Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Author Archives: Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD

Eat Well to Be Well: Boost your breakfast – sneak in more veggies to start your day

Eating more vegetables for breakfast is easier than you may think!

Are you a breakfast person? If so, I have a tip for improving your health – remember to sneak in veggies for a healthier start to your day.

I know it’s easy to stick to the usual breakfast foods like eggs, cereal, or pancakes, but adding some vegetables to the mix can be a game-changer. Not only are they packed with nutrients, but they can also add some fun and creativity to your morning meal and have a powerful influence on your health.

Vegetables’ powerful influence on our health

In a world where most of us struggle to meet our daily vegetable intake, incorporating them into breakfast can be a game-changer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a staggering 90 percent of Americans fall short of the recommended daily intake of vegetables, which should ideally be around 2 to 3 cups per day. By adding veggies to your morning meal, you’re not only boosting your nutritional intake, but also diversifying the spectrum of essential nutrients your body receives.

It’s essential to stress that consuming various vegetables, often called “eating the rainbow,” is vital as different colors signify the presence of distinct phytonutrients and antioxidant vitamins.

Research agrees that meeting the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of various diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

Eat Well to Be Well: 18 Christmas gifts to promote health and wellness all year long

Discover Christmas gift ideas that inspire and motivate loved ones to lead a healthier lifestyle in 2024.

The holiday season is upon us, and if you’re still looking for the perfect gift for your loved one, I’ve got you covered with some great ideas. This list is not about mundane items like socks, underwear, or ties; instead, it focuses on thoughtful gifts showing you care about their health and well-being. Whether for someone trying to make healthier lifestyle choices or for someone already a health enthusiast, this list won’t disappoint those receiving your gift!

The gift of good health is truly invaluable. It reminds us that happiness and well-being are the greatest treasures in life.

Check out these health gifts that are both practical and thoughtful. Your friends and family will love them, and you’ll feel great knowing you’re giving them something that promotes their well-being.

1. Pedometer

Get them moving – one step at a time. This can be an excellent gift for the person who always says they know they should exercise but never finds time. Keeping track of the number of steps taken each day can be a fun motivator and a real eye-opener.

Regular physical activity has numerous health advantages besides helping to reach a healthy body weight. Other health benefits include more restful sleep, more robust immune functioning, improved nutritional health, improved body composition, stronger bones, enhanced resistance to colds and other infectious diseases, stronger circulation and lung function, lower risks of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, reduced risk of gallbladder disease, lower incidences and severity of anxiety and depression, higher quality of life in later years, and last (but not least), improved self-esteem. (1)

2. High-quality olive oil

Most people have olive oil, but we’re discussing splurging on the good stuff. Many of us don’t buy quality extra virgin olive oil, so getting it for someone who likes to use it can be an exceptional treat. Another consideration is to give an “oil of the month” subscription to the true connoisseur who likes their taste buds tantalized year-round.

I always recommend extra virgin olive oil. Rich in healthy monounsaturated fat, extra virgin olive is well-known for protecting you from heart disease by helping lower inflammation, lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, improving the lining of your blood vessels, and possibly helping prevent blood clotting. (2)

3. Air-popped popcorn popper

This is a must for anyone who loves popcorn but knows they must cut back on the oil or butter. Air-popped popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks and is always a welcome whole grain anytime.

Eat Well to Be Well: Pomegranates – Protector of your health

Pomegranates’ seeds and natural juice are a wealth of nutrients beneficial for your health.

Right about now, you may be overlooking an extraordinarily nutritious fruit. And it’s not the usual apples, oranges, or bananas. While all fruits are good for us, the “jewel of the winter,” better known as pomegranates, protects your health. Usually in season from October through February, pomegranates have an outstanding nutritional portfolio, making them a true nutritional gem, and are one of the world’s most popular fruits.

