Month: June 2016

Will Donkey Milk Be the Next Big Nutrition Trend?

As a nutrition expert, I aim to stay on top of the latest food trends and products, and every once in a while, something makes me think, Hmmm, really? The latest fad to do so: Donkey milk. Yes, you read that correctly, milk from donkeys. To get the joke out of the way, it’s commonly referred to as “ass milk.” (I’m already afraid of the memes!)

A Swiss company called Eurolactis recently announced they’ll be launching the milk in Europe, the United States, Asia, and Australia.  And Eurolactis doesn’t plan to stop at milk: It’s also launching a high-end donkey milk chocolate bar, made by a master Swiss chocolatier.

What’s my opinion? Honestly, I’ve never tasted donkey milk, and I hadn’t heard of ingesting it, or products made from it, until very recently. So I did a little investigating. Here are six interesting things I learned.

RELATED: 9 Superfood Upgrades That Will Make Every Meal Healthier

It’s a (very) old trend

There are accounts of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, extolling the virtues of donkey milk. There are also records of its popularity in ancient Rome, and it was used medicinally in France up to the 20th century. In other words, drinking donkey milk is not unprecedented.

It’s nutritionally different from cow’s milk

Compared to other types of animal milk, the donkey variety is actually closest to human breast milk, based on its pH level and nutritional makeup. It also contains less total fat than cow’s milk, and packs more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Natural substances in donkey milk have been shown to enhance immunity, which may be helpful for people with conditions like asthma, eczema, or psoriasis.

RELATED: 12 Best and Worst Foods for Psoriasis

There is some research on its benefits

I actually found a handful of studies in the National Library of Medicine archive related to donkey milk. One, published this year in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design, concluded that donkey milk might help prevent artery hardening, thanks to its ability to dilate blood vessels. Another study, from the Journal of Food Science, deemed donkey milk a “pharmafood” for its nutritional, nutraceutical, and functional properties. After testing the product, these researchers concluded that although donkey milk contains a high amount of lactose, when it’s fermented into yogurt it’s a viable option for people with lactose or cow’s milk intolerance.

People are already drinking it

While it may seem odd to many of us, the reality is people around the world are taking advantage of this milk and its benefits. For example, in 2011 the BBC reported that more than 50% of the donkey milk produced at a farm outside Bologna, Italy, is sold to pediatric units, for children who can’t consume cow’s milk. Not to mention, it likely tastes better than it sounds; many people say it’s odorless and the texture resembles low-fat cow’s milk.

RELATED: 31 Superfood Secrets for a Long and Healthy Life

It’s part of a big beauty trend too

In my searches, I came across a number of skin care products featuring donkey milk as the star ingredient. I also read on various skincare forums that many people saw positive improvements in their eczema and with their sensitive skin after switching to donkey milk soap. And once again, I discovered the knowledge of these benefits is nothing new; there are even reports of Cleopatra bathing in donkey milk to keep her skin looking youthful.

We’ll probably see more products to come, but they’ll be pricey

Judging from the 269,000 results on Google when I searched for “donkey milk,” I think it’s safe to say it’s definitely a thing, and will likely continue to gain popularity. However, donkeys don’t produce as much milk as cows do. In fact, it reportedly takes 15 donkeys to produce a gallon of milk. That’s one main reason that cheese made from donkey milk (called Pule) costs a hefty $1,000 per pound. Donkey milk farms are also smaller. So the limited supply plus all those desirable health benefits will probably mean a higher price for consumers.

RELATED: Which Non-Dairy Milk Is Right for You?

I personally don’t consume dairy, and I don’t think donkey milk will convert me. But I have clients who really enjoy dairy, including some who struggle with skin conditions like eczema. For those folks, I’d say it’s definitely worth a try. Plus based on the studies to date, I bet we’ll see even more about donkey milk’s potential health benefits in the future. So stay tuned, and let us know if you’ve tried it on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Yankees, previously consulted for three other professional sports teams, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Sass is a three-time New York Times best-selling author, and her newest book is Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Real Food, Real Fast. Connect with her on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

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Juice Plus+ health benefits enjoyed by thousands

Juice Plus+ health benefits have been the subject of extensive research which has proven time and time again the positive affect the product has on overall health and wellbeing.

