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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness

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Go Nuts For Almonds: Eating Just A Handful A Day Can Boost Diet, Says Study

In the study, the team of researchers asked 28 pairs of parents and their children living in North Central Florida to add almonds or almond butter to their diet for a three-week period. Parents were asked to eat 1.5 ounces of whole almonds everyday, or the equivalent in almond butter, with children consuming half an ounce of whole almonds or the equivalent in almond butter.

Healthy Eating Index scores were taken before the participants started adding almonds into their diet. The score is a measure of diet quality in line with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A score below 51 indicates a poor diet, a score between 51 and 80 suggests a diet that needs improvement and a score higher than 80 indicates a good diet.

The researchers saw that after adding almonds to their diet, the parents’ Healthy Eating Index average scores increased from 53.7 ± 1.8 to 61.4 ± 1.4, while the children’s scores went up from 53.7 ± 2.6 to 61.4 ± 2.2.

A new study from the University of Florida
suggests that you can improve your diet
simply by eating a handful of almonds each day.

Participants also increased their Healthy Eating Index scores for total protein foods and decreased the intake of empty calories.

The researchers believe the explanation for the improvements is that both parents and children were replacing their usual unhealthy snacks with almonds. In the past 20 years, there has been a decrease in the per-capita consumption of healthy nuts and seeds in children aged 3 to 6 years old, and an increase in the consumption of salty processed snacks such as potato chips and pretzels.

Researchers also believe that what 3 to 6 year-old children eat is particulary important in providing lifelong health benefits. “The habits you have when you are younger are carried into adulthood, so if a parent is able to incorporate almonds or different healthy snacks into a child’s diet, it’s more likely that the child will choose those snacks later on in life,” said doctoral student Alyssa Burns, who conducted the study.

The team also advised that in addition to nuts, adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to one’s diet can help to improve its overall quality. Whole food approaches, such as adding in almonds, could be a simple and achievable way to improve overall public health.

The findings of this study were published in the December issue of the Journal of Nutrition Research.

source: www.ctvnews.ca  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


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One of the most common myths about the vegetarian diet is that after ditching meat it becomes nearly impossible to meet the suggested guidelines for protein intake.

The USDA recommends that women get about 46 grams of protein a day and men get about 56. Some people, like athletes and pregnant or breastfeeding women, may need more, according to WebMD.

But, thanks in part to initiatives like Meatless Monday, this year, Americans are expected to eat 12 percent less meat and poultry than five years ago, USA Todayreported.

While protein is essential to growth, building muscle, the immune system and heart and respiratory functions, MSNBC explains, meat-free protein has the benefit of generally being lower in calories and fat than the animal variety.

Whether you’re a vegetarian , or not there are lots of tasty meat-free sources of protein that also pack additional health benefits. Read through the list of the top 10 vegetarian sources of protein below and tell us your favorite in the comments.

1. Spirulina
Spirulina is 65-71 percent complete protein compared to beef, which is only 22 percent, and lentils, which is only 26 percent.
In addition to being protein-rich, spirulina is an excellent source of vital amino acids and minerals easily assimilated by your body. You would need to consume only two tablespoons of spirulina as a protein substitute for a meal.

2. Hemp
Protein Content: Seeds, 6 g per ounce; Milk, 2 g per cup
If you’re allergic to soy, or just freaked out by its estrogenic activity, hemp products are your next best bet. Sold as a dairy alternative or as seeds, hemp is one of very few plant proteins that supply you with all the essential amino acids, acids your body can’t produce on its own to build muscle and create more protein. The fatty acids in hemp seeds and hemp milk also boost your immune system, and the crop itself is highly sustainable, growing as fast as 10 feet in 100 days and naturally requiring very few pesticides.

3. Chia Seeds
Protein Content: 4 g per ounce
Though the protein content isn’t as high as some other vegetarian foods out there, chia seeds pack a huge nutritional punch. For starters, they’re an incredible fiber resource with nearly half (11 g) of the amount you need every day in a single ounce. That helps fill you up and eat fewer calories. They also contain 18 percent of your daily calcium requirement, more than triple that of milk, which helps your bones. Chia seeds have no flavor, so you can add a tablespoon to any food you wish to without altering its flavor, and unlike flax, chia seeds don’t need to be ground in order for your body to absorb all the nutrients.

