Monday, July 23, 2018

Walnuts and GI Health

The microbiome is the environment within your intestines where 100 trillion microorganisms live. These gut dwelling bacteria contribute to immune function and are necessary for proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and removing harmful pathogens from the body.

Diet plays a significant role in which microorganisms thrive in the microbiome. Foods rich in fiber have been of interest to researches since fiber is the main food source. Numerous studies examining the impact of diet, the microbiome, and overall health have been conducted with promising results.

Walnuts have been known for their heart health benefits, but as a good source of fiber researchers were interested in their role in GI health. A new study published in The Journal of Nutrition followed 18 healthy adults who consumed either no walnuts or a handful of walnuts during two, three-week periods. At the end of the study the group that consumed walnuts had higher levels of healthy bacteria in their GI tract.

The group that ate walnuts also had a reduction in LDL “bad” cholesterol and a reduction in secondary bile acids. Secondary bile acids can be damaging to the GI tract and high levels have been found in people with higher rates of colorectal cancer.

Incorporating one handful of walnuts daily could be beneficial for cardiac, GI, and colon health along with a healthy lifestyle and a well-balanced diet.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Minimize Vacation Weight Gain

Most summer vacations center around food and treats, which can pack on the pounds once you come back home. Studies show 61% of American adults gained weight while on vacation. Some gained as much as 7 pounds due to higher calorie intake, especially from alcohol. The average weight gain was 0.7 pounds, which is not too shocking, however the weight tended to stay on after returning home.

Weight creep is when people gain small amounts of weight over a long period of time. What might not seem like too much weight gain over vacation can add up after several years. Unless you weigh yourself regularly people don’t realize subtle weight gain is happening. Follow these tips to minimize vacation weight gain this summer:
  • Weigh yourself before and after vacation 
  • Go hiking, swim, plan physical activities, and exercise during your trip 
  • Pack healthy snacks and sandwiches in a cooler for road trips 
  • Don’t load up at breakfast, instead set the tone for the rest of the day by practicing portion control 
  • Pick healthy menu items at restaurants such as baked poultry, fish, salads, and vegetable based dishes 
  • Treat yourself in moderation, but not every day 
  • Enjoy small portions and eat slowly 
  • Order wisely from the bar, fruity drinks can have over 500 calories. Stick with wine, light beer, white wine spritzers, vodka soda, and champagne.

Healthy Travel Snacks
Baby Carrots
Dried Apricots
Rice Cakes & Nut Butter
Sunflower Seeds
Roasted Chickpeas
Sugar Snap Peas
100 Calorie Nuts