Nutrition News: Next-level Healthy Eating, Diet and Gut Health, Embrace Moderation

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Next-level healthy eating

You’d think eating foods that are good for you would be enough, but it turns out you can actually do more. Writing in The Washington Post, dietitian Cara Rosenbloom reveals eight ways you can take healthy foods up to the next level. For instance, if you add black pepper (even just a sprinkle) to curry, you boost the anti-cancer benefits of the antioxidant curcumin. If you drink wine with fish, you may elevate the levels of Omega-3 fats in your blood, which may help protect against heart disease. And when you eat an apple, cucumber, potato, peach or kiwi, leave on the peel, where most of the antioxidants, vitamins and fiber are stored. “In the case of apples, a major component of the peel is quercetin, which is an antioxidant associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes,” Rosenbloom explains. There are five more tips where those came from.

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Is your diet messing up your gut?

If you are restricting calories too much or steering clear of a food group, registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield warns in U.S. News & World Report, you may be wreaking havoc on your microbiome, which is key in maintaining a strong immune system and regulating hunger and mood. The best thing you can do to boost your gut health is to feed the bacteria a variety of foods, like plants, that “they love to eat,” Scritchfield advises. She notes that, by contrast, dieting is among the worst things you can do for your gut health: When we starve ourselves, we starve the bacteria in our gut. What’s more, Scritchfield counsels, you definitely don’t want to get into a food “rut,” because eventually this will lower the “microbial diversity in the gut.” The best part? Scritchfield says coffee, wine, tea and chocolate are actually good for your gut. She doesn’t have to tell us twice!

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Everything in moderation

No such thing as too much of a good thing? Actually, dietitian and Healthy Eats blogger Toby Amidor observes in U.S. News & World Report, when you consume large amounts of some healthy-in-moderation foods, you may impede your ability to absorb their nutrients, restrict diet variety by crowding out other foods or overdo it on the calories. She shares eight foods it’s best to measure out in order to maintain control over your portion size. They are: almonds (suggested portion: 23 per snack), salad dressing (two tablespoons), avocado (1/4 per serving), peanut butter (two tablespoons per meal, one per snack), granola (two to four tablespoons as a topper), oil (two teaspoons to saute a few vegetables; one or two tablespoons for a pound or so of meat), pasta (one or two cups cooked), and juice (six fluid ounces). Keep your measuring cups and spoons at the ready.

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer.