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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Your Ultimate High-Fiber Grocery List

By Gina Shaw    WebMD Feature      Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD

The next time you go food shopping, put these items in your cart. They’re great sources of fiber, which can cut your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, is good for your digestion, and helps you feel full.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries all have around 3 to 4 grams of fiber. (Eat the apple peels – that’s where the most fiber is!)
  • Raspberries win the fiber race at 8 grams per cup.
  • Exotic fruits are also good sources of fiber: A mango has 5 grams, a persimmon has 6, and 1 cup of guava has about 9.
  • Dark-colored vegetables. In general, the darker the color of the vegetable, the higher the fiber content. Carrots, beets, and broccoli are fiber-rich. Collard greens and Swiss chard have 4 grams of fiber per cup. Spinach also packs a punch at 7 grams of fiber per half-cup. Artichokes are among the highest-fiber veggies, at 10 grams for a medium-sized one.
  • Potatoes. Russet, red, and sweet potatoes all have at least 3 grams of fiber in a medium-sized spud, if you eat the skin and all.

Dry and Canned Goods

  • Stock up on beans. Navy and white beans are the most fiber-rich, but all beans are fiber-packed. Any of these is a good choice for your shopping cart: garbanzo, kidney, lima, or pinto beans. They make great soups and chilis, and are a flavorful addition to salads. Beans are also high in protein, so if you’re cutting back on red meat, they’re a healthy, filling substitute.
  • Include other legumes. Peas, soybeans (edamame), and lentils are also high in fiber.

bread
Bread and Grains

      • Check cereal labels. Most cereals have at least some fiber content, but they’re not all created equal. Any cereal with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving is a good source.
      • Whole-grain breads. Seven-grain, dark rye, cracked wheat, and pumpernickel breads are good choices.
      • Whole grains. Bulgur wheat, brown rice, wild rice, and barley are all tasty substitutions for white rice.

The Snack Aisle

      • Nuts and seeds. A handful of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, or almonds gives you at least 3 grams of fiber. They are also high in calories, though, so make a little go a long way.
      • Popcorn . Three cups of air-popped popcorn have about 4 grams of fiber.

The Cold Case

      • Try foods with fiber added. Milk and other dairy products, and most juices, naturally have no or low fiber. New products, however, are changing that picture: Look for labels on orange juice, milk, and yogurt that say fiber is added or “fiber fortified.”

 

source: www.webmd.com
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5 Surprising Health Benefits of Hemp

Brandi, selected from Diets in Review     August 17, 2013
  
Hemp has always had trouble stepping out of the shadow of its dirty cousin marijuana. While it is closely related to whacky tobaccy, hemp has microscopic amounts of THC — the chemical in marijuana that gets you high — and eating hemp foods won’t jeopardize your next drug test. The health benefits of hemp are so vast that people are beginning to abandon the antiquated stereotypes of the versatile plant.

Sharon Palmer, author of The Plant Powered Diet, wasn’t wasting her breath when she said, “I think hemp is the next ‘it’ food — it has been for a while.” The hemp seed is bursting with Omega-6 and Omega-3, essential fatty acids that have heart health and anti inflammatory benefits. Hemp seeds are nutty in flavor and breathe life into salads, desserts, yogurts, cereals, and breads. Hemp seeds can be turned into butter, milk, protein powder, finishing oil, and soap.

Unfortunately, Uncle Sam outlawed hemp farming in 1958, a shame when you consider how amazing a crop it is. The plant thrives without pesticides, purifies the soil around it, and kills weeds. The U.S. is the only country that bans industrial hemp farming, quelling what could be an agricultural and financial boon for our indebted country.

Adding hemp foods to your diet is something you should seriously consider, and below are five health benefits of hemp you might not have known.


Five Hemp Health Benefits You Didn’t Know About

=> The protein and fiber in hemp combine to slow digestion, which prevents spikes in blood sugar and therefore sustains your body’s energy. A diet rich in hemp promotes digestive regularity.

=> When sprinkled on your cereal or fruit at breakfast, hemp protein and fiber also help aid in satiety, which will prevent you from snacking and keep you fuller longer.

