Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


Leave a comment

Top 10 Brain Foods

by Daily Health Post on March 22, 2013

Boost your brain power and keep your cognitive processes running smoothly into old age with these top ten brain foods.

1. Olive Oil
Drizzling your salad with olive oil or using it to sauté veggies may help preserve your brain’s overall health and function as you age. A 2010 study found that diets rich in monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil, can improve scores on test of overall cognitive function as well as verbal memory.

2. Avocados
Like olive oil, avocados contain monounsaturated fats, which also contribute to proper blood flow to the brain and lower blood pressure. Since high blood pressure is a significant contributor to cognitive decline, eating foods like avocados that lower your risk of hypertension is a great way to ward off age-related brain power shortages.

3. Sardines
Rich in Omega-3s, sardines give your brain the fatty acids it needs to build and maintain cell membranes. Diets containing high amounts of Omega-3s have also been associated with improved memory and focus, as well as a lower long-term risk of dementia.

4. Walnuts
These fiber and protein-rich nuts contain another type of Omega-3 not found in animal sources: alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA. Plus, just about every type of nut, including walnuts, is rich in vitamin E, which can improve blood flow and ensure that your brain is getting the oxygen it needs to work efficiently.

5. Spinach
Popeye may have had the right idea. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that women who consumed more green leafy vegetables over 25 years exhibited fewer signs of age-related cognitive decline than those who avoided veggies like spinach, kale, and Brussels sprouts.


6. Coffee
Women who drink coffee have a far lower risk of developing depression than those who don’t, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Although the effects haven’t been studied in men, it’s likely that this benefit translates to them, too.

7. Tea
If you’re not a fan of coffee, freshly brewed tea is an excellent alternative. Lower levels of caffeine may still protect the brain from depression and boost focus and memory without the risk of anxiety and jitteriness, while the antioxidants in tea improve blood flow to the brain.

8. Beans
Your brain runs on glucose, which means that maintaining steady levels of blood sugar help your brain to work better. Beans provide a steady source of energy to your brain, along with protein, fiber, and minerals that keep the rest of your body functioning well.

9. Blueberries
Since they’re frequently touted as an antioxidant-rich superfood, you may be getting somewhat bored of blueberries. But this little fact might reinvigorate your love for this fruit: a study in mice found that a blueberry-enriched diet can not only prevent, but can actually reverse memory loss related to object recognition.

10. Water
When it comes to immediate cognitive decline, dehydration is a serious culprit. In fact, when you don’t drink enough water, your brain actually shrinks. This means that your brain works far less efficiently than when it is hydrated, likely leading to impaired executive functions.
Have any other tips for good brain health? Share them in the comments section!

Sources:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S089990071000136X
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ana.23593/abstract
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3/
http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1105943
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20336685
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15852398
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/eat-smart-healthier-brain

source: dailyhealthpost.com

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Vitamin B May Lower Stroke Risk

September 19th, 2013

New evidence suggests taking vitamin B supplements may help reduce the risk of stroke.

A study, published this week in the online issue of Neurology, analyzed 14 randomized clinical trials of vitamin B that included a total of 54,913 participants. All of the studies compared the supplement use with a placebo or a very low-dose B vitamin. The patients were then followed for a minimum of six months.

The purpose of this meta-analysis was to see if vitamin B lowered homocysteine levels in the blood, which are associated with atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries), as well as an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clot formation and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.

“Previous studies have conflicting findings regarding the use of vitamin B supplements and stroke or heart attack,” said study author Dr. Xu Yuming, with Zhengzhou University in Zhengzhou, China. “Some studies have even suggested that the supplements may increase the risk of these events.”

The data showed vitamin B lowered homocysteine levels and, therefore, the risk of stroke overall by 7%. But, researchers noted, taking vitamin B supplements did not appear to affect the severity of those strokes or the risk of death from stroke.

Vitamin B is an important nutrient for the body. It can be found naturally in a variety of foods such as beef liver, certain beans, bananas, light turkey meat, halibut and potato skins.


“B vitamins are essential for living,” notes Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietician and the author of “Diet Simple.” “They produce energy in your cells. They are water-soluble vitamins, which means if you take in too much, they are usually excreted by the kidneys. The exception is B12.”

The study authors also found that folic acid, a supplemental form of folate (vitamin B9), which is often found in fortified cereals, appeared to reduce the effect of vitamin B. Researchers did not find a reduction in stroke risk for vitamin B12.

