Category Archives: Nutrition

Health Benefits of Yogurt

Posted on: October 24, 2014

Deciphering the Yogurt Aisle: Get cultured!

By Elisa Bremner & Amy Rosenfeld

Yogurt ParfaitIt’s official!  Governor Andrew Cuomo named yogurt New York’s official state snack on October 15.  The Governor expects to raise public awareness of the health benefits of yogurt and economic benefits of supporting local yogurt industry. New York has become the nation’s top yogurt producer (making 741 million pounds of the dairy product last year), and health-conscious New Yorkers are literally eating it up.  Here are some of the great health benefits of consuming (the right kind of) yogurt.

Benefits of eating yogurt:
•    High in calcium, vitamin D for strong bones and healthy blood pressure.
•    Increases immunity and defense against common illnesses.
•    Connected with reducing symptoms associated with GI conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and colon cancer risk.
•    Linked with reducing yeast and vaginal infections.
•    Great source of protein for recovery post workouts and to feel fuller throughout the day.
•    Linked with reducing gum disease due to a healthy dose of lactic acid.

Have you noticed that the yogurt section at your local supermarket has been getting bigger and more diverse every year?  With all the yogurt choices available today, it can be confusing to make a healthy choice.

What’s the difference between all the types of yogurt available?
•    Flavored regular yogurts: Thinner yogurt; lower in protein. Regular yogurts can be a great choice if you are choosing a lower sugar variety. Mix ½ a plain yogurt with ½ a regular yogurt for a great family friendly low sugar blend!
•    Greek yogurt: Thick and creamy; high in protein, a fantastic choice. Choose plain Greek yogurt and mix with small amounts of honey/ fresh fruit for the lowest sugar/highest protein combo.
•    Icelandic yogurt or Skyr: Thick and creamy; lower in protein than Greek yogurt; only made with non-fat yogurt so this yogurt choice is always fat-free.
•    Swiss yogurt: Thinner and creamier than Greek; high in protein like Greek yogurt, but often higher in sugar as these yogurts tend to be blended with fruit. Cut the sugar by mixing Swiss yogurt with plain regular yogurt.
•    Kefir: Thin liquid; A cultured fermented milk product that has 3 times the probiotic content than regular yogurt. Perfect for smoothies.

Guidelines for making a healthy yogurt choice:
•    Save on the sugar: Choose options that have less than 20 g sugar; the lower the better
•    Pack in the protein: Choose brands that are at least 8 g protein; the higher the better.
•    Check the culture: Read the label to see if it says “contains active cultures” or “living cultures.” Many brands add extra probiotic varieties but eating any yogurt with active cultures can give you the same benefits.

There are plenty of local producers in the Hudson Valley/NYC area. Be sure to try some of these delicious and often unusual offerings.

Look for the following local brands:
•    Hudson Valley Fresh
•    Ronnybrook Farms
•    Stone Barns (e.g. sweet potato, tomato, beet)
•    Sohha Yogurt

For your next snack, try:
•    Peach Pie Smoothie (serves 4):16 oz bag of frozen peaches, 2 cups of vanilla yogurt, 2 cups skim milk (unsweetened), 1 cup oatmeal, 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
•    Yogurt & Mixed Berries: 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt and ½ cup mixed berries

Editor’s Note:
Elisa Bremner, MS, Registered Dietitian at Northern Westchester Hospital. Ms. Bremner holds Certificates of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management as well as in Prevention Strategies for Childhood Obesity.

Amy Rosenfeld, MS, RD, CDN at Northern Westchester Hospital. Ms. Rosenfeld holds a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and completed her clinical training at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

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Safe Satisfying Seafood

Posted on: September 18, 2014

Savory and Satisfying Seafood

by Kimberly Stein, RD, CDN

There are plenty of fish (and shellfish) in the sea, but sometimes it’s difficult to know which are the best choices. Seafood is a delicious protein source that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that boost heart and brain health. The current recommendation from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines is to consume seafood about 2 to 3 times per week. A recent hot topic is sustainable seafood. There are many environmental groups that identify which fish are the safest for consumption, and for the environment. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of those groups. To make their list, seafood must contain low levels of contaminants (such as mercury), high levels of omega-3 fats, and be sourced from a sustainable fishery.
Here are some simple tips to ensure you are getting safe, fresh, and nutritious seafood!

1)    Be Finicky When Selecting Fish. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and their strict criteria, here are some of the best choices of seafood: Arctic Char (farmed), clams, mussels, oysters, Pacific Cod, Alaskan Salmon, Tilapia (Ecuador or US), and US/ Canada Albacore/white canned Tuna. They recommend avoiding: imported Mahi Mahi, farmed Atlantic Salmon, Shark, imported Swordfish, and Bluefin Tuna. As you can see, it also depends on where the fish comes from. Some waters are better than others, which will provide you with fewer toxins. For a more complete list of sustainable seafood, check out www.seafoodwatch.org

2)    Oh my Omega! Fish are a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids. These unsaturated fats are found to lower levels of inflammation throughout the body and reduce your risk of cardiovascular events. Certain fish with a higher fat content are higher in omega-3 fats, such as salmon, trout, herring, sardines, and tuna. Enjoy these to reap their heart-healthy benefits!

3)    Safely Cooking Seafood. As with all meats, the USDA sets requirements for how fish and shellfish should be properly cooked to avoid potential food-borne illness. Cook shrimp, lobster, and scallops until they are an opaque, milky white color. Fish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F, until it flakes with a fork.

4)    Restaurant Ratings. To avoid the high-calorie seafood options when eating out, opt for dishes without a batter-dipped coating, or butter sauce. Instead of the coconut shrimp, try grilled shrimp or instead of a breading and mayo-rich crab cake, choose steamed crab legs. You can still enjoy a variety of seafood without the added fat calories.

Here are some delicious seafood recipes to try! Enjoy!

Hoisin-Glazed Salmon Burgers with Pickled Cucumber
Courtesy of www.myrecipes.com

Ingredients
Serves 4
1/3 cup water
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
24 thin English cucumber slices
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce
1 ½ tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp. grated lime rind
1 (1-pound) skinless wild fresh or frozen Alaskan salmon fillet, finely chopped
1 large egg white
1 ½ tsp. dark sesame oil
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
4 (1 ½ ounce) hamburger buns with sesame seeds, toasted

Method
1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cucumber. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain
2. Combine panko and the next 7 ingredients (through egg white) in a bowl and stir well. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2 –inch thick patty. Press a nickel sized indentation into the center of each patty.
3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame oil to pan. Add patties and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until desired degrees of doneness. Brush tops of patties evenly with hoisin and cook for 30 seconds.
4. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun and top each with 6 cucumber slices and top half of bun.

(Nutrition Facts: Serving Size ¼ of recipe, Calories 324, Protein 29.4g, Fat 8.6g, Sat Fat 1.5g, Mono 2.3g, Carbohydrates 59g, Fiber 1.7g, Sodium 473 mg, Cholesterol 59mg)

Fish Tacos with Sesame Ginger Slaw
Courtesy of www.foodnetwork.com

Ingredients  
Serves 4
1 ½ lbs. tilapia fillets
Cooking spray
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. plain Greek-style low-fat yogurt
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp. honey
3 cups shredded coleslaw mix
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed

Method
1. Heat a nonstick skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Spray fish with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Add fish to pan and cook 10 – 12 minutes, turning once, until fish flakes easily with a fork.
3. Combine yogurt and next 5 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine dressing and coleslaw mix, tossing to coat.
4. Place 2 ounces fish in each tortilla. Top with coleslaw.

(Nutrition Facts: Serving Size ¼ of recipe, Calories 390, Protein 40g, Fat 9g, Sat Fat 2g, Mono 3g, Poly 3g, Carbohydrates 38g, Fiber 6g, Sodium 430 mg, Cholesterol 85mg)

Study Shows Exercise Lowers Risk of Breast Cancer and Recurrence

Posted on: September 4, 2014

Take a Walk and Reduce Your Risk

A recent study found that postmenopausal women, who in the past four years had undertaken regular physical activity equivalent to at least four hours of walking per week, had a lower risk for invasive breast cancer compared with women who exercised less during those four years, according to data published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

At the Breast Institute at Northern Westchester Hospital, we encourage the entire health and wellness of our patients, whether it is prior to diagnosis, all the way through survivorship of breast cancer.