Research concurs with the word of mouth but in my opinion doesn’t even scratch the surface of the depths of the role played by Juice Plus+ in transforming the lifestyles and quality of living of thousands of people all over the world.

Skeptics have been surprised and naysayers turned to believers within weeks of deciding to give it a try. The proof of the eating is certainly in the pudding when it comes to Juice Plus+.

I myself was extremely skeptical at first – it’s in my nature. However, I reached a stage where I was willing to try anything to improve my general health and wellbeing which was frequently hamstrung by colds, flus, anaemia and general low immunity.

After having my second child and a very difficult pregnancy, it was suggested that I give it a go. I thought ‘what the hell, sure I’ve nothing to lose except a modest few quid for a four-month supply of capsules’. I’d already been spending much more money on vitamins and supplements but didn’t seem to be benefiting from them at all.

To say I was delighted by the results I gained from taking Juice Plus+ is an understatement. I was simply flabbergasted at how quickly my general health began to improve. Within just a few weeks my energy had improved, my skin was glowing in way it never had and I was even starting to lose the ‘baby weight’. My frequent bouts of illness which had plagued me since childhood became less and less and by the time flu season arrived I was completely clear. In fact, I haven’t been sick once since I started using juice plus+ more than three years ago.

Juice Plus+ users in Ireland and all over the world are experiencing the same fantastic health benefits.

Juice plus capsules and other Juice Plus products such as Complete shakes are being used as part of health and fitness regimes by people of all ages and interests – from pensioners to pregnant mums and children, and top athletes to patients in recovery.

You need not simply take my word for it as thousands of my customers and friends have reaped the benefits of a life transformed with the help of Juice Plus+. From Juice Plus+ aided weight loss to general health improvements and overall wellbeing there are people everywhere who have improved their lives with the help of this fantastic product.

If you would like to read some of these amazing testimonials message me and I can add you into our group.


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The American Diet’s Getting Healthier? Not So Fast

Americans are hungry for some good news about nutrition. When the average diet of a nation is actually abbreviated to SAD—the Standard American Diet—well, who wouldn’t be?

Finally, it appears, there are some positive findings on the food front. A study just published in JAMA analyzed a set of nationally representative surveys, in which people were asked what they ate in the last 24 hours, from the years 1999 to 2012. The authors discovered that parts of the U.S. diet have, in fact, improved over that time span.

The improvements were not exactly brag-worthy, however, and there were disparities based on income.

The percentage of Americans who had what the authors determined to be “poor diets” declined, but from a colossal 56% to a still-high 46%, proving that the vast majority of Americans still don’t eat an optimal diet.

The biggest changes: Americans are reporting that they eat more whole grains, as well as slight increases in their consumption of nuts and seeds and yogurt, while consuming less sugary drinks, white potatoes and refined grains. At the same time, the authors found no improvements for many types of food, including those found to be most crucial to health. Over the years, the total number of fruits and vegetables Americans ate didn’t budge, and they didn’t eat any less meat, processed meat or sodium.

“Americans are slowly getting the message about the crucial role of diet and health,” says study author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “But this message is reaching people unequally and slowly.”

The picture got even bleaker when the authors looked at who ate what in America. White Americans shined up their diets the most, while improvements in minority groups and lower-income groups were smaller. Some racial groups even increased their intakes of certain unhealthy foods: black Americans ate more white potatoes, while Mexican-Americans ate more refined grains. “Specific foods were Achilles’ heels for different racial groups,” says Mozaffarian. Minority groups and lower-income groups are often the targets of aggressive marketing campaigns for fast foods and highly processed food, he adds.

And what of that good news about nuts and fruits? Those improvements largely depended on the level of a person’s education and their income. “There were gaps to start, and the gaps are getting bigger,” Mozaffarian says.

