Ask the Nutritionist | PCC Natural Markets

Ask the Nutritionist

PCC Nutrition Educator Nick Rose, M.S., answers popular nutrition questions in his monthly column in PCC Taste. Have little ones in your life? Find family-friendly advice at our Ask the Family Nutritionist page, written by PCC Nutrition Educator Marilyn Walls, M.S., and our Healthy Kids Cook video series, hosted by PCC Chef Jackie Freeman.

You can also sign up for a free Walk, Talk & Taste class, where our nutrition educators lead you through our aisles to discover a multitude of healthy, delicious and sustainable choices. Make the connections between your food choices and health, environment and the local and global community.

Have a question? Write to us at

Anatomy of a cooking oil label — May 2015

From avocado to olive to pumpkin seed oil, you’ll find dozens of cooking oils on our shelves at PCC. Knowing which oil to select when, and understanding the many different labels and terms used to identify these oils, can be confusing. We’ve compiled a basic glossary of terms to help you out.

Please pass the salt — April 2015

There are many options in the world of salt these days, including an array of options at PCC. In addition to iodized salt and Kosher salt, we now have Himalayan pink salt, red merlot salt, smoked sea salts and even black salt.

What are the benefits of herbal teas? — March 2015

Herbal tea delivers a variety of health benefits: It's calorie free, counts toward your daily water intake, can be enjoyed hot or iced, and is an excellent substitution for a soda or coffee habit.

All mighty mushrooms — February 2015

Mushrooms offer impressive health benefits whether they are fresh, dried or even found in a supplement. They're versatile in the kitchen, and their health benefits are actually enhanced with cooking as the nutrients become more readily available with light cooking, such as sautéing, roasting or simmering.

Meet our nutrition team — January 2015

Our nutrition education team, comprised of Nick Rose, M.S., and Marilyn Walls, M.S., regularly provides PCC shoppers with expert advice on special diets, how to read food labels, recipes and more.

Ginger: a universal medicine — December 2014

Floral and pungent, ginger is a wonderful, warming, wintertime food that provides support for our immune, circulatory and digestive systems. These phenomenal health benefits can be obtained with just 1/2 teaspoon of fresh or dried ginger.

Eat onions and garlic for your health — November 2014

Onions, garlic, shallots, chives and leeks make up the allium family of vegetables, which provides great flavor and nutrition to cuisines all around the world. Alliums rarely are eaten alone; instead, their unique flavors are most often combined with other vegetables and spices, as they seem to make everything taste better.

Boost up on iron — October 2014

Iron is one of 15 minerals found in our environment known to be essential for our bodies, assisting with energy metabolism, oxygen transport and more. However, dietary iron is poorly absorbed; as a result, iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world.

What is kefir? — September 2014

I call kefir "supermilk" because it combines all of the nutritional benefits of milk (calcium, protein, potassium, B-12) with the numerous health benefits of probiotics, resulting in a highly absorbable (and delicious) beverage.

Follow the fiber — August 2014

Fiber doesn't receive as much praise as other nutritional buzzwords (antioxidants, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids), but it should — a food's fiber content is a great indicator of wholesome, minimally processed foods.

How can I eat healthy while traveling? — July 2014

Eating healthy while on the road, in a hotel, or at the airport is a challenge because of limited options at food courts and restaurants. But with some special planning and packing, eating healthy on the road can be done!

Simmer down: reducing inflammation through diet — June 2014

Discover 12 simple things you can do to help fight inflammation.

Anatomy of a nutrition facts panel — April 2014

Understanding the nutrition facts on a product can help you make more informed choices when it comes to your food. The FDA recently announced it’ll be updating the nutrition label, a change that will take place over the next couple years. In the meantime, it’s still helpful to know what exactly you should be looking for.

Drink more tea — March 2014

I am often asked to list just one simple dietary habit that would benefit everyone’s health, regardless of their current dietary patterns — and my response is almost always to drink more tea.

The health benefits of dark chocolate — February 2014

Thanks to unique antioxidants found naturally in the cocoa bean, dark chocolate has been recognized as a health food.

Oats: an affordable superfood — January 2014

Whole grain oats are one of the most economical, versatile and nutritious foods you can buy. A serving of organic rolled oats from our bulk bins costs you 15 cents while offering an impressive medley of nutritional benefits.

Smart holiday feasting — December 2013

Smart holiday feasting — December 2013

During the holidays it’s easy to overindulge given all the festive foods surrounding us at home, at work and at parties. If you are worried you may be overdoing it and would like to better control the number of delicious calories you consume at your next holiday feast, here are my top five tips for smart holiday feasting.

Rooting for potatoes — November 2013

Are potatoes healthy? PCC Nutrition Educator Nick Rose discusses the benefits of this favorite tuber.

GE Salmon — let's label it! — October 2013

Salmon, easily the most iconic food celebrated here in the Northwest, will very likely soon become the first ever GE animal available for human consumption.

Lycopene — September 2013

This antioxidant protects against prostate cancer, bone loss and heart disease risk factors.

Podcast available

All-essential potassium — August 2013

How much potassium do I need to thrive?

Podcast available

Can cherries help fight inflammation? — July 2013

Like all of summertime's delicious fruits, cherries are a rich source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A and C. But new research confirms cherries also are a standout among the most potent anti-inflammatory foods.