As part of the care we provide, we discuss prevention with our patients, as well as prevention of recurrence of breast cancer.  A sedentary lifestyle can impact a patient’s risk for developing breast cancer, so we encourage all of our patients to add exercise such as walking or bicycling to their regular routines if they are not already doing so.

A combination of exercise and a healthy diet will also help manage weight, another risk factor tied to developing breast cancer.  The following tips could help reduce developing breast cancer, as well as work to prevent developing a recurrence in our survivor population:

•    Regular exercise (walking, bicycling);
•    Weight reduction, if applicable;
•    Stop smoking.

This is good advice for all people, and it certainly applies to lowering one’s risk of developing breast cancer or a recurrence.

It is important that you have access to a full spectrum of experts skilled in the latest advancements in breast health.  Our team of dedicated professionals includes geneticists, radiologists, oncologists, cancer and reconstructive surgeons, integrative medicine practitioners and oncology nurses, each with experience and expertise in restoring women to their best possible health.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Philip Bonanno is Director of The Breast Institute at Northern Westchester Hospital

Northern Westchester Hospital Dietitian Shares Tips to Prevent Foodborne Illnesses

Posted on: August 28, 2014

Keeping Your Food Safe

By Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN

Stephanie Perruzza MS, RD, CDN Northern Westchester Hospital

Every year, one in six Americans (about 48 million) gets sick from foodborne illnesses and 128,000 are hospitalized, according to the Center of Disease Control. The good news is most foodborne illnesses can be prevented with simple food safety tips. September is National Food Safety Month, which focuses on the importance of increasing food safety awareness.

Children, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems are often more susceptible to foodborne illness. To reduce your risk, follow these simple steps:

 

Clean
• Clean your hands and all cooking surfaces (counters, utensils, cutting boards) with hot soapy water before preparing or eating meals
• Consider paper towels to clean surfaces; if you use cloth towels wash them often.
Cook
• Use a food thermometer to cook foods to proper internal temperatures, for example poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165°F and fish to 145°F.
• Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165°F.
Chill
• Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and your freezer 0°F or below to reduce risk of foodborne illness.
• Never defrost at room temperature.  Three safe methods to thaw are: in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. If you are thawing in cold water or the microwave food must be cooked immediately.
Separate
• Separate raw items (poultry, seafood) from other food items in grocery bags and in your refrigerator. Store raw items on shelving below cooked or ready to eat items.
• Use separate cutting boards for items like fresh produce and raw meats. I find that color-coded cutting boards (green for veggies, red for meats) work best to help prevent cross-contamination.

Myth Busters:
Below are some common food safety myths:
MYTH: Glass or plastic cutting boards don’t hold harmful bacteria like wooden cutting boards do.
FACT: ALL cutting boards can be a breeding ground for bacteria regardless of type.  It’s important to wash and sanitize after each use. Solid plastic and glass are dishwasher safe; however, wooden don’t hold up very well. Once cutting boards become old with cracks and excessive knife scares it’s time to dispose.
MYTH: Rinsing my hands under running water kills germs.
FACT: Water with soap is the best way to wash your hands and remove harmful bacteria. Be sure to scrub both the front and back of your hands under running water. Sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star twice (about 30 seconds) to ensure your hands are clean, dry with a clean MYTH: Pre-packaged produce does not need to be washed before eating.
FACT: Just because produce is pre-packaged doesn’t mean that it’s ready to eat. Ready the label to make sure it states, “ready to eat” or “triple washed,” if it does you’re good to go!

FightBac!® is a campaign created by a non-profit organization called Partnership for Food Safety Education. It aims at improving public health and food safety by bringing together health educators and other partnered organizations to increase awareness and reduce the risk of foodborne illness. For more information on food safety please check out the following credible websites:
www.FightBac.org
www.FoodSafety.gov
www.HomeFoodSafety.org

Westchester Registered Dietitian on Helping Kids Make Healthy Food Choices

Posted on: June 25, 2014

Empower Your Child to Eat Healthy…For Life

 

By Elisa Bremner

Family All Together At Christmas DinnerYour child loves ice cream (who doesn’t?). You love your child. So how do you limit junk food or sweets to help them maintain a healthy weight? In this age of sedentary video game play and easy availability of high-calorie snacks, the challenge for busy parents is finding practical ways to help kids make good food choices. Continue reading