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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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3 Tasty Foods That Protect The Brain From Ageing

Some foods can keep your brain young.

Blackberries, blueberries and strawberries all reduce cognitive decline related to age, research finds.

All three fruits contain high levels of flavonoids.

Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that can also help reduce inflammation in the brain and body.

The research was carried out on data from 121,700 women, who were followed up over decades.

Dr Elizabeth Devore, the study’s first author, said:

“As the U.S. population ages, understanding the health issues facing this group becomes increasingly important.
Our study examined whether greater intake of berries could slow rates of cognitive decline.”

The results showed that high berry intake was linked to a delay in cognitive ageing equivalent to 2.5 years.

In other words: berries made their brains work as though they were 2.5 years younger.

Dr Devore said:

“We provide the first epidemiologic evidence that berries may slow progression of cognitive decline in elderly women.
Our findings have significant public health implications as increasing berry intake is a fairly simple dietary modification to test cognition protection in older adults.”

Berries are also one of the central components in the ‘MIND’ diet, which is linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Blueberries in particular seem to have a powerful effect on the brain.

One recent study looked at the effects of concentrated blueberry juice:

“Concentrated blueberry juice improves cognitive function in older people, new research finds.
Those who drank the juice also had better blood flow and activation in their brains as well as improvements to working memory.
The boost to brain power is likely down to the flavonoids in blueberries.”

Strawberries also have other research backing up their protective effects, as do walnuts.

The study was published in the journal Annals of Neurology (Devore et al., 2012).

source: PsyBlog
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Eating More of This Will Make You Live Longer

By now we know that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for our health, but a new study suggests that eating even more produce can prevent millions of deaths each year.

In the report, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from Imperial College London conducted a meta-analysis of 95 studies looking at fruit and vegetable intake. They estimated that 7.8 million premature global deaths could be avoided yearly if people ate 10 portions of fruits and vegetables a day.

The researchers characterize 10 portions as 800 grams of fruits and vegetables a day. For context, one medium apple is around 182 grams.

Already eating plenty of fruits and vegetables cut people’s risk of early death from heart disease and cancer. But the researchers estimated that if people ate up to 10 portions a day, there would be a 24% lower risk of heart disease, 33% lower risk of stroke, 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, 13% lower risk of cancer, and a 31% lower risk of dying early when compared to not eating any fruit or vegetables.

fruits-veggies

The fruits and vegetables that were linked to lower risk of heart problems included the usual suspects like apples, citrus, and leafy veggies like spinach. Other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts as well as peppers and green beans were linked to potentially lower cancer risk.

The researchers didn’t show why higher portions of fruits and vegetables can led to fewer deaths, but some of the basic nutrients in the produce can improve health. “Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system,” said study author Dagfinn Aune of the Imperial College London School of Public Health in a statement. “This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk.”But how realistic is it to ask people to eat up to 10 portions of produce? Considering fewer than 18% of Americans eat the recommended amount of fruit and less than 14% eat the recommended amount of vegetables, that will be a challenge.

Alexandra Sifferlin   Feb 23, 2017
source: TIME Health


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Pears: Health Benefits and Nutritional Information

Pears are a mild, sweet fruit with a fibrous center. They are rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber and pack all of these nutrients in a fat-free, cholesterol-free, 100-calorie package.

Consuming pears may help with weight loss and reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, if eaten as part of an overall healthy diet.

This Medical News Today Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It provides a nutritional breakdown of the pear and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to incorporate more pears into your diet and any potential health risks of consuming pears.

Possible health benefits of consuming pears

Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of a number of health conditions.

Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like pears decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and a lower weight.

Fiber

Pears are rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Institute of Medicine has developed an AI (Adequate Intake) guideline for fiber.

They recommend that men under the age of 50 consume 38 grams per day and women under the age of 50 consume 25 grams per day.

For adults over 50 years age, the recommendation for men is 30 grams per day and for women is 21 grams per day.

Many people in America do not get even 50 percent of their daily recommendation.

The National Institute of Medicine based its recommendation on a review of the findings from several large studies. They found that diets with 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories were associated with significant reductions in the risk of both coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The easiest way to increase fiber intake is to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Just one medium-sized pear provides 6 grams of fiber, about 24 percent of the daily need for a woman under 50.