4. Quinoa
Protein Content: 1 cup of cooked quinoa (185 g) contains 8.14 grams of protein.
Quinoa is perhaps one of the most perfect non-animal sources of protein on the planet. What makes quinoa (pronounce keen-wah) unique is that it is the only plant based source of complete protein. “Complete” means that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that are crucial to human function and health. It is also a wonderful option for those that follow a gluten free diet, since it is completely gluten free.


5. Tempeh
Protein Content: A firmer, chewier cousin of tofu, a half-cup serving of this soybean-based bite has 15 grams of protein. 
Fermented foods ought to be part of everyone’s diet, vegetarian or not. Tempeh is one that is chewy and delicious, even to die-hard burger fans. It’s healthy and a much better bet than heavily processed tofu or “mock meats” that are brimming with poor-quality modified proteins, sodium, chemicals and starchy fillers. In my opinion it doesn’t compare nutritionally or in taste to a juicy steak but as vegetarian options go it ain’t half bad.

6. Almonds and Almond Butter
Protein Content: (between 6 and 8 grams, per handful).
When adding a handful of nuts to your salad for protein, go with almonds. Almond butter is less toxic and allergenic than peanut butter, although the protein amounts are similar by comparison. Still, this is about quality protein, not necessarily the amount. 

7. Veggies
Yep, good old greens will pack a protein punch. One cup of cooked spinach has about 7 grams of protein. The same serving of French beans has about 13 grams. Two cups of cooked kale? 5 grams. One cup of boiled peas? Nine grams. 

8. Lentils and Beans
A cup of iron-rich lentils packs 18 grams of protein, almost as much as three ounces of steak. One cup of chickpeas, contains 15 grams of protein, as does a cup of black or kidney beans. 

9. Organic, Plain, Greek Yogurt (not vegan)
Protein Content: 15 to 20 g per 6-ounce serving
All dairy products are good sources of protein. A glass of milk provides you with 8 g, but Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse, with twice the protein and half the sugar and carbs of regular yogurt. In fact, Greek yogurt contains the same protein as a three-ounce serving of lean meat. Top that with a handful of nuts and you could get half of your daily protein intake at breakfast. 

10. Eggs (not vegan)
Protein Content: 6 g per egg
There’s a reason the incredible, edible egg is such a popular breakfast choice. The protein in eggs has the highest biological value, a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs, of any food, including beef. And the yolks contain vitamin B12, deficiencies of which are common in vegetarian diets and can cause attention, mood, and thinking problems while raising blood homocysteine levels, a risk factor for heart disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

To get the healthiest eggs, find a local producer whose chicken flocks are small and feed off of grass, bugs, and organic grain; studies have shown that E. coli and salmonella contamination in eggs is directly related to the size of the flock.


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The Five Healthiest Nuts

By Julie O’Hara


1 OZ./49 NUTS
158 calories, 13 g fat 3 g fiber
Pistachios are high in cholesterol-lowering plant sterols and have more potassium than most nuts (291 mg per ounce).


1 OZ./23 NUTS
163 calories, 14 g fat, 4 g fiber
One ounce provides half your daily vitamin E—more than any other nut. It also supplies 8 percent of your daily calcium needs.


1 OZ./21 NUTS
178 calories, 17 g fat, 3 g fiber
These are rich in iron and proanthocyanidins, antioxidants that strengthen blood vessels and prevent UTIs.


185 calories, 18 g fat, 2 g fiber
Walnuts deliver the most omega-3 fatty acids and contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which supports the immune system.


1 OZ./6 NUTS
186 calories, 19 g fat, 2 g fiber
A single Brazil nut provides your daily dose of selenium, an antioxidant that may play a role in preventing breast cancer.

source:  shape.com

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10 great calcium-rich foods

Boost your bone health with these tasty foods
By Cary Galloway

According to the Osteoporosis Society of Canada, there are 1.4 million Canadians who suffer from osteoporosis, a bone-weakening disease that leaves bones fragile and susceptible to fractures. You may know that calcium is a big factor in prevention, but how much do you really need and which foods deliver sufficient calcium to keep your bones healthy and strong?

