Happy New Year!

As we welcome 2018, here are 3 nutrition trends the PLC Dietitians feel are worth keeping your eye on throughout the year!

Probiotics: Most of us are familiar with probiotics found in yogurt and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. But, with a demand for other probiotic options, food companies have responded with probiotic-enriched foods like granola and chips. Purely Elizabeth Probiotic Granola and Farmhouse Culture Kraut Krisps are a few products that we’ve sampled recently. We feel that more research is needed to determine newer probiotic products can provide the same gut-health & immune boosting benefits as their more familiar counterparts and hopefully we’ll know more in the coming months.

A Low FODMAP diet: If you suffer from IBS or other digestive issues, eating a low FODMAP diet may be a way to get some relief. FODMAP is an acronym for various types of sugars: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. FODMAPs are small in size and will therefore draw fluid in the gut that results in increased delivery of water through the bowel. FODMAPs are also poorly absorbed in the small intestine so they continue along the digestive tract to the large intestine where they are fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, which produces gas leading to bloating, discomfort and abdominal pain. With a Low FODMAP diet, you reduce foods that contain any of the FODMAPs (a small sampling: apples, garlic, watermelon, honey, milk, lentils, sugar alcohols, etc.) for 2-6 weeks. Once symptoms improve, you can gradually re-introduce foods. Your PLC Dietitian can help to determine if a Low FODMAP diet is appropriate for you and can provide guidance on a low FODMAP diet if needed.

Spices: Adding spices to food and beverages has always been a great way to add flavor without calories. But, now, the focus is on the potential health benefits of spices like turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, etc. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory potential, cinnamon may help with blood sugar control and has anti-fungal properties, and black pepper aids digestion. We have already been recommending some patients incorporate particular spices into their regimen to help with their various issues and we are excited to see what new research brings to the world of spices this year; we’ll share what is discovered along the way!

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Balance to Maintain Stability

Although there are some changes one can’t avoid including deterioration of your hearing, vision, and coordination, research suggests that its worth taking steps even risking a few missteps to slow the decline in one’s balance.

Loss of balance makes us vulnerable to falls, which can be dangerous at any age.  Falls are the fifth leading cause of death for people 65 and older, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

As an Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer and Titleist Performance Instructor, I think its smart to start working on exercises that address balance and stability ;Exercises that are designed to challenge the complex system of reflexes that govern our stability and spatial orientation.

Many people are surprised to find out how their balance declines over time, and individuals often underestimate how important balance is to navigating the hazards in their daily lives, from escalators to uneven sidewalks and grassy hills.

Many people don’t think about balance when they think about their exercise routines.  Most think of weight loss, or they want to get ready for a wedding or reunion or something.  Whether you’re preparing for an event or doing your regular exercise routine you should include exercises that address balance.  Doing so has the added advantage of helping with weight loss due to the large muscles groups working to assist with stability, therefore enhancing the caloric expenditure.

Initially everyone should start with balancing exercises on the floor with one foot, before progressing to challenging equipment.

The following are a few of the products aimed at different levels of fitness and expertise:

Balance Pads, Bosu Ball, Dyna Disc, Bongo Board and there are other products being created for people whose balance has decreased, whether through age or illness, and are geared towards preventing falls.

Some of the low tech approaches you can incorporate into your everyday lives include standing on a pillow, walking on grass as opposed to concrete, or looking around and moving your head while walking as opposed to looking straight, standing on one leg in various poses, which you can do anywhere waiting for the bus, or brushing your teeth, in the bathroom all of which challenge and improve your balance.

The take away message is clear:  To Maintain Stability as you get older, you need to challenge Balance.

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How Can I Remember to Take My Vitamin & Mineral Supplements?

We all know that life can be hectic, especially this time of year. With the endless “to-do” list, holiday celebrations & family gatherings, it can challenging to fulfill even the most mundane daily responsibilities. We may forget to take out the trash, empty the dishwasher, or consume  our vitamin and/or mineral supplements.

Although missing an occasional supplement may not present any immediate harm,  continued missed doses can lead to nutrient depletion and possibly deficiencies. To help you get back on track with your daily supplement routine, we’ve put together a few simple tips.

First, take supplements with snacks or meals. This will help prevent stomach upset often associated with taking supplements on an empty stomach. In addition, fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) are better absorbed when consumed with food containing a source of dietary fat (think peanut butter, low-fat dairy, etc.) If you’re taking a medication, be sure to check with your doctor to determine the right time of day to take vitamin supplements. And always talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements.