Treating diverticulosis

Diverticulitis is when bulging sacs in the lining of the large intestine become infected or inflamed. High fiber diets have been shown to decrease the frequency of flare-ups of diverticulitis by absorbing water in the colon and making bowel movements easier to pass. Eating a healthful diet including plenty of fruit, vegetables, and fiber can reduce pressure and inflammation in the colon.

Although the exact cause of diverticular disease is still unknown, it has repeatedly been associated with a low fiber diet.

pears

 

Weight loss

Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber help to keep you feeling fuller for longer and are also low in calories. Increased fiber intake has been shown to enhance weight loss for obese individuals.

Cardiovascular disease and cholesterol

Increased fiber intake has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A review of 67 separate controlled trials found that even a modest 10-gram per day increase in fiber intake reduced LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol.

Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may even play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation, consequently decreasing the risk of inflammation-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

Diabetes

A high-fiber diet is associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes and more stable blood sugar levels.

Digestion

The fiber content in pears prevents constipation and promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Detox

Regular, adequate bowel movements are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool. Pears are approximately 84 percent water, which helps keep stools soft and flush the digestive system of toxins.

Nutritional breakdown of pears

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one medium pear (approximately 178 grams) contains:

  • 101 calories
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 27 grams of carbohydrate (including 17 grams of sugar and 6 grams of fiber)
  • 1 gram of protein

Eating one medium pear would provide 12 percent of daily vitamin C needs, as well as 10 percent of vitamin K, 6 percent of potassium and smaller amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, and folate.

Pears also contain carotenoids, flavonols, and anthocyanins (in red-skinned pears). In the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, pears and apples were found to be among the top contributors of flavonols in the diet.

Possible health risks of consuming pears

Fruits, like apples and pears, contain a higher amount of fructose compared with glucose; they are considered a high FODMAP food. A diet high in FODMAPs may increase gas, bloating, pain, and diarrhea in people suffering from irritable bowel disorders.

FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols;” these are all forms of fermentable short-chain carbohydrates. A diet low in these types of carbohydrates has been shown to decrease common symptoms for people who are FODMAPs sensitive.

It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.

 
Written by Megan Ware RDN LD
 
Reviewed by University of Illinois-Chicago, School of Medicine Knowledge center             Tue 22 November 2016
 


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10 of the Healthiest Fruits for Your Body

Forget fancy superfoods—these nutritious powerhouses are essential staples for any healthy diet.

By Reader’s Digest Editors

Peaches and nectarines: Packed with potassium

Everyone knows that bananas boast high amounts of potassium, but two small peaches or nectarines have more of the essential mineral than one medium banana, boosting nerve and muscle health. The skins, in particular, are rich in antioxidants and insoluble fiber. And for those watching their weight, peaches are a healthy way to add sweetness to any diet. Bake, broil, or poach them to create pies, cobblers, and other desserts.

Pineapple: Powerful anti-inflammatory

Grilled, frozen, dried, or fresh, this sweet and tangy tropical fruit is jam-packed with bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as increase fertility. Try these other inflammation-fighting foods.

Grapes: Heart healthy

As one of the world’s oldest and most abundant fruit crops, grapes have been proven to ward off heart disease and high cholesterol, thanks to high levels of the antioxidants quercetin and resveratrol. Each little bulb is also a great source of potassium and iron, which prevent muscle cramps and anemia. Stick with the purple or red kind, as they contain the highest concentration of healthy compounds.

Kiwi: Loaded with vitamins

Beneath its fuzzy skin is a sweet fruit loaded with vitamins C and E, both strong antioxidants that protect against cancer and promote eye health. Kiwis are also low in calories and high in fiber, making them ideal for weight loss. Because they can last up to four weeks when stored in the refrigerator, they are a great snack to keep all year round. Learn more about the health benefits of kiwis.

