March 30, 2015 by  
Filed under General

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Over 90 percent of food allergy is caused by 1 of “the big 8“. The big 8 refer to the big 8 allergens, which include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.

A study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine may be changing the way we look at introduction of peanuts in children. This study, conducted in England, set out to determine if giving peanuts to children before they turned age one would help them avoid an allergy to peanuts.

The kids selected for the study were between the age of 4 months and 11 months and were grouped into two groups: those who ate peanuts and those who avoided peanuts.

This study found that the kids who ate peanuts before age one were much less likely to develop a peanut allergy than those who avoided eating them before they turned one. When the kids turned five only 3.2% of kids who ate peanuts had developed an allergy and 17.2% of kids who did not have peanuts developed an allergy.

In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that there is no conclusive evidence to support avoiding peanut containing foods beyond 4-6 months of age to help stave off allergies. They have not, however, come out and actually recommended that parents feed their kids peanut-containing foods at early stages.

This study gives reason to believe that it may be better to introduce possible allergens to children at an earlier age in order to help children from developing allergies.

More research is needed to provide useful advice regarding this issue, but introducing new foods at a younger age could help protect children when they get older.

In light of this study, it is important to keetp in mind that peanuts and peanut butter are choking hazards for young children, especially for kids under one year of age. For more information on food allergy, check out the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) website.

Special thanks to dietetic intern Andrea Fitzgerald for her assistance with this post.

NNM: Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle

March 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, General, Holidays

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March is National Nutrition Month (NNM) and this year the theme is Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle.

The goal of NNM is to incorporate food choices and physical activity that promote consumption of fewer calories, make informed food choices about food, and exercise daily to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Some tips to put into practice this NNM include:

  • Fill half of your plate with variety of colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal
  • When you eat grains, make half of them whole, including quinoa, oats, and whole wheat
  • Choose lean protein meats and poultry (or other protein sources like beans, peas, eggs, nuts and seeds)
  • If you consume dairy, try lowfat or nonfat versions of your favorites
  • Limit foods that contain added sugars, fats, and salt
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day (adults and children should exercise for 60 minutes each day)

A Registered Dietitian can help provide simple, fun, and nutritious information.

Registered Dietitians (RD or RDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) are food and nutrition experts who practice evidence-based nutrition information making them a reliable source for your health. They work in a wide variety of settings revolving around food including but not limited to hospitals, corporations, foodservice, education, food and nutrition promotion, and research.

To become an RD/RDN a person must:

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a US regionally accredited university whose coursework is approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Complete 1200 hours of an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program in a health-care facility, community agency, and foodservice corporation.
  • Pass the RD/RDN national exam
  • Continue to complete professional education requirements.

You can find a Registered Dietitian in your area to help you with your food and nutrition goals by clicking here.

To learn more about becoming a Registered Dietitian visit: http://www.eatrightpro.org/resources/career/become-an-rdn-or-dtr and have a happy and healthy National Nutrition Month!

 

Spring Cleaning Your Refrigerator

March 20, 2015 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Usher in the spring season with a spring cleaning of your refrigerator!

A few simple, easy kitchen steps – wash, seperate, cook, and refrigerate – go along way in keeping our families safe and free from food borne illnesses.

But, did you know that mold, bacteria, and spills in the refrigerator can put you and your family at risk? Maintaining a clean refrigerator is just as important as cooking food to the proper temperature or keeping your ready-to-eat foods separate from raw meats.

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Here are a few simple refrigerator cleaning tips:

  • Clean refrigerator spills immediately, especially those from raw meat juices. Hint: Defrost meats in a covered container on the bottom shelf to reduce spills.
  • Wash the inside of your refrigerator with a clean sponge and warm soapy water, rinse with clean water, and dry with a clean cloth. Don’t skip the shelves and drawers!
  • Regularly clean the refrigerator and freezer handles – they are touched the most.
  • Place an opened box of baking soda in the back of the refrigerator to combat odors. Hint: Swap the box every 3 months.
  • Dust the front grill to allow free airflow to the condenser for best cooling and efficiency.
  • Unplug the refrigerator and clean the condenser coils with a brush or vacuum.

Sorting through foods each week is also an important step in maintaining a clean refrigerator and preventing food borne illnesses. Check the expiration dates, and dispose of expired, rotten, or spoiled food. When in doubt, throw it out!

While it’s important to regularly clean your refrigerator, many of us put off washing the inside, dusting the front grill, and cleaning the condenser coils. This Spring make cleaning your refrigerator a priority!

For more information check out the How Clean Is Your Refrigerator? article, where you can also find helpful links to the refrigerator safety inspection and refrigerator organization video. Happy Spring Cleaning!

Special thanks to dietetic student Briana Rodriquez for her contributions to this post.

Dishing on the Dirty Dozen

When shopping for fruits and vegetables, it is nearly impossible not to feel good knowing that you are purchasing products that will supply you and your family with vital nutrients.

But what about organic produce – is it really better for you than conventional fruits and vegetables? From an environmental standpoint, there’s no question – if you can eat organic, than do.

Nutritionally, organic foods are not significantly more nutritious (or less nutritious) than their conventional counterparts.

So what should you do if you want to eat organic, but can’t afford to do it full time? Check out the Dirty Dozen!

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Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

The data is based on samples collected throughout the year that assess pesticide levels in produce. The produce is collected in measures that represent typical intakes, meaning produce is washed and if necessary, peeled.

Here’s the rundown on this year’s Dirty Dozen – purchase these items organic whenever possible to reduce exposure to pesticides:

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas- imported
  • Potatoes

In contrast to the Dirty Dozen, the Clean 15 list rounds out the non-organic version of fruits and vegetables with low pesticide levels.

The Clean 15 list for 2015 includes:

  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas – frozen
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potatoes

 

Even though the thought of consuming pesticides is alarming it is still important to consume your fruits and vegetables. The health benefits of these products far outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. These are merely tips to reduce the exposure even further.

For more information check out the 2015 EWG report here: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/index.php

Special thanks to dietetic student Briana Rodriquez for her contributions to this post.

2015 Dietary Guidelines – Coming Down the Pipe

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The Dietary Guidelines are revised every 5 years and provide guidance for Americans on evidence-based recommendations for diet and nutrition. These recommendations are set for people age 2 and older, and include persons with increased risk of chronic disease.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee provided their recommendation report last week for the 2015 version of the guidelines. The committee has recommended moving away from nutrient-based recommendations (i.e., eat less sodium, eat more potassium) and towards food-based recommendations such as eat more plant foods.

When it comes to dietary cholesterol, the committee has recommended the government step back from upper limits on cholesterol intake, as research has shown that the type of fat plays a bigger role on heart disease risk than total fat or cholesterol intake.

Furthermore, drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day does not appear to increase chronic disease risk and in some cases may even be protective.

The full and finalized 2015 Dietary Guidelines are set to publish later this year. In the meantime, the public can comment on the committee’s advisory report here. For more information the Dietary Advisory Committee report can be found: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/.

Special thanks to dietetic student Briana Rodriquez for her contributions to this post.