Chicken, Pepper and Corn Stir-Fry

An easy tip to follow when cooking and eating healthy is “Eat the rainbow,” and this colorful stir-fry is a great way to start. We use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts because a little goes a long way.

Ingredients
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 large), cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
5 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
2-inch piece ginger, sliced paper thin
5 scallions, whites cut into 1/2-inch pieces and greens sliced, separated
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Cooked brown rice, for serving

Directions
Toss the chicken with the egg white, 1 tablespoon each rice wine and cornstarch, 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Mix together 1/3 cup water, the remaining 4 teaspoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine and 2 teaspoons cornstarch, the sugar and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl until dissolved; set aside.

Place the sauce, vegetables and chicken near the stove. Heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil in a large wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; swirl to coat the wok. Once the oil is hot, scoop the chicken from the bowl with a slotted spoon, letting any excess coating remain in the bowl, and add to the oil. Stir-fry, breaking the chicken up just enough so it doesn’t clump, until the outside coating is set and lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Wipe the wok out if needed.

Return the wok to medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok. Just as the oil begins to smoke, add the ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the scallion whites and peppers and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the corn and stir-fry until just soft, about 1 minute. Add the chicken and the sauce (stir the sauce before adding); stir until the sauce is thick and the vegetables and chicken are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the scallion greens. Serve with the brown rice.

Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole

There are so many reasons to love this recipe: It’s budget friendly, quick, healthy and gluten free!

Ingredients
1 medium yellow squash, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Kosher salt
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Cooking spray
Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas
4 scallions, sliced
1 cup salsa verde
1 large ripe tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
One thawed 9-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange the squash on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bake until just soft, about 10 minutes, flipping the squash once about halfway through. Combine the mozzarella, Parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange 4 of the tortillas in the bottom of the dish so they overlap and top with the squash and half the scallions. Drizzle 1/3 cup of the salsa verde over the vegetables and top with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Add another 4 overlapping tortillas, top with the sliced tomatoes and spinach, drizzle 1/3 cup of the remaining salsa verde over the vegetables and top with half of the remaining cheese mixture. Finish building the casserole with the remaining 4 tortillas, salsa verde and cheese mixture. Bake, uncovered, until the casserole is golden brown and hot, 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with the remaining scallions.

Snyder’s of Hanover launches new varieties

Snyder’s of Hanover, number one pretzel company in the United States and global leader in pretzel sales has just launched sweet and salty flavored pretzel pieces, expanding their existing line of Flavored Pretzel Pieces even more.

Fans of pretzels now have the additional option of getting sweet and salty flavored varieties that come in 10 oz bags with a retail price of roughly $3.69.

The new varieties are Sweet and Salty Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Pieces and Sweet and Salty Salted Caramel Pretzel Pieces. The former is pretty much a classic combination of cinnamon and sugar that is “sprinkled on lightly salted and crunchy, bite-size sourdough Pretzel Pieces.” And the latter has buttery caramel “accented with flecks of salt on bite-size, golden sourdough Pretzel Pieces“.

You can find more information about the new varieties as well as all the other varieties Snyder’s of Hanover has to offer at www.snydersofhanover.com.

“Sweet and salty remains a popular consumer snack request, so adding the flavor combination to our Pretzel Pieces line was a natural extension. There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy them. Get creative by pairing them with your favorite desserts, like ice cream, or eat them right out of the bag.” said Bob Gould from Snyder’s of Hanover.

Disclosure: This post was requested by an advertiser.

Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken and Vegetables

href=”http://www.2tastyfood.com/2014/01/21/lemon-and-herb-roast-chicken-and-vegetables/” title=”Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken and Vegetables”>Enjoy a healthy version of Sunday roast chicken dinner in only 40 minutes. And save big by carving up three roasted chicken breasts for four people (it’s plenty). If you buy a four-pack, roast the fourth breast and set aside to add to a green salad or soup later in the week.

Ingredients
1 pound small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 lemon, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Adjust the oven rack to the top position and preheat to 450 degrees F. Toss together the potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper on a rimmed baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Roast until the vegetables brown slightly and the potatoes just begin to soften, about 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Meanwhile, rub the chicken breast skin with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with the poultry seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Once the vegetables begin to soften, put the chicken breasts on top and roast until the skin is golden brown and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the chicken breasts and let them rest for a few minutes. Toss the roasted vegetables with juice from 1 of the lemon halves and the parsley. Cut the bones from the chicken breasts and slice the meat. Divide the chicken and roasted vegetables among 4 plates. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges and serve alongside.

Healthy Eating

Healthy EatingHealthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, stabilizing your mood, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible—all of which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and using them in a way that works for you. You can expand your range of healthy food choices and learn how to plan ahead to create and maintain a tasty, healthy diet
Healthy eating tip: Set yourself up for success
To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. If you approach the changes gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think.

Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. This way it should be easier to make healthy choices. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious.

Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet. The long term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and reduce the risk of cancer and disease. Don’t let your missteps derail you—every healthy food choice you make counts.
Think of water and exercise as food groups in your diet.
Water. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
Exercise. Find something active that you like to do and add it to your day, just like you would add healthy greens, blueberries, or salmon. The benefits of lifelong exercise are abundant and regular exercise may even motivate you to make healthy food choices a habit.

Healthy eating tip: Moderation is key
People often think of healthy eating as an all or nothing proposition, but a key foundation for any healthy diet is moderation. But what is moderation? How much is a moderate amount? That really depends on you and your overall eating habits. The goal of healthy eating is to develop a diet that you can maintain for life, not just a few weeks or months, or until you’ve hit your ideal weight. So try to think of moderation in terms of balance. Despite what certain fad diets would have you believe, we all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body.

For most of us, moderation or balance means eating less than we do now. More specifically, it means eating far less of the unhealthy stuff (refined sugar, saturated fat, for example) and more of the healthy (such as fresh fruit and vegetables). But it doesn’t mean eliminating the foods you love. Eating bacon for breakfast once a week, for example, could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner—but not if you follow it with a box of donuts and a sausage pizza. If you eat 100 calories of chocolate one afternoon, balance it out by deducting 100 calories from your evening meal. If you’re still hungry, fill up with an extra serving of fresh vegetables.

Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.” When you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. If you are drawn towards sweet, salty, or unhealthy foods, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often. Later you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.
Think smaller portions. Serving sizes have ballooned recently, particularly in restaurants. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entree, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything. At home, use smaller plates, think about serving sizes in realistic terms, and start small. If you don’t feel satisfied at the end of a meal, try adding more leafy green vegetables or rounding off the meal with fresh fruit. Visual cues can help with portion sizes–your serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards, a slice of bread should be the size of a CD case, and half a cup of mashed potato, rice, or pasta is about the size of a traditional light bulb.

Enjoy supermarket-themed cooking competition from October 20th

The new super-market themed cooking show will be premiering on Food Network October 20th, 2013. Guy’s Grocery Games will put four talented chefs to test through a number of “real world” culinary challenges.

Each episode includes three rounds with complex challenges that feature meals made from only canned foods, meals made with 5 ingredients or even less, meals made from only frozen foods and so on. In the end of each episode one losing chef is eliminated by the judges. The judges for the show include names like Melissa d’Arabian, Richard Blais, Beau MacMillan, Jet Tila, and Marcela Valladolid.

The winning chef will get the chance to go home with up to $20 000 based on his or her performance in the show finale where the chef will be sent on a two-minute shopping spree.

“Having the chefs compete in a real grocery store, with every day products and real world obstacles will make this one of the most challenging and relatable cooking competitions we’ve ever devised,” said Bob Tuschman from Food Network.

If you’re a fan of great cooking, awesome challenges and wouldn’t mind learning to cook yourself on the way, don’t forget to tune in to Food Network for Guy’s Grocery Games hosted by Guy Fieri on October 20th at 8p ET/PT.

Disclosure: This post was requested by an advertiser.

Floating Island

Float away on this sweet dish. Meringue is topped with hazelnut for a great fusion of flavours with a hint of vanilla. This dish perfectly complements your dinner and leaves you wanting more.

