4 Smart Food Pairings to Boost Your Health

What you eat is important, but so is how you eat it. Turns out you can pair certain foods together to increase how many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you absorb — and, in some case, to reduce risk of disease. Give these four pairings a try!


Broccoli + citrus juice

Squeeze lemon juice onto steamed broccoli, or mix a little orange juice into a sautéed broccoli dish. The vitamin C in the citrus will help your body absorb more of the plant-based (aka non-heme) iron in the spinach. This also works with other sources of plant-based iron, such as broccoli, beans and tofu.

 Recipe to try: Lemon Broccoli (pictured above)

Eggs + veggies

Eggs are a nutrition powerhouse on their own, with one large egg offering 6 grams of high-quality protein,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. “Pairing them with veggies like spinach can provide you with even more nutritional gains.” Case in point: A study in The Journal of Nutrition found that adding whole eggs to a raw vegetable salad may help you better absorb vitamin E, a powerful health-promoting antioxidant.

Recipe to try: Skillet Spring Greens Asparagus Frittata (pictured above)

Rice + beans

Foods like eggs, chicken, and beef are complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids your body needs to create muscle, collagen, and other proteins. Your body can’t make these essential amino acids on its own, so they must come from food sources — otherwise, your body’s cells will take part their own proteins to get the missing amino acids. When a food is missing some essential amino acids, it’s important to pair it with another food containing those amino acids. “Although both rice and beans are healthy choices, separately they do not provide all the amino acids you need,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen. “However, once you pair them together, the amino acids found in rice complements those found in beans, making the combination a high-quality protein.”

Recipe to try: Rice and Bean Salad (pictured above)


Grilled meat + rosemary

“Grilling meat can create carcinogens called heterocyclic amines (HCAs),” say Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CFT and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CFT, co-authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure. “Adding spices like rosemary to the meat, as well as marinating it first, may cut the HCAs by as much as 70 percent.” Marinating meat can prevent formation of the carcinogens, and the antioxidants in rosemary are thought to have a HCA-reducing effect.

Recipe to try: Red Wine-Rosemary Grilled Flank Steak


Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. She’s a regular contributor to many publications, including ReadersDigest.com, Shape.com, FitnessMagazine.com, Dr. Oz the Good Life, Runner’s World, and more—as well as WeightWatchers.com, where she was a longtime editor. She also pens a recipe-focused blog, Amy’s Eat List.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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5 Foods That May Help You Get Clear Skin and Rid Acne

While the relationship between diet and acne has long been regarded as a myth, emerging scientific evidence is now alluding to how certain foods may help reduce acne. Even the American Academy of Dermatology is taking notice. If you’re fed up with acne despite your efforts, examining your diet for shortfalls is worth considering.


Low-glycemic load foods

Perhaps one of the best-studied areas of acne as it pertains to diet is the glycemic index. According to the “Guidelines of Care for the Management of Acne Vulgaris” published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, high glycemic index diets may be associated with acne. The glycemic load takes into account how quantities of foods each impact blood sugar. In a number of clinical studies with control groups, low-glycemic load and high-protein diets affected the hormone markers that influence inflammation and acne, resulting in significantly fewer acne lesions within 10 weeks.


One of the best things you can do to manage the glycemic load from your diet, is by eating protein, fat, and unrefined carbs with fiber at every meal and snack. That’s because carbs like white rice, fluffy white bread, boxed cereals made with refined grains, instant oats, pastries, and candy exert the biggest impact on your blood sugars if eaten alone or with little other protein and fat.


Whole-food carbs are beneficial and good for you, including legumes, sweet potatoes, whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, and whole fruit. These foods also contribute antioxidants, which can help fight inflammation.


Fermented foods

The microbiome has been a huge topic in the nutrition and microbiology world for the past few years, with the theory that probiotics (the “good” bacteria) benefit digestion and immunity. Now researchers are looking at how these healthy bugs may help your skin. In one notable clinical study, women who took probiotic supplements for 12 weeks while on oral acne antibiotics ended up with significantly fewer acne lesions compared to the groups who only took antibiotics or probiotics.


In most recent news, a study comparing the types of skin bacteria on people with clear skin versus those with acne suggested that rather than wiping out all skin bacteria with antibiotics, a better approach may be balancing the bacteria. The P. acnes bacteria on people with clear skin were higher in number compared to those with acne. Clear skin contained compounds that supported healthy conditions, while people with acne had skin bacteria that promoted inflammation. The researcher hypothesized that one way to balance the bacteria may be through probiotics.


Foods that contain probiotics include those with live, active strains of good bacteria, like yogurt, kimchi (fermented cabbage), sauerkraut, kombucha (fermented tea), and kefir. These days, manufacturers add probiotics to a variety of health foods. But don’t cook the final product, since high heat can kill the beneficial bacteria.


Oily fish  

While omega-3s fatty acids are essential for good overall health, there is preliminary evidence suggesting it may help rid acne. EPA, a certain type of omega-3, has been found in some studies to have an anti-inflammatory effect on acne. AAD points to one promising study where acne improved in 8 of the 13 individuals who supplemented with 930 milligrams of EPA daily for 12 weeks. While the results were not considered statistically significant, researchers did deem the fish oil theory as worthy of more studies.


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 500 milligrams EPA and DHA (an omega-3) per day, while the USDA recommends two servings of seafood per week as part of a balanced diet. Eating two to three 3-ounce servings of oily fish per week can bring you to that amount. Some of the richest sources of EPA include salmon, rainbow trout, halibut, anchovies, and sardines. Typically the oilier fish, the better.


If you don’t eat seafood, 10 percent of plant-based ALA (another omega-3) converts to DHA and EPA in the body.


Oysters, beef, and crab

According to the National Institutes of Health, research suggests that people with acne have lower levels of zinc in the blood and skin and that taking zinc orally appears to help treat acne.


In one study, 48 patients with mild to moderate acne who took a zinc-complex with antioxidants three times a day for three months experienced a significant improvement in acne count at eight weeks.


While a zinc deficiency is uncommon in the United States, healthy populations can still fall prey to falling short in zinc, like pregnant and lactating women entering gestation with marginal zinc status. Vegetarians may require as much as 50 percent more of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for zinc, since vegetarians’ higher legume and whole grain intake contains phytates that bind zinc and block absorption. Oysters contain a crazy amount of zinc—493% of the Daily Value! Other excellent sources of zinc include beef, crab, lobster, pork, baked beans, dark meat chicken, yogurt, and cashews.


Green tea

Studies suggest that green tea may improve acne due to its EGCG content, a polyphenol antioxidant known as having anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects.


In one study, randomly assigned women with moderate to severe acne who were supplemented with decaffeinated green tea extract (containing 856 milligrams EGCG) for 4 weeks experienced significantly fewer acne lesions on the nose, chin, and around the mouth compared to the placebo group.


Getting a large amount of EGCG isn’t as easy as cracking open a bottle of iced tea. Freshly brewed tea is the way to go, since the bottled stuff only contains a fraction of the amount of beneficial compounds.


One cup of green tea provides 25 to 106 milligrams of EGCG, by comparison, making decaffeinated tea a more suitable go-to for someone drinking larger quantities of green tea to minimize caffeine’s side effects.


If you’re looking for more bang for your sipping pleasure, try matcha green tea, comprised of high-quality green tea leaves that are gently steamed and ground into a powder that is consumed in the tea. One study found that matcha contains 137 times more EGCG than China Green Tips green tea, and is at least three times higher than the largest amount of EGCG found in studies for other green teas. Another study found that matcha green tea extracted three times more EGCG from the tea compared to leaf tea.


