“B” is for Balanced Nutrition

“B” is for Balanced Nutrition

What you eat on a daily basis fuels and feeds your cells. When most people think about nutrition for healthy bones, they think about milk and other dairy products.

Your bone cells need a constant supply of over 20 different nutrients each day, not just calcium and vitamin D. To acquire all of these nutrients you need a balanced diet.

We are inundated with fad diets that often restrict certain food groups. These diets might help you lose a few quick pounds, but they also might not be the best diet for our bones. Our bones need a balance of healthy fats, clean proteins, organic vegetables and fruits, non-GMO grains, nuts, and seeds. What our bones don’t need are processed foods with artificial ingredients, loaded with salt and sugar.

Because we all are biochemically different with individual nutrient needs, there is no one diet that “fits all.” However, I do think there are some general dietary principles that we can all follow to boost our bone strength.

So what does a bone-healthy diet look like?

Clean Protein
For years it was suggested that eating a diet high in protein increased the risk of developing osteoporosis. This belief was based on the results of several early studies that indicated a high protein diet increased calcium excretion in the urine. The assumption was that the acid in the protein pulled calcium out of the bone was then excreted in the urine. However, more recent studies reveal that although eating protein increases calcium excretion in the urine, it also promotes calcium absorption in the intestines. The net result is it has no impact on our bones. However, the boost in calcium absorption can only occur if we are taking enough calcium in.

30% of our bone mass is made up of protein, primarily in the form of type 1 collagen. Even though our bodies make collagen, the amount we make decreases with age. One of the reasons why we get wrinkles. That’s why I am a firm believer in getting enough protein in our diets.

The best advice on how much protein our bones need comes out of the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ESCEO). They recommend 1- 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day (to find kilograms of body weight divide your weight in pounds by 2.2). It is also best to divide your protein intake up over the course of several meals. The debate of whether animal protein or plant protein is better for bone health remains unclear. Fish and animal proteins provide a direct source of collagen whereas plant-based proteins and nutrients support your body’s own production of collagen.

Fearless Fats
Studies have shown that diets low in mono-saturated fats can increase one’s risk for osteoporosis. Omega 3 fatty acids are of particular importance. They increase the absorption of calcium from the intestines, help to prevent bone loss by reducing inflammation, and support osteoblast activity, the cells that make new bone. Olive oil also positively affects bone health, most likely due to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Complex Carbohydrates
Fat used to be the demon in the diet and now we have turned against carbohydrates. Yet whole grains and complex carbohydrates provide fibers that feed our gut microbiome and many essential bone-building nutrients. Grains provide B vitamins along with minerals such as magnesium, manganese, zinc, and copper that are critical for bone metabolism. Including whole grains like brown rice and quinoa in your diet would be a better choice than eating refined grains found in bread and pasta.

Vegetables and Fruits
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we need to be eating more vegetables and fruits! It has been shown that diets higher in vegetables and fruits are also associated with better bone mass and may even help to lower the risk of hip fractures. Fruits and vegetables can provide many of the nutrients your body needs to build and maintain bone mass. In addition to vitamins and minerals, vegetables and fruits provide many different phytochemicals that are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in nature. Anything we can do to squelch inflammation and oxidation will help to stop bone loss.

The Mediterranean Diet
I am a big fan of the Mediterranean diet. It is well known that eating a Mediterranean-style diet has many beneficial effects on your health. Numerous studies throughout the years have shown that this diet can help prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and can decrease the risk of developing cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been shown to have beneficial effects on bone health.

After analyzing the data from the Women’s Health Initiative study, researchers found that women who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet had a 20 percent lower risk for hip fractures compared to women who followed other diets. More recent research suggests that eating a Mediterranean-type diet could reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis.

One of the reasons why the Mediterranean diet may be effective in supporting bone health is because it provides a very balanced diet full of an array of nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory foods. It encourages a high consumption of vegetables, but also lots of olive oil, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fish. It suggests a moderate intake of grains, dairy in the form of cheeses and yogurts, and chicken. It limits intake of red meat and sweets and, of course, it discourages processed foods.

The other thing I like about the Mediterranean diet is that it uses a lot of spices such as garlic, onions, and fresh herbs such as oregano, basil, and thyme. These herbs have wonderful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

When putting together a bone-building diet, using the Mediterranean diet as your foundation would be a great place to start. From there you can tweak it to meet your individual needs.
Strong bones stem from a balance of nutrients, not just calcium and vitamin D.

Contact me if you would like my help building your bone-healthy diet!

 

References:

  1. Byberg, L., Bellavia, A., Orsini, N., Wolk, A., & Michaëlsson, K. (2015). Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Risk of Hip Fracture: A Cohort Study of Swedish Men and Women. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 30(6), 976–984. https://doi.org/10.1002/jbmr.2384
  2. Kerstetter, J. E., O’Brien, K. O., Caseria, D. M., Wall, D. E., & Insogna, K. L. (2005). The Impact of Dietary Protein on Calcium Absorption and Kinetic Measures of Bone Turnover in Women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 90(1), 26–31. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2004-0179
  3. Macdonald, H. M., New, S. A., Golden, M. H. N., Campbell, M. K., & Reid, D. M. (2004). Nutritional associations with bone loss during the menopausal transition: evidence of a beneficial effect of calcium, alcohol, and fruit and vegetable nutrients and of a detrimental effect of fatty acids. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79(1), 155–165. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/79.1.155
  4. Prynne, C. J., Mishra, G. D., O’Connell, M. A., Muniz, G., Laskey, M. A., Yan, L., … Ginty, F. (2006). Fruit and vegetable intakes and bone mineral status: a cross-sectional study in 5 age and sex cohorts. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83(6), 1420–1428. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/83.6.1420
  5. Rizzoli, R., Stevenson, J. C., Bauer, J. M., van Loon, L. J. C., Walrand, S., Kanis, J. A., … Reginster, J.-Y. (2015). Erratum to “The role of dietary protein and vitamin D in maintaining musculoskeletal health in postmenopausal women: A consensus statement from the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ESCEO)” [Maturitas 79 (2014) 122–132]. Maturitas, 80(3), 337. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.11.005
  6. ScienceDaily. (2018, July 11). How a Mediterranean diet could reduce bone loss in osteoporosis. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180711093133.htm.
Core Strength, Balance and Standing Stability

Core Strength, Balance and Standing Stability

Your core is the center of your body’s universe. When it is strong, it stabilizes your trunk allowing free and effortless movement. It is also the foundation for your balance. Although important for everyone, stability is particularly important for adults. The fact is that our balance begins to decline somewhere between 40 and 50 years of age. Luckily, performing balance exercises and strengthening your core can improve your stability and significantly reduce your risk of falls.

How are core strength and balance related?

Even though the body’s process for maintaining balance is very complex, there are 3 main systems that work together to keep you upright and on your feet.

  • Visual System: Your eyes send signals to your brain about your body’s position in relation to the environment around you.

  • Vestibular System: The vestibular structures inside your ears inform the brain about changes in head positions and body movements.

  • Proprioception System: The muscles, tendons, and joints throughout your body, including your core, have special sensors called proprioceptors. These proprioceptors provide your brain with information on the movement and position of your body parts. This is where your core muscles play their greatest role in balance.

These 3 systems work together to continually communicate information to the brain about the body’s position. The brain deciphers this information and signals to your muscles to make the necessary adjustments to your body in order to maintain balance and coordination.

3 ways having a strong core will benefit your balance:

  • A strong core stabilizes your trunk so you retain an upright posture if you begin to fall

  • It helps to encourage good posture and proper center of gravity 

  • Allows you to quickly respond to a stumble with an outstretched arm or leg to steady yourself and prevent you from falling

The best way to improve your core muscle strength and your balance is to train them together.

Standing Stability Exercises

Standing stability exercises effectively train the core muscles to respond appropriately if you lose your balance and start to fall. These exercises are great for any fitness level and can be done with simple items found around the home, or in the gym with equipment like Bosu balls, balance boards, weights, or a medicine ball.

Beginner Level:

Grab an item around the home that weighs 2-5 pounds (hand weight, a large filled bottle, bag of flour, large can of food). Also, grab a pillow that can be placed on the floor or a balance mat.

       

Starting position: Feet side by side, knees slightly bent, core muscles activated, hands holding a weighted item in front of your chest.

