Tag Archives: health and nutrition

3 Ways to Make the Most of Summer Produce

Photo Courtesy: Statepoint
Always clean fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides, wax and soil.

By Statepoint

Summer can be all too fleeting, but one of the best ways to ensure you make the most of the season is by enjoying the generous harvest of fruits and vegetables it brings.

Here are three simple ways to make the most of summer produce:

Get Produce at Its Peak

Produce tastes best when enjoyed during its peak season. Before shopping, check produce guides to see what’s at its peak near you. A few easy ways to be sure you’re getting the cream of the crop are to join a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) group, visit a farmer’s market and to simply look for the local label at your supermarket. In a culinary rut? Because CSA members don’t always have the option of selecting the exact items they receive, a subscription is a particularly good idea for those with adventurous spirits looking to expand their horizons.

Be Safe

In your efforts to feed your family nutritious produce this summer, be mindful that many fruits and vegetables contain contaminants like pesticides, wax and soil on their outer layer. While independent studies show that washing produce with water or bleach solution still leaves behind large traces of pesticides, there is now a better way to protect your family.

With just a spray and rinse, Arm & Hammer’s Fruit & Vegetable Wash safely eliminates more than 90 percent of residue from the commonly used pesticide thiabendazole, when used as directed — four times better than water alone. Made with pure and simple ingredients like Arm & Hammer baking soda, water, salt and lemon oil; and free of harsh chemicals, it’s easy to stock your kitchen with it and make it a part of meal prep. For more information, as well as cleaning tips, visit armandhammercleans.com.

Use it Up

Don’t let any produce go to waste. Here are five fun uses for fruit and vegetables:

• Fruit popsicles: Chop fruit into small chunks and mix with juice and even a bit of honey. Pour the mixture into a popsicle mold and freeze. You’ll have a delicious, healthful snack for later.

• Fruit or veggie kebabs: The grill is not just for burgers and dogs. Make veggie skewers using mushrooms, zucchini, green peppers and onions. For a light dessert, grill pears and peaches to be eaten on their own or topped with a bit of ice cream.

• Pesto: Go beyond the classic basil recipe to get creative with your pesto sauces. From cilantro to spinach to mint, many of summer’s richest green herbs and vegetables make great stand-ins.

• Cold soups: The weather may be hot, but that doesn’t mean you need to put soup on the back burner — or any burner at all. From gazpacho to borscht served chilled, you can cool down with soup this summer.

• Preserves: Certain fruits — such as strawberries — can technically be found any time of year, but are absolutely unparalleled in summer. Capture that magic for the months ahead by turning your favorite fruits into jams.

Mustard Crusted Cod

By Hello Fresh

 

Cooking Time: 35 mins.

Servings: 4

Nutrition: 460 Calories

Ingredients:

Oil- 2 Tbsp

Butter- 2  Tbsp

Fingerling Potatoes- 24 oz.

Broccoli Florets- 16 oz.

Dill – ¼ oz.

Parsley – ¼ oz.

Garlic – 4 Cloves

Lemon – 2

Panko Breadcrumbs – ½ cup

Cod – 24 oz.

Dijon Mustard – 4 tsp.

  1. Preheat and Prep. Wash and dry all produce. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Pick fronds from dill and discard stems. Finely chop fronds until you have 1 TBSP. Finely chop parsley. Mince or grate garlic. Zest lemon until you have ½ tsp zest, then cut into wedges.
  2. Boil Potatoes. Place potatoes in a medium pot with a pinch of salt and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are easily pierced by a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain, then return to pot.
  3. Roast broccoli. Meanwhile, toss broccoli florets ona baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in oven until beginning to turn bright green, about 5 minutes (we’ll be adding more items to the sheet later).
  4. Make crust and prep cod. In a small bowl, combine parsley, lemon zest, panko, half the garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Pat cod dry with a paper towel, then brush fillets with a drizzle of olive oil. Season all over with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast Fish. After broccoli has roasted 5 minutes, remove sheet from oven. Give broccoli a toss and push toward one side. Place cod on other side of sheet. Brush a thin layer of mustard onto tops of fillets, then press crust mixture into mustard. Return sheet to oven and cook until broccoli is tender and cod is cooked through and flakes easily, 8-10 minutes.
  1. Finish and plate. Add 1 TBSP butter, remaining garlic, and dill to pot with potatoes.

