Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Staying Mentally Healthy

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

To promote your mental health put these recommendations from Womenshealth.gov into action:

  • Perform physical exercise on a daily basis.
  • Follow a well balanced, nutrient-dense diet.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep on a regular nightly schedule.
  • Make a concerted effort to manage stress, both physical and emotional.
  • Take time every day to enjoy something that pleases and delights you.
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Nutrition Labeling

Monday, March 4th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has issued a fascinating press release entitled "Can Changes in Nutrition Labeling Help Consumers Make Better Food Choices?" The Academy’s statement, which will be of great interest to health-fitness professionals, follows:

The Nutrition Facts label was introduced 20 years ago and provides consumers with important information, including the serving size, the number of servings in the package, the number of calories per serving, and the amount of nutrients for each serving of a packaged food. However, research has shown that consumers often miscalculate the number of calories and the nutritional content of products that have two or more servings per container but are usually consumed in a single eating occasion.

Two nutrition labeling changes could have the potential to make nutritional content information easier to understand: 1) dual-column information that details single serving and total package nutrition information, and 2) declaring nutritional information for the entire container.

Amy M. Lando, MPP, and Serena C. Lo, PhD, of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, MD, conducted an online study with more than 9,000 participants to measure consumers’ accuracy in using modified versions of the Nutrition Facts label and to assess their perceptions of how useful, trustworthy and helpful the label was.

Says Ms. Lando, "FDA commissioned this experimental study to look at whether different ways of presenting the serving size and nutrition information on the Nutrition Facts label might help consumers. In particular we were interested in studying products that have two servings per container but that are customarily consumed in a single eating occasion."

Study participants evaluated nine modified Nutrition Facts labels and the current label format for four fictitious products (two frozen meals and two grab-and-go bags of chips). The labels were classified into three groups. The first group of labels used a single-column format to display information for products with two servings per container; the second group used versions of a dual-column format to display information for products with two servings per container; and the third group used single-column formats that listed the contents of the product as a single, large serving.

The study team also tested whether changes in formatting, such as enlarging the font size for the declaration of "Calories," removing the information on the number of calories for fat, or changing the wording for the serving size declaration, would be helpful to consumers in determining the calories and other nutrient information for a single serving and for the entire package.

Study investigators determined that participants could more accurately assess the number of calories or amount of fat or other nutrients per serving and in the entire package when a single, large serving per container or a dual-column format was used.

"This research is just one step in understanding how some potential food label modifications might help consumers make better decisions. Ideally, we would like to see how these labels perform in a more realistic setting, such as in a grocery store, with actual packaged foods as opposed to large labels on a computer screen," concludes Dr. Lo. "The Nutrition Facts label is only one tool that can help consumers make informed food choices and maintain healthy dietary practices, but it is a valuable tool so it’s important to continue exploring ways to support effective use of the label for these purposes."

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Must-Have Foods

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics urges people of all ages to follow a balanced, complete and nutrient-dense diet plan. However, it has also identified certain nutrients that seniors should take special care not to skip. They include dietary fiber, potassium, vitamins B-12 and D, calcium and the right kinds of fats. Fiber can be obtained from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B-12, which can also be found in lean meats, seafood and fish. Calcium and vitamin D come in fish, leafy greens, non-fat or low-fat diary foods and fortified products. Saturated fats and trans fats should be replaced with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. These hints may be particularly helpful to older adults with special nutritional needs.

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More About Diet

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Here’s an important news alert for Americans and Canadians, especially persons with high blood pressure. A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) revealed that international fast-food chains consistently put more salt in food items sold in the United States and Canada, compared to the same items when sold in other developed nations.

Researchers determined the salt content of major fast-fare restaurant items in the U.S., Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. The chains that were looked at in the study included Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. The types of foods that were studied included burgers, sandwiches, french fries, pizza, savory breakfast items, chicken items and salads.

Overall, the researchers learned that the sodium content of comparable food items varied greatly from country to country, but that fast-food in the U.S. and Canada contained a lot more sodium than that in France and the U.K. An example provided by a CMAJ news release illustrates the findings: In Canada, a 3-1/2 ounce serving of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets had 2-1/2 times more sodium than the same size serving in the U.K. That’s 600 milligrams of sodium, compared to 240 milligrams — or 1.5 grams of salt compared to 0.6 grams. In summary, fast-food giants are selling the same products on the American continent and overseas, but with significantly lower sodium content abroad.

