Nutrition Information

These nutrition questions are often asked.

Do I Need Calcium Supplements?

I’m having trouble maintaining a low fat, low calorie diet while getting the recommended daily allowance of calcium. Should I take a supplement?

The truth is that most of us have trouble getting all of the nutrients we need, even if we’re eating a low fat diet. Other things such as refined sugar and high carbohydrate foods also pack on the calories, so it isn’t enough to just cut out most of the fat.

So many people are allergic to cow’s milk that they cannot get the calcium they need from dairy products. Green leafy vegetables are a good source of calcium, but it’s hard to get enough of them for good bone health. Calcium-enriched orange juice and soy-based products (milk, tofu, etc.) are also options for those with lactose-intolerance or diary allergy.

Talk to your nutritionist about calcium supplements. In fact, even the calcium isn’t enough if your body doesn’t absorb the calcium well. You need vitamin D for that, and many of us who slather on the sunscreen aren’t getting a healthy amount of vitamin D from the sun, so a multivitamin or combination of supplements may be necessary.

Men’s Health, Women’s Health…What’s the Difference?

Is men’s health all that different from women’s health where nutrition is concerned? I watch every morsel I put in my mouth, but my husband claims he can eat a lot more because he’s bigger and has a faster metabolism.

In some ways, men’s health needs are quite similar to women’s health needs, but there are some important nutritional differences that are more complex than just body size and metabolism.

First, if your husband is overweight, as many people are, he’ll have to be just as careful as you are about the foods he eats to return to and maintain optimal health. As we age, all of us could benefit from more healthy food and some well chosen nutritional supplements to keep our aging bones and organs in good condition. Men’s health issues include such male-only topics as prostate problems and impotence, which appear to have little to do with nutrition, but good nutrition boosts the body’s immune system and helps with stress management.

Women’s health includes extra concerns about bone health and calcium intake. Also, if you’re approaching menopause or have already experienced it, discuss your estrogen needs with an expert. Your doctor may not have much information about estrogen intake. Soy products and nutritional supplements may offer an alternative to synthetic hormones (hormone replacement therapy).

Is Mom’s Homemade Soup Really That Good?

My mother always told me that good, hot homemade soup is the most complete food I can eat. Is that so?

Many moms swear by their homemade chicken soup, and scientists are seriously investigating its health benefits. Why is it complete? Well, it’s often hard to shovel a good variety of vegetables into kids, and you can sneak an awful lot into a good soup. You don’t mind the parsley flakes and chopped spinach if you’re focused on the chicken chunks and noodles.

Sure it’s worthwhile making soup if you’re prepared to make it healthy. Avoid adding too much salt-don’t use any if you can get away with it, and if you’re starting with a canned broth as a base, you’re already heavy on the salt.

Cream soups should be avoided-substitute a lower fat alternative if you can. Have cream-based soups only on special occasions and pack in all the good stuff that you can. Soup’s such a great comfort food, especially on a cold winter night and when you’re feeling under the weather.

A Pyramid Made of Food?

I hear references to the food pyramid but have a hard time understanding how to use it.

The food pyramid is a guide that simplifies what you need for a healthy low fat diet. The greatest needs are at the bottom of the food pyramid, its widest part. Those foods that should be eaten in moderation are at the top, the smallest and narrowest part of the pyramid. Notice that fruits and vegetables share a level on the food pyramid. You need multiple servings of each for good health every day! Of course, a half-cup of broccoli isn’t that much, so a full cup takes care of two servings.

Once you have the food pyramid pictured in your mind, you’ll find it quite easy to pack in the good foods you need daily. And you’ll find it easier to stick to a low fat diet if you’re busy with all the good stuff that makes you feel full.