Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


2 Comments

Eyes are the windows to chocolate addiction: study

Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca  Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chocoholics trying to hide their habit may want to keep dark glasses at hand, suggests a new study, which found the brain’s pleasure response to food can actually be seen in the eyes.

In a small study of nine patients, U.S. researchers measured dopamine levels in the eyes of their subjects after they had tasted chocolate.

Dopamine is the chemical associated with the brain’s reward, pleasure and addiction centre. Dopamine is also released in the eye in response to light exposure.

The researchers used electroretinography (ERG), a tool used by ophthalmologists to look for retinal damage, to measure increases of dopamine in the retina. They found a surge in dopamine activity when the eye was exposed to a flash of light just as the subject ate a piece of brownie. A similar spike was noticed when subjects were given the drug methylphenidate to trigger a dopamine response.

These spikes were far greater than when subjects were exposed to light while only drinking water.

chocolate

“What makes this so exciting is that the eye’s dopamine system was considered separate from the rest of the brain’s dopamine system,” lead researcher Dr. Jennifer Nasser, associate professor of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel, said in a statement.

“So most people – and indeed many retinography experts told me this – would say that tasting a food that stimulates the brain’s dopamine system wouldn’t have an effect on the eye’s dopamine system.”

The findings are published in the journal Obesity.

Nasser cautions that the study is small, and the findings must be replicated in larger studies. However, if replicated, the research may lead to the use of ERG to study food addiction, which could lead to new ideas for obesity prevention. If a doctor or nutritionist can identify foods that cause a huge dopamine spike in a patient, then they can help devise a diet that avoids those triggers.

“My research takes a pharmacology approach to the brain’s response to food,” Nasser said.

“Food is both a nutrient delivery system and a pleasure delivery system, and a ‘side effect’ is excess calories. I want to maximize the pleasure and nutritional value of food but minimize the side effects. We need more user-friendly tools to do that.”

source: CTV


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

10 Habits That Will Help You Become The Healthiest, Slimmest Version Of You

By Mary Vance

Looking to get in the best shape of your life this year? Here are 10 foods and habits to help you get there.

1. Eat protein. 

It’s essential because your body uses it for muscle and tissue repair, and it breaks down into the amino acids used to synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain responsible for good mood, sex drive, appetite control, sleep, and regulating cravings. 

Lack of quality protein is one of the most common factors I see with clients having difficulty with weight loss. They’re either eating too many grain-based foods for their physiology (and the lectins present in grains can cause inflammation that prevents weight loss), or they’re just not eating enough protein with meals, so they’re not satisfied. 

Examples of quality protein are: grass fed beef and lamb; organic poultry; cage free eggs, preferably from a local farm; and wild fish. For vegetarians, legumes are not a complete source of protein, meaning they do not provide all essential amino acids, so combine with quinoa or brown rice.

2. Eat good fats. 

If you are fat phobic, listen up: eating the right kinds of fat will not make you fat. You know what will? Sugar. Gluten. Processed foods (and yes, that includes your “healthy” morning boxed cereal). Good fats stoke your metabolism and encourage weight loss! Your brain is mostly fat, and your cell membranes need fat to stay permeable, allowing nutrients to enter. Good fats are coconut oil, olive oil, grass fed butter, avocado, and fats present in organic meat. Avoid refined vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats.

3. Get some cinnamon. 

This amazing and antioxidant-rich spice has a blood sugar and insulin balancing effect for stable energy and reduced hunger, and it may lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Add 1 teaspoon to your morning smoothie.

4. Drink green tea. 

It’s thermogenic, contains antioxidants, and is an all around miracle beverage as far as I’m concerned. Drink it in the mornings instead of coffee, which jacks your blood sugar and can leave you with a crash accompanied by wicked sugar cravings in the afternoon. Green tea gives you a pleasant boost and may reduce cravings. Have a cup after lunch to ward off the dreaded 3pm crash.


5. Drink more filtered water. 

It flushes toxins and helps regulate metabolism. We sometimes confuse thirst for hunger, so if you’re feeling hungry when you shouldn’t be, drink a glass of water. Add cucumber slices and lemon wedges to spice it up.

6. Do some burst training and yoga. 

Instead of pounding the pavement for hours (I can’t tell you how many marathon-training clients have come to me befuddled by the fact that they’re actually gaining weight), try medium to high intensity interval training. 

How it works: Walk for 1 minute; sprint for 30 seconds. Repeat this circuit for 15 to 20 minutes at whatever intensity is right for you. It’s a much more effective way to burn fat than running for hours. Alternate with yoga to elongate muscles and center yourself, and you’re golden.

7. Sleep 7 to 9 hours every night. 

Seven to nine hours of sleep is essential to maintain healthy body composition. Your body perceives lack of sleep as a stress, which raises cortisol, increasing sugar cravings and fat storage. Ever notice how you crave sugar and carbs the day after you haven’t slept well? Also, if you’re chugging coffee because you’re not sleeping enough, you’re burning out your adrenals and driving up cortisol. Unplug from your devices, and get to bed by 11pm latest.

8. Enjoy some dark chocolate. 

It may contribute to lower overall blood glucose levels; it makes you feel good; and it is chock full of antioxidant-rich dreamy deliciousness. Various studies show that dark chocolate eaters have lower body fat. Choose 70% or higher dark chocolate, which has far less sugar than milk chocolate, and doesn’t contain dairy.

9. Eat 35 to 50 grams of fiber daily. 

Fiber binds to toxins in the gut and helps to whisk them out of the body, scrubbing your colon clean in the process. I’ll spare you a lecture on insoluble and soluble fiber, but you need a certain amount of both because soluble fiber (fruit, legumes) makes you feel full and stabilizes blood sugar, and insoluble fiber (grains, leafy greens) feeds the good bacteria in your gut and fosters regularity.

10. Eat probiotic foods. 

Studies show that probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your gut, play a role in weight loss and help prevent weight gain. Probiotics are essential for synthesizing certain vitamins, good digestive function, and immune health. Get them from raw kraut, beet kvass or kombucha, or kefir if you tolerate dairy.