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Sunday, Feb 20, 2011
10 ways not to gain weight in winter.

Ways not to gain weight in winter.

Eating healthy throughout the winter months can be challenging for many reasons: the holidays, our craving for comfort foods that contain more fat and carbs, less exposure to sunlight, fresh fruits and vegetables are less available and less appealing.

 Here are 10 simple ways to avoid weight gain during winter.

  1. Keep your body well hydrated  - in the winter months we tend to spend more time in heated, indoor spaces which cause dehydration, and makes us confuse thirst with hunger. Which leads to munching, therefore always try to keep a bottle of water with you, and strive to drink, 8 cups of water a day.
  2. Add some extra protein- this will help you   to get over your appetite, an addition of 20gms of protein is reasonable for a healthy person. 20 gms of protein translates to adding 2 serving of yogurt to your menu, 2 oz of low fat cottage cheese, 2 oz of lean meat.
  3. Drink low fat drinks- sometimes, when it is very cold, all you want to drink is hot chocolate (with/without marshmallows).  Hot chocolate contains some extra fat, sugar and calories that you don’t necessarily need. Instead, go for latte based on skim/low fat milk or green tea, which will give extra antioxidants.
  4. Go outside - as I already mentioned, in the winter, we tend to spend most of the time indoors. This lesser exposure to sunlight leads to a drop in serotonin. That drop can cause depression and food cravings, therefore try to spend a little more time outside. You can also boost serotonin with healthy carbs. Whole grains and high-quality carbs such as sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkins, and squash help boost serotonin levels,”
  5. Avoid simple sugars and refined carbs,  add more complex carbs such as whole wheat breads, oatmeal, multigrain unsweetened cereals, granola, beans, brown rice whole wheat pasta, these will provide with extra fiber, vitamins, minerals.
  6. Eat soups- winter is the perfect season for soups. Homemade soups that contain vegetables, grains, protein and beans, are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Also research showed that people who included soup at lunch, ate 20% less in the whole meal, felt less hunger at dinner, therefore less overate at dinner.
  7. Keep yourself moving - true it is cold and dark outside, but it is important to continue with your physical activity routine in the winter months. It will keep your mood elevated, prevent from gaining weight and you will still look good in your bathing suit in the summer!
  8. Avoid big late night meals – when you eat too much too late, you are not hungry in the morning, skip breakfast and get to the next meal so hungry that you overeat at lunch and dinner. And it’s a vicious cycle again. This brings us to the next tip.
  9. Do not skip breakfast – start the day with hearty breakfast containing whole grains (such as oatmeal or whole grain cold cereal), fruit, and dairy. It will warm you up; fuel you with good quality carbs which will give you the energy for the rest of the day.
  10.  Unlike in the summer, fresh fruits and vegetables are less popular in the winter months. However try to include fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily menu during the cold winter. The   antioxidants in fresh fruits and vegetables will make you feel more alert, more energized and less tired.
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Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011
Soups -¬ delicious and nutritious.

Now that the winter is in the full swing and the weather is cold, it’s a good idea to warm up with soup.

Soups can be healthy and nutritious, and even help you to lose weight if you trying to do so. A combination of various ingredients makes the soup a good tasting, well balanced, and easy to make meal.

The soup offers high nutritional value, since you can include foods from almost all the food groups: meat/chicken, vegetables, grains, beans and dairy.

The soup is simply loaded with nutritional value.

 It is true that some vitamins and minerals are lost in cooking. However a recent study published in the Journal of Food Agriculture and Food Chemistry, found that after cooking broccoli, carrots and zucchinis, more antioxidants were released. The amount of antioxidants after cooking was larger compared to the amount after cooking.

The lycopen (an antioxidant found in tomatoes and associated with decreased risks for heart disease and various cancers) is more available after cooking; therefore a cooked tomato will contain more of the lycopen after it has been cooked

Another advantage of the soup is for people with digestive problems/ disorders: cooked vegetables, digested easier then fresh. If you suffer from irritable bowel disorder or any other digestive problems – soup is a much recommended meal for you.

Since the soup contains liquids it is satisfying and can be part of a weight loss regimen. A study conducted at the Penn State University found that people who ate soup at lunch, consumed 20% less calories in the whole meal, and reported less hunger and less over eating at dinner.

If you make a large pot of soup in the beginning of the week, it can provide a main dish or a side dish for the whole week.

Because of the combination of macronutrients, the soup is well-balanced, satisfying and nutritious. It provides protein (Chicken/lean beef or beans), carbohydrates (rice, potatoes), vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber (vegetables and grains).

Since most of us don’t eat enough vegetables, and while it is recommended to eat at least 3-4  servings a day, the soup is a great and easy way to enrich our diet with vegetables and provide the extra boost of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

What to not include in your soup.

When you making your soup at home, you know exactly what is in there, however it is not the case when you are eating the soup outside your home (store bought, or restaurant).

Here are some of the things you should consider:

Sodium – most of store bought ready to eat soups or canned, may contain some extra sodium (some even up to 1200mg/ serving while the recommended intake is 2500mg/day… which makes it half of the amount recommended per day). The sodium retains liquids in the body and therefore may increase blood pressure, also some people are sensitive to sodium, eating too much of it may cause to swelling of hands and feet, weight gain and even headaches.

Taste additives – various soup powders may contain unhealthy taste additives and preservatives such as monosodium glutamate, that not only can increase the sodium content of the soup, but also, people who are sensitive or allergic to it may have side effects such as migraines, tingling, nausea, vomiting and even increased heartbeat.

Creamed soups - any soups containing heavy cream, cheeses and coconut milk, will add a lot of extra calories and fat. Therefore try to substitute heavy cream with low fat milk.

Also beware of croutons which can add extra calories.

Try this healthy hearty and delicious recipe for Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup.


4 Tbs olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium onions thinly sliced

2 sweet potatoes cut into cubes

2 cups butternut squash cut into cubes

2 carrots sliced

6 cups water

½ tsp fresh ginger root minced

Salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large pot, add onion, garlic, sweet potato, butternut squash and carrots, stir. Sauté for 15 minutes. Add water and cook for 50 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove from heat. With hand blender puree the soup until smooth. If you are using stand blender, let the soup cool, and puree in batches. Return the pot back on the stove, bring to boil, add ginger and salt and pepper to taste.

Bon appétit!



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Wednesday, Feb 09, 2011
Chocolate – not a guilty pleasure!

As the Valentine’s day  around the corner and chocolate is still being the ultimate gift, as well is the most desired craving, it is now safe to say that Chocolate  actually has some health benefits.

Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research indicates that flavanols have other positive influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow to the brain and heart, making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, and lowering cholesterol.

Flavanols , which give cocoa a pungent taste, "may be lost during cocoa processing". Some chocolate manufacturers are studying ways to keep high levels of flavanols in their products while still producing good-tasting chocolate.

Are all types of chocolate healthy?

Before you grab a chocolate candy bar or slice of chocolate cake, it’s important to understand that not all forms of chocolate contain high levels of flavanols.

Cocoa naturally has a very strong, pungent taste, which comes from the flavanols. When cocoa is processed into your favorite chocolate products, it goes through several steps to reduce this taste. The more chocolate is processed (through things like fermentation, alkalizing, roasting, etc.), the more flavanols are lost. Most commercial chocolates are highly processed.

Although it was once believed that dark chocolate contained the highest levels flavanols, recent research indicates that, depending on how the dark chocolate was processed, this may not be true.

Unsweetened cocoa powder is the healthiest one, and the runners up for health benefits are bittersweet and semisweet chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. Unfortunately for milk-chocolate lovers, this type of chocolate has lower levels of flavonols.

What about all of the fat in chocolate?

You may be surprised to learn that chocolate isn’t as bad for you as we once thought.

The fat in chocolate comes from cocoa butter and is made up of equal amounts of:

 Oleic acid- a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil

 Stearic acid –has neutral effect on Cholesterol

Palmitic  acid  - Is  form of saturated fat, saturated fats are linked to increases in LDL-cholesterol and the risk for heart disease.

That  means that only 1/3 of fat found in chocolate is actually bad for you.

However before you decide to “snack “on pound of chocolate a day or reach for that chocolate bar here are few things to consider:

  • Chocolate containing nuts, marshmallow, nougat, caramel, etc is not heart healthy. It  contains extra sugar fat and calories.
  • Milk chocolate contains much less flavanols then dark chocolate, and therefore has less health benefits.
  • It may taste good but some studies show that washing your chocolate down with a glass of milk could prevent the antioxidants being absorbed or used by your body.

The bottom line is as always moderation, and that you no longer have  to feel guilty if you enjoy small piece of dark chocolate (1 ounce) few times a week.

Happy Valentines Day.




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Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011
Less Cholesterol in Eggs, USDA Says

New Analysis Finds 14% Less Cholesterol in Eggs, 64% More Vitamin D.


A recent survey by the USDA (United State Department of Agriculture) finds that eggs has less cholesterol and more vitamin D in eggs as opposed to a previous survey in 2002.


A random sampling from 12 different spots in the country finds that the average large egg has 185 mg of cholesterol, 14% lower than when surveyed in 2002. And eggs have 41 IU of vitamin D, up 64% from the last review.


The reason to why eggs now have less cholesterol and more Vitamin D is not known. But it is possible that it is due to the changes farmers made to hens feed.


Eating eggs in moderation can be a part of healthy well-balanced diet.


 Eggs contain a number of important nutrients, such as, Vitamin D which promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to promote normal mineralization of bone. Vitamin d has an important role in promoting of the immune function and reduction of inflammation.

One egg contains 8grams of protein which has the highest biological value (contains all the amino acids).

The eggs also contain iron and vitamin B especially folic acid which is essential for pregnant women and also Choline which is necessary for brain development in fetus.

One egg contains just 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat.


Few recent studies found that eating 1-2 eggs per day did not affect person’s lipid profile or the risk for heart disease.

 What investigators have found is that saturated fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol, is what influences blood cholesterol levels the most.


However the dietary guidelines for cholesterol still remain 300mg a day, therefore , the recommendation is one egg per day, since two eggs per  day will put you  way over the recommendation.



The best advice that still remains is to eat a well-balanced diet — one which can include eggs — and exercise.



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Saturday, Jan 08, 2011
nutrition and Immune System

Fall and winter seasons can bring colds or the flu.

So, Vitamin C and Echinacea do not alleviate the common cold. So what can we do to boost our Immune system?

The three factors that are most important in protecting and bolstering the immune system are diet and nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction.

Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune response.

 A relatively mild deficiency of even one nutrient can make a difference in your body's ability to fight infections.
Among the nutrients recognized for their many roles in building immunity and immune response are protein, vitamins A, C and E and zinc. Others, including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, copper, prebiotics and probiotics, may influence immune response.

To promote your immunity, follow a healthful eating plan with plenty of immune-boosting nutrients.

Protein is the building block of our bodies, it is needed for growth and repair, healthy choices for protein would be lean meat such as chicken, fish such as salmon and tuna, legumes such as beans, peas and lentils.

Vitamins A, C. and E and also minerals Selenium, Copper and Zinc, are also known as antioxidants, they protect our bodies from harmful chemical by products, called free radicals.

Good sources of vitamin A : Carrots Sweet potatoes, Pumpkin, kale, Apricots, Cantaloupe  melon ,Mango, Spinach, Winter Squash.

God sources of Vitamin C: Oranges, Clementines, Strawberries, Broccoli, Bell peppers, Kiwi, Tomatoes, Blackberries, Mango, Melon, Cabbage, Pineapples, Brussels sprouts.


Good sources of vitamin E: nuts and seeds, such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds, shrimp and soybeans.

Good sources of folate: all the beans, peas and lentils (kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, lentil, pinto beans) fresh green vegetables, corn , asparagus, spinach, oranges, cabbage, cauliflower,.

Good sources for Selenium:  Brown rice, wheat germ, whole wheat bread, poultry, fish, shellfish, Brazil nuts.

Good sources for folate: oat bran, dairy products, lean red meat, poultry, eggs, Brazil nuts, Navy beans, Soybeans.

Probiotics  are otherwise called live culture, that found mainly in fermented milk products ( yogurt).

 Most recent  research suggest that probiotics may enhance the immune system by protecting from pathogens, decrease the incidence of respiratory tract infections[, and  aid in the treatment and prevention of acute diarrhea. Also they are beneficial in preventing secondary infections, a common complication of antibiotic therapy.

Prebiotics are basically soluble fiber, which stimulate growth and/or activity of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system, which are beneficial for the health and the body.

Good sources of soluble fiber are fresh fruits and vegetables, oats, legumes.

Regular exercise boosts your stamina, reduces the risk for many diseases, helps with weight control, reduces stress.

Clearly, nutrition plays a crucial part in building and maintaining strong immune system, the importance and the benefits of regular physical activity to overall health has been discussed extensively on this blog.

So, Eat Healthy, Exercise Regularly, Be Healthy, Live Longer!