Ingredients
Caramelized hazelnut
70g hazel nut
50g sugar
Vanilla sauce
Sprig of mint to garnish

Meringue
4  Egg whites
½ teaspoons lime juice
120g sugar

Vanilla Sauce
500g fresh milk
1 pod of vanilla
6  Egg yolks
80g sugar

Directions
Vanilla sauce
Split the vanilla pod. Scrape the beans to add into fresh milk.
Heat the pot of milk over a medium heat.
Whisk the egg yolks with sugar until creamy.
Whisk in half of the hot milk with the beaten egg.
Pour the beaten mixture into the milk pot. Continue heating with a medium heat.
Stir constantly until the sauce thickens.
Turn off the heat. Cool the pot down in an ice bowl.
When it has cooled down, refrigerate for later.

Caramelized hazelnuts
Roast hazel nuts in a pan until done. Leave aside for later.
Heat sugar in a pot over medium heat. When the sugar melts and caramelizes to a light brown colour, add in the roasted nuts. Toss the nuts to coat well.
Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
Chop the caramelized coarsely to reserve for the topping.

Meringue
Boil a pot of water.
Beat egg whites using an electric beater at high speed. Add lime juice. Continue until foamy.
Add sugar while beating until the sugar is used up. Continue beatng until stiff peaks for.
Use spoons to shape it into a ball.
Boil the meringue in hot water over low heat for 2 minutes on each side.
The meringue will fall off the spoons when dipped into the water. When done, it will puff and float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon.

To finish
Spoon vanilla sauce into a bowl. Place the meringue on the sauce, and scatter the chopped caramelized hazelnuts on top.
Garnish with a sprig of mint before serving.

Mushroom Sauce Omelette

Let the creamy flavour partner with the pleasant egg texture as they team up to excite your senses. The fluffy omelette wraps around a thick, creamy sauce for a complete lunchtime meal. This dish serves 2.

Ingredients
2  Eggs
1 tablespoon of water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon salted butter
Fresh parsley for garnishing

Mushroom sauce
1 tablespoon of salted butter
1 cup of thinly sliced straw mushroom
1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of fresh milk
1 teaspoon of chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions
Mushroom Sauce
Melt butter in a pan using low heat.
Add in the mushrooms, and cook until soft and done.
Stir in the flour and gradually add milk. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens and boils.
Add parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To finish
Break the eggs and separate the yolks and whites. Beat the egg yolks with water and season with salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a pan with low heat. Pour the egg mixture in and cook until done when hot. Bake the mixture in an oven under the upper grill until the surface turns brown before removing.
Spoon the mushroom sauce on top of the omelette and fold the omelette in half. Garnish with fresh parsley for serving.

Betty Crocker & Hershey’s launch dozen new baking products

Betty Crocker partnered Hershey Company to launch a dozen of new products to offer sweets for every style. The new delicious products include a new line of cookie and cupcake mixes and frostings made with flavors we all know.

The new products include cupcake mixes such as Betty Crocker Hershey’s Chocolate, Betty Crocker Hershey’s s’mores, and Betty Crocker Reese’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate that are now available at a suggested retail price of $2.79. The new cookie mixes with the suggested retail price of $2.59 are Betty Crocker Hershey’s Chocolate Chunk, Betty Crocker Hershey’s Cookies‘n’Creme and Betty Crocker Reese’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chunk. The new products also include six new frostings that all come in a tube of 16 ounces.

“We are very excited about our continued partnership and the launch of all these new flavors,” said Jared Pippin from Betty Crocker. “Our consumers love the new combinations and that we have created a sweet to match the style, including favorites such as s’mores, Cookies ‘n’ Crème, and Reese’s.”

To find interesting ideas and cooking tips as well as recipes go to www.bettycrocker.com. Life must be sweet and with Betty Crocker’s new products it will be as sweet as you can imagine.

Disclosure: This post was requested by an advertiser.

Malaysian Mixed Salad

A great dish for lunch or dinner, this mix of vegetables, eggs, potatoes and nuts create great flavours. The ingredients mix well together for a great lunchtime or dinnertime dish.

