80 Twenty Nutrition http://www.80twentynutrition.com Christy Brissette, MS, RD, media registered dietitian, NUTRITION AND FOOD COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT Mon, 20 Nov 2017 18:33:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 https://i0.wp.com/www.80twentynutrition.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-meet-inner-page-image.jpg?fit=32%2C32 80 Twenty Nutrition http://www.80twentynutrition.com 32 32 102167928 How To Make Milk Kefir – Just 2 Ingredients! http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/make-milk-kefir-just-2-ingredients/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/make-milk-kefir-just-2-ingredients/#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:41:53 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?post_type=recipe&p=4180 How to Make Milk Kefir Making your own kefir is not as challenging as you may think, and all you need is 2 ingredients: milk, kefir grains and a bit of patience! The great thing is that kefir grains can be reused so you can make more batches of milk kefir for family and friends....

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How to Make Milk Kefir

Making your own kefir is not as challenging as you may think, and all you need is 2 ingredients: milk, kefir grains and a bit of patience! The great thing is that kefir grains can be reused so you can make more batches of milk kefir for family and friends. Read more about the health benefits of kefir for more inspiration and you’ll want to make your own milk kefir in no time!

How to Make Milk Kefir: Just 2 Ingredients and packed with probiotics! Recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist 80 Twenty Nutrition www.80TwentyNutrition.com

Not only does this recipe have minimal ingredients, it’s also quite versatile. You can make more or less kefir as long as you maintain the ratio of 1 teaspoon of kefir grains to 1 cup of milk.

You also have flexibility on what milk you would like to use, although kefir does work best in higher fat milks of animal origin. Try cow’s milk, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk kefir!

How to Make Milk Kefir: Just 2 Ingredients and packed with probiotics! Recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist 80 Twenty Nutrition www.80TwentyNutrition.com

Claudio Brisighello via Flickr

A common mistake when making kefir is screwing on a lid during the fermentation process, so be sure to use a cloth and rubber band instead. This prevents too much pressure from building up… not what you want in a glass container in your kitchen.

Where to Buy Kefir Grains

The easiest way to get started is to order your kefir grains online from companies such as Amazon. This is where I get my milk kefir grains.

You can also order some glass jars for fermenting kefir.

How to Make Vegan Kefir

How to Make Milk Kefir: Just 2 Ingredients and packed with probiotics! Recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian nutritionist 80 Twenty Nutrition www.80TwentyNutrition.com

Photo: Carissa Gan via Unsplash

If you’re vegan, kefir can be made using coconut milk because of its thick consistency, although length of time of fermentation and quality of the final product varies. You also need to return the kefir grains to an animal milk source if you want to reuse them again.

Your best bet is to go with water kefir grains and ferment them with coconut water. The good news is that water kefir grains are also reusable for future batches.

I absolutely love this kefir poured onto cereal or with my Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Reduction for a delicious breakfast (or dessert)!

Can’t wait to see your amazing kefir creations!

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Homemade Kefir
With just 2 ingredients, you can make your own milk kefir from cow's milk, sheep's milk or goat's milk. It's easier than you think! Here's the only recipe you'll need to make your own kefir at home.
Servings Prep Time
2 5minutes
Passive Time
12-48hours
Servings Prep Time
2 5minutes
Passive Time
12-48hours
Instructions
  1. Combine milk and kefir grains in a glass jar.
  2. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band.
  3. Ferment for 12 to 48 hours. Store the jar at room temperature away from direct sunlight. When the milk is thickened and tastes slightly sour, the kefir is ready for the next step. At room temperatures, this will take approximately 24 hours. Kefir will ferment slower at cooler temperatures and faster at warmer temperatures.
  4. Strain out the kefir grains by placing a strainer over the container where the kefir will be stored.
  5. Drink or refrigerate the milk kefir. Kefir is ready after fermentation is complete, but it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week for later consumption.
  6. Optional: Transfer the grains to fresh milk: Stir the grains into a fresh batch of milk and begin the fermentation process again.
  7. Optional: Store kefir grains for later use. Rinse with water and dry at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. Afterwards, store the kefir grains in an air tight bag with a small amount of powdered milk and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Recipe Notes

**Warning: Do not screw a lid on the glass container during the fermentation process. The buildup of carbon dioxide creates pressure and may cause the jar to explode! Use the cheesecloth technique described in the recipe instructions.

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Artificial flavors in food: what are they and should you avoid them? http://www.80twentynutrition.com/artificial-flavors-food-avoid/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/artificial-flavors-food-avoid/#respond Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:21:35 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=4225 When you think about whether a food is healthy or not, you likely consider whether or not it has the word “artificial” in the ingredients list. Most of us – including some major brands and restaurant chains – categorize artificial flavors in the list of ingredients to stay far away from. But what exactly are...

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When you think about whether a food is healthy or not, you likely consider whether or not it has the word “artificial” in the ingredients list. Most of us – including some major brands and restaurant chains – categorize artificial flavors in the list of ingredients to stay far away from. But what exactly are artificial flavors in food? And should you be avoiding them? Here’s everything you need to know about artificial flavors and your health:

Artificial flavors in food: Should you avoid them? Everything you need to know from registered dietitian Christy Brissette of 80twentynutrition.com

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What are artificial flavors and how are they made?

According to the FDA, a natural flavor is the essential oil or compound extracted from a “spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.” Artificial flavors are any flavorings added that don’t meet this criteria.

All flavors, whether naturally present in food or artificially created, are made of chemical compounds. For example, much of the distinguishable scent of cinnamon comes from the compound cinnamaldehyde, but hundreds of other chemical compounds add to the flavor as well. Similarly, much of the flavor of vanilla comes from the compound vanillin, but other chemical compounds contribute complexity to the flavor of vanilla.

When natural flavors are produced from these foods, the chemical compounds that give flavor (such as cinnamaldehyde and vanillin, and other contributing compounds) are extracted and concentrated from the foods. When artificial flavors are produced, the chemical compounds that give flavor are synthetically produced. The resulting flavor molecules are chemically identical, they just come from different sources.

