Hannibal Regional Blog

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Our blog offers content about healthcare, healthy living and the culture at Hannibal Regional.


Beyond Weight Loss

The power of food is infinite. I love when people ask me for nutrition advice, because talking about nutrition is truly my passion. I believe that what we put in our body is the force behind everything that takes place within our body. Nutrition is a challenging topic, with continuously changing research, media hype, poorly written nutrition claims and more confusion than the average person can keep up with. It is easy to get lost in the world of nutrition. “What not to eat?” “What diet to follow?” “When and how to eat?” However, what most people lose sight of is the power that food has to offer, the good that food does for our body and that food can actually improve our mental and physical well-being. As you can imagine, the number one reason that people ask me for nutrition advice, is because they have a goal in mind. That shared goal, is often weight loss. Rather than weight loss being the driver for our food choices, let’s make food choices for a reason OTHER than weight loss.  Eating healthy has far more benefits than decreasing the number on the scale, or going down a pant size. Filling up on the right foods have been shown to provide feel-better benefits and improving overall well-being. Benefits of a healthy diet range from improved heart and brain health, to a higher chance of being successful at work!  Below are ten reasons to eat healthy - other than weight loss.

It makes you happy
Fast food and pastries that are high in trans fat and sugar can throw off your brain’s levels of mood-regulating chemicals to spur symptoms of depression. Research consistently shows that health-promoting nutrients—such as omega 3's from fatty fish, and vitamin D in dairy - can boost your mood and combat depression.

It Makes You Smarter
Research from the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging shows that eating a diet high in saturated and trans fats from fried and processed foods reduces your cognitive abilities. Meanwhile, high intakes of omega 3's from foods like fish, walnuts, and avocados improves brain function.

Improves your activity level
Food is fuel. Every one of your dietary decisions throughout the day impacts your exercise performance, as well as your productivity at work and other life decisions you make throughout the day. Consistently getting the hydration, and vitamins/minerals from nutrient dense foods you need, keeps your body primed and ready to work its best. 

It Scores You Better Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep will not only help you make good food choices, but good food choices also help you sleep more soundly through the night.

It Slashes Stress
Food choices have a huge influence on the level of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine as well as your levels of stress-inducing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Foods high in antioxidants such as dark chocolate, and deeply colored fruits and vegetables help reduce stress related hormones.

Healthy Skin
Staying hydrated, choosing foods with omega-3 fats, and eating more fruits and vegetables can help the body fight dry skin in the winter. Fish is the best source of omega-3 fats, but plant foods such as flax, chia and hemp seeds and walnuts also are good sources

Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is linked to everything from stress and brain fog to heart disease and cancer. According to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who eat whole grains over refined ones cut their levels of C-reactive protein—a key indicator of inflammation—by 38 percent.

Boost Immunity
Consuming yogurt and other fermented foods containing probiotics, along with complex carbs (whole grains) can strengthen your immune system to reduce your likelihood of infections. (Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology)

Heart Health
Women are more likely to die from heart disease than from anything else. Luckily, all weight loss aside, eating right can help cut your risk. For instance, one New England Journal of Medicine study found that people who eat about a handful of nuts every day were 29 percent less likely to die from heart disease.

It Prevents Osteoporosis
Strong diet = strong bones. Apart from getting adequate dairy, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends consuming fish, fruits, and veggies. It also states that getting your sodium intake into a healthy range (a.k.a. nixing processed foods) can help ward off osteoporosis.

Blog post provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD
Clinical Registered Dietitian

 


All Types of Olive Oil Benefit Heart Health

Research shows that all types of olive oil – from extra virgin to extra light tasting – can reduce the risk of heart disease. That's because all types are equal in heart-healthy fatty acids. This is good news for people who want the heart benefits of olive oil but prefer a milder flavor or lower price. Try this loaded Mediterranean humus drizzled with olive oil for a snack, meal or party pleaser.

Loaded Mediterranean Hummus

Ingredients

  • 2 cups original hummus
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup green or orange bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup black olives sliced
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chopped

Instructions

  1. Spread hummus over plate or serving dish
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and paprika
  3. Top with red bell pepper, olives, pine nuts, feta cheese and cilantro
  4. Serve with whole wheat crackers, pitas, chips or veggies

Blog post provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD
Clinical Registered Dietitian


5 Quick, Minimal Heat Required, Summer Meal/Snack Ideas

In the heat of summer, sometimes the last thing you want to do is heat up your kitchen by cooking. Here are 5 easy, minimal heat required (if it all), lunch ideas.