The results of the study highlight the fact that America needs to address its very serious issues with food. “We have to move beyond dietary guidelines and education and food labeling and really think about strong government policies to make the food system healthier for everybody,” Mozaffarian says. “We have strong policies about safety for cars, about safety for toys, about safety for workplaces and offices we come to, about car seats, about seat belts. And yet we have very little strong government policy about overall healthy foods.”

Doing so will be key to making a dent in rates of chronic disease, like obesity. “It’s a crucial issue for the health of our country, so government needs to take an active role and industry needs to really take this seriously,” Mozaffarian says. “Because people are starting to change their diets, and the industry needs to follow.”

This article originally appeared on

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This Is How Sugar May ‘Fuel’ Cancer Cells

If you saw the recent headlines connecting gallbladder cancer to the consumption of sugary sodas, you may not have been too surprised by the news. America’s obsession with sugar has been blamed for plenty of chronic diseases in recent years, including several types of cancer.

But what is it, exactly, about the sweet stuff that seems to raise a person’s cancer risk? We rounded up some recent research and spoke with Carrie Daniel-MacDougall, PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist at The University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center, to get the scoop.

What the studies show

Scientists have been studying the relationship between sugar and various cancers; some of them affect organs directly involved in the metabolism of sugar (like the liver and pancreas), while others do not.

A Swedish study published this month found that people who drank two or more servings of soda and other sugary drinks per day had a higher risk of gallbladder and biliary tract cancers than those who abstained from soda completely. And research published in March, co-authored by Daniel-MacDougall, found that people who ate the highest amount of foods with high glycemic indexes—typically foods high in simple carbohydrates like white bread, potatoes, and white rice—were more likely to get lung cancer than those who ate the least. (But let’s be clear: Smoking causes lung cancer, not sugar. It’s possible that a certain diet may make it harder for the body to suppress cancer, but a single study can’t prove that.) This study didn’t focus directly on sweets like table sugar and desserts. But these foods do typically fall into the high–glycemic index/low-nutrient category.

Another study from MD Anderson Cancer Center, published in January, suggests a link between the typical Western (high-sugar) diet and breast cancer. When researchers split mice into four groups and fed them all different diets, they found that those who ate more sucrose or fructose (both types of simple sugars) had more breast cancer tumors—and more tumors that had spread to the lungs—than those who got most of their carbohydrates from starches.

Finally, according to several studies in recent years, people with diabetes or prediabetes are at increased risk for cancer—especially liver, pancreatic, and uterine cancer. An unhealthy diet is a major risk factor for developing high blood sugar and insulin resistance (both hallmarks of diabetes), says Daniel-MacDougall, so it’s not unrealistic to suggest that what you eat also affects your risk of these cancers.

RELATED: Yes, the Bacon-Cancer Link Is Real, But Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out

How sugar may fuel cancer

News reports commonly refer to sugar as being “fuel” for cancer cells. And that’s true—but mainly because sugar is the fuel for all cells in the body. Sugar is a carbohydrate, and when you eat any type of carbohydrate (whether it’s fruit or ice cream or a bagel) your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that helps convert sugars into energy for your cells.

Eating too much sugar, though, can cause the body to become insulin resistant, meaning it has to churn out more and more of the hormone in order to do its job. It also produces more of a hormone known as insulin-like growth factor (IGF), which “seems to stimulate cell growth and inhibit cell death,” says Daniel-MacDougall.

In other words, IGF allows cancer to proliferate. “Cancer cells are normally kept in check by the body’s constant turnover—new healthy cells grow and bad cells die,” she explains. “IGF blocks the signals for cells to grow normally and die when it’s time to die, so instead they just grow grow grow.”

High-sugar diets also contribute to inflammation throughout the body, which can also cause cellular damage and drive the growth of cancerous tumors. Sugary diets also lead to weight gain.

“When you eat foods that are high in sugar or high in carbohydrates and low in fiber, you have a higher insulin spike and your body stores more energy as fat,” says Daniel-MacDougall. “We know that obesity is a leading cause of cancer, so part of reducing your risk should be managing your weight.”

RELATED: Very Hot Drinks Probably Cause Cancer, According to WHO

The expert advice

Not all sugars and starches are bad. In fact, we need them in order to function as healthy human beings. But choosing the right kinds—and the right amount—is important.

