About Steph Ronco

Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she's not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.

 

Halloween is right around the corner! Want to get your clients excited about the holiday in a healthful way? Try one of these spooky Halloween recipes!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1 small apple, finely diced
  • 2/3 cup apple juice
  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup instant oatmeal, uncooked

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except oatmeal in a 1 and 1/2 quart microwave-safe dish.
  2. Heat on full power for 4-5 minutes in the microwave until boiling.
  3. Stir in oatmeal and heat at full power for 1 minute longer.
  4. Divide among 2-3 bowls and serve hot.

By Cheryl Sullivan, MA, RD

Witch's Slaw Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage plus one leaf for hats
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 red apple, cored and shredded; shred this last and mix quickly with the vinegar so it does not turn brown (we left the peel on for nutrients and color)
  • 1 cup light vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Chill until ready to serve. For fun with older kids, you can garnish each serving with a witch’s hat or plastic spider.

How to Make A Witch's Hat:

  1. Microwave a piece of cabbage for 20-30 seconds so it becomes pliable.
  2. Cut it into strips.
  3. Roll each strip into the shape of a hat (see photos for an illustrated step-by-step).

By Judy Doherty, MPS, PCII

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A customer just asked me if we are doing anything to make our materials accessible and I was intrigued.

We've done a lot for accessibility in the wording of our posts, the design of our materials, and the products we offer, but that's all pretty easy to see. Even our blog sites Food and Health and the Nutrition Education Store both have translators for people to use the sites in other languages

So today I want to share an accessibility tip that you might be missing -- anything published in Open Office can be translated for blind people thanks to new software. That's one of the reasons for our white label newsletter.

Some of our PowerPoints come with voiceovers and can be shared as videos. You can also add voiceovers to your own presentations, to better help people who cannot see as easily for a whole host of reasons.

It's also possible to convert presentations into open office. You can do this with our handouts too!

We hope to add a "download to open office document for accessibility" button for all our posts soon, but that project is still in the works.

What are your favorite ways to make your information accessible? Let us know!

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November 2021 Newsletter and Resources for Premium Food and Health Communication Members:

Table of Contents:

  • Read-offline PDF newsletter
  • Research update for professionals
  • White label newsletter
  • Shareable articles and handouts
  • Graphic of the month
  • Special member-only discounts

Read-Offline PDF:

Nove

Here's the entire PDF edition of the November 2021 Newsletter, ready for you to download to read offline, print for your next meeting or presentation, or distribute however you see fit! You can also click the image below to download it.

Professional’s Corner:

Article Links to Share with Your Clients:

  1. Lemon Chicken and Roasted Cauliflower Recipe by Judy Doherty, MPS, PC II
  2. Spinach Bean Soup Recipe by Judy Doherty, MPS, PC II
  3. Positive Resolutions: Food Memories by Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
  4. Adaptogens: What Are They? by Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CHWC, CPT
  5. Common Adaptogens by Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CHWC, CPT
  6. Fermentation Beats Inflammation by Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
  7. Add Fermented Foods to Your Eating Pattern! by Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

November Image:

Healthy holiday centerpiece idea

Editor's Note:

There is a wealth of holiday resources in our special member-only library!

Let us know if you need anything! Just click “Contact Us” at the top of foodandhealth.com.

Discounts: Use 15% off all products with code FALLSAVE15 from our online store or  TRY10NOW to save 10%  on classes and memberships at foodandhealth.com!

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While there are hundreds of potential adaptogens identified, here is information about four of the more common ones:

Ashwaganda has been used in Ayruvedic medicine for over 3000 years to treat the effects of stress and improve overall well-being. An eight-week, prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of a high concentration of ashwagandha root extract at various dosages on 60 healthy men and women who had significant stress levels. After 8 weeks, researchers found that dosages of 250mg per day and 600 mg/day reduced perceived levels of stress as well as cortisol levels.

Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is another herb long used in Ayruvedic medicine. It’s known as ‘the elixir of life’ as a tonic for body, mind, and spirit. Holy basil has been studied in hundreds of research publications that indicate that it might help the body and mind cope with a wide range of chemical, physical, infectious, and emotional stresses and restore physiological and psychological function.

Curcumin, the active component in turmeric, has been found to play a role in inhibiting large increases in cortisol production, which can protect against the damaging effects of stress that may in turn lead to a variety of diseases. Tumeric is often used as a spice in Indian cuisine, either fresh, dried, or in a combination of spices such as curry powder. 

Asian ginseng contains natural antioxidant compounds called ginsenosides, which are believed to have multiple pharmacological effects. Ginseng shows promise in helping people regain homeostasis amid abnormal physiological changes caused by persistent stress, such as increased cortisol levels, as well as fend off chronic inflammation. 

For more information about adaptogens, don't miss the post Adaptogens: What Are They?

