Achieving a Healthy Lifestyle: Step by Step

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have seen a resurgence of walkers in our neighborhoods. This has been a wonderful way to step outside the confines of homes, enjoy some fresh air and get some exercise while still maintaining physical distancing. 

Engaging in a brisk walk most days of the week is also a great way to meet physical activity recommendations for adults. Numerous expert panels recommend adults get at least a total of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week (such as brisk walking), and do muscle-strengthening activities two days per week. Of course, those 150 minutes per week can be divided in many different ways. Some people aim for 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Others fit in 10 minutes of moderate intensity exercise several times a day.

Counting Steps versus Counting Minutes
Many of my patients have been walking for exercise long before the current pandemic; at our annual visits, we have discussed their weekly walking activity in terms of pace (for example, 15-minute miles, two miles per walk, five walks per week) so I can add up their weekly tally in minutes of brisk walking to see if they are meeting national guideline recommendations. With the advent of digital technology, many patients are now tracking (and reporting) their walking activities in terms of steps. Some may assume if they reach their goal of walking at least 10,000 steps per day, they have been meeting national physical activity goals and more importantly, garnering the many health benefits of meeting those goals. 

There are mountains of data spanning more than 30 years, including landmark studies from The Cooper Institute, supporting the health benefits of engaging in 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity (walking briskly at about 3.5 miles per hour, bicycling less than 10 miles per hour, raking the yard, dancing, doubles tennis) or 75 minutes per day of vigorous physical activity (running or jogging at five miles per hour, walking very fast at 4.5 miles per hour, bicycling faster than 10 miles per hour, chopping wood, swimming laps, competitive basketball, singles tennis). 

The hallmark of engaging in moderate physical activity is that you are exerting yourself with enough intensity that your breathing rate and heart rate are increased. 

What does the data tell us about the health benefits of accumulating 10,000 steps per day? You might be surprised to hear that when Fitbit launched its first device, which tracked steps, more than 10 years ago, the benchmark of achieving 10,000 steps per day dated back to a health marketing campaign from the 1960s.

At that time, Japan was preparing to host the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and identified a need for increased fitness in the general Japanese population. Walking was identified as a simple way to exercise that did not require special equipment and could be embraced by young and old alike no matter what their baseline level of fitness. A pedometer was invented by Dr. Yoshiro Hatano to motivate people in their walking efforts. It is reported that he chose 10,000 steps at the daily goal because 10,000 steps sounded like an ambitious goal and there was actually a specific word in Japanese for the number 10,000. In fact, many languages have a single word for 10,000. The classical Greeks used a capital letter mu (M)—which means myriad in Greek—to represent 10,000.

So, setting the goal at 10,000 steps per day was a motivating tool rather than an evidence-based objective. Given the wide public acceptance of this step-counting goal without a solid evidence base, researchers have published a number of studies characterizing the relationship between steps, physical activity and health in numerous sample populations.  

Some basics about steps:

  • The average number of steps per mile is 2,000; so accumulating 10,000 steps per day translates into walking about five miles.
  • If you take a brisk walk for 30 minutes (defined as a walking rate of about 3.5 miles per hour), you will cover about 1.75 miles in about 3,500 steps.
  • The average number of steps taken per day measured in various groups varies by age, gender and geographic location. For example, one study reported an average of 5,400 steps per day in a U.S. sample of multiethnic women (mean age 54 years) while another reported an average of 18,000 steps per day in a sample of Amish men (mean age 34 years). Western Australians 18 years and older take approximately 9,600 steps per day. 
  • Step based metrics can include volume (steps/day), step intensity or cadence (mean steps per minute) and sedentary behavior (percent time at zero steps per minute).

Number of Steps per Day and Health Outcomes
Numerous studies have shown individuals who accumulate more steps per day have fewer chronic health conditions and live longer. For example, in an analysis of approximately 3,400 U.S. participants (average age 47, average steps per day 7,564 in men and 5,941 in women) in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers found that increased number of steps per day were inversely associated with weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist girth in both men and women.

In a more recent analysis of a larger NHANES cohort, investigators evaluated the association of daily step count and step intensity with mortality in a total of 4,840 participants (mean age, 56.8 years; 2,435 [54%] women; 1,732 [36%] individuals with obesity) who wore accelerometers for a mean of 5.7 days for a mean of 14.4 hours per day. The mean number of steps per day was 9,124. The mean follow-up was 10 years. Those participants with higher daily step counts had lower BMI and lower incidence of diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer. Even after controlling for these important differences in baseline health, compared with taking 4,000 steps per day, taking 8,000 steps per day was associated with a 50 percent reduction in the risk of all-cause death and taking 12,000 steps per day was associated with a 65 percent reduction in all-cause mortality.

The Bottom Line
Is it better to walk briskly for 30 minutes five days a week or accumulate 10,000 steps per day? The answer is that it is best to do both. 

Most of the data describing the relationship between step intensity or cadence and outcomes is not very robust. This is a difficult measurement to make well in free-living adults. However, it makes sense that those individuals who accumulate the highest number of steps per day (12,000 steps is about six miles), likely walk at a faster pace because most adults have other things to do in the day than just walk. A benefit of accumulating at least 10,000 steps per day is that some of those steps are likely to be at a brisk pace. 

But the slower-paced steps also generate health benefits because those steps are replacing sedentary activity.

Even Slow Steps are Better than No Steps

Sedentary behavior is defined as any waking behavior or activity that involves an energy expenditure of 1.0 to 1.5 METS (the amount of energy it takes to sit quietly). Currently, sedentary behavior is likely to involve “screen time” both on the job (sitting using a computer or talking on the phone) or at home (using a computer to shop or interact with friends, watching television, engaging in reading or playing games on a smartphone).

In the 2019 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, experts suggest that decreasing sedentary behavior is a reasonable recommendation to reduce the risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Adults in the U.S. spend an average of 7.7 hours per day in sedentary activity. They recommend replacing sedentary time with other physical activity; even light intensity activity is better than sitting.

Overall, the more steps you take on a daily basis the better. A reasonable goal is 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day. Taking a brisk 30-minute walk on most days of the week is a great way to add 3,500 steps to your daily step count and accumulate 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

So whether you are tracking your movement by number of steps or number of minutes, it is simply important to keep moving. Achieving a healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight but rather through a series of small choices throughout your day. It is achieved step by step.

Article provided by Nina B. Radford, MD, Director of Clinical Research and a cardiologist at Cooper Clinic.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Custom Nail Care Tips from Cooper Spa

May 11, 2020 1 comment

On average we take 8,000-10,000 steps a day. Regular pedicures and nail care are more than pampering—they’re important to your self-care.

Enjoy a spa-worthy pedicure at home with these simple instructions from Cooper Spa Nail Team Supervisor Marcia Lopez. She also provides a sugar scrub recipe you can make in just minutes. Give your feet a little TLC with these tips.

Materials Needed:

• Bath towel

• 2 to 4 cotton swabs

• Polish remover

• Nail clippers

• Cotton balls

• Liquid body cleanser

• Body or facial oil   

• 2 Tbsp. olive or grapeseed oil

• 2 Tbsp. sugar

• 2 Tbsp. water

• Essential oils

• Base coat

• Top coat

• Nail polish color of choice

How to Give Yourself an At-Home Pedicure
1. Remove any nail polish with a cotton ball and polish remover. The most effective remover is 100% acetone.

2. Clip toenails straight across with a nail clipper. Do not round off the sides, as this can cause ingrown toenails.

3. Fill bathtub with warm water and liquid body cleanser; soak feet. This is the relaxing part!

4. Remove feet from the water and dry slightly with bath towel.

5. Apply small amount of lotion to toes and around the heels to soften the cuticles and any calluses.

6. Use cotton swab to gently push cuticles back.

7. Use a sugar scrub to exfoliate feet, removing the dead skin around toes and heels. (Create your own with the sugar scrub recipe below.)

8. Massage body oil and/or lotion into feet.

9. Go back over toenails with polish remover and cotton balls to remove traces of oils and lotions on the nail surface. If you miss this step, the polish will not adhere to the nail.

10. Apply 1 coat of base coat, 2 coats of color polish and 1 coat of top coat.

11. Use cotton swab and polish remover to clean the edges/skin around the nails.

At-Home Sugar Scrub Recipe
1. Mix together 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. olive oil or grapeseed oil and 2 Tbsp. water.

2. Optional: mix in 5-10 drops of essential oils such as lavender.

Submit questions and nail care product purchasing requests to Marcia Lopez, Nail Team Supervisor, at

Schedule your nail or facial service by calling 972.392.7729 or visit

Categories: Cooper Updates

The Proven Value of Regular Exercise

Ravi Marawar of National Instruments (NI), a Cooper Wellness Strategies client, shares his testimonial with us. As a member of the Methodology Consulting Services team, he discusses how he changed his lifestyle with the proven value of regular exercise.

My fitness journey began about six years ago at one of NI’s health fairs. My blood pressure check at a vendor booth revealed it was too high, so I joined NI’s fitness center right away and started doing aerobic exercise. Within almost three months, my blood pressure was much lower. That was what truly proved the value of regular exercise to me.

When I began exercising, I worked out every other day. However, in one of my annual check-ups, my glucose was found to be at pre-diabetic levels. Around that same time, Cooper Aerobics was starting a new program to help NI employees address chronic health problems that taught a holistic approach to exercise, nutrition, sleep and other lifestyle habits. I was selected to go to Dallas for the week-long trip. That trip changed my lifestyle.

For the most part, I have been able to maintain it. I now work out every day and, during the past four years, have been averaging more than 13,000 steps per day. I try to get about 30 percent of my steps at the heart rate above 130 bpm by either working out on an elliptical or jogging. At the completion of the Cooper program, they gave us a Fitbit and I still wear it all day. When I measure and monitor my heart rate and steps, it tends to change my behavior!

Working out after work is what works best with my personal and family obligations. Having the fitness center on campus at NI helps tremendously—one can’t have a logistical excuse for not working out! Exercise after work has also become relaxing for me. I am fortunate to have a community fitness center in my neighborhood where I can work out on the weekends with the same equipment as NI’s fitness center.

The elliptical has become a mainstay in my routine because it helps me get the most out of my exercise without the high impact on my knees. I am also able to watch TV or read a magazine while using the elliptical. If it is a nice day, I will go for a jog in a park. Someday I would like to play a sport regularly, such as tennis or badminton.

Life is not perfect, so you have to take into account interruptions to your exercise routine, like traveling or getting sick. When I am traveling, I try to get at least 10,000 steps in every day. When I return home from traveling, I go to the fitness center the very next day to maintain my routine.
Consistency has helped me to make exercise a habit over the years. Now I feel like something is missing if I go a single day without working out. It took a while to get there, but I think it is possible for everyone to make exercise a part of their lifestyle and then make it into a habit.

Ravi Marawar
Project Architect on the Methodology Consulting Services team in Global Services organization

Categories: Cooper Updates

Trending Now: 5 Customizable Spa Treatments

Ever wish you could create the ultimate spa experience according to your skin type, relaxation preference and desired results? You can with customizable add-ons at Cooper Spa. And beginning April 6, 2020, there are even more options to choose from

Dermaplaning is a new treatment add-on to complement our facials and comes highly requested by our guests and service providers alike. Our Esthetician team has recently completed certification courses to make our service top notch. Simply put, dermaplaning painlessly exfoliates the top most layer of the skin (stratum corneum) to stimulate cellular turnover with little to no downtime. When performed regularly, it can minimize post acne scarring, remove unwanted facial hair and diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles on a whole new level. This treatment is safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin and pregnant or nursing women, providing a deeper exfoliation and an all-over radiant glow. Results will leave your complexion brighter, fresh and ultra-smooth.

