Nutrition News: Best Metabolism Booster; Sleep, Stress and Belly Fat; and Gardening and Kids’ Health

Reaping What We Sow

Want to raise kids who are lifelong healthy eaters? Hand them a trowel, some seeds and a watering can, and point them to the garden. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida suggests that college kids who either gardened when they were kids or currently garden consumed more fruits and vegetables — 2.9 cups daily, on average, about a half-cup more — than those who did not. “We found that if your parents gardened but you did not, just watching them did not make a difference in how much fruits and vegetables you eat in college,” lead author Anne Mathews told HealthDay News. “Hands-on experience seems to matter.”

Why Your Metabolism Is So Slow

If you have a sinking feeling that your metabolism is slowing, you’re probably right. In a U.S. News article, health and wellness writer K. Aleisha Fetters notes that our metabolism — the base number of calories our bodies burn each day — decreases gradually beginning at age 20. (Yes, that young.) So by the time we are 30, we should take in 150 fewer daily calories than we did at age 20 to maintain the same weight. After age 40 in men and 50 in women, that metabolic decrease accelerates. Fetters says this decline has to do with a loss of muscle mass as we age, as muscle burns calories at a higher rate than fat. The antidote, she argues, is to work toward building muscle mass through strength training and support it with concerted protein consumption.

Sleep, Stress and Belly Fat

Another thing we can do to help keep our bodies in shape as we age? Get enough sleep. Eating right and exercise are key tools in our battle against the bulge. But fitness trainer Gabriella Boston suggests, in The Washington Post, that boosting sleep and reducing stress may be more important still in our efforts to attain a flatter belly (and who doesn’t want that?) as we age. “I would say Number 1 is sleep, Number 2 is stress, followed by nutrition and then exercise,” registered dietitian Rebecca Mohning tells Boston. “If you’re exhausted, it’s better to sleep the extra 30 to 40 minutes than to exercise.” That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone has been found to boost belly fat, sugar consumption and our propensity to make unhealthy food choices. “Stress management is part of weight management,” Mohning maintains.

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By The Numbers: Our Progress In Digitizing Health Care

Over the past seven years, the United States has seen a historic health IT transformation, moving from a primarily paper-based health system to one where virtually everyone has a digital footprint of their care because of the dramatic uptake of electronic health records (EHRs). Recent data have helped quantify just how rapidly technology has transformed […]

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All the Ways to Eat Cauliflower

Many people claim they don’t enjoy the taste of cauliflower — that it’s too bland or too crumbly, especially when served raw. If you’ve only encountered the firm white bundles as a component on a crudite platter, we can’t argue with you there. Maybe you’ve tried it boiled; sadly, this does nothing to enhance the flavor either. But roasted, pureed or worked through a ricer? The cream-white florets take on a whole new identity. Thanks to their mild taste, they’re an excellent canvas for all varieties of sauces and spices. Now that cauliflower is abundant at the farmers market, there’s even more incentive to use this nutritional powerhouse as the base for hearty fall meals. Here are a few of our healthiest ideas.

Roast It
Even meat eaters will flock to the table for a taste of these roasted cauliflower bundles. The Dijon mustard rub concentrates in flavor as it roasts, resulting in a heady dose of umami. In order to really lock in the flavor, prep and brush your cauliflower ahead of time, then let it sit at room temperature until you’re ready to cook.

Rice It
Did you know that you can use your food processor to turn cauliflower into “rice”? Pulse it in short spurts until the mixture resembles couscous. This version has only about one-quarter of the carbohydrates in regular rice. With the olive oil and browned onions, the cauliflower has enough flavor to satisfy by itself, and it can also be a base for stir-fries, beans and rice, or anything else you would eat with rice.

Coat It
The chefs in Food Network Kitchen have reimagined cauliflower yet again — this time as a substitute for crisp Buffalo chicken wings. Whisk together your Buffalo sauce, then use it to coat the florets before baking them. For authenticity, serve the dish with a blue cheese dip — but be sure to use skim milk and nonfat sour cream, to keep the calories in check.

Mash It
This creamy batch of mashed cauliflower doesn’t actually require a masher — just your trusty food processor yet again. Simply fill the bowl with boiled florets, and top them with sauteed garlic and thyme, a little bit of nonfat Greek yogurt and grated Parmesan. Pulse the mixture until a smooth and creamy mash comes into being.