Artificial flavors in food: Should you avoid them? Everything you need to know from registered dietitian Christy Brissette of 80twentynutrition.com

Let’s take artificial vs. natural vanilla extract as an example. In natural vanilla extract, the flavor compounds are extracted from vanilla beans and diluted with alcohol. There are over 200 compounds that make up the flavor of natural vanilla. The most notable is vanillin, but hydroxybenzaldehyde, hydroxybenzoic acid, and anisaldehyde also contribute flavor to natural vanilla. If we saw those ingredients on an ingredients list we’d probably freak out, but they’re all just chemical compounds found naturally in vanilla! To create artificial vanilla extract, the few key flavor molecules that give the most iconic vanilla taste are created in a lab and diluted with alcohol. Since the most significant flavor compounds are molecularly identical to those found in natural vanilla, the flavor will be similar. But since artificial flavoring is missing over 100 “supporting” compounds, it will have much less complexity.

How are artificial flavors listed on ingredients labels?

Most commonly, you’ll just see the words “artificial flavors” on the ingredients label without any more detail. Yes, that means that your food could have any number of chemical additives in it giving it a certain flavor. But also remember that those chemical compounds are exactly the same as those that would be present if natural flavors were used, the source is just different!

Natural flavors are listed on an ingredients list as “natural flavors” and artificial flavors are listed as “artificial flavors.” Manufacturers aren’t allowed to sneak artificial flavors into products under tricky names like “synthetic vanillin” or “diluted cinnamaldehyde,” so if you’re trying to steer clear of artificial flavors, all you need to do is scan the ingredients list for the words “artificial flavors.”

Artificial flavors in food: Should you avoid them? Everything you need to know from registered dietitian Christy Brissette of 80twentynutrition.com

Health impact of artificial flavors

Since both natural and artificial flavorings are added to foods for flavor purposes rather than for nutritional purposes, neither contribute significant health benefits through vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. Some flavor compounds, such as cinnamaldehyde, also contribute health benefits – but there currently aren’t any studies comparing the health effects of naturally and synthetically derived cinnamaldehyde.

You may have heard that workers at a microwave popcorn factory have suffered lung issues as a result of breathing in diacetyl, a compound that is used as artificial butter flavoring. That’s enough to many people swear off artificial butter flavor for good, and while that isn’t a bad idea, let’s keep in mind that diacetyl is found in every single dairy product. It’s a chemical compound that gives milk, buttermilk, sour cream, butter, and more their distinctive flavors. When diacetyl is inhaled in large amounts it can be harmful to your lungs – but there is no distinguishment between the harm of naturally derived diacetyl and artificially derived diacetyl. Workers who breathe in a significant amount of natural butter flavor and artificial butter flavor are equally at risk for lung issues because the chemical makeup of the diacetyl is identical. Microwaving popcorn at home (whether naturally or artificially butter-flavored) doesn’t expose you to nearly enough airborne diacetyl to become hazardous. When eaten instead of breathed in, diacetyl causes no issues to your digestive system – whether naturally or artificially produced.

Should you avoid artificial flavors?

The thought of eating chemicals that don’t come from a food source turns many people off. While I don’t recommend that we all go out of our way to consume more artificial flavors, I find that the real issue is that artificial flavorings often go hand in hand with snack foods, candy, and other foods that don’t provide significant nutritional value. There’s no evidence that the artificial flavoring itself is harmful to your health, but the food that it is included in may not be healthful.

Rather than focusing on avoiding artificial flavors, I’d recommend focusing on including healthful, whole foods. If you’re avoiding artificially flavored cookies and chips in exchange for naturally flavored cookies and chips, you’re not necessarily doing yourself any health favors. When you minimize highly processed foods and cook whole foods at home, you consequently avoid artificial flavors.

Artificial flavors in food: Should you avoid them? Everything you need to know from registered dietitian Christy Brissette of 80twentynutrition.com

The bottom line: artificial flavors and your health.

The primary difference between natural and artificial flavors is the source of the chemical compound. Natural and artificial flavor compounds have identical molecular structure, but artificial flavors are created in a lab, rather than isolated from food ingredients. Natural and artificial flavors often taste different because natural flavors include hundreds of compounds that contribute to complex flavor profiles, while artificial flavors pinpoint the most prevalent compounds to create less expensive and less complex flavors that still taste similar to their natural counterparts. That difference hasn’t been proven to have any significant health effects once consumed, although inhalation of large amounts of flavoring has been linked with lung disease.

My concern about artificial flavors is less with their synthetic roots and more with the foods that they’re commonly found in. Processed foods with limited nutritional value aren’t made healthier when natural flavorings are used in place of artificial flavorings. At the same rate, a healthy food like plain yogurt isn’t automatically made unhealthy if a drop of artificial strawberry flavor is added rather than a drop of natural strawberry flavor. Your best bet? Put actual strawberries on your yogurt – you get strawberry flavor in addition to fiber, vitamins, minerals, and more. If your goal is to eat healthfully, I’d recommend focusing on real, whole foods that you can incorporate into your diet, rather than focusing on which specific flavors to avoid.

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What is Kefir? Health Benefits and Delicious Ways to Use Kefir! http://www.80twentynutrition.com/kefir-health-benefits-delicious-ways-use-kefir/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/kefir-health-benefits-delicious-ways-use-kefir/#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:22:25 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=4169 Kefir has transitioned from being a niche product at specialty food shops to being easily available in major grocery chains across the country. Despite its recent popularity, kefir is certainly no new kid on the block. Its origins can be traced back over 1,000 years ago in the Caucasus mountain regions, where the kefir grains...

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probiotic health benefits kefir grain closeup

Kefir has transitioned from being a niche product at specialty food shops to being easily available in major grocery chains across the country. Despite its recent popularity, kefir is certainly no new kid on the block. Its origins can be traced back over 1,000 years ago in the Caucasus mountain regions, where the kefir grains were passed generations and were considered a source of family wealth.

With its digestive health benefits, it’s no wonder the Turkish word “kefir” literally means “good feeling”! Interested in what makes this tart beverage jam-packed with health benefits? Here’s the scoop on why you’ll cheer for kefir!

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink with a slightly acidic taste and natural carbonation. It is made by fermenting milk with cauliflower shaped kefir “grains”. They’re not the usual grains that we usually think of, but are instead a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. Kefir can be produced using any type of milk, including plant-based milk. However, cow’s milk is the most common.

probiotic health benefits kefir grain closeup

Photo Credit: Tarikgore via Flickr

During the fermentation process, kefir grains grow in size and are then filtered out to be used for the next batch of milk.

Kefir can be consumed after the kefir grains have been separated or refrigerated for later consumption.

Why is Kefir Good For You?

Probiotics In Kefir

As a result of the fermentation process, kefir is an excellent source of probiotics. Probiotics are live organisms that provide positive health benefits. They are part of your digestive tract and stimulate your body’s immune response, protection against harmful bacteria, produce vitamins and absorb minerals.  Check out my blog post on healthy gut bacteria and how it’s great for your health.

While yogurt is commonly regarded as the go-to probiotic food, in fact, kefir has a higher probiotic content than yogurt. Kefir contains over 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts making it an excellent probiotic food!


#Kefir is an excellent #probiotic source, containing over 30 strains of healthy bacteria and yeast…
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There is also increasing evidence that increasing evidence that probiotics may be helpful in alleviating symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), H. pylori infection (a common cause of ulcers) and other digestive issues.

Another added benefit is kefir contains kefiran, a type of carbohydrate that may act as a prebiotic. Prebiotics  promote the growth of more probiotic bacteria, so together prebiotics and probiotics become synbiotics (yay synergy)!

Kefir and Lactose Intolerance

The enzyme that is able to break down lactose (milk sugar) is naturally found in kefir grains. During the fermentation process, kefir grains reduce the lactose content of the kefir. One study found that after the fermentation process, One study found that after the fermentation process, kefir had a 30% reduction of lactose in comparison to unfermented milk.  It is important to note that there have not been many studies on kefir and lactose intolerance, although these results are promising.

While the degree of lactose intolerance varies between individuals, kefir’s reduced lactose content makes it a suitable option for people with lactose intolerance to try.

If you have lactose intolerance, start with a small amount of kefir (1/2 cup) and see how your body reacts. Some people with lactose intolerance are really sensitive to even small amounts of lactose, while other people are fine to have certain dairy products that are lower in lactose in small portions (yogurt, kefir and hard aged cheeses).

Probiotic health benefits kefir

Photo credit: Stephen G Pearson via Flickr

Where Can I Buy Kefir?

Kefir products can be found in the dairy aisle of your grocery store, typically alongside yogurt beverages.

In the U.S., common brands include Lifeway and Greek Gods. If you’re in Canada, common brands include Liberte and Elite. Kefir comes in both plain and flavored varieties.

For the healthiest kefir, your best bet is to go with plain versions and add your own fruit for flavor. Why? Flavored kefir is quite high in added sugars, usually 3 times higher than their plain counterparts!

It’s also important to note that kefir products may or may not be fortified with vitamin D, so be sure to check the nutrition facts table.

If you want to order kefir or supplies to make your own online, try these:

Milk Kefir (Ready to Drink)

Lifeway Nonfat Plain Kefir

Green Valley Organic Strawberry Pomegranate Acai Lactose-Free Kefir

Milk Kefir Supplies to Make Your Own Kefir

Milk Kefir Grains

Glass Jars for Fermenting Kefir

Vegan Kefir (Ready to Drink)

Water Kefir Grains

I always thought Kevita was kombucha, but it doesn’t contain tea. It’s actually coconut-water based kefir! Totally vegan/dairy-free.

Vegan Kefir Supplies to Make Your Own Dairy-Free Kefir

How to Use Kefir in Recipes

Most kefir products are quite effervescent/fizzy, although there are non-effervescent versions if this is your preference. This is usually indicated on the front label.

Kefir recipe probiotic health benefits

Photo credit: Carissa Gan via Unsplash

The great thing is that kefir can be consumed as is! Although, if you want to get a bit more creative you can substitute kefir for yogurt, milk or buttermilk in recipes that call for these ingredients. Examples include smoothies, in salad dressings, poured over cereal, baked goods, and even pasta sauce!

Keep in mind that the probiotics in kefir are sensitive to heat, so cooking or baking with it will reduce the probiotic content.

How to Make Milk Kefir at Home

Making your own kefir is another option instead of purchasing kefir products. It isn’t as challenging as it seems, and all you need is 2 ingredients: milk and kefir “grains”! Get the recipe to make your own milk kefir.

How to Make Vegan Kefir 

If you’re vegan or dairy-free, you can make your own kefir at home. Keep in mind that to make kefir with coconut milk or almond milk requires starting the kefir grains in dairy.

If you want to avoid that, you can buy these water kefir grains that will grow in coconut water. That way you’ll get coconut water kefir. No dairy required! And all of the instructions on how to make your vegan kefir are on the package.

The Bottom Line on Kefir

Kefir is one powerhouse of a food: it is an excellent source of probiotics, has versatile applications in the kitchen and promising results regarding digestion. How do you plan on using kefir? Share in the comments below!

More Probiotic Food Sources

If you love kefir, why not try sauerkraut and kombucha! Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage while kombucha is a fermented tea drink, and both offer up a healthy dose of gut-friendly probiotics.

 

A huge thank you to my student, Jacqueline Vykoukal, for writing this awesome kefir article.

Have you tried kefir? What’s your favorite way to use it? Share in the comments below!

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The Health Benefits of Cinnamon – and Which Type You Should Choose! http://www.80twentynutrition.com/health-benefits-cinnamon-type-choose/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/health-benefits-cinnamon-type-choose/#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 23:22:33 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=4127 Most people sprinkle cinnamon on their oatmeal or in their coffee because it tastes great, but did you know that cinnamon is packed with health benefits, too? Here’s everything you need to know about the health benefits of cinnamon – including which type of cinnamon you should choose (yep, there’s more than one type)! –>...

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Most people sprinkle cinnamon on their oatmeal or in their coffee because it tastes great, but did you know that cinnamon is packed with health benefits, too? Here’s everything you need to know about the health benefits of cinnamon – including which type of cinnamon you should choose (yep, there’s more than one type)!

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon - plus which type of cinnamon you should be buying! Everything you need to know about cinnamon from media Registered Dietitian Christy Brissette of 80TwentyNutrition.com

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What is Cinnamon?

