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Nutrition Column

Information & Resources > Nutrition Column


Please talk to your dietitian if you want to learn more.


Diet and Gout

Too much uric acid builds up in the fluid around the joints (synovial fluid), uric acid crystals form. These crystals cause the joint to swell up and become inflamed. Blood uric acid is formed by purine, which is mainly from the dead cell DNA of our food. If you have gout, please try to avoid beer, seafood, organ meet, broth and some fishes. These foods are high in purines.

Please avoid these seafood and fish:



Making sense of sodium

Too much salt in your diet can lead to many unhealthy diseases. Recommendations say to limit salt in the diet - no more than 2,300 mg sodium per day. But this doesn’t mean you have to skimp on flavor! Just how much is 2,300 mg sodium?

2,300 mg sodium = 1 teaspoon table salt

Did you know that your congregate meal contains no more than 1000 mg sodium? This is good news, since this meal is typically the largest of the day, leaving 1300mg sodium for snacks and other smaller meals. 1300mg sodium equals to about 5 small salt packets.


Food beneficial to your heart and blood vessels

There is strong evidence that eating fish or taking fish oil is good for the heart and blood vessels, and research study shows eating approximately one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish a week reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent. Fatty fishes include salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines. Similar health effects can be seen in a context of a healthy diet pattern for consumption of nuts because of the rich content of omega-3 fats they contain.



Kale is a nutritious winter vegetable that many Chinese are not familiar with. It is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and contains some calcium. The best way to cook kale is to make soup using chopped kale leaves, and here is a simple recipe that you can easily use at home.
Ingredient for 4 servings:

• 1 bunch kale leaves, chopped
• Half yellow onion, chopped
• 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
• 3 potatoes, cubed
• 1 can of low sodium beans
• Low sodium chicken broth 4 cups
• 1 tablespoon Olive oil/canola oil/vegetable oil
• Minced garlic, salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot; cook the onion and garlic until soft. Stir in the kale and cook until wilted. Stir in the water, chicken broth, tomatoes, potatoes, beans. Simmer soup on medium heat for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Food Safety Risks for Older Adults

Food safety is very important for older adults because they are at increased risk of foodborne illness as the immune systems become weaker. We have less stomach acid to control bacteria and our kidneys, which help filter bacteria from the blood, also weaken. You need to throw away packaged items once the "use-by" date has passed. Also there are certain foods that older adults should not eat:

• Raw, rare or undercooked meats, poultry, fish, and shellfish
• Refrigerated smoked seafood
• Unpasteurized dairy products, fruit and vegetable juices
• Raw or undercooked eggs (soft-cooked, runny or poached)
• Raw sprouts (alfalfa, clover and radish)

• Deli salads



Milk is rich in calcium, vitamin D, potassium and many other nutrients. Adequate intake of dairy product is crucial for a healthy bone.

People older than 50 should consume 3 cups of milk or eat equivalent amount of dairy
product. That is to have a portion with each of your meals. Please choose fat free or low fat (1%) milk and dairy product for the health of your heart.

If you suffer from lactose intolerance symptoms, such as bloating, diarrhea after drinking milk, please choose yogurt or lactose free milk (Lactaid, etc).

If you prefer soymilk or almond milk instead of milk, please choose the products with “calcium and vitamin D added” label.


Sanitation in the Kitchen

Sponges in the kitchen are usually the dirtiest things in the kitchen, because very often we use them to clean dishes, counter, sink, etc. It will be better if sponge is only used for dishes and dish towels can be used for counters and sinks.

Start each day with a dry clean sponge and dish towels. Both of them need to be sanitized at the end of the day.

* Wet sponges can be microwaved for one minute to kill germs. (Not for dry sponge)
* Dish towels can be soaked in bleach for 3 minutes, then rinsed and dried.

A safe kitchen is a dry kitchen where there are no wet sponges and no wet towels for bacteria to grow overnight.


Four Principles for Food Safety in Summer

To prevent the food born illness caused by bacteria overgrowth in the summer, please simply follow these 4 principles.

“Clean” -- before and after you handle food, please use liquid soup to wash kitchen ware and tableware. Always wash your hand before you eat.

“Separate” -- use separate cutting boards and knives for cooked and raw foods. In the fridge, please put cooked food in the upper layer to the well wrapped raw food.

“Cook” -- please cook all food thoroughly to kill bacteria, avoid half cooked meat and egg. Leftover needs to be reheated thoroughly and evenly.

“Chill” -- put leftovers and Golden Age Center meal into fridge within 2 hours. Please don’t overstuff the fridge.

Please noted, please keep the fridge and freezer doors closed during a power outage. During long time power outrage, ice or dry ice can help to keep food cool. Please discard the food that held in room temperature for more than 2 hours after being thawed.


Enjoy your Summer to the fullest

1. Taste the fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits
* Lots of variety and color
* Loaded with flavor and essential nutrients
* Local grown
* Low in price

2. Time to build up your bone with Vitamin D
* Expose skin to sun for body to make Vitamin D
* Essential for calcium to be absorbed by the body – to build strong bone
* Early or late sun for 20 minutes every day

3. Drink plenty of fluids – prevent dehydration
* Drink 8 cups (2L) of fluids daily
* Drinks to include: milk, water, soup, some tea/coffee
* Drink to your health


Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast

Suggestion for breakfast menu

* Porridge (8 ounce) - use Brown Rice
add lean meat/ fish – 2 ounces
add green vegetables – ½ cup cooked

* Hot oat meal (8 ounces)
add egg (do not use more than 3 egg yolks per week) or dry fruits (raisin about 10 pieces) *
add milk 4 ounces
* or: dried cranberry, milled flax seed, almond powder, sesame powder, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, etc

* Whole wheat bread - 2 slices
add peanut butter/ almond butter/ soy butter (2 teaspoons)
milk 4 ounces
half a fresh fruit (banana, orange, apple, etc. )

p.s. porridge made from brown rice can be prepared the night before.
Porridge should not be too watery as it can affect the blood sugar
level for those with diabetes


Diet Considerations for Gout

Gout is a result of high levels purines in your body leading to too much uric acid accumulating in the blood and cause crystals to form in the joint. Symptoms include swelling and pain in the joints. A gout diet can help to control the disease and prevent future gout attacks. You can follow the nutrition guidelines below:

1. Drink at least 8-16 8oz of fluids, especially water, to flush out uric acid in your body.

2. Limit animal protein to 4-6 ounces daily. Organ meats, seafood and some fatty fish are listed as highpurine foods and should be avoided.

3. Avoid alcohol. Too much alcohol, beer in particular, is linked to increased gout attacks by reducing your body’s ability to excrete uric acid.

4. Lose weight if you are overweight. Obesity is linked to increased gout attacks.

5. Take your medication. The medication your doctor prescribed can help to relieve pain, reduce the formation and/or excretion of uric acid. Follow your doctor’s instruction on how to take these medications.


Keeping your blood pressure in range is important to stay healthy.

A normal blood pressure level is 120/70 mmHg. If your blood pressure level is consistently above 140/90 mmHg, please consult your doctor immediately.

You can do the following to lower your blood pressure:

a. If you need to take blood pressure medications, please follow your doctor’s advice on how to take them.

b. Limit foods made with too much salt. Examples include preserved vegetables, canned foods and salted fish and preserved meats etc.

c. Maintain a healthy weight. There is a direct relationship between healthy weight and blood pressure control.

d. Eat more fruits and vegetables. These foods contain lots of potassium which has been shown to lower blood pressure.

e. Exercise regularly.

f. Stay relaxed and happy.