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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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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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Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You

Something you’re eating may be killing you, and you probably don’t even know it!

If you eat cheeseburgers or French fries all the time or drink six sodas a day, you likely know you are shortening your life. But eating a nice dark, crunchy slice of whole wheat bread-how could that be bad for you?

Well, bread contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It is hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. Clearly, gluten is a staple of the American diet.

What most people don’t know is that gluten can cause serious health complications for many. You may be at risk even if you don’t have full blown celiac disease.

In today’s blog I want to reveal the truth about gluten, explain the dangers, and provide you with a simple system that will help you determine whether or not gluten is a problem for you.

The Dangers of Gluten

A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and “latent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer. (i)

This study looked at almost 30,00 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in three groups: Those with full-blown celiac disease, those with inflammation of their intestine but not full-blown celiac disease, and those with latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy).

The findings were dramatic. There was a 39 percent increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72 percent increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35 percent increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease.

This is ground-breaking research that proves you don’t have to have full-blown celiac disease with a positive intestinal biopsy (which is what conventional thinking tells us) to have serious health problems and complications–even death–from eating gluten.

Yet an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t even know it. They ascribe their ill health or symptoms to something else–not gluten sensitivity, which is 100 percent curable.

And here’s some more shocking news …

Another study comparing the blood of 10,000 people from 50 years ago to 10,000 people today found that the incidences of full-blown celiac disease increased by 400 percent (elevated TTG antibodies) during that time period. (ii) If we saw a 400 percent increase in heart disease or cancer, this would be headline news. But we hear almost nothing about this. I will explain why I think that increase has occurred in a moment. First, let’s explore the economic cost of this hidden epidemic.

Undiagnosed gluten problems cost the American healthcare system oodles of money. Dr. Peter Green, Professor of Clinical Medicine for the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University studied all 10 million subscribers to CIGNA and found those who were correctly diagnosed with celiac disease used fewer medical services and reduced their healthcare costs by more than 30 perecnt. (iii) The problem is that only one percent of those with the problem were actually diagnosed. That means 99 percent are walking around suffering without knowing it, costing the healthcare system millions of dollars.

And it’s not just a few who suffer, but millions. Far more people have gluten sensitivity than you think–especially those who are chronically ill. The most serious form of allergy to gluten, celiac disease, affects one in 100 people, or three million Americans, most of who don’t know they have it. But milder forms of gluten sensitivity are even more common and may affect up to one-third of the American population.

Why haven’t you heard much about this?

Well, actually you have, but you just don’t realize it. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity masquerade as dozens and dozens of other diseases with different names.

Gluten Sensitivity: One Cause, Many Diseases

A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. (iv) These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, (v) and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric (vi) and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, (vii) schizophrenia, (viii) dementia, (ix) migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). (x) It has also been linked to autism.(ix)

We used to think that gluten problems or celiac disease were confined to children who had diarrhea, weight loss, and failure to thrive. Now we know you can be old, fat, and constipated and still have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.” To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause–which is often gluten sensitivity-not just the symptoms.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that ALL cases of depression or autoimmune disease or any of these other problems are caused by gluten in everