I'm wondering if you have snack ideas, tips, or tricks that are good for me. Are there really foods that are good for the brain as well as the body?
Dear Food Fanatic,
For help with this one, I turned to my pal David Grotto, a.k.a. "The Guyatitian," registered dietitian and author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life and 101 Optimal Life Foods. He offered up some interesting and even surprising food tips. For mental performance, he recommends strawberries, citing research out of Tufts University that indicates strawberries could improve memory and slow down the rate of cognitive decline. He also suggests chewing gum (yup, GUM!), as experts have found it can increase blood flow to the brain, decrease stress, and help improve memory. (Go for sugar-free gum rather than the sugary stuff.) For physical performance, his picks are oats and cherries. Says DG, "Oats are rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and improves blood flow to the heart and every other part!" As for cherries? "They contain ellagic acid, which is a plant nutrient that has tremendous anti-inflammatory properties for reducing pain and speeding up recovery from exercising." Thanks, Dave -- YOU ROCK! For more about David and his savvy "Guyatitian" ways, check out davidgrotto.com.
I love having warm sake when I go out for sushi. How many calories does it have? Same as wine? And got any tips for sushi, while we're on the subject?
Dear Sake Sipper,
Here's the deal... Sake is higher in calories, with about 40 per ounce, than the average wine, which has around 25 calories per ounce. Luckily, it's not something we tend to GUZZLE. We sip it. Warm sake is often served in little 2-oz. cups. So even if you have a couple of servings, you won't be adding TOO many calories to your meal. Sometimes, it's served in cups a little larger than that, so just pay attention. As for sushi bars, there are some great guilt-free options as well some fattening ones. Here's a super-quick, calorie-saving sushi overview... For the most part, stick with sashimi (no rice) rather than sushi, and avoid items with the words "tempura" (deep fried), "dynamite" (packed with mayo), and "crunch" (also fried). Go for individually ordered pieces as opposed to rolls -- rolls are larger, contain more rice, and often have added oils and sauces. Some great starters/sides are sunomono salad (thinly sliced cucumbers in rice vinegar), miso soup (filling and low in calories), and edamame (soybeans in the pod -- so good for you and around 100 calories for a good-sized handful). Remember to use chopsticks, too -- if you're not the best with 'em, it'll take you longer to eat your meal and you'll likely fill up on less. Click here for lots more sushi 411. Have fun!
CHEW ON THIS: Today, March 10th, is Registered Dietitian Day. Celebrate by hugging your favorite RD! (Virtual hugs go out to David Grotto, Heather K. Jones, HG subscriber Caroline, Bonnie Taub-Dix, and ALL our other dietitian pals!)
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