--Eat more produce. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables creates an environment in the body that prevents bone and muscle breakdown. Antioxidants and other nutrients, like potassium, in produce help prevent calcium loss.
--Take some Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium and it helps build muscle. We make vitamin D when exposed to the sun, however, most of us protect our skin from the sun. Food sources include fatty fish and fortified foods such as milk. Taking 800 to 1,000 IUs of supplemental vitamin D with food is recommended for osteoporosis prevents.
--Have some protein at each meal or snack. Most of us get enough protein at dinner, but make sure you get adequate protein at breakfast and lunch. Protein is good for building muscle and bone.
--Stay active. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, running, strength training, stimulates bone-building activity and builds and maintains muscles.
--Avoid smoking, excessive intake of alcohol, caffeine and sodium, all of which can increase calcium loss.
Q and A
Q: Is it true that microwave popcorn contains substances that cause cancer?
A: No, but at least one ingredient, when inhaled regularly, can cause lung damage -- what has been dubbed "popcorn lung." The chemical, diacetyle, is a natural byproduct of fermentation and is found in low levels in foods such as yogurt, wine, beer, butter and cheese. The trouble comes from the synthesized diacetyle added to impart an artificial flavor and smell to popcorn. Diacetyl is also used in some flavored e-cigarettes and is found naturally in tobacco.
Microwave popcorn bags may be lined with other potentially harmful chemicals, notably PFOS. This chemical prevents oil from migrating through the bag and is found not just in microwave popcorn bags but also in some fast-food wrappers, pizza boxes and other food wrappings. The FDA recently banned PFOS in all food packaging. The biggest concern with chemicals such as diacetyl and PFOS is for occupational exposure. There's no reason to panic if you eat microwave popcorn occasionally. Still it's always wise to have good ventilation in your kitchen. To avoid all of this, pop plain kernels with an air popper, on the stovetop or in the microwave. --University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter.
If you're looking for a good weeknight dinner, try this Broiled Flat Iron Steak with Brussel Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes. The steak is broiled over the veggies to add flavor. It's from Cooking Light magazine.
Broiled Flat Iron Steak with Brussel Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes
6 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
6 ounces sweet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (1 pound) flat iron steak, trimmed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
Preheat broiler, with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Place Brussels sprouts and potato on a rimmed baking sheet; toss with 1 tablespoon oil and spread in an even layer. Place a wire rack in pan over vegetables. Rub steak with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, and place on rack in pan over vegetables. Sprinkle steak with 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and half of pepper. Broil 10 minutes. Turn steak over; drizzle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, and sprinkle with remaining thyme, salt and pepper. Broil about 5 minutes or until done. Remove steak form pan, and let stand 5 minutes. Cut across the grain into thin slices. Place vegetables in a bowl; pour in pan juices and toss to coat. Serves 4 (serving size: 3 ounces steak and 1 cup vegetables).
Per serving: 289 calories, 26 g protein, 13 g carbohydrate, 15 g fat, 39 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 574 mg sodium.