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3 formerly misunderstood foods now a part of a well-balanced diet

(BPT) – Throughout history, misconceptions, misinformation and popular culture have influenced Americans’ eating habits. Many foods that were previously eaten daily are now considered unhealthy. Conversely, some foods that were thought to be “bad for you,” are now considered nutritious.

“Nutrition is exciting. Just about every day there is new research about how certain foods work in our body,” says Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner. “Over time as research is done, foods that were once considered unhealthy can be found to actually play a key role in healthy diets.”

What historically “unhealthy” foods are now considered wholesome? Blatner provides some examples:

Eggs

Shunned for many years, eggs were believed to be bad for heart health due to high cholesterol levels. However, numerous studies have shown that intake of dietary cholesterol has little influence on blood cholesterol levels. In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health states that the biggest influence on blood cholesterol level is the mix of fats and carbohydrates in your diet — not the amount of cholesterol you take in from food.

Today, eggs are part of a healthy diet — so much so that recently the country’s leading weight loss service announced that eggs are now included on its zero points list. Keep in mind, though, that not all eggs are created equal. When shopping for eggs, look for Eggland’s Best eggs, which have significantly more nutrition than ordinary eggs.

“Many health and nutrition organizations are finally recognizing eggs for the nutrient powerhouse they are,” says Blatner. “Eggland’s Best eggs have six times more vitamin D, more than double the omega-3s and more than double the vitamin B12 of ordinary eggs, making them the best egg option to maximize your nutritional intake.”

Nuts

Snacking on nuts today is typically considered a healthy way to keep hunger pangs at bay, but it wasn’t always that way. Nuts used to have a bad reputation for being high in fat and calories, and were often avoided, especially for people who wanted to lose weight.

Today, many nuts are considered the ideal nutritious snack as they contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. For example, the versatile almond is relatively low in calories when compared to other nuts and has more calcium than other varieties, according to Health.com. Plus, almonds are rich in fiber and vitamin E, an important antioxidant.

“Nuts can make a great snack or wonderful addition to recipes,” says Blatner. “The one thing to be mindful of is sodium intake. Opt for raw nuts or dry-roasted varieties. These are minimally processed and typically won’t contain the salt and oils you’ll find in other varieties.”

Carbohydrates

Due to empty calories and low nutritional value, cutting carbs has been at the heart of diet fads for decades. The problem with this is that it assumes all carbs are equal, which is false.

“The important thing to realize is there are high-quality and low-quality carbs,” says Blatner. “Instead of shaming all carbs, focus on high-quality sources of carbohydrates that fuel the body and give you energy — skip the refined grains like white bread and focus on whole grains.”

Want to try a recipe that uses some of these formerly misunderstood foods? Blatner shares one of her favorites.

Eggland’s Best Spinach & Avocado Egg Sushi

Makes two servings.

Ingredients:

2 Eggland’s Best Eggs (Large), 1 tablespoon milk, 1 dash of salt, 1 dash of ground black pepper, 1 large whole wheat tortilla (12 inch), 1/2 avocado (mashed), 1 cup fresh baby spinach

For the spicy sauce:

Mix 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or other hot sauce) and 1 teaspoon milk in a small bowl.

Directions:

Coat a 10-inch nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat on medium-low heat.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper.

Pour egg mixture into pan and cover with a lid. Do not scramble! Cook until set (about 3-4 minutes), flip and finish cooking (about 1-2 minutes).

Lay tortilla flat and spread with avocado, leaving a 2-inch border around the edges.

When eggs are finished cooking, place in the center of the tortilla and top with spinach.

Start at one end and roll tightly, but gently.

Coat the same skillet with nonstick spray and warm on medium-high heat.

Place roll seam-side down on skillet and brown slightly on both sides. Remove and allow to rest for 1-2 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, slice 1-inch pieces, drizzle with spicy sauce and serve with chopsticks.

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Healthy half-time snacking tips from a pro

(BPT) – Healthy snacking and making good food choices can be difficult any time of the year, but it can be especially tough during the big game. Business Insider reports that only 80 percent of people who start a New Year’s resolution keep that resolution through February. This happens to correspond with the biggest football game of the year and the common food temptations that go along with it — chicken wings, chips and salsa, pizza, not to mention beer.

Bryan Snyder, registered dietitian and nutrition director for the Denver Broncos, who is responsible for keeping the year-round nutrition strategies for the team’s players on track, also knows the pitfalls for the fans. “I advise people trying to eat healthier to follow a sustainable meal plan.”

Snyder describes a sustainable meal plan as one that allows some flexibility to have a meal here and there that might have a higher calorie intake.

“I often see people go from eating a poor diet and choosing unhealthy snacks, in combination with not exercising, to all of a sudden deciding to work out every day and eat perfectly every meal. The issue that can arise from that behavior is that it isn’t a sustainable plan, and it doesn’t allow any room for those big game snacks.”

Snyder’s recommendation is to find a nice middle ground. Allow yourself to sneak in some of those not-so-healthy calories on game day, but also give yourself some healthier options that you can have while keeping a guilt-free conscience.

Snyder’s snack of choice? Pistachios. “Pistachios are loaded with antioxidants and fiber, which will help you feel full and prevent you from overeating during the big game, and give you an immune system boost as well.”

Other healthy options are pita chips with hummus, vegetables with vegetable dip, bison or turkey burger sliders, popcorn, baked sweet potato fries, or a cup of turkey chili. For those who can’t imagine game day without wings, Snyder suggests baking the wings instead of deep-frying to replace some of the unwanted and unnecessary fats.

“Oftentimes we want to eat healthier, but we simply don’t know what to eat,” says Snyder. “All of these options are healthy swaps for satisfying game day enjoyment.”

Snyder recommends, too, having a backup plan if you’re going over to someone else’s house to watch the game, as this can be one of the biggest pitfalls to straying from a diet. “Don’t give yourself an excuse to eat poorly. Take along some portable healthy snacks — such as healthy bars, trail mix or pistachios — to be sure you have options and don’t indulge in hours of unhealthy snacking.”

While it is certainly understandable and sometimes difficult to eat healthy during the big game, it is something that can be done with the right planning and preparation, according to Snyder.

“One other common misconception about healthy snacking is that you have to sacrifice great taste,” warns Snyder. “Follow this game plan, and I guarantee you won’t.”

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Make your chip and dip a little more hip

(BPT) – Savvy hosts and hostesses know that the keys to a successful soiree are a room filled with laughter and delicious treats served. If you’re hosting a special event with friends and family, impress and delight your guests with fresh, new takes on the classics.

Here are some ideas for a simple, yet indulgent, chip buffet:

* Vary the chip choices. It’s hard to beat the classic potato chip at any snacking occasion. Make your snacks special by adding crispy kettle cooked chips to the mix. Lay’s Kettle Cooked Chips are cooked in small batches to create extra crunch in 11 flavors, from better-for-you Lightly Salted Olive Oil & Herbs to a spicy Jalapeño.

* Play with presentation. Bowls are a tried-and-true way to serve chips, but try some Pinterest-worthy ideas like glass jars for guests to see all the delicious flavors, mini apple baskets with metal scoops for a rustic look or individual take-out boxes for your guests to quickly grab.

* Do it up with dip. Dips and spreads dress up a potato chip and when you’re entertaining a crowd, the more the merrier! Serve the classics like French onion, spinach and artichoke and baked brie, all of which are simple to prepare and can even be prepped a day ahead of time. To really impress your guests, mix in a few out-of-the-ordinary recipes such as a Jalapeño Pimento Cheese dip.

Jalapeño Pimento Cheese

Ingredients:

1 bag Lay’s Kettle Cooked Chips

8 ounces jalapeño cheddar cheese, grated

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

4-ounce jar of pimentos, drained and chopped

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 cup pickled jalapeños, drained and chopped

1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions:

Using a food processor or grater, shred cheddar cheese.

Add chopped pimentos, chopped jalapeños, cayenne powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, mayo and 1/4 cup thick Greek yogurt. Mix until combined. Depending on texture you want, add more Greek yogurt.

Stir in lemon juice.

Serve with Lay’s Kettle Cooked Original or 40% Less Fat Jalapeño Cheddar Chips.

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Start the year strong with this high-performance vegetable

(BPT) – Chasing a place on the podium isn’t possible without the proper fuel for your body. Whether you’re going for the gold or just passing the pigskin in honor of the big game, athletes and amateurs alike need the right combination of nutrients to take on their training, and sports nutritionists across the nation are recommending one vegetable in particular to get them there — potatoes! Here’s why:

* Carbohydrate — Potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable with 26 grams of quality carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are important for optimal physical and mental performance as the primary fuel for your brain and a key source of energy for muscles. And, because your body’s own stores of carbohydrates are limited and may be depleted — even in a single session of intense and/or prolonged exercise — it’s important to replenish them.

* Potassium — Did you know a medium-sized potato with the skin has more potassium than a medium-sized banana? A medium (5.2 ounce) skin-on potato contains 620 mg of potassium, an important electrolyte that aids in muscle, cardiovascular and nervous system function. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines mention potassium as an under-consumed nutrient of concern, and recommend consuming foods with high levels of potassium such as white potatoes.

* Energy — Potatoes are more energy-packed than any other popular vegetable. Adequate energy intake supports optimal body functions and it’s critical to take in the appropriate number of calories to match the demands of the day, especially while training.

Partial to pasta or rice? With as much — if not more — of several essential vitamins and minerals found in spaghetti, brown rice or whole wheat bread, potatoes are a smart addition to your other favorite performance foods (compared on a per-serving basis). What’s more, a medium Russet potato with the skin has more vitamin C and potassium than a medium sweet potato.

There is a medal-worthy potato option to fit your tastes (and schedule) no matter what sport is your specialty. Leslie Bonci, registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for the Kansas City Chiefs and the WNBA, says, “I love potatoes for their versatility, affordability and applicability to all types of culinary options. The carbohydrate, fiber and potassium make them a great choice for workouts and offer a change of pace and taste from other sports-focused foods.” She created a recipe for portable and crunchy On-the-Go Potatoes for a quick savory snack for mid-hike or mid-bike that’s ready in just about 30 minutes. Gearing up for a busy week? Make a batch of On-the-Go Potatoes on Sunday and freeze them. Defrost throughout the week by leaving in the refrigerator overnight, and then simply re-heat in the toaster oven (or enjoy cold).

On-the-Go Potatoes

Yield: 8 servings (about 5 potatoes per serving)

Ingredients:

24 oz. petite yellow potatoes (about 40 petite potatoes)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 cup panko crumbs

1/4 cup tuxedo sesame seeds

2 teaspoons Chinese 5-Spice seasoning mix

Directions:

Put potatoes in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and soy sauce. Mix to coat well.

In a separate bowl, combine panko bread crumbs, sesame seeds and 5-spice seasoning and mix well.

In small batches, put the potatoes in the bread crumb mixture and roll around to coat well.

Transfer to a cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through.

Nutrition

Per serving (8 servings; about 5 potatoes per serving): Calories 174, Fat: 5.7 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 257 mg, Carbohydrates: 26.8 g, Fiber: 2.5 g, Potassium: 485 mg, Protein: 4.3 g, Vitamin C: 7 mg

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5 physician-approved nutrition tips to look and feel your best

(BPT) – Looking and feeling your best go hand in hand. When you take charge of your well-being, you’ll feel healthier inside and out. Small efforts every day add up to a big impact.

“By taking specific steps each day, you can optimize your beauty hormones,” says Dr. Shelena Lalji, founder of Dr. Shel Wellness & Aesthetic Center and medical advisor to Douglas Laboratories. “These hormones help boost your overall appearance. Features like your skin, hair and nails suddenly look stronger, younger and more radiant than ever.”

Dr. Shel says the following five steps can help jump-start your beauty hormones so you can look your best whether you’re in your 20s or 60s:

Step 1: Follow a plant-based paleo eating plan.

Your diet directly affects how you feel on the inside and how you look on the outside. Cut out dairy, sugar, gluten and alcohol to reduce inflammation internally and externally. Boost your intake of fresh organic produce, striving for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. A simple rule is, the more variety of colors you eat, the more nutrients your body receives.

Step 2: Balance your hormones through supplementation.*

Talk with your health care practitioner about adding nutritional supplements that can help support beauty hormones and skin health.* Some of Dr. Shel’s favorites include:

Ultra HNS, a blend of high dose biotin, methylfolate, vitamin C, zinc and Cynatine(R) HNS, a patented, solubilized keratin for the health of hair, nails and skin. Cynatine(R) HNS has demonstrated that it can improve the strength, brightness and appearance of hair, nails and skin, as well as reduce hair loss associated with washing.*

Skin Nourish, a special skin nutrient blend containing polyphenolic compounds from grape seed, superoxide dismutase (SOD) from melon, vitamin C and zinc which are primary and secondary antioxidants that support the appearance of radiant skin color, contrast and integrity.*

Skin Protect, a clinically studied combination of the antioxidants carnosic acid, lycopene, phytoene and phytofluene to promote smooth, healthy skin from the inside out, while helping to protect from damage caused by UV sunlight exposure and environmental stresses.*

Hydrolyzed Collagen Plus, a unique formulation for skin and joint health. Collagen peptides with hyaluronic acid and co-factors support the appearance of healthy skin by promoting collagen production, skin elasticity and hydration, while lessening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.*

Finally, daily probiotics and vitamin C support overall well-being while supporting a healthy immune system.* Learn more at www.douglaslabs.com/HealthyAging.

Step 3: Identify and avoid food sensitivities.

You’re likely sensitive to some foods and don’t even know it. Pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods. Does cheese make you feel sluggish? Does processed food make you feel bloated? To learn more, ask your doctor about running an allergy and food-sensitivity test. Then make adjustments to your nutrition as needed. If a test is not readily available, begin by cutting out processed foods including sugar, gluten and dairy.

Step 4: Focus on daily detoxification activities.

Start each day with a cup of room-temperature water with lemon to eliminate toxins from the liver and balance the body’s PH levels and get alkalinized. Exercising each day also supports detoxification, getting the heart pumping and organs working to flush pollutants that come from daily exposure.

Step 5: Keep calm.

Stress impacts cortisol levels, suppresses the immune system and causes hormonal imbalance. Plus, it affects your overall happiness. Fortunately, managing stress is in your control. Simple deep breathing techniques and daily meditation can help you feel centered and in control. In addition, make adequate time for rest and sleep each night (at least 7 to 8 hours per night) so your body can heal and recharge. Your cortisol will start balancing out.

“Transforming your health both inside and out will boost your self-confidence so you feel your best,” says Dr. Shel. “From smart supplements to daily detox, you’ll look amazing no matter your age.”

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Preparing for a party? Try these 4 tips

(BPT) – It’s important not to allow the stress of entertaining large groups to become a burden. Below are four tips to help organize a kitchen and host with ease, creating a functional space for family and friends to enjoy.

Plan ahead

Set aside time early in the week to plan the menu, from simple appetizers to the main entree. Grocery shopping apps allow the family to share and build lists together — which can help avoid any last-minute trips to the grocery store. Also, try to identify dishes that can be prepared in advance so more time can be spent away from the kitchen when guests arrive.

Maximize storage and counter space

Optimize counter space by designing small stations for easy access to the necessities. A coffee bar “nook” complete with cups and mugs can help kick-start a busy day. Storage near the fridge should be stocked with foil and containers, ideal for packing up leftovers after a large party. Reserve the island counter for meal prep and the cabinets below for serving ware and glassware storage.

Keep all staples in arm’s reach

Cooking can be made simple by organizing the essentials. Keep similar tools together, such as bakeware and cookie sheets in one drawer, and pantry staples in another. Spices and herbs should be alphabetized and stored near the stovetop to effortlessly add flavor. For those with design in mind, opt for open shelves to showcase dishes and small kitchen accessories, such as succulents and cookbooks, while keeping everything within reach.

Simplify kitchen cleanup

Cleaning is often the most time-intensive chore in the kitchen, but if designed right, can be a breeze for home entertainers and kids alike. The Delta Foundry Kitchen Faucet offers laser-like precision to contain splatter, meaning less soaking, scrubbing and shirt swapping.

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Say goodbye to winter blues with vitamin D-rich foods

(BPT) – Winter got you down? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is estimated to affect 10 million Americans, according to Psychology Today. Another 10 percent to 20 percent may have mild SAD.

Even if you don’t have diagnosed SAD, it’s not uncommon to have bouts of the winter blues. There are many reasons people experience a “winter funk:” cold weather, little sunlight, shorter days, limited outdoor activity, etc.

Additionally, between the months of November and March, the lack of vitamin D absorption from the sun can be taxing on your immune system and may also be contributing to your winter blues.

Dubbed “the happy vitamin” by some researchers, vitamin D could be the key to turning seasonal frowns upside-down. Maintaining vitamin D levels during the cold winter months may help keep you healthy during cold and flu season while also boosting your mood.

What’s more, vitamin D may help you maintain a healthy weight. It’s no secret that many people experience weight gain due to the flood of comfort foods available during cooler months. This, paired with lower physical activity, causes many people to put on a few winter pounds.

According to a study quoted in Men’s Health, a University of Minnesota doctor found that people with adequate vitamin D levels lost more weight than those with low levels, even though all study participants reduced their calorie intake equally.

