Pic and recipe from Peru Delights.
The pichuberry (also known as golden berries, cape gooseberries, or Inca berries) is a total superfruit! It is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and phenols (high in antioxidants). Other properties of this unique fruit:
- Jam-packed with cancer-fighting phytochemicals called withanolides that have been demonstrated to slow the growth of tumors
- High in vitamin D; rare for a fruit. About ½ cup provides 160 IU of vitamin D (~25% of the daily value)
- Great for controlling blood sugar levels because it is low on the glycemic index (25), high in fiber (5.5 grams), and relatively high in protein (2 grams). This is a great combination for diabetics and anyone looking to follow a healthy diet.
How To Use Pichuberries
Pichuberries can be used in an array of dishes. The fruit resembles a small yellow tomato, like a tomatillo. They possess a unique sweet, mildly tart flavor perfect for savory and sweet dishes. Some recipe ideas here. Truly diverse, savory dish ideas include chili, salsa, muffins, skewers, or quinoa salad (pictured) and for sweet dishes add them to cereal, yogurt, popsciles, or dunk them into melted dark chocolate and make frozen chocolate pichuberries! Yum.
Edited by Tamara Cabrero
We all know calcium builds strong bones, but did you know that it isn’t the only major participant when it comes to bone health? A balanced diet and good nutrition are essential for healthy bones. Calcium is a team player that acts best with other nutrients, like vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium and potassium. And let’s not underestimate the importance of exercise—especially weight-bearing exercises. Weight training and cardio activities such as swimming, squats, taking the stairs, Tai Chi and walking will help to improve bone strength and prevent hip fractures. During Osteoporosis Prevention Month, I want to share some tips for preserving strong bones at any age!
What is Osteoporosis & What Are the Risk Factors?
Osteoporosis is a condition that makes your bones weak and, therefore, more likely to break. It’s known as the silent disease because you may not know you have it until you break a bone. Ouch! Approximately 10 million people over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, and another 34 million have low bone density, known as osteopenia, which puts them at high risk for developing osteoporosis. Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but there are certain factors that put you at higher risk:
- Getting older- Over 50 years of age and especially women after menopause
- Being a white or an Asian woman. Eighty percent of the people who have osteoporosis are women and women are four times more likely to get it than men
- Being small and thin
- Genetics- Having a family history of osteoporosis
- Taking certain medicines, such as steroids
- Excess fat around the belly- New research even suggests that excess liver and muscle fat, independent of BMI, age and exercise, is detrimental to the strength of the bones
The Nutrition Lowdown
1.) Eat it to beat it: Choose foods rich in calcium, not just dairy. Even though increased dairy consumption has been consistently associated with lower rates of osteoporosis and better bone health, you can get calcium from many other sources. The recommended calcium intake for adults is 1000-1200 mg per day, dependent on age. Estimate your average intake and fill in the gap with a supplement, if necessary. But remember, too much calcium is counterproductive!
- Fish, such as bone-in sardines, anchovies, salmon
- Leafy greens, like kale, collard greens, mustard greens, arugula, Bok Choy, broccoli rabe
- Low-fat to full-fat dairy products (preferably Organic or local), such as yogurt, milk, cheese, kefir
- Foods fortified with calcium, like orange juice, breakfast cereals, non-dairy milk alternatives (almond, rice, soy, coconut), breads or instant oatmeal
- Bone broth
2.) Check your vitamin D level. Vitamin D is hugely beneficial for bone health because it helps regulate calcium metabolism. Getting vitamin D from food or supplements is especially important if you are vitamin D deficient (<20ng/ml).
3.) Increase your intake of plant-based foods. As previously mentioned, bone health is a team effort. Include foods rich in the following nutrients:
- Vitamin K: Leafy greens such as kale, spinach and endives as well as any “green foods” such as celery, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and avocados are high in vitamin K.
- Magnesium: Dark leafy greens along with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, whole grains, beans and legumes are loaded with magnesium.
- Potassium: Bananas aren’t the only foods that have potassium! Baked potatoes, avocados, mushrooms, squash, and, you guessed it, leafy greens are full of it!
Bone Health Myth Busters
Myth: Once you turn 50 you have to supplement with calcium.
Fact: A 2012 analysis of NHANES data found that consuming a high intake of calcium beyond the recommended dietary allowance, typically from supplementation, provided no additional benefit. Multiple studies found that calcium supplements don’t reduce fracture rates in older women and may even increase the rate of hip fractures. Calcium supplements have also been associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, increased prostate cancer risk and an increase in kidney stones. More is not always better! Getting calcium in smaller amounts can increase proper absorption without overloading the arteries or kidneys.
Myth: Dairy contributes to poor bone health by “acidifying” our bodies. The “acid-alkaline” hypothesis theorizes that dairy increases acid in the blood and, therefore, blood needs to restore balance by stealing alkaline minerals (such as calcium) from the bones, decreasing bone density.
Fact: A diet including dairy does not affect our blood pH. Dairy and other acidic foods may affect our urine pH, which does change depending on what you eat, but that is eliminated when we urinate.
Check your bone health by testing your bone mineral density, especially if you have any of the above-mentioned risk factors. Keep your bones healthy at every age!
Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN
Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr
Getting fit, losing weight and feeling great are always top priorities for the New Year. How we achieve these goals is constantly evolving to fit our busy, eclectic lifestyles.
Here are a few of the top food and fitness trends for 2014!
Clean Eating. I don’t mean practicing food safety like washing your greens, the idea behind Clean Eating is to eat foods in their “whole” state. With increased awareness of frankenfood (GMOs) or fake foods, people are paying more attention to what they put in their bodies rather than just looking at calories and grams of fat. This means staying away from processed/refined foods and additives like artificial chemicals (i.e. artificial sweeteners), flavors and preservatives. Next time you have a meal, ask yourself: Is this food or foodstuff?
Farm-to-Table. Following in the footsteps of the clean eating approach, choosing cleaner, sustainable, exotic meats (like goat and rabbit that come from small-scale producers) as well as seasonal produce from local farmers offers a new feel-good approach to eating. A few of my favorite farm-to-table restaurants in NYC are Rosemary’s (don’t forget to visit the rooftop garden that supplies their kitchen!), Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn (where I had my wedding reception—oh yeah, ahead of the trend!) and Blue Hill NY (you can also visit their farm).
Promoting Healthy Gut Bacteria. It’s just not enough to take away foods that may be bad for your gut, i.e. the Standard American Diet (appropriately called SAD); we also have to promote a happy gut. The hundreds of trillions of bacteria (or lack thereof) may predispose us to obesity and a whole range of inflammatory chronic diseases including metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and perhaps cancer. Eating foods high in fiber such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit (not just supplements), fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yogurt, kombucha and kefir increase our microbial diversity and keep our gut healthy.
Egg Yolks Are Back! Woohoo! Blood cholesterol (aka having high cholesterol) is strongly affected by saturated fat, but not so much by dietary cholesterol. So, unless you are at particularly high risk for cardiovascular disease, there is no need to shun the egg yolk! This awesome whole food is loaded with choline associated with brain health; lutein and zeaxanthin two antioxidants particularly great for eye health and vitamin D, a vitamin that most Americans highly lack.
Fishy Fish. I get it; most people have a love hate relationship with anchovies and sardines. But there is no denying these fish are really good for you. They are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids, amazing for your skin, hair and heart. In addition, they are chockfull of calcium and vitamin D. They are also on the bottom of the seafood chain, so they are naturally low in mercury and PCBs. If you are interested in the canned fish experience, check out Maiden Lane in the East Village. If you’re not sure what to order, try their excellent fish board!
Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts. I will be talking more about these amazing vegetables in later posts, but for now, all I can say is—eat them. These cruciferous super vegetables are incredibly beneficial to your health, versatile and go well with just about anything.
Express Workouts. High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short bursts of exercise with brief recovery breaks. Jenn Hamlin, a group fitness instructor at NYHRC, describes Tabata, a specific form of HIIT, as the perfect New York workout. “It enhances your athletic performance activating both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems and spikes your caloric expenditure while decreases body fat in the shortest amount of time!” It’s an efficient method of training that still gives you time to grab lunch.
Corporate Wellness. Ask about Worker Incentive Programs. These are part of employer-based health promotion programming and health care benefits. They are becoming very popular and many businesses offer them. Imagine how quickly you would achieve your goals if you also paired it with nutrition counseling!
What trend are you looking forward to trying out in 2014?
Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN
Fitness Trends 2014: 20 Popular Workouts For The Year Ahead. Huffpost Living.
2014 Nutrition trends and their nutrition benefits. Rachel Begun.
The Top 8 Healthy Food Trends for 2014. Wake Up World.
10 Fitness and Wellness Trends of 2014. Well+Good’s
Fitness trends 2014: Zumba not the HIIT the trendspotters thought
Exciting new fitness trends are making workouts easier. The Wellness Advisor, Fall 2013/ Winter 2014.
Edited by Tamara Cabrero
Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr
All around New York City, we see mushrooms. On our pizza, in our grocery stores, even in some urban gardens. Mushrooms are often mistaken for vegetables when, in actuality, they belong to the fungi rather than the plant kingdom. They are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus. Sounds tasty, right? Before you shy away from this delicious superfood, read all the reasons why you should make a point to include mushrooms in your diet.
1. Mushrooms boost immunity and fight cancer; they specifically suppress breast and prostate cancer cells.
2. Mushrooms are nutritional powerhouses. They are a good source of B-vitamins (riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin), iron, selenium, and potassium, which improves heart health. Some mushroom varieties are even sources of vitamin D - the only source you’ll find in the produce aisle!
3. Mushrooms contain high amounts of beta-glucans, keeping your immune cells prepped against disease.
4. Mushrooms are naturally low in calories, low in carbohydrates, low in sodium and cholesterol free. They also have high water content (80-90%) and are high in fiber, which makes them a great diet food.
5. The best news about mushrooms, however, is that they contain high concentrations of a powerful micronutrient called ergothioneine, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Ergothioneine contributes to immune support and is released from the mushroom cells upon cooking.