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Tuesday, Dec 21, 2010
Echinacea, a common Herbal remedy does not alleviate the common cold, contrary to previous findings.

New study published in the Annals of internal Medicine, suggests that Echinacea,   a common Herbal remedy does not alleviate the common cold, contrary to previous findings.

In a clinical trial of 700 children and adults, Participants were randomly assigned to receive no pill; a pill that they knew contained Echinacea; or a pill that could be either Echinacea or a placebo, but they were not told which. Patients recorded their symptoms twice a day.

Participants who received Echinacea had a very slight (7- to 10-hour) decrease in the duration and severity of their cold symptoms (out of approximately 1 week) and a minor decrease in how severe the cold seemed. However, these small differences could have occurred by chance. Echinacea caused no apparent side effects, and immune function did not significantly differ between persons who did or did not receive Echinacea.

"Any underlying benefit of Echinacea is not large and was not demonstrated by our results," the researchers wrote. The herb—a perennial purple coneflower—is marketed as an immune booster that helps fight infections. And it's a top-seller: Last year, sales climbed 7 percent to $132 million in the U.S.

Although this study suggests that Echinacea is ineffective at reducing cold symptoms or duration, higher-than-expected variability in cold symptoms limited its power to provide a definitive answer to the question about the effectiveness of Echinacea.

So, should you take or not take Echinacea, that is the question?

Echinacea preparations tested in clinical trials differ greatly. It is important to choose a high quality Echinacea supplement.

Three species of Echinacea are commonly used for medicinal purposes: Echinacea Angustifolia, Echinacea Pallida, and Echinacea Purpurea. Many Echinacea preparations contain one, two, or even all three of these species. Different products use different parts of the Echinacea plant. This is why the effectiveness of Echinacea may differ from one product to another

A study performed by (an independent company that tests the purity of health, wellness, and nutrition products) found that of 11 brands of Echinacea purchased for testing, only 4 contained what was stated on their labels. About 10% had no Echinacea at all; half were mislabeled as to the species of Echinacea in the product; and more than half of the standardized preparations did not contain the labeled amount of active ingredients.

 If you decide to take Echinacea, always, Buy products made by reputable, established companies that distribute their products through trustworthy and knowledgeable establishments. When possible, select products with guaranteed potency or standardized extracts.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year.


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Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010
Nutrition tips for picky eaters and their parents.

Does your child refuse to eat certain foods? Does he/she make grimaces or turn their nose away from a dish that you’ve spent hours preparing? Are you concerned that your youngster will not eat fruits and vegetables? Do hear “don’t like it” won’t eat it” or yuks” too often?

Here are some tips I’ve gathered to help you deal with your picky eater.

  • Children enjoy eating foods that look and smell appealing: bright colors of fruits and vegetable, the aroma of freshly baked bread, the fresh scent of cut watermelon.
  • Cut foods in interesting and different shapes such as wedges of apples or oranges, sliced bananas, sliced strawberry is shaped like a triangle, cubes of cheese, and sticks of carrots or celery.
  • Arrange attractively on a plate.
  • Kids like plain and unmixed foods. For salads and sandwiches for example, put some ingredients aside, and let the kids assemble their salad or sandwich, any way they like it. Sometimes they don’t like different foods to touch each other.  Try to serve to sauce for the pasta on aside, and same thing goes for the salad dressing. Kids will usually not eat foods cooked in heavy or spicy sauce, or foods with some exotic spices.
  • Offering finger foods for children is always a good recommendation. They are easy to grab and eat. And I mean fruits and vegetables as finger foods , not French fries and deep fried chicken…
  • Try to serve cut up vegetables and whole grain cut up pita bread with humus, sliced apples or bananas with peanut butter, whole grain crackers with avocado dip.
  • At meals serve at least one food your child likes.
  • Encourage your child to try something new, but by all means don’t force them. Continue to offer variety and encourage your child to try new food, eventually he/she may try it, and sometimes they may need as many as 10 tries, before they actually taste it!!
  •  No need to worry if your child does not eat a certain vegetable or fruit such as spinach. Just offer other vegetable from the same group such as broccoli or carrots, they will provide the same nutrients.
  • Get kids involved in food preparation, especially if it is something new and they will be more eager to try it!! Most children like to help and they feel good about themselves when they can say “I mixed” or” I beat the eggs”. So let them mix the fruit salad, or arrange fruit kabobs, put the slices of meat or cheese between bread for sandwiches, not to mention the mixing and the beating when baking a cake which all kids love. Let them arrange the rainbow of vegetables on a plate.



