Happy Valentine's Day to the City of Brotherly Love

#HealthTip : #DarkChocolate (not the sugary-filled milk chocolate) is filled with #antioxidants which can improve #bloodflow, lower #bloodpressure, and lower risk of #heart disease.

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source: Kris Gunnars, HealthLine.com

#happyvalentinesday and much #LOVE to the entire #CityofBrotherlyLove
#PreventiveHealthCare is a #FamilyAffair

December Food of the Month

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Mushrooms are rich in various vitamins and minerals we don’t hear about too often.  In addition to being high in fiber, omega 6 fatty acids, and potassium, mushrooms also contain a notable amount of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, copper, niacin, and selenium.

These nutrients are important for metabolism and energy, healthy skin, maintenance of hemoglobin and blood vessels, and preventing oxidation.  Depending on which type of mushrooms you choose, the nutrient content will vary.  But feel free to experiment with any mushrooms from the store!  They’re all great options!

Mushrooms are a rather versatile food.  They serve as great toppings/sauces for pasta, bases for vegetarian dishes such as veggie burgers, and hearty additions to soups, salads, breakfast eggs and omelets.  Of course they’re also a great option to munch on plain!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

September Food of the Month

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Almonds: of all the nuts, we hear about almonds probably the most.  This is because of their heart healthy properties.  However, they are additionally a great source of protein, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and copper.

These nutrients are important for a variety of functions, including: muscle development, skin health, development, metabolism, and immune function.  For example, magnesium is the second most abundant element in the human body, and makes up a large portion of bone composition.

Although almonds can be a healthy component of our diet, it is important not to overdo it.  One serving is approximately 23 almonds.  This is a small handful or about the size of a shot glass, which may not seem like a lot if you’re eating them plain out of the container.  The best way to control your portion is to mix them with other things such as trail mix or salads.  That way your small handful can be stretched into something more satisfying!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

August Food of the Month

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Zucchini is a nutritious option in season during the late summer and early fall months of the year.  It is a good source of heart healthy fats and vitamin C as well as vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and manganese, which are essential for metabolism, growth, and development.  Don’t forget: like most all fruits and vegetables, zucchini are also high in fiber.  Fiber is helpful for digestive health, weight loss, and lowering cholesterol among other functions!  Zucchini is one of the most versatile types of squash.  It can be included in numerous foods from muffins to shish kabobs to pastas to smoothies.  Explore a variety of recipes and don’t be afraid to think outside the box in the kitchen!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

Avoid The Beer Belly

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With Father’s Day approaching, here’s a health tip for all you men: AVOID THE BEER BELLY.  The measurement of your waist around the level of your belly button should be less than half your height in inches.  (For example, if you are six feet tall (72”), your waist should be less than 36”).  Keeping your waist at a healthy proportion to your height can help to prevent heart attacks and diabetes in addition to maintaining healthy testosterone levels.

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

June Food of the Month

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Cherries are a nutrient-packed, flavorful fruit, high in fiber, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.  Together, these nutrients can benefit blood pressure control, digestive health, and heart health among other things.  A lot of people take omega 3 (fish oil) and/or omega 6 supplements for these health benefits.  However, these fatty acids are readily found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices in addition to seafood.  So save a few dollars and get these nutrients through foods such as cherries as opposed to buying extra supplements.  Cherries aren’t only delicious added to desserts.  They serve as a great addition to numerous meals such as salads, cereal, and chicken salad.

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

May Food of the Month

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Spinach is one of the most popular leafy green vegetables.  It has a very neutral flavor that can be mixed well with a variety of foods, particularly in salads.  Compared to plain lettuce, spinach contains more omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and fiber.  These nutrients are important for heart health, your eyes and skin, blood clotting, metabolism, lowering your blood pressure, and keeping your bowels “regular.”  Try spinach raw or cooked.  Add it to smoothies, salads, soups, pasta dishes, etc.  It’s a great addition to nearly any meal and can help you feel healthier in nearly no time!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

March Food of the Month

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Oats are one of various types of whole grains.  Whole grains are types of grains which contain all parts of a grain: the bran, germ, and endosperm.  Refined grains only contain one of these parts.  By choosing refined grains instead of whole grains, you can miss out on important nutrients that keep your body healthy and prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  In addition, oats can help to lower bad cholesterol and prevent asthma.  They are also high in folate and iron, making them a smart choice for expectant mothers.  Don’t like oatmeal?  No worries.  Oats take on the flavor of the food in which they are mixed.  They can be added to pancakes, smoothies, salads, breads, you name it!  There are plenty of ways to fit this super food into your diet on a daily basis.

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

January Food of the Month

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Barley is one of various types of whole grains.  Whole grains are types of grains which contain all parts of a grain: the bran, germ, and endosperm.  Refined grains only contain one of these parts.  By choosing refined grains instead of whole grains, you can miss out on important nutrients that keep your body healthy and prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  Barley, in particular, is high in fiber, potassium, and selenium, important nutrients for everyone’s diet.  These nutrients aid in digestion, blood sugar stabilization, lowering blood pressure, and the prevention of inflammation – a win, win!  Don’t know where to start with barley?  It is a great addition to soups, pilafs, and hot cereals, the perfect hearty food to add to your diet during the cold winter season!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.