=> The Omega-3 fatty acids in hemp reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, and may even ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Hemp seeds are one of the few Omega-3 sources found in plants.

=> The Omega-6 fatty acids in hemp stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and help the brain function.

=> Hemp seeds contain essential amino acids, which improves muscle control, mental function, and normal body maintenance of cells, muscle, tissues, and organs.

Sharon Palmer contributed to this report.

source: www.care2.com


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Fruit Isn’t Making You Fat, and Here’s Why

June 27, 2013    By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

Sugar has been making headlines as of late, with celebrities and trainers alike singling it out as one of the key culprits in America’s obesity crisis. Trouble is, fruit–because it contains natural sugar–sometimes gets lumped in with foods like baked goods, candy, and sugary drinks, and as a result, unnecessarily shunned. But in my private practice, I still recommend eating fruit–even for clients trying to lose weight.

Here are five important reasons to continue to enjoy cherries, berries, melon and other juicy gems, as part of a healthy weight loss strategy.

Fruit eaters tend to weigh less
Even I, a nutritionist, was surprised by the research, which has found that people who eat more servings of fruit have lower BMIs, even more so than veggie eaters. Scientists aren’t sure why, but it may be because fruits tend to replace higher calorie goodies and treats, whereas veggies tend to be add-ons. In other words, you’re much more likely to choose an apple (rather than broccoli) instead of a cookie. And that swap-out strategy can result in significant calorie savings over time. Even just once a week, reaching for one cup of fresh blueberries rather than a blueberry muffin would save 19,552 calories in a year’s time, enough to shed at least five pounds of body fat. In addition, emerging research indicates that consuming more produce is tied to smaller waist measurements, and lower body fat percentages, even without taking in fewer calories, meaning that the quality of your calories is key.

Fruit is packed with water and fiber
Apart from impressive nutrients, fresh fruit is high in water and fiber, so its naturally occurring sugar is less concentrated than other sweet foods. For example, one cup of whole strawberries naturally contains about 7 grams of sugar, compared to about 13 grams in one tablespoon of maple syrup, 17 in a tablespoon of honey, 21 grams in 17 gummy bears, or 30 in a 12 ounce can of cola. And even in fruits that pack more sweetness per bite, the sugar is bundled with valuable protective substances. Mango, for example, has been shown to prevent or stop the growth of breast and colon cancer cells.

Fruit has awesome antioxidants
While you’ll find some of the same vitamins and minerals in both veggies and fruits, eliminating the latter altogether would cut out a broad spectrum of antioxidants that are unique to specific fruits or fruit “families.” In other words, the antioxidants found in stone fruits (cherries, peaches, plums) differ from those found in pomes (apples, pears), citrus (oranges, grapefruits, tangerines), melon (honeydew, cantaloupe), berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries), and tropical fruits (banana, mango, papaya). That’s key, because different types of antioxidants do different things. One study, in female volunteers, found that eating a wider array of the exact same amount of produce for two weeks resulted in significantly less oxidation, a marker for premature aging and disease. In other words, even at the same quantity, a greater diversity offers more benefits. If you think of antioxidants as “cell defenders,” it just makes sense–smaller numbers of troops from a larger number of armed services–each with distinct abilities–offer more overall protection. To reap the rewards, the smartest strategy is to not only eat fruit, but mix it up–rather than munching an apple every day, alternate the types of fruit you buy, as well as the colors.


Fruit has beauty benefits
More good news about those aforementioned antioxidants–the rewards of consuming a wider assortment can literally be seen in your skin. One recent study tracked the diets of 35 people, took photos of them, and asked others to rate the pics. Those who ate an average of 2.9 more portions of produce daily, including both veggies and fruits, were rated as healthier looking, and those who downed an extra 3.3 portions per day were ranked as more attractive. Researchers say antioxidants are the explanation–in addition to affecting skin pigment, they also improve circulation, which boosts blood flow to the skin surface, imparting a natural glow. Antioxidants also fend off compounds that damage skin from the outside in, including free radicals produced by sun exposure, pollution, and cigarette smoke.