Food with natural sugar (like fruit and dairy products) and complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, beans, and legumes), for example, provide calories plus vitamins, minerals, and nutrients like fiber, to help you feel full. Sodas, sweets, and white bread, on the other hand, only provide the former.

“Some people go on these highly restrictive low-carb or no-carb diets, but we don’t really know how effective these are at preventing cancer,” says Daniel-MacDougall. What’s more important, she adds, is finding a healthy diet you can stick with long-term.

“If you really want to lower your risk, you need to take a diversified approach,” she says. “Consume a diet of high-quality nutrients, work on losing or maintaining a healthy weight, and keep the empty-calorie foods in check.”

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Should You Follow the 80/20?Diet?

You’ve probably heard of people who follow the 80/20 rule. Many celebs swear by it: Jillian Michaels has said she follows an 80/20 eating plan, as does Miranda Kerr and Jessica Alba. Australian chef Teresa Cutter even wrote a book about it.

We can see why this diet has so many famous fans. Quite frankly, it sounds pretty sweet. Instead of following a perfectly “clean” diet, you’re encouraged to eat healthy 80% of the time. In other words, you can eat well during the week but give an enthusiastic yes (sans guilt) to that burger you’ve been craving on the weekend.

But is the 80/20 rule too good to be true? And will eating less-than-healthy foods 20% of the time sabotage your weight loss efforts? We tapped registered dietitians to get their take.

RELATED: Here’s What You Should Know About the Intermittent Fasting Trend

Is it healthy?

It can be. Following an 80/20 diet can help you maintain a balanced mindset about eating, experts say. “Being healthy doesn’t require eating ‘perfectly’—whatever that might be,” says Rachael Hartley, RD, a dietitian at Avocado A Day Nutrition LLC and co-founder of the Joyful Eating, Nourished Life program. “If 80% of your diet consists of nutritious whole foods, there’s room for the other 20% to come from fun foods without compromising health,” she says.

Also good: Knowing you can occasionally indulge in an ice cream sundae or to-die-for Italian pasta meal will make you more motivated to stick to healthy habits at other times, notes Chicago-area dietitian Christine Palumbo, RDN.

RELATED: How Much Sodium Should You Actually Eat? 

The downsides

“We are notoriously terrible at counting calories, estimating portions, and assessing how much we really eat,” says Samantha Heller, RDN, author of The Only Cleanse and a SiriusXM radio host. “So it makes sense that we wouldn’t be very good at estimating what 20% of our diet is.”

It’s also important to consider how you categorize the foods that fall into that 20% category. Labeling chips or brownies “bad” can ultimately make you feel guilty about your choices—and that’s the exact opposite of what 80/20 should do for you. The word “cheat” “implies that healthy eating is punitive,” Heller points out.

Ultimately, know that indulging has a place in any sane eating plan. “While the 20% may not be contributing much nutritiously, these foods can be nourishing in other ways,” says Hartley. Namely, how a cheese plate with the girls is exactly what you need on a Friday night. Or how that double scoop totally feeds your soul.

RELATED: 24 Things You Should Never Order When You Eat Out

How to try it

For the 80%, fill your plate with fresh, whole foods like veggies, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, dairy, lean meats, and fish. Your 20% can be any food you want, though it’s best to stick to foods you truly love. Those treats will give you the biggest boost of satisfaction.

The way you go about it depends on your personality. If you want more structure, Palumbo suggests allowing yourself four freebie meals throughout a given week, or one full day plus an additional meal. You can also eat nutritiously most of the time and fit in one or two small indulgences a day.

But you can also be more lax and consider 80/20 a general guideline rather than a rule. Hartley is a big proponent of intuitive eating—listening to your body, feeding it nutritious foods most of the time, and following your intuition when indulging. She says that eating like this tends to naturally shake out to 80/20 without really thinking about it.