Mangoes: Immunity boosters

Mangoes are becoming increasingly popular among nutritionists due to their exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A to promote bone growth and a healthy immune system. Even more, these exotic treats are packed with more than 50 percent of your daily vitamin C—that’s more than oranges provide.

apple

Apples: Brain- and heart-healthy

One medium apple is low on calories (only 80!) but heavy on quertecin, a powerful antioxidant that protects brain cell degeneration, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Adults who eat apples are less likely to develop high blood pressure, according to one study. Apples can also lower cholesterol and prevent colon cancer, as well as promote healthy teeth and weight loss. Don’t forget to eat the skin, too—it’s especially rich in disease-fighting compounds like flavonoids, which reduce the risk of heart disease.

Pomegranates: More antioxidants than red wine or green tea

Pomegranate juice has two to three times the antioxidant capacity of red wine or green tea, and is also a great source of potassium, which sustains energy and controls high blood pressure. Research shows that drinking ¼ cup of pomegranate juice daily could improve cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol, and help with erectile dysfunction. However, talk to your doctor before you drink regular amounts of pomegranate juice, as it can sometimes negatively interact with prescription drugs.

Grapefruit: Vitamin C powerhouse

Although oranges are a great source of vitamin C, grapefruits pack a bigger punch. Just half of a grapefruit contains nearly 50 percent of your daily vitamin C, as well as high levels of fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. Studies have suggested that grapefruit can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and repair damaged or oily skin and hair. It’s little wonder that this delicious fruit is no longer just a breakfast staple.

Bananas: Healthy on-the-go snack

A banana is the perfect on-the-go snack, already wrapped and full of potassium and fiber to promote long-lasting energy and keep you alert all day long. And since it contains no fat or salt, bananas are a much healthier snack option than a granola bar or bag of pretzels. Want to make your bananas last longer? Here’s a trick: Store them in the refrigerator after they’re ripe. Although the peel may turn brown, the fruit underneath will stay delicious for three to five extra days.

Blueberries: Anti-aging powerhouses

Long considered one of the beloved “superfoods,” these sweet treats are tiny but mighty, loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C to help fight disease, as well as anthocyanin, a pigment shown to boost brainpower. One study found that people who ate the greatest amount of this fruit were less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults.

From the book Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal (Reader’s Digest Association Books)

source: www.rd.com


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Are Some Frozen Fruits and Vegetables Healthier Than Fresh?

It may seem like a natural assumption that fresh fruits and vegetables are more nutritious. But research shows this can be a false assumption. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be more nutritious than their unprocessed counterparts.

Brief Overview of Commercial Freezing Processes

Vegetables are typically blanched prior to freezing. This means they are submerged in boiling water for a few minutes. The purpose of blanching is to inactivate any naturally occurring enzymes that cause deterioration of the vegetables.

Fruit are usually not blanched prior to freezing. They are washed and frozen directly because of their delicate textures and higher acidity. This acidity will naturally slow down their deterioration process and help preserve them during freezing.

Both vegetables and fruit are frozen using modern technology that can freeze them very quickly. This prevents large ice crystals from forming inside the food and damaging cell walls. Fast freezing allows the food to retain its maximum flavor, texture and color after thawing.

What Research Tells Us

Various studies have been done on how processing and storage affects frozen fruits and vegetables compared to fresh. There are some consistent findings throughout much of the current research available.

Vitamin C – Freshly picked vegetables contain the highest amount of vitamin C. However, vitamin C begins to degrade immediately after harvest. For example, green peas have been shown to lose up to 51 percent of their vitamin C during the first 24 to 48 hours after harvesting.

Vitamin C is also sensitive to heat and water-soluble, so there is often some vitamin C lost during the blanching process for vegetables. On average, vegetables lose about 50 percent of their vitamin C during the freezing process.

This may sound like a lot, but this is often much better than a fresh vegetable. For instance, frozen spinach will lose 30 percent of its vitamin C after processing and one year of storage. Whereas, fresh spinach will lose 75 percent of its vitamin C after four days of storage at 4°C (39°F), a typical refrigerator temperature.

Because fruit is not heat processed prior to freezing, it retains vitamin C much better than frozen vegetables or fresh fruit. For instance, one study found that frozen blueberries and raspberries actually had significantly higher amounts of vitamin C than fresh berries stored for 3 days at 4°C (39°F).

