Archive for the ‘Nutrition News for Aging Well’ Category

I Can See Clearly Now…how good nutrition protects your vision

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

January 2015 005Did you know that eating well can help protect your vision as you age?  Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness.  Cataracts are another eye problem causing impaired vision for many older adults.  Studies are showing that both of these conditions may be related to  poor overall diet quality. For both cataracts and age related macular degeneration three  of the most important nutrients are omega-3 fatty acids and the anti-oxidant pigments lutein and zexanthin. These compounds are part of the cellular structure of the eye.  In addition, lutein and zeaxanthin protect the eyes against potentially damaging blue light. Current research supports the following nutrition approaches to protect your eyes:

  • Eat fish at least 2 times a week – it’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Include plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, which are good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin.  These anti-oxidants are also found in corn, corn tortillas, and eggs.
  • Include ample protein to protect against cataracts.

Other areas of research for eye health include limiting sugary foods, including ample dairy/calcium, and maintaining a healthy weight. All of these recommendations probably sound familiar as they fit comfortably within general healthy eating guidelines.  Protecting your vision is one more reason to heed the call for a healthier diet!

Top Ten Tips for Eating Well During the Holidays

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

around x-mas 2013 020I first compiled this list about 5 years ago, but I am glad to share it again.  I hope that the tips are helpful for you to look after your health and feel well while enjoying the festive season.

  1. Make a plan for your meals when you will be spending the day at the mall or going from store to store.
  2. Consider packing a healthy lunch. For a light, easy to carry lunch that requires no refrigeration consider a peanut butter sandwich or some cheese and crackers with a piece of fruit.
  3. If you will eat lunch at a mall food court, look for outlets that have more fresh foods such as Au Bon Pain or Panera Bread.
  4. If you are eating at a fast food restaurant look for smaller sized sandwiches and salads with low calorie dressings. Avoid fried foods. At Wendy’s you can choose a baked potato or chili for a healthy lunch. (If you choose the baked potato use less cheese, sour cream, or butter and more broccoli for toppings.)
  5. If you are a non-stop shopper take along a meal replacement bar. Eating something during the day provides fuel for your body and keeps your blood sugar stable.
  6. Stay hydrated! The stores are sometimes hot and usually dry. Carry along a water bottle or plan a break for coffee, tea, or a cold drink.
  7. At parties, focus on meeting and talking with people rather than food. Stand or sit away from the food dishes so that they are not distracting to you.
  8. At social gatherings check out all the food options and only choose the ones that look the most delicious. Take small portions, eat slowly, and enjoy the holiday flavors!
  9. Be aware that the calories in alcoholic beverages can add up quickly! For example, an apple martini can pack 150-200 calories! Try water, coffee, tea, or seltzer/club soda with lime.
  10. Remember that food traditions are an important part of holiday celebrations! Eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables and you will have calories to spare to enjoy those special once a year treats!

© 2009 Kathleen Searles, MS, RD, LDN


Cranberry Holiday Smooothie

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014



I wanted to try a smoothie with some seasonal ingredients.  Shopping in Athens, Ohio I came across this great lemon ginger yogurt from Snowville Creamery  and decided to use it as a starting point.  I added some frozen cranberries, freshly squeezed orange juice, grated orange zest and a dab of honey.  Fresh and tasty!! Blend it for a long, long time…the cranberries stay kind of “bitty” in texture.  Here’s how I made this one:

3/4 cup Snowville Creamery Lemon Ginger Yogurt

Juice of 1 navel orange (about 1/3 cup)

1 cup frozen cranberries

1 tsp. orange zest

1 tsp. raw honey

Place juice and yogurt in blender first, add other ingredients and blend.  Enjoy lots of Vitamin C and anti-oxidants for your holiday!!


Thanksgiving Pies

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I confess. I practiced stealth health on my own family – and at Thanksgiving! Here’s how it came about…

Three years ago, just before Thanksgiving, we were having dinner with friends and the hostess asked me to bring a pie.  She said there would be 10 people, so I baked two pies.  Understand, please, that I grew up thinking that a pie served 6!  We all had a fine evening, enjoyed our pie, and as we were leaving the hostess handed me the second pie, untouched, to take back home with me.  Astonished, I realized that this slim woman had cut a pie into 10 pieces!

This was food for thought indeed…a small portion of a delicious dessert could be satifying and enough. So, I decided to experiment on my family.  We usually have about 35 people for Thanksgiving, and the “feast” goes on for several days.  That year, I volunteered to cut all the desserts.  I cut the pies into 10 pieces and the cakes into 2″ squares.  (The cookies were on their own!)  No one seemed to notice.  We had some leftover desserts at the end and people took them home with them.

This went on for several years.  Finally last year someone said, “What’s going on with the desserts?   We never used to have any leftovers and now there’s always some to take home!” So I confessed to my experiment with cutting smaller pieces.  It seems that everyone has been eating the same number of pieces of dessert regardless of the size.  What a simple way to enjoy the holidays without over-eating!

So, if you are bold enough to follow in my footsteps, practice some “stealth health” with your family this Thanksgiving.  Cut the desserts into smaller pieces, put a little less butter in the baked yams, serve the tastiest vegetables you can find.  Have fun, and give thanks for all the wonderful foods you’ve tried this year!

Feed Your Brain!

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Did you know that 25% of the nutrients you eat go toward feeding your brain? New research is linking a diet based on a variety of whole foods and spices to better cognitive and emotional brain health. Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology, has developed a Memory Preservation Nutrition program. Highlights of the program include: 

  1. Increase amount and variety of anti-oxidants. Eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, spices, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and tea.
  2. Assure adequate B vitamins. B-vitamins are found in whole and enriched grains as well as a wide variety of foods. Vitamin B12 is found in animal based foods like meats and poultry.
  3. Increase Omega 3’s.These healthy fats are found in fish and seafood, seaweed, flax seeds and oil, canola oil, walnuts, and pecans.
  4. Reduce inflammation. Eat more Omega 3 fats, spices and herbs, berries, purple grapes and juice, green vegetables, and green tea. Use smaller amounts of foods high in Omega 6 fats, such as red meats and dairy. Grass fed and finished beef is lower in Omega 6 fats.
  5. Reduce insulin resistance. Lose weight if you are overweight. Minimize added sugars and sweeteners, especially those in sweetened beverages. Focus on whole grains and avoid cereals with a lot of added sugar. Include green tea. Use cinnamon – it makes foods taste sweeter and may help improve glucose tolerance.
  6. Reduce saturated fats and LDL cholesterol levels. Eat LDL cholesterol-reducing foods like nuts, oatmeal, purple grapes and juice, high fiber foods, and fish/seafood. Grapefruit is also on this list, but  check with your pharmacist first if you take any medications (especially statins) because grapefruit can change the effectiveness of many drugs. Avoid trans fats.

For more info visit Health Care Insights 



Refreshing and Healthy Iced Tea

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Both black and green teas contain anti-oxidant compounds (such as epigallo catechin-3-gallate [EGCG]) that are believed to be beneficial in protecting cells and tissues from the damage that can lead to cardiovascular disease and cancer. The process used to make decaffeinated tea does not affect the anti-oxidant content. Tea also contains caffeine, a mild stimulant.  

Iced tea is easy to make at home. Brew tea as you would for hot tea, then chill or pour over ice. Sun tea is made by filling a container with water and tea bags and letting it sit in the sun for several hours. This is not recommended by the FDA because harmful bacteria sometimes develop. You can steep tea in the refrigerator overnight instead.  

Tea itself has no calories. If you make your own tea you can flavor it with lemon or fresh mint sprigs for a refreshing calorie free drink. If you prefer a sweetened tea you can add sugar, honey, or an artificial sweetener and sweeten to your taste. The powdered iced tea mixes contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners, so the calorie content varies.  

Commercially bottled iced tea is widely available, but is often heavily sweetened. The calorie and sugar content can be almost as much as that of soda. Iced tea is also sometimes packaged in quite large containers, so the total calories and sugar content may be more than consumers realize. Send an e-mail request to if you would like a chart of the calories and sweeteners in popular tea brands. Just enter “Iced Tea” in the subject line.