If you’ve tried 80/20 and find you go crazy with “cheat” days or meals and you’re not seeing the results you want (hello Mexican meal with margaritas, guac, enchiladas, and ice cream for dessert), Palumbo recommends aiming for 90/10. “Often 80/20 leaves too much leeway for indulgences, whereas 90/10 is pretty strict but does allow for a few,” she says. You can look forward to two freebie meals per week, and this method reduces the risk of overeating. “You can easily consume hundreds of calories in a few minutes, which can negate all of your hard work,” she says.

No matter how you approach it, the message is clear: let them eat cake—in moderation, of course.

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Oh the Places You’ll Go! Healthy Travel Snacks

It’s summertime, which means it’s the season of holidays and travelling! While there’s a lot of excitement during this time, healthy eating can sometimes take a backseat to the rest of the planning. Even if you’re a dedicated health nut, it’s easy to find your trip filled with soft drinks, crisps and other unhealthy on-the-go snacks. There’s a myth that it’s impossible to remain healthy on a trip, but we are here to help you prove that wrong! Below are some tips and tricks to keep in mind for packing healthy snacks for every kind of trip.

Road Trip
Whether you are taking a summer road trip with friends or driving to the beach for your family holiday, create a list beforehand of healthy snacks that are easy to pack!

For shorter road trips, pack a cooler that will keep snacks fresh throughout the trip, like string cheese, yogurt, fresh fruit and vegetables, and hummus. Also, keep a lunch bag filled with non-perishable snacks like pretzels, homemade granola barstrail mix (in portion cups) and unsalted nuts. Health on the road doesn’t have to be shabby!

It’s perfect weather to explore the great outdoors! While packing healthy food can call for some innovation, it still beats a diet that consists solely of s’mores and crisps.

During your camping trip, it’s important to know if you will be able to drive up to your camping site or if you will need to hike to it. If you are camping away from your vehicle, make sure to pack food that is easy to transport and can cook quickly over a fire. Rolled oats are a great option, and for some additional flavor and fibre, add some honey and nuts!

It’s easy to get distracted by all the tempting fast food options right next to your flight’s gate, but don’t give in! Try making a snack bag before you leave for your flight, which will not only provide healthy options, but also save you from spending extra money at the airport. To choose your snacks accordingly, consider the length of your flight and the amount of time you will be spending at the airport.

One smart tip we’ve learned is to bring your reusable water bottle so you can refill your water after you pass security. As far as snacks go, pack some snacks like bananas and almond butter,parmesan, black pepper, and thyme crackers, as well as zucchini fritters! These will make your flight more enjoyable and arm you with snacks to keep you on track with your healthy diet.

Tips and Tricks

  • Take your snacks out of their original packaging and repackage them to save space.
  • Create a snack container that will keep all of your non-perishable items organised in one place.
  • Pack hand sanitizer, paper towels, and grocery bags to use as trash bags in order to stay fresh and messy-free.
  • Add some Juice Plus+ chewables to your bag to ensure you’re getting your daily dose of fruits and vegetables!

Make the smart and healthy choice, no matter where your journey may take you! What are your favourite on-the-road healthy snacks? Share with us in the comments below!

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Motivation for healthy living and the daily juggling act 

Staying motivated for healthy living can be testing when juggling work and family so it can be very helpful to plan well.

In my experience, when realistic and achievable training and dieting goals are set then they can be met which in turn helps to sustain motivation.

How many times have you seen New Year’s resolutions binned after just a few weeks because people try to change too much, too soon.

The motivational buzz of the first week or two can drive the diet plan and the exercise programme while ensuring the bad habits are dropped.

However, as people continue to juggle their day-to-day lives – with the added stress of a whole range of new changes – all the little goals that form a part of the new overarching health and fitness plan can easily become unachievable.

We can become overstretched with the inevitable result that, one by one, the little changes fall by the wayside and motivation finally gives way to apathy.

I’m no expert by any means but this was my experience in the past.

When biting off too much to chew, my drive to achieve health and fitness goals soon dwindled. My motivation steadily collapsed and I slumped back into my old ways.

Thankfully I’ve turned a corner. A few years ago I discovered that the key to the longevity of my motivation was to change just a little every so often. I finally started living by the belief harnessed in the old saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in day’ and gradually achieved many of the goals I had struggled to achieve in the past.