Did you know that cinnamon is actually the bark of a tree? When the inner bark of the cinnamomum tree is shaved off and dried, it curls into rolls, creating cinnamon sticks! Those sticks are then ground to create the spice we buy in jars.

Types of Cinnamon: Are You Buying Cassia Cinnamon or Ceylon Cinnamon?

There are two main types of cinnamon: cassia and ceylon. Cassia cinnamon is what you’ll typically find in stores if you purchase a jar of cinnamon – it’s much cheaper than ceylon cinnamon and has a strong, spicy scent. Ceylon cinnamon is sometimes referred to as “true cinnamon” – it is much less common and more expensive, and has a milder aroma and flavor.

While both cassia and ceylon cinnamon boast similar health benefits, cassia cinnamon contains a substance called coumarin. Coumarin can be harmful in large doses, causing kidney and liver damage. Eating one teaspoon of cassia cinnamon daily puts you over the recommended limit for coumarin, so you’ll want to choose ceylon cinnamon if you eat cinnamon frequently or are taking cinnamon supplements.

Ceylon cinnamon is generally higher quality and is much safer than cassia if you’re using cinnamon in high volume. Although ceylon cinnamon is more expensive, it’s worth the price if you use cinnamon frequently – and with all the health benefits cinnamon provides, I’d definitely recommend using it frequently!

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon - plus which type of cinnamon you should be buying! Everything you need to know about cinnamon from media Registered Dietitian Christy Brissette of 80TwentyNutrition.com

image: Pixabay

If you pick up a package of cinnamon that doesn’t specify whether it’s ceylon or cassia, you can usually assume that it’s cassia. Since it’s cheaper to produce, most companies will sell cassia cinnamon under the label “cinnamon.” If the cinnamon is ceylon, it’s usually labeled as such to justify the price jump. When buying whole cinnamon sticks, cassia cinnamon is typically thicker and may curl into itself just once or twice (see above photo), while ceylon cinnamon sticks have many thin layers and are much more brittle (see below photo) Saigon cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon are typically cassia, while cinnamon from Sri Lanka is usually ceylon.

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon - plus which type of cinnamon you should be buying! Everything you need to know about cinnamon from media Registered Dietitian Christy Brissette of 80TwentyNutrition.com

image: Pexels

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

The smell and flavor of cinnamon comes from its essential oils, which are high in a substance called cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde is a potent antioxidant, helping to reduce free radicals and other substances that cause damage to your body. The essential oils from cinnamon also have anti-inflammatory effects, which is important for the prevention of numerous inflammatory diseases like heart disease, obesity, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Cinnamon and Blood Sugar

Numerous studies show that cinnamon is effective for helping to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin action and slowing carbohydrate digestion, which can be helpful for the prevention and management of diabetes.

A common test for measuring your body’s response to carbohydrates is an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). In an OGTT, you consume glucose and your blood sugar levels are measured immediately and then at intervals following the consumption, to see if your blood sugar levels stay high long after consumption (which could indicate diabetes or insulin resistance). One study of seven males found that when they consumed 5g of cinnamon along with the glucose for their OGTT’s, their blood sugar levels decreased 13% compared to when a placebo was taken with the glucose. When the 5g of cinnamon was taken 12 hours before the OGTT, blood sugar levels were still decreased 10% compared to the placebo!

A follow-up study had men take 3g of cinnamon daily for 2 weeks to test longer-term effects of cinnamon consumption. This study found that blood sugar levels of those who consumed cinnamon were about 5-8% lower than those who took a placebo after 2 weeks, but this effect was quickly reversed when cinnamon supplementation stopped.

Not all studies show such significant results, but considering the safety of taking cinnamon daily (as long as it’s ceylon) and the number of studies that show strong anti-diabetic effects, it shows promise for helping keep your blood sugar levels in check!

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon - plus which type of cinnamon you should be buying! Everything you need to know about cinnamon from media Registered Dietitian Christy Brissette of 80TwentyNutrition.com

image: Pexels

Cinnamon and Brain Health

Another compound in cinnamon, cinnamophilin, has been shown to reduce the damage that neurodegenerative diseases cause to brain cells. One of the hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s Disease is the accumulation of a substance called tau in the brain. In numerous animal studies, cinnamon extract has been shown to prevent the accumulation of tau, improving cognitive function and reducing the severity of Alzheimer’s Disease. Cinnamon has also been shown to increase the proteins that protect the brain from damage caused by Parkinson’s Disease.

These protective effects of cinnamon, combined with cinnamon’s effects on insulin sensitivity, have been shown to improve memory and neurological function. While these neurological effects of cinnamon have only been tested on animals, the promising results suggest that cinnamon may be helpful for brain health in humans as well.

Cinnamon and Heart Health

Cinnamon has also been shown to improve cholesterol levels, which combined with its anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects, is great news for heart health. One study found that people with diabetes who took 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon daily for 40 days all had reduced triglyceride, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels compared to those who took placebos, while HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels weren’t significantly reduced. Those who took 6 grams of cinnamon daily saw the greatest decrease – triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol were all decreased by over 25% compared to the placebo groups!  

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon - plus which type of cinnamon you should be buying! Everything you need to know about cinnamon from media Registered Dietitian Christy Brissette of 80TwentyNutrition.com

image: Pixabay

The Bottom Line: Cinnamon and Health

All in all, cinnamon is a great addition to your diet both for its flavor and its health benefits. Since cinnamon is so widely available (and so delicious!) I’d recommend seasoning your food with cinnamon rather than taking cinnamon supplements daily. Just remember that most cinnamon on store shelves is cassia cinnamon, which can become dangerous if you’re eating a teaspoon every day. Invest in a jar of high quality ceylon cinnamon and sprinkle away!

 

Are you a fan of cinnamon? Did you know there are different types of cinnamon?

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Arsenic in rice: should you be worried? http://www.80twentynutrition.com/arsenic-rice/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/arsenic-rice/#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2017 20:52:27 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=4077 Most people don’t worry about arsenic poisoning when they sit down to a bowl of rice, but new FDA warnings about the levels of arsenic in rice has people raising concerns – especially new parents who feed their babies rice cereal as a first taste of solid food. Should you be worried about the levels...