Second, set a daily alarm or calendar reminder to serve as a quick reminder. For a low-tech option, keep a post-it on your desk or refrigerator. Also, keep supplements in plain site to serve as a visual reminder. Instead of a medicine cabinet, try to kitchen counter or your office desk.

Third, train your brain. Try to keep a consistent schedule when you take your supplement. Overtime, you will get used to this as part of your routine. For a back up, store extra supplements in your lunch, purse, car or bag. This way if you do forget, you will have a visual reminder later on throughout the day.

Lastly, be aware that your nutrient needs may change over time. Always discuss your supplements with your healthcare professional and follow your healthcare professional’s advice when it comes to determining the right vitamins and amounts for your needs.

Sources: http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/health/5-ways-to-remember-to-take-your-vitamins/view-all/


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Looking to Shed Those Unwanted Pounds? by Kristin Eannotti, M.S.

A lot of people think by adding resistance training to their exercise program it will cause them to “bulk up.” Think about this, people don’t just wake up being a bodybuilder by doing maintenance resistance training. Becoming a bodybuilder and building a significant amount of muscle mass takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication.

If one of your goals is weight loss, maybe you need to reassess your current exercise regimen. Are you doing cardio most days of the week but you’re not noticing any changes with your weight? How much time are you spending doing resistance training?

Do you know what the beauty of resistance training is? The more muscle you add, the more calories you’ll burn at rest! A regular resistance training program will help increase your lean body mass and burn calories more efficiently. This will help result in a healthy weight loss! The current recommendations are 2-4 days per week. Now remember, muscle does weigh more than fat, but that doesn’t mean you won’t reach your goals. I suggest that you put away the scale and focus on improving your program to meet the recommendations.  Then, focus on how your clothes are fitting versus getting hung up on a number shown on the scale.

What are the benefits of resistance training?

  • Weight loss/management
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis /improves bone health
  • Decreases the risk of injury
  • Preserves muscle mass
    • Unfortunately, the aging process causes us to start losing muscle mass at a young age. It’s very important to use those muscles so you don’t lose them!
  • Improves mobility and balance
  • Improves sense of well-being
  • Improves performance of everyday tasks

This time of year gets very busy with shopping and social events, not to mention the cold. Try this body-weight program (meaning you do not need any equipment) at home; it should only take 10-15 minutes! Everyone can find 10 minutes out of their day to make a healthy change!

Winter Workout

  • Alternating lunges: 15-20 reps
  • Push-ups (regular, modified or a wall push-up): 10 reps
  • Squats (regular, partial or wall slide): 10 reps
  • Mountain Climbers: 30-60 seconds
  • Tricep dips: 10 reps
  • Step ups (using a bench or a stair): 15-20 reps
  • Hip Bridge (regular or single-leg): 10 reps
  • Calf Raises: 15-20 reps
  • Plank (regular or modified): 15-45 seconds
  • Flutter kicks: 30-60 seconds
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Is a Standing Desk a Good Option For You? by Kristin Eannotti, M.S.

Do you have a desk job? Studies have found a strong connection between prolonged sitting and an increase in cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, strokes and musculoskeletal pain (neck, back, etc.). Studies have also found that a standing desk can significantly boost cognitive skills (memory, concentration and problem solving).

This problem should have an easy solution, right? Why not invest in a standing desk?

During a fitness consult with a patient I always ask the following questions…

  • What does your typical day look like? Is it more sedentary or more active?
  • How long is your commute?
  • How many hours do you spend sitting at your desk?
  • Do you sit in meetings all day long?
  • How do you spend your lunch break?
  • How many steps are you averaging each day?
  • How are your energy levels in the afternoon?

Most people I have spoken to tend to sit at their desks for the majority of the day. Most people also don’t take a break during lunch time. It can be very harmful to your health when you are seated for several hours of your day. Not to mention the common feeling of begin lethargic by 3pm.  A standing desk may be your solution!

Easier said than done of course! If you are thinking, “There are so many options out there. Where do I start?” That’s very common! Check out this recent review from Reviews.com. In this review they compare different brands of standing desks and provide you with a lot of great information to help you choose the one that’s best for you. They also discuss the proper ergonomics to ensure you will use your desk in a safe way to avoid neck and back pain. Read Article Here!

