Category Archives: Nutrition Education

I love Blueberries

Freshly picked blueberries in wooden bowl. Juicy and fresh blueb

Blueberries are among my favorite foods. One of those ‘Superfoods’ you hear about, and yes they truly are a nutrient powerhouse, in a little burst of sweet sunshine.

1 Cup packs 19% of your RDA Vitamin C 32% RDA Vitamin K and 14% of your RDA of fiber. Full of energy fueling carbohydrates and other essential nutrients including Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, and for those calorie counters…is only going to tick off a mere 84 calories (true energy calories) in your food log.

But probably my favorite thing about blueberries is that they are on the higher end of antioxidant capacity of all the most commonly eaten fruits and veggies! Helping to increase antioxidant levels in the body, neutralize free radicals, reducing DNA damage.

I could go on and on about how awesome they are, but you get the picture. Eat blueberries! Try my Blueberry Muffins!

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Vital Nutrients – Vitamin B12

Notepad with vitamin b12 and pills.Vitamin B12 is vital for healthy nervous-system function and for the formation of DNA and red blood cells. It helps guard against anemia, a blood condition that causes fatigue and weakness and all the B group vitamins have specific effects on brain cell functions and their deficiency leads to different neurological and psychological problems such as brain fog, memory loss and dementia in the elderly.

Why B12 is important. It impacts everything from energy levels to brain function. A fatty substance called myelin is essential for the formation of the sheaths that cover and protect the nerves of the central and the peripheral nervous system. The presence of myelin allows your nerves to communicate rapidly and efficiently, while damage to your myelin results in a breakdown of nerve communication, causing diseases of the brain. The brain is still a mystery in many aspects, but research is consistently being conducted connecting B12 deficiency to the many neurological issues that we are seeing so prevalent in our population today.

How do you get it from food? It’s hard when given the choices. Going down the list of foods that are ‘high’ in B12 naturally, most of these foods are not common choices, such as Beef Liver, Mackerel and Sardines. B12 is present in egg yolks (which is why you should never go egg whites only), but it would require eating 10-20 eggs a day…not likely for most of us. Processed and Dairy foods such as cereal and milk are ‘fortified’ with B12, but these companies use the low end B12 supplement of cyanocobalamin. Most people will need to supplement their B12.

When selecting a B12 supplement, shots are best, but an oral taken under the tongue is beneficial as well. Make sure the type of B12 is either Methylcobalamin or Adenosylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin is more common and is equivalent physiologically to vitamin B12 and can be used to prevent or treat pathology arising from a lack of vitamin B12. Stay away from cyanocobalamin.

Book a Free Wellness Consult with me. Let’s talk about your food and eating habits, exercise and wellbeing and what you need to do to experience more energy, vitality and reach your wellness goals!

Vital Nutrients – Phosphorus

Shallow Depth Of Field Image Of Nutrition Facts

Phosphorus is a mineral that helps your body maintain healthy bones and teeth. It is essential for life and is the second most abundant mineral in your body next to calcium. Phosphorus plays a major role in how your body uses carbohydrates and fats, repairs cells, stores energy, and works with B vitamins. A diet made up of whole healthy foods should provide you with enough phosphorus for your body to utilize as most natural foods contain some amount of phosphorus Protein rich foods offer the highest amounts of this vital nutrient, but some non-protein sources can have high levels as well. Lentils and edamame contain impressive levels, but I found nuts and seeds to be the best source of naturally occurring phosphorus, such as Cashews, Almonds,  Pistachios, Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds.

In addition to bone and teeth health, phosphorus is involved with many of our body’s other natural processes such as metabolizing macronutrients, regulating energy stores, growth and repair of cells and tissue and growth and repair of DNA and RNA.

Book a Free Wellness Consult with me. Let’s talk about your food and eating habits, exercise and wellbeing and what you need to do to experience more energy, vitality and reach your wellness goals!

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Vital Nutrients – Thiamin

Shallow Depth Of Field Image Of Nutrition Facts

Thiamin is a water-soluble B vitamin that helps your cells produce energy from carbohydrates. It is essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system playing a role in conducting nerve impulses and in muscle contraction. Your body needs anywhere from 1mg – 1.4mg depending on your age, gender and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

We store thiamin primarily in the liver, but in very small amounts. The vitamin has a short half-life, so we require a continuous supply of it from our diet. Thiamin can be found in several food sources naturally, such as Black Beans, Acorn squash, sunflower seeds and corn. Also in meats such as pork, Beef steak, trout, tuna and mussels.

Breads, rice, pastas and cereals are usually ‘enriched’ with Thiamin, however, for our main sources we should always turn to naturally occurring.

Book a Free Wellness Consult with me. Let’s talk about your food and eating habits, exercise and wellbeing and what you need to do to experience more energy, vitality and reach your wellness goals!

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Vital Nutrients – Potassium

Shallow Depth Of Field Image Of Nutrition Facts

Potassium is an essential electrolyte that helps trigger your heart to squeeze blood through your body, one hundred thousand times a day. Its used to build proteins and muscle, to break down carbohydrates to energy, plays a part in your kidneys filtering your blood and it regulates the water balance and the acid-base balance in the blood and tissues.