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Most people don’t worry about arsenic poisoning when they sit down to a bowl of rice, but new FDA warnings about the levels of arsenic in rice has people raising concerns – especially new parents who feed their babies rice cereal as a first taste of solid food. Should you be worried about the levels of arsenic in rice? Here’s everything you need to know.

Should you be worried about the amount of arsenic in rice? Here's everything you need to know about arsenic levels in rice, and what to do about it! Read the latest research, tips, and more from Registered Dietitian Christy Brissette of 80twentynutrition.com.

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What is arsenic?

Arsenic is an element found naturally in plant and animal tissues, water, air, and soil. There are two forms of arsenic: organic and inorganic. Organic arsenic is typically found in plant and animal tissues and is considered less toxic than the inorganic form, which is found in water, air, and soil.

Inorganic arsenic is toxic to humans when consumed in high concentrations, so the FDA monitors the levels of arsenic in foods. In 2016 the FDA proposed a limit of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal to prevent toxicity.

Why is there arsenic in rice?

Arsenic occurs naturally in soil, so most foods grown in soil have a small amount of arsenic in them – but not nearly enough to cause concern. Rice has higher levels of inorganic arsenic than other foods, partly because of the way it’s grown. Rice is grown in very wet conditions and rice plants are especially effective at soaking up inorganic arsenic from water – much more effective than other grains like wheat and barley. Couple that with the fact that rice is frequently grown in areas that commonly have high levels of arsenic in water, and you’ve got a recipe for concern.

Should you be worried about the amount of arsenic in rice? Here's everything you need to know about arsenic levels in rice, and what to do about it! Read the latest research, tips, and more from Registered Dietitian Christy Brissette of 80twentynutrition.com.

image: Pexels

Is arsenic a concern in organic rice?

The arsenic level of rice doesn’t have much to do with whether the plants are grown organically or not. Since rice plants are naturally efficient at absorbing arsenic, and arsenic is naturally found in soil and water, there’s no evidence that organic rice has less arsenic than conventional rice.

What are the health effects of arsenic?

High arsenic levels are associated with several types of cancer, including skin, lung, urinary bladder, kidney, and liver cancers. High levels of arsenic have also been associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Rice cereals are commonly introduced to infants as a first source of solid food, and since infants require much less arsenic to reach a toxic level than adults do, the toxicity of arsenic is a special concern for infants and children. The FDA reports that infants and children may be particularly susceptible to adverse neurodevelopmental effects of arsenic poisoning including impaired concentration, learning, and memory. 

Should you be worried about the amount of arsenic in rice? Here's everything you need to know about arsenic levels in rice, and what to do about it! Read the latest research, tips, and more from Registered Dietitian Christy Brissette of 80twentynutrition.com.

image: Shutterstock

Should you be concerned about arsenic in rice?

Arsenic in rice can absolutely be a concern for those who eat rice every day or in considerable amounts. However, if you vary your diet to include multiple grain sources other than just rice, you likely don’t need to be concerned when you dish up your stir fry over a bowl of rice every so often.

According to a study of grain arsenic levels by Consumer Reports, brown rice has higher levels of arsenic than white rice because arsenic is mostly concentrated in the husk. I’d still recommend eating brown rice over white rice because it’s much richer in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but it may be wise to cut back a bit if you’re eating brown rice every day. Mixing up your grain consumption to include quinoa, millet, polenta, bulgur, barley, farro, and more not only keeps your meals interesting and varied, but also ensures that you’re not eating rice every day.

If you’re on a dairy-free or gluten-free diet, you may need to pay closer attention, since rice milk and rice flour-based products can make up a large proportion dairy and gluten-free diets.

As for infants, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends varying the grains in your baby’s diet as well. Infant rice cereal can be a great source of vitamins and minerals, but it doesn’t need to be the first or only source.

All in all, the levels of arsenic in rice are only a concern if you’re eating multiple servings of rice every day. For adults and children, the best advice for avoiding arsenic toxicity is simply varying your diet to include other whole grains in addition to or in place of rice. If you’re a huge fan of rice and want to eat it more than every so often, but without the concern of arsenic toxicity, you’re in luck! There’s an easy way to cook rice to reduce its levels of arsenic.

Should you be worried about the amount of arsenic in rice? Here's everything you need to know about arsenic levels in rice, and what to do about it! Read the latest research, tips, and more from Registered Dietitian Christy Brissette of 80twentynutrition.com.

image: Pixabay

How to reduce arsenic in rice

The amount of arsenic in rice can be easily reduced by cooking it in excess water and discarding the leftover water – similar to how you’d normally cook pasta. This method works for both brown and white rice, reducing arsenic levels by about 50%.

Just boil rice in a 6:1 ratio (or greater) of water to rice until tender, then strain and serve! It’s actually even easier than cooking rice the traditional way – no exact measurements needed!

By eating rice in moderation, cooking it in plenty of water, and regulating your infant’s rice consumption, your whole family can easily steer clear of excess arsenic while still enjoying your favorite meals with rice.

 

Do you cook your rice in excess water or pay attention to the amount of arsenic in your infant’s food?

 

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Nutrition for Psoriasis – What to Eat to Prevent Flare-Ups and Boost Happiness http://www.80twentynutrition.com/nutrition-psoriasis-eat-prevent-flare-ups-boost-happiness/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/nutrition-psoriasis-eat-prevent-flare-ups-boost-happiness/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:39:08 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=4018 Psoriasis is more than just an uncomfortable inconvenience. It can negatively impact mental health, stress levels and relationships for people worldwide, and Canada is no exception. In fact, Canadians living with psoriasis show significantly higher levels of loneliness than the global averages. How do we know this and why haven’t we talked about psoriasis and...

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Psoriasis is more than just an uncomfortable inconvenience. It can negatively impact mental health, stress levels and relationships for people worldwide, and Canada is no exception. In fact, Canadians living with psoriasis show significantly higher levels of loneliness than the global averages.

How do we know this and why haven’t we talked about psoriasis and happiness before? The first World Psoriasis Happiness Report was recently published by the Happiness Research Institute, in partnership with LEO Innovation Lab, an independent unit of LEO Pharma (one of my clients). It’s the result of data from more than 120,000 surveys from over 100 countries. The report found that, no matter the country, living with psoriasis can significantly lower your happiness.