Exercise Movement: Keeping your core tight and spine still, slowly extend your arms, reaching the weight out in front of you, and then bring it back towards your chest. Perform 10-20 times. To advance the movement, extend your arms out straight and slowly lift your arms up and down. With your arms out straight, you can also perform circular movements, clockwise and counterclockwise.

Precautions: Perform the exercise standing next to a counter or firm chair so that you have something to grab if you begin to lose your balance and feel like you are going to fall.

Intermediate Level:

        

Starting position: Place your feet into a staggered stance. With your feet in this position, activate your core and hold the weighted object at chest level.

Exercise Movement: Keeping your spine still, perform the arm movements as above. Perform 10-20 times. Switch your stance and place the opposite foot in front. Repeat arm movements.

Precautions: Perform the exercise standing next to a counter or firm chair so that you have something to grab if you begin to lose your balance and feel like you are going to fall.

Advanced Intermediate

     

Starting position: Place your feet into a tandem stance, with one foot directly in front of the other.  With your feet in this position, activate your core and hold the weighted object at chest level.

Exercise Movement: Keeping your spine still, perform the arm movements as above. Perform 10-20 times. Switch your stance and place the opposite foot in front. Repeat arm movements. 

Precautions: Perform the exercise standing next to a counter or firm chair so that you have something to grab if you begin to lose your balance and feel like you are going to fall.

 

Advanced

  .   

Starting Position: Stand on one leg, activate your core and hold the weighted object at chest level.

Exercise Movement: Keeping your spine still, perform the arm movements as above. Perform 10-20 times. Switch feet. Repeat arm movements. 

Precautions: Perform the exercise standing next to a counter or firm chair so that you have something to grab if you begin to lose your balance and feel like you are going to fall.

 

To further challenge your balance, perform the exercises on an unstable surface, like a pillow, balance pad, balance board, or Bosu ball.

 

I love this exercise because it strengthens your core muscles while also challenging your balance.  But don’t wait until you have balance problems to start working on your core! A strong core is central to a strong body.

 

Have questions? Reach out and I can guide you through the best exercise to strengthen your core, protect your spine and improve balance and posture.

 

*If at any time you have pain in your back, hip, knee, ankle, neck, or shoulder. Discontinue the exercise and seek medical attention.

Core 101: The Dead Bug

Core 101: The Dead Bug

Sit-ups use to rule the fitness world. For many years, sit-ups were seen as the golden ticket to stronger abs and a trim waistline. As a fitness-crazed teenager, I often did 500 sit-ups a day! No doubt this likely contributed to my back pain and spinal injuries as an adult. Sit-ups only work the rectus abdominis, one of the many muscles necessary to build a  strong core. Additionally, the strong abdominal flexion movement that occurs when performing a sit-up can damage spinal ligaments, discs, and vertebrates. If you have osteoporosis, doing sit-ups can also lead to spinal compression fractures. 

Thank goodness exercise has evolved to include safer and more effective ways to strengthen your abdominal muscles along with all the core muscles. 

In my previous blog, I talked about the “core”, how it is made up of many different muscles throughout the trunk and how these muscles have to work in harmony to provide stability and a foundation for efficient movement. I also gave you 2 easy ways to learn how to engage your core muscles. Now it is time for exercise!

The Dead Bug. Certainly not something any of us aspire to be but a very effective exercise for strengthening the core muscles. 

Here’s how you do the Dead Bug exercise.

 

Beginner

Starting position: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Activate your core by exhaling through pursed lips, like you are blowing out a candle or by bracing in preparation for a punch to the stomach. When your core is activated, your spine should be in a neutral position and should not be rounded towards the floor or arched.

Exercise Movement: Raise one knee up to hip height, keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees, and then back down to the floor. Continue by alternating lifting one knee up and then the other while keeping your core muscles activated and engage. Aim to do 10-20 repetitions. Be sure your spine maintains a neutral position and doesn’t flex or arch during the exercise. Be sure to move slowly and steadily, exhaling as you go.

Precautions: If at any time while you are performing this exercise your back begins to arch or flex, stop, take a break, re-engage your core and continue.

 

 Advanced Beginner:

Starting position: Lie on your back with both legs raised up to hip height with knees and hips at 90-degree angles.  Activate your core.