  • Fruits and vegetables offer endless learning possibilities for children .Talk  to your kids about colors, shapes , size, feel, part of the plant:

Leaf  - such as cabbage, spinach, lettuce.

Stalk – such as celery, asparagus.

Root  - such as  potato, carrots.

Flower – such as broccoli, cauliflower.

Seed – such as  peas, corn.


  • Get kids involved in planting a vegetable and herb garden. First of all this is an important science lesson, and second, kids will enjoy eating food they grow themselves, third it will be an important lesson in responsibility and accomplishment.
  • One last recommendation, mainly for moms: patience, consistency and strong nervous system will eventually pay off.


Good luck!

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Monday, Nov 15, 2010
Emergency C?

Vitamin C is one of the most effective nutrients and usually receives extra attention once the flu and the common cold season is approaching.

The benefits of vitamin c associated not only with cold and flu, but also with cancer, eye health, skin, strokes and cardiovascular health.

The question that always remains debatable is what is the right dose for vitamin C?

Some experts recommended taking mega doses of vitamin C to help prevent and even cure common cold, however, a recent review of studies found that mega dosing of vitamin C was not effective.

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 75-90mg per day, and the upper safe limit is up to 2000mg a day.

Most studies that looked at the benefits of vitamin C, used 500mg of vitamin C a day. This is the dose at which most health benefits of vitamin C were observed and this is the dose that most researches recommend to consume.

We now know that vitamin C will probably not cure the cold, but it will prevent complications, shorten the length of the disease and make the symptoms lighter. So it will be still a good idea to include this important nutrient in your diet.

The foods richest in vitamin C are citrus fruits, green peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Other good sources include dark leafy greens, cantaloupe, papaya, mango, watermelon, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, red peppers, raspberries, blueberries, winter squash, and pineapples.

Of course it is better to strive to obtain natural vitamin C from the food, ( since the absorption and the retention is much better, and you will be getting plenty of other vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber, which are essential to your health.) however to get 500 mg from food  might be a little  challenging , since you will have to eat 8-9servings of fruits and vegetables a day….

So, the bottom line is  try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever you can, but also, taking a once-daily supplement of 500 mg, is safe, effective, and easy to do.

Try to make this natural vitamin c booster at home: squeeze 2 oranges, 1 granny smith apple and 2 carrots and drink daily, will provide about 150 mg of vitamin C .

As to common cold and flu prevention, the best recommendation is Wash Your Hands More Frequently.




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Thursday, Nov 11, 2010
Take Small steps to make a big change.

Your health is your most important asset! No need to make drastic changes or to turn your life around to become healthier.  

These “Baby Steps” will improve your health!  

Even one small change will “repair” your body and soul. 

You will see and feel improvement immediately: better sleep, more energy, more vitality, less stomach discomfort and better mood. 

There is no need to wait for “New Year’s Resolution”, you can start right now!!! 

One healthy habit leads to another, if you add one healthy habit each day; you will feel much better by the New Year. 

§          Measure the oil! Get used to measure the oil that you add in salads or in cooking. When pouring from the bottle you have no control of the amount of oil added, this way you can enrich your meal with unnecessary calories and fat. Pour the oil onto a tablespoon and then add it to your dish. 

§          Drink an additional glass of water a day.  

§          Eat fish at least once a week. The fish contain essential w-3 fatty acids, which associated, with improving, mood, memory, may decrease cholesterol and triglycerides level, and they are especially important for pregnant and lactating women. 

§          Reduce your sodium intake. Large amounts of sodium” Hide” in processed foods. Try to consume fresh foods whenever possible such as fresh fruits and vegetables as opposed to canned, and try not to use the salt shaker. Instead of using salt, use extra spices and fresh herbs. 

§          Share your desert with someone. You will save fat, sugar and lots of calories. 

§          Add new vegetable to your menu. Try a new vegetable that you have not tried before. Look at your daily menu and see what color vegetable is missing. You should strive to eat from all colors of the rainbow. 

§          Eat at least one pro biotic food a day. Yogurts contain live cultures which help regulate our gastrointestinal system, improve digestion, increase absorption of vitamins and minerals and promote immune system. 

§          Do breathing exercises. Take deep breaths. It will calm your soul, boost your body’s energy improve your concentration and thinking. 

§          Smoking? Reduce one cigarette a day.  

§          Check your blood vitamin D level. Vitamin D helps to prevent Diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Avoid vitamin D deficiency. 

§          Add 1fruit or ½ cup of fruit juice a day. The fruits treasure pure health- plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phyto chemicals and they contain natural sugar. Eat fruit as a snack, add it to your salad, eat it as a desert to your meal and you will crave fewer sweets.  

§          Reduce one teaspoon of sugar a day. Sugar causes cavities, contributes to obesity and increases the risk for diabetes. By gradually decreasing the daily amount of sugar, your taste buds will get used to less sugar and you will not need as much. 

§          Reduce 1 cup of coffee a day. This advice is for those who drink more then 4 cups a day. Excess caffeine (more then 300mg a day) may elevate blood pressure, causes irritability and indigestion. 

§          Engage in relaxing activity at least once a week. We all deserve a little peace and quiet in our extremely busy schedule. Bubble bath, massage, good book –are just a few options for relaxation. 

§          Keep a healthy snack within reach. When you hungry feel hungry, it is very easy to grab the sugary, fatty food from the vending machine.  If you keep a healthy snack at work, in the car, in your purse you will save yourself some calories and guilty feelings. Some examples to healthy snacks: granola bar, or any other snack based on dry fruit, oats, honey up to 130 calories.

§          Add 5 almonds or 3 walnuts to your daily menu. Almonds and walnuts contain essential fatty acids, Zinc, Selenium, Iron and magnesium. However since the high content of fat and calories I, the amount is limited.

§         Add 1 hour of sleep once a week. Adequate sleep contributes to alertness, concentration, reduces the risk to develop high blood pressure and even may prevent weight gain.

§         Add one family meal a week. The importance of family meal is more then you think. Studies show that children who grew up in home with regular family meals, were healthier, had better social and mental skills, were calmer and more concentrated.

§         Add 5 minutes to your meal. The feeling of being full comes 20-30 minutes after a meal. if you finish a meal in 10 minutes. You will still feel hungry, and chances are, you will continue eating. Slower eating coordinates, between end of meal and   the feeling of satiety.

§         Use the stairs, or walk one block. Physical activity promotes your health!!!.

§         Add calcium to your daily menu.  Calcium is the building block of our bones. Calcium deficiency will make our bones more breakable. Choose your high calcium favorite food: ½ cup  low fat yogurt, ½ low fat milk cup milk,  3oz tofu, 2.5 oz almonds,1 lb broccoli or cabbage, 1.5 oz cheese – will provide 200mg calcium.

§         Substitute 1 white flour product for whole wheat product. Whole wheat flour contains more fiber, iron and zinc then white flour. Start substituting white bread for whole wheat bread, white rolls and bagels for whole wheat rolls and bagels. Then you can advance to whole wheat pasta and whole wheat cookies.

§         Drink one less alcohol drink a day. 1 drink of alcohol a day, will probably not do any harm, however drinking more then that will do more damage then harm. Not only that alcohol is addicting, has unnecessary empty calories, it damages the liver, increases  blood triglycerides level , increases the risk for breast cancer and affects  the motoric and nervous systems.

§         Try 1 new healthy food. Variety is the key in healthy eating. Visit the health section in your supermarket and choose a new food product to your shopping cart.

§         Just for 1 day – try to record everything you eat. If you think you know everything you eat during the day, you will be surprised after this little exercise. Food diary has an enormous power. It will show you what you really eat( bites here and there, finishing your kids meals or snacks, spoonfuls from the  cooking pot) and will make you think twice before you eat it.

§         Add 1 table spoon of vinegar a day. Chinese recommended long ago to drink 1 table spoon of vinegar diluted in 1 cup of lukewarm water in the morning. The acetic acid in the vinegar interferes with fat production in the body. One of the studies showed the people who added 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar a day, lost weight and fat mass faster then those that did not add vinegar.

§         Say goodbye to one of your favorite junk foods.  Processed foods, food coloring, food preservatives, trans fat and etc, are not healthy to our skin, bones and internal organs such as kidneys and liver. Try to choose foods that do not contain all of these and you will most likely improve your quality of life and prolong them.

§         Make sure there is variety of tastes on your diet.  Variety is the essence of well balanced diet, so check your daily menu and see if you eat sweet(corn, all fruits, carrots, sweet potato, rice honey), sour (lemon, vinegar, green apple, tomatoes, citrus), salty (fish and sea food, soy sauce, sardines,)bitter (scallion, grapefruit olives, lettuce), hot and spicy(onion ,garlic, mint, radish).