Fruit provides endurance-boosting energy
If you’re active, consuming fruit pre-workout is a great way to fuel exercise and energize your cells. One study, which compared bananas to a sports drink during intense cycling, found that in addition to providing antioxidants and nutrients not found in sports drinks, bananas triggered a greater shift in dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in movement and mood (some research also indicates that a low dopamine level may be tied to obesity). Other studies, that compared raisins to sports supplements, found that shrunken grapes were just as effective at supporting endurance, but raisins provide bonus nutrients. These include antioxidants, as well as boron, a mineral that helps keep bones strong, and inulin, a fiber-like carbohydrate that acts as a prebiotic, a substance that helps support the growth of probiotics, the “good” bacteria in your GI tract that boost immunity and keep your digestive system healthy. I guess what I’m getting at here is there’s far more to fruit than sugar alone. And if you’re active, a moderate amount of fruit sugar will fuel your cells, not fatten them.

Bottom line: with so many benefits, fruit is definitely worth including in your daily diet. But that doesn’t mean you can eat unlimited quantities. Because fruits do pack about three to four times as much carbohydrate as veggies, your daily intake should be based on your body’s energy needs. For most women, a healthy goal is two daily servings, with one serving being one cup fresh, about the size of a tennis ball. In my newest book S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches, I include one serving of fruit in each breakfast meal and one in every snack. For most of my clients, this is the perfect amount to reap fruits’ nutritional and health rewards, without interfering with weight loss.

Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. 


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Extra fiber tied to lower risk of stroke

By Kathryn Doyle   NEW YORK   Fri Apr 19, 2013

(Reuters Health) – People who get more fiber in their diet are less likely to have a stroke than those who skimp on the nutrient, according to a new review of existing research.

“A few people in the past have looked at the relationship between fiber and cardiovascular disease, which includes coronary heart disease and stroke,” senior author Victoria Burley told Reuters Health.

But this is the first time all the available results from long-term studies have been pulled together into one analysis, said Burley, a senior lecturer in nutritional epidemiology at the University of Leeds in the UK.

Burley and her coauthors pooled the results of eight studies conducted since 1990 that included close to 500,000 participants. Those people reported on their dietary fiber consumption and were followed for anywhere from eight to 19 years.

The researchers found the risk of suffering a first stroke fell by 7 percent for every 7-gram increase in dietary fiber people reported each day – so that those who ate the most fiber had the lowest chance of stroke, according to findings published in the journal Stroke.

The average U.S. woman gets 13 grams of fiber per day, and the average man gets 17 grams – well below the Institute of Medicine recommendation of 24 and 35 grams, respectively.

An extra 7 grams could come from two slices of whole wheat bread and a serving of fruit, for example, Burley said. But even less than that – just 2 or 3 extra grams per day – might affect stroke risk.

fiber


Americans suffer almost 800,000 strokes annually, and strokes cause one out of every 18 U.S. deaths, or 130,000 per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most happen when a clot blocks blood flow in a brain vessel.

“Stroke is a very common and chronic disease in our society because the risk factors are growing,” Dr. Dean Sherzai, a neurologist at Loma Linda University in California, told Reuters Health.

The new results are important because at the moment there are limited treatments and preventive measures available for stroke, but diet changes such as adding more fiber are relatively easy, said Sherzai, who was not involved in the study.

The report didn’t look at the effects of different types of fiber on people of specific ages – so it’s possible some may glean more benefit from eating extra fiber than others, he added.

The findings don’t prove fiber directly prevents strokes. Researchers also don’t know why fiber would be linked to a lower risk, although they have some ideas.

“There could be all sorts of things going on,” Burley said.

Foods high in fiber tend to be low-calorie and help people maintain a healthy weight, which reduces stroke risk, she said. Fibrous foods also have vitamins, minerals and antioxidants including polyphenols and flavonoids, which make blood vessels more elastic.

The findings should serve as more encouragement for people to get their daily recommended fiber, Burley said. She’d like to see fiber back on the agenda – since it sometimes falls to the wayside in low-carbohydrate or gluten-free diets.

“Sometimes things like this just aren’t deemed sexy enough,” Sherzai said. 