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American Diabetes Association “Superfoods”

Friday, July 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The ADA recommends that persons with diabetes focus on nutrient-dense foods that have a low glycemic index. As recently reported by HealthDay, an affiliate of the National Institutes of Health, these ADA "superfoods" include:

  • Various types of beans (for example, pinto beans and kidney beans);
  • High-fiber citrus fruits (for example, lemons, oranges and grapefruit);
  • Berries;
  • Sweet potatoes;
  • Tomatoes;
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables (for example, spinach, kale and collard greens);
  • Nuts;
  • Whole grains;
  • Non-fat yogurt and milk;
  • Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon).
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    Super Thoughts

    Friday, July 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    These authors have entertaining thoughts to share — some serious, some humorus — on the topic of eating and on certain "superfoods" in particular:

    "Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity."

       — Voltaire

    "There is a lot more juice in grapefruit than meets the eye."

       — Author Unknown

    "It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato."

       — Lewis Grizzard

    "The colors of a fresh garden salad are so extraordinary, no painter’s pallet can duplicate nature’s artistry."

       — Dr. SunWolf, www.professorsunwolf.com

    "Hey yogurt, if you’re so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera?"

       — Attributed to Stephen Colbert

    "Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food."

       — Michael Pollan

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    Lean Forward

    Friday, June 22nd, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends looking for certain words on meat labels in order to purchase leaner cuts. Good-bet words include:

    • Round,
    • Loin, and
    • 95 percent lean.

    The academy also advises trimming off visible pieces of fat prior to cooking and then using cooking methods that minimize fat. These include:

    • Braising,
    • Stewing,
    • Stir-frying, and
    • Grilling.
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    Hold the Salt

    Thursday, May 17th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers these great ideas for tasty alternatives to salt when preparing recipes:

    • Flavorful vinegars such as balsamic vinegar;
    • Citrus fruit juices;
    • Chopped raw onions;
    • Chopped fresh garlic; and
    • Salt-free herbs and spices.
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    Social Overeating

    Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Two new studies explore the tendency to overeat in social situations. Researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, paired women who had not previously met and monitored them as they shared a meal together. The scientists were studying behavioral mimicry, in which a person unwittingly imitates the behavior of another. In this study, the women did mimic each other’s eating behavior virtually bite for bite, including taking bites at the same time. Both members of a pair were influenced by the other member, and the mimicry was stronger at the beginning of the meal, diminishing towards the end of the meal. Since the women were new acquaintances, researchers think they may have unintentionally observed each other’s eating behavior in order to establish a matching pattern, unconsciously seeking to facilitate the social connection. That could shed light on why the mimicry subsided as they got to know each other during the course of the meal.

    Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, found that "people pleasers" (persons who are sensitive to criticism, who put other people’s needs ahead of their own, and who worry about hurting other people’s feelings) tend to overeat in certain social situations. Each study volunteer was seated alone with an actor posing as just another study volunteer. The actor took a few pieces of candy from a bowl, then offered the candy bowl to the study volunteer. Being a people pleaser was associated with eating more candy. Lead author, psychologist Julie Exline, said, "People pleasers feel more intense pressure to eat when they believe that their eating will help another person feel more comfortable."

    Both of these studies serve as useful reminders to eat mindfully in social settings.

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    Tea Time

    Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    More and more, the potential health benefits of enjoying a cup of hot tea are coming to be recognized by the scientific community.Writing for the Monterey County Herald, Barbara Quinn recently discussed the topic:

    Green tea and black tea derive from the same Camellia sinensis plant. Health-promoting properties attributed to these types of tea include:

  • Staving off food cravings, which can be especially desirable between meals;
  • Discouraging bad breath by slowing the growth of bacteria in the mouth that can promote halitosis;
  • Warding off infections by doing battle with microrganisms that can cause illness;
  • Lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol, probably thanks to antioxidant substances contained in tea.

  • Although herbal teas are not considered traditional "tea" (since they come from plants other than the C. sinensis plant), they may offer protective benefits of their own:

  • Hibiscus tea appeared to lower blood pressure in clinical trial subjects who drank three cups per day over a six-week period;
  • Peppermint and chamomile teas may have infection-fighting abilities;
  • Peppermint tea boasts abundant, powerful antioxidants which might help to impede cancer growth.

  • Here is a quick tip for keeping your cup of tea delicious: Don’t squeeze your teabag into the tea, because squeezing the teabag liberates bitter tannins that will taint the flavor.

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