Exercise Movement: Slowly lower one foot to the floor and then back up to the starting position. Next, lower the other foot to the floor. Aim to do 10-20 repetitions. Be sure your spine maintains a neutral position and doesn’t flex or arch during the exercise. Be sure to move slowly and steadily, exhaling as you go.

Precautions: If at any time while you are performing this exercise your back begins to arch or flex, stop, take a break, re-engage your core and continue.

 

 

Intermediate level:

Starting position: Lie on your back with your arms extended straight up towards the ceiling. Lift your feet off the ground so your knees are in line with your hips and your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle as above. Engage your core.

Exercise Movement: Slowly extend your right arm over your head while at the same time lowering your left foot to the floor, keeping the knee in a flexed position. Return to the starting position and then switch and reach your left arm overhead and place your right foot on the floor. Perform 10-20 repetitions. Be sure to move slowly and steadily, exhaling as you go. Keep your spine in a neutral position so that it doesn’t flex or arch during the exercise.

Precautions: If at any time while you are performing this exercise your back begins to arch or flex, stop, take a break, re-engage your core and continue.

 

 

Advanced level:

Starting position: Lie on your back with your knees and hips bent at 90 degrees and your arms extended straight up towards the ceiling. Lift your feet off the ground so your knees are in line with your hips and your knees and hips are at a 90-degree angle (as above). Engage your core.

Exercise Movement: Slowly reach your right arm overhead while simultaneously extending your left leg out straight so it is hovering a few inches above the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat with left arm reaching overhead and right leg extended out straight. Perform 10-20 repetitions. Keep your spine in a neutral position so that it doesn’t flex or arch during the exercise.

Precautions: If up have difficulty keeping your low back in neutral, reduce the motion of your limbs. Only extend your leg and opposite arm as far as you can without your back beginning to arch. When you feel your low back arching, bring your arm and leg back to the center before repeating to the opposite side.

Even though the dead bug exercise is a great way to strengthen your core, it is essential to do it safely and correctly. One of the most common mistakes I see when performing the dead bug exercise is trying to do the exercise too fast. Many people confuse this exercise with the bicycle crunch and try to use speed and momentum to execute the exercise. The truth is, the slower and more controlled you perform the exercise, the more effective it will be at strengthening the core muscles.

The dead but exercise is a great first exercise to start strengthening the core with little risk of injury to the spine. It is an especially good exercise for anyone with back or neck pain or osteoporosis. Maintaining a strong core is going to protect your spine but also improve your balance and posture and even your athletic performance.

Have questions? Reach out and I can guide you through the best exercise to strengthen your core, protect your spine and improve balance and posture.

Getting to the Core of your Body

Getting to the Core of your Body

 

The “core” receives a lot of attention in the fitness and physical therapy world.  However, there is often confusion about what the term “core” really means. People often talk about the core as if it is one big muscle.

Predictably, when I ask my patients to show me where their core muscles are, they point to the large muscle in the front of the abdomen. This outermost muscle called the rectus abdominis is certainly the largest muscle in the abdomen.

However, the core actually consists of many different muscles in the trunk that extend from the base of your neck to your pelvis. 

The five predominate muscles that make up the core are:

  • Rectus Abdominis – Informally known as the “ab muscle” runs down the front of your abdomen from your ribs to your pelvis. In people with low body fat, it is often visible beneath the skin forming the “six-pack.”

  • Transverse Abdominis – This is a large band-like muscle that wraps around the front and sides of your trunk. It is very important for providing stability to your pelvis and spine.

  • The Internal and External Obliques – These muscles run diagonally between the ribs and the pelvis. They help to rotate and bend your trunk as well as provide trunk stability.

  • The Erector Spinae – This is a large group of long muscles that lie on each side of the spine and extend from the pelvis all the way up to the base of the skull. It plays a key role in keeping good posture.

  • Multifidus – This consists of a group of small, deep back muscles that runs right along the side of the spine and are very important for stabilizing the spine during movement. Research shows that people with low back pain often have significant atrophy and weakness in the multifidus muscles.

Other muscles that play a part in the “core complex” are your pelvic floor muscles, the diaphragm, the quadratus lumborum, and the gluteal muscles.

Although these muscles all have independent actions that like bending, twisting, or extending the spine, or moving a limb, they also work harmoniously to stabilize the spine and provide a base of support for all movement.

Weakness in any of the core muscles can lead to compensation of other muscles for stability and mobility. This in turn can lead to back pain, pain in the hips, knees, ankles, and even pain in the neck and shoulders. Core muscle strength is also essential for balance and posture. If you find that you’re struggling with your balance or maintaining an upright posture, those are 2 clear signs of core muscle weakness.

There are plenty of great exercises that can help strengthen your core muscles. However, to properly train these muscles it is important to understand how to engage these muscles. As I mentioned above, the core muscles need to work in harmony producing a co-contraction of these muscles at one time.

There are 2 ways that I find most effective in teaching my patients how to engage their core muscles. Merely sucking your stomach in is not engaging your core!

First, locate 2 of the predominant core muscles: The transverse abdominis and the multifidus.

 

Transverse Abdominis

To find the transverse abdominis:

  • Locate the anterior iliac spine, the bony protrusion in the front of the pelvis bone

  • Slide your fingers in about 1 inch

  • Now draw a breath in through your nose and then exhale through pursed lips

  • You should feel this broad, flat muscle tighten under your fingers

 

Multifidus

To find the multifidus:

  • Place your fingers on your spine

  • slightly roll your fingers off to one side

  • Now with your opposite leg, take a step forward

  • You should feel this rope-like muscle pop into your fingers as you take a step

With your fingers on those two muscles, you are going to work on engaging your core muscles.

The first method is to take a deep breath in through your mouth and then forcefully breathe out through pursed lips as if you are blowing out candles. You are looking for a simultaneous contraction of the transverse abdominis and multifidus muscles. 

Another method is to perform what is called abdominal bracing. With your fingers positioned as above, you are going to tighten up your trunk muscles to prepare as if someone is going to punch you in the stomach. Again, you want to feel a simultaneous contraction of both muscles. Additionally, you don’t want any movement to occur in the spine. If your spine rounds to the back, your abdominal muscles are overpowering your back muscles and if your belly pushes out to the front, your back muscles are overpowering your abdominal muscles. A good co-contraction of the core muscles does not result in any spinal movement. 

Once you get the hang of activating your core muscles, start by engaging these muscles while doing everyday activities such as reaching overhead into a cabinet, lifting a laundry basket, pushing a shopping cart.

In the gym, think about engaging your core before you perform an exercise. I call this “setting” the core. For example, before lifting a weight, engage or “set” your core muscles first. This will ensure that your body is in correct alignment, will give you a stable base in which you can perform the exercise correctly, and reduce the risk of muscle compensation and injury. 

Having a strong core will make you less prone to injuries, give you better balance, better posture, and more efficient movement whether performing your daily activities or even playing your sport. If you have osteoporosis, strong core muscles will protect your vertebrae from fractures and decrease your risk of falling and breaking your hip. 

Stay tuned for some of my favorite core exercises…or if you can’t wait…reach out to me to schedule an appointment and I can get you started on some key exercises to strengthen your core today. 

 

7 Reasons To Visit Your Local Farmers’ Market This Season

7 Reasons To Visit Your Local Farmers’ Market This Season

I love when April rolls around and Farmers’ Markets are up and running again here in the Mid-Atlantic. The arrival of beautiful Spring weather is a perfect reminder of the importance of eating locally produced vegetables and fruits in season for optimum health and wellness. I don’t have to tell you how valuable eating vegetables are for supporting a healthy gut, building a resilient body, and striving for stronger bones. Buying your produce from a local Farmer also has so many additional benefits to your health as well as the environment and community. Read on to discover several reasons you should visit your local Farmers’ Market this season.

1.  Eating foods in season.  Seasonal produce not only tastes better but also provides higher concentrations of nutrients and anti-oxidants. Eating with the seasons allows you to eat as nature intended, allowing the body to get the specific nutrients it needs to thrive in different climates. There is nothing better than a salad full of fresh greens to help you detoxify in the spring, a juicy vine-ripe heirloom tomato to keep you hydrated during the hot summer months, or a rich sweet potato in late fall to prepare your body for the cold winter nights ahead. There is also emerging research that suggests your gut microbiome also has seasonal variations.  Incorporating seasonal freshly harvested foods into your diet, not only provides superior nourishment for your body but also helps to nurture your gut microbes.