To get all the benefits of vitamin D, start by adjusting your diet. Vitamin D occurs naturally in eggs and oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, but it’s important to look for foods that contain even higher levels of vitamin D to naturally boost your intake, especially in the winter.

“Food is quite literally one of the best medicines out there when it comes to improving your mental and physical health,” says registered dietitian nutritionist, Dawn Jackson Blatner. “One of my favorite tips for boosting Vitamin D intake is to simply swap out ordinary eggs for Eggland’s Best eggs, since you’ll automatically get six times more vitamin D — it doesn’t get any easier than that!”

In addition to added vitamin D, Eggland’s Best eggs provide superior nutritional benefits such as 10 times more vitamin E, double the omega-3s, more than double the vitamin B12 and 25 percent less saturated fat than ordinary eggs.

A healthy diet that uses mood-boosting ingredients doesn’t have to be boring. Get creative in the kitchen and try new recipes featuring vitamin D-rich ingredients like this BLT Salmon Caesar Salad from Eggland’s Best and TheAlmondEater.com.

BLT Salmon Caesar Salad

Makes two servings

Ingredients:

1 salmon filet, baked and seasoned to your liking; 2 slices bacon; 1 Eggland’s Best egg (large); 5 cups lettuce; 1/2 cup tomatoes; 1 avocado, sliced; 1 cup croutons; 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese; 2 tablespoons Caesar dressing

Directions:

Heat bacon in a skillet and cook completely; set aside and then cut or break into bite-­size pieces once cooled.

Soft boil the egg over the stovetop.

While egg is cooking, place lettuce in a large bowl and add tomatoes, avocado, croutons and cheese to the bowl; stir to combine.

Next, add the baked salmon to the salad, along with the bacon; add the Caesar dressing and stir to combine.

Last, add the soft-boiled egg and enjoy!

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3 simple tips to get delicious, balanced weeknight meals on the table

(BPT) – Weekday schedules get crazy, which is why the first casualty of all that chaos is the family dinner.

While most families say eating together is a high priority, day-to-day reality is different. According to a 2013 poll by NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, only half of children in the U.S. are in families that dine together. Yet research cited by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that children reap many benefits from regular family meals, from improved academic performance to developing a deeper sense of resilience.

But busy families can find time to sit down together more often, says Colleen Burns, a lifestyle expert and spokeswoman for Nestle’s Balance Your Plate program. To be successful, set the intention with good planning and smart strategies. What’s more, these meals can also be delicious and nutritious.

“When you have simple solutions in your toolbox to get those well-balanced and tasty meals on the table in the little time that you have, it lets you establish and keep an important family ritual,” says Burns, who is also a busy mom of six boys. “At the same time, you don’t get burned out, and that’s key to staying motivated and inspired.”

To help you get started, Burns shares her top three simple tips to get delicious and nutritious meals on the table quickly.

Shop the freezer section: When you’re in a time pinch, frozen foods have many offerings that set a good foundation for any home-cooked meal, Burns says. Oftentimes, the quality is just as good as their fresh counterparts, and they eliminate many steps of prep time, whether you’re looking at entrees, veggies or sides. On top of all that, fruits and veggies are flash-frozen, which locks the nutrients in place.

Don’t sacrifice: If you know what to look for when shopping the grocery aisles, you can find convenient entrees and sides without sacrificing taste or quality.

Burns recommends Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese as one easy solution that helps you get a great meal on the table. It has ingredients that consumers would use in their own kitchens, such as freshly made pasta, butter, cheddar cheese and milk. Burns likes to serve it as a side to marinated chicken (see recipe below) and roasted seasonal veggies, because it’s a simple solution that makes her and her family feel good about dinner.

Maintain balance: Look to a variety of entrees and sides to bring a nutritional balance as well as delicious flavors to your dinner menu. Burns recommends opting for lean proteins like fish and chicken served with fresh or frozen veggies. Check out her how-to video, https://youtu.be/fKcY-jiTWJg, to learn more.

Marinated Garlic and Lemon Roasted Chicken Drumsticks with Honey Mustard Sauce

10 chicken drumsticks

1 large lemon zested and juiced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 whole cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

1 pinch each salt and pepper

Minced parsley for garnish

Honey Mustard Sauce:

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

In a bowl, mix together lemon juice, zest, olive oil, chopped garlic, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Add chicken drumsticks and toss to coat evenly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When ready to cook, let chicken come to room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange chicken on oiled foil-lined sheet pan.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Flip chicken pieces and cook another 10 minutes until chicken reaches 165 degrees and is no longer pink.

