Trend Alert: What’s the deal with ginger shots?

Leah writes: “I’ve been hearing a lot about ginger shots as way to boost health and nutrition. Would they be good for everyone? What are the upsides and downsides of daily consumption?”

Fresh ginger juice can make for a zingy little pick-me-up. Will it detox your organs, kill cancer cells, or melt away fat? No. But ginger does have some legitimate health benefits. Continue reading “Trend Alert: What’s the deal with ginger shots?” >

Do Terra chips count as vegetables?

 veggie chipsNatalie writes:

“Are Terra Chips healthy ? The ingredients are just vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, etc.) and oil. Am I getting a serving of vegetables by eating these?”

Technically, yes. These would constitute a serving of vegetables. But before you replace that side salad with a bag of veggie chips, let’s think about what eating vegetables offers us.

Before you replace that side salad with a bag of veggie chips, let’s think about what eating vegetables offers us. Click To Tweet

Continue reading “Do Terra chips count as vegetables?” >

Foods that can help with insomnia

Q. Do you have any recommendations for what to eat to help falling and staying asleep? I read the following:

“Try eating a kiwi. High levels of antioxidants and serotonin in the fruit may regulate slumber. Or, try a spoon of almond butter. One tablespoon offers up a healthy dose of magnesium. Deficiencies of that mineral have been linked to muscle cramps and insomnia.”

A. Believe it or not, both of these recommendations are supported by actual published research. A small study of 24 people experiencing sleep disturbances found that eating 2 kiwi fruit 1 hour before bedtime every night for 4 weeks led to significant improvements in their sleep quality. Unfortunately, there was no control group, so it’s hard to say how much of this effect was due to placebo effect. Continue reading “Foods that can help with insomnia” >

Is fruit more nutritious when it’s ripe?

Evie asks: “Is fruit more nutritious when ripe than unripe? For example, would a green banana have less potassium than a yellow one?”

The nutritional content of fruits (including those fruits we think of as vegetables) absolutely changes as the fruit ripens. Whether you would consider it more or less nutritious might depend on your definition, though! Continue reading “Is fruit more nutritious when it’s ripe?” >

Can an anti-inflammatory diet ease aches and pains?

Q. “My physical therapist suggested I go on an anti-inflammatory diet to help with joint pain. From what I can find on the Internet, this is a diet that limits saturated fat and simple carbohydrates (white flour, sugars) and concentrates on fruits, veggies, fish, olive oil and whole grains. Is there evidence that an anti-inflammatory diet can help with pain?” Continue reading “Can an anti-inflammatory diet ease aches and pains?” >

What to look for when choosing an infant formula

What to look for when choosing a baby formula

Kelly writes:

“I recently gave birth and despite my best efforts, breastfeeding did not work out for us. Can you provide some kind of framework to make a good choice of formula? I’m sad I can’t give my son breastmilk and I want to give him the next best thing. Are there certain ingredients to look for or to avoid ? Is organic worth it? 

Although breast-feeding is considered to be ideal, there are many for whom this is not possible.  (As a side note, my sympathy goes out to those who are made to feel guilty or inferior for feeding their infants formula. Promoting the benefits of breast-feeding is one thing; demonizing or criticizing women who cannot or do not breast-feed is another.)

I also sympathize with parents faced with the daunting prospect of choosing the “right” formula from an overwhelming array of options.  Let me start by ratcheting down the angst: Babies are remarkably resilient. Like larger humans, they have the ability to thrive even when they do not always have perfect diets. That said, of course we want to do the best we can for them.

Although this should not take the place of the advice of your pediatrician, here are a few thoughts on what to look for and/or avoid in a baby formula. Continue reading “What to look for when choosing an infant formula” >

Are there nutritional benefits to dehydrating fruits and veggies?

“I read that dehydrators are the in thing this year. Clearly dried fruits are going to contain more sugars per handful than the original fruit but might there be nutritional benefits from drying foods?”

Food dehydrators can be a great way to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables and to create portable, nutritious snacks. Although dried fruits are ever-popular, you can also dry vegetables and herbs.

So, when fresh garden tomatoes are overflowing your counter-tops in September, you can load them into your dehydrator and dry them to use through the winter. Green beans or kale leaves can be lightly salted and turned into addictive crunchy snacks. With a little extra prep, you can make your own homemade fruit leathers, crackers, and jerky! More ideas here. Continue reading “Are there nutritional benefits to dehydrating fruits and veggies?” >