Ingredients
3 Hard-boiled QL Eggs, sliced into 0.5cm rings
200g iceberg lettuce, torn into pieces
1 tomato, sliced crosswise, 0.5cm thick
1 Japanese Cucumber, sliced crosswise, 0.5cm thick
6 young romaine lettuce leaves

Mash Potato
1 potato, peeled and diced into 1″ cubes
3 tablespoons of water

Peanut Dressing
12 dried spur chillies, seeded and soaked until tender
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons salt, 5 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup water, 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons of vinegar
70g mashed potato
1/2 cup roast peanut, shelled and coarsely crushed

Directions
Mashed potato
Boil a pot of water over a medium heat.
Boil the potato in the water until done. You can test the potato with a stick; if it goes through easily, it is cooked.
Remove and mash the hot potato through a colander.
Add a little boiling water from the pot and stir well.
Put the mashed potato aside.

Peanut dressing
Pound dried chillies, garlic, and salt to a fine paste before putting aside.
Combine the chilli paste, brown sugar, water and tomato paste in a pot.
Let it simmer over a low heat. Stir it until it dissolves.
Add in the vinegar and mashed potato. Add the crushed peanut and cook while stirring until well combined.
Turn off the heat.

To Finish
Arrange the green salad and boiled eggs on a plate.
Spoon the peanut dressing over before serving.

Egg Salad Sandwiches

Healthy breakfast for is essential your family. Hard boiled eggs are mashed into a delicious blend and placed between bread to create excellent sandwiches for all.

Ingredients
6 Eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tomato, sliced
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley (optional)
¼ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of black pepper
8 slices of bread

Directions

Boil eggs in a pot of water for 7 minutes. Remove the eggs and place in a bowl of cold water for 3 minutes.
When eggs are cool, remove shells and transfer eggs to a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise, and mash gently with a fork to desired to desired texture.
Mix in the salt, pepper and parsley.
Assemble the sandwiches by placing eggs between 2 slices of bread per sandwich.
The sandwiches are ready to serve.

Lance Sandwich Crackers launches Back to School Sweepstakes

Have you heard of Lance Sandwich crackers? These delicious snacks have up to 6 grams of protein in them per serving and they have also just increased the amount of whole grains to 51% in their Whole Grain sandwich crackers. They also recently launched couple of new varieties such as Xtra Fulls Toastchee and Xtra Fulls Toasty.

However, that’s not what we wanted to talk about right now. The brand has just turned 100 years old and for their anniversary celebrations they have been cruising around the U.S. giving away free sandwich crackers in parks and different events as well as surprising the people there with fun-filled activities.

And as the school year is just staring, since July 15 they have also been running their “Back to School” sweepstakes. And they have lots of prizes to give away to smoothen the going-back-to-school experience both for parents and the kids. As the grand prize of the sweepstakes they are giving $10 000 to three people. But that’s far from all. They are giving away 55 lunch bags every day as part of their Instant Win play and 200 entrants will also be given $100 Visa gift cards.

You can learn more about the sweepstakes and how to take part of it at www.Happy100Lance.com as well as on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/lancesnacks.

Disclosure: This post was requested by an advertiser.

Recipe: Vegetable and garlic calzone

Dietitian’s tip:
Instead of high-fat meats, this calzone is stuffed with fresh vegetables, which significantly reduces the amount of fat and calories. Serve with a salad and fruit.
Serves 2

Ingredients

    • 3 asparagus stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
    • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
    • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
    • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1/2 pound frozen whole-wheat bread dough loaf, thawed
    • 1 medium tomato, sliced
    • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 2/3 cup pizza sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, add the asparagus, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and garlic. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over the vegetables and toss to mix well.

Heat a large, nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

On a floured surface, cut the bread dough in half. Press each half into a circle. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an oval. On half of the oval, add 1/2 of the sauteed vegetables, 1/2 of the tomato slices and 1/4 cup cheese. Wet your finger and rub the edge of the dough that has the filling on it. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges together. Roll the edges and then press them down with a fork. Place the calzone on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat to make the other calzone.