By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CPT, CHWC

References: 

  1. Panossian, A. (2017), Understanding adaptogenic activity: specificity of the pharmacological action of adaptogens and other phytochemicals. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1401: 49-64
  2. Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. All About Adaptogens. Brenda Wallace, MS, RDN. https://eatrightchicago.org/all-about-adaptogens/ published 1-18-2019; accessed 8-25-21.
  3. Cohen MM. Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: a herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(4):251-259.
  4. Today’s Dietitian. Botannicals/Herbs: Adaptogens. Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN. August/September 2020 issue. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/AS20p14.shtml
  5. Michigan State University. Center for Research on Ingredient Safety. Trending: Adaptogen Ingredients. Elisabeth Anderson, Jinpeng Li. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/adaptogen-ingredient published 3-1-21; accessed 8-29-21
  6. Salve J, Pate S, Debnath K, Langade D. Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study. Cureus. 2019;11(12):e6466. Published 2019 Dec 25. doi:10.7759/cureus.6466
  7. Cohen MM. Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(4):251-259. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.146554
  8. Enyeart JA, Liu H, Enyeart JJ. Curcumin inhibits ACTH- and angiotensin II-stimulated cortisol secretion and Ca(v)3.2 current. J Nat Prod. 2009;72(8):1533-1537.
  9. NIH. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Asian Ginseng. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/asian-ginseng Updated August 2020, accessed 8-29-21. 
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You often hear about yogurt and fermented foods being good for your gut, but new research suggests they may do more than that.

Scientists at Stanford University believe that yogurt and other fermented foods including kefir, kimchi, cottage cheese, and kombucha not only support good gut bacteria but may also aid in preventing the inflammation that kickstarts arthritis and diabetes.

According to the study authors, an increase in overall gut microbial diversity was observed when these foods are consumed, with larger effects from bigger servings. Nineteen markers of inflammation known as inflammatory proteins also declined with the addition of fermented foods. 

Interleukin 6, an inflammatory protein, is linked with rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and prolonged stress. Justin Sonnenburg, PhD an associate professor of microbiology and immunology states that this is “one of the first examples of how a simple change in diet can reproducibly remodel the microbiota across a cohort.”

Researchers discovered the benefits of fermented foods while doing a comparison study on the impact of diets high in fiber and high in fermented foods. Lower rates of mortality are associated with a high-fiber diet, but none of the 19 inflammatory proteins were decreased with a high-fiber diet. Gut diversity was unchanged with intake of beans, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

The researchers were surprised that a high-fiber diet didn’t increase microbiota diversity despite it being linked with lower mortality. Dr. Christopher Gardner, a professor of medicine at Stanford, maintains that the research was done to investigate the role of microbiota-targeted food and chronic inflammatory diseases. 

Blood and stool samples were collected and analyzed during a 3-week pre-trial time, then at 10 weeks of the diet and a 4-week post diet time when subjects ate what they wanted. Subjects who consumed more fermented food had similar effects on the diversity of their microbiome as well as inflammatory markers. This was consistent with previous research highlights that, short-term changes could alter the gut microbiome. 

The study also found that higher fiber intake resulted in higher carbohydrates in stool samples, indicating incomplete fiber digestion by gut microbes. The scientists point out that their findings were similar to other studies that suggested that the gut microbiota of those living in the industrialized world is lacking fiber-degrading microbes. 

Dr. Sonnenburg suggests, “It’s possible that a longer intervention would have allowed for the microbiota to adequately adapt to the increase in fiber consumption.” She also notes that adding fiber-consuming microbes may be necessary to increase the microbiota’s ability to properly break down carbohydrates.

Future plans for the Stanford researchers include studies on mice to evaluate the molecular mechanisms on how diets alter the microbiome and lower inflammatory proteins. They also plan to investigate if high-fiber and fermented foods work synergistically to impact the microbiome and immune system

They may also study the effect on the intake of fermented food and inflammation and improvements of other health conditions in patients with immune and metabolism disorders, pregnant women, and older people.

Want to help your clients incorporate more fermented foods into their eating patterns? Don't miss the post Add Fermented Foods!

By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

Reference:

Wastyk HC, Fragiadakis GK, Perelman D, Dahan D, Merrill BD, Yu FB, Topf M, Gonzalez CG, Van Treuren W, Han S, Robinson JL, Elias JE, Sonnenburg ED, Gardner CD, Sonnenburg JL. Gut-microbiota-targeted diets modulate human immune status. Cell. 2021 Jul 6:S0092-8674(21)00754-6.

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If you haven’t heard the term ‘adaptogens’ yet, you you soon will.

While Chinese medicine and Ayruveda have recommended adaptogenic plants to manage stress for thousands of years, it’s only in the past 60 years that Western medicine has started talking about their possible role in reducing the effects of stress.

In 2017, adaptogens were defined in a review article in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences as plants that contain “stress response modifiers that nonspecifically increase an organism’s resistance to various stressors (physical, chemical, and biological), thereby promoting adaptation and survival.” Because the nutrients in the plants help our bodies adapt to a variety of different types of stress, as a group the plants are known as "adaptogens."