Heat over medium heat and toss until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Divide potatoes, broccoli, and cod between plates. Serve withlemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.

 

Living in Calorie-fornia!

By Clark’s Nutrition, C Doussett MPH, RDN

Living in a state that has such an abundance of cities with health-food stores and healthful chain stores offers a unique advantage for the health-conscious individual.  For the simple reason that our environment has as much to do with our ability to succeed as learned habits and our resources. Many organizations, businesses, and educational institutions have wellness policies that dictate steps and policies aimed at promoting wellness, preventing injury, and creating an environment where healthy choices are easy choices. As important as it is for companies and institutions to keep their constituents healthy, it is imperative to establish a personal wellness policy that is consistent with ones goals, resources, and skill set. One of the most important reasons for doing so is to avoid the twin pillars of non-communicable diseases, obesity and diabetes. So prevalent are these two scourges that many cancer researchers are now echoing the sentiments of cardiologists everywhere that the obesity and diabetes epidemic can potentially undo fifty years of progress and disease mitigation.

Type II Diabetes and problems with blood sugar control affect 1/10th or nearly 30 million people in the U.S. Overweight individuals in this country make up 70% of the population and obese individuals are at an all-time high of 38%. This is a serious issue that is multifactorial in nature and in solution. Type II diabetes is also associated with an increase in sickness and death, including blindness, heart disease, obesity, nerve damage, and amputations. Type II Diabetes manifests itself when an individual’s body can no longer control the level of blood sugar due to the constant intake of simplified sugars and fiber-less meals. The amount, type, and frequency of sugar will have a very large outcome as to the effects on the body. In addition, exercise has a major role in glucose metabolism and exercising regularly is an excellent way to maintain proper glucose levels.

Research has shown that diets that include fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains, and a well thought out exercise program can reduce the undesirable side effects associated with type II diabetes.

  • Nuts and legumes, beans are the magical fruit (tons of minerals and complex carbs)
  • Whole grains (if tolerated) such as oats, wheat, rye, and barley (sorry, not the malted kind)
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables (as much as possible) but watch for too much of the high sugar fruits like grapes, watermelon, and pineapple and be sure to emphasize variety. Start meal planning around vegetables and the protein and fat will follow
  • Fish, chicken, and soy protein
  • Low or whole fat dairy products
  • Water and unsweetened tea
  • Fiber , fiber, fiber, females need up to 25 grams/daily and males should get 40 grams
  • Add exercise- thirty minutes a day (all at once or in intervals) five to seven days a week.

Start slow, having a group or partner to work with increases the likelihood of compliance and safety.  Focus on strength movements, cardiovascular fitness, and articular flexibility. Everyone will have a different level of performance but it is important to emphasize strength, flexibility, cardiovascular competence, and endurance. Change will come gradually and will eventually become a habit instead of a goal. Ask a nutritional consultant about more ways to make lasting changes to your lifestyle and how to take advantage of your environment.

 

Ask Clark’s

“I have heard a lot about Turmeric. What is Turmeric and why is it so popular?”  – A question from an anonymous reader 

By Clark’s Nutrition "ask clarks" header

Turmeric (botanical name: Curcuma longa) is a member of the ginger family. In fact if you look at fresh turmeric in the stores it resembles the look of ginger but with a deep yellow-orange color to it. Turmeric is grown in India, China, Indonesia and other tropical countries and has been a cultivated product since 3000B.C. Most Turmeric is cured, boiled, cleaned, sun-dried and then ground up into a powder form.

Turmeric is one of the major ingredients found in curry and is used as a food color in many other products.  Turmeric is also a venerated herb of the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia.  Turmeric is used in the Ayurvedic and Chinese systems of medicine to help fight inflammation, flatulence and menstrual difficulties to name a few. Current popularity has centered on the anti-inflammatory benefits. Turmeric’s ability to have anti-inflammatory possibilities surrounds the yellow pigment called curcumanoid. Many scientific studies have compared curcumin to over the counter and prescription anti-inflammatory substances.

A few of the issues that came out these studies were that the use of Turmeric could improve the ability to fight morning stiffness, help increase walking times and reduce joint swelling and that Turmeric was comparable to ibuprofen (400mg of extracted turmeric to 400mg of ibuprofen). Curcumin’s also having a powerful anti-oxidant effect protecting the body from free radicals. There have been numerous studies with Turmeric and cancer cells in test tube situations. Promising results of the test-tube research has encouraged more human clinical studies and research on this subject.