Overview of pomegranates

Pomegranates have a lengthy and rich history dating back to biblical times, with even a mention in the Old Testament, and were often used for medicinal purposes. Believed to have originated in Iran, pomegranate trees do well in hot, dry climates such as California, Afghanistan, India, Israel, Spain, and Mediterranean. The name pomegranate comes from the Latin words ‘pomum” (apple) and “granatum” (seeded), literally meaning “seeded apple.” Pomegranates have a botanical name, “Punica Granatum,” which translates as “apple with many seeds.” The average pomegranate contains about 600 seeds, known as arils. Arils are the only edible part of a pomegranate, along with pomegranate juice, obtained by squeezing the whole fruit.

Nutritional profile of pomegranates

If you’ve never eaten the arils of a pomegranate, you really must try them. The tart yet sweet taste is an enjoyable combination, and with their unique blend of phytochemicals, pomegranates should be a fruit eaten frequently.  

Eat Well to Be Well: Enjoy Thanksgiving guilt-free with three empowering approaches

Feeling anxious about weight gain this holiday season? Here’s how to stop Thanks-guilting and start enjoying Thanksgiving.

This year, don’t allow worries about overeating ruin your Thanksgiving celebration with loved ones. It’s a once-a-year occasion that should be enjoyed without reservation. Instead, recognize that this holiday has several healthy opportunities to take advantage of that can benefit your overall health and well-being. By reminding yourself of these benefits, you can avoid feeling guilty about food and thoroughly enjoy the festivities of this holiday.

Here’s what you need to know to overcome negative emotions associated with holiday food:

1. Be physically active

Here’s a news bulletin you need to hear: Participating in a rough and tumble family football game is optional to earn the holiday meal! However, it’s important to note that engaging in other physical activities related to the holiday also counts towards achieving this goal. Acknowledging and appreciating the various physical activities of the holiday season is crucial.

Here’s a look at “physical activities” you likely will participate in but may not have considered:

  • Cooking. Preparing a Thanksgiving meal is a time-consuming task requiring much effort. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, standing and lifting weights under 50 pounds are considered moderate-intensity tasks, which can burn around 3.5 to 7 calories per minute. Therefore, spending about 2 to 4 hours preparing food before the main meal could potentially burn 400 to 1,200 calories even before indulging in the feast.
  • Enjoying your family. It is crucial to remember that your body is continually using energy, even when you are not working out intentionally. Daily activities, such as chatting with your friends and family or taking care of kids, can be categorized into different intensity levels. For instance, playing with your kids can be classified as a moderate-intensity activity, while standing is considered a low-intensity activity, which means it burns fewer than 3.5 calories per minute.
  • Cleaning. Hosting a party is always fun, but cleaning up before and after can be a hassle. However, this presents a great opportunity to engage in moderate-intensity activity by finishing those cleaning tasks! If you didn’t host the gathering, why not help the host clean up? Not only will it be good for your physical well-being, but it’s also a great way to cultivate social relationships.

2. Savor healthy Thanksgiving foods

Although Thanksgiving foods may seem indulgent, many contain essential nutrients that benefit your body’s health.

Eat Well to Be Well: Finding time for healthy habits

Taking time to plan, prioritize, and problem-solve can help you reach your behavior change goals

Achieving behavior change goals, such as healthy eating and exercise, requires planning, prioritizing, and problem-solving. Putting these three “P’s” to work will help you stay on track and overcome any obstacles that may hinder your success.

Beginning a new behavior can be challenging and sometimes even overwhelming. But when utilizing the skills of planning, prioritizing, and problem-solving, suddenly, everything tends to fall into place.

Let’s explore how you can put these skills and ideas into action in order to attain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Meal and Physical Activity Planning

A famous quote from former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt says, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” Mrs. Roosevelt understood that wishing upon a star rarely results in our wishes coming true. A better approach is to make small, realistic goals and plan for how you will achieve them. By doing so, you can use your energy more effectively and increase the likelihood of achieving your desired outcomes.

When planning, always review your routine, be adaptable to change, and overcome barriers by being flexible and creative.