Brush the calzones with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Heat the pizza sauce in the microwave or on the stove top. Place each calzone on a plate. Serve with 1/3 cup pizza sauce on the side or pour the sauce over the calzones.

Nutritional analysis per serving

Serving size: 1 calzone
Calories 256 Sodium 535 mg
Total fat 8 g Total carbohydrate 34 g
Saturated fat 2 g Dietary fiber 4 g
Monounsaturated fat 3 g Protein 12 g
Cholesterol 8 mg

Recipe: Tandoori chicken wrap

Serves 1

Ingredients

    • 4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 2 ounces fat-free plain yogurt
    • 1 piece flatbread (about 2 ounces)
    • 1 cup chopped spinach (about 2 ounces)
    • 1/2 small cucumber, sliced (about 2 ounces)
    • Coarse chopped basil, to taste

Directions

Season chicken with spices, cover or put into plastic bag, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium high (or turn on broiler). Grill or broil chicken breasts about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until the internal temperature is 165 F. Let cool.

Slice chicken and toss with yogurt. Build wrap with all ingredients: flatbread, sliced chicken and yogurt, spinach, cucumber, and basil. Enjoy.

Nutritional analysis per serving

Serving size: 1 wrap
Calories 391 Sodium 524 mg
Total fat 7 g Total carbohydrate 33 g
Saturated fat 1 g Dietary fiber 4 g
Trans fat 0 g Sugars 0 g
Monounsaturated fat 2 g Protein 49 g
Cholesterol 97 mg

Bone health: Tips to keep your bones healthy

What can I do to keep my bones healthy?

You can take a few simple steps to prevent or slow bone loss. For example:

  • Include plenty of calcium in your diet. For adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women after age 50 and for men after age 70. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines and soy products, such as tofu. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, ask your doctor about supplements.
  • Pay attention to vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. For adults ages 19 to 70, the RDA of vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) a day. The recommendation increases to 800 IUs a day for adults age 71 and older. Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as tuna and sardines, egg yolks and fortified milk. Sunlight also contributes to the body’s production of vitamin D. If you’re worried about getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor about supplements.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, tennis and climbing stairs, can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.
  • Avoid substance abuse. Don’t smoke and avoid drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day.

Enlist your doctor’s help

If you’re concerned about your bone health or your risk factors for osteoporosis, consult your doctor. He or she may recommend a bone density test. The results will help your doctor gauge your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss. By evaluating this information and your risk factors, your doctor can assess whether you might be a candidate for medication to help slow bone loss.

Bone health: Tips to keep your bones healthy

Protecting your bone health is easier than you think. Understand how diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors can affect your bone mass.

Bones play many roles in the body — providing structure, protecting organs, anchoring muscles and storing calcium. While it’s particularly important to take steps to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can take steps during adulthood to protect bone health, too.

Why is bone health important?

Your bones are continuously changing — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain.

How likely you are to develop osteoporosis — a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle — depends on how much bone mass you attain by the time you reach age 30 and how rapidly you lose it after that. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank” and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.

What affects bone health?

A number of factors can affect bone health. For example:

  • The amount of calcium in your diet. A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
  • Physical activity. People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.
  • Tobacco and alcohol use. Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones. Similarly, regularly having more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis, possibly because alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
  • Gender, size and age. You’re at greater risk of osteoporosis if you’re a woman, because women have less bone tissue than do men. You’re also at risk if you’re extremely thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) or have a small body frame because you may have less bone mass to draw from as you age. Also your bones become thinner and weaker as you age.
  • Race and family history. You’re at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent. In addition, having a parent or sibling who has osteoporosis puts you at greater risk — especially if you also have a family history of fractures.
  • Hormone levels. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. Prolonged periods absence of menstruation (amenorrhea), before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
  • Eating disorders and other conditions. People who have anorexia or bulimia are at risk of bone loss. In addition, stomach surgery (gastrectomy), weight-loss surgery and conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and Cushing’s disease can affect your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
  • Certain medications. Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, are damaging to bone. Other drugs that may increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications and proton pump inhibitors.
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