RobardUser Robard Corporation | All posts tagged 'nutrition'

Stress and Weight Gain



We all experience stress in our lives. But, did you know that stress could be a contributor to weight gain and preventing you from losing weight? Stress causes our bodies to produce increased amounts of stress hormones. These hormones cause a rush of adrenaline that is sometimes referred to as the “Fight or Flight Response.” When the brain receives a signal that the body is under stress, it releases the stress hormones to help the body endure whatever is upon it. It makes one ready for action and endurance. The human body is made to survive.

However, after the adrenaline rush is over, the body continues to make cortisol. This is the hormone that triggers hunger or the “replenish mode.” For our ancestors, this was necessary. They may have gone long periods of time without eating and endured a harsh physical environment without knowing when they would eat again. Our ancestors needed the cortisol due to high levels of physical stress and activity. Often, they burned double the calories they consumed just looking for their food.

We can hardly say that now. However, despite the decline in physical activity, we are under as much stress today as our ancestors. Much of our stress comes in the form of mental and emotional. Even physical stress, such as chronic illness, brings with it an emotional toll.

Cortisol and the “replenish mode” are designed to allow for survival. Cortisol slows our metabolism to conserve energy and resources. This means we hang on to fat stores. This may not have been a problem for our great-great-great grandparents who hunted and gathered their food supply, however, driving to the nearest drive-through or ordering take-out is not such strenuous work. Add a slow metabolism from cortisol and you get added weight gain.

So, how can you start now to decrease your stress and prevent weight gain? Here are some tips:

1. Take your vitamins. Your B-vitamins and magnesium to be exact. The B-vitamins provide energy and nervous system function and magnesium is known to reduce anxiety. Most of us are not getting enough of these vitamins in our diets.
2. Get protein for breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day only if it is protein packed. Experts recommend 35 grams or more to get your metabolism cranked, increase your energy level, and keep you satiated longer.
3. Exercise more. Not only are you burning calories and increasing your metabolism, you are reducing your stress level. When you are on the elliptical, bike, treadmill, or in a yoga pose, you can sweat away the day’s concerns and burn off that adrenaline.
4. Get a good night’s sleep. At least 7-9 hours per night to combat cravings. Lack of sleep makes you hungry.
5. No crash diets or starving. When you drastically restrict a food group or reduce your calorie intake, you slow your metabolism further. This will not help when under stress. Instead, find a well-balanced, high protein, low carb diet plan and drink plenty of water. There are plenty of food options for quick, on-the-go nutrition and protein.
6. Eat mindfully. By eating slowly, you give your body time to realize you are full. Mindful eating makes us more aware of emotional eating and combats the cortisol levels our bodies are producing from stress.
7. Seek help. Often stress in life is more than we can handle alone. Seek out a therapist, a health care professional, a support group, or health coach. Do not be ashamed to ask assistance during a difficult time.




Read More >>

You May Not Be Getting the Nutrients You Think You Are




Smart dieters often look at a product’s nutrition facts panel to understand how much nutritional value it contains. A label may tell you that a certain brand of cheese has eight grams of protein or, if you rely on tech, your MyFitnessPal may tell you that a cup of strawberries has 220mg of potassium.

By doing this, you’re probably under the assumption you are being a responsible dieter — and in many ways, you are. However, is what you’re seeing on the label what you actually consume when it comes to nutrients? Do they have the expected effect? Some researchers would say no, and have published their findings in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

According to a May 23, 2017, article published by the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen, “The nutritional value of a food should be evaluated on the basis of the foodstuff as a whole, and not as an effect of the individual nutrients.” The conclusion, based on the opinion of an international expert panel of epidemiologists, physicians, food and nutrition scientists, “reshapes our understanding of the importance of nutrients and their interaction.”

“When we eat, we do not consume individual nutrients. We eat the whole food. Either alone or together with other foods in a meal. It therefore seems obvious that we should assess food products in context,” says Tanja Kongerslev Thorning, PhD. What does this mean? Well, although the nutrients on the label are valuable, it may more important to understand how they combine with other food we eat as well as how our bodies digest them to really decide how beneficial or detrimental certain foods are to us.

