Fish is Not Off Limits During Pregnancy

By Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN

Eating fish during pregnancy is not off limits. In fact, avoiding fish during this critical time of growth and development may lead to a lack of essential nutrients that can impact growth and development of your baby. For years the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided recommendations on the amount of fish pregnant women needed to limit themselves to per week. However, providing a cap on dietary fish intake without setting a minimum recommendation made many women hesitant to consume fish during pregnancy and made many health care providers hesitant to recommend it. But with the release of a draft update from the FDA and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this may change.

Research has found that eating fish with lower levels of mercury, such as cod, pollock, salmon, and shrimp, provides many dietary and health benefits during pregnancy, as well as to young children. The new draft recommends consuming at least 8 ounces and up to 12 ounces of fish that are lower in mercury per week during pregnancy to help support fetal growth and development. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are still cautioned to avoid fish that contain a high mercury levels such as shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. The new draft also recommends limiting white (albacore) tuna to six ounces per week.

This draft is an exciting development in nutrition recommendations for during pregnancy. Setting clear cut guidelines on the appropriate amount of fish, and the best types, to consume allows moms-to-be breathe a sigh of relief when planning their meals. Fish low in mercury is an excellent source of lean protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, both essential nutrients for a growing baby. During pregnancy, if you’re looking for delicious and easy ways to work seafood into your meal plan, discover some of these recipes from Matlaw’s.

With Elderberry’s Promise in Improving Bone Density, Diabetics Have One Less Risk to Worry About

By Carl Thompson

There are some 29 million people with diabetes in the U.S. Managing the disease is a perpetual balancing act that often includes eating right, monitoring blood sugar levels, and learning how to inject — or ingest — just the right amount of insulin. Diabetes can also cause a number of long-term health complications, including blindness and amputations. But there’s another, lesser-known risk to consider as well:osteoporosis. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics are at risk for decreased bone density, which, in some cases, can lead to osteoporosis. But now studies show that doses of concentrated elderberry extract may offer relief.

Dark, nearly black European elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are rich in pigments, or anthocyanins, that also act as antioxidants.  A recent study found that these substances were able to prevent a loss of bone density in rats — who experience a similar loss of bone density due to diabetes as humans do. But when the study’s animal subjects were given doses of concentrated elderberry extract, they showed promising improvements in bone density.

The connection between bone density and diabetes involves the cells that create new bone as part of the normal process of bone regeneration. As a result of the diabetic’s malfunctioning insulin production system, the insulin receptors contained in these cells receive the wrong signals, and bone regeneration is affected. Within five to seven years after the onset of diabetes, the bones may lose some of their density. They lose minerals, becoming weaker and more porous. The condition can degenerate into full-blown osteoporosis, with its increased risk of fractures.              [Read more…]

Raking Leaves without Hurting Your Back

dr-kaixuan-liu-md-phdBy Dr. Kaixuan Liu

For many the fall is a welcomed season, a break away from the scorching heat and humidity of the summer. It is a beautiful time of year as changing leaves color trees in rainbows of yellow, orange, and red. But as nature takes its course, the leaves soon fall making mountains of dry leaves to be raked away. Raking those leaves – a strenuous job you either love or hate – doesn’t have to lead to back injuries, according to Kaixuan Liu, MD, PhD, founder and president of Atlantic Spine Center.

About 38,000 Americans suffered injuries related to leaf-raking – including back injuries – in 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. But this staggering number makes some sense when you consider the body movements involved with the chore, Dr. Liu says.

“Some call raking leaves fall’s most taxing task,” says Dr. Liu, who is fellowship-trained in minimally invasive spine surgery. “It requires a variety of different movements, such as twisting, bending, lifting and reaching, which use several key muscle groups in the back, shoulders and wrists. With careful thought and measured movement, you can prevent injuries that might last longer than an afternoon raking the yard. “
[Read more…]

Elderberry: a Natural, Preemptive Strike Against Colds and Flu

Depositphotos_31352313_originalBy Carl Thompson

With cold and flu season on the horizon, we may have a natural way to stop them before they start. Recent studies show that Elderberry’s ability to reduce the duration and severity of colds and influenza may be even more powerful than once thought. Now we’re also finding out that elderberry may prevent our getting infected with the cold or flu in the first place. 

A recent paper presented at the 21st Annual Integrative Medicine Conference is pointing in that direction. A research team in Brisbane, Australia found that by taking doses of elderberry extract while in the presence of colds and influenza, we may cut our risk of infection in half. 