If you are unable to buy a desk at this time be sure you are getting up out of your chair often throughout the day. It is very common to lose track of time and realize you have been seated for 2-3 hours. Try setting an alarm for every hour as a reminder to get up and move for at least 5 minutes!  Standing regularly helps prevent obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.

Don’t forget, 10,000 steps per day is the goal!

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Turkey Day Tabata Workout

Jump start your metabolism this Thanksgiving with a quick and efficient Tabata workout! Tabata is an interval-style workout that involves 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest (as you get ready for the next exercise). Using a timer, there is no need to count repetitions, allowing for a greater focus on intensity and form.

Use a 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off approach and rotate through each exercise 3-5 times for a 6-10 minute workout. Add or subtract rounds as desired to adjust for workout duration.

  1. Air Squats
  2. Pushups
  3. Jumping Split Squats
  4. Mountain Climbers

Now you’ll have time to workout AND prepare your Thanksgiving feast, all while reaping the benefits of the metabolic boost that Tabata provides… just in case you go back for that second helping! 😉

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Healthy Tips for the Holidays by Kristin Eannotti, M.S.

The holiday season makes it so difficult to stay focused on your health goals. Having constant obligations makes it very tricky to stay on track with the added calories and lack of activity. Not to mention the cold, who wants to go outside and walk when it’s less than 40 degrees? However, there are so many ways to help you overcome the cold and reduce your stress over this holiday season!

Here are a few helpful tips to keep you on track with your diet and exercise during this time of year.

  • Choose healthy food options
    1. Winter is a great time to utilize your crockpot. If you have a lot of shopping to do after work, have the crockpot going so you have a healthy meal ready for you when you get home. This will help you avoid grabbing an unhealthy meal while you are out.
    2. Watch your portion sizes. Focus on eating protein and veggies when at special occasions. Especially at holiday parties when people keep asking you to try what they’ve made, try not to overdo it!
    3. Skip the sugar as often as possible. This time of year is known for the cookies and other delicious baked goods. Sometimes a goal will help here, “I will only have a dessert twice this week.” This will be more of a reward versus a habit.
    4. Try the 80/20 rule. If you focus on eating a healthy breakfast and lunch throughout the week, this will give you a little bit of wiggle room when dinnertime comes.
    5. Skip the sugary drinks. Focus on drinking water with fresh squeezed lemon or other fresh fruit-infused water recipes.
    6. Have a glass of water in between cocktails at parties. This will help you stay hydrated and will help you avoid endless snacking.
    7. Avoid having sweets and other unhealthy foods in your house. If it’s there, you’ll eat it!
  • Stay active as much as possible
    • Exercise is the best medicine. It is essential to exercise regularly in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are many ways to keep active in the winter. It’s important to keep your kids active too! There are plenty of winter sports, trampoline parks and other places make exercise a fun thing to do this winter. Other tips include the following…
      1. If you are a night exerciser, bring your gym bag with you in the morning and head straight to the gym after work. With the sun setting at 4:30pm these days, it makes it difficult to get motivated-don’t go home in between work and the gym!
      2. Do a home workout! There are plenty of ways to exercise right in the convenience of your own home.
      3. Track your steps and aim for 10,000 per day! Movement throughout the day goes a long way!
      4. Online shopping makes our lives a lot easier, but don’t forget “sitting is the new smoking.” Increase your activity by physically going to the store.
      5. Avoid sitting for long periods of time. If you are working at a desk all day, try to get up at least every hour for 5 minutes.
  • Stay hydrated!
    • It’s important to increase your water intake during the winter months to avoid getting sick and to keep your skin hydrated.
      1. Start your day with an 8 ounce glass of water. You haven’t had anything to drink throughout the several hours you’ve been sleeping! We all wake up dehydrated. Water is the first thing you need in the morning before you reach for the coffee.
      2. Aim for drinking half of your body-weight in ounces. For instance, if you weigh 150 lbs. you should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water that day. You may require more depending on your level of activity that day.
  • Think ahead to avoid stress!
    • We all stress this time of year because time moves quickly and all of a sudden the holidays creep up on us. Don’t procrastinate! Start making a list now of what you’ll need and start picking things up here and there. If you plan ahead you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays more because you’ll be ready and less stressed over it!

Small changes will go a long way for helping you stay on track with your health during this busy time of year. Cheers to making some healthy lifestyle changes to feel your best this holiday season!

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