Women between the ages of 19-50 need 1,000 mg of calcium per day, and women over 50 should be striving for 1,500 mg, according to The Osteoporosis Society of Canada. This may seem like a lot, but it’s actually fairly easy to reach your recommended daily intake if you choose the right foods. We’ve all been told that milk is the best source of calcium and, according to Health Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating, adults should consume 2-4 servings of dairy per day, but if you’re intolerant to dairy products or simply want to get calcium from other sources, read on:

10 great calcium sources

1. Sardines
My dad’s favourite snack has always been a sardine sandwich and, as a kid, I would turn my nose up and think he was crazy. But Dad was on the right track because 3-1/2 oz. of sardines provide the body with 370 mg of calcium. That’s more than one cup of milk. Sardines should be eaten with their soft bones because the bones hold up to 50 per cent of the calcium of the fish.

2. Yogurt
Not only does yogurt provide you with beneficial bacterial cultures, which keep your immune system strong and your digestive tract healthy, it also provides a whopping 300 mg of calcium per 3/4 cup serving.

3. Salmon
Salmon has been praised for its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, but it’s also a powerhouse when it comes to calcium. 3 oz. of salmon (with bones) delivers 180 mg of calcium and is a delicious alternative to chicken or meat for those nice summer barbeques.

4. Blackstrap molasses
There’s something comforting about some warm gingerbread with a nice cup of tea. It’s also comforting to know that the molasses that’s gone into the recipe contains 170 mg of calcium per serving. 

5. Amaranth
Amaranth is one of the newest grains to hit health-food shelves, even though it’s been around for a while. You will see it in various cereals and crackers, but it’s even more delicious and nutritious when it’s made fresh at home. A 1/2 cup provides the body with 150 mg of calcium, and it’s a great alternative to pasta or rice when used as a side dish.

6. Tofu
Tofu is a great alternative to chicken or beef in stir-fries, and is delicious when marinated in your favourite flavours. 3-1/2 oz. of tofu contains 125 mg of calcium and it’s also packed with isoflavones, which bring an abundance of health benefits your way.

7. Beans
Beans are good any time of year, whether in soup, a refreshing salad, comforting chili or on their own and they’re a great way to add fibre, protein and calcium to your diet. Whether you choose white beans, navy beans, chickpeas or another favourite, you’ll obtain anywhere from 60-100 mg of calcium per 1/2 cup serving.

8. Almonds
Whether eaten alone, thrown in a salad or used as a crust on chicken or fish, almonds are one of the tastiest ways to reach your recommended daily intake of calcium. A handful (1/4 cup) of almonds contains 95 mg of calcium and are also a great source of fibre, protein and monounsaturated fats.

9. Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds bring so much flavour to any dish, especially when they’re roasted. They add a nice finish to any plate and are a fast and easy way to get some extra calcium. One tablespoon contains 90 mg of calcium, so next time you’re about to indulge in your favourite dinner, sprinkle a tablespoon or two on top.

10. Turnip greens
Here’s another great reason to add greens to your plate. Boiled turnip greens contain 95 mg of calcium per 1/2 cup serving, and okra, bok choy and broccoli follow with 35 to 50 mg per serving. Steam, roast or simply toss them into your next stir-fry and your bones will thank you.

It’s also important to remember that regular consumption of red meat; salt, caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats and carbonated soft drinks reduce or inhibit calcium absorption. Everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb, but if you follow this list, you’re on the right path to getting your daily dose of calcium.

Cary Galloway is a registered nutritional consulting practitioner (RNCP) and a certified nutritional practitioner. She has been working in the health field since 2001 when she obtained a degree in kinesiology and health promotion from Acadia University. Cary uses her knowledge in health, wellness and nutrition to provide guidance to individuals who want to improve their health.

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6 Foods for Better Sleep

by Maren Kasselik 

Instead of downing a glass of vino or popping a sedative, try fighting insomnia au naturale next time—through melatonin. There’s been a lot of buzz concerning the antioxidant lately, and for a good reason: It controls your internal clock. Like an electric alarm clock that can be set and reset, your body’s is adjustable as well.
In a recent study, for example, people who drank an ounce of cherry juice twice a day for a week enjoyed an extra 25 minutes of sleep every night and slept more soundly.
How? Tart cherry juice is laced with tryptophan, an essential amino acid that converts into serotonin, which, in turn, transforms into melatonin in your body, says study coauthor Jason Ellis, Ph.D., the director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research.
Your body naturally creates melatonin—a neurotransmitter—in the pineal gland throughout the day to control your internal clock, Ellis explained toMen’s Health.

Melatonin stabilizes your sleep and wakefulness patterns by regulating the chemicals in your body that make you feel either drowsy or alert—it doesn’t induce sleep like a pill might. If you’re a shift worker, you’re trying to overcome jetlag, or if you’re struggling with random bouts of sleeplessness, increasing your melatonin levels can help you overcome a mismatch between the timing of your internal clock and your environmental routine, Ellis says.

Apart from tart cherries, there are other melatonin-producing food sources you can eat to increase your circulating melatonin. These foods will boost your melatonin the most (in nanograms produced per gram eaten):
Raspberries 387
Almonds 39
Sunflower seeds 29
Tart cherries (up to) 15
Flaxseeds 12
Strawberries (up to) 11

Sources: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition and Food Chemistry      menshealth.com

November 9, 2011       Additional research by Laura Roberson

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What Nuts Are High in Protein And Low in Saturated Fat

Feb 10, 2011 | By Catherine Cox 

Most nuts are a good source of protein and are low in saturated fat; the amounts vary among nuts. Though nuts are high in total fat, it comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats because they are healthier for your heart. Limit total fat to no more than 30 percent of daily calories and saturated fat to no more than 7 percent. On a 2,000-calorie diet, this would be 67 g total fat and 15 g saturated fat.

Nuts and Heart Health

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, regular intake of nuts – one ounce at least five times a week – may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Adding nuts to a diet that is low in saturated fat can lower total and LDL cholesterol levels and may decrease inflammation. Nuts are good sources of vitamin E and other antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage. Most are also good sources of fiber, which helps improve cholesterol. Because nuts are high in calories, substitute them for other less healthy snacks to curtail weight gain.

Protein and Saturated Fat

Among the true nuts, almonds, pistachios and sunflower seeds have the highest amount of protein compared to saturated fat. Per 1-oz. serving, they each provide 6 g protein; almonds contain 1 g saturated and 15 g total fat, pistachios, 1.5 g saturated and 12.5 g total fat, sunflower seeds, 1.5 g saturated and 14 g total fat. Walnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts each provide 4 g protein and 1.5 g saturated fat. The total fat content is 18 g for walnuts, 17.5 g for hazelnuts and 19.5 g for pine nuts. Cashews and Brazil nuts also have 4 g protein but with higher saturated fat contents. Cashews contain 2.5 g saturated and 13 g total fat while Brazil nuts have 4.5 g saturated and 19 g total fat. Pecans and macadamia nuts are lower in protein and have a total fat content that makes them higher in calories compared to other nuts. Pecans have 2.5 g protein, 2 g saturated and 21 g total fat, while macadamia nuts have only 2 g protein, 3.5 g saturated and 21.5 g total fat.


Walnuts stand out from other nuts because they are particularly high in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, or alpha linolenic acid. Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fat that control blood clotting and help form cell membranes in the brain. ALA protects your heart by reducing plaque build-up and inflammation, lowering risk of heart attack and heart disease death and decreasing rhythm problems. Aim for at least 1.6 g ALA daily if you are a man and 1.1 g ALA if you are a woman. Just one tablespoon of walnuts contains 2.6 g ALA, according to the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Other nuts are not significant sources of ALA.

Soy Nuts and Peanuts

Soy nuts and peanuts are technically legumes but they have nutrient profiles and health benefits that are similar to those of nuts. Soy nuts are even higher in protein and lower in fat and calories. A 1-oz. serving provides 11 g protein, less than 1 g saturated and 6 g total fat. The protein is a higher quality protein, compared to tree nuts, based on its amino acid profile. Also, soy nuts contain 0.6 g ALA in ¼ cup. Peanuts provide 6.5 g protein, 2 g saturated and 14 g total fat per ounce.


Article reviewed by Billie Jo Jannen Last updated on: Feb 10, 2011