(Photo credit: Pixabay)

It’s time we all had a better understanding of what psoriasis is and the impact that nutrition can have on managing flare-ups. Improving awareness and management of psoriasis can help boost the happiness levels of the estimated 1 million Canadians living with psoriasis.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition where rapid cell growth in the skin leads to red, scaly areas called plaques. One of the main risk factors is genetics.

The good news is, there are treatments for psoriasis like topical medications, which can be put right on the skin as well as systemic medications.  A healthy lifestyle can also help manage flare-ups and could even help make medications more effective. Yet results from the World Happiness Report show that more than half of Canadians don’t think their health care provider has told them about treatments. It’s about time we changed that. Talk to your doctor about treatments for psoriasis and take your happiness back!

Nutrition for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is closely linked with inflammatory metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. For that reason, the best nutrition for psoriasis includes following healthy eating guidelines that can help prevent and manage these issues and may also improve your psoriasis symptoms.

Psoriasis and Your Weight

One key aspect of being healthier overall and when you’re living with psoriasis is achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Obesity is linked to a higher risk of psoriasis and also to more severe symptoms.  This review study also found that losing weight could improve the effectiveness of treatments. These effects are thought to be due to the link between being overweight and higher levels of inflammation.

If you are carrying extra weight, losing even a small amount could make your psoriasis less severe. Don’t fall for the allure of any crash diets. Follow a heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory Mediterranean Diet and you’ll be cutting down on processed foods and eating healthier. Combine this with exercise and smaller portion sizes and you’ll be on your way to healthy, sustainable weight loss.

Heart Healthy, Anti-Inflammatory, Mediterranean Diet Patterns for Psoriasis

Psoriasis and inflammation appear to be closely connected. An anti-inflammatory diet won’t cure psoriasis, but it could help improve your symptoms.

To lower inflammation, eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, beans and lentils, fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Keep red meat, sweets and greasy foods to once-in-awhile indulgences rather than a part of your regular diet.

Learn more about the anti-inflammatory diet and find out which foods increase inflammation

People who follow a Mediterranean Diet pattern seem to have less severe psoriasis.

The Mediterranean Diet has plenty in common with an anti-inflammatory diet, and both also happen to be heart-healthy diets (thank goodness, that makes things easier).

 

Read more about how the Mediterranean lifestyle can boost your health in my piece for Huffington Post.

One of the most famous features of the Mediterranean Diet is it includes a glass or two of red wine. For people with psoriasis, alcohol seems to make things worse. Try to avoid alcohol, especially if you notice it exacerbates your symptoms.

The Best Diet for Psoriasis is Individualized

Anti-Inflammatory Diet for IBS IBD rheumatoid arthritis heart disease cancer diabetes media dietitian Christy Brissette 80 Twenty Nutrition

Every person is unique, so foods that make one person’s psoriasis worse could have no effect on someone else’s symptoms. That’s why it’s important to work with a registered dietitian to find out which foods tend to make your psoriasis worse.

If you notice symptoms get worse after you eat certain types of foods, try cutting those out to see if there are any improvements. A dietitian can help you make sure you’re meeting all your nutrient needs while you temporarily limit your diet.

There is a connection between psoriasis and Celiac disease, so some people find that cutting gluten out of their diets can lower the severity of their psoriasis. Before you go on a gluten-free diet, ask your doctor to test you for Celiac disease. The test won’t work if you are already avoiding gluten.

Beyond paying attention to what you eat, people living with psoriasis need to seek the right treatment and care. Doctors, pharmacists and dermatologists can often help by developing a plan so patients can actively manage their psoriasis, using the latest treatments and management tools available. If you think you might have psoriasis or are having trouble with your treatment, speak with a healthcare professional and take control of your happiness.

For more details about the Canadian results of the Psoriasis Happiness Report, visit the Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients

I hope this information has helped you or someone you know live better and happier.

blog signature - Christy Brissette media dietitian 80 Twenty Nutrition

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Stevia: Is it Healthy or Just Hype? http://www.80twentynutrition.com/is-stevia-healthy/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/is-stevia-healthy/#respond Fri, 27 Oct 2017 00:23:07 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=4027 Stevia has grown in popularity over the past several years, becoming popular as a “natural” alternative to sugar and calorie-free sweeteners. Since stevia is derived from a plant, is virtually calorie-free, and is sweeter than sugar, it seems like a no-brainer to start switching out sugar cubes for stevia packets. But is stevia healthy, or...

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Stevia has grown in popularity over the past several years, becoming popular as a “natural” alternative to sugar and calorie-free sweeteners. Since stevia is derived from a plant, is virtually calorie-free, and is sweeter than sugar, it seems like a no-brainer to start switching out sugar cubes for stevia packets. But is stevia healthy, or is it all hype? Here’s what research tells us so far about if stevia is safe and if you should be sweetening treats with it!

Is stevia healthy? Here's everything you need to know about what stevia is, how natural it is, how it's made, and whether or not you should use it! From registered dietitian Christy Brissette of 80TwentyNutrition.com

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What is stevia?

Stevia’s claim to fame is that it’s a “natural” calorie-free sweetener derived from the stevia plant. The naturally sweet leaves of the whole plant, Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, have been used for centuries in South America, but stevia has made its way into mainstream use more recently.

You might assume that the powdered stevia you find on grocery store shelves is just ground up stevia leaves, making it a natural, unrefined sweetener. But that’s not the case! What’s marketed as stevia in stores is actually an isolated compound found in stevia leaves, called rebaudioside A (reb A, sometimes called rebiana). Stevia leaves contain several sweet and bitter compounds, so producers isolate the sweetest and least bitter compound, reb A, to create a product that’s less bitter than the whole leaf. In order to isolate reb A, the moisture from stevia leaves is extracted, resulting in a stevia extract that’s about half reb A. That extract is then chemically treated with ethanol or methanol to remove compounds other than reb A. The resulting reb A extract is super concentrated and is over 200 times sweeter than table sugar. This extract is then dehydrated to create powdered reb A, which is sold as powdered stevia extract.

