- The Hot Dog Dilemma
We all know they aren’t good for us, but sometimes a hot dog just hits the spot. (Can you say “barbecues” and “sports”?) The frankfurter belongs in the American Hall of Food Fame, right there with apple pie and its frequent dining companion, the potato chip.
- A Bone-Building Dynamic Duo: Vitamin D Plus Calcium
Perhaps you’ve already heard that not getting enough dietary calcium and vitamin D increases your risk of low bone-mineral density and stress fractures.
This is a perfect example of how a vitamin works with a mineral to benefit the body. Vitamin D teams up with calcium to help build bones by increasing the amount of calcium that gets absorbed in the intestines. Vitamin D is also needed for the regulation of serum calcium and phosphorus levels.
Are you getting enough vitamin D and calcium? Here are some practical ways to capitalize on this bone-building duo:
- Make Tonight Pasta Night!
There’s never been a better time to switch to whole grains. You can pick from several brands of whole grain or whole grain–blend pastas. You can even find whole wheat lasagna noodles in some supermarkets. If you’re just starting to venture into whole grain pasta, start with Barilla Plus—it looks and tastes the most like white pasta—and graduate to the 100% whole grain brands when you are ready.
- Eat Breakfast at Home to Avoid Trans Fats
Some fast-food chains have jumped on the trans-free train and successfully eliminated these fats from most of their choices. Other chains have not.
A quick look at the nutrition information for Jack in the Box breakfast items clearly shows that trans-isomer fatty acids (i.e., "trans fat") are still on the menu. Here are the items I found with at least three grams of trans fat per serving:
- Save Money While Cutting Extra Calories!
Think about how much money you spend in a week’s time just on beverages. Do you order soda along with your fast food? Do you stock the refrigerator with soda, bottled teas, and such? Do you order one of those fancy coffee drinks that run you over three bucks a pop? Do you drink alcohol when dining out? Each soda you order in a restaurant is about $2; each glass of wine or cup of coffee is about $3 to $4. If you just cut out two of these a day, you could save $6 a day or $42 a week or $2,184 a year.
And that’s not even considering the savings in calories:
- Make Your Own Frozen Entrees
For a little bit of food and a whole lot of packaging, frozen entrees can run you anywhere from $3 to $5 apiece. But you can make your own frozen meals by using microwave containers that are about the size and shape of typical frozen entrees. This is a big health bonus if you need to limit your sodium, because most frozen dinners are loaded with sodium—some even have as much as 1,500 milligrams (enough for an entire day).
- Happy Music May Lead to Happy Blood Vessels
When is the last time you purposely played some joyful music and gave yourself a few moments of pleasure and inspiration? Well, you might want to start making this a daily dalliance. Here's why:
- Is Laughter the Best Medicine?
For more than 10 years, laughter has been suspected of being a helpful component to medicine for pretty much whatever ails you. Studies by Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, a preventive care specialist at Loma Linda University, have suggested that laughter seems to increase the levels of two hormones: one that helps elevate mood (beta-endorphins), and one that helps optimize immunity (human growth hormone) and decrease three stress hormones that can be detrimental to the immune system when consistently high (cortisol, epinephrine, and dopac).
- Keeping Your Mouth Clean May Help Your Heart
How clean is your mouth? Believe it or not, the answer to that question might help or hurt your heart. The higher the amount of two types of oral bacteria—Tannerella forsynthesis and Preventella intermedia—and in particular the higher the total number of bacteria in the mouth, the higher the risk of heart attack, a University of Buffalo study shows. (The results of this study were presented during a poster session at the International Association of Dental Research General Session in April 2009.)
- Rice-A-Roni Savory Whole Grain Blends Roasted Garlic Italiano
It’s a small box of a new rice mix now in the boxed grain section of your supermarket. Each box makes 2 servings and is a blend of whole grain brown rice with orzo (tiny pasta that resembles large grains of rice). Even though the brown rice is blended with a white flour pasta, each serving still contains 3 grams of fiber.