The EALM Blog Shelf

While Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team work on some new and exciting projects, you may notice less posts on the Eating and Living Moderately Blog. We have created a “blog shelf” below to keep you entertained and educated. Get caught up on the latest nutrition education by clicking on each year below. We will send you nutrition updates, but we will not be inundating your mailboxes on a weekly basis. If you want weekly “love” and inspiration, subscribe to our Mom Dishes It Out blog for weekly posts and recipes. Mom Dishes It Out provides expert advice from mom Registered Dietitians and mom Speech Pathologists on the “how to” of health promotion!

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The EALM Blog Shelf

Please feel free to peruse our posts organized by year below. Or take a look at the categories listed at the bottom of the page to find a post in the desired.







Fat Is the New FAD—Product Review:

Fat Is the New FAD—Product Review: “Be Bright” Non-GMO Superfood Oil Blend
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

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While all foods are super foods in their own right, Coromega has created a unique blend of this past year’s favorite fats. Chia, coconut, avocado, hemp, and black cumin fatty acids are now available in an all-in-one delicious oil.


Pros: Easy way to get your kids’ and your bodies the fatty acids we need; Formulated to be taken straight on a spoon or added to a smoothie; GMO free; Great for tropical and Asian flavoring.


Pros/Cons: Must be refrigerated and not a cooking oil; however, can be added as a salad dressing or grain topper; Has sugar but for a legit reason—a hint of non-GMO cane sugar is added to bring out the product’s delightful coconut-cream-meets-piña-colada flavor!


In addition, Coromega’s use of sugar promotes the microbiology stability of the product: It is used to bind free water in the formulation to prevent pathogen growth (which requires water). They chose not to use sweeteners, like xylitol, because they wanted Be Bright to be formulated with natural ingredients and believe pure cane sugar is the best option. The sugar is used at a very low absolute level, only 3 grams per serving.  When compared with an energy bar at 14–25g or a can of Coke at 38g, that’s a really small amount!1


Put the oil to your taste test with this Asian Soba Noodle recipe!

Make this for dinner or take for lunch the next day. To make this dish a complete meal, add chicken or tofu for protein. 

Be Bright Soba Noodles 


  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 3T honey
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1t ginger, minced
  • 2t be bright oil blend
  • 2T coconut oil
  • 2 zucchinis, diced
  • 8oz soba noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro



1. Prepare dressing and set aside: in a small saucepan, warm the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Add the garlic and ginger. Turn off the heat source, and let cool about 5 mins. Add the Be Bright oil blend, lime juice, and zest. Stir and set aside until the noodles and vegetables are ready to be dressed.

2. Cook the soba noodles as directed on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water.

3. Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan on medium to high heat and sauté the zucchini until tender.

4. In a large mixing bowl, toss the noodles with the dressing, zucchini, herbs, and onions. Option: Add tofu or chicken and mix. Chill for one hour and enjoy.



1. As told by the PR company of Coromega Be Bright Oil.

Don’t “Defriend” Fat

Don’t “Defriend” Fat
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team


In the 70’s, we banned fat. In the 90’s we banned carbs – and neither really worked to improve our lifestyles and relationships with food. As new research comes out regarding the best ways to eat for a healthy body, heart health, brain health – you name it – our food industry adjusts accordingly to provide these foods for us to eat. But what if we simply had a neutral relationship with food and a positive relationship with eating? It seems we would be more likely to eat exactly what our bodies need and avoid the foods our bodies can do without.

Photo Credit: misterbisson via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: misterbisson via Compfight cc

Recently, an article was published in TIME Magazine with the title “EAT BUTTER.” There’s something that will catch the reader’s eye, but what is behind the cover? For over 40 years, Americans have been on a low-fat craze because it was believed to be the best way to preserve our hearts from heart disease. Turns out, the research was misleading and the way we interpreted the research was not any better for our bodies. According to Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, ideally we thought “that if people reduced saturated fat, they would replace it with healthy fruits and vegetables.” What really happened was people replaced those calories with processed foods and snacks like low-fat cookies, cakes, crackers and more.

We started regaling fats as “good” fats and “bad” fats, and we did the same with cholesterol. Giving these positive and negative titles to foods can lead to overeating and or food avoidance. It is important to understand that fats, like all foods, are neutral. They are essential in our diet for brain health, blood sugar regulation and for keeping us feeling full. Carbs (sugar, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy) are also essential in our diet for energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Avoiding one or the other can lead to undernourishment and side effects like fatigue and mood swings.

Photo Credit: Pauline Mak via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Pauline Mak via Compfight cc

In 1996, Dr. Walter Willet published research concluding that removing fat from our diets and replacing that void with carbohydrates does not reduce our risk for heart disease. It just so happens that around the time this study was published, the Mediterranean diet started gaining popularity. All fats are important. All carbs are important. All proteins are important. There is actually research supporting Mediterranean diets with 40% fat. But the fat source is mainly monounsaturated fats. Remember, when you eat fats like dairy, oils, nuts, and so on, you are typically getting a bit of saturated and unsaturated fat. So while the jury is still out, stick with moderation and try to eat more wholesome nutrition the majority of the time.

Ultimately, the TIME article is not saying Americans should drop everything and start eating butter or loading up on saturated fat. The message seems to be implying that we should no longer be afraid of fat, and we can start incorporating all types of fat in moderation. It’s time we changed our thinking from exile to acceptance. Allowing ourselves to have access to all foods will decrease the desire to resist any particular nutrient or food group. We will all be healthier for it.

Healthy Summer BBQ Menu

Originally published on

It’s about that time of year again – the time when we open our barbecue grills to family and friends. Set yourself up with paper and pen because you’re about to start the planning process. Read through this, fully imagine the scene, and then procure everything you’ll need for your own healthy BBQ.

Your ideal BBQ will feature whole grains, fruits, veggies, and beans for carbs, lean proteins like fish, chicken and > 90% lean cuts of meat, and healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).


As predicted, cauliflower is one of the hottest vegetables of 2013. Impress your friends by grilling fresh cauliflower and ears of corn. Instead of Cuban corn, you are serving up “C2” – Cuban cauliflower and corn with yummy queso. Whole Foods now carries queso… just in case you need to find it. I bet no one else will be so clever at the grill! And oh, don’t forget that Brussels sprouts are still trendy, so why not make Brussels sprout slaw or grilled Brussels sprouts on skewers?

On the Grill

Next, buy some shrimp and 90% lean grass-fed beef. Grill the shrimp on skewers brushed with lime and tequila. Serve them in a big bowl next to freshly made salsa. If you don’t want to make your own salsa, your farmers’ market or local Mexican restaurant probably has some ready for purchase.

Make mini beef sliders topped with avocado slices and fresh grapefruit flesh. Your taste buds will dance! I promise! And your guests’ bellies will be full from the lean protein and healthy fats like the omega 3 fatty acids in the shrimp and the monounsaturated fats from the avocado.


And finally, for the après BBQ snack, bring out frozen and refreshing mini key lime pies sprinkled with wheat germ. Make one for each guest and serve them with fresh blackberries or raspberries. Your guests will be feeling a spring in their steps… and you’ll sleep well knowing you helped their hearts.

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See below for recipes…


Sprouts on a Skewer

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 metal skewers (10”)



Prepare grill to medium heat. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Remove and allow the sprouts to cool before handling.

Add 5 or 6 Brussels sprouts to each skewer. Place on grill with cover on for about 6 minutes. Rotate and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sprouts have a nice char. Remove them from the skewers and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.


Cuban Cauliflower and Corn

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

  • 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed and cut into large florets
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 6 ears of corn, husk on but silk removed
  • 1 cup queso fresco
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil



Prepare grill to medium heat. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower florets, olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder. Place the cauliflower mixture on a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and fold up the edges to create a sealed pouch. Place foil pouch over grill for about 30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

In another large bowl, soak the ears of corn for 15 minutes. Remove from water and pat dry. Place the corn on the grill and cover for about 20 minutes, rotating the corn 2 to 3 times. When cooked through, remove the corn and allow it to cool. Remove kernels from the cobs. When cauliflower is ready, toss the corn kernels and cauliflower together. Serve warm or cool with a side of queso.