Please remember that using Turmeric is not a cure for cancer. Many companies that process Turmeric products often will indicate the amount or percentage of curcumanoid’s and may indicate a better process to increase the absorption with their products. So this will cause a little confusion when looking to a product of choice. Spend time reading labels while making an informed choice on a capsule of extracted product. One last note; Turmeric can and will stain clothes, tables, rugs, etc so don’t spill it on the floor or forget capsules in pockets before washing.

 

References:

  1. A novelcurcumin derivative which inhibits P-glycoprotein, arrests cell cycle and induces apoptosis in multidrug resistance cells.Lopes-Rodrigues V, Oliveira A, Correia-da-Silva M, Pinto M, Lima RT, Sousa E, Vasconcelos MH.Bioorg Med Chem. 2016 Nov 19. pii: S0968-0896(16)31189-0. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2016.11.023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27908756
  2. Curcuminsuppresses colon cancer cell invasion via AMPK-induced inhibition of NF-κB, uPA activator and MMP9.Tong W, Wang Q, Sun D, Suo J.Oncol Lett. 2016 Nov;12(5):4139-4146.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27895783
  3. Cucurmin; Anticancer and Antitumor Perspectives – A Comprehensive Review.Imran M, Saeed F, Nadeem M, Arshad MU, Ullah A, Suleria HA.Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Nov 22:0. [Epub ahead of print]PMID:27874279https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27874279
  4. Curcumalonga extract reduces inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers in osteoarthritis of knee: a four-month, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.Srivastava S, Saksena AK, Khattri S, Kumar S, Dagur RS.Inflammopharmacology. 2016 Dec;24(6):377-388.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27761693
  5. Murray N.D., Healing with Foods, Atria Books New York NY. 2005. Pg 521-4.

 

Ask Clark’s

“What are antioxidants and how do they help the "ask clarks" headerbody? Can I get them in my foods?

A Question from Tim of Palm Desert

By CLARK’S NUTRITION

The body’s primary antioxidants are a group of substances including vitamins C and E, beta carotene and the mineral selenium. The sulfur amino acid called cysteine; lipoic acid and CoQ10 are also popular antioxidants. Other plant, non-vitamin or mineral food antioxidants are called phytonutrients. Popular phytonutrients antioxidants such as lycopene (tomato), lutein (spinach and egg yolks), catechins (green tea, dates), anthocyanidns (berries), quercetin (apples, onions) make eating fruits and vegetables daily a must for good health. Vitamin E is found in foods that are high in polyunsaturated fats (although most polyunsaturated fats are refined and there is a lack of vitamin E), such as nuts, seeds and whole grains. Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables that are fresh or frozen and not cooked. While phytonutrient antioxidants come from eating fruits and vegetables, the biggest thing to remember is antioxidants help each other. As an example, some antioxidants often have certain areas in the body that they are more effective in helping to maintain good health, such as lutein (eyes). Large amounts of antioxidants are not as beneficial as smaller consistent amounts with a wide variety of antioxidants being the most advantages. To get a good array of antioxidants from foods, you will need to make sure that your diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.

The primary action of antioxidants is to reduce cell damage from what is known as free radicals. Free radicals are created when there is an unbalance of electrons on molecules such as oxygen. Normal metabolism of foods and exercise can produce indigenous (inside the body) free radicals. Free radical exposure also happens when we get sunlight (oxidizing radiation) and exposure to environmental toxins such as smoke (cigarette directly or second hand) or smog (exogenous).

A lot of research has been done with antioxidants in relation to health and disease. Research shows that a lack of antioxidants from foods can lead to accelerated disease in some situations and is linked to chronic inflammation. (The Linus Pauling Institute of Medicine at Oregon State University is a primary research institute for micronutrients and human health). While food fortification was instilled circa 1940 to eliminate vitamin deficiencies, vitamin deficiencies are still prevalent (vitamin D, B-12, and calcium amongst the elderly).  It is important to eat good quality whole foods and not rely on processed foods which are typically low in antioxidants and other nutrients, even when fortified. Remember the body needs 45 micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that are necessary for life and must be provided by the diet. Antioxidant supplementation has been shown in some circumstances to have good benefits (daily vitamin E 100-400 IU, vitamin C 250mg, beta carotene 6 mg and selenium 70-200mcg in supplemental form) have been shown to reduce age related eye disorders. Remember eating color is one way to ensure phytonutrients(s) consumption and is a foundation in any antioxidant plan.