“Based on our results, the ability of vitamin B to reduce stroke risk may be influenced by a number of other factors, such as the body’s absorption rate, the amount of folic acid or vitamin B12 concentration in the blood, and whether a person has kidney disease or high blood pressure,” said Yuming.

Although the scientists admit more research needs to be done, many stroke specialists feel this is a positive step forward.

“I think this is an exciting study, because we need more treatments for stroke,” says Dr. Teshamae Monteith, an assistant professor of clinical neurology at the University of Miami School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

“I believe safe options are necessary,” Monteith continued, “and this indeed could be that. But I don’t think people should start ingesting large amounts of vitamin B to avoid strokes. We just aren’t there yet.”

Yuming agrees. “Before you begin taking any supplements,” he warns, “you should always talk to your doctor.”

source: CNN


1 Comment

TOP 10 VEGETARIAN SOURCES OF PROTEIN

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.

Sources: 
http://www.mindbodygreen.com…
http://abcnews.go.com/…
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/…
http://www.huffingtonpost.com….


2 Comments

13 Superfoods for a Long and Happy Life

23rd April 2013   By Iryna Ostapets   Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Healthy eating is a good path to longevity. Many of us take supplements to add phytonutrients and minerals into the body. But the more nutritional needs you meet with your food consumption, the better the effects for your body. Consuming a variety of super-foods can provide the body with all the elements and nutrients that may be missing in your diet.
It was known from an ancient times that the best path to longevity is to comprise a good variety of foods crammed with vitamins and minerals. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have showed that healthy eating can decrease the risk of health diseases, cancer, diabetes and other infirmity. The Professor of Geriatrics at the University of Hawaii, Bradley Willcox also noted that the most beneficial diets rely heavily on fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes — foods that are naturally lower in calories and packed with nutrients.
The below super-foods have the potential to hamper the aging process, reinforce the immune system and maintain blood glucose levels. They prevent the build up of free radicals that are responsible for the development of age-related diseases.

Berries:

They are packed with antioxidants and natural compounds that assist to boost immunity. They contain anthocyanins which were confirmed by University of Georgia study to decrease the risk of colon cancer. Eating one or two servings of berries such blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or blackberries daily you can detain cognitive decline for older people.

 

Nuts:

These superfoods are versatile and a great source of healthy fats, protein vitamins and minerals. They can reduce the risk of cardiovascular and chronic diseases. Cashews, walnuts, almonds, peanuts and Brazil nuts are rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids. CBS news informs that a handful of any nuts can benefit your health, enlarge brain power, manage stress, hamper inflammation and keep fit for a long time.

 

Fish:

It has the highest level of Omega-3 fats that protect against heart diseases and strokes. Omega-3 combat inflammatory conditions, aging in cells and assist pull down blood pressure. Consuming two serving of fish can provide you with enough of Omega-3 fats. Tuna, salmon and other oily fish are in the list of the fish packed with abundant amount of these fatty acids.

 

Broccoli:

Researches have pointed out these veggies have extra life-extending benefits such as sulphoraphane, indole and phytochemicals. These health-protecting compounds can fight free radicals and keep its anti-cancer features. Broccoli is low in calories and a good alternative for healthy salads and sandwiches.

 

Tomatoes:

They contain generous content of lycopene that is associated with a proven cancer fighter. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and A, fiber, potassium and folate. The National Institutes of Health reports tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants that can decrease the risk of cancers.

Olive Oil:

Great source of monounsaturated “good fat” and vitamin E. It has excellent anti-inflammatory features and is clearly associated with cancer prevention and brain power. Two tablespoons of olive oil per day can benefit your health. It is better not to consume it a lot as it is darn caloric.

 

Beans:

They have the highest level of carbohydrates, resistant starch and fiber. Beans are excellent tool for cancer prevention, anti-diabetes and weight loss. They regulate blood sugar level, fight food cravings and decrease cholesterol level. Researchers found that the more fiber intake in your foods the less you are subject to breast cancer.

 

Seeds:

They are true fat sources that include a good variety of minerals, antioxidants, lignans, phytochemicals. Some seeds (flaxseed and sesame) have anti-cancer properties and versatile for health and brain health. Daily consumption of flaxseed can reduce the risk of breast cancer and the growth of their tumor cells.

 

Soy:

The consumption of fermented organic soy can promote weight loss and relieve menopausal symptoms. They are rich in isoflavone that lowers the risk of prostate and breast cancer. Moderate soy intake can have a good impact on bones and heart.

 

Bananas:

A well-balanced diet rich in fruits promotes longevity. Most of fruits have a plenty of healing properties and benefits, but we should place a much emphasis on bananas. They are important sources of potassium, vitamin C and B6, magnesium, fiber and other nutrients. They are naturally free from cholesterol and fat and balance your digestive processes.

 

Avocado:

They are full of vitamin E, fiber and monounsaturated fat. Eating avocados assists pump enough magnesium and bolster your immune system. It lowers the level of “bad” cholesterol and increases your “good” cholesterol level. New York University Langone Medical Center reports avocados contain 13 mg of calcium that can help you make bones strong.

 

Dark Chocolate:

It has the antioxidant, flavonol, found in cocoa beans that can reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Notice chocolate overeating can help you get extra calories. Dark chocolate ameliorates brain function as learning and memory ability.

 

Garlic:

It can be beneficial in boosting the immune system and includes a good amount of sulfur compounds that benefit heart health and lose weight. Garlic is crammed with antioxidants (vitamin C and selenium) that push out free radical from the body.
About the Author:
Iryna Ostapets is a health writer, blogger and health advocate who aims to help people achieve and maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. Passionate about healthy living and sport, she writes about natural health, nutrition, fitness, health tips and beauty at http://www.raipharmacies.com. An experienced Medical Writer, she has a Master’s Degree in English and advanced training in the medical field. Iryna continues to earn education certificates from the Australasian Medical Writers Association (AMWA).


Leave a comment

Hold the Cream: 5 Vegan Substitutes That Are Just as Good

May 14, 2013   By Leta Shy, POPSUGAR

Heavy cream can elevate many dishes, but its high saturated fat and calorie content doesn’t exactly make it the healthiest option. And if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, your meals may be lacking that distinct texture from the dairy product. Stop pining and get the creaminess back with these five vegan substitutes!

Avocado. The creamy high-fat content of avocados make them a perfect substitute for milk and cream. Use avocado in baking or as a base for creamy sauces; one of our favorite ways is this vegan creamy avocado pasta from Oh She Glows.

Beans. Pureed beans can offer the consistency you’re missing in those comforting creamy soups. Use canned cannellini beans; not only are the white beans the right hue when substituting for heavy cream, but their mild taste also won’t overpower other flavors in your dish.


Bananas. Who needs ice cream when you’ve got frozen bananas? Keep a few ripe ones in your freezer (peel them and put in a container before you do for easier handling once they’re frozen). Before creamy cravings strike, toss one or two in a food processor or blender with a little peanut butter and freeze for two hours. You’ll have a 150-calorie vegan ice cream treat to enjoy after dinner.

Coconut milk. It’s a convenient and obvious option for many dishes, but watch out for the fat content — like regular cream, coconut milk is high in saturated fat and calories as well. But if you just have to have that creamy taste, this vegan options works as an occasional indulgence. We love to use chilled and whipped coconut cream (from a can of full-fat coconut milk) in desserts like this strawberry coconut cream parfait.

Root vegetables. Like beans, adding pureed root veggies like sweet potatoes or celeriac to sauces and savory dishes adds a thick consistency that is similar to cream. You can try cooked and pureed root veggies in dishes like this delicious-looking vegan mac and cheese, which uses cannellini beans, sweet potato, and nutritional yeast to make a creamy thick sauce that rivals the Kraft version.


Leave a comment

10 Foods High in Calcium

By Dr. Edward F. Group III DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
Guest Writer for Wake Up World     20th February 2013

We all know that we need adequate amounts of calcium in our diet for strong bones and teeth. And while most people associate calcium with the consumption of cow’s milk, although recent research reveals a different story. Although homogenized and pasteurized milk does have high amounts of this important mineral it is not well absorbed or utilized in the body, milk products also often contain high levels of toxins, such as bovine growth hormones and antibiotics. The good news is that there are many other great foods high in calcium that are easy to incorporate into your daily diet. I must note however that raw organic goat or cow milk is a good source of calcium.

1. Sesame Seeds
These white little seed-wonders are very high in calcium, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. Raw sesame seeds possess almost 1000 mg of calcium per 100g serving. Tahini butter, a popular sesame seed-based nut butter has 426mg per 100g serving.

2. Chia Seeds
Many people are unaware that chia seeds are very high in calcium (as well as the beneficial Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids needed for health). A 3.5 ounce serving can provide about 631mg of calcium.

3. Dark Leafy Greens
From greens to spinach to kale, getting our calcium from dark green leafy vegetables is a an excellent health choice. Spinach ranks very high in calcium, with 56mg of calcium per cup. A 100g serving of collards packs a 145 mg calcium punch. One cup of steamed bok choy has around 158 mg of the mineral. Kale ranks in with 139mg of calcium and the spicy mustard green has 103mg of calcium per 100g serving.


