Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 12, 2013
Today’s post was adapted from an article written by our nutritionists in the Department of Nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). The article originally appeared on the BWH Health-e-Weight website.
It's important to exercise regulary - indoors or outdoors - during the winter.
No matter what the season, staying healthy requires a balance of good eating and physical activity. Winter, however, poses some unique challenges due to holiday parties, harsh conditions, and cold-weather cravings. Follow these tips for more thoughtful food choices and cold-weather exercise to stay fit and healthy this winter!
Even during the cold weather months, there are many fresh foods available in your produce section. Look for seasonal green and orange vegetables which are packed with vitamins and minerals to
help ward off winter illnesses.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 8, 2013
Today’s blog post comes from our specialists at the Department of Nutrition.
Choose plain Greek yogurt to avoid the added sugar in fruit flavors.
In a world full of conflicting health information, how do you know whether a new food product is truly good for you or is just the next money-making gimmick?
We researched six of the most popular nutrition trends on the market to help you figure out which foods are worth your money.
Greek Yogurt ($1 – $2.15/cup)
Greek yogurt is made from cow’s or sheep’s milk that has been strained through a cloth to remove the whey, creating a thicker yogurt. It comes in two varieties: strained Greek yogurt (original) and “Greek-style” yogurt (American version, with domestic milk and possibly thickening agents).
Claim: High in protein and probiotics
Evidence: It’s true! Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse. It contains about twice the protein of traditional yogurts and still maintains all the gut-friendly bacteria present in other yogurts.
Bottom line: Choose plain yogurt to avoid the added sugar in fruit flavors.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 19, 2013
In our quest to eat fewer carbohydrates, we’re missing out on the health benefits of whole grains.
September is Whole Grains Month. Today’s post, from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Health-e-Weight program, will help you learn about this delicious and healthy food. In our quest to eat fewer carbohydrates, we’re missing out on the health benefits of whole grains. But what exactly are whole grains? What benefits can we gain from eating them, and how can we work them into our daily meals?
What Are Whole Grains?
Whole grains contain all three edible parts of a grain: the inner germ, the middle endosperm, and the outer bran covering. This makes them rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and a multitude of disease-fighting substances. By contrast, refined grains have most of their germ and bran removed during processing, resulting in a depletion of many of these nutritious compounds.
Examples of Whole Grains:
- Whole wheat berries, whole wheat bulgur, whole wheat couscous, and other strains of wheat, such as kamut and spelt
- Brown rice (including quick-cooking brown rice)
- Corn, whole cornmeal, popcorn
- Oat groats, steel-cut oats, rolled oats (including quick-cooking and instant oatmeal)
- Whole rye
- Hulled barley (pot, scotch, and pearled barley often have much of their bran removed)
- Triticale (pronounced try-ti-KAY-lee)
- Teff (reported to be the world’s smallest grain and to have a sweet, malty flavor)
Buckwheat, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), wild rice, and amaranth are not botanically true grains, but are typically associated with the grain family due to their similar composition. They also are considered whole grains and can be found at health food stores, along with other less common grains.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 12, 2013
Sugar-sweetened beverages can have a sour impact on your health.
Today’s post is written by Kathy McManus, MS, RD, LDN, Director of Nutrition. The post originally appeared in the newsletter, published by the Osher Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine.
The next time you reach for a nice cold soda or juice, consider this – each 12 ounce can of a sugar-sweetened drink or juice contains 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar, amounting to 150 to 175 calories. Though it doesn’t sound like much, it will take about 20 minutes of casual biking, walking, or yoga just to burn these extra calories!
Obesity is a growing problem in the US (no pun intended), and there are many contributors to the crisis. One is the increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), as well as the increase in beverage portion sizes. These two factors have led to a greater percentage of calories consumed each day via beverages.
Sugar-sweetened beverages currently account for about 10 percent of total calories consumed in the US diet. Today, 63 percent of adults and 80 percent of youth consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage a day. Americans consume about 250 to 300 more daily calories today compared to the seventies, and about half of this increase is due to the greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 28, 2013
Excess sodium intake not only increases blood pressure, but also increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Today’s post is written by Kathy McManus, MS, RD, LDN, Director, Department of Nutrition and Nutrition Director, Program for Weight Management. The post originally appeared in the Healthy 850 Newsletter, published by the Osher Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine.
Some consumers believe that dietary salt (sodium) is only a concern if they have high blood pressure; not true. Excess sodium intake not only increases blood pressure, but also increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in the US. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that 97 percent of children and adolescents eat too much salt, putting them at greater risk for cardiovascular disease as they age.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 31, 2013
Does eating wheat lead to weight gain?
Wheat-free diets are endorsed by some celebrities and the focus of some dietary books; the premise being that wiping out wheat will whittle away unwanted pounds. No one food group, however, is the culprit for excess weight gain or the panacea for weight loss.
In fact, eating whole wheat items assists one in consuming whole grains and getting much needed fiber and a variety of key nutrients. What you need to watch out for is the type of wheat foods you’re eating as it is found in many foods that also are packed with calories and low in nutrients. Think baked goods, white bread, low-fiber/sugary cereals to name a few. Less of these foods will generally trim calories and ultimately lead to weight loss, providing one doesn’t add excess calories from other sources. For some individuals such as those with wheat allergies, celiac disease or gluten intolerance, limiting wheat is essential. For others, there’s no need to delete wheat unless you desire. Here are some suggestions for eating wheat in a healthy way:
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 23, 2013
- Blueberries are packed with nutrients.
Summer is officially upon us, and that means it’s time to stock up on fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables. Blueberries are a summer favorite and packed with a ton of nutrients for their small size. In fact, they are often referred to as a “superfood” due to their unique health benefits.
For starters, blueberries are naturally low in calories (just 80 calories per cup) and high in fiber, which make them an outstanding food for your waistline as well as your heart. In addition, they are an excellent source of bone-healthy vitamin K and manganese.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 19, 2013
Research shows that folks who shop for food when they're hungry tend to buy higher-calorie items.
The following post was adapted from our Health-e-Weight enewsletter.
Summer is a few weeks away, and many of us are looking for ways to slim down. The challenge is that food is everywhere, making it easy to overeat. Often hunger and taste appeal are further down the pecking order of why we eat. Much has been written and studied regarding the concept of mindless eating. Here’s a summary of tips to help us not overconsume calories.
- Pay attention to plate/bowl and utensil sizes. Using smaller items generally results in smaller amounts.
- Keep calorie-dense foods less visible. If it is around, you are more likely to eat. On the other hand, keep lesser-calorie items like fruits and vegetables more handy. Read More »
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 16, 2013
Dr. C. Keith Ozaki (center) and his team suggest that a patient's pre-surgery diet can affect their post-surgery recovery.
Does it matter what a patient eats before surgery?
According to a new study led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers, the type of food that patients eat in the days leading up to surgery, as well as their long-term dietary habits, may have a significant impact on their recovery. Partners from the Center for Cancer Computational Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and from the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health also contributed to the findings.
Specifically, the research team found that consuming a high-fat diet, as compared to a low-fat diet, leads to higher levels of post-surgical inflammation in the fatty tissue traumatized during major surgery. This inflammation, in turn, may drive complications such as heart attacks and wound problems.
The pre-clinical study suggests that patients who habitually follow a low-fat diet may fare best in minimizing post-surgical fat inflammation. Importantly, the researchers also observed that short-term behavior modification can reap benefits. Their findings revealed that in the setting of a high-fat diet, patients might significantly lower their levels of post-surgical inflammation simply by shifting to a low-fat diet for a short time frame before surgery.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 30, 2013
Think of the Mediterranean to inspire healthy eating.
With its abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and fish, the Mediterranean diet has been linked to a multitude of health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and better weight control.
Unlike some restrictive dieting approaches, the Mediterranean diet encourages inclusion rather than exclusion. However, the Mediterranean diet goes beyond food selections. It also hinges on attitudes towards eating and food.
Cultures adopting the Mediterranean approach generally care deeply about their food and are mindful when they eat, taking time to enjoy the taste and satisfaction of the meal. This is in stark contrast to the typical American diet, where consumption of meals tends to be done quickly and without much thought, which also can result in overeating and weight gain.
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