Consistency in ensuring my one simple change was maintained over a period of around one month meant my motivation remained high. My intact motivation was then ploughed into making the next one simple change and so on. Eventually I had made a whole wave of changes and barely even noticed the effort over several months.

What worked for me was taking a firm decision to make one simple change and then relentlessly sticking to it until it became second nature. I have transformed my lifestyle by sticking to the process and really the effort was minimal when compared to my old approach of making a decision to change a load of things all at once.

Why not give it a try. Break down your overall objective into a bite sized and achievable components. Plan well, stick to the plan one day at a time and the results will inspire you to continue. Nothing inspires my motivation more than achieving the results I set out to achieve.

Of course I’m not suggesting we don’t test ourselves – the goals should be challenging. It just may work better if our challenges can slot in to the realities of juggling our day to day living.

For more information on making one simple change get in touch today.

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How Much Sodium Should You Actually Eat? An RD Weighs In

You’ve probably been told your entire life that too much sodium is bad for you. Now, new research suggests that a diet low in sodium may actually be harmful.

The collection of four studies, published in the journal The Lancet, followed more than 100,000 participants—some with high blood pressure, some without—from nearly 50 countries for almost four years. The researchers found that people with a low sodium intake (less than 3,000 mg) experienced a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart failure, compared to people who consumed between 3,000 mg and 6,000 mg a day. That’s well above the current recommendations by the USDA of 2,300 mg for healthy adults, and 1,500 mg for those with hypertension or increased risk of high blood pressure.

The study has come under some scrutiny because the researchers assessed the participants’ sodium levels via a single urine sample that was collected when the participants enrolled. Also, the data did not reveal a direct cause and effect; it simply showed an association between lower sodium diets and increased risk of heart problems, leaving many questions unanswered.

In any case, the findings have fueled the ongoing sodium controversy. Just a few years ago, for example, a panel of top experts concluded that while Americans are consuming excess amounts of sodium, cutting back too much may do more harm than good. Meanwhile New York City is requiring restaurant chains to post sodium warning labels next to certain menu items. The USDA and American Heart Association continue to stand by the current sodium guidelines.

RELATED: 16 Salt-Free Flavor Boosters

Clearly sodium isn’t a cut and dry subject, and it can be challenging to sort through the latest info. Some of my clients are even confused about the basics, like what sodium is and why we need it. If you’re in the same boat, here are seven things you should know, including my advice for determining how to get just the right amount.

Sodium is a mineral

Sodium is an essential mineral, which means your body doesn’t make enough of its own supply naturally, so you must meet your needs with food.

It helps your body operate

Sodium performs several critical functions, such as allowing muscles and nerves to work properly. It also regulates the delicate balance of fluids in your body, helping to maintain a proper blood volume and blood pressure.

RELATED: Is It Possible to Eat Too Much Fruit

Sodium is found in salt

Many people use the words salt and sodium interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. Sodium is a mineral that occurs naturally in some foods, and is added to most processed foods. It’s also a component of salt, which is technically called sodium chloride because it’s made up of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. To put that into perceptive, one level teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 mg of sodium.

Most sodium doesn’t come from salt

Data shows that roughly 70% of an average American’s sodium intake comes from processed foods. And if you start looking at the mg of sodium per serving on nutrition labels, you’ll see why. One cup of canned soup (not the whole can) can contain more than 900 mg. A quarter cup of bottled salad dressing or a frozen low-cal entrée can each contain nearly 700 mg, while a whole frozen pizza typically has more than 1,600 mg. Even foods that don’t seem salty can pack a lot of sodium. A blueberry scone, for example, may contain more than 750 mg. However, fresh whole foods tend to be low in sodium. Raw spinach only provides 24 mg per cup, and a cup of chopped raw celery packs 81 mg.

RELATED: 24 Tasty, Low-Sodium Recipes for Every Meal

Excess amounts of sodium are probably bad for everyone

One concern about sodium is that it causes your body to retain excess fluid. This leads to an increase in blood pressure, which then ups your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and other serious health problems. It is estimated that reducing the average amount of sodium people eat to the current recommended level could result in 11 million fewer cases of high blood pressure each year, which might have a significant impact on a number of related health risks.