Advanced chemical peeling is another addition to our tool belt for healthy, fresh-looking skin. We are adding stronger, more effective mixes to better serve the clients who want deeper exfoliation. If your skin is accustomed to the effects of our current selection of glycolic and salicylic peels and your esthetician believes you’re a good candidate, these are perfect for you if you want to amp it up.

LED light therapy has taken off in popularity in recent years due to its noninvasive benefits to the skin. If you are looking for a pain free way to help address acne breakouts, reduce inflammation or stimulate collagen production, this service is a great go-to add-on for you. The LED light can destroy acne-causing bacteria, reduce inflammation from rosacea and stimulate collagen, making it great for reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Plus, there is no downtime, no discomfort and it’s even a relaxing time!

Bamboo massage is a new treatment add-on for our massage offerings and will get you hooked from day one! Popular in spas all across the world, bamboo massage incorporates different sizes of heated bamboo stalks to provide a deep tissue, one-of-a-kind work. As with all massages, it can help promote circulation and lymphatic drainage, as well as providing a deep sense of relaxation. If deep tissue is your favorite modality, you really must give this a try. It feels amazing.

Magnesium is a mineral crucial to the body’s overall function, and when taken orally, can offer significant benefits to the body. Did you know you can also apply it topically during massage? Adding this to your massage can absorb into the skin to help reduce pain, improve tendon and ligament flexibility and help to break down inflammation, therefore easing muscle cramps and spasms. 

For 50 years, Cooper Aerobics has been serving guests for fitness, exercise, nutrition and overall wellness. At Cooper Spa, we embrace that same approach and are dedicated to your overall well-being, both physical and emotional. We help you get fit in a way only Cooper Spa can, through our skilled professionals and relaxing, therapeutic benefits of our spa treatments.

Schedule your appointment by calling 972.392.7729 or visit Cooper Spa is open seven days a week and childcare is available through our Cooperized Kidz program.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Replenishing Your Skin’s Natural Moisture

February 9, 2020 1 comment

When cold outdoor air mixes with warm indoor air, it can take a toll on your skin. According to Cooper Clinic Preventive and Cosmetic Dermatologist Kejal R. Shah, MD, FAAD, our skin is a very dynamic structure. Winter weather can cause dryness, itching and even painful cracking.

Give Dr. Shah’s winter skin care tips a try to retain your skin’s moisture this winter season!

Replenish Your Home’s Moisture

Keeping your thermostat set to a low to moderate setting and placing a humidifier in a room where you spend most of your time can help replenish the moisture in your top layer of skin. As cozy as it can be, don’t sit too close to your fireplace or directly under heating vents as this can dry out your skin even more.

Moisturize Head-to-Toe

  • Face: With so many moisturizing products on the market today, it can be overwhelming knowing which one will give you the most bang for your buck. Dr. Shah recommends using a thick, cream-based moisturizer twice a day—once in the morning and once at night. Look for key ingredients such as ceramics, hyaluronic acid or glycerin to lock in moisture and give you a beautiful glow.
  • Lips: Invest in a lip balm that has aloe vera and vitamin E and avoid products that contain rubbing alcohol.
  • Hands: Commit to using a hand cream with urea each time you after wash your hands to protect your skin during the harsh winter months.
  • Feet: Cream-based products with urea in them are particularly effective for areas that can get especially dry such as the feet and even hands and elbows.

The Gentler, the Better

Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. During the winter, avoid scrubs or exfoliants as they strip away your skin’s natural oils, further reducing its moisture content.

Rub-a-Dub, but Don’t Scrub

As tempting as it is to treat yourself to a long, hot bath or shower on a cold winter night, it’s important to keep your bathing routine short and sweet to retain your skin’s moisture. Dr. Shah suggests taking warm showers lasting about 5-10 minutes. Gently pat your skin dry with a towel and apply a thick body moisturizer right away to help your skin trap and hold onto the moisture throughout the night.

Make Sunscreen a Year-Round Routine

Don’t be fooled by the lack of sunshine in the winter. Our skin is constantly under attack by free radicals and UV radiation year-round. This is why it is best to wear sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF and that contains zinc or titanium to protect your skin from all types of UV rays, even on cold and cloudy days.