Avocado Tuna Salad
Serves 4

  • 2 – 5oz. cans tuna
  • 1 ripe avocado, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup minced celery
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix with a fork, mashing avocado and breaking up the chunks of tuna as you go, until the ingredients are well combined. Serve with crackers or bread.

Fruit and PB Roll Ups
Serves 2

  • 2 whole wheat tortillas
  • 6 tbsp. Peanut butter
  • 2 bananas (or other fruit of choice)
  • 4 tsp. honey

Spread 3 tbsp of peanut butter on each tortilla. Drizzle 2 tsp. honey over top of peanut butter. Place banana or other fruit at edge of tortilla and roll up.

Avocado  Egg Salad
Serves 4, this is best to use right away as the avocado turns brown with time.
*May use Mayo or Miracle Whip in place of avocado.

  • 6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • ½ cup green onion, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado
  • 1 tbsp sweet relish
  • ¼ tsp hot sauce
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt

Chop eggs coarsely and put into a large mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients and stir. Serve with whole wheat tortilla, on whole wheat toast or crackers.

Salsa Cheesy Bean Dip

  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 wheel Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle Cheese®
  • 2 cups of salsa

Spread an even layer of refried beans on bottom of a plate. Unwrap all of The Laughing Cow cheese wedges and place in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 30 seconds or until cheese is warm enough to mix well with salsa. Mix salsa and cheese together. Spread this mixture evenly over top of the refried bean layer. Serve with chips or crackers or toasted whole wheat tortilla.

Cottage Cheese with veggies
Serves 2

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup cucumber, sliced
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes or sliced tomato
  • Dash of Pepper (or to taste)

Prep ahead- measure out ½ cup cottage cheese into separate bowls. Add Dash of pepper to top of each bowl. Top bowls with ¼ cup cucumbers slice and tomatoes each. 

Blog post provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD


Summer Fruit and Veggie Challenge

What better time to try some new fruits and vegetables? Fruits and vegetables pack a ton of nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and water, making them a much needed food group to every meal. Trying new foods can be intimidating but you never know if you like something until you try it. Below is a list of fruits and vegetables, how many have you tried? Try them more than once, and try them more than one way (canned, fresh, frozen, dried). Happy Summer!

Vegetables
Fruits

__ Artichoke
__ Asparagus
__ Avocado
__ Beets
__ Bell Pepper
__ Broccoli
__ Cabbage
__ Carrots
__ Cauliflower
__ Celery
__ Corn
__ Cucumber
__ Dried breans
__ Eggplant
__ Green beans
__ Jicama
__ Kale
__ Mushroom
__ Okra
__ Radish
__ Spinach
__ Squash
__ Sugar Snap Peas
__ Sweet potato
__ Tomato
__ Turnip
__ Zucchini

__ Apple
__ Apricot
__ Banana
__ Blueberries
__ Blackberries
__ Cherries
__ Cranberries
__ Cantaloupe
__ Fig
__ Grapes
__ Grapefruit
__ Honeydew melon
__ Kiwi
__ Mango
__ Nectarine
__ Orange
__ Papya
__ Peach
__ Pear
__ Pineapple
__ Plum
__ Pomegranate
__ Raspberries
__ Star fruit
__ Strawberries
__ Watermelon
 


*If renal complications apply, talk to your Registered Dietitian about appropriate serving sizes!

Blog post provided by:
Katie Foster, RDN, LD


Building a Better Salad

Can a salad be a filling entrée? Yes, it can with the right additions! Building a better salad will help you get your recommended servings of vegetables and a handful of the other food groups.  

The base of a salad is usually a leafy green: kale, collard greens, spinach or romaine lettuce. Then, you can get as creative as you want. Protein and fiber can produce more satiety, or feeling of fullness, and are an excellent addition to a salad.

Protein can come in the form of nuts, like slivered almonds, pecans, walnuts, and seeds, like chia, flax or sunflower. Meat, like grilled chicken, deli ham or turkey, can make all the difference to a salad. Other protein foods, like hardboiled eggs and beans help add subtle flavor.

Make your other salad toppings additional vegetables to pack in more filling fiber. Tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, cucumbers, peas, bell peppers and onions can all be incorporated into a hearty salad. Fruits can help add sweetness to a salad, along with adding another important food group to your meal. Apple slices, strawberries and grapes are fruit topping favorites. Finally, salad dressing can help tie it all together but can also add plenty of calories. Choose a light or fat-free dressing to cut down on calories but not on flavor. Building a better salad can teach you to enjoy making half or all of your plate vegetables!

Blog post provided by:
Megan Kemp, RDN, LD