Meal Planning

Regarding meal planning, it’s helpful to have a designated day of the week to assess the foods you need to buy based on your planned meals. Making a shopping list and preparing food ahead of time can also save you time and hassle. Additionally, keeping simple meals in regular rotation can help speed the meal-making process and reduce the temptation to eat out.

Physical Activity Planning

Due to time constraints, exercise can sometimes seem impossible to incorporate. However, we can overcome this obstacle by adding simple physical activities to our schedule. For instance, we can practice yoga or stretching for 10 minutes every morning or before bedtime. We can also walk during our lunch break or after dinner, depending on what suits us best. Even small movements can have a positive impact on our health. We can make the most of any opportunity to move, such as parking farther from our destination, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking for 10 minutes inside our house. Being creative and consistent with movement throughout the day leads to results.

Eat Well to Be Well Recipe: Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Flavorful and pillowy soft, these pumpkin cookies are an irresistible fall treat!

Every household should have a top-notch recipe for soft pumpkin cookies. This recipe will become a family favorite when the leaves change colors and there’s a crisp, autumnal feeling in the air. Serving a plate of these soft pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips will be a delicious treat on chilly fall days!

If you like oh-so-soft cakelike cookies, this one is it. Pumpkin pie spice along with 100 percent pumpkin puree and lightly sweetened with brown sugar, this cookie will practically melt in your mouth with the delicate flavors of fall.

Soft pumpkin cookies’ nutritional vibes

When reading the ingredients for this recipe, you will notice I used 100 percent stone-ground whole wheat flour. You can certainly use regular “whole wheat flour,” but I chose this ingredient instead. Whole grains provide valuable nutrients compared to refined grains (e.g. white bread or white rice). These nutrients include many B vitamins, protein, fiber, iron, some calcium, and other various minerals.

You may also wonder, “What’s the difference between whole wheat flour and 100 percent stone ground whole wheat flour,” here’s your answer: Depending on the brand, 100 percent stone ground whole wheat flour is made from hard red wheat with the bran and germ, components of a wheat kernel, still intact. Whole wheat flour is also considered a “whole” grain. Why is this important? According to The Whole Grains Council:

“Refining grains normally removes the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm (the three parts of a grain kernel). Without the bran and germ, about 25 percent of a grain’s protein is lost, and the nutritional content of up to 17 key nutrients are also greatly reduced.” Yikes!

100 percent stone ground whole wheat flour is slightly higher in protein, and bread bakers often prefer it for consistent, high-rising loaves of bread. However, I also used it in this recipe, and the finished product came out great. But if you prefer to use whole wheat flour instead, that’s good also.

Did you know that pumpkin puree is packed with nutrients? It’s a great source of the mineral potassium, which helps muscles function properly and keeps your blood pressure in check. Plus, pumpkin’s vibrant, eye-catching orange hue comes from a pigment called beta-carotene. This nutrient is crucial for maintaining good health, as it converts into vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A is essential for good eyesight, a robust immune system, healthy skin, and healthy mucus membranes.

Now that you know of some of the health benefits of taking a bite of this delicious cookie, let’s turn our attention to making the recipe!

Eat Well to Be Well: Jump-start weight loss with a protein-packed breakfast

Adding more protein to your diet is one of the most effective ways to lose weight. And the best time to begin starts in the morning by eating breakfast.

Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast can be an effective strategy if you’re looking to lose weight. Research has demonstrated that a high-protein breakfast can assist in achieving weight loss objectives and preventing weight gain in both teenagers and adults.

Often touted as “the most important meal of the day,” breakfast is already well-known for improving concentration, memory, and energy levels. A high-protein breakfast’s effectiveness for weight loss is becoming increasingly apparent. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that a high-protein breakfast can be valuable for weight loss, particularly in teenagers. So, what defines how much protein should be in a high-protein breakfast? The magic numbers appear to be 25-35 grams. Unfortunately, the average American consumes far short of that, with approximately only 10 to 15 grams at breakfast, and the protein source often coming from high-sugar breakfast cereals.