 

Have a health related question?

Send us your question, your first and last name, and the city you live in to: askclarks@clarksnutrition.com

Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.

 

References

  1. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/feature-story/linus-pauling-institute-director-steps-down
  2. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/feature-story/linus-pauling-institute-director-steps-down
  3. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/feature-story/early-stage-breast-cancer-slowed
  4. Talbott, The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins New York, NY. 2007. Pg. 272-5.
  5.  Sardesai, Introduction to Clinical Nutrition, Marcel Dekker, Inc. New York, NY. PG 157-162.
  6. Zimmerman, Burgerstein’s Handbook of Nutrition (Micronutrients in the Prevention and Therapy of Disease), Thieme New York, NY 2001, pg. 2-7, 29-32, 53-8.
  7. Higdon Ph.D., an Evidence Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals. Thieme New York, NY. 2003. Pg. Forward, 39-47, 65-71.

 

 

 

Ask Clark’s

“What can I do to age well?” – a letter from Jim of Corona

By Clark’s Nutrition  "ask clarks" header

It is best said by Reebok “a body in motion stays in motion”.   Activation of muscle is the most important feature for keeping healthy and abundant muscle tissue on the body. Why is muscle tissue so important? Muscle tissue has some interesting features including providing protein reservoir (amino acids) for synthesis of vital tissue including organs like your liver, heart and kidneys. Furthermore, altered muscle metabolism plays a key role in the genesis and prevention of many common chronic diseases. Disease prevention includes but is not limited to; a reduction in mortality, heart disease-stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes II, bone density loss (osteoporosis), some cancers (breast, colon) and dementia (Alzheimer’s).

As we age, our bodies experience a progressive loss of skeletal muscle and a decrease in physical function, with an inherent risk of disability and a poor quality of life. The age related loss of muscle mass and strength is called sarcopenia. Regular physical activity is one of the main non-pharmaceutical interventions for older people that are needed to help maintain muscle mass, strength, metabolic function and disease prevention. We must also remember that dietary considerations are a must to feed the muscles and for prevention of sarcopenia. Recently, dietary considerations have become a focus for researchers that are studying the preservation of muscle mass loss. A recent study, with 130 individuals with the average age of 80.3, was subjected to dietary supplementations with age appropriate training. Dietary interventions included additional protein (whey) 22 grams, 10 grams of essential amino acids (including 4 grams of Leucine), and 100 i.u. vitamin D. The end result showed 68% of individuals using dietary supplements become non-sarcopenic, while 100% of the placebo group had no reversal of sarcopenia and remained sarcopenic throughout the entire training program. Test results suggested adequate protein (supplied by the diet: having 100% of the RDA for protein) is not sufficient. While it is noted that additional studies have shown whey protein to be beneficial in growth and maintenance of muscle, some studies were inconclusive about whey and sarcopenia. These additional studies combined the use of whey, essential amino acids and vitamin D to augment whey on its own, proving additional amino acids with Leucine is sufficient to elicit growth. The addition of vitamin D stimulates gene expression (cellular growth) as well. Also increases in GH (growth hormone) and IGF-1 (insulin growth factor one) were seen in the supplementation with reduction in C – reactive protein and inflammation from the addition of vitamin D, which additionally provided growth potential.

The use of supplementation and working out has been a staple in the area of athletic performance, now it is time for the elderly to benefit.

Have a health related question?

Send us your question, your first and last name, and the city you live in to: askclarks@clarksnutrition.com

Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.

References:

