Category Archives: Nutrition

Prevent Osteoporosis!

Osteoporosis literally means ‘bones with holes’. It occurs when bones lose minerals such as calcium more quickly than the body can replace them. Bones become less dense, lose strength and break more easily.

Most people don’t realize they have osteoporosis until a fracture happens, as there are usually no signs or symptoms. This is why osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’.

Osteoporosis and bone growth

Bone is formed by specialized cells. It is constantly being broken down and renewed. It is living tissue that needs exercise to gain strength, similar to muscle. 

In the early years of life, more bone is made than is broken down, resulting in bone growth. By the end of your teens, bone growth has been completed and by about 25 to 30 years of age, peak bone mass is achieved.

Sex hormones, such as oestrogen and testosterone, have a fundamental role in maintaining bone strength. The fall in oestrogen that occurs during menopause results in accelerated bone loss. During the first five years after menopause, the average woman loses up to 10 per cent of total bone mass. 

Fractures of the spine caused by osteoporosis can lead to pain, loss of height and changes in posture, such as the ‘dowager’s hump’. This hump is caused when spinal fractures are compressed due to the force of gravity, resulting in an abnormal bending forward of the spine called kyphosis.

Symptoms & diagnosis of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis causes no specific pain or symptoms. However, it does increase the risk of serious or debilitating fractures. If you think you may be at risk of developing osteoporosis, see your doctor.

The most reliable way to diagnose osteoporosis is with a bone density scan which is usually done at the hip. Talk to your doctor about having this done.

Risk factors for osteoporosis

  • inadequate amounts of dietary calcium and vitamin D
  • cigarette smoking
  • alcohol intake of more than two standard drinks per day
  • caffeine intake of more than three cups of coffee or equivalent per day
  • long-term use of medication such as corticosteroids for rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other conditions.

Prevention of osteoporosis

From a young age you can take steps to prevent osteoporosis:

  • have a healthy and varied diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium rich foods
  • do regular weight-bearing and strength-training activities.

Calcium-rich diet and osteoporosis

Enjoying a healthy, balanced diet with a variety of foods and an adequate intake of calcium is a vital step to building and maintaining strong, healthy bones. If there is not enough calcium in the blood, your body will take calcium from your bones. Making sure you have enough calcium in your diet is an important way to preserve your bone density. 

It is recommended that the average Australian adult consumes 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Postmenopausal women and men aged over 70 years are recommended to have 1,300 mg of calcium per day. Children, depending on their age, will need up to 1,300 mg of calcium per day.

Dairy foods have the highest levels of calcium, but there are many other sources of calcium, including sardines, spinach and almonds. If you are unable to get enough calcium from your diet alone, you may need to talk to a health professional about calcium supplements.

Vitamin D and osteoporosis

Vitamin D and calcium promote bone density. Vitamin D is important because it helps your body absorb the calcium in your diet. We obtain most of our vitamin D from the sun, and there are recommendations for the amount of safe sun exposure for sufficient vitamin D production, depending on your skin type, geographical location in Australia and the season. 

Vitamin D can also be found in small quantities in foods such as: 

  • fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel)
  • liver
  • eggs
  • fortified foods such as low-fat milks and margarine.

For most people, it is unlikely that adequate quantities of vitamin D will be obtained through diet alone. Talk with your health professional about vitamin D supplements if you are concerned that you are not getting enough vitamin D.

Exercise to prevent osteoporosis

Weight-bearing exercise encourages bone density and improves balance so falls are reduced. It does not treat established osteoporosis. Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have been sedentary, are over 75 years of age or have a medical condition.

General recommendations include: 

  • Choose weight-bearing activities such as brisk walking, jogging, tennis, netball or dance. While non-weight-bearing exercises, such as swimming and cycling, are excellent for other health benefits, they do not promote bone growth.
  • Include some high-impact exercise into your routine, such as jumping and rope skipping. Consult your health professional – high-impact exercise may not be suitable if you have joint problems, another medical condition or are unfit.
  • Strength training (or resistance training) is also an important exercise for bone health. It involves resistance being applied to a muscle to develop and maintain muscular strength, muscular endurance and muscle mass. Importantly for osteoporosis prevention and management, strength training can maintain, or even improve, bone mineral density. Be guided by a health or fitness professional (such as an exercise physiologist) who can recommend specific exercises and techniques. 
  • Activities that promote muscle strength, balance and coordination – such as tai chiPilates and gentle yoga – are also important, as they can help to prevent falls by improving your balance, muscle strength and posture.
  • A mixture of weight-bearing and strength-training sessions throughout the week is ideal. Aim for 30 to 40 minutes, four to six times a week. Exercise for bone growth needs to be regular and have variety.

Lifestyle changes to protect against osteoporosis

Be guided by your doctor, but general recommendations for lifestyle changes may include: 

  • stop smoking – smokers have lower bone density than non-smokers
  • get some sun – exposure of some skin to the sun needs to occur on most days of the week to allow enough vitamin D production (but keep in mind the recommendations for sun exposure and skin cancer prevention)
  • drink alcohol in moderation, if at all – excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of osteoporosis. Drink no more than two standard drinks per day and have at least two alcohol-free days per week
  • limit caffeinated drinks – excessive caffeine can affect the amount of calcium that our body absorbs. Drink no more than two to three cups per day of cola, tea or coffee.

**Source: Better Health Channel

Over 50? Make Smart Nutrition Choices!

  • Want a simple recipe to help fight aging? The ingredients are easy to find. The right mix of nutrients, and regular exercise, will help you to feel and look your best.

When you eat right, you’ll help get your weight under control, keep your bones strong, and prevent heart disease. It’s all about making smart choices.

Nutrition Basics

Boost Calcium & Vitamin D: This means three to four 8-ounce servings of low-fat dairy every day. If you are lactose-intolerant, eat hard cheese, or yogurt, canned salmon, broccoli, and legumes. You can also eat or drink that have these nutrients added, such as orange juice. You could also take calcium supplements. Always seek your doctor’s advice, including a bloodwork analysis, before taking any supplements.

Eat More Fruits, Veggies, Whole Grains, & Legumes: These will give you plenty of disease-fighting antioxidants. Focus on variety every day, including vegetables with different colors.

Get Plenty of Fiber:  Good sources include legumes, whole wheat pasta, breads, and cereals, oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Take a Daily Multivitamin: It can fill gaps in your nutrition. Again, obtain your doctor’s advice to ensure you are taking a vitamin appropriate for you. at lean proteins. Try foods such as skinless chicken, fatty fish like salmon (with omega-3 fats), and vegetable protein, including soy.

Cut Down on Salt: Too much salt is linked to high blood pressure. The recently-published 2015 Dietary Guidelines once again remind everyone to limit salt to 2,300 milligrams a day.

Choose Fats Wisely: Avoid trans-fats and limit saturated fats, often included in butter, margarine, processed foods, desserts, and doughnuts. “Good fats” can be found in olive oil, and some, but not all, vegetable oils, as well as in foods, such as nuts and seeds, avocados, salmon, and tuna.

Curb the Sweets: Limit sugary drinks and desserts and sweetened dairy products. They can be loaded with calories and have little nutrition.

source: WebMD

7 Days of High Protein Fruit Smoothies

Links to purchase delicious Orgain Organic Protein Powder:

Vanilla Bean: https://www.amazon.com/Orgain-Organic-Protein-Powder-Vanilla/dp/B00J074W7Q/ref=sr_1_6?crid=2FCFX4YPLF1EL&keywords=orgain&qid=1647201716&rdc=1&sprefix=orgain%2Caps%2C71&sr=8-6

Creamy Chocolate Fudge: https://www.amazon.com/Orgain-Organic-Protein-Powder-Chocolate/dp/B00J074W94/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2FCFX4YPLF1EL&keywords=orgain&qid=1647201716&rdc=1&sprefix=orgain%2Caps%2C71&sr=8-5

Rosemary Balsamic Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes

Ingredients:

4 (~1/3 lb) skinless, boneless chicken cutlets (thin sliced)

2 teaspoons rosemary – fresh or dried (chopped or powder)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

 2 tablespoons olive oil

½ medium onion – chopped

2 cloves garlic – chopped

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cups grape tomatoes – cut in half

½ medium lemon (to squeeze for juice)

  • Sprinkle chicken with ½ teaspoon rosemary, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.  Heat olive oil in non-stick large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook just until browned and cooked through (approx. 3 minutes per side).  Transfer chicken to platter and cover to keep warm. 
  • Add onions and garlic to same skillet.  Cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened (about 2 minutes). 
  • Add balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, the remaining rosemary and salt, and squeeze in the juice from the lemon.  Continue to cook on medium heat until tomatoes are softened (about 3 minutes).  Put chicken back in skillet, along with any accumulated juice, and heat through. 

Too Busy to Eat Healthy?

Not so if you just follow these 6 time-saving, easy tips.

You’re super busy taking care of the house and kids, and you push yourself through that “To Do” list at work – just to get back home to take care of the house and kids.  So, planning your own meals and snacks gets pushed to the side most days.  But…a better, healthier diet can be just 6 easy steps away!

1) Make a quick, simple breakfast a habit

Don’t skip breakfast, as it is essential in giving you energy for your busy day!  Stock-up on items such as non-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, nuts, fresh and dried fruits, and powdered protein (vanilla and peanut butter are two favorite flavors).  You can quickly mix in a bowl, add cinnamon, and heat in the microwave.  Or, make a yogurt smoothie – either sweet with fresh fruit, or savory with veggies, such as spinach and salsa.

2) Easy snacking.

When that mid-morning or mid-afternoon lull hits, you can avoid the trip to the vending machine by having healthy options ready, such as nuts, carrots, grapes, raisins, whole-wheat crackers, or bananas.  Preparing snack size portions for the week only takes a few minutes and will keep you pushing through those never-ending work tasks. 

3)  Drink Water.

You may think a cup of coffee is what you need to keep up your fast pace, however, water may be a better option.  While the caffeine in coffee will give you a quick boost, it is a temporary boost.  Water, on the other hand, will keep you from getting dehydrated which makes you feel tired and sluggish.  Water is also central to circulation, digestion, absorption of nutrients, and elimination of toxins.  Fueling these body functions throughout your day with water can only help your productivity!

4)  Eat at the same time each day.

Knowing what time you will be eating meals each day and actually scheduling them in your calendar will help you plan and make healthier choices, as you won’t be grabbing the quick food that’s available or rushing through a meal.

5)  Go for the lighter lunch.

Lunch is likely the meal that most impacts a busy woman, as it is in the middle of the workday.  While it is easy to order take-out, consider the hidden calories and sodium of restaurant food, not to mention the oversized portions, that will make you feel sluggish. Again, it only takes a few minutes to prepare a healthy salad of vegetables and protein, and you can include some sort of thin side carbs (low fat pretzels or crackers with hummus).

6)  Have groceries delivered.

The key to healthy eating on a busy schedule is to have options readily available.  Write out your shopping list and save time having groceries delivered, then spend the few extra minutes on the weekend to prepare your snacks and lunches for the upcoming week.  You can also quickly pack up individual lunch portions of dinner leftovers.

While this new planning and preparing may take a little effort at first, after a short while, it will be a habit that has seamlessly become a part of your routine.  And…the result will be a healthier you, with an added benefit of self-confidence, as you know you are in control and taking care of yourself! 

Hey Girlfriend- It’s Time to Get Serious About Nutrition!

When you reached 45, did it feel like your metabolism hit a wall? Gals, our metabolism slows in our 40’s due to muscle loss, decreased physical activity, and a drop in hormone levels. This change in metabolism means what we eat is of utmost importance. Beginning in our 40’s, we females need a diet focused on protein, whole grains, healthy fats/oils, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Our daily diet should include:

> Protein at every meal. Healthy protein includes: lean meat (chicken/turkey), seafood, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, and soy products.

> A variety of fruits.

> A variety of vegetables, incl. green, red, orange, starchy, and non-starchy.

> Whole grains and healthy oils, such as olive oil.

> Low- or non-fat dairy (ie, milk, yogurt, cheese, fortified soy products).

> Calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

> A minimum of 25 grams of dietary fiber.

> Less than 10% of foods with added sugar (ie, processed foods, desserts) and saturated fats (ie, red meat, high-fat diary).

**Follow YourOwnTrueBeat.com for more specific healthy eating tips for women over 40 coming soon!**