Hypertension, or abnormally high blood pressure, is often called the “silent killer” because the condition has no obvious warning signs. That’s why it’s important to keep tabs on your blood pressure throughout your life. A healthy reading is less than 120 systolic (the upper number) and 80 diastolic (the lower number). Even prehypertension can put too much stress on your heart, and damage the muscle. So if you have no idea what your blood pressure is, start getting it checked now.

When you sweat you need more sodium

We lose sodium through sweat. So whether it’s because of humid weather or exercise, if you’re perspiring a lot, it’s important to replace lost sodium. Not doing so can be dangerous and even deadly. Keep in mind that plain water won’t cut it, since it’s naturally low in the mineral. Instead, reach for a sports drink or another electrolyte replacement (electrolyte is a term for minerals like sodium that carry an electric charge).

RELATED: What to Eat Before and After Every Kind of Workout

It’s best to get your sodium from whole foods and salt

I think it goes without saying that cutting back (or cutting out) processed foods is important for a number of reasons. It will slash your sodium intake considerably, and improve your overall diet. While many fresh, whole foods do contain some sodium, it’s okay to use a few shakes or a small pinch of sea salt after cooking, especially if you’re concerned about reaching your body’s sodium needs.

That said, try to be consistent. An erratic intake of sodium may cause water retention, which can trigger bloating. And even if you use some salt for flavor, keep on seasoning your food with natural herbs and spices, which add extra antioxidants to your meals.

Bottom line: Balance is best, so avoid the extremes of gobbling up too much processed food or being sodium-phobic. Instead, work on developing a healthy eating pattern you can stick to for the long haul.

Do you have a question about nutrition? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Yankees, previously consulted for three other professional sports teams, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Sass is a three-time New York Times best-selling author, and her newest book is Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Real Food, Real Fast. Connect with her on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

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Vegetables Kids Will Eat: 10 Vegetables That Are Better for Your Kids than You Think

In a perfect world everyone would love kale and broccoli, and some people — even some kids — do. But everyone’s tastes are different, and sometimes health-conscious parents make it less likely their kids will get the vegetables they need by insisting on only the very best vegetables and ruling out the rest. After all, there are vegetables, and there are vegetables kids will eat.

Its recommended that children eat between one and three cups of vegetables per day, depending on how old they are and how much activity they get. With nine out of ten kids not getting the recommended amount of vegetables for their age, it’s a risky strategy to focus solely on the veggie superstars. 

Four of them are in Juice Plus+:

· Cabbage: Many people think of cabbage is a cheap filler, but the truth is that like its trendy cousin kale, cabbage is also a cruciferous vegetable, which means it’s a powerful detoxifier. Cabbage is high in fibre, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Your kids may enjoy it in coleslaw or stir-fries. I just got my kid to eat a bunch of cabbage by tossing it in chicken noodle soup. She couldn’t tell what was cabbage and what was noodles!

· Carrots: Carrots have gotten a bad rap for having a lot of sugar, and while they may have more than other veggies, they also have fibre which slows its absorption. A lot of kids who don’t like many vegetables will happily eat carrots, and when they do, they get a healthy dose of beta carotene (used to make vitamin A), plus vitamin C and fibre. Some kids prefer the crunch of raw carrots and others like them cooked. Try fun dips for the raw fans and roasted carrots for those who like soft, smooth foods.

· Garlic: It’s a myth that garlic is flavorful but lacking nutrition. In fact, it’s been shown to support cardiovascular health and maintain blood sugar levels already within a normal range. It also supports upper respiratory health during the winter months. Whose kids don’t need that kind of protection?

· Parsley: If your kids treat this herb as a decoration and leave it on the plate, they’re not alone. A lot of grown-ups do, too. But parsley is packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and calcium. It’s tasty, too. Try both the curly variety and the Italian flat-leaf to see which your kids like best.