Researchers used cheese as an example. At face value, cheese has a relatively high content of saturated fat. However, researchers believe that cheese has a lesser effect on blood cholesterol than what you would expect with a food containing that much saturated fat. Another example researchers used were almonds. Almonds contain a high amount of fat, but release less fat than expected while digesting.

Studies and research like this shed light on the possibility that the foods we are eating could be healthier — or worse, less healthy than we originally thought — which could potentially shake up how we look at nutrition as a whole. What’s more, studies like this could lead to more personalized dietary recommendations from health care providers for overweight patients.

“More studies are needed, but ultimately it seems that some areas of nutrition science need to be rethought,” says Professor of Food Chain Nutrition Ian Givens at the University of Reading. “We cannot focus on a nutrient without looking at how it is consumed and what else is eaten at the same time.”


Source: University of Copenhagen, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports


Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

Read More >>

Guest Blog: Three Ways to Spice Up Weeknight Meals



Preparing a healthy dinner every night is a chore for many, especially after a long day at work. But the truth is that putting together a nutritious meal can be easy and quick with a little creativity. Salads topped with grilled chicken are great, but when you feel the need to change things up, give these suggestions a try. They are sure to add an extra helping of excitement to your next weeknight meal!

1. Use Condiments Creatively!

Dry herbs, spices and condiments can transform the most “standard” ingredients into flavor-packed dishes. With spices, you get great flavor as well as the added benefit of antioxidants that can help protect against certain diseases! Here are some winning combinations:
 
● Season your protein with a mix of 1 tbs. each garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and salt w/1 tsp. each of black pepper, celery salt and dried oregano.

● Make a zesty marinade for chicken or fish using Dijon mustard, crushed garlic and chopped capers. Garnish the prepared dish with minced parsley. Another great combination of herbs and spices is a marinade made of lime juice, cumin powder, chili powder and chopped cilantro.

● Did you know that salsa makes a great salad dressing? Use 2-3 tbs of fresh salsa on of a bed of greens topped with red onions, grape tomatoes, green peppers, ½ cup of black beans and 1-2 tablespoons of cheddar cheese. Fresh salsa can be found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.

2. Play with Your Food!

Have a little fun and change up the way you serve food. Lettuce wraps are a great “vehicle” for stir-fried chicken or shrimp with veggies such as carrots, cabbage and broccoli. Skewers are another kitchen essential for creative food presentation. Alternate vegetables such as bell peppers and zucchini with cubes of chicken or firm fish such as tuna or salmon on wooden skewers and grill outside or on a cast iron grill pan. Serve with a yogurt based dipping sauce such as Tzatziki. This is a dish kids will love too!

3.Have Breakfast for Dinner!

●Think eggs are can only be scrambled or served sunny-side up? Think again.  The incredible egg is actually one of the most versatile and healthy foods on the planet. Add nutrition to its natural protein content by throwing in fiber-packed artichokes and black beans to make a frittata that is a complete meal. To cut back on fat content, use 1 whole egg with 4 egg whites.

●Eggs in Purgatory are another great dish that’s quick, healthy and delicious. Put your own twist on it by adding your favorite vegetables and seasonings. I enjoy a combination of mushrooms, chopped olives, dried oregano and a tablespoon of low fat feta cheese. Serve with a side salad for a light weeknight dinner.
 
●You can also take pancakes “out-of-the-box” by turning them savory. Use any high fiber pancake mix and add healthy ingredients such as fresh corn kernels and chopped spinach. Other delicious combinations include Asian-inspired pancakes using cubed tofu and scallions as well as an Italian style version with roasted red peppers, part-skim mozzarella and chopped basil. Enjoy! 


This Guest Blog was written by Dafna Chazin (pictured, right), who is a registered dietitian with Virtua’s The Center for Nutrition and Weight Management. She currently provides nutrition services at Virtua’s Medically-Supervised Weight Loss clinic, which offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss. In addition, she consults individuals pursuing bariatric surgery and teaches numerous education classes on a variety on nutrition-related topics. Dafna is passionate about wellness promotion, healthy cooking, weight management and maternal and child nutrition. She holds a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and has been an active member of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2007.


Read More >>