ask the nutritionist: probiotics

Whenever anyone asks me what vitamins or supplements they should take, most of the time I always answer with probiotics.

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What are Probiotics? 

  • live microorganisms (aka good bacteria!)

 

Benefits of Probiotics: 

  • can help with digestion and nutrient absorption
  • can help immune function
  • can treat diarrhea
  • prevent and treat yeast and urinary infections
  • treat irritable bowel syndrome
  • prevent and treat eczema in children
  • prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu

 

How can we add them into our diets? 

  • supplements
  • kefir
  • probiotic drinks
  • yogurt
  • miso
  • fermented foods like kombucha, saurkraut, kimchee, etc.
Do you make sure you are getting probiotics? 
I’ve been a huge believer in probiotics for the last few years and I must say, I think it helped with some digestive issues I had always had. When I travel to Haiti or have been on antibiotics, I take more!  I take a supplement on a daily basis as well as consume foods fermented foods and yogurt. 

ask the nutritionist: omega 3 fatty acids

Lucky you – two Ask the Nutritionist posts in the same week! You can go into the Holiday Weekend feeling really healthy! ;) {This post on Omega 3′s is sponsored by Eggland’s Best}

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are prevelant enough that you have probably heard of them and you probably know that you should be consuming them but you may not know why or where to even start! Omega 3′s (aka a good fat) are very important to our health for a number of reasons and because our bodies can’t produce these types of fats on its own, it is imperative that we get them through our diets.

Why we Need Omega 3′s:

  • it can lower lipid levels (triglycerides and cholesterol)
  • it is anti-inflammatory
  • it can reduce risk of heart disease and stroke
  • thought to help with depression
  • want to aim for about 2,000- 4,000 mg/day
  • ideally we would have a ratio close to 1:1 (omega 3 to omega 6) but Western diets typically have a ratio of up to 1:30

Where can we get Omega 3′s from?

  • Seeds & Nuts: flax, hemp, walnuts
  • Fish: salmon, sardines
  • Fortified foods: milk, eggs, peanut butter, orange juice, chocolate
  • Eggs: Eggland’s Best eggs contain 115 mg Omega 3′s – average eggs contain 49 mg
  • Supplements: EPA & DHA fish oil are most common 

Sources: flax, egg, supplement, peanut butter, fish

Delicious ways to incorporate Omega 3′s into your diet:

Omega-3 Breakfast Bowl: Add an egg while cooking oatmeal ala Custard Oats. Top with flaxseed, walnuts and brown sugar.

Smoked Salmon Scramble: 2 eggs + 1 servings smoked salmon + chives

Omega-3 Salad: butter lettuce + steamed asparagus + hard boiled egg + canned sardines + hemp seeds + dressing made with flax oil

What are your favorite ways to get in Omega 3′s?

ask the nutritionist: shopping for cereal

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I am admittedly really picky when it comes to picking out cereal.

I really don’t like starting my morning with a bowl of sugar – especially when it leaves me hungry an hour or two later. But there are times throughout the summer when cereal is easy, cold and delicious. Like now. Thankfully there are some cereals out there that are good enough for my breakfast bowl, but they can be pretty hard to find.

Look for:

  • Whole Grains in the first few ingredients
  • No more than 5 grams of sugar per serving
  • At least 5 grams of protein per serving
  • At least 5 grams of fiber per serving
  • Decent serving size (ideally at least 3/4-1 cup)

 

Favorites:

  • Kashi Go Lean: excellent stats (13 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber), tastes great and actually fills me up
  • Uncle Sam’s Original: no sugar, excellent stats (7 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber) and perfect with yogurt
  • Peanut Butter Puffins: strictly a dessert cereal and SO good

 

How do you feel about cereal? Have a favorite or any recommendations for me?

ask the nutritionist: marathon nutrition II

I’m so glad you all enjoyed the last Marathon Nutrition post on Hydrating! It was great to hear from all the runners out there! :) This week it’s all about how and what to eat prior to your marathon (or other long, intense race).

Eating for a marathon can be hard to balance at times but with a few simple tips, you can be fueling for your running best!

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Week Before Marathon:

  • Time to start increasing carbohydrates a bit – you want carbohydrates to make up about 60-70%
  • If you have been trying to lose weight throughout your training – and not replacing all of the calories that you are burning off –  this is the time to increase calories a bit to ensure you are getting enough energy

Day Before Marathon and Day Of:

  • Continue to increase carbohydrates to about 60-70%
  • Decrease gassy foods
  • Eliminate anything that might cause an upset stomach (like dairy, greasy foods, etc.)
  • Eliminate alcohol
  • Eat meals you’ve eaten before throughout training! This is not the time to try something new!
  • Increase fluids so you go into the race hydrated
  • Breakfast should be about 200 grams of carbohydrates

During Marathon:

  • Eat high glucose food like gels, gatorade, etc. so that your body can use the fuel right away
  • Again, SO IMPORTANT to train with whatever you are going to use that dayso you know how your body handles it

After Marathon:

  • Important to have a meal/meals that include protein and carbohydrate after race
  • Continue to hydrate with water! (I think a lot of marathoners enjoy a drink after a race, anyone?)
  • I don’t know about you, but I would definitely treat myself for running that far! :)

Runners – what would you add?

Up Next:

  • Sample Meal Plan