As our skin’s needs change with the seasons, so should your skin care routine! By taking care of your skin and keeping it moisturized throughout the winter, you’ll be sure to reap the benefits of healthy, hydrated and happy skin just in time for spring.

For more information or to schedule a comprehensive skin exam at Cooper Clinic Dermatology, visit or call 972.367.6000.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Transforming Company Culture

January 13, 2020 Leave a comment

Cooper Wellness Strategies’ client Kristin Wall of Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation (LWCC) shares her testimonial with us. As president and CEO of LWCC, she says that being a client has impacted her life in a personal way and inspired her to transform her company’s culture.

My wellness journey started over a decade ago when I first began going to Cooper Clinic for my executive physical. During my time there, I learned so much about the importance of focusing on personal wellness. Although I was only there for one day each year, I learned that it is what you do every day after that really impacts your life. My personal experience with Cooper Clinic changed the way I viewed dedicating time to my wellness and I decided to make some real changes—and empower others to do the same.

I knew I had to share the great work of Cooper Clinic so I brought my fellow LWCC executives to Cooper for a retreat to learn about the importance of being “Fit to Lead.” During this retreat, we began to realize you can’t lead others or an organization without first taking care of yourself.

Building on this new knowledge, I then discovered Gerald Drefahl, a local wellness expert who focused on kinesiology, and his companies, FITT and Kinesics, which are centered on the importance of functional movement. Being in the workers’ comp business, we know how critical mobility, range of motion and overall fitness are to injury prevention. Through a pilot program with FITT, we experienced the benefits of the FITT-Kinesics methodology. Participants from our company saw improved range of motion, decreased pain and improved productivity. After this, we knew we had to bring this type of program to our entire organization.  

We then worked to bring a best-in-class experience to LWCC. We knew Cooper Wellness Strategies was the expert we wanted to operate our facility due to its great success in developing corporate wellness programs focusing on all facets of wellness, from nutrition to cardio health. Combining the Cooper and FITT models offers our employees the best of both worlds. Together, both teams developed exercise programs built around a functional movement model utilizing cable-based equipment, which has been featured in our newly remodeled fitness center.

The objective of our new wellness program is to challenge our colleagues to adopt a healthy living mindset so they and their families can live healthier and longer lives. We want to create a program that removes barriers to exercise and movement by meeting each employee where they are. We want to encourage our team members to envision where they could be by starting with one decision at a time and taking small steps to get there.

Since the launch of our new wellness program and the redesign of our fitness center in July 2018, we have seen exponential growth in engagement and participation along with unmatched success. In just the first year of opening the new fitness center we saw a 23 percent increase in our fitness center membership—more importantly, our employees are using the center! On average, we see over 900 check-ins per month, with employees actively participating in small group classes and individualized exercise programs. Additionally, roughly 25 percent of our members are “active” by checking in to the fitness center more than five times a month.

The Cooper Wellness Strategies team has been integral to the success of our new approach and program for LWCC. Through this partnership, we have begun to make a positive impact in the lives of our colleagues. We are fortunate to work with the Cooper Wellness Strategies team on this and many other initiatives and are pleased to spread their knowledge and positive messages to our organization and employees.

Kristin W. Wall
LWCC President & Chief Executive Officer

Categories: Cooper Updates

Slenderize Your Surroundings

December 5, 2019 1 comment

Let’s be honest, sometimes the easy choices aren’t always the healthiest ones – especially when it comes to your eating habits. Instead of relying on willpower to achieve your goals and making certain foods off limits, follow these practical tips to make choosing healthier food more convenient and appealing.

Put the most healthful food in plain sight
Place pre-cut fruit and veggies on eye-level shelves in your refrigerator. You will be more likely to grab these items if they are clearly in front of you.

Keep tempting foods invisible and inconvenient
Out of sight, out of mind!

