Juices and Smoothies: Health or Hype?

are smoothies healthy photo

Hey guys!

I’ve been hearing about green juices and smoothies constantly, and since I finally have a blender to call my own (yipee!), it’s time to talk about them. The way that some articles tout the benefits of juicing, you’d think it was the fountain of youth, the giver of energy, and saver of puppies. But do the veggie, fruit, and protein packed drinks really stack up?

 

 

 Let’s look into the science and the psychology of juices and smoothies, so you can integrate them with your diet in the most optimal way. And, I’ll share some of my favorite smoothie recipes!

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Getting vitamins from food and supplements

getting vitamins from food and supplements pic
Image courtesy of ods.od.nih.gov

Hello! Today we’re finishing our series about getting vitamins from food and supplements. Over the last two weeks, I’ve told you about why it would be best to get vitamins from from dietary sources or from supplements.

Today, I’m going to put it all together and give you actions you can take to start the best vitamin or mineral supplementation program for you.

Getting vitamins and minerals from the best sources:

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Reasons to get vitamins from food versus supplements

Vitamin from supplements picture
Image via hereandthere.us

Hello again! Thanks for the great comments on my post about dietary sources of calcium. I’m glad you found it helpful and understandable. Have a nutrition question you’d like to see answered? Let me take a crack at it! Email me at samantha.attard[at]gmail.com. Today’s question is a complex one, so I’ll be splitting it up into a series of posts over the coming weeks.

Today’s question: “Should I be getting my vitamins from food or from supplements?”

This is a tough question that the nutrition community has been debating for decades. I think it became such a big issue because humans have been using food medicinally for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that we began identifying the active chemical compounds (like vitamins and minerals) that were responsible for these beneficial health effects. Once we did determine that scurvy was due to low vitamin C, or that rickets was because of a vitamin D deficiency, we naturally became interested in isolating these compounds from food and selling them to people to improve health. But we are far from knowing whether it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from food or from supplements…there are pros and cons to each method. Today, we’re going to tackle the reasons why it may be better to get your vitamins from food versus supplements.

Reasons to consume your vitamins from food versus supplements

1. If you have a varied, whole foods diet without large dietary restrictions or special needs, there may be little beneficial effect of adding vitamin supplements to your diet.
2. The combination of chemicals in food (versus the isolated compounds found in supplements) can improve vitamin absorption and efficacy.
3. Vitamin supplements are not well regulated, and there are contamination and labeling concerns for many supplements currently on the market.

More detailed explanations of these reasons to consume vitamins from food versus supplements can be found after the jump! Continue reading…


Best dietary sources of calcium

Dietary sources of calcium picture
Image courtesy of dietnutritionadvisor.com

Every time I tell someone I’m in nutrition, I get a question or comment about food, the latest diet craze, or my favorite nutrition habits. I realized that for every person that does ask me a question, there are a lot more who are wanting to know the same thing, but were too afraid to ask.

In this new series (as of yet unnamed), I’ll be answering the most frequently-asked questions I receive about nutrition as well as your questions! Have something you’d like to see me write about? Email me at samantha.attard[at]gmail.com!

Today’s Question: What are the best dietary sources of calcium?

If I was to ask a group of people what the best dietary source of calcium is, undoubtably most people would answer – Milk! This unanimous uproar of support is a product of the truly amazing marketing campaigns from the Dairy Council over the last few decades. However, as Michele Simon and Andy Bellatti point out in their report, dairy products like milk are not the only dietary sources of calcium.

But is dairy the best source of calcium?

Calcium is found in a variety of plant- and animal-based foods including milk, cheese, kale, broccoli, almonds, black beans, sardines, and bok choy. Per serving, milk and dairy products have some of the highest levels of calcium, but the plant-based sources are not far behind, and particularly with a varied diet, it is possible to match the calcium levels of dairy foods while still eating a dairy-free.

There are a few important points we have to consider if we’re trying to find the best dietary sources of calcium:

1. Calcium absorption is more efficient and lower calcium intake levels.
2. Calcium absorption in the intestinal lumen requires adequate Vitamin D; Magnesium is required to adequately store calcium in bones rather than soft tissues.
3. Some calcium in plant-based sources is less bioavailable because the calcium is bound to oxalate and phytate.

Let’s investigate these points further to figure out the best ways to meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium.

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