Some of the other kid-friendly vegetables profiled in the article, like potatoes, get their bad rap from the fact that they are most often eaten in unhealthy forms like chips and French fries. And while potatoes do have a high glycemic index (meaning they cause a quick surge in blood sugar), eaten in moderation they provide potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fibre. And, surprise, they are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the block — if you eat the skins and especially if you choose highly coloured potatoes such as the purple variety.[1]

Similarly, high-fructose corn syrup has given corn a bad reputation. But that unhealthy sweetener has all the nutrition and fibre of corn stripped out of it. Like potatoes, corn has a lot of carbohydrates and shouldn’t be the only vegetable your kids eat, but it also has thiamine, folate, and antioxidants.

Eating vegetables is a good life habit for kids to acquire, so if meeting them halfway and letting them have a salad of iceberg lettuce (which isn’t the most nutritious green but does have some vitamin A and vitamin K) helps them eventually move on to a healthier spinach salad, it’s a good investment. Consider it a “gateway vegetable.”

Also celery and cucumber, commonly dismissed for being mostly water, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Good hydration is an essential component of a healthy diet and these water-rich fruits and veggies can help with that. Likewise, onion, like garlic, is often thought of as flavorful but lacking nutrition but, like celery and cucumber, has something nutritious to offer, including vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre.

Of course, with some kids, no matter how hard you try, they simply won’t eat as many vegetables as they should. While there’s no substitute for getting your kids to eat their veggies, taking Juice Plus+ can help bridge the gap between what they should eat and what they do.


[1] Jemison J, Camire M, Dougherty M. Research revales potato as antioxidant powerhouse. The University of Maine.

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Sculpt posse on retreat as we ‘reach for the sky’

Where would we be without our parents or ‘granky’ and ‘papa’ as our little ones have playfully dubbed my mum and dad.


It’s papa’s birthday today and to celebrate he mum have been gifted the joy of caring for our kids for the entire weekend.

This is the first time we’ve been away from the children for such a long time and I must admit that I’m more than little anxious at the thought of jetting off for the Sculpt Movement retreat in sunny Portugal without the ‘terrible two’.

My mum and dad assure me that there is no need to taint my excitement with the anxious nausea brought on by worry over how Jamie and Abbie will manage without us for a whole four days.

I suppose they’re right, it won’t kill them – or us to break for a few days. It may even make the heart grow fonder in accordance with the old cliché.

Anyway, the kids have the excitement of papa’s birthday to look forward to. Jamie, our five-year-old, just can’t wait. His comment on what he needs to get papa as a present gave me a great chuckle the other day while also serving to remind me of just how innocent and sweet he can be.

“Do you know what papas most favourite thing in the whole world is,” he quizzed. “Cowboys” he exclaimed quickly.  He then elaborated: “So do you know what he should get for his birthday? Woody, because he’s the best cowboy of all.” he revealed without even pausing for a breath.

Jamie believes everyone should get a toy on their birthday, whether they’re 6 or 60. And the ‘Toy Story’ hero is the perfect gift for his western-loving papa.

I can only hope that Jamie or his little sister Abbie don’t ‘reach for the sky’ (as Woody would say) when we take off for Portugal this weekend.

All my worrying aside, I know the break is just what myself and Seamus need to relax and find some alone time.

We’ve been planning this retreat for months and the team can’t wait to get the fun started.

Seamus is one of only four fellas among the party of 30 on the retreat and I think the lads may be a little concerned about how they’re going to cope with all the sun cream application for the ladies.

Don’t worry boys, I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it after day one.

The itinerary for weekend involves a little brainstorming and a lot of fun activities on the beach.

We’ve booked into a five star hotel and will get into the spirit with celebration cocktails by the beach on Friday evening. Saturday will involve a beach training sessions and some surprise fun activities. On Sunday we’ve arranged to cap off the weekend with a sunset cruise complete with dinner and recognition of the Sculpt success stories over the past 12 months.

I’m certain spare a thought or ten for Jamie and Abbie – and granky and papa – while we try to relax but I promise not to pine too much for my little cowboy and cowgirl during the sculpt posse adventure.

My parents have told us to getaway and have some fun – I suppose it would be rude not to. Thanks a million mum and dad, I think we will. 


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