Podcast available

Pastured eggs — June 2013

Do pastured eggs offer any nutritional advantages? Our nutrition educator tells all.

Podcast available

Heart-healthy, high-heat cooking oils — May 2013

I've heard that olive oil isn't the best for cooking. What are my options?

Podcast available

Cooking with culinary herbs — April 2013

Cooking with culinary herbs is a wise and easy way to boost both the flavor and health benefits of your meals. Find out which offer the most health benefits in the kitchen.

Podcast available

Eating out with food allergies — March 2013

So, just how careful do you need to be about your food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity at potlucks, restaurants and parties? Our nutrition educator shares tips and advice.

Podcast available

Cruciferous vegetables — February 2013

Hear Nick explain how cruciferous vegetables help our bodies ward off several forms of cancer and otherwise boost our overall health.

Podcast available

Raw foods: will they help your health? — January 2013

Hear Nick speak in greater depth about raw foods.

Podcast available

Do spices offer any health benefits? — December 2012

Hear Nick speak in greater depth about the health benefits of spices.

Podcast available

Why you definitely should eat carrots — October 2012

Find out why carotenoids are so vital to good health (and, whether you really can turn orange from eating carrots) from PCC Nutrition Educator Nick Rose.

Podcast available

Getting into the groove of back to school — September 2012

The ultimate challenge when packing school lunches is keeping them interesting, tasty and balanced.

Podcast available

Hydration for health — August 2012

In the summertime, when we sweat a little bit more, hydration becomes even more important. Electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, sodium) are lost through sweat and therefore need to be replenished.

Hemp and other super seeds — July 2012

Explore a trio of super seeds — hemp, chia, flax — that is a great, plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Podcast available

The health benefits of pasture-raised foods — June 2012

Learn more about grass-fed meats, including cooking tips, from PCC Nutrition Educator Nick Rose and Assistant Merchandiser Jared Mitchell.

Podcast available

Plant-based diets — May 2012

Just how many ways can a plant-based diet benefit you? Find out in this Ask the Nutritionist podcast with PCC Nutrition Educator Nick Rose.

Podcast available

Are beer and wine good for me? — April 2012

Hear more about alcohol's nutritional content; current beer, wine and cider trends; and the cultural history of alcohol from Nick and former PCC Beer and Wine Specialist Julie Johnson.

Podcast available

Do the health benefits of coconut oil make it worthy to take as a supplement? — March 2012

Hear Nick speak in detail about coconut oil, dietary fat and saturated fats.

Podcast available

Which foods are the top sources of calcium? — February 2012

Hear Nick speak in greater depth about how to satisfy your body's calcium need in this podcast.

Podcast available

What is the difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic? — January 2012

Learn about probiotics and prebiotics in this podcast. Do both offer the same benefits for my immune system?

Podcast available

Why do holiday meals make me sleepy? — November 2011

Hear more about tryptophan, an essential amino acid found naturally in turkey and a variety of foods that can help relieve symptoms of insomnia, mild depression and other mood disorders (and, make you drift off to dreamland after a feast).

Podcast available

Pumpkin seeds: a nutritional powerhouse — October 2011

PCC Nutrition Educator Nick Rose speaks in greater depth about pumpkin seeds, their benefits and ways to enjoy them.

Podcast available

Breakfast protein options for any diet — September 2011

PCC Nutrition Educator Nick Rose provides a variety of hearty, wholesome options suitable for vegans and any omnivore.

Podcast available

Added sugars — August 2011

Is there a recommended amount of sugar not to exceed daily? Does it matter what type of sugar I eat?

Podcast available

Go wild for salmon — July 2011

Salmon is without a doubt the most iconic food here in the Northwest and also one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

Podcast available

Berry power: packed with nutrients — June 2011

These small wonders pack a punch in both flavor and nutrients and often seduce us with vibrant hues of purples, blues, and of course, ruby reds.

Podcast available

Gluten free? Here's what's on the menu — May 2011

The transition to gluten-free eating can lead to a much healthier diet, as it "forces" you to focus on fresh, wholesome foods.

Podcast available

Eating for energy, sports and fitness — April 2011

Whether you're training for a marathon, gearing up for a game or heading out on a beautiful hike, here are some tips to power up for success — including natural sources of potassium.

Podcast available

Big benefits of little sprouts — March 2011

Breads, tortillas, grains and tofu with sprouted ingredients deliver great flavor and also are easier to digest. Sprouted foods are an ancient tradition and just one of the many ways humans have found to make nutrients easier to absorb.

Podcast available

Heart-healthy dark chocolate — February 2011

You may have heard dark chocolate is rich not only in flavor but antioxidants, but how much is too much? And how "dark" should dark chocolate be? Hear more from former PCC Nutrition Educator Leika Suzumura.

Podcast available

Vitamin D, in depth — January 2011

Which foods offer the "sunshine vitamin" in abundance? Former PCC Nutrition Educator Leika Suzumura, R.D., gives you the lowdown.

Podcast available

Eating organic on a budget — August 2009

PCC Nutrition Education Manager Goldie Caughlan shares her budget-friendly shopping tips with PCC Food Writer Karen Gaudette.

Podcast available

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