4. Quinoa
A light and healthy whole grain, one cup of cooked quinoa offers approximately 60-100 mg of calcium, not to mention a high amount of potassium, zinc and protein.

5. Blackstrap Molasses
This is an excellent sweetener for teas and baked goods. High in multiple vitamins and minerals, one tablespoon of this thick dark molasses will give you 172 mg of your daily calcium needs. Try it in your morning cup of organic tea or coffee.

6. Oranges
One cup of freshly-squeezed organic orange juice offers approximately 72 mg of calcium. Not to mention plenty of vitamin c, which will significantly improve the amount of calcium your body absorbs. Besides vitamin c and calcium, oranges are also a great source for potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene.

7. Beans
Many common beans are high in calcium. Winged beans possess 442mg of calcium per 100g serving. Many white beans are very high in calcium. Most white beans have approximately 175mg of calcium per serving. Navy beans are also a great source of calcium, with 127 mg per cup. These beans make an excellent soup base, when our bones most need the support of calcium.

8. Broccoli
One cup of these green florets offers approximately 74 mg of calcium, along with 120mg of Vitamin C which will help your body absorb the calcium. Broccoli also contains a high amount of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate and dietary fiber.

9. Dried Fruits & Nuts
Many dried fruits are high in calcium. In fact, eating five dried figs per day gives you 135 mg of calcium. Almonds are also extremely high in calcium. Raw, or ground into nut butter, almonds hold 266mg of calcium per 100g.

10. Dried Herbs
Who would have thought that adding dried herbs to your dishes would increase your calcium intake? Dried savory spice holds a whopping 2132mg of calcium per 100g serving. Other dried herbs that are calcium rich include dill, basil, marjoram, thyme, oregano, poppy seed, mint, celery seed, sage, parsley and rosemary.


2 Comments

Top 7 Sources of Plant-Based Protein

BY RICH ROLL     APRIL 11, 2012

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not only possible to optimize your health on a plant-based diet; when done right, I actually recommend it. 

But where do you get your protein?

I field this question constantly. Despite deeply ingrained but misleading conventional wisdom, the truth is that you can survive without meat, eggs and dairy. Believe it or not, you can actually thrive, and never suffer a protein deficiency. Because no matter how active your lifestyle, a well-rounded whole food plant-based diet provides more than enough protein to satisfy the body’s needs without all the artery-clogging saturated fats that dominate the typical American diet.

I speak from experience. As a vegan endurance athlete, I place a high tax on my body. And yet my plant-based diet has fueled me for years without any negative impact on building lean muscle mass or recovery. In fact, at age 45 I continue to improve and am as fit, healthy, and strong as I have ever been.

Here’s a list of my top-7 plant-based foods high in protein:

1. Quinoa: 11g Protein / Cup

A grain like seed, quinoa is a high protein alternative to rice or pasta, served alone or over vegetables and greens. It provides a good base for a veggie burger and is also a fantastic breakfast cereal when served cold with almond or coconut milk and berries.


2. Lentils: 17.9g  Protein / Cup

Delicious, nutritious and super easy to prepare. Trader Joe’s sells them pre-cooked and I’m not afraid to just eat them cold right out of the package for lunch or a snack on the run.

3. Tempeh: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces

A fermented soybean-based food, tempeh is a healthy protein-packed alternative to it’s non-fermented cousin tofu. It makes for a great veggie burger and doubles as a tasty meat alternative to meatballs in pasta, or over brown rice and vegetables.

4. Seitan: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces

An excellent substitute for beef, fish and soy products, one serving provides about 25% of your RDA of protein. But not for those with gluten sensitivities, as it is made from wheat gluten.

5. Beans (Black, Kidney, Mung, Pinto): 12-15g Protein / Cup

I love beans. Great on a veggie burrito, in chili and soups, on salads or over rice with vegetables, beans of all varieties are a daily staple of my diet.

6. Spirulina: 6g Protein / 10 grams

A blue-green algae, spirulina is a highly bioavailable complete protein containing all essential amino acids. At 60% protein (the highest of any natural food), it’s a plant-based protein powerhouse that finds it way into my Vitamix blends daily.

7. Hemp Seeds: 16g Protein / 3 Tbsp

With a perfect ration of omega-6 and omega-3 EFA’s, hemp seeds are another bioavailable complete protein rivaled only by spirulina. A simple and great addition to a multitude of dishes, from breakfast cereal to salads to smoothies to vegetables and rice.