Why you need to ditch the soda habit    

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I work with clients across all ages, many who are actually healthy already when they start seeing me, but often times they have a habit that quite frankly counteracts all of the benefits of their otherwise healthy diet—soda! It’s addictive—caffeinated or not, diet or not, soda destroys your health. If there is one “bad” food you want to challenge yourself to remove from your diet, I suggest soda! Here are some of the ways soda is harmful to your health.

Soda can make you gain weight, yes even diet soda.

Most people who see me are concerned about their weight. Some want to fit better in a wedding dress. Some have serious health problems related to being overweight or obese. As this is concern is probably at the forefront of peoples’ mind more than other serious concerns, I will address the weight issue first.

Soda causes weight gain. Sugar and even the artificial sugars in diet sodas can make you feel hungrier, leading you to eat more. This means you consume all that sugar or artificial sugar (which bot store as fat) in the soda, and more food than you would’ve eaten had you not had the soda! That all adds up, especially if it is a daily habit!

Let’s move on to more detrimental health concerns caused by soda.

Soda can cause diabetes.

Do you know that a can of soda has over nine teaspoons of sugar in it? That’s insane. Drink a can of soda and that already exceeds the American Heart Association’s recommended daily allowance of added sugar, which is nine teaspoons for men, and six teaspoons for women. All that sugar can spark diabetes. In fact, a 2010 meta-analysis of several studies found that people who consume 1-2 cans of soda a day or more are 26 percent more likely to get Type 2 diabetes than people who rarely drink soda.

Soda can make your bones brittle.

Most of my clients who are young to middle-aged rarely think of their bones. But get this, soda drinkers’ bones are more brittle. Soda has phosphate and when your diet has more phosphate than calcium, your bones suffer. Think about changing up your soda for milk, even chocolate milk, so you get that much-needed calcium for your bones!

Soda can break your heart.

Sugar was first linked to heart disease over 50 years ago, yet soda is still flying off the shelves! This saddens me because several studies have established that sugar-sweetened drinks increase several risk factors for heart disease. It can increase your blood-sugar levels, your triglycerides, and your LDL (Bad) cholesterol.

Studies have linked soda to an increased risk of heart attacks as well. One study for example followed 40,000 men for two decades and found that the men who had one sugary drink a day had a 20 percent increased risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack compared to those who rarely drank sugary drinks.

Soda can cause cancer.

I rarely write about the “C” word because it freaks people out, but in cases where a plethora of studies have shown correlations with eating/drinking a certain food and having an increased risk of cancer, I think it’s important to address.

Let me start by saying that cancer risk increases when you have a chronic condition like Type 2 diabetes or heart disease. This is one way that soda is linked to an increased risk of cancer.

And there are several studies that have shown soda drinking as directly linked to certain types of cancer. For example, one study found that men and women who drank two or more sodas a day had an 87 percent higher chance of developing pancreatic cancer than those who did not. Another study found that postmenopausal women who drank soda were at greater risk of getting endometrial cancer.

There are several more reasons not to drink soda, like damage to your teeth, increased risk of gout, and even increased risk of dementia. So, If there is one food addiction you are trying to defeat, try to kick soda out of your life. I promise, after a while, you won’t even miss it!

 

 

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Spring into Health with Asparagus

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4012644047_0828109f44_o.jpgNow that it is FINALLY starting to feel like spring (after it just snowed a couple days ago), I feel inspired to do a mini-series on spring cleaning (your body). Let me begin with asparagus. There is no better time to start increasing the seasonal veggies in your diet. It’s time to detox from those heavy winter meals!

When you eat fresh, seasonal veggies, you automatically feel more alive. Head out to the farmers’ markets the next couple of months and you will no doubt find fresh asparagus from local farms. I consider asparagus a spring veggie superstar! Here’s why Asparagus gets an A+ for nutrition in my book.

Asparagus is super high in vitamin K and folate.

Many people I have worked with know that vitamin K is important for healthy blood clotting and most people get enough vitamin K in their diet to help ensure that the blood is clotting optimally. However, vitamin K helps with so many other functions and most people do not get enough vitamin K to help with these factors.

Vitamin K keeps your bones strong. It is crucial as we age to protect our bones. Bone loss is the cause of so many health problems, especially hip fractures, which in many cases starts a downward spiral in health ailments for women after they go through menopause. But it is never too early to protect your bones. Most of us know that calcium is great for bone health; consider vitamin K as the key holder to getting calcium and other important minerals into your bones. Several Japanese clinical trials have proven how amazing vitamin K is for your bones. One study using data collected from the trials found that vitamin K supplementation produces a 60 percent reduction in vertebral fractures and an 80 percent reduction in hip and other non-vertebral fractures.

Vitamin K can also help prevent cancer. A German study in 2008 found that vitamin K helped prevent prostate cancer; other studies have found that vitamin K helps protect you from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, colon, stomach, and oral cancers.

