Author: Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.


Turmeric is all the rage for its purported health benefits. Most of us know turmeric as a brilliant orange powder used in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking. It’s one of the primary ingredients in curry powder. And lately, “golden milk”—a sort of spicy turmeric tea—is trending in everyone’s Instagram feed. From a culinary perspective, turmeric adds a warm spiciness and a vivid hue to food. On the health front, turmeric’s big claim to fame is its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also being studied as a natural hedge against Alzheimer’s disease. From a culinary perspective, turmeric adds a warm spiciness and a…

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Coconut milk has become one of the most popular nondairy milk options, and it’s one that wasn’t even on the radar when I did my original comparison of non-dairy milks back in 2009. So, today, I’m going to do a head-to-head comparison between cow’s milk and coconut milk.  As you’ll see, it’s impossible to declare one as the clear winner—which one is best for you will depend on what your priorities and individual needs are. How Is Coconut Milk Made? All coconut milk products, whether in cans or cartons, are made by grating the meat of the coconut and pressing…

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Once upon a time, the only people who might have had a canister of protein powder in the kitchen were body-builders and dieters on liquid meal replacement programs. Now, it’s become a relatively standard household ingredient. People are increasingly aware of the advantages of getting more protein in their diet. I’ve also talked about the benefits of spreading your protein intake out more evenly throughout the day.  And protein powder can be an easy way to bump up the protein content of breakfast and lunch, which tend to be much lower in protein than dinner.  This post includes suggestions for…

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Whenever I talk about foods that can help control your hunger, I’m aware  of the fact that hunger is only one if the things that drive us to eat. Frequently, we eat simply because it’s time to eat, or because food is present, or because we’re bored, or blue, or procrastinating.  I’d even go so far as to say that, for many of us, hunger is only rarely our primary motivation for eating. If we only ate when we were hungry, then choosing foods that are good at satisfying hunger (such as those that are high in protein, fiber, and…

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Sustainability is a very hot topic in the food and nutrition world these days and for good reason.  Every year, we have about 80 million more people to feed than we did the year before. But of course, the amount of land and water we have to grow food—on this planet anyway—is fixed.  In order to meet the ever-increasing demand for food, we’re going to need to make the best possible use of our finite natural resources. We need to develop ways to produce food more efficiently. And we need to preserve the long-term health and viability of the environment…

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A couple of months ago, I addressed the question of whether eating meat affects your hormone levels. Since then, several of you have written to ask the same question about cow’s milk. All milk (whether from cows, goats, humans, or porpoises) naturally contains small amounts of various hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. Because hormones like estrogen are fat-soluble, the level of hormones is higher in whole milk than in skim milk. Organic milk, however, contains about the same amount of hormones as conventionally produced milk. Does Dairy Promote Breast Cancer? Some worry that the hormones in cow’s milk could cause…

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Anita writes: When is the best time to eat dessert? I’ve heard it is better to eat it immediately following a meal because the protein in the meal will help stabilize the blood sugar. But I’m often too full after my meal to enjoy dessert. I’d prefer to wait a couple of hours. In fact, I often crave a sweet bite a couple of hours after eating. Is that my blood sugar plummeting? How does dessert affect your blood sugar? Our blood sugar does go up after we eat, but that’s not necessarily a problem—it’s actually how the system is…

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Sandy writes: “Have you studied whether raw mushrooms are safe to eat? I’ve heard a few well-known doctors say there are toxic compounds in them that are destroyed by cooking. I’ve been avoiding raw mushrooms at the salad bar for some time now. What say you?” Prior to getting Sandy’s email, I was eating raw mushrooms in blissful ignorance, completely unaware of their toxic potential. Having now educated myself, I’m ready to answer Sandy’s question and let you know whether you have anything to fear from eating raw mushrooms. What’s in Raw White Mushrooms? A few clicks on Google led me…

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We hear a lot about the microbiome these days—the trillions of probiotic bacteria that live on and in us. As we are learning, these microbes contribute to our health in myriad and previously unimagined ways. The beneficial bacteria in your intestines, for example, aid digestion, manufacture nutrients, protect against food-borne pathogens, and even appear to play a role in regulating your body weight. These helpful creatures can be wiped out by antibiotics and other drug therapies, colonics, or even a bad case of diarrhea. When this happens, you want to restore those beneficial intestinal flora as quickly as possible. In…

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Q. “What do you think of tuna or salmon in pouches? I like adding them to my salads as the protein. Compared to lunchmeat, it seems a lot less processed and it’s much lower in sodium. Is it OK to eat this kind of fish 3-4 times a week?” A. Whether fresh, canned, or in pouches, fish is a fantastic alternative to processed lunch meats. Not only is it lower in sodium and other additives, it’s a good source of omega-3 fats and a great way to add protein to your lunch!  Compared to canned fish, the vacuum-sealed pouches also have a fresher…

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