In today’s high-stress world, we’re bombarded with upsetting news stories, high noise levels, highly-processed foods, chemicals, and air pollution that raises our body’s stress levels. When we’re exposed to stress, the adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol. These activate the body’s stress response and raise both blood pressure and blood sugar. In our caveman days, this system ensured that we had plenty of energy to run away from whatever large animal was chasing us.

Today stress isn’t usually caused by man-eating animals and isn’t limited to random encounters; instead we’re under a constant stream of stressors. The body’s stress response was designed to return to pre-stress hormone levels quickly. When we’re under constant stress, the body isn’t able to calm down, which leads to continually higher stress hormone levels that are believed to play important roles in chronic inflammation and disease.

It is becoming more evident that adaptogens may help decrease the chronic inflammation that is implicated in atherosclerosis, cognitive disease, some types of cancer and metabolic disorders and may also be helpful in improving sleep and cognitive function. Adaptogens are often used by people who are healthy as part of a comprehensive stress management approach that might include things like eating minimally-processed fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and plant sources of protein; drinking plenty of water and avoiding sweetened beverages, getting regular exercise, and meditation.

How do adaptogens work?

Researchers don’t know the exact mechanism, and currently are working on a theory of network pharmacology wherein adaptogens interact with a variety of stress receptors in our body.

It’s believed that adaptogens activate some chemical receptors in the body to increase energy and deactivate other receptors to not overreact to stress. There isn’t enough research yet available to completely understand the possible benefit as well as potential dangers of using adaptogens.

Cautions when using adaptogens:

Adaptogens aren’t regulated as a drug for safety or efficacy by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and they are considered dietary supplements. There are no formal requirements for what can be labeled as an adaptogen and no way for consumers to know exactly what the supplement contains. Be sure to purchase any supplement, including adaptogens, from a reputable source.

Some manufacturers make claims that adaptogen ingredients can cure, prevent, or decrease COVID-19 symptoms. They have received formal warning letters from the FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop this type of unsubstantiated marketing. 

Always check with your physician before using any type of adaptogen or supplement, especially if you take any prescription medications.

Adaptogens aren’t safe for everyone. They may interfere with certain medications and their use is contraindicated in pregnant and breast-feeding women due to a risk that they may affect hormone levels.

Ginseng may lower blood sugar, which is risky for people with diabetes who are taking blood glucose-lowering medications. Ginseng also may interfere with blood thinners and antidepressants. 

Since adaptogens are expensive, certain companies may take shortcuts to sell less expensive versions possibly containing heavy metals and other contaminants.

Tips for using adaptogens:

  • First make sure to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit, veggies, whole grains, and omega-3s.
  • Try herbal teas that incorporate adaptogens into the tea or add ½ teaspoon powdered adaptogen to your favorite tea.
  • Add powdered adaptogens to favorite foods such as oatmeal or smoothies. 
  • Commercial beverages containing adaptogens are everywhere in the marketplace. However, since many adaptogens have a strong, bitter flavor many of the commercial beverages contain added sugars or sugar substitutes to improve the taste. Be sure to read the ingredients carefully.

Intrigued? Learn more about 4 common adaptogens in the post Common Adaptogens.

By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CPT, CHWC

References: 

  1. Panossian, A. (2017), Understanding adaptogenic activity: specificity of the pharmacological action of adaptogens and other phytochemicals. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1401: 49-64
  2. Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. All About Adaptogens. Brenda Wallace, MS, RDN. https://eatrightchicago.org/all-about-adaptogens/ published 1-18-2019; accessed 8-25-21.
  3. Cohen MM. Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: a herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(4):251-259.
  4. Today’s Dietitian. Botannicals/Herbs: Adaptogens. Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN. August/September 2020 issue. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/AS20p14.shtml
  5. Michigan State University. Center for Research on Ingredient Safety. Trending: Adaptogen Ingredients. Elisabeth Anderson, Jinpeng Li. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/adaptogen-ingredient published 3-1-21; accessed 8-29-21
  6. Salve J, Pate S, Debnath K, Langade D. Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study. Cureus. 2019;11(12):e6466. Published 2019 Dec 25. doi:10.7759/cureus.6466
  7. Cohen MM. Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(4):251-259. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.146554
  8. Enyeart JA, Liu H, Enyeart JJ. Curcumin inhibits ACTH- and angiotensin II-stimulated cortisol secretion and Ca(v)3.2 current. J Nat Prod. 2009;72(8):1533-1537.
  9. NIH. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Asian Ginseng. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/asian-ginseng Updated August 2020, accessed 8-29-21. 
Become a premium member today and get access to hundreds of articles and handouts plus our premium tools!

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Fun Fruit Trivia: Figs

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More fruits and vegetables mean better mental health

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