B is for Brain Food

By Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RDN

Excerpted in part from Susan’s book Boomer Be Well! Rebel Against Aging through Food, Nutrition and Lifestyle, available here.

There’s lots of buzz about brain health. Factors that may play a role in brain health include physical activity, medications, lifestyle and nutrition.

When it comes to exercise, movement is important. Exercise helps to improve circulation as well as increase levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). The current trend of recommended exercise in regards to brain health per week is 150 minutes of moderate activity and weight training twice per week.

Medications may play a role in interfering with key nutrient absorption such as vitamin B12 and magnesium, to name a few. Some of these medications include those for reducing blood cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, stomach acid production, bone loss reduction, birth control pills and antibiotics. Other compounds include alcohol and tobacco.

Staying engaged and learning new activities also helps keep the brain active. Socializing is important as it can stimulate feel good hormones such as serotonin. Changing your routine, brushing your teeth with the alternate hand, learning a new language or taking up a new hobby are a few examples.

On the nutrition front, B vitamins-particularly B1, B3, B6, folate (B9) and B12-are some of the key nutrients involved with brain and neurological health. Magnesium is also important. Foods that have been shown to play a role in mood and memory include fats-particularly omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, turmeric, ginger, apples, coffee, tea and dark chocolate/unsweetened cocoa powder. The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurogenerative Delay) style diet has also been linked with reducing inflammation, as well as helping to support brain health (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). It consists of foods with lots of color-dark green, orange, yellow, red, blue/violet, along with lean protein from poultry and fish, whole grains and legumes. Fats from nuts, avocado and olives are also on the menu.

In summary, get moving, try new activities, add foods with lots of color to your meals, and enjoy life!

Posted in Aging Well, Health Maintenance, Nutrition | Tagged Brain food, brain health, Foods for brain health, Healthy Aging, nutrition for the brain | Leave a comment

Susan’s Salmon Salad

Adapted in part from Susan’s book, Boomer Be Well! Rebel Against Aging through Food, Nutrition and Lifestyle.

Makes 8 servingsSalmon Salad

Salmon is a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and when used with the bones as in this recipe, some calcium as well. The majority of canned salmon available these days is also BPA free. This salad is so easy to make and can serve as either a meal or appetizer or snack. Accompany with crackers, vegetables or fruit.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger (or ½ teaspoon powder)*
1 teaspoon fresh minced turmeric (or ½ teaspoon powder)*
1 15-16 ounce can wild salmon with bones, drained*
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise (or plain Greek yogurt or vegenaise)
1 teaspoon dried oregano or thyme
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste
*If using a food processor, use it to mince the ginger and turmeric as well as mix the salmon with the bones.

Preparation

  1. In food processor, place a chunk of fresh ginger and turmeric (about ½ to 1 inch each). Pulse to mince. Add salmon and blend to mash bones and form a spread.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Place in bowl, cover, refrigerate and allow flavors to blend for at least 1-2 hours.
  4. If using a bowl versus food processor, place salmon in bowl and mash bones. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Nutrition per 2 Tablespoon serving (made with mayonnaise): 45 calories, 5 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrate, 2 grams fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 490 mg omega-3 fatty acids, 161 mg vitamin D, 56 mg calcium, 154 mg sodium

 

Posted in Aging Well, Health Maintenance, Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged boomer recipes, Easy Salmon Recipes, Healthy Holiday Appetizers, Lowfat dishes, Meals in Minutes, quick and Easy Meals | Leave a comment

Try Some Turmeric

By Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RDN

Adapted in part from Susan’s book, Boomer Be Well! Rebel Against Aging through Food, Nutrition and Lifestyle

Did you know that turmeric is a cousin of ginger? Like ginger, turmeriTurmericc can be utilized in both fresh and powder form. It has a beautiful yellow orange color.

Powdered turmeric is somewhat mild in taste with a hint of pepper. Fresh turmeric has the taste, texture and color of a spicy orange carrot. Those colors pack some incredible health potential.