  1. Health benefits of physical activity in older patients: a review T Vogel, PH Brechat, PM Leprêtre… – … journal of clinical …, 2009
  2. The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease1,2,3 Robert R Wolfe  2006 American Society for Clinical Nutrition  nutrition.org/content/84/3/475
  3. Mariangela Rondanelli,  Catherine Klersy, Gilles Terracol, Jacopo Talluri,Roberto Maugeri, Davide Guido, Milena A Faliva, Bruno S Solerte,Marisa Fioravanti, Henry Lukaski, and Simone Perna Whey protein, amino acids, and vitamin D supplementation with physical activity increases fat-free mass and strength, functionality, and quality of life and decreases inflammation in sarcopenic elderly Am J Clin Nutr 2016 103: 830-840;First published online February 10, 2016. nutrition.org/content/103/3/830
  4. [Health benefits and demerits of calcium nutrition or supplementation in older people].Shiraki M.Nihon Rinsho. 2015 Oct;73(10):1770-6. Japanes www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26536675
  5. [Effects of calcium and vitamin D supplementations on cardiovascular disease: review article].Guessous I, Bochud M.Rev Med Suisse. 2012 Jul 11;8(348):1458-63. Review. French. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22934474
  6. Higdon, Ph.D., An Evidence-Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals Thieme New York, NY. Pg 97-107.

 

 

 

Ask Clark’s

                                                                  "ask clarks" header

By Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market

Q: “What is gluten and is it bad for me?” – a letter from Melisssa of Loma Linda

A: Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat, rye, triticale and barley. A smaller protein found in gluten which is called gliadin is a “simple cereal protein” that can be problematic for some individuals as well. As for gluten being bad for you? This depends on whether or not you are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive. Individuals that are gluten sensitive or allergic may have moderate to severe reactions when consuming gluten. People with Celiac disease (called Celiac Sprue originally) are often the most concerned with gluten. Celiac, once considered to be rare is being better diagnosed which is leading to a larger numbers of individuals being identified as gluten intolerant. Celiac individuals are considered to be DNA-gene susceptible for gluten intolerance. Often identified early in life, Celiac is also diagnosed later in adolescence as well. Celiac individuals who consume gluten respond with an immune (T-cell) reaction to gluten. This effect causes lesions on the intestinal lining and malabsorption, preventing nutrients from getting into the body, and is often accompanied by pain and diarrhea. Prevalence of Celiac disease is about 1 in every 1000-3000 individuals. Other gluten complications exist as well. Gluten is also a commonly known allergen to the U.S. population. There are also non-Celiac gluten sensitive (NCGS) Individuals. These people have allergy response gluten sensitivity. Symptoms of digestive complications such as gas, bloating and diarrhea along with general symptoms often overlap and make it difficult to distinguish between Celiac and non-Celiac conditions.

The avoidance of wheat is becoming a little on the ‘vogue’ side lately as well. One thing to remember about wheat is that it is considered to be a great source of nutrients. Although wheat is not native to the Western Hemisphere more than 1/3 of the world’s population utilize wheat as a main dietary staple. Some individuals suggest that a lot of the wheat berries in use today in the US have gone through decades of selective changes, and that older wheat like spelt are much easier to digest. This would also include the gluten protein in them. Although considered to be an allergen alternative by some people, it is not for all. If you are sensitive to wheat, consider other grains such as amaranth and quinoa as an alternative. This would allow you to make sure you are getting the full range of nutrients that your body needs.

Have a health related question?

Send us your question, your first and last name, and the city you live in to: askclarks@clarksnutrition.com

Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.

 

Reference

  1. McCane Understanding Pathophysiology 4th ed., Mosby St Louis, MO, 2008 pg 992-4, 1144,
  2. Micheal Murray ND, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Atria Books New York, NY. 2005 , pg 333-64
  3. Micheal Murray N.D., The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine 3rd ed., Atra New York, NY. 2012 Pg 402-6

Ask Clark’s

“I have heard a lot about Resveratrol. What is it and what is it good for?”

A letter from Lisa of Chino Hills  "ask clarks" header

Resveratrol is a defense mechanism or organism produced by plants to prevent infections on the plant such as fungus. The main source of Resveratrol is grapes used to make wine and Japanese Knot weed. Varieties of grapes are called Labrusca and Muscatine a typically the most abundant in Resveratrol. Resveratrol is produced in the grape plant’s vines, roots, seeds, and stalks, but the skin of the grapes is the most abundant source of resveratrol.  Resveratrol is much more abundant in red wines because both the seeds and skins are used.  Conversely, white wines are prepared mainly from the juice.  It is noted that red wines vary considerably in Resveratrol content depending on length of time the skins are present during the fermentation process and climatic areas. Non-fermented grape juice has lower concentrations of resveratrol. Smaller amounts can be found in mulberries, peanuts and eucalyptus as well.