Doesn’t it make sense that eating produce nature provides according to the seasons is the optimal way to achieve good health?

2.  Produce grown locally. At a Farmers’ Market, you can find produce harvested at peak ripeness and often sold within 24 hours, making a perfect package of nutrition. When we buy foods grown in other areas of the country or even in different parts of the world, it can take weeks for the food to travel from the farm to your table. These fruits and veggies have to be harvested prematurely, decreasing their nutrient content. Furthermore, because foods begin to lose nutrients once they are picked, by the time they reach your home, they have not only lost freshness and flavor but also nutrients. Although some produce, such as apples, are able to continue to ripen after being picked, other fruits and vegetables, such as red peppers and tomatoes, only ripen while on the plant. Studies have shown that the vitamin C content of red peppers, tomatoes, apricots, peaches, and papayas is higher when these crops are picked fully ripe from the plant.

Doesn’t it make sense to eat foods that have ripened as nature intended and picked when its nutritional value is highest?

3.  Greater variety. Most commercially available products are chosen for their ability to ship well, store well, and continue to “look fresh” on the store shelves, not their nutritional value. However, the nutritional value of many fruits and vegetables can vary greatly from one variety to the next.  Because local farmers don’t need to worry about the storage and transportation of their produce, they are more likely to prioritize taste and nutritional quality over durability when making varietal decisions. Therefore, Farmers’ Markets can offer a wider variety of local foods that you won’t typically find in supermarkets and restaurants.  During the winter months, it is easy to get into a rut when having to shop at a supermarket, picking the same fruits and vegetables week after week resulting in identical nutrient intake. When was the last time you had a red carrot, purple cauliflower, green garlic, mâche, kohlrabi, or a donut peach?

Doesn’t it makes sense that selecting from nature’s bounty, rather than the supermarket’s, will ensure more variety and the added benefit of a greater array of nutrients?

4.  Local farmers often farm organically. Much of the produce and products found in traditional supermarkets are grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification, all of which can be detrimental to your health. In contrast, most produce found at Farmers’ Markets is grown organically and the meat, poultry, cheese, and eggs come from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, have eaten a natural diet, and have been allowed to graze freely. Researchers have concluded that organic foods contain higher concentrations of nutrients on average, especially higher levels of antioxidants, than conventionally grown foods. Naturally raised livestock also have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These high omega-3 fatty acids are found in organic meats, dairy and eggs.

Doesn’t it make sense to eat foods free from pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics?

5.  Benefits the community. By supporting your Farmers’ Market not only do you support your local farmer, but also boost the local economy by keeping dollars in the community and supporting local jobs. Small, local farmers go to great lengths to grow nutritious produce using organic, sustainable techniques yet have a hard time competing in the large agricultural marketplace.

Doesn’t it make sense to buy local to support your community?

6.  Benefits the environment. Imported food can travel over a thousand miles to get to the store, burning large amounts of fuel, contributing to pollution, and creating excessive trash with extra packaging. Food that is grown and sold locally travels a much shorter distance and doesn’t need the extra packaging for protection and presentation. Local farms are usually smaller and use farming techniques that minimize the impact on our environment.

Doesn’t it make sense to support local farmers that care about our environment?

7.  Local Raw Honey. Honey is a great example of the benefits of buying locally. Since raw, local honey comes from bees that pollinate local flowers, consumption of this honey can strengthen the immune system and reduce pollen allergy symptoms. Raw honey is also known for its natural vitamins and enzymes as well as for having anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. Many experts believe that if local honey is eaten regularly, it can help reduce pollen allergies.

Doesn’t it make sense to sweeten your food with local honey to benefit from its numerous health effects as well as its ability to help you fight seasonal allergies?

I know in the winter months it is next to impossible to avoid fruits and vegetables that have been harvested from afar. So this season take the opportunity to shop at a local Farmers’ Market or join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. Experience foods that not only taste better but are also more nutritious!

What produce is in season now? Grab this Season Produce Guide to familiarize yourself with the foods that are at their peak in nutrition and flavor throughout the year.

Contact me if you have any questions about what fruits and vegetables you should be eating to build strong bones and a healthy body!