Turmeric has been shown to be utilized in treating arthritis, digestive issues (including heartburn, gas, bloating, diarrhea, gallbladder disorders, loss of appetite). Additional areas turmeric is used is headache, bronchitis and colds. Turmeric has also been shown to potentially slow the onset of Alzheimer’s, play a role in detoxification, and slow the replication of some cancer cells. A mighty spice indeed! Dosing of turmeric varies with differing health conditions.

Turmeric is best absorbed with white or black pepper (the piperine in pepper has been shown to assist with absorption), along with some fat, such as olives, olive oil, avocado, nuts. Another source of turmeric is in curry powder, prepared mustard and some teas. Turmeric can also add a beautiful yellow color to a white sauce along with adding some depth of flavor to a rub or marinade.

How about giving turmeric a try? For some recipe ideas click here on this recipe and scroll down the page for more ideas for other recipes, rubs and marinades made with turmeric.

 

Posted in Aging Well, Food News, Health Maintenance, Nutrition, Susan Piergeorge, Uncategorized | Tagged Alzheimer's and nutrition, Arthritis TIps and Nutrition, Baby Boomer Nutrition Healthy Aging Tips, Foods for brain health, Susan Piergeorge, Turmeric and cancer | Leave a comment

Stuffed Acorn Squash

By Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RDN

Enjoy this meal assembled in less than 9 minutes.

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

Stuffed Acorn Squash1 organic acorn squash, halved and baked, seeds removed
1 cup cooked organic quinoa
1 Tablespoon organic olive oil
1 clove organic garlic, chopped
1 organic shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh organic rosemary
½ teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
2 Tablespoons organic walnuts, chopped
2 Tablespoons organic dried cherries
Sprinkle of salt, black pepper

Preparation
1. Place squash under broiler to warm for 5 minutes.
2. In sauté pan, place oil, garlic, shallots, herbs and heat to medium heat.
3. Add quinoa, walnuts, cherries, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
4. Add ½ recipe to each half of acorn squash.

Nutrition per serving: 330 calories, 7 grams protein, 49 grams carbohydrate, 14 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 939 mg potassium, 4 grams sugar, 8 grams dietary fiber

Posted in Aging Well, Health Maintenance, Nutrition, Recipes, Susan Piergeorge | Tagged #9minutemeals, baby boomer nutrition, babyboomerrecipes, Boomer Be Well, easy meals, Healthy Aging Tips, Healthy Eating, Susan Piergeorge, vegetarian recipes | Leave a comment

Grape Toss

Grape TossRecipe adapted from Susan’s Book, Boomer Be Well! Rebel Against Aging through Food, Nutrition and Lifestyle.

This recipe is refreshing, tart, creamy, crunchy, tangy and of course, nutritious. The grapes provide beautiful color and flavor, the blue cheese adds a creamy taste, the walnuts add crunch, the basil adds depth and the vinegar balances it all out with some tang.
Accompany this at a picnic, or with some beef, chicken, fish or tofu, or you can serve as a dessert or snack.

Ingredients
Makes 12 1/2-cup servings

1/2 pound organic green seedless grapes
½ pound organic red or purple seedless grapes
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar*
¼ cup fresh chopped basil
*Add vinegar to taste

Preparation
Wash and drain grapes.
In large bowl toss all ingredients.
Chill for an hour or so in refrigerator to allow flavors to blend.

Nutrition per serving: 125 calories, 3 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrate, 5grams fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 1 grams saturated fat, 85 mg sodium, 6 grams potassium, 1 gram dietary fiber 15 grams sugar (naturally occurring from grapes)

Posted in Aging Well, Food News, Health Maintenance, Nutrition, Recipes, Susan Piergeorge | Tagged balsamic vinegar recipes, boomer recipes, Healthy Aging Tips, Healthy Grape Recipe, Healthy Salad Recipe, Organic grape recipe, Salad Recipe, Walnut recipes | Leave a comment

An Amazing Coleslaw

Coleslaw1This recipe is packed with nutrition and powerful detoxifying ingredients such as cabbage, carrots, parsley, cilantro, turmeric, thyme, black pepper, vinegar, lemon juice and a touch of honey. Your liver will thank you!

Makes 8 ½ cup servings

Ingredients

10 cups shredded cabbage and carrots or coleslaw mix (or 1 lb./16 oz. bag)
1 cup each fresh cilantro and fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons fresh turmeric (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)

Dressing

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup white or apple cider or rice wine vinegar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon honey

Preparation

  1. In medium size bowl, mix vegetables, herbs and turmeric together.
  2. Prepare dressing by mixing all ingredients in small bowl and whisk together.
  3. Pour dressing over vegetable mixture in large bowl. Toss ingredients until well coated with dressing.
  4. Cover and refrigerate. Use within 3-4 days.

Nutrition per ½ cup serving: 90 calories, 1 gram protein, 6 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gram saturated fat, 70 mg sodium, 297 mg potassium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 0 grams sugar

 

Posted in Aging Well, Health Maintenance, Nutrition, Recipes | Tagged Baby boomer food and nutrition, Boomer Be Well, Coleslaw, Detox Recipe, Foods for liver health, Healthy Aging Tips, healthy eating recipes, Susan Piergeorge | Leave a comment

Eat Your Flowers!

Society GarlicBy Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RDN, Nutritionist

In the summer we enjoy the bounty a garden brings. The fruits, vegetables and flowers all just blend together for a beautiful display as well as pleasing our palate.

While many fruits and vegetables do start off as flowers, there are a number of edible flowers with nutrition benefits to consider adding to your garden. A few include:

  • Chive blossoms are a member of the allium family, which include garlic and onions. They contain vitamin C, sulfur and iron.
  • Society garlic is also a member of the allium family (onions and garlic are actually in the lily family) but different genus. Society garlic flowers add wonderful flavor and color to salads and appetizers.
  • Rose petals contain antioxidants, along with vitamins A, B3, C and E.
  • Nasturtiums possess the powerful antioxidants lycopene (associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer) and lutein (associated with eye health).
  • Dandelions are loaded with nutrition in that they are an ally to the liver in helping with detoxification. They also contain antioxidants, such as beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, along with vitamins C and E, and a number of B vitamins.

At the Golden Door, we utilize these and a number of other edible flowers, fruits and vegetables our incredible garden and property provides to give you a colorful, flavorful, nutritious dining experience!

For a more extensive list click here

 

Posted in Aging Well, Food News, Nutrition, Susan Piergeorge | Tagged Baby boomer food and nutrition, Baby Boomer Health and Nutrition, Boomer Be Well, Edible Flowers, Nutrition in edible flowers, Susan Piergeorge | Leave a comment

Baby Boomer Banana Split

 By Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RDN, Nutritionist

Susan’s Baby Boomer Banana SplitBoomerBananaSplit

Who says a banana split can’t be nutritious? Many Baby Boomers are mindful of what they eat and this can fit the bill. This recipe has protein, calcium and probiotics from the yogurt, potassium, fiber and prebiotics from the banana, healthy fats from the chocolate, avocado and nuts. A great dessert (or breakfast!)

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

1 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt

1 Tablespoon Chocolate Avocado Ganache (recipe below)

1 banana

1 Tablespoon chopped nuts

Method

  1. Place yogurt in bowl. Stir in chocolate until well blended.
  2. Slice banana and add to mixture.
  3. Top with chopped almonds (or other nuts).

Option: Sprinkle with cinnamon

Nutrition Information: 320 calories, 24 grams protein, 42 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fat, 90 mg sodium, 461 mg potassium, 28 grams sugar (26 grams naturally occurring in yogurt and banana), 5 grams dietary fiber

Chocolate Avocado Ganache

Servings: 20

Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon 

Ingredients 

5 ounces dark Chocolate (60-70%) (cut into pieces)

1 Avocado (peeled and diced)

Method

Optional for garnish

Mint leaves

Berries

Method

  1. In top of double boiler, melt chocolate over medium heat. Let cool slightly. Alternatively, if you do not have a double boiler, add chocolate to a metal bowl placed over a saucepan filled about 1/3 with water and heat water to medium heat and allow chocolate to melt while stirring occasionally.
  2. In food processor, blend chocolate with avocado with chocolate until smooth.
  3. Remove and place in bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1-2 hours.
  4. Remove from refrigerator and with a small melon ball size scoop or large Tablespoon, scoop mixture onto serving plate.
  5. Garnish with mint leaves and/or berries.