Beef Sliders

Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 1 lb ground beef, 90% lean, grass fed
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing the grill
  • 3 tsp garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 mini size whole-wheat rolls
  • Optional toppings: lettuce, avocado, grapefruit, sliced tomatoes, pickles


In a large bowl, gently combine the beef, onion, mustard, olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Form twelve 2” patties (about the size of a golf ball or 3 tbsp each).

Prepare an outdoor grill on medium to high heat. Place burgers on hot grill and cook for about 10 minutes or until meat is cooked through; learn more about food safety here.

If you like, toast rolls on the grill for a minute. Otherwise, serve the burgers on rolls with 2 tbsp avocado and 1 tbsp grapefruit! Get the younger ones involved by letting them dish out the avocado and grapefruit.


For more recipes, please go to

5 Simple Tips For A Simply Healthier You This Fall Holiday Season

5 Simple Tips For A Simply Healthier You This Fall Holiday Season

Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD


Autumn typically means cooler, darker days, busier schedules with school and work, oh, and we can’t forget about all of those holiday parties. When things get busy, to-do lists get longer, calendars fill up and our self-care can slip further and further down our priority list. Thankfully, there are some simple changes to re-prioritize and maintain or even improve your well being.

Photo Credit: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker via Compfight cc

1. Connect Food and Mood: After eating a meal, think does this make me feel comfortable, give me energy and improve my mood?

    • If the answer is no, you need a new comfort food. A great resource is to reach for my Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook, filled with 200 healthy and comforting recipes.
    • A good tip to remember is that comfort food is meant to make us feel well, not sick and lethargic. So choose a food that will make you feel content, and increase your energy levels. Be sure to be eating when you are hungry.


2. Think brown for fall: Switch to brown bread and brown grains to get less processed, more wholesome natural fiber in your diet. This is also great for those favorite holiday recipes. Consider swapping white bread for a whole-wheat variety in a stuffing recipe to add more Vitamin B and Vitamin E, plus natural fiber. Or swap all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour in your homemade baked goods. Here are some tips to go brown this holiday season:

    • Buy grains in bulk to really save money.
    • Be weary of the sugar content: choose grains with no added sugar.
    • Hello comfort food: whole grains can make a great comfy side dish. Whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and quinoa all make wonderful sides.


3. Warm up! Fat is essential for body temperature regulation. Keep warm this fall and replace saturated fat and trans fat like margarine with heart helpful fats known as MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids). Here are some suggestions to help you stay warm and healthy.

    • Choose canola oil or olive oil.
    • Spread natural peanut butter rather than butter. (Hint: opt for a brand with minimal ingredients, only peanuts and/or salt is ideal).
    • Skip the cheese, avocado please! Swapping avocado for cheese increases your intake of heart-healthy MUFAs, B vitamins and even potassium.
Photo Credit: Chris Blakeley via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Chris Blakeley via Compfight cc

4. Say Goodbye to Calorie Counting: Log hunger and fullness cues in a food log, not calories! This is the best way to learn if you are eating the right amount for you.

    • Log food, feelings and behaviors to identify obstacles to self-care and healthy habits.
    • Identify if you are eating for physical, emotional or behavioral reasons. Ideally you want to aim to eat for physical reasons.
    • If you are always full or just not hungry but find yourself eating, seek alternative comfort or distractions – find a new hobby or fun workout class to distract you. Even better learn to sit with your feelings. They will pass.


5. Carpe Diem!! Last but not least, relish the happy moments this holiday season. We know that the holidays can be stressful and hectic, but they are also a great time to catch up with family and friends. So relax, find positive moments and take deep breaths. You deserve it!

Should Your Oil be Cold-Pressed?

Should Your Oil be Cold-Pressed?
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team


If you read our previous post on canola oil, you most likely know that picking an oil for your family meals isn’t the easiest task. There are many factors when choosing an oil: the heat index, the content of unsaturated vs. saturated fat, and even the question of genetic engineering. Not to mention the fact that there are over a dozen of choices in most grocery stores!