So, is the stevia on grocery store shelves derived from the stevia plant? Yes. Is it a fully natural alternative to cane sugar? Hardly.

Is stevia healthy? Here's everything you need to know about what stevia is, how natural it is, how it's made, and whether or not you should use it! From registered dietitian Christy Brissette of 80TwentyNutrition.com

image: Shutterstock

Is stevia safe?

Reb A isn’t the only stevia ingredient found in food products simply because it tastes better than the whole leaf. It’s actually the only stevia product allowed to be sold in the United States. The FDA has not approved whole stevia leaves or pure ground stevia for use in food products; only the highly purified reb A extract is considered Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA. This is likely a result of animal trials in the 1990’s where whole stevia was associated with increased infertility and renal issues. However, most of these studies look at effects of excessive consumption of stevia on rats, so we don’t have a firm grasp on what the effects of whole stevia are for humans – but it’s likely safe in moderation.

When it comes to the stevia products on the market today, remember that they’re really just isolated reb A, which has GRAS status from the FDA. These stevia products are also backed by the European Food Safety Authority and the World Health Organization as safe for consumption by adults, including pregnant and nursing women, and children.

All in all, stevia (as it’s sold on shelves, in its highly purified state) is generally considered safe for consumption. Since whole and ground stevia don’t have backing from the FDA, there isn’t nearly as much available research on them, but they’ve been used for centuries as natural sweeteners and are available as dietary supplements, which don’t have the same FDA regulations as food products.

Is stevia healthy? Here's everything you need to know about what stevia is, how natural it is, how it's made, and whether or not you should use it! From registered dietitian Christy Brissette of 80TwentyNutrition.com

image:Despositphotos

Does stevia raise blood sugar?

Since stevia does not contain calories or carbohydrates, it does not raise blood sugar levels. That may be good news for those who have diabetes or are trying to control blood sugar levels, but it doesn’t mean that eating stevia constantly has no effects.

Whenever we eat something sweet, our brains and bodies assume that we’ve eaten some form of sugar. That starts up several reactions to handle the incoming caloric energy, even if what we’ve eaten is not, in fact, caloric. Insulin levels spike to deal with the expected blood sugar increase, but if they aren’t given any sugar to manage, insulin receptors can eventually get “tired” of responding to calls and send out less insulin in response to eating sweets. That can be detrimental when you eat something that actually has sugar in it, because your body has grown to assume it won’t need to address any blood sugar spikes resulting from sweet foods.

Another concern with stevia (and all other non-nutritive sweeteners) is that switching all of your sugar intake over to stevia doesn’t mean you’re no longer hooked on sweet stuff. Since stevia is much sweeter than cane sugar, your taste buds continue to crave sweetness when you eat stevia – and may even crave things gradually sweeter and sweeter.

Are stevia packets pure stevia?

Most people are familiar with the brand names Truvia and PureVia, which can be found in packets in plenty of coffee shops and in the baking aisles of most grocery stores. However, it’s important to note that these sugar substitutes are not pure stevia (not even pure reb A extract!). Truvia is mostly erythritol, a sugar alcohol, with stevia leaf extract and flavorings mixed in, while PureVia is stevia extract mixed with flavorings and dextrose and cellulose to add bulk.

Stevia In The Raw, which is usually marketed as a sugar substitute for baking, is mostly dextrose or maltodextrin (starches) mixed with stevia extract. Remember, pure stevia extract (reb A extract) is over 200 times sweeter than cane sugar, so in order for stevia products to “measure like sugar,” they have to be cut with starches – otherwise ½ a cup of pure stevia would be way sweeter than ½ a cup of sugar, and your cookie recipe wouldn’t taste so great.

Is stevia healthy? Here's everything you need to know about what stevia is, how natural it is, how it's made, and whether or not you should use it! From registered dietitian Christy Brissette of 80TwentyNutrition.com

image: PRESENT Diabetes

Pure stevia is available in stores, but it’s not usually sold in packets for dumping into a cup of coffee. Since it’s so much sweeter than cane sugar, just a sprinkle from a larger container should be plenty to sweeten most foods. You can also find pure stevia in liquid form (before it gets dehydrated into reb A powder), but make sure you check the ingredients list on liquid versions too! If you’re looking for pure stevia, the ingredients list should include stevia extract, rebaudiosides, or steviol glycosides, and water or alcohol if it’s a liquid extract – not maltodextrin or sugar substitutes other than stevia!

The bottom line: Is stevia healthy?

Using stevia in moderation is most likely safe, but more research is certainly needed. The stevia products available in grocery stores aren’t necessarily the all-natural products they’re advertised as, but they’re no worse than other sugar substitutes, in my opinion. Since there are no strong links between stevia and cancer, I’d say you’re better off grabbing stevia than another sugar substitute, but make sure you buy pure stevia if you choose to use it.

What’s even better than sweetening with stevia? Using fewer sweeteners overall, and training your taste buds to really appreciate sweet foods and real sugar on the rare occasions that you eat something super sweet. Not sure where to begin with addressing your sweet tooth? Working with a registered dietitian is always your best bet for successfully achieving your health goals!

 

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Easy Bone Broth Recipe – Paleo, Primal, http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/easy-bone-broth-recipe/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/recipe/easy-bone-broth-recipe/#respond Sat, 21 Oct 2017 18:37:57 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?post_type=recipe&p=3990 Store-bought bone broth can get expensive, yet it’s so easy to make at home! This easy bone broth recipe is perfect for making your own bone broth at home with just a few ingredients. Curious about the health benefits of bone broth, and what’s just a myth? Check out my post all about bone broth health...

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Store-bought bone broth can get expensive, yet it’s so easy to make at home! This easy bone broth recipe is perfect for making your own bone broth at home with just a few ingredients. Curious about the health benefits of bone broth, and what’s just a myth? Check out my post all about bone broth health benefits & myths here!

Easy Bone Broth Recipe by Christy Brissette, media dietitian of 80 Twenty Nutrition

Bone broth is as simple as simmering bones, vegetables, and seasonings for a long time, then straining and serving! Don’t be concerned about the long cook time, though. You can cook bone broth a few hours at a time, refrigerating in between cooking, until you reach 12-24 hours total of cooking. The longer you cook your bone broth, the more flavorful and gelatinous it will be!