Skipping breakfast is directly linked to weight gain, higher BMI, and obesity. It is imperative to acknowledge the significance of a balanced breakfast and not overlook its impact on overall health and wellness. Therefore, it is highly recommended to make sure that breakfast is an essential part of our daily routine.

Eat Well to Be Well: Why crash diets capsize your weight loss efforts and what to do instead

Crash diets rarely last for the long term. The best diet plan is one that stresses realistic long-term expectations.

One of the worst things you can do when attempting to reach a healthier body weight is to follow a “crash” diet.  Crash dieting takes on many forms – fasting, detox programs, yo-yo diets, cleanses, Keto, or perhaps extremely low-calorie liquid diets. Unfortunately, each one is unsustainable and an example of radical calorie or macronutrient deprivation, all in the name of losing weight quickly.

My take on crash dieting

I’m not a fan of crash dieting. Plain and simple. Yet, many people will still rely on these weight loss methods. And when people ask my opinion of the latest crazy crash diet circulating on social media, this is what I tell them and what I am telling you: If the diet is followed as written, there’s no doubt you will lose some weight fairly rapidly – but at a cost to your health, metabolism, muscle mass, and ability to sustain weight loss long-term.

Nutrition and health professionals know keeping weight loss off long-term after following a crash diet rarely works. Once you go off the diet, weight regain begins. You end up feeling like a failure until the next trending crash diet comes along, promising yet another “easy” solution setting you up, once again, for frustration and defeat.

Crash diets depend on selling you “quick” weight loss. They’re designed that way for a reason. Immediate gratification is motivating. You experience speedy success with a quick drop in weight, a thrilling and intoxicating influence. But, the rapid drop in pounds is most likely water weight loss. In addition, shedding weight too fast can lead to muscle mass loss, eventually slowing down your metabolism and weakening strength and endurance.

Achieving and maintaining optimal body weight is challenging. Wanting to succeed at improving your health and well-being is admirable and should be encouraged.  When the goal is to lose a few pounds, it requires understanding the physiology and psychology of how to lose weight successfully and sustainably.

However, if you follow a crash diet lacking competence and a realistic strategy, your prospect of long-term success in keeping whatever weight you lose off for good will likely be thwarted.

Eat Well to Be Well: Save money and have fun with meal prepping ideas

Freshen up meals, add nutrition, save time

Envision coming home after a long day to a meal already prepped and ready for you to enjoy. You don’t have to imagine anymore. It can be your reality when you embrace “food prepping.” Food prepping is a commonly used term to prepare foods ahead of time, making meal planning a snap. Besides saving you time, energy, and anxiety over what to have for dinner, food prep is perfect for feeding your family nutritious and delicious meals.

If you’re new to food prepping, you can master meal planning with a few simple tricks, and even better, you’ll actually enjoy doing so. Once you’re in the habit of planning ahead what you’ll eat days from now, you will appreciate that food prepping also means more money in your pocket. Why? Relying on fast food take-out or sit-down restaurants increases your food spending dollars. The latest information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that from 2017 to 2020, households spent an average of $2,300 to more than $3,300 a year on eating away from home. Reducing one meal a week eaten out can save you dollars annually – less money spent at restaurants means more money in your pocket.

So, if you’re ready to make food prepping a reality, here are clever ideas to get you started:

Eat Well to Be Well Recipe: Skillet Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes

A must-make Mediterranean meal that’s budget friendly too!

Here’s a simple recipe that will be a family favorite particularly perfect for a weeknight dinner. Ready in less than 30 minutes, you’ll be savoring the taste of the Mediterranean in no time. Even better, everything cooks in one skillet, so fewer dishes to clean means more time for you and less time scrubbing pots and pans.

In this delicious recipe, you’ll find plenty of heart-healthy support. Lean chicken breast, olives brimming with healthy monounsaturated fat, and antioxidant-rich herbs and spices make this a hands-down winner toward helping dodge heart disease.