Every cell in your body needs the right amount of potassium to function. When levels are low, your body tells you. Since the standard american diet doesn’t include enough fruits and vegetables for adequate potassium intake, there are a number of signals your body may send you to let you know to pump it up! Increasing the amount of nutrient dense vegetables and fruits could alleviate a number of symptoms including tingling and numbness in feet or hands, muscle cramps, fatigue after a workout, and constipation. Another reason to eat those veggies!

Foods high in Potassium include Sweet Potatoes, Avocados, Broccoli, Lentils, and Edamame.

Book a Free Wellness Consult with me. Let’s talk about your food and eating habits, exercise and wellbeing and what you need to do to experience more energy, vitality and reach your wellness goals!

Vital Nutrients – Iron

Shallow Depth Of Field Image Of Nutrition FactsProteins in our body use iron to transport oxygen and grow cells. Most of the body’s iron is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues all over the body. So if you’re feeling fatigued and especially and especially if you’re a woman, it may be a result of iron deficiency. Iron is also necessary to maintain healthy cells, skin,  hair, and nails. Make sure you’re eating foods with enough iron to maintain vitality and energy.

Iron is most prevalent in meat, in fact Chicken Liver contains the most of any food providing over 60% of your daily needs, but how many of you are saying at this moment “mmmm, chicken liver!”? Not many I’d gather and especially if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Good plant based sources of iron include cooked beans such as Kidney Beans or Garbanzo Beans, Pumpkin Seeds, Tofu, Broccoli and Potatoes.

Book a Free Wellness Consult with me. Let’s talk about your food and eating habits, exercise and wellbeing and what you need to do to experience more energy, vitality and reach your wellness goals!

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Vital Nutrients – Vitamin K

VN-SpinachVitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin which plays a vital role in coagulation, or blood clotting. Without it, your body would not be able to stop bleeding when you bruise or cut yourself. But did you know that it is also essential to building strong bones, preventing heart disease, and even helps to fight off cancer?

Vitamin K is found in Green, leafy vegetables. Kale, as we know, is highest in VK with 1.1 mg per cup, followed by collard greens and spinach – which is over 300% the recommended daily allowance for a 2 cup serving! It can also be found in turnip and mustard greens, and in all the other cruciferous vegetables as well. Be like Popeye and eat your Spinach.

Vital Nutrients – Calcium

VN-Calcium-AlmondsCalcium is abundantly present in our bodies and is stored in our bones and teeth where it is distributed through the bloodstream for use by the heart and other organs. It is required for good bone health, efficient nerve and muscle function and cardiovascular health. Including this vital nutrient in your diet helps to replenish those stores to the bones where it can be used as your body needs it.

What you need to know about Calcium:

  • You need an adequate intake of Vitamin D to promote absorption of calcium.
  • Foods high in sodium, cause excessive calcium excretion through the kidneys.
  • Excessive sugar in your diet inhibits calcium absorption and depletes phosphorus as well, which is another important mineral in facilitating calcium absorption.
  • Phosphoric acid, found in regular and diet soda is associated with a reduction in bone mineral density.
  • Caffeine leaches calcium from our bones, and Alcohol is also associated with low bone mass.
  • Some legumes, such as Navy beans and peas are high in phytates that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, though they contain many beneficial nutrients so, moderation is your keyword when it comes to legumes.

Calcium is a mineral found in the soil, where it is absorbed into the roots of plants and eaten by cows. So even though we are all conditioned to believe that calcium comes from milk and dairy products, the real source of calcium is the soil. If the cow that you get the milk from is grain fed, as most industrial farmed animals are, then where does the calcium in milk come from? Additionally, our bodies only absorb about 30% of the calcium intake from dairy products, given that, maybe dairy isn’t the best source of calcium. Non-Dairy Foods High in Calcium:

  • Almonds 1/2 cup raw = 187mg
  • Collard Greens 1 cup cooked = 178mg
  • Broccoli 1 cup chopped cooked = 74mg
  • Bok Choy 1 cup shredded = 74mg
  • Napa Cabbage 1 cup shredded = 59mg

For more info on calcium and plant based diets, check out this link.

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Spring into Healthier Eating

Spring is here, my favorite time of year. For those of us who live in Southern California, there are no limits to the options we have for healthy eating. With local farms close by and a Farmer’s Market almost every day of the week, eating with the seasons is easier in our local community. Up until last week, I took that for granted.

Last week I took my first vacation in a long time. One of my dear friends was moving back to California from North Carolina and was scheduled to do the drive all by herself. I thought it would be a great opportunity to do an (almost) coast to coast road trip. I scheduled my time off work, bought a one way ticket to NC and packed my bags.

Being that I am an avid Foodie, I scoped out places to eat along the way, following my favorite Food Network Host, #GuyFieri, I knew my healthy eating habits were going to be challenged, but I also marked out Juice bars and Whole Foods Markets along the way so I could get some healthy options in as well. As it turns out, eating healthy in the South & through our travels was more difficult than I anticipated, even with all my preparation, I was not prepared. For instance, I like to Juice in the morning, there were no juicing options near our stops. The first leg of our trip was through the South and fiber is not a staple at meals in the South, in fact the only healthy greens were deep fried. Don’t get me wrong, the food was delicious, and a week off my normal eating wasn’t going to do any long term damage, but my body definitely reacted to the changes in my food.

So what better way to celebrate Spring then by juicing, cooking and eating an all my favorite seasonals available right now! I’m so grateful that I have choices. Please take advantage of what you have available to you and enjoy this Spring as well!

To your Health!
Colleen

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