B Vitamins – Like vitamin C, B vitamins, such as thiamin, riboflavin and folate, are also sensitive to heat and water-soluble. Not surprisingly, research results are similar to vitamin C. They showed a loss of B vitamins during the initial blanching process for vegetables, but the remaining vitamin B in the frozen, stored products remained stable and higher than fresh over time.

Vitamin A and Carotenoids – The primary source of vitamin A in fruits and vegetables is beta-carotene. Other carotenoids, such as lycopene, are also important for health.

Vitamin A and carotenoids are fat-soluble. This means they are not as sensitive to blanching and heat-processing methods. Especially in fruit, vitamin A and carotenoid levels appear to remain relatively similar after freezing compared to fresh.

In vegetables, the levels of vitamin A and carotenoids varies depending on the food. Frozen green peas are shown to have significantly less beta-carotene than fresh peas, whereas frozen broccoli and carrots have been found to have significantly higher amounts of beta-carotene than fresh.

frozen-vegetables

Minerals – Naturally-occurring minerals, such as calcium or potassium, are stable when heated. Some mineral content of vegetables may be lost during blanching, but retention is generally high, ranging from 78 to 91 percent of the minerals staying in the frozen food. Fruit can be even higher as they are not blanched.

Antioxidants – These are also known as phenolic compounds. Antioxidants are a vital part of our diet that can counteract the harmful effects of aging. Fruits and vegetables contain hundreds of different types of phenolic compounds.

The blanching process is actually beneficial for phenolic compounds. They are naturally oxidized by the enzymes found in fresh vegetables, so inactivating them through a heat-treatment preserves the antioxidant levels in frozen vegetables.

In fruit, freezing is shown to have a minimal effect on phenolic compounds. Interestingly, frozen blueberries and some varieties of raspberries have actually been found to have a higher amount of antioxidants than fresh.

Other Important Considerations

The story doesn’t end simply at nutrient comparisons. Other factors also affect the final nutritional value of your fruits and vegetables.

Cooking – If you cook fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables while preparing them for your meals, this will continue to degrade the heat-sensitive vitamins.

Age of Fresh Produce – Unless you’re lucky enough to live in an area with lots of local farms that can grow fresh produce year-round, you’re likely buying your fruits and vegetables from a supermarket that’s shipped them in from hundreds or thousands of miles away. You don’t know when the fresh produce you’re buying was harvested or how long it’s been deteriorating in storage.

Picking Time – Fruits and vegetables have the highest nutritional value at their peak ripeness. Unfortunately, many types of produce are difficult to ship when they’re fully ripe because they’ll spoil easily. Many varieties are picked when they’re not ripe to simplify transport. These will have lower nutrient contents than frozen produce that is picked and processed when it’s at the perfect ripeness.

How to Maximize Your Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Commercially, frozen foods are kept at -18°C to -20°C (0.4°F to -4°F). This storage temperature has been shown to keep them at their best nutrient content for one year or longer. If they are stored at temperatures any warmer than this, frozen produce will start to slowly deteriorate.

The temperatures in a home freezer can vary depending on the freezer’s age, how often it’s opened, or its efficiency. Keep an eye on the temperature in your own freezer and try to use your frozen produce within one year or less to make sure it’s still at peak nutrition.

To use frozen fruits or vegetables, it’s best to put them directly into whatever dish you’re preparing. Leaving them out to thaw for any length of time at room temperature will cause them to oxidize and lose further nutrients.

By: Zoe Blarowski    April 18, 2016


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13 Health Benefits of Oranges

“Orange strengthens your emotional body, encouraging a general feeling of joy, well-being, and cheerfulness.” – Tae Yun Kim

Who doesn’t love a delicious and juicy orange as a snack? They are popular with athletes because they can be easily eaten for a burst of energy. I enjoy eating one or two oranges a day most of the year for that same energy-boosting effect.

13 Health Benefits of Oranges:

1. Helps Prevent Cancer
Oranges are rich in citrus limonoids, proven to help fight a number of varieties of cancer including that of the skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.

2. Prevents Kidney Diseases
Drinking orange juice regularly prevents kidney diseases and reduces the risk of kidney stones.

Note: drink juice in moderate amounts. The high sugar content of fruit juices can cause tooth decay and the high acid content can wear away enamel if consumed in excess.

3. Reduces Risk of Liver Cancer 
According to two studies in Japan eating mandarin oranges reduces liver cancer. This may be due in part to vitamin A compounds known as carotenoids.

4. Lowers Cholesterol
Since they’re full of soluble fiber, oranges are helpful in lowering cholesterol.

5. Boosts Heart Health
Oranges are full of potassium, an electrolyte mineral is responsible for helping the heart function well. When potassium levels get too low, you may develop an abnormal heart rhythm, known as an arrhythmia.

orange

6. Lowers Risk of Disease
Oranges are full of vitamin C which protects cells by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals cause chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease.

7. Fights Against Viral Infections 
Studies show that the abundance of polyphenols in oranges protects against viral infections.

8. Relieves Constipation
Oranges are full of dietary fiber which stimulates digestive juices and relieves constipation.

9. Helps Create Good Vision
Oranges are rich in carotenoid compounds which are converted to vitamin A and help prevent macular degeneration.

10. Regulates High Blood Pressure
The flavonoid hesperidin found in oranges helps regulate high blood pressure and the magnesium in oranges helps maintain blood pressure.

11. Protects Skin
Oranges are full of beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant protecting the cells from being damage which also protects the skin from free radicals and prevents the signs of aging.

12. Oranges Alkalize the Body
Although oranges are acidic before you digest them, they contain many alkaline minerals that help to balance out the body after they are digested. In this respect, they are similar to lemons which are one of the most alkaline foods available.

13.  Provides Smart Carbs:
Oranges like all fruits have simple sugars in them, but the orange has a glycemic index of 40.  Anything under 55 is considered low. This means as long as you don’t eat a lot of oranges at one time, they won’t spike your blood sugar and cause problems with insulin or weight gain.

by Diana Herrington


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Is Dried Fruit Just a Giant Sugar Bomb?

Mandy Oaklander      @mandyoaklander      Oct. 22, 2015     

Nope. It’s healthy, say 4/5 experts.

Call your grandma, because prunes—and other shriveled dried fruits—really are awesome, say four out of five of our experts.

But there’s one very important fact to remember: drying fruit shrinks everything about it, including how much of the food you should reasonably let yourself eat. “If you remove the water from fresh fruits, it will reduce the serving size to about 75 percent,” says Kristi King, senior clinical dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital.

That smaller serving size can make dried fruits easy to overeat.You get a measly number of raisins (also known as dried grapes) in a serving: those 1.5-ounce boxes at the bottom of your trick-or-treating bag is one serving. But if you’re eating fresh grapes, a serving is a whole cup.

The spookiest part of overeating dried fruit is all the sugar, says dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick of Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. That Halloween box of raisins has 25 grams of sugar. “You just can’t justify the added stress on the body to process such large amounts of sugar at one time, or the inflammation roller coaster that occurs on a high-sugar diet,” she says. Our experts agree that you shouldn’t eat dried fruits that contain added sugar; always check the ingredient list to make sure. “When the native sugar of the fruit is combined with extra added sugar, you are now in the realm of candy,” says David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.

raisins



But the small, concentrated portions of dried fruits are part of the reason they’re so beloved. “Dried fruit is convenient, portable and durable, so it is a staple in my travel snack pack,” says Katz. They’re a great and high-quality source of fiber; the box of raisins has 1.6 grams of fiber, which can be a lot easier to eat than the whole cup of grapes you’d need to get the same amount.

Dried might even have an edge over fresh. In a study where researchers compared the amount and quality of antioxidants in certain dried fruits to fresh fruits, they found that figs and dried plums (also known as prunes) contained the best-quality antioxidants. “Dried fruits are an excellent source of fiber and a concentrated source of antioxidants,” says study co-author Joe Vinson, professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton. Texas A&M University professor Nancy Turner, who has also conducted research on prunes, agrees that dried fruit can be great, so long as it doesn’t contain added sugar.

Antioxidant- and fiber-filled snacks that last for months and can survive a crushing at the bottom of a backpack? Huh. Prunes sure are more badass than we thought.

source: time.com