Food in the Spotlight: Bananas

Bananas are far from the only food that have taken a roller-coaster ride at the carnival of public judgment, but I think they’re worth a closer look. When I talk to clients about eating enough fruits and vegetables, a common follow-up question is: “Should I avoid bananas?” My first follow-up is asking them if they like bananas; oftentimes this consideration is lost in the shuffle as people try to sort out just what they should be eating. If someone does like bananas, then of course you should eat them and of course they count as part of your daily fruit intake. “But aren’t bananas high in sugar?” Bananas do contain sugar, as do most fruits. It’s always important, however, to consider what yo

Tamping Down the Anxiety Around Anti-Nutrients

Even if you haven’t heard the term “anti-nutrient” before, you’ve probably heard terms that would fall under the category. Although I have problems with the term itself, commonly referenced anti-nutrients include lectins, tannins, oxalates, phytates, and solanine. The term anti-nutrient is derived from the idea that certain compounds in foods bind to essential nutrients in digestion, reducing their absorption. This process does actually happen, but the idea that you should avoid foods with these substances is faulty on a number of levels. What types of foods contain these supposed anti-nutrients? Beans, peas, and lentils are the most well-known sources of lectins, but the majority of fruits

Running and Avoiding Shin Splints

Running is a dynamic whole-body movement that requires a combination of multiple joints and muscles working together to create a perfect running stride. As with any movement done repeatedly, injury can be a concern. A common injury that is seen with frequent running is shin splints. Shin splints are associated with a sharp or dull nagging pain in the front of your lower leg. While there is still some speculation on what the direct cause of shin splints are, there are many ways that shin splints can be caused. The angle of your shins while running on different parts of the road and increasing the curvature and force your shin is taking can cause shin splints. Shin splints can also be caused b

Nutrient in the Spotlight: Zinc

We’ve covered a variety of vitamins and minerals in our “Nutrient in the Spotlight” series, including vitamin C, thiamin, iron, vitamin E, and choline. Next up is zinc, a mineral needed by more than 200 different enzymes in the body. Why do we need zinc? Zinc is essential in the production of DNA and the reproduction of cells; our bodies wouldn’t get far without it. The wound healing process and the immune system also need zinc to function. How much do we need? Adult males need around 11 milligrams per day, while females need 8 daily. Needs for women do increase during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Are deficiencies common? Zinc deficiency is not common in the United States, but wherever malnu

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