Posts from 2016-07

Sugar and Arthritis

sugar

 

Research is limited on the correlation between sugar intake and arthritis.  However, this is becoming a trending topic and researchers are starting to complete more trials and collect more information related to this.  One study published in 2014 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition collected information from a group of women and their intake of soft drinks.  Data was collected over a 20-year period and the results showed a positive correlation between higher intake of sugar and risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.  Those who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day were 63% more likely to develop arthritis compared to those who consumed less than one serving per month.

 

            Some clinicians and researchers suggest that arthritis is not caused by the diet. For example, a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that bacteria produced by internal body functions cause arthritis and related inflammatory diseases.  Therefore, even though the diet may not be the direct cause of rheumatoid arthritis, the excess amount of sugars being put into the body may create the perfect feeding ground for harmful bacteria that promote inflammation.

 

            There is much more research to be done on this topic; however, we do know from many other studies about the human body that excess sugar intake is never recommended.  Sugar should be consumed in moderation and is best when coming from natural sources such as fruit rather than processed foods like cake and cookies.

Resources 

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/100/3/959.full (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) 

 http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=533993 (JAMA Internal Medicine)

So What is Kombucha?

 kombucha-1074594_960_720

 

Kombucha (pronounced kom-BOO-cha), or ‘Booch’ for short, is a cool fizzy beverage that hit the market in health food stores a few years ago.  This fermented drink that is made with tea, bacteria, sugar and yeast actually has been tracked back to ancient China.  This interesting concoction started out as a rage among the health-seeking crowd around 2010 and has continued to gain popularity with many individuals now making their own Booch at home.  Also, known as the “mushroom tea” even though there are no real mushrooms in it, the name is derived from the slimy sludge that floats near the top of the bottle.  This flat, pancake like sludge, is known as the SCOBY (for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).  The SCOBY is where all of the microorganisms live and is used for homebrewers to produce smaller cultures and share with their friends.  Some of you may be thinking “Ewww”.  So why is this new fermented sludge drink so popular?

 

Kombucha has gained popularity specifically in the Complementary and Integrative Health world.  Kombucha continues to be popular with individuals wanting to use it as a probiotic or for detox purposes.  Kombucha is thought to stimulate the immune system, prevent cancer, improve digestion and improve liver function.   However, there have been other reports claiming that Kombucha produces adverse side effects such as stomach issues, allergic reactions, liver damage, toxicity and metabolic acidosis and infections.  Research is very limited at this time on Kombucha; however, several scientific articles link home brewing to many of the adverse effects.   Kombucha is often brewed in homes under nonsterile conditions, which makes contamination very likely.  Since Booch has gained such popularity among celebrities and health seekers, many companies are now brewing this slightly tangy tasting drink, which makes it a bit safer. 

 

So should we all be consuming Kombucha? For some individuals this tangy fizzy drink is refreshing and invigorating; however, for others they can’t seem to get past the vinegary taste and compost smell.  Kombucha packs some of the same prebiotics found in yogurt and kefir; however, due to the lack of evidence available at this time, it is unclear if Kombucha tea can deliver on all of its health claims.   

 Resources

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Mayo Clinic

Smoothies

When you’re craving a satisfying treat but want to keep your health in mind, a smoothie is an excellent way to curve that sweet tooth while keeping your calories in check. It is recommended to consume a MINIMUM of five servings of fruits and vegetables every day and I know myself how difficult that can be.  When I need an extra boost of fruits and vegetables, I add one of these delicious smoothie recipes into my meal plan as a healthy snack.

 

Packed full of vitamin C, potassium and fiber is one of my all-time favorite smoothie recipes:

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Sb banana recipe

 Ingredients:

1 cup of vanilla flavored low fat yogurt

½ cup of fresh/frozen strawberries

½ banana sliced

½ cup of skim milk

Ice chips (optional)

Directions:

Place all ingredients into blender and blend about 30 seconds or until smooth

 

Berry Crunch Smoothie

 berry crunch recipe

 

Ingredients:

1 cup vanilla low fat yogurt

¼ Cup granola

½ banana

½ cup of your favorite berries (I prefer raspberries or a variety blend!)

1/3 cup skim milk

Ice chips (optional)

Directions:

 Place all ingredients into blender and blend about 30 seconds or until smooth

 

Spinach Banana Smoothie

spinach banana

 

Ingredients:

1 banana

1 cup of spinach

1 ½  tbsp peanut butter

1 cup skim milk

Directions:

 Place all ingredients into blender and blend about 30 seconds or until smooth