§         Eat only when you  are really hungry. Sometimes we interpret thirst as hunger or the smell of the bakery makes you reach for that roll or bagel. Next time you think you are hungry, stop for a minute and check is it really hunger? is your stomach rumbling?( which make sense if the last time you’ve eaten was over 3 hours ago) or may be you are just thirsty?

§         Add one anaerobic activity to sculpt your body. Aerobic activity creates caloric deficit. Anaerobic activity sculpts your body. The most wonderful diet will help you lose the pounds, but anaerobic activity will make your body look svelte and fit.


 Written by Illana Matz-Khromchenko M.S , R.D. for any questions, comments, concerns or any other type of input, please do not hesitate to conatct at, or

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Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010
Watch your back! Simple ways to avoid and eliminate back pain.



Low back pain often occurs due to overuse, strain or injury. This includes too much bending, twisting, lifting, and even too much sitting.

How Can You Prevent Low Back Pain.

  • Keep your back, stomach, and leg muscles strong and flexible
  • Keep your body in alignment, so it can be more efficient when you move
  • Don’t slouch-keep good posture
  • Use good body positioning at work, home, or during leisure activities
  • When lifting, keep the load close to your body
  • Ask for help or use an assistive device to lift heavy objects
  • Maintain a regular physical fitness regimen, staying active can help to prevent injuries


What to do if you have a back pain.

Chill it. Ice is best in the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury because it reduces inflammation. Take it off after about 20 minutes to give your skin a rest.

Keep moving. . Keep doing your daily activities. Make the beds, go to work, walk the dog. Once you're feeling better, regular aerobic exercises like swimming, bicycling, and walking can keep you -- and your back -- more mobile. Just don't overdo it. There's no need to run a marathon when your back is sore.

Stay strong. Once your low back pain has receded, you can help avert future episodes of back pain by working the muscles that support your lower back, including the back extensor muscles. They help you maintain the proper posture and alignment of your spine. Having strong hip, pelvic, and abdominal muscles also gives you more back support. Avoid abdominal crunches, because they can actually put more strain on your back.

Stretch. Don't sit slumped in your desk chair all day. Get up every 20 minutes or so and stretch the other way.  Don't forget to also stretch your legs. Some people find relief from their back pain by doing a regular stretching routine, like yoga.

Think ergonomically. Design your workspace so you don't have to hunch forward to see your computer monitor or reach way out for your mouse. Use a desk chair that supports your lower back and allows you to keep your feet planted firmly on the floor.

Watch your posture. Slumping makes it harder for your back to support your weight. Be especially careful of your posture when lifting heavy objects. Never bend over from the waist. Instead, bend and straighten from the knees. 

Wear low heels. Exchange your four-inch pumps for flats or low heels (less than 1 inch). High heels create a more unstable posture, and increase pressure on your lower spine. According to research, nearly 60% of women who consistently wear high-heeled shoes complain of low back pain.

Kick the habit. Smoking can increase your risk for osteoporosis of the spine and other bone problems. Osteoporosis can lead to compression fractures of the spine. One study found that smokers are about a third more likely to have low back pain compared with nonsmokers.

Watch your weight. Use diet and exercise to keep your weight within a healthy range for your height. Being overweight puts excess stress on your spine.

Try an over-the-counter pain reliever. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naproxyn), and aspirin can help reduce back pain and swelling. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is another over-the-counter option for pain management.

Call  a professional if:

  • Your low back pain doesn't go away after a few days, and it hurts even when you're at rest or lying down.
  • You have weakness or numbness in your legs, or you have trouble standing or walking
  • You lose control over your bowels or bladder

These could be signs that you have a nerve problem or another underlying medical condition that needs to be treated.




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T. (212) 571-5000, F. (212) 571-5001

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81 Willoughby Street, 4th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201
T. (718) 522-2033, F. (718) 522-2238

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3514 Mermaid Ave., Suite 003, Brooklyn, NY 11224
T. (718) 996-1100, F. (718) 676-9511

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114-32 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Park, NY 11694
T. (718) 318-0070, F. (718) 318-0092

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3065 Brighton 14th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11235
T. (718) 646-8700, F. (718) 646-8726*

*Provided by Absolute Care Physical Therapy Group, PLLC


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