SOURCE: bit.ly/10Rbepb Stroke, online March 28, 2013.


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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.



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8 Health Benefits of Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a white, flowering, cruciferous vegetable (other cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, and bok choy). Vegetables in this family have been found to have a multitude of medicinal benefits.

Here are 8 health benefits of cauliflower that may make you want to include it in your diet on a regular basis.

Cancer Prevention
A diet high in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower has been been linked to a significant reduction in the risk of cancer, especially prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and bladder cancer. One Canadian study found that eating a half cup of cauliflower per day reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 52%.

Better Digestion
Cauliflower is a great source of dietary fiber, which is essential for optimal digestion. When you get enough fiber in your diet, it helps to keep things moving smoothly through the intestines. Cauliflower also contains a compound called glucoraphin, which protects your stomach and intestines from certain health conditions such as cancer and ulcers.


Antioxidants
Cauliflower contains a high amount of antioxidants, which are essential for the body’s overall health and help to prevent heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Antioxidants are also essential in destroying free radicals that accelerate the signs of aging.

Anti-Inflammatory
Because of the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K in cauliflower, it helps to prevent chronic inflammation that leads to conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, and certain bowel conditions.

Pregnancy
Cauliflower provides a good amount of folate (B9), a B vitamin that is necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Folate deficiency in pregnant women can lead to problems such as birth defects and low birth weight.

B Vitamins
In addition to folate, cauliflower is also loaded with other important B vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and thiamine.

Heart Health
Cauliflower protects from heart disease in many ways. It contains allicin, which has been found to reduce the occurrence of stroke and heart disease. Additionally, cauliflower can help to lower cholesterol levels in the body.

Weight Loss
Cauliflower is a great food to include in your diet if you’re dieting because it’s low in calories and can be used in a variety of ways. Try grating the cauliflower into a “rice” and using it in stir-fries instead of regular rice. You can also boil cauliflower and mash it into a healthier version of mashed potatoes. 

Published on November 9, 2011                        source: Healthdiaries.com


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Pumpkin Seeds

Health benefits of pumpkin seeds

Crunchy, delicious pumpkin seeds are high in calories, about 559 calories per 100 g. In addition; they are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and numerous health promoting antioxidants.

Their high caloric content mainly comes from protein and fats. On the positive side, the nuts are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like oleic acid (18:1) that helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL cholesterol in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet, which is liberal in monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.

The seeds contain good-quality protein. 100 g seeds provide 30 g or 54% of recommended daily allowance. In addition, the seeds are an excellent source of amino acid tryptophan and glutamate. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin and niacin. Serotonin is a beneficial neuro-chemical often labeled as nature’s sleeping pill. Further, tryptophan is a precursor of B-complex vitamin, niacin (60 mg of tryptophan = 1mg niacin).

Glutamate is required in the synthesis of γ-amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA, an anti-stress neurochemical in the brain, helps reducing anxiety, nervous irritability, and other neurotic conditions.

Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of anti-oxidant vitamin E; contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol-gamma per 100 g (about 237% of RDA). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant. It prevents tissue cells from the free radical mediated oxidant injury. Thus, it helps maintain the integrity of mucus membranes and skin by protecting from harmful oxygen-free radicals.


Pumpkin kernels are an also excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folates. These vitamins work as co-factors for various enzymes during cellular substrate metabolism in the human body. In addition, niacin helps to reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. Along with glutamate, it enhances GABA activity inside the brain, which in turn reduces anxiety and neurosis.

Furthermore, its seeds contain very good levels of essential minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Just as in pine nuts, pumpkin seeds too are very rich in manganese (provide 4543 mg per 100 g, about 198% of daily-recommended intake). Manganese is an all-important co-factor for antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. It is therefore, consumption of pumpkin kernels helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.


Medicinal values of pumpkin seeds

Research studies suggest that pumpkin seed to have DHEA (Di hydro epi-androstenedione) blocking actions. Thus, it cuts the risk of prostate and ovarian cancers.

In addition, experimental studies suggest that certain phytochemical compounds in pumpkin seed oil may have a role in prevention of diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease).