Tag Archives | calcium

Six Superfoods for Women

Nature demands a lot of women. Fluctuating hormones, growing babies, demanding work schedules, managing households, and shuttling children to endless activities requires nearly superhuman powers. However, with the right nutrients on your side you can get through it all with less struggle and greater joy.

Here are six great-tasting superfoods to help you get through is all, while keeping your health intact. For the greatest benefits, include two to three servings of each these foods every week.

1. Leafy greens: Kale, Swiss chard, collards greens, spinach, and their cousins provide bone building calcium. They are also high in folate, the natural form of folic acid, which is important for pregnant women and may also prevent cervical cancer. Leafy greens that are part of the crucifer family (including kale, collards, mustard greens, and turnips) contain a compound that helps the body metabolize estrogen into a safer, more usable form to boost protection against breast and other hormone-related cancers.
How to use: Virtually all leafy greens are a great addition to soups and stews. When sautéed with onions and garlic they make a simple and delicious side dish. Adding lemon to greens helps cut their bitterness and makes their iron content more easily absorbed in the body.

2. Fatty Fish: Wild salmon and sardines provide high-quality protein as well as a healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s may help prevent menopause-related depression and mood changes. This healthy fat also reduces LDL (lousy/bad) cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and protects the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.
How to use: If you don’t have time to cook fresh fish, don’t fret. Canned salmon and sardines are an excellent alternative, while still providing the same health benefits. Serve them alongside a salad, on a sandwich or make fish patties. Up to 6 ounces per serving, twice a week is also safe for expecting moms.

3. Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and others, are some of the healthiest, and most beautiful, foods available to us. Berries are an important source of an anthrocyanidins, a chemical that not only gives berries their vibrant colors, but provides us with powerful antioxidant effects that strengthen our blood vessels, helping to protect our hearts, prevent varicose veins (which includes hemorrhoids), improve our eyesight, reduce inflammation, and prevent cancer.
How to use: When berries are not available fresh, frozen organic berries are a great substitute. Use them on yogurt or cottage cheese, in smoothies or salads.

4. Avocados: Avocados are lean green nutrient machines! Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados are loaded in nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, folate and B6. They help keep you satisfied and prevent cravings while also nourishing skin, hair and nails.
How to use: Try having half an avocado alongside your breakfast eggs in the morning, or add it to your lunchtime salad. Avocados also make smoothies nice and creamy.

5. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are rich in lignans, compounds that naturally modulate estrogen levels. This can increase protection against breast cancer and promote regular ovulation. They contain omega 3’s for heart health and protein for sustained energy. Plus, flaxseeds high fiber content prevents constipation and improves colon health.
How to use: Buy whole flaxseeds and grind them fresh before using to gain maximum benefits. You can add them to yogurt, smoothies, sprinkle them on salads or use them in baked goods.

6. Dark chocolate: That’s right! Even dark chocolate has superfood health benefits for women, especially for your heart. Heart diseaseßs is the leading cause of death for women in the United State. Cocoa contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and can suppress oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), which can cause cardiovascular disease.
How to use: Choose at least 70% dark chocolate and enjoy one piece per day. They key with chocolate is to take your time and savor it, instead of eating it for emotional reasons. You can also try adding raw cacao to a smoothie for a “healthy-fied” milkshake.

What superfoods do you use to supercharge your health?

Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 20, 2015 in General

Are you missing magnesium?

While vitamin D, fish oil and other supplements get a lot of attention, it is important not to forget about magnesium. It is neglected mineral that we cannot live without and chances are you’re deficient. Increasing your magnesium intake can have profound effects on your mood, energy and overall well-being while preventing serious illness and disease.

What does magnesium do?

Magnesium is second to potassium in terms of concentration within the body’s cells and responsible for over 300 functions. Most magnesium in the body is found in the bones and teeth with the rest being stored in muscle tissues and cells. In addition to bone health, magnesium is important for normalizing blood pressure, easing muscle cramps, preventing migraines, increasing circulation, promoting restful sleep, proper calcium and vitamin D absorption and aids in healthy elimination. According the National Institute of Health “some observational surveys have associated higher blood levels of magnesium with lower risk of coronary disease.”

Are you magnesium deficient?

Because of modern farming practices much of our soil has been depleted of it’s natural magnesium. Therefore, much of our food is getting less magnesium and we in turn have become deficient.

Over 80% of adults tested show a magnesium deficiency. Those at most risk are people with gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, celiac disease or other intestinal inflammation and people with type 2 diabetes. Studies have also found that elderly people have low dietary intake of magnesium and decreased absorption. Women can also experience magnesium deficiency during the premenstrual period.

What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?

Blood testing for magnesium deficiency is not reliable since most of the body’s magnesium store lies within the cells, not in the blood. Therefore, magnesium deficiency is often suspected when someone exhibits deficiency symptoms. These include; anxiety, lack of appetite, PMS, poor sleep, confusion, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, weakness and poor nail growth.

How can you get more magnesium?

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for magnesium is 350 milligrams for men and 300 milligrams for women. According to Dr. Michael Murray, the average magnesium intake of healthy adults in the United States ranges between 143 and 266 milligrams per day. Far below the RDA. There are two things you can do right away to help increase your magnesium levels:

1)   Use kombu: Kombu (aka kelp) is a type of seaweed that can be easily integrated into cooking. It is rich in magnesium and other nutrients such as potassium, iodine and calcium. You can buy dried kombu at your local health food store. To use it simply cut 1-2 inches of the kombu with scissors and toss it into soups, stews or stocks. It can also be added when cooking grains. Simply remove after cooking and discard. I like Maine Coast Sea Vegetables brand which can be found at most health food stores.

2)   Eat leafy greens: In plants, magnesium is found in every chlorophyll molecule. So, it’s no surprise that leafy greens are a great source of this mineral. Incorporate kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, arugula and other leafy greens at least 4-5 days a week. Try my Raw Kale Salad or my salad staple Cabbage and Greens Salad. Both are BIG winners!

3)   Try transdermal magnesium: Magnesium can be used topically. In this way the body absorbs as much magnesium as it needs. Enjoy regular Epsom salt baths or add magnesium oil to your daily lotion. Check your local health food store or online for these products. I like to make my own body butter lotion and add essential oils and liquid magnesium. Here are two great recipes that I’ve played around with – How to Make Body Butter by Healthy Living How To and Magnesium Body Butter from The Coconut Mama. Give them a try!

Article originally published in the Sentinel newspaper and on Cumberlink.com

Comments { 2 } · Posted on December 16, 2014 in General

Raw Kale Salad with Toasted Nuts

Spinach and broccoli were the sweethearts of the green vegetable world for quite a while. But, there’s a new kid in town, and you need to make some room for him in your fridge.

It’s kale — that shriveled and slightly archaic looking, leafy green veggie all over the market right now. Kale is incredibly nutrient-dense with a long list of powerful health-promoting properties.

Here are three (of like 3,000!) reasons to get more of this glorious green on your plate:

  1. Cancer killer: Kale contains more than 45 different antioxidants, which put up a big fight against cancer. So fill up to promote breast, ovarian, gastric and prostate health.
  2. Beautiful bones: One cup of kale delivers an amazing 1,367 percent of your RDA for vitamin K. This vitamin strengthens bone and is important for bone clotting. Now, here’s the kicker….calorie for calorie kale contains more calcium than milk! Plus, the calcium from kale and other leafy greens is more easily absorbed and utilized in the body.
  3. Delicious detox: Kale is a great source of fiber, aiding in healthy digestion and elimination. Plus, it helps your liver detoxify so you can better clear toxins from your body.

Now that you’ve jumped on the kale train, visit your local market and pick up some kale and a bunch of fresh radishes. Then, make this ridiculously simple salad for dinner tonight. If you have leftovers, don’t worry, it’s even better the next day!

Raw Kale Salad with Toasted Nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 large head kale
1 bunch of radishes, sliced
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 tablespoons extra virgin, olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ tablespoon of tamari (San-J brand preferred)
drizzle of toasted sesame oil
pinch of salt to taste
¼ cup hazelnuts or filberts, roughly chopped (any toasted nut or seed of your choice will do!)

Instructions

  1. Wash the kale leaves thoroughly and blot dry with a paper towel. Cut tough middle rib out of each leaf. Stack 3-4 leaves on top of each other, roll longwise and cut into thin strips. Then cut those strips in half.
  2. Place kale in a large bowl and pour in the olive oil, lemon juice and tamari. Massage the greens with your hands until evenly coated, about 5-6 minutes. Get those muscles working! Cover and place in the fridge and let marinate for between 2 hours and over night. This will tenderize the kale. It can be eaten fresh as well. It will be more crunchy, but super delicious!
  3. To toast the hazelnuts heat a medium pan over medium heat. Add the chopped nuts and toast, tossing every 30-45 seconds so they don’t burn. Toast for a total of about 3-5 minutes. They should just start to get some color and become fragrant.
  4. When ready to serve, add in the sliced radishes, shredded carrot and top with the toasted nuts. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on June 10, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

Want strong bones? Don’t drink milk.

For as long as we can remember we’ve been brainwashed to believe that milk is essential to strong bones. Kids must have a glass of milk with dinner to grow strong bones and women should eat plenty of yogurt to prevent osteoporosis (often the fruit on the bottom variety with loads of sugar of course….I’ll get back to that in a moment). It’s time to re-think this approach.

Calcium is certainly important to bone health. It is also important for muscle contractions, nerve function, hormone production and blood clotting. Just as a soccer team has 11 players on the field to help each other score a goal – calcium needs other minerals on its team to help it function properly. Some of its team mates are vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium and phosphorous to name a few. Without them we can experience calcium imbalances, deficiencies and excess – it’s all about balance baby!

During my cleanse program we remove dairy for 14 days and it is something I sometimes suggest to my 1:1 clients as well for various health reasons. The first question that comes up is “where am I going to get my calcium???”

Instead, ask yourself this…..where do large animals like deer, cows and elephants get their calcium?

That’s right! From eating the foods they are naturally meant to eat like leaves, grass and other vegetable sources. They aren’t drinking the milk from another animal like humans do. We are the only mammal that does this.

As babies we produce an enzyme called lactase in order to process lactose (the milk protein) in breast milk. As we get older lactase production decreases because we can start eating real food and no longer need breast milk to provide all of our vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. When you experience gas, bloating, diarrhea and other icky tummy troubles after eating dairy, chances are you are low in lactase. To get your calcium in a natural form that is easy to assimilate, focus on some of these non-dairy sources.

  • Beans and nuts
  • Greens, especially broccoli, collards, kale, mustard, turnip tops, parsley, watercress and dandelion
  • Sea vegetables
  • Sesame seeds and tahini
  • Canned salmon and sardines with bones (I recommend Wild Planet brand)
  • Soup stock made with bones (fish, chicken or beef) and one tablespoon of vinegar (this helps draw the calcium and makes it available in the broth)

Here’s an interesting little factoid….3 1/2 ounces of kale (boiled and drained) contains calcium 187 milligrams of calcium compared to 118 milligrams than the same amount of milk.

3/12 ounces of sesame seeds contain 1,160 milligrams of calcium. Wowza! Not only do these foods have loads of calcium but that also have calciums teammates – magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K and phosphorous all in one nice little package. It’s like a huge buy one, get one sale!

Let’s talk about osteoporosis for a second, since that is the HOT topic that arises when we talk about milk and calcium. AnneMarie Colbin, author of Food and Healing says this:

Instead of seeing osteoporosis as a condition of lack, let’s consider it as a condition of drain. In other words, the question will be not “What is the way to add more calcium to the system?” but rather, “What is draining or keeping calcium away?”

Remember the fruit on the bottom yogurt I mentioned in the beginning? If you have one of those in your fridge get it out right now and look that sugar content. I’m going to guess it has anywhere from 25-30 grams of sugar and one of the ingredients is cane sugar or something similar (plain yogurt usually contains somewhere around 12 grams – this is the lactose, i.e. milk sugar). Sugar increases the rate at which calcium is excreted from your bones. So, while you’re eating your strawberry yogurt in the morning in the hopes of giving our bones some calcium, the sugar is cruising on in there and sucking the calcium from your bones before the calcium can get in there. Pretty counterproductive, don’t you think?

Some other foods that can compromise calcium are nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers), wine, coffee, vinegar and citrus. This is not to say you should take all of these foods out of your diet – but perhaps you should address that coffee addiction or wine with dinner habit?

Still doing dairy? Here’s what to do.

-hormones

So we can all agree that there are loads of other places to get calcium, like nuts, seeds and leafy greens (I see a kale salad in your future!) and you need to ditch that fruity yogurt. But, what if you still want to eat dairy? Great question!

First, if you are having any GI troubles, skin irritations (acne, rashes etc) or have icky plegm in your throat (clearing your throat or blowing your nose) then I highly recommend taking all dairy out. Try it for a week and see what happens.

If dairy is still on your grocery list, follow these four steps:

  • Organic: Toxins like to hang out in fat tissue. When cows eat grasses that have been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, those toxins gather in their body fat and the fat in the dairy they produce. We end up eating those toxins when we eat a steak or drink a glass of milk. Ick!
  • No Hormones: This often falls under the organic label but read carefully and research the company you’re buying from. Cows now produce nearly twice as much milk than they did 50 years ago. How is this possible? They are being loaded up on growth hormones (rBST) which we end up consuming. This has been linked to early puberty in girls and increase prostate cancer in men. Double ick!
  • Fermented: Fermented dairy is more easily digestible. Look for plain yogurts without the added sugar and sweeten them with honey, maple syrup and fresh berries. Kefir is also a fermented dairy beverage available at some farmers markets and natural food stores.
  • Raw: If you have access to raw dairy products that can be an excellent choice. Raw, unpasteurized dairy still has many important vitamins and minerals that are depleted during the pasteurization process, such as vitamin D, vitamin B12 and vitamin C. Be sure you are getting raw milk from a clean source you trust.

The Environmental Working Group has a nice guide on eating and choosing dairy. Check it out HERE.

Sources:
Food and Healing by AnneMarie Colbin
The Whole Foods Guide to Strong Bones, AnneMarie Colbin
Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, Meghan Telpner

Comments { 0 } · Posted on April 22, 2014 in General