Easy Bone Broth Recipe
This easy bone broth recipe requires just a few ingredients and lots of hands-off time for a hearty, comforting broth!
Servings Prep Time
8cups 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
12-24hours 12-24hours
Servings Prep Time
8cups 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
12-24hours 12-24hours
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place bones, onion, carrots, and celery on a large roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes, until browned. Add the bone mixture and any juices to a large pot or slow cooker with the water, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, and apple cider vinegar. If cooking on the stove, bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for 12-24 hours (you can do this in multiple batches to avoid leaving the stove on unattended). If using a slow cooker, simply cook the mixture on low for the same amount of time. Strain the broth to remove bones and vegetables. Pour into containers and refrigerate to cool. Remove solidified fat from the top, and enjoy!

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All About Bone Broth: Health Benefits, Myths, and an Easy Recipe! http://www.80twentynutrition.com/bone-broth-health-benefits-myths/ http://www.80twentynutrition.com/bone-broth-health-benefits-myths/#respond Sat, 21 Oct 2017 18:34:34 +0000 http://www.80twentynutrition.com/?p=3974 Bone broth is the newest (and at the same time, oldest) healthy food trend to be popping up in cookbooks, blogs, and restaurants nearly everywhere. Bone broth is claimed to fight inflammation, alleviate joint pain, boost your immune system, strengthen your bones, and more. But is bone broth just hype? Here’s everything you need to...

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Bone broth is the newest (and at the same time, oldest) healthy food trend to be popping up in cookbooks, blogs, and restaurants nearly everywhere. Bone broth is claimed to fight inflammation, alleviate joint pain, boost your immune system, strengthen your bones, and more. But is bone broth just hype? Here’s everything you need to know about bone broth health benefits, myths about bone broth, and an easy bone broth recipe to make yourself.

Bone broth health benefits and myths, an easy bone broth recipe, and more! All about bone broth on the 80 Twenty Nutrition blog, by media registered dietitian Christy Brissette.

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What is bone broth?

Bone broth is a type of stock made by cooking animal bones in water for several hours, usually with other flavorings like vegetables and herbs. It’s typically simmered much longer than the broth you find in cans, so more nutrients can be leached out of the bones and into the liquid.  

Although it might seem like a newly-discovered trendy food, it’s actually far from new. People all over the world have been using bones, connective tissue, tendons, and more to make broths for centuries. It’s always been known as a nourishing, hearty food – just think of the tradition of eating chicken noodle soup to cure a cold – but recently, claims of the health benefits of drinking broth have skyrocketed.

Bone Broth and Collagen

Most of bone broth’s claimed health benefits are chalked up to its high levels of collagen. Collagen is a protein found all over our bodies. It makes up connective tissue, tendons, cartilage, bones, joints, nails, and hair, and it gives our skin elasticity and strength. When the bones, connective tissue, and more of animals are cooked for a long time, the collagen is released into the liquid, and collagen-rich bone broth is formed.

Bone broth health benefits and myths, an easy bone broth recipe, and more! All about bone broth on the 80 Twenty Nutrition blog, by media registered dietitian Christy Brissette.

image: Cascadian Farms via Flickr

Bone broth and bone & joint health

It would make sense that consuming collagen from animals would in turn give our bodies more collagen to strengthen our bones and joints – right?

Just like every other protein, collagen is made up of amino acids. When we eat proteins, our bodies break them down into amino acids and use those amino acids wherever they’re needed. When you consume collagen protein, the resulting amino acids aren’t automatically rebuilt into collagen in your body or sent straight to your bones and joints (or hair, nails, skin, etc.); they’re used in the same way that amino acids resulting from any other protein source would be used.

Bone broth is also claimed to support joint health thanks to its glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate content. There’s a significant amount of research looking at the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate on joint pain, but it’s pretty inconclusive. Many studies have found no significant improvements in joint pain after glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate supplementation, or only found some relief for those with severe joint pain. While there may be some joint pain relief resulting from these compounds, it’s also important to note that there’s no single recipe for bone broth. People make bone broth with varying amounts and types of bone, different cooking times, and so on, so it’s difficult to know how much glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate (or any other nutrient, for that matter) you’d really be getting from sipping a cup of it.

Bone broth health benefits and myths, an easy bone broth recipe, and more! All about bone broth on the 80 Twenty Nutrition blog, by media registered dietitian Christy Brissette.

image: Jules via Flickr

Bone Broth and Immune Health

The claims that bone broth boosts your immune system are rooted in its content of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, and its glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate content. Although a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is certainly healthy and can help boost your immune system, sipping on a cup of bone broth likely won’t provide exceptional amounts of these minerals (again, recipes differ so greatly that there’s no real way to know!). No studies have looked at bone broth and immune health, so I’d take this claim with a grain of salt. If chicken soup makes you feel better when you have a cold, bone broth might do the trick too, but not because it has magic properties.

Should you be drinking bone broth?

The key with bone broth, as with most other foods with long lists of health claims, is to go into it knowing that it’s not likely to be a miracle cure. Bone broth won’t necessarily rebuild your bones or eliminate your wrinkles, but it’s still worth including in your diet if you enjoy it!

When cooked long enough for plenty of collagen to be released, bone broth can be a great source of protein. Don’t expect that collagen content to work magic on your arthritis, but it’s protein nonetheless! Bone broth, like any liquid with sodium added, can also be great for replenishing electrolytes after a tough workout without all the sugar of most typical sports drinks.

All in all, bone broth isn’t a miracle worker, but it sure is savory and delicious, and if you’re in the mood for a cozy, warm drink, I’d recommend sipping on it over a sugary latte any day.

Bone broth health benefits and myths, an easy bone broth recipe, and more! All about bone broth on the 80 Twenty Nutrition blog, by media registered dietitian Christy Brissette.

image: Shutterstock

Easy Bone Broth Recipe

Bone broth can get expensive (like, $9.00 per 16-oz bottle expensive), but it’s one of the easiest things you can make. If you’re planning to keep warm with a cup of bone broth this winter, I’d suggest making your own! Check out my super easy bone broth recipe here.

 

Do you like bone broth? Have you ever made your own?

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