6. Oh yeah, and did I mention mushrooms are delicious? They add a rich, earthy taste to every meal.
Just a few of the 250 edible varieties of mushrooms:
· White button mushrooms (of the Crimini mushroom family) contain more protein, potassium, copper selenium, and immune boosting benefits than their more exotic counterparts (I’m looking at you shiitake and maitake mushrooms). They represent 90% of the total mushrooms consumed in the United States!
· Maitake are best known for their cancer-fighting properties, specifically against leukemia, stomach, and bone cancers. In addition, the maitake mushroom has been used to lower blood pressure, lower blood lipids, and aid digestion by eliminating food stagnation. Raw maitake mushrooms are extremely rich in vitamin D – up to 940 international units (IU) per three-ounce serving!
· Morels contain protein, vitamin D (200 IU per three-ounce serving) and vitamin B that help the body maintain a healthy metabolism. They also have copper, selenium, and potassium.
· Oyster mushrooms are used to strengthen veins, relax tendons, and are rich in iron that helps build blood.
· Portabellas contain a wide variety of B complex vitamins. They’re also a great source of potassium – three ounces have more potassium than a banana! If barbecuing, expose the portabella to UV light. This will increase its vitamin D content up to 490 IU per three-ounce serving.
· Reishi mushrooms are particularly beneficial for individuals with asthma and other respiratory complaints.
How to Choose and When
Look for dry mushrooms with smooth caps, firm grills, and a fresh aroma. While usually available year-round, mushrooms are at their peak in fall and winter. Lucky for us though, morels are one of spring’s best produce!
Fresh? Dry? Canned?
To receive all the health benefits of mushrooms, fresh is definitely preferable to dried, while canned mushrooms usually have added sodium.
How to Store
Store unwashed mushrooms in a paper bag in the main compartment of your refrigerator (avoid the crisper drawer, it adds too much moisture) or cover a tray with a paper towel. Do not soak in water as they are very absorbent and their flavor and texture are easily altered. They absorb odors and flavors like a sponge so avoid placing next to pungent foods.
To Cook or Not to Cook?
Cooking releases Ergothioneine (the antioxidant mentioned above) and also removes agaritine, a compound that can be carcinogenic in extremely high doses. Not to mention most mushrooms are grown on manure. Need I say more?
Below are some recipes to try out ranging from simple to advanced. Remember, mushrooms make great side dishes, can be added to pasta or omelets, and are also great additions to a salad!
- Mushrooms On The Stove from The Kitchn
- Mushroom Bourguignon from Smitten Kitchen
- Cathy Erway’s Mushroom Soba and Miso-Braised Mustard Greens from Not Eating Out in NY
Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr
Natural News. Mushrooms Cancer Food.
American Cancer Society. Shiitake Mushroom.
Agricultural Research Service. Researchers Study Benefits of White Button Mushrooms.
Fresh Mushrooms. All About Vitamin D.
Edited by TCabrarr
Photo courtesy of Edsel L
Vitamin D is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies affecting 70 to 97% of adults across all ethnicities. Many are aware of the integral role vitamin D plays in regards to bone health, but it is also essential when it comes to hormones and how they influence metabolic pathways, cellular functions, and gene expression (approximately 2,000 of them!).
Proper levels of vitamin D- >30ng/ml- have been associated with:
- prevention of certain cancers
- prevention of upper respiratory tract infections, asthma and wheezing disorders
- support to muscle strength
- prevention of autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes, crohn’s, and rheumatoid arthritis
- help with mood-related health including SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and sleeping disorders
- reduction of heart attack risk by 50%
Contrary to major belief, the sun - in moderation - is not bad. After all, sun exposure is what helps our skin make vitamin D! As little as 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure between 10am and 3pm at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs or back, without sunscreen, is usually enough to prevent deficiencies. Another trick is to estimate the amount of time it takes for you to get “mildly pink” skin, which is the equivalent to 10,000-25,000 IU of vitamin D.
Note: Even using SPF 8 reduces your skins ability to make vitamin D by 90%!
But… what can we do in the colder months?
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of options when it comes to vitamin D-rich foods. Shitake mushrooms (sun-dried), fresh/wild salmon, and cod liver oil are probably the highest dietary sources of vitamin D. The rest you can get from supplements.
My suggestion is to check your vitamin D at your yearly check up. Based upon your serum levels (measured by 25 (OH)), the dosing guidelines are as follows. Dosage is per day and for adults only.
- < 20ng/ml = Deficient
- 21-29ng/ml = Insufficient/ At risk
- ≥30ng/ml = Adequate/ Sufficient
- Adequate: 600 IU
- At Risk: 1500-2000 IU
- Deficient: 4000 IU
Tolerable upper limit has been set at 4000 IUs per day for >9 years old, although this is a conservative level.
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred form. If you’d like suggestions on over the counter supplements, write to me directly at email@example.com
- -Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health
- -Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC. The National Academic Press. 2010.
- -Holick MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, et al. Evaluation, Treatment, and Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency: and Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. J Endoclin Metab. July 2011.
- - Holick M. The vitamin D solution. Pair supplementation with sensible sun exposure. HealthETimes. 2012. 2 (5):14-17.