Buy single-serve foods
To aid in portion control, try buying single-serving bags of popcorn, individual containers of yogurt or 100-calorie pack of nuts. Or portion larger bags into single servings right when you get home from the store.

Set parameters around where you can eat
Location is important when it comes to meals!For example,only eat when sitting at the dining table rather than in front of the TV or in bed.

Turn off the TV and all other screens during mealtime. This is a sacred time to enjoy the company and the food around you.

You don’t have to sacrifice convenience for healthy, nor do you have to forgo tasty for healthy! Stock up your pantry with these nutritional essentials that will make healthy eating a breeze.

Conveniently Healthy Foods
Dry goods
Aim for no-salt-added canned goods such as:
Tomato sauce
Unsalted chicken or vegetable broth

Try buying legume-based pastas, parboiled brown rice and quinoa to have on hand for healthy side dishes.

Consider these your safeguard in preventing unhealthy or mindless snacking:

Non-fat Greek yogurt
Skim milk
String cheese
Low-sodium and nitrate-free turkey slices
Pre-cut veggies and fruit
Mini guacamole cups

Flavor enhancers
Kick it up a notch and add flavor to simple meals by topping them with:

Your favorite spices and dried herbs
Low-sodium salsa

Be sure to have healthy cooking oils on hand, too. Go for extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil or flaxseed oil.

Pantry staples
Hungry for a healthy sandwich? Keep these ingredients on hand:

Canned tuna or salmon
Peanut butter
100% whole grain bread 
For an easy snack to satisfy your munchies try:
Whole grain crackers
High-fiber, low-sugar cereals

When in doubt, throw it out!
Make the healthy choices the easy choices by organizing your surroundings and your food storage space to meet your goals.

Rid your fridge and clean out your pantry as needed before grocery shopping. A clean fridge is a healthy fridge. Follow this “Healthy Refrigerator” infographic to help you clean out and organize your refrigerator to set you up for success.

To schedule a one-on-one consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.

Article written by Lizzy McCrary, RDN, LD, Cooper Weight Loss Team Lead

Categories: Cooper Updates

Plan Your Perfect Parfait

November 25, 2019 Leave a comment

Packed with protein, nutrients and powerful antioxidants yogurt parfaits can be an ideal choice for breakfast on the go. Start/begin with a base of protein-filled Greek yogurt and add the benefits of berries and top with whole grains to get your fill of fiber.

Dazzle with Dairy:  Greek Yogurt
Calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth and helps prevent bone density loss. Breakfast is a convenient window during the day to include a serving of high calcium sources such as milk, yogurt, low-fat cheese or fortified soy milk. For example, 8 ounces of Greek yogurt provides approximately 230 milligrams of calcium and 8 ounces of skim milk provides 300 milligrams of calcium, which is about one quarter to two thirds of one’s daily recommended calcium intake.

Protein found in dairy is another nutritious benefit. Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt with one serving of Greek yogurt averaging about 14 grams of protein, which is the equivalent to 2 ounces of lean meat.

Berry Beneficial
Antioxidant powerhouse: The antioxidant properties found in berries may reduce your risk of disease by decreasing inflammation in your body.

Fiber: The soluble fiber in berries can slow down movement of food through our digestive track leading to reduced hunger and increasing the feeling of fullness.

Mental health: Berries have antioxidants that have been associated with keeping memory sharp as you age.

Chia Seeds:  Tiny but Mighty
Just 1 Tbsp. of these little seeds provides 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and 80 milligrams of calcium.

Wholesome Whole Grains
Sources include 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries, whole grain pasta and whole grain cereals. Not all granola cereals are created equal—look for the word whole as the first word on the ingredient list. Some have the addition of coconut and coconut oil, both high in saturated fat, the type of fat that can potentially raise the bad cholesterol in blood.

Whole grains play an important role in lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer as well as contribute to body weight management and gastrointestinal health.

Try this tasty parfait recipe at home!

Blog and recipe provided by Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Rise and Brine this Thanksgiving

November 8, 2019 Leave a comment

There’s nothing worse than having a dry bird as the main course on Thanksgiving. You may be surprised by how you can elevate this Thanksgiving staple from mundane to magnificent. The answer is giving the bird a bath—more specifically, a brine bath!