Michelle Dudash is a registered dietitian nutritionist, Cordon Bleu-certified chef consultant and the author of Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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Shopping the Farmer’s Market with Chef Tom Colicchio

Healthy Eats was excited when we scored an invite to shop the farmers market alongside chef Tom Colicchio. After all, the influential chef and restauranteur’s name is synonymous with gorgeous produce picked at the height of its season. (Decades before “farm-to-table” was an official movement, he scouted the Union Square Farmers Market for just-picked garden gems to cook at Gramercy Tavern and Craft.)


And there’s no better place than the farmers market for Chef Colicchio to help promote Naked Juice’s new line of delicious cold-pressed juices made with botanicals like lemongrass and lavender. As we peruse the stalls, Colicchio points out some of his late-spring favorites, including asparagus, pea shoots, morel mushrooms, ramps and bright yellow broccoli rabe flowers, which he uses to add hits of color and spice to salads and vegetable or grain dishes.


When I tell chef Colicchio it doesn’t feel like spring until I make bucatini with pancetta and ramps, I score a pro tip: “Do you know what would take that dish to the next level? Shave a little bottarga overtop.”


He also shares one more tip: his recipe for Fish Tacos with Charred Pineapple Relish and Pickled Cucumber Salad (created to complement Naked Pressed Cool Pineapple), a light, fresh and healthy dish that’s the perfect way to celebrate the start of grilling season.

Fish Tacos with Charred Pineapple Relish and Pickled Cucumber Salad Continue reading “Shopping the Farmer’s Market with Chef Tom Colicchio”

Clearing Up the Confusion About Salt

We consumers may find ourselves all shook up when it comes to salt — unsure about how to absorb the latest research, which can seem to conflict. One minute we are warned to be super-careful about our salt intake or hazard increasing our risk of a host of health woes, including high blood pressure — and are further cautioned that high sodium consumption could be raising our children’s risk of heart attack and stroke. The next minute we’re told our efforts to cut down on salt intake by easing up on our salt shakers is not going to help much — and that, in fact, consuming less sodium might not do much to lower blood pressure after all.


A recent New York Times headline seemed to sum up the current don’t-know-what-to-thinkness of it all: “Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong.” Oof. The Times article beneath the headlined filled us in on two new studies of Russian cosmonauts that found that salt may not make us more thirsty, as is widely believed, but actually less so — yet it may make us hungrier. Further research determined that mice burned more calories — and ate more — when they consumed more salt.


The studies contradict “much of the conventional wisdom about how the body handles salt and suggests that high levels may play a role in weight loss,” the Times reported. Still, one expert suggested to the paper, the studies results may not mean the conventional wisdom about sodium and blood pressure is wrong, but rather that we may be right about “the adverse effects of high sodium intake … for all the wrong reasons.”


Why is it all so confusing? “The biggest issues are that the general public doesn’t know all the places salt is hiding, plus when they see a value for salt content they don’t know when it’s too much,” says Dana Angelo White MS RD ATC, Healthy Eats contributor and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc.


Most Americans take in the majority of our sodium through processed convenience foods and restaurant foods, so if we eat a lot of these foods, we are probably consuming more salt than we should be, White says. “The daily recommendation is 2,400 milligrams per day, but many Americans take in far more than that,” she notes.


White advises consumers to check labels carefully to make sure we are aware of the sodium content of the foods we eat and to cut down when necessary. And those who cook at home, she says, ought to season the food as they go, adjusting to taste, so as to avoid going overboard.


We all need salt, which is a vital electrolyte, White says. However, she cautions, our bodies need only 1,500 milligrams per day, so most of us should at least aim to keep our consumption under 2,400 milligrams per day, an allowance White calls “generous.”


“Those with high blood pressure may need to be more conservative” with their salt intake, she says, “while athletes that sweat and lose more salt need to take in a bit more.”


And no, sweating out the calculations to figure out how much salt you’ve consumed probably doesn’t count.


Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. Her work has appeared in publications including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Glamour and Marie Claire, as well as Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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The C-CDA has Come a Long Way

The Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA) standard (version 1.1, C-CDA 1.1) was first adopted in 2012 as part of the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC’s) 2014 Edition final rule. It took nearly three years after that rulemaking for certified health information technology (health IT) with C-CDA 1.1 capabilities to be widely […]

The post The C-CDA has Come a Long Way appeared first on Health IT Buzz.