One of the main features of this recipe is Spanish olives, giving the recipe a typical salty or briny taste any connoisseur of olives knows and loves. But what if you are not a fan of olives? What can you substitute to get that same flavorful kick? I would recommend either capers or artichoke hearts. And if you do like olives, but not Spanish olives, choose another type olive such as kalamata olives. No matter what type of olive you choose, for anyone needing to be mindful of their salt intake, choose an olive with a reduced sodium content.

When it comes to heart health, olives are an excellent choice. Packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, this type of fat has been linked with lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol while maintaining HDL or “good” cholesterol. Other heart health features of olives include:

  • Increasing nitric oxide production, which improves blood flow to tissues.
  • Olives contain polyphenols helping reduce chronic inflammation.
  • These same polyphenols found in olives may also improve your bone density helping lower the risk of fractures in older adults.
  • They contain vitamin E, an antioxidant linked to better cognition and a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
  • If you use extra virgin olive oil when cooking olives, it boosts satiety, keeping you fuller longer.
  • Eating olives or using olive oil help absorb beneficial antioxidants from fruits and veggies when eaten with these helpful dietary fats.

This recipe comes from my latest book, The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook, which includes 125 recipes based on the Mediterranean diet. So, if you are ready to dive into an authentic-tasting Mediterranean meal, let’s get started!

Eat Well to Be Well: Nutrients work better when paired together

Food is fuel for your body, and some foods provide a tremendous nutritional boost when paired together!

The potential of teamwork is powerful. Even Helen Keller, an American author and educator, famously said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” This same philosophy also applies to nutrients found in food working together are dynamic health collaborations.

Collaboration is good and when applied to teaming up certain nutrients and foods, your health will benefit significantly. Also known as “nutrient synergy,” nutrients found in food – vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients – perform better when working in tandem with other nutrients, helping improve nutrient absorption, increase satiety and effectiveness, and reduce the risk of disease and illness.

It’s tempting to rely on vitamin and mineral supplements to get nutrients your diet lacks. Still, nutrient supplements cannot replicate the unique power of nutrients found naturally in food. That’s why strategically eating certain nutrients found in certain food together at meals or snacks, creates a healthy situation supporting a healthy nutritional boost.

Here’s a look at dynamic nutrient pairings creating a synergistic effect:

Iron and Vitamin C

Synergistic effect: The human body absorbs only about 10 to 15 percent of the iron you eat. Both animal-based and plant-based foods contain the mineral iron. Rich animal sources of iron include beef, poultry, fish, and pork. The iron found in animal-based foods is called “heme” iron and is easily absorbed on its own.

However, iron found in plant-based foods – beans, spinach, soy products (tofu, tempeh), nuts and seeds, fortified cereals, and the iron found in supplements, is called “nonheme” iron. You can enhance your nonheme iron absorption by eating food that’s high in vitamin C along with iron-rich food. The absorption of nonheme is improved thanks to vitamin C and the acids in your stomach. For example, just 25 milligrams of vitamin C – the amount found in about one-quarter cup of orange juice – can double the amount of nonheme iron you absorb from plant-based foods, while a one-half cup of orange juice increases the amount of iron absorbed by sixfold.

Best food sources: Animal-based food sources of iron include red meat, poultry, fish, and pork. Plant-based foods include spinach, beans, soy products, nuts, seeds, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C is found plentiful in citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, leafy greens like spinach and kale, red and yellow peppers, and tomatoes.

Harnessing the synergy: Suggestions to increase your iron absorption by pairing a vitamin C rich food with iron found in plant-based foods include:

  • Eat an orange with a peanut butter sandwich or breakfast cereal or top cereal with vitamin C-rich berries like strawberries.
  • Add sliced red bell pepper, onions, and fresh fruit to a spinach salad.
  • Use canned tomato sauce or tomato paste for spaghetti or pasta dishes.
  • Have a quarter cup of walnuts with orange or kiwi fruit slices.

Eat Well to Be Well: Now’s the time to celebrate summer fruit

Summer is here, reminding us why this season is to be enjoyed for so many reasons. But, one of the best is the fact that summer is the perfect season for enjoying and eating more fruit. First, it’s when many fruits are ripe, available, least expensive, and taste the best. And don’t forget that besides their nutritional punch, fruits provide hydration on hot, balmy days, helping boost energy while reducing tiredness and fatigue.

Let’s take a look at four commonly eaten summer fruit favorites, reminding you to eat more of these mouthwatering and nourishing produce:

Berries

You can’t go wrong with berries – whether blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries – each are fiber-rich, nutrient-dense, and full of antioxidants. The American Cancer Society agrees that every day you should eat some type of berry, bursting with nutrition. That is because berries contain a powerful type of antioxidant called polyphenols – including ellagic acid – and anthocyanins that counteract, reduce, and repair damage to cells. And if you’ve ever admired berries’ jewel-like tones, you should. In fact, the darker the color of a fruit (or vegetable), the higher the concentration of phytochemicals, a plant substance good for reducing blood pressure and arterial stiffness.

Cherries

While not native to the U.S., cherries are grown in most parts of our country. The dark, rich color of sweet red cherries indicates their high levels of anthocyanin pigments and phenolic compounds.  Cherries also supply a good source of vitamin C and satiating fiber. Besides vitamin C and antioxidants, sour red cherries are also an excellent source of vitamin A, which is necessary for regulating the growth and differentiation of all cells in the body.

Eat Well to Be Well: Take practical steps for improving poor digestion

Life is usually good when our gut feels good – no bloating, diarrhea, gas or constipation. But when those symptoms rear their ugly head, and for many they do, suddenly your happy-go-lucky life has just taken a turn down the wrong road.

Having a gut that works like a charm the majority, if not all of the time, is one of life’s most valuable health assets. When tummy troubles are under control, we can enjoy life much more. Luckily, good gut health and the ability to digest what we eat without worry can be achieved by most of us when specific steps are taken.

Causes of poor digestion

There can be several reasons why we may experience poor digestion. Here are some common ones many may have:

  • Taking too many over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Eating too many sugary foods and beverages or refined carbohydrates.
  • Too much “bad” bacteria instead of “good” bacteria.
  • Stress.
  • Environmental contaminants.

Signs of poor digestion

Many of us associate poor digestion with the typical symptoms of bloating, gassiness, constipation, or diarrhea. But poor gut health can make itself known by causing other symptoms outside of our abdomen, such as joint pain, unexplained headaches, fibromyalgia, skin problems, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.

Eat Well to Be Well Recipe: Oven-Roasted Lemon Parmesan Asparagus

Effortless, this side dish bursts with delicious hints of lemon, garlic, and Parmesan when perfectly paired with asparagus. Here’s a recipe that brings out the best in this perennial veggie by roasting. Easy and quick to make and tastes incredibly good, this recipe you’ll use again and again. Roasting strong-tasting vegetables like asparagus caramelizes the flavor, reducing its natural bitterness. Even the pickiest of eaters will find a liking to roasted asparagus.

Most grocery stores stock asparagus year-round. However, April and May are the peak months when asparagus is at its best. Typically we think of the color green with asparagus, but it also comes in white and purple. White asparagus tastes similar to its green cousin, while purple asparagus is much sweeter.

Eat Well to Be Well: Asparagus, a perennial spring favorite

One of the most sought-after vegetables usually signaling the arrival of spring is asparagus. Farmers markets and supermarkets are brimming with this “king of vegetables,” aptly named by France’s King Louis XIV, who cultivated them in greenhouses so he could enjoy them throughout the year.

This tender perennial stem vegetable belonging to the Asparagaceae family was considered a prized delicacy by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Asparagus is closely related to Liliaceae plants, which also include onions and garlic. Asparagus is believed have originated along the coastal regions of the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor regions, and is considered one of the oldest known vegetables.

Health benefits of asparagus

Asparagus is naturally rich in many healthy nutrients and compounds we can take advantage of. Therefore, this “king of vegetables” is a must-buy not only for its delicious flavor but to obtain its powerful nutritional benefits:

Eat Well to Be Well Recipe: Comforting tomato veggie split pea soup

Take stock of what makes soup so soothing and satisfying

A warm bowl of soup is a classic comfort food. Just the sight, smell, and feel of holding a cup of steaming soup makes cold winter weather pleasantly cozy. No matter what season, soup is always a good choice. When brimming with nutritious veggies, soup makes a wholesome, hearty vegetarian meal with great texture and taste. Pair soup with crusty bread making it an easy meal when in a hurry.

At this point, go ahead and jump to the recipe, if you like. But, if you want to know why a warm bowl of soup is special, read on. A pot of soup simmering on the stove offers more than a spoonful of comfort. It’s also a satisfying and nourishing meal loaded with health benefits. Here’s a look at what soup has to offer:

Eat Well to Be Well: Aging healthily is possible and starts with a healthy gut

The secret to successful aging may rely on a changing gut microbiome

How well are you aging? Good, fair, or poor?

The passage of time is out of your control but how you age is a different story. No matter how many birthdays you celebrate, your biological age can either be “younger” or “older” than your chronological age. And guess what? Aging healthily begins in your gut, starting with an overall healthy composition of gut microbes.

Zooming in on gut health 

Your gastrointestinal tract is teeming with trillions of microbes composed of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These amazingly efficient microbes work round the clock keeping you healthy. Their jobs include digesting and absorbing food, manufacturing vitamins and minerals, and protecting against invasion of harmful microbes. Sounds good but that’s not all. Healthy gut bacteria also influences your sleep, brain health, heart health and cancer risk.

What about immunity? Yes, a strong immune system depends on gut health too. Seventy percent of the immune system is intimately intertwined inhabiting the gut. What’s present in the gut determines the health of your immune system.

Aging well with good gut health

Research is now showing that how you age may depend on these microbes nestled within in your gastrointestinal tract.

A 2021 study published in Nature Metabolism, may have found a key component of healthy aging. The secret? Older adults, whose mix of gut microbes changed the most over time, lived longer and healthier than people with less change.

The study did not prove that having a diverse gut microbiome was responsible for people living longer. Rather, simply having an eclectic mix of micro biota was associated with people who could walk faster, had greater mobility, higher vitamin D levels, and reduced cholesterol levels. The ability to walk fast and have healthy blood lipid levels are factors already associated with a longer lifespan.

Living a healthy, long life doesn’t just happen. It takes some work and know-how getting from point A to point B. Living a healthy lifestyle is a good start. Setting achievable and consistent lifestyle goals is your guide to aging healthily.

Here are steps to take:

Eat Well to Be Well Recipe: Baked Butternut Squash with Apples and Cranberries

If you like recipes that meet your checklist of hearty, healthy, and delicious, this is it.  Featuring seasonal food superstars, including butternut squash, apples, and cranberries, your senses of sight, smell, and taste are in for a pleasing palate sensation.

There’s something about seasonable fall and winter flavors. For me, it’s similar to the feeling of a cozy, warm blanket wrapped around you on a chilly evening. Inviting, fragrant, and flavorful, this good-for-you comfort food side dish is ideal for family get-togethers.

Comfort food and “nutrient-rich” usually don’t go together. But in this recipe, each ingredient tastefully coexists while providing various nutrients to boot.

Basics about butternut squash

The headliner of this recipe is butternut squash. This winter squash is shaped like an elongated pear, is a member of the cucurbitaceous family. Squash goes back a long ways, 10,000 years ago, to its origin in Mexico and Central America. In fact, the word “squash” comes from the Native American word askutasquash, which means uncooked or eaten raw.

Unsure of what butternut squash tastes like? If you like the taste of sweet potatoes or carrots, you’ll like butternut squash, too.

Health wise, butternut squash is a winner. One cup is packed with more than 100 percent of your daily needs of vitamin A and nearly 40 percent of vitamin C. It’s also good for hydration as one cup is approximately 87 percent water.

Powered by WordPress