Folate is an energizer! Folate helps prevent soaring homocysteine levels. When your homocysteine levels are high, you are at a much larger risk for developing heart problems. High homocysteine levels can also impair the brain, causing dementia or mood imbalances. So get your folate to manage your heart and mind! Folate is one of the most important vitamins for women to consume when they are pregnant; in addition to helping maintain a healthy mood, it also helps prevent birth defects.

In addition to vitamin K and folate, asparagus is heralded as an anti-inflammatory because it contains dozens of antioxidants! Because those antioxidants destroy free radicals, you are essentially helping to prevent almost every health ailment when you eat asparagus!

Head out to the market and get yourself some asparagus today! The white and purple varieties are yummy too. Lightly sauté it as a side dish. Toss it in salads too. To get the most nutrients from asparagus, try to consume it within a couple days of getting it from the market.

Spring into Health with Asparagus

Standard

4012644047_0828109f44_o.jpgNow that it is FINALLY starting to feel like spring (after it just snowed a couple days ago), I feel inspired to do a mini-series on spring cleaning (your body). Let me begin with asparagus. There is no better time to start increasing the seasonal veggies in your diet. It’s time to detox from those heavy winter meals!

When you eat fresh, seasonal veggies, you automatically feel more alive. Head out to the farmers’ markets the next couple of months and you will no doubt find fresh asparagus from local farms. I consider asparagus a spring veggie superstar! Here’s why Asparagus gets an A+ for nutrition in my book.

Asparagus is super high in vitamin K and folate.

Many people I have worked with know that vitamin K is important for healthy blood clotting and most people get enough vitamin K in their diet to help ensure that the blood is clotting optimally. However, vitamin K helps with so many other functions and most people do not get enough vitamin K to help with these factors.

Vitamin K keeps your bones strong. It is crucial as we age to protect our bones. Bone loss is the cause of so many health problems, especially hip fractures, which in many cases starts a downward spiral in health ailments for women after they go through menopause. But it is never too early to protect your bones. Most of us know that calcium is great for bone health; consider vitamin K as the key holder to getting calcium and other important minerals into your bones. Several Japanese clinical trials have proven how amazing vitamin K is for your bones. One study using data collected from the trials found that vitamin K supplementation produces a 60 percent reduction in vertebral fractures and an 80 percent reduction in hip and other non-vertebral fractures.

Vitamin K can also help prevent cancer. A German study in 2008 found that vitamin K helped prevent prostate cancer; other studies have found that vitamin K helps protect you from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, colon, stomach, and oral cancers.

Folate is an energizer! Folate helps prevent soaring homocysteine levels. When your homocysteine levels are high, you are at a much larger risk for developing heart problems. High homocysteine levels can also impair the brain, causing dementia or mood imbalances. So get your folate to manage your heart and mind! Folate is one of the most important vitamins for women to consume when they are pregnant; in addition to helping maintain a healthy mood, it also helps prevent birth defects.

In addition to vitamin K and folate, asparagus is heralded as an anti-inflammatory because it contains dozens of antioxidants! Because those antioxidants destroy free radicals, you are essentially helping to prevent almost every health ailment when you eat asparagus!

Head out to the market and get yourself some asparagus today! The white and purple varieties are yummy too. Lightly sauté it as a side dish. Toss it in salads too. To get the most nutrients from asparagus, try to consume it within a couple days of getting it from the market.

Crazy for Kale…and other Leafy Greens

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As we mentioned in our blog about seaweed, April is Earth Month and we will be blogging about sustainable food choices. Load up your plate with leafy greens (kale, collard greens, arugula, spinach and chard are great choices) and you will be boosting your health and protecting the planet at the same time!

Leafy Greens for your Weight

Leafy greens are rich in fiber. When it comes to weight-loss, you must befriend fiber because it keeps you fuller longer and you will be less likely to have unhealthy snack attacks.

Leafy Greens for your Heart

Leafy greens are excellent for heart health. The fiber helps to lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Many leafy greens are chock-full of potassium, which helps to manage healthy blood-pressure levels. Research indicates that folate, found in leafy greens, may protect against heart disease.

Leafy Greens for your Brain

Folate is also great for your brain. Research shows that folate may protect against memory also. And because folate produces serotonin, leafy greens may help ward off depression.

Leafy Greens for your Bones

You probably know that in order to maintain healthy bones, you need calcium. Did you know that many leafy greens have more calcium than milk? For example, one cup of collard greens contains 357 milligrams of calcium and a cup of milk has 306 milligrams.

Leafy Greens for your Skin

Leafy greens contain a lot of water, which helps to hydrate your skin. The ample amount of vitamin C in leafy greens produces collagen, which is essential for your skin’s elasticity. Vitamin C and vitamin E, both found in leafy greens, team up to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays.

Leafy Greens for the Planet
Leafy greens grow more quickly than almost any other type of plant in most climates, making them an excellent low-impact food choice most seasons.

If you want to take up gardening, leafy greens are a low-maintenance choice to try! Give it a shot and let us know how it goes. In the meantime, load up on those greens—you will feel so vibrant!