Lean meats like turkey, chicken, pork chops, pork loin or tenderloin can benefit from brining. Brining helps meats retain moisture while they cook by soaking them in salt water, which enhances the tenderness, juices and flavor with various herbs and spices. While brines do require salt, which some may be avoiding, the meat absorbs less than one percent of the sodium in the brine itself.

The following brine recipe is sufficient for the following portions of meat:

  • Per 1 pound of turkey
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 pork tenderloins

If you are brining larger portions you can double or triple the recipe.

Making the Brine:

  • 4 cups cold water
  • 4 Tbsp. table salt or kosher salt
  • Optional herbs and spices:
    • Peppercorns
    • Juniper berries
    • Rosemary
    • Thyme
    • Sage sprigs
    • Bay leaves
    • Allspice berries
    • Whole cloves
    • Star anise

The Brining Process:

  1. Add salt, herbs and spices to the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add meat to the pot of boiling salt water. Turn off the heat.
  3. Let the meat soak for the following times depending on the type of meat.
  4. After the allotted time, remove the meat and follow your personal recipe for cooking instructions.

Time to Brine:

To schedule a one-on-one consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Categories: Cooper Updates

Honey: Health and Hype

October 10, 2019 Leave a comment

Possibly the oldest recognized source of sugar, the use of honey dates back to around 2100 B.C.—beating good old table sugar by an estimated 2,450 years! Many people prefer natural sources of sugar, with honey often making the top of the list. This historic confectionery sweetens many pantry shelves and recipes. Read on as we dive into hype surrounding honey.

Honey in jar and bunch of dry lavender

Is Honey an Allergy Remedy?
There is conflicting research on honey serving as a remedy for allergies, which demands more research be conducted before solid claims can be made. In a preliminary study, allergy sufferers were given a tablespoon of local unfiltered honey, pasteurized honey or honey-flavored corn syrup daily for 30 weeks. No significant benefits were noted between groups. However in another four-week study, significant benefits were seen in allergy sufferers who were given antihistamine medication along with honey, as compared to the groups receiving the antihistamine and honey-flavored corn syrup.

Is Honey a Sugar Alternative?
Some argue honey is a healthier alternative due to minimal processing as opposed to other types of sugar. However, the body metabolizes honey no differently than it does standard table sugar. When it comes to any sweetener—including sugar, honey, syrup or agave nectar—the body will break it down and absorb it equally, not knowing the difference between types. Bottom line, enjoy honey in moderation!

Does Honey Have Prebiotic Properties?
It has been said honey can also be used as a remedy for diarrhea or gastroenteritis; however there is limited data to support this. Honey contains carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides, which may serve as potentially good gut bacteria. It should be noted that this prebiotic benefit is likely small and not as significant as other rich sources of prebiotic carbohydrates such as onion, garlic, asparagus and bananas.

Does Honey Have an Expiration Date?
There have been archeological findings of 3,000-year-old pots of edible honey in the Egyptian pyramids! It was initially thought this was due to the high sugar content, low pH and antibacterial nature of honey. However, nothing is immune to the effects of aging as honey will lose flavor and harden in consistency. The FDA advises honey be tossed out two years from the date of purchase if it is not refrigerated after opening.

Cooking Purposes

  • Besides carbohydrate content, there is little difference between honey and standard table sugar.
    • Honey = 17 grams of sugar/tablespoon
    • Standard table sugar = 12 grams of sugar/tablespoon
    • A 20-calorie difference between the two
  • When baking with honey:
    • 1 cup of sugar can be substituted for ¾ cup honey
    • Reduce all liquids by ¼ and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 1 cup honey called for in the recipe. Due to honey being very dense and viscous, the addition of baking soda aids in leavening, helping the final product rise and be lighter and airy.
    • Lower the temperature by 25° F to prevent over-browning

Blog post provided by Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Categories: Cooper Updates, Nutrition