mostly associated with heart and brain health.  However, this omega-3 fat may also help to support mood balance and improve depression. Many people find that the winter months bring out or exacerbate issues with mood and depression. Keeping your DHA intake adequate may help with regulating these issues.  DHA is found in certain types of fish like salmon, tuna, trout, etc. Aim to eat 2 fish meals each week and if you aren’t consistently doing so or you have cardiovascular disease, talk to your physician about taking a DHA based fish oil supplement like those offered by Nordic Naturals.

3. Eat good “bugs”

When you have a cold every hour is misery and shortening the length of a cold is on everyone’s wish list! The possibility of this wish coming true can be increased if you eat probiotic-containing foods everyday.  Some studies have shown that ingesting daily probiotics from foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi and other fermented foods may shorten colds by almost 2 days! The key is to eat these foods before you get sick!

Posted in Nutrition | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

White Bean & Artichoke Salad

If you are trying to add more beans into your diet, try this recipe as it uses white beans, which are protein-rich and full of vitamins and minerals. They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber.

  • 3 cups white beans, drained
  • ½ (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 2/3 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped black olives
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ ounce chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar


  1. In a large bowl, combine beans, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, olives, onion, parsley, mint, and basil.
  2. In a jar or small bowl, combine oil and vinegar; shake together or mix well. Pour oil and vinegar over the salad, and toss to coat.
  3. Cover and chill in refrigerator for several hours or overnight, stirring occasionally, to let flavors blend.
Posted in Healthy Recipes, Nutrition | 1 Comment

Ring in the New Year by Making Small Changes

By Staci O’Connor MS, RD, CLC, CDN

If you didn’t make your New Year’s resolution yet, it’s not too late. Keep in mind, don’t try to repair your entire diet in just one day, instead try to make small changes that will help you reach your end goal such as:

  1. Adding a piece of produce to your lunch on a daily basis.
  2. Designating a day as fish day.  Keeping in mind omega-3 rich fish include:  salmon, swordfish (limit due to mercury), trout, sardines, canned tuna (choose chunk light over albacore for less mercury), arctic char, oysters, and mackerel.
  3. Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning.
  4. Trying to drink one more glass of water today than you drank yesterday.
  5. Trying to stick with water or other calorie-free beverages like flavored seltzer.
  6. Focusing on whole-grain foods.
  7. Picking up a new fruit or vegetable the next time you go to the grocery store.
  8. Snacking smart by adding in an extra serving of fruit or vegetables.
  9. Trying to add in more beans into your diet. Serve beans instead of other side dishes like pasta, rice or potatoes, or consider replacing the croutons in your salad with beans.
  10. Tackling mindless eating by chewing gum, flossing and brushing your teeth or by keeping your hands busy by reading a magazine or flipping through a magazine.
Posted in Nutrition | Tagged | Leave a comment

Winter Salad Recipe

The ingredients for this recipe are all readily found during the winter months.  Plus the fruit, nuts and olive oil in the salad make it compliant with the Mediterranean diet.  The olive oil and nuts contribute heart healthy fats and the fruit has soluble fiber and antioxidants.


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup dried tart cherries (one 3-ounce package)

6 cups mixed seasonal greens

2 medium Gala apples, cored, thinly sliced

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Instructions:  Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend.  Season dressing to taste with salt & pepper.  Stir in dried cherries.  Toss greens and apple slices in large bowl.  Add dressing and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with walnuts and freshly ground pepper and serve.  Serves 6.

Nutrition Information:  Serving size: 1 cup; Calories 200: Fat 13g; Saturated fat 1.5g; Sodium 20mg; Carbohydrate 20g; Fiber 6g; Protein 2g.

Posted in Healthy Recipes, Nutrition | Tagged | Leave a comment

Eat a Mediterranean Diet to Age Well!

By Debbie Jeffery, RDN LD

A study, published in the journal BMJ, suggests a Mediterranean diet may guard women against aging at the cellular level.  Women in the study who ate more Mediterranean foods, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts legumes, unrefined grains, fish and olive oil, and drank moderate amounts of wine had longer telomeres in their blood cells.  Telomeres, a marker of aging, are sequences of DNA that form protective caps at the end of chromosomes.  Telomeres get shorter every time a cell divides, so their length is thought to be a measurer of a cell’s aging.  The Mediterranean diet is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, and it may buffer that shortening, explains the study’s senior author, Immaculata De Vivo, an associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The study included nearly 4,700 women who were participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, a long-term study following the health of more than 120,000 nurses working in the US.  The researchers scored the women’s diets on a scale from zero to nine, with the higher number indicating greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet.  They learned that women with higher scores tended to have longer telomeres than women with lower scores.  The findings showed that healthy eating in general was linked with longer telomeres but the strongest connection was observed among women who followed the Mediterranean diet.  The diet is based on a high intake of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes), modest amounts of fish and poultry, and very low consumption of red meat with olive oil as the major source of fat.  Wine is consumed in low to moderate amounts and usually with meals.

The study shows that the Mediterranean diet which is known to reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers is now associated with slower aging.

Posted in Nutrition | Tagged | Leave a comment

Exercise to Eat

With the many holidays and parties coming up, you may find that you are worried about what you are eating and what you would need to do to negate those extra calories. Look below for some common holiday foods, the calorie count and sample work out you can do to offset that extra energy!

Egg Nog: (8oz 300 calories) Run at a moderate pace for 30 minutes

Pumpkin Pie: (1/8 of pie 280 calories) Rake leaves or shovel snow for 2 hours

Apple Pie: (1/8 of pie 290 calories) Ice skate for 45 minutes

White Meat Turkey: (3oz 135 calories) Walk at a brisk pace for 20 minutes

Store Bought Stuffing: (1/2 cup 150 calories) Build a snowman for 30 minutes

Pot Roast: (3 oz 280 calories) Snow Shoe for 40 minutes

Sweet Potato Casserole: (per scoop 250 calories) Ski for 40 minutes

Mulled Wine: (8 oz 180 calories) Bootcamp for 25 minutes

Apple Cider: (8 oz 150 calories) 20 Minutes of Body Weight Exercises — Pushups, sit ups, etc

Gingerbread Cookies: (1 cookie 180 calories) Go shopping for one hour

Posted in Medical News | Leave a comment

Get Through the Holidays Stress Free

The word stress can usually be associated with the holidays and end of the year. Not only does it take a mental toll on you, but it also physically affects the body. When you start to see physical symptoms, it’s usually a sign you should slow down and take a deep breath!

During stressful times, your hormones can create a sense of anxiety which narrow the arteries, making the heart work harder and can even increase your risk of cardiovascular disease over time. Stress also causes tension in multiple parts of the body including the neck and back. Muscles tense up in response which cause spasms, soreness and pain.

Your pants may start to feel increasingly tighter during these high stress times as well as an upset stomach. Stress and anxiety can decrease your metabolism and cause you to reach for more comfort in foods or alcohol. It also causes distress to the GI tract leading to inflammation, pain and a weaker immune system.

That’s a lot of damage that can be caused from worries such as money, gifts and family! Instead, prepare yourself with a plan to help decrease these symptoms and breeze through the holidays.

1. Stay in your regular exercise routine. Exercise is a natural stress reducer and can be a breath of fresh air if taken outside (walks, biking, hikes). Even if you only have 5-10 minutes a day to fit exercise in, studies have shown that higher intensity exercise done during those short intervals can increase your life span and contribute to cardiovascular health.
2. Stay calm. Take a yoga class or take a few minutes to yourself to meditate, even if it’s at your desk or in the kitchen. There are many podcasts, books and articles that will help guide you through a meditation, or just repeating a simple mantra in your head for a few deep breaths can lead to bliss.
3. Eat right. Instead of enjoying every cookie, pie or appetizer, stick with what you normally eat with a few indulgences. High sugar foods will spike your blood sugar, leaving you more tired and hungry sooner. Instead, choose veggies as dippers instead of crackers, lemon water over soda, fresh salsas over creamy dips or mixed nuts over chips for more fiber!
4. Sleep more. Research shows that when you skimp on sleep, you alter parts of the brain associated with cravings or appetite. Sleep will also help you close your mind off and get a fresh start the next day.

Get through the holiday season stress free and don’t ignore your body’s physical cues that it’s time to slow down and take care of yourself.

Posted in Medical News | Leave a comment