Nutrition Per Tablespoon: 60 calories, 1 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fat, 2 gram saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 39 mg potassium, 2 grams sugar, 1 gram dietary fiber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Aging Well, Food News, Nutrition, Recipes, Susan Piergeorge | Tagged Baby Boomer Banana Split, Boomer Food and Nutrition Baby Boomer Recognition Day, chocolate banana recipes, Greek yogurt recipes, Healthy Banana Split | Leave a comment

Magnificent Magnesium

By Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RDN, Nutritionist

Did you know that 78% of Americans consume insufficient quantities of magnesium? What makes this mineral so important?

Magnesium plays multiple roles in our bodies. It is a cofactor that regulates over 300 enzyme systems which regulate biochemical reactions in our bodies. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) some of these include “…protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.” Magnesium is required for energy production, along with supporting bone development and the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the powerful antioxidant glutathione. “Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm,” states the NIH.

Symptoms of deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, muscle cramping, numbness, tingling, seizures and personality changes. Additional symptoms that may occur include abnormal heart rhythm, coronary spasms and electrolyte disturbances.

Magnesium is found in a variety of food sources. These include dark green leafy vegetables, legumes/starchy beans (including soymilk), nuts, seeds and whole grains. According to the NIH, foods containing dietary fiber are often a source of magnesium. Some dairy products such as milk and yogurt are also sources. As far as supplements, the better absorbed forms of magnesium include citrate, aspartate, glycinate or threonate.

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Magnesium [1]
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
19–30 years 400 mg 310 mg 350 mg 310 mg
31–50 years 420 mg 320 mg 360 mg 320 mg
51+ years 420 mg 320 mg    

Source: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#h2,  Accessed June 2015.

Ideas to include magnesium in your diet:

Whole grain cereal with dairy milk or yogurt or soymilk

Bowl of minestrone soup

Mixed greens salad (spinach, baby kale, arugula) with nuts and quinoa

Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with avocado

Excerpted in part from Susan’s book “Boomer Be Well! Rebel Against Aging through Food, Nutrition and Lifestyle”

Posted in Aging Well, Health Maintenance, Nutrition, Susan Piergeorge, Uncategorized | Tagged baby boomer bone health, baby boomer nutrition, bone health, importance of magnesium, Magnesium nutrition, sources of magnesium | Leave a comment

Baby Boomer Crab Cake

Baby Boomer Crab Cake

By Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RDN, Nutritionist Golden DoorCrabcake

An average fried crab cake has about 230 calories with 60-65% fat and nearly 500 mg sodium. From a nutrition standpoint, crabmeat contains quality protein, along with omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins such as folate (B9), cobalamin (B12) and niacin (B3), and important minerals such as zinc, selenium, potassium, phosphorus and copper.

In this recipe we’ve reduced the calories and sodium, while also lowering the fat. Serve this delicious crab cake with a mixed greens salad or a coleslaw made with vinaigrette. You can also make smaller (half size) portions and serve as an appetizer or snack.

Crab cake
Servings 30 3-ounce crab cakes
Ingredients

4 pounds cooked crabmeat
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

Preparation

1. Empty the crab into a bowl and pick through gently and remove any shell fragments.

2. Mix all ingredients together.

3. Form into 3 ounce crabcakes.

4. Heat oven to 350 F.

5. Spray oil on griddle or in frying pan. Heat to medium heat.

6. Brown crabcake on both sides.

7. Place on cookie sheet and bake in oven for 5-6 minutes until hot.

Nutrition per crabcake: 150 calories, 11 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 360 mg sodium, 172 mg potassium, 0 grams sugar, 0 grams dietary fiber.

Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged Baby Boomer recipes, Boomer food and nutrition, Healthy Crab cake recipes, Healthy Seafood Recipes | Leave a comment