Puree It
This low-fat, dairy-free version of an American classic certainly has the right look, with its creamy orange sauce, thanks to pureed cauliflower, vegan cheddar and turmeric. Umami-packed miso paste and nutritional yeast are also hidden in the sauce to evoke the savory, nutty quality of cheese.

Turn It Into Tots
Seriously, though, is there anything cauliflower can’t do? It’s delicious as a puree, makes a great meaty steak and now can be enjoyed as the ultimate finger food — a crunchy tot. The chefs in Food Network Kitchen recommend using crispy rice cereal as a gluten-free breading. A hot oven (and a little cooking spray) gets you a crackling exterior without deep-frying.

For more creative takes on in-season cauliflower, check out these recipes from our friends:

The Lemon Bowl: Za’atar Crusted Cauliflower Steaks
Hey Grill Hey: Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Burst Tomato Salad
Devour: 4 Sneaky Ways to Replace Carbs with Cauliflower
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Curried Cauliflower “Risotto” with Apples
Taste with the Eyes: Not Your Average Crudités Platter
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Turmeric & Ginger Roasted Cauliflower
The Mom 100: Sauteed and Braised Cauliflower with Mustard Seeds and Green Peppercorns
Swing Eats: Cauliflower Fritters With Cheese, Jalapeño And Cilantro (Gluten-Free)
Creative Culinary: Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan and Cheddar Cheese Frosting
FN Dish: 7 Cauliflower Recipes That Aren’t Quite What They Seem

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Apple-Cinnamon-Walnut Skillet Cake

Fall is in the air! And what better way to celebrate than with a slice of healthy and delicious Apple-Cinnamon-Walnut Skillet Cake?

Start by choosing your favorite variety of in-season fresh apples. I’m partial to “sweet-with-a-hint-of-tang” Honeycrisp apples, but it’s always fun to see what new varieties are popping up in grocery stores, farmers markets and CSA boxes this time of year.

In addition to naturally sweet apples, other nourishing ingredients in this Apple-Cinnamon-Walnut Skillet Cake include Omega-3-rich walnuts, along with a duo of fiber-rich flours: whole-grain buckwheat and brown rice. Cinnamon takes the flavor up a notch, and with no eggs or dairy, this cake is perfect for anyone following a vegan diet.

Even better? It’s totally acceptable to pair a slice of this Apple-Cinnamon-Walnut Skillet Cake with some protein-rich Greek yogurt and happily declare “Breakfast is served!”

Apple-Cinnamon-Walnut Skillet Cake
Serves 8

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup sorghum or brown rice flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon flax meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup high-oleic sunflower oil or canola oil, plus extra for pan
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sparkling water or unsweetened dairy-free “milk”
2 large apples, cored and shredded
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10- or 12-inch cast-iron skillet with oil, and set aside.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, and stir with a fork or whisk until well combined. Add maple syrup, oil, vanilla and water or “milk” to dry ingredients, and stir well with a fork to combine.

Grate apples with a box grater or a food processor with a grater attachment blade, and chop walnuts. Add apples and walnuts to batter, and stir to combine.

Spoon batter into skillet, and spread evenly. Bake in oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before slicing into 8 wedges for serving.

Per serving: Calories 425; Fat 26 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 180 mg; Carbohydrate 48 g; Fiber 5 g; Sugars 17 g; Protein 6 g

EA Stewart, MBA, RD is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in wellness and GI nutrition. In addition, EA is the creator of The Spicy RD, which features delicious gluten-free recipes made from healthy, seasonal ingredients.

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Giving Patients and Providers the Keys to Their Health Data

Summary: Having your health data at your fingertips can help you stay healthy. Have you ever wanted to pull up a list of your allergies or the medications you’ve taken on your smartphone or computer? How about your lab results, or records from your recent visit to the hospital? Having your health data at your […]

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Advancing Health IT and Preventing Data Blocking through Model Contract Language

As we move to transform the health care system into one that delivers more coordinated care across various clinicians and providers, it is important that data is available to providers and patients when and where they need it. To achieve this goal of ensuring the flow of health data and, ultimately, better care, the country […]

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A New Tool to Help Health Care Providers Get the Most Out of their Health IT

Today, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is releasing the Health IT Playbook to help make using health information technology (health IT) easier for providers so they can get the most out of their technology investment. The Playbook is a dynamic, web-based resource that builds on and updates the Patient […]

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