The study investigated the potential of elderberry for keeping air travelers safe from illness, and focused on 312 subjects. All were economy class passengers, flying from Australia to an overseas destination. While 154 of the test subjects received a placebo, the remaining 158 were given a membrane-filtered elderberry extract made from the Haschberg variety of the European black elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.), a proprietary formula created by Iprona AG, an Italian company. Cold episodes, cold duration and symptoms were recorded in a daily diary, and all the participants completed surveys before, during and after travel. [Read more…]

Elderberry: A Back to School Necessity

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.37.54 PMHappy summer! Back to school time is just around the corner. Along with the race to stock up on all the right supplies, from backpacks to binders, we can’t forget about our children’s health.

Consider all the bacteria and viruses that make their microscopic home in an average school setting, as well as the draining schedules schoolchildren often have. That’s why we need a safe and natural way to bolster our kids’ immunity and help fight common illnesses. Elderberry — with its antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties — is one back-to-school basic kids shouldn’t be without.

Elderberry is an easy, safe and tasty way to boost children’s health, readily available in kid-friendly forms like gummies, lozenges, syrups, and mixable powders. For centuries, the fruit has been known as a therapeutic mainstay, used in folk medicine and family recipes, lauded by physicians in Ancient Greece and Rome.

Today, thanks in a large part to modern processing methods that standardize and concentrate its potency, elderberry is a natural, reliable treatment for common illnesses such as the cold and flu (influenza). Studies have shown that concentrated, membrane filtered elderberry extract is active against viruses and bacteria that cause upper respiratory symptoms, and can significantly shorten the duration of symptoms, as well as significantly reduce the severity of colds. That’s great news come flu season.  [Read more…]

CMU Grad’s FunBites Make Healthy Food Appeal to Kids

“Just take a bite — one bite,” says every parent ever, at some point.

First bites are the hardest, particularly for parents of picky eaters.

Bobbie Rhoads, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business, finally figured it out for her two daughters — cut food into fun little shapes, and let them play with it.

As it turns out, that’s a lot of extra work. She figured if she could make cutting foods into fun shapes easier, there might be a market for that. So, with her husband, Ed Rhoads, who has a mechanical-engineering degree from CMU, they designed FunBites.

Getting kids to bite is one thing. Getting the tycoons/investors on ABC’s reality show “Shark Tank” to bite was another thing entirely.

Read more.

Brain Foods to Keep Your Child Alert in School

erinpalinski photoBy Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT

As children and teens everywhere worry about which outfit to wear for school, parents have another thing on their minds. How can you fuel your child throughout the day to keep their mind and body sharp? Nutrients such as complex carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein, and antioxidants, can help to boost your child’s energy level and brainpower. And the good news is that these nutrients don’t have to be hard to fit in. In fact, they can even taste delicious!

Start your child’s day off rich with a great source of whole grains. Whole grains, such as steel cut oatmeal, are a great source of complex carbohydrates for energy as well as fiber. Foods rich in fiber allow sugar to be delivered to the brain steadily, without overloading it, helping to enhance memory and concentration versus hinder it.

To save time, place your oatmeal in a slow cooker overnight so it is hot and ready for the whole family in the morning. You can even top oatmeal with cinnamon, which can help to balance blood sugar levels, keeping energy levels steady throughout the day. Or adding a dash of maple syrup which has essential immune system nutrients like zinc and manganese can ward off a cold. We all know how uncomfortable and distracted kids can get with sniffles and sneezes!

[Read more…]

What Are Superfoods?

Make Every Bite Count

By Kelly Cornell, CHHC
AADP Holistic Nutrition Coach and Founder of

There was a time when my snacks consisted of red vines, potato chips, movie theatre popcorn, snickers bars, mocha almond fudge ice cream and Snackwell’s low-fat cookies. I used to believe that the purpose of eating snacks was for 100% pure pleasure. Today, I still eat popcorn and baked chips occasionally because I enjoy the salty crunchy combination, but my main focus on snacking these days is to provide my body with the energy it needs to make it through until lunch or dinner.

And because I tend to have blood sugar issues, I find that eating the right type of snacks helps to stabilize my blood glucose levels. I still want to enjoy my snack foods, but my idea of eating strictly for pleasure has changed dramatically over the years. Now when I think about reaching for a snack my first thought is, “what sounds good?” and my second thought is, “what can I eat that will give me the most superior nutrition?” That might sound a little weird, but I really do think this way because I want to make every bite count. Having healthy, delicious snacks on hand can be so simple when you plan ahead. It’s really just about stocking up on the right stuff.

[Read more…]