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Gift and Recipe Ideas for Father’s Day

Still pondering the perfect Father’s Day gift? Fishing for creative gift and recipe ideas that scream D.A.D.? Whatever kind of celebration you are planning, we’ve got you covered.


For the Grill Master

Hard pressed for a grill but tight on space? Ever planned a backyard BBQ and have it end in a wash out? Dad will love the multipurpose T-fal OptiGrill in sunshine and rain

for everything from grilled salmon to pressed sandwiches.


Recipes to try:

Moroccan Grilled Salmon (pictured above)

Rib Eye Steak Panini

Three Cheers

Get the beer flowing with some fun accessories like a state of the art YETI Colster or a Mini Beer Pong set. These gifts may help him exercise a little moderation and portion sizes control. Cooking with beer enhances flavor and even reduces some (not all) of the alcohol. Learn more about the health benefits of beer here.


Recipes to try:

Healthy Chipotle Beer and Butter Shrimp Foil Pack (pictured above)

Beer Battered Fish and Roasted Fries

Spice Things Up 

If dad likes things spicy make him a goodie bag from a legit artisan spice shop like Allspicery in Sacramento, California. From dry rubs to dips to BBQ sauce, dried herbs and spices elevate BBQ food to another level.


Recipes to try:

Lightened Up Ribs

Chicken or Steak with Balsamic BBQ Sauce (pictured above)


Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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Ghee: Is It Healthy?

Also known as clarified butter, ghee has been making many appearances on grocery store shelves. It has been touted to have many supposed health benefits including increasing metabolism, decreasing inflammation, and improving heart health. It’s even thought to be better tolerated by those who suffer from lactose intolerance. However, the science doesn’t exactly support all these claims.

What is ghee?

Ghee is made by melting butter while allowing the water to evaporate. This allows the milk solids to separate, and result in a translucent golden liquid known as ghee. Because the milk solids are removed, this allows for a higher smoke point than butter (485°F verses 350°F, respectively). It’s also why ghee is a perfect medium for high heat cooking, like often called for in Indian cuisine.  

Ghee vs butter

One teaspoon of ghee container 45 calories, 5  grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, and 4% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A. The same serving of unsalted butter contains 34 calories, 4 fat, 2 grams saturated fat, and 2% the daily recommended amount of vitamin A. The higher concentration of the nutrients in the ghee is due to its higher concentration of fat.

The claims

Heart health

A 2013 study determined that ghee isn’t as harmful to heart health as it may appear. The author found that ghee contains short chain fatty acids that may help strengthen and develop cell membranes. However, both the American Heart Association and 2015 dietary guidelines disagree with this notion.

Ghee has been blamed for heart disease in Asian Indians populations because of the high amounts of artery clogging saturated fat. The dietary guidelines recommend no more than 10% of your total calories come from saturated fat. This applies to ghee also. Even the American Heart Association recommends preparing Indian foods without ghee.

Dairy allergy and lactose intolerance

Ghee is derived from butter, a dairy product, and the protein that causes allergies can still be found in ghee.  If you’re allergic to dairy, you should avoid eating ghee.

If you have lactose intolerance, both butter and ghee has minimal lactose. One tablespoon of butter has 0.01 grams of lactose, which is minimal considering studies have found that those with lactose intolerance can tolerate up to 12 grams of lactose in one sitting (that’s one cup of milk). Of course, this has to be built up over time. The lactose is butter is minimal, and therefore both butter and ghee are well tolerated by those with lactose intolerance. One is not necessarily better than the other.

Other health issues

There is not enough scientific studies to show that eating ghee will speed up metabolism or decrease inflammation.

Bottom Line: If you want to eat ghee, go for it! A few companies including Organic Valley and Carrington Farms can now be found at your market. Just remember, that no more than 10% of your calories should come from this saturated fat.


Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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