The popularity of Resveratrol developed primarily because of its benefits with cardiovascular support. Known actions of resveratrol include, but are not limited to: antioxidant, inhabitation of cholesterol synthesis, inhibition of atherosclerosis, reduced inflammation and promotion of vaseodialatioin. Human and animal studies indicate possible benefits of Resveratrol including reduced risk in certain types of cancers and heart disease. Although a lot of these studies are not double blind studies and they have no definitive conclusions, researchers are positive about the strong outcomes and positive benefits of resveratrol research that is currently taking place.

The benefits of Resveratrol have been seen using a supplemental form as well. Dietary supplements can obtain resveratrol from the Japanese knotweed plant (Polygonium cuspidatum) as well as grapes. Many individuals like the supplemental form the best because of the disadvantages of wine consumption. Although one to two glasses of wine a day (5-6 oz) are considered to be healthy for adults, many end up drinking more than what is ‘healthy’, making wine a possible deterrent when not consumed properly. While alcohol consumption for resveratrol is not always optimal, supplemental forms have shown benefits. There are many studies for supplemental forms with positive results. It is noted these are preliminary studies and some are vitro (test tube) studies and more conclusive studies are on the horizon. Consumption of resveratrol from foods and supplements has shown great health benefits. It is always a good reminder to note that resveratrol is a colorful compound. Foods that have color also have healthy benefits. Remember to eat fresh fruits and vegetables for color and health benefits.

Have a health related question?

Send us your question, your first and last name, and the city you live in to: askclarks@clarksnutrition.com

Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.

What Is A Superfood?

Courtesy of Michael Clarks-Header-WEBBarnett of Clarks Nutriton  

Superfood is “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being, increasing health and vitality,” according to the Oxford Dictionary. With this definition it might be possible that a lot of foods are Superfoods. The reason for the ‘super’ foods label is because of the benefits some foods provided                                                                              to health.

For example, cod liver oil is considered to be a super food. During the mid-1900’s cod liver oil was used to support immunity, joint, and cardiovascular disorders.  Cod liver oil is abundant in vitamins A & D and high in Omega-3, an essential fatty acid.   Cod liver oil is an example of a nutrient rich food that might provide benefits for individuals not consuming these nutrients, ultimately filling a gap in diet.

  • Vitamin A is essential for cell and bone growth, and eye function. According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), vitamin A has proven to be beneficial in the prevention of infectious diseases such as Measles in developing countries.
  • Vitamin D also plays a significant role in supporting healthy immune function.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids not only help regulate inflammation and aid in cardiovascular health, they also play a significant role in maintaining proper brain function, as well as several other critical functions in the human body.

One of the more popular Superfoods currently is “greens.” Green powders come in all varieties, but are mainly comprised of fruit and vegetable extracts.  Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients including vitamins and minerals.  More importantly, fruits and vegetables have an array of color. Often times color is attributed to phytonutrients, which are pigments that provide health benefits as well.  An example of a phytonutrient can be seen in lycopene.

Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes and watermelon red. Lycopene acts as an antioxidant in the skin and aids in protecting against breast and prostate cancers.  Because of its lycopene dense nature, tomatoes can be considered a Superfood. Most fruits and vegetables have great protective factors for your health.

Having a diet rich in whole foods is the best approach to getting today’s Superfoods. Whole foods include fruits and vegetables (not pealed or skinned), whole unrefined grains, nuts, seeds, beans-legumes, lean grass fed beef, free range hen eggs, chicken, and fish.

Try to avoid processed foods and simple refined sugars and high saturated fat diets. Those individuals with plant based diets rich in Superfoods tend to be less susceptible to disease.  So you may consider making plant based diets the focus.

Have a health related question?

Send us your question, your first and last name, and city you live in to: askclarks@clarksnutrition.com

Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.

Welcome 2015: New Year, New You!

By K.P. Sander

fruits-and-vegetables          SGV – The countdown for the New Year has come and gone. Did you make that annual resolution – again – to get in the best shape of your life? Is this the year you are really going to become healthy (lose weight, look younger, be happier)?

It’s no mystery that there is some happiness associated with looking and feeling better. When you are full of vim and vigor, there is a spring in your step and you actually have the energy and drive to accomplish more at home, work and play. And, there’s not a darn thing wrong with feeling good about yourself.

Statistics show that not everyone is equipped to go cold turkey and completely transform their lives with a drastic change in eating and exercise habits; sometimes the most successful results in becoming healthy appear by just making a few changes.

What if you added ten foods that had amazing health benefits to your diet instead of eliminating every single thing you found delicious? What if you vowed to stop eating just one food per month that you knew was damaging (like, if it dyes your fingers orange, what is it doing to your insides…just sayin’)? At the end of the year, that’s 22 choices you’ve made to become healthier.

Rather than train for a marathon – unless you are totally up for it – what if you promised to walk three times each week, for 30 minutes, no matter what? With each season change you could add one more day of something fun, like biking, skating, weight training or a dance class to keep things interesting.

To help get you started, these are the ten healthiest foods on the planet, according to Fitness Magazine:

  1. Lemons – Just one has more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements, and flavonoids that help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce inflammation. Squeeze one into a cup of hot water daily, and help your liver do its job better.
  2. Broccoli – Beautiful broccoli helps give cancer the boot, with one stalk containing more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirements, and nearly 200 percent of the recommended vitamin C.
  3. Dark Chocolate – ¼ ounce daily can help to reduce blood pressure, and cocoa power is rich in antioxidants shown to help reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels. No, a Snickers bar doesn’t count.
  4. Potatoes – One red potato contains enough cell-building folate as a cup of spinach or broccoli. A sweet potato has eight times the amount of cancer-fighting vitamin A that you need daily. Try to skip the butter and sour cream; it sort of defeats the purpose.
  5. Salmon – Wild, Alaskan fish from pristine cold waters can help to fight depression, heart disease and cancer, and with strong components of niacin it can help fight Alzheimer’s and memory loss.
  6. Walnuts – Delicious walnuts contain more omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut, which have been shown to fight cancer and improve moods. It’s not a coincidence that these little gems look like a brain.
  7. Avocados – This healthy fat can lower cholesterol by 22 percent, and has nearly half the fiber and folate requirements you need each day.
  8. Garlic – This powerful disease fighter can inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E. coli, and has properties that work as an anti-inflammatory to help lower cholesterol and blood-pressure.
  9. Spinach – This cancer-fighting power house contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two immune-boosting antioxidants important for eye health.
  10. Beans – Eating legumes four times per week is said to lower your risk for heart disease by as much as 22 percent.

All these foods can become a delicious part of your nutrition plan, and help to improve your health. Throw them all into a salad with a lemon vinaigrette and a square of dark chocolate for dessert, and you might be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or just feel pretty good about yourself. As a bonus, drink a lot of pure, clean water, eat organic produce whenever possible, and get your heart rate up on a regular basis. This will definitely help make for a new year, new you. Cheers!

Pomona: Pumpkin Patches Bring Nutrition To PUSD

BY JULIETTE FUNES

pusd-pumpkin-patch-allison

Allison Elementary School students explore pumpkin patches and learn about nutrition during a Pomona Unified Food and Nutrition Services outreach event on Oct. 28. (Photo Courtesy: Pomona Unified School District)

Pomona – In an effort to promote healthy eating and nutrition, Pomona Unified’s Food and Nutrition Services Division recently created pumpkin patches at Lincoln and Allison elementary schools, where students explored the setup and picked their own personal-sized pumpkin.

As part of the District’s Food and Nutrition Services Division’s nutritional outreach program, students were provided take-home packets that contained nutritional information, recipes and classroom projects. Lincoln Elementary School held its pumpkin patch event on Oct. 27, while Allison Elementary School held its event the next day.

“Between the two schools, more than 900 students participated in each pumpkin patch event, allowing some of our youngest learners to combine education and nutrition with classroom exploration,” said Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Daryl Hickey. “I want to thank our Food and Nutrition Services Department for sponsoring the interactive activity and guiding our students on how to eat healthier meals.”

Classrooms took turns visiting the display, which was decorated with bales of hay and corn stalks, as well as giant sized pumpkins. Students learned about harvest time, health and nutrition, and were able to take pictures.

In addition to the pumpkin patches, Food and Nutrition Services provided each classroom with its own pumpkin and every student with a miniature pumpkin of their own. The staff was also on campus to guide the students’ visit and provide them with additional health and wellness information and resources.

“Pomona Unified is committed to implementing strong school meal and nutrition education programs because of their impact on the improvement of our students’ health and academic performance,” said Superintendent Richard Martinez. “The dedication of our Food and Nutrition Services staff helps our students not only eat healthier meals at school, but also develop a healthy lifestyle at home.”