Friday, May 22, 2009

Punch-Up Flavor with More Produce

Do you struggle to meet the recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption? If you answered yes count yourself among the millions of Americans who are consuming less than the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. The latest information from CDC shows that fewer than 25% of Americans get the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables and in Missouri that number is less than 20%. (1) There is good news, produce is at its peak during the summer and local markets can make trying it more enticing.

If you’d like to work on boosting your intake do three things.
· Develop a plan to boost your intake
· Visit to learn how many servings of fruits and vegetables you need each day
· Head to the store or a local market to try one new option this week

Including produce in your eating plan is important to your overall health since fruits and vegetables are rich sources of fiber, folate, potassium and vitamins A and C. In addition fruits and vegetables contain water which can help you stay hydrated.

1. Accessed May 22, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gluten Free, What Does it Mean?

The issue of gluten intolerance is not a new one but lately it is one that has attracted lots of attention. Gluten intolerance is a characteristic of the digestive disorder called Celiac Disease. Celiac disease affects about 1 in every 133 Americans and consumption of gluten leads to damage to the intestine. It is an inherited and chronic disorder that is only managed by the complete avoidance of gluten. Gluten is the general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and foods made from or containing these items.

A gluten free diet requires that grains like pasta, cereal and bread be avoided unless they are specially made to be gluten free. In addition to these products people with Celiac disease can use potato, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, or buckwheat or any of these grains as flour along with bean flour.

Gluten sensitivity or intolerance differs from Celiac Disease in that people with sensitivity do not suffer from the intestinal damage. Understanding of gluten sensitivity is less clear than Celiac disease but for now the recommendation for management is the same as for Celiac disease, complete avoidance of gluten.

Recently gluten free diets have become an area of popular interest which is a good thing if the information is accurate. Improving on the number of gluten free products will help those who have Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance but implying that going gluten free will improve everyone’s health is not grounded in science.

If you suffer from painful intestinal issues talk with your physician about testing for Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity, don’t self diagnose since that could mean you miss out on important nutrients.