Make sauce in a small bowl by whisking together the mustard and honey.

Add water as needed for a workable consistency.

With a small pastry brush, brush sauce over chicken and broil 5 minutes until bubbly.

Place chicken pieces on a serving platter and sprinkle minced parsley over all.

Source: Nestle’s Balance Your Plate

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Boomers: 10 reasons to go nuts

(BPT) – For the roughly 75 million Americans who make up the baby boom generation, a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons against age-related diseases.

“It’s vital at any age to adopt good habits to live a strong, fit and healthy life,” says Dr. Mike Roussell, a nationally recognized nutrition consultant and nutrition adviser to Men’s Health and Shape. “Fueling your life with tasty and nutrient-rich foods while making sure to be active every single day are essential components to keeping your body young and vibrant.”

Roussell’s recommendation? Nuts. In particular, pistachios. “Pistachios are a multitasking nut with fiber, healthy fats, and three specific types of antioxidants that may help fight the onset of age-related conditions that lead to poor health in these 10 ways.”

1. Heart health

Large population studies show that people who regularly eat nuts, such as pistachios, have a lower risk of dying from heart disease or suffering a heart attack. Pistachios provide 360-degree cardiovascular support in that they can promote improvements in cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood vessel function.

2. Anti-inflammatory

Excessive inflammation is one of the root causes of age-related conditions, such as arthritis. Pistachios contain a special form of vitamin E called gamma tocopherol, which has unique anti-inflammatory properties. Gamma tocopherol levels have also been shown to decrease as we age.

3. Weight loss

Being overweight can also contribute to a number of age-related illnesses. Studies show pistachios positively promote weight maintenance as the dietary fiber, fat and protein all work together to make us feel fuller and satiated longer, plus removing them from the shell slows down eating. Pistachios are also the lowest-fat nut.

4. Digestion

The fiber in pistachios also can help with digestion. Research shows that the fiber in pistachios works as a prebiotic and feeds the good bacteria in our digestive tract to improve the health of our digestive system. A single serving of pistachios contains as much as 3 grams of dietary fiber.

5. Blood glucose level

Developing adult onset diabetes, or Type 2 diabetes, is a common fear for boomers. The American Diabetes Association praises the health benefits of nuts, including pistachios, calling them a diabetes superfood because they improve how the body’s cells use glucose and how insulin responds to a carbohydrate-containing meal, namely, stabilizing blood glucose levels.

6. Skin health and appearance

UV light from the sun promotes damage and accelerates the aging of our skin. Pistachios contain two carotenoid antioxidants that are concentrated in the skin and work to filter out and protect it against the damaging effects of UV light.

7. Eyesight

Pistachios contain lutein, a nutrient known to help improve eye health, especially in older individuals. Lutein has been shown to prevent and slow down macular degeneration by providing more pigment for the eye, thereby reflecting more of the sun’s light, preventing damage to the retina.

8. Memory

Preliminary research shows that the fatty acids and antioxidants found in pistachios can help support brain health. The antioxidants in pistachios can help ward off excessive inflammation in the brain, a major cause of accelerated cognitive decline. Another study found that eating pistachios stimulated brain waves that aid the formation of ideas and memory processing.

9. Sleep

Nuts, including pistachios, are rich in minerals such as magnesium. One benefit of magnesium is that it may aid sleep because it assists in helping the muscles relax and quiet activity in the brain by working as an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

10. Energy

Pistachios have been shown to promote energy, which is why so many professional athletes consume them while training. More energy means we’ll commit to getting enough exercise.

But what is Dr. Mike’s main reason for having his clients eat pistachios? “They taste good. People are much more likely to stick to a healthy diet when the food is tasty and fun to eat.”

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The Organic Label is the Gold Standard [Infographic]

(BPT) – A new USDA study affirms that the organic label is the most comprehensive, most transparent and most tightly regulated food certification in the world, and points to the flaws in single label claims causing consumer confusion. With the proliferation of label claims over the past three decades, consumers’ misunderstanding continues to escalate. For organic dairy pioneer Straus Family Creamery of Northern California, which became the first 100 percent certified organic creamery in the United States in 1994, and is an innovative organic leader to this day, the organic label stands unequivocally for integrity in sustainable agriculture and organic food production.

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