Let’s start with smoke points. Every oil has a smoke point, or temperature, where the oil begins to break down. When the oil breaks down, it can lose some of its benefits and gain an unpleasant odor. The trick is to avoid allowing the oil to smoke and if it does, you want to restart your dish with a new serving of oil.

Phú Thịnh Co via Compfight cc
Phú Thịnh Co via Compfight cc

In our blog on canola oil, we mentioned fats quite a bit: saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. All oils have some combination of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats, MUFAs are recognized as the heart healthy oil based on research. We’ve outlined oils that are highest in these particular types of fats:

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*For a more detailed chart on fat content in oil click here1.

Oil Processing

When walking down the aisles at the grocery store, not only do you have to pick from a number of different oil options, but you also have to consider the processing that oils undergo.

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 12.00.37 PM  For a quick guide on the best ways to use cooking oils, see Cleveland Clinic’s Top Heart-Healthy Oils Guide – it’s a great go-to resource to have in your kitchen.


 1. Duyff, Roberta Larson. The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food & Nutrition Guide. New York: J. Wiley, 1998. Print.

Canola Oil: Is It Healthy?

Canola Oil: Is It Healthy?
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team


What is Canola Oil?

Canola oil is the oil extracted from canola seeds, the genetic variant of the rapeseed plant. Canola oil has the lowest amount of saturated fat among cooking oils in the US and is high in unsaturated fats, especially the beneficial monounsaturated fats. Canola oil has high amounts of both omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

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Canola oil has a smoke point of 396-414˚F, making it ideal for sautéing, grilling, and frying. Canola oil doesn’t alter the taste of a dish, which explains its popularity in baking dishes and vinaigrettes. Canola oil is also relatively easy to store: it is best to keep in a cool dark place, ideally a cabinet or pantry, and can last up to one year. A great tip is to smell the oil if you’re unsure of its expiration date. If the oil has an unpleasant or rancid smell, it has most likely spoiled, and may be best to buy a new one.

Is Canola Oil Healthy?

Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to play a very important role in protecting the heart, improving blood pressure, reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol.

Diets high in canola oil, over other oils higher in saturated fat, were found to reduce total cholesterol levels by an average of 12.2%1. A similar study, comparing dietary canola oil with higher saturated fat-containing dairy products, found that substituting canola oil for dairy fat decreased participants’ total cholesterol levels.

Canola oil was also found to be effective in decreasing the growth of cancer cells and increasing the rate of the death of cancer cells1. Canola oil has been linked to aiding in the prevention of breast cancer. A population-based study found that women who regularly cooked with olive or canola oil had a significantly lower chance of developing breast cancer when compared to women who regularly cooked with hydrogenated, vegetable and corn oils2.

Despite its health benefits, canola oil has sparked some controversy as it is said to be one of the most genetically engineered foods sold in America. According to Spectrum Organics, a company that sells non-GMO canola oil, canola oil was originally made by hybridization. A process dating back to the 1920s, hybridization is the natural breeding of plants to yield the strongest and most bountiful crops. Like many modern day crops, however, canola oil is now one of the many that are genetically engineered. It is estimated that 93% of the canola oil currently sold in the US has been genetically engineered3.

While walking past one of our favorite places to eat in NYC, Hu Kitchen, we noticed they advertise that they don’t use canola oil. Whether genetically-modified canola oil or genetically engineered food is safe is still up for debate. For more information you can see our previous blog. It doesn’t mean you need to avoid canola oil altogether, rather, an easy solution to avoid genetically engineered canola oil, is buying an organic or non-GMO certified brand. In Laura’s kitchen you can find the following brands:

Do you use canola oil in your home? If not which oil/s do you use instead?

Interested in learning more about oils? Check out Laura’s blog What’s GMO and What’s Not GMO on the Bitsy’s Brainfood Blog. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post on the difference between cold-pressed oils and traditional oils. 


1. Cho, Kyongshin, Lawrence Mabasa, Andrea W. Fowler, Dana M. Walsh, and Chung S. Park. “Canola Oil Inhibits Breast Cancer Cell Growth in Cultures and In Vivo and Acts Synergistically with Chemotherapeutic Drugs.” Lipids 45.9 (2010): 777-84.
2. Wang, Jun, Esther John, Pamela Horn-Ross, and Sue Ann Ingles. “Dietary Fat, Cooking Fat, and Breast Cancer Risk in a Multiethnic Population.” Nutrition and Cancer 60.4 (2008): 492-504.
3. Brumfiel, Geoffrey. “Genetically Modified Canola ‘Escapes’ Farm Fields.” NPR. NPR, 06 Aug. 2010. Web. 26 Oct. 2013.

The Latest Diet Recommendations for Breast Cancer

The Latest Diet Recommendations for Breast Cancer
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team


Breast Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women today. It is estimated that 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, equaling a quarter of a million women being diagnosed each year. As many of you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  In effort to raise the awareness of our EALM readers, we wanted to highlight the importance of diet and lifestyle, on not only your overall health, but also in relation to breast cancer.

1-in-8 Breast Cancer infographic
Photo courtesy of

The Role of Diet and Lifestyle:

In a recent article featuring Mary Flynn, registered dietitian and co-author of the book “The Pink Ribbon Diet,” she states, “because the majority of breast cancer cases don’t have a genetic link, you have to conclude that lifestyle factors, including diet, play a large role.” The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics takes a similar stance, stating that “while there is no certain way to prevent breast cancer, it has been found that leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk and boost your odds if you do get breast cancer.”

Risk Factors:

Highlighted below are the risk factors. However, we want to stress that if you find you fall under a few, or more than a few, of these categories it is important not to panic. If you are concerned, please talk with your doctor and follow the recommendations for when and how often to get mammograms. Here are risk factors provided by the Center for Disease Control:

  • Beginning your menstrual cycle before the age of 12
  • Starting menopause at a later than average age
  • Never giving birth
  • Not breastfeeding post-birth
  • Long-term use of hormone-replacement therapy
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Previous radiation therapy to the breast/chest area, especially at a young age
  • Being overweight, especially in women of the postmenopausal age

What About Insulin?

An article written by Franco Berrino, et al., states that elevated serum insulin levels are associated with an increased risk of recurrence in breast cancer patients1. The authors also found each of the following to be associated with breast cancer incidence: high plasma levels of glucose (>110 mg/100 mL), high levels of triglycerides (>150 mg/100 mL), low levels of HDL cholesterol (<50 mg/100 mL), large waist circumference (>88 cm), and hypertension (SBP > 130 mmHg or DBP >85 mmHg). The article also states that those with both metabolic syndrome and breast cancer have the worst prognosis.1 In addition, recent research has shown significant positive associations between obesity and higher death rates for a number of cancers, including breast cancer2.

In other research, omega 3 fats (alpha-linolenic acid, EPA, DHA) have been shown in animal studies to protect from cancer, while omega 6 fats (linoleic acid, arachidonic acid) have been found to be cancer-promoting fatty acids. Flax seed oil and DHA (most beneficial from an algae source) can both be used to increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acids. DHA originating from a marine source was found to be the most efficient source. To learn more about fatty acids in your daily diet check out our blog post on Fatty Acids.2

breast cancer awareness ribbon

The Center for Disease Control’s and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ tips on how to help reduce your risk of breast cancer:

  • Get a minimum of 4 hours of exercise per week – aim for a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week for optimal health. Some experts recommend yoga to breast cancer patients, as the practice of yoga can ease anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages to 1 per day, or none at all
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight (a mid range), especially following menopause
  • Eat plenty of:
    • Dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale
    • Fruits: berries, cherries, citrus
    • Whole-grains: oats, barley, bulgur, whole-grain pastas, breads, cereals, crackers
    • Legumes: dried beans and peas, lentils, and soybeans
    • Researchers and medical professionals suggest that cancer survivors eat a variety of antioxidant-rich foods each day (since cancer survivors can be at an increased risk of developing new cancers).

Diet and Yoga and Decreasing Stress:

Regardless of whether you are an individual with breast cancer, in remission from breast cancer, or woman trying to reduce your risk, the message is to maintain an active life while consuming a largely plant based diet with a focus on consuming omega 3 fatty acids like salmon, trout and sardines.  Find ways to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables such as joining a community agriculture share. Be sure to try the many different forms of yoga for a form of movement and as way to decrease stress. To help manage insulin levels, focus on eating carbohydrates, proteins and fats at each meal and two of the three at snacks. This will slow the absorption of the carbohydrates thereby preventing a high blood sugar and insulin surge. Start with small goals and build upon them each week.

What’s your favorite recipe high in antioxidants? What is your favorite way to decreases stress? Do you have a favorite app that helps you achieve optimal wellness?


Breast Cancer Resources:




1. Berrino, F., A. Villarini, M. De Petris, M. Raimondi, and P. Pasanisi. Adjuvant Diet to Improve Hormonal and Metabolic Factors Affecting Breast Cancer Prognosis. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1089.1 (2006): 110-18.
2.  Donaldson M.S.. Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutr. J. 2004; 3:19–25.



Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 3.08.52 PMMost people are confused about whether nuts are good for you. In the past, nuts have gotten a bad rep for being a “bad fat.” However, nuts are high in vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and fat, and a handful of nuts go a long way. These bite sized powerhouses are in fact highly nutritious and beneficial to the body. All nuts have different nutrition profiles and offer different benefits. Read on to find out which nuts are rich in calcium or boast the most protein per serving.

Brazil Nuts
Macadamia Nuts
Pine Nuts

Nuts for Seeds
If you’re allergic to nuts, seeds are similar in flavor. They offer a nutty taste and crunchy texture without the health risk.

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Watermelon Seeds

Too Much of a Good Thing

Although nuts are a healthy choice themselves, like all foods, too much of a good thing isn’t always healthy. Nuts are small but are more nutritionally dense in both fat and calories. So, keep in mind that while a handful of nuts can be a healthy snack choice between meals, too many handfuls may ruin your appetite altogether.

Fish Oil Linked to Prostate Cancer?

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Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of certain cancers and have anti-inflammatory properties but the ACS reports that such studies are still inconclusive.  But with so much talk about the Mediterranean diet and omega-3 fatty acids lowering the risk of heart disease, chances are that you or someone you know is probably consuming more fish oil supplements or eating more fatty fish like salmon, herring, or mackerel. Despite the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, a recent study found that fish oil may increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer.

The latest study on the association between prostate cancer and omega-3 fatty acids, “Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial,” was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and was funded by National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The study analyzed levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood of 834 men who had been diagnosed with cancer, and 156 of them were diagnosed with high-grade cancer. (In the study, researchers defined omega-3 fatty acids as EPA, DPA and DHA.) They then compared the results with blood samples from 1,393 cancer-free men. Men with the highest level of omega-3 had a 43% increase in risk for prostate cancer and a 71% increased in risk for high-grade cancer (the most fatal) (Brasky, JNCI 2013).

It’s important to note that the study shows that there is an association between increased omega-3 fatty acid plasma levels and prostate cancer but does not demonstrate that the intake of omega-3 fatty acids causes prostate cancer. The study measured blood levels in the participants but did not include information on their eating habits. Thus, the effect between fatty acids from a fish source or supplements is not differentiated. As of now, the cause and effect relationship of the two is still unknown and much more research is needed. The study concludes that men with a history of prostate cancer should discuss with a health professional if fish oil supplements are safe for them. Since fish oil supplements are a concentrated form of omega-3 fatty acids, it can add up to a lot.

While the study sends a conflicting message to many who follow the Mediterranean diet or taking supplements, it’s simply important to remember that consuming any food in excess is not healthy. Men would benefit from consulting their doctor while continuing to read relevant research on this topic before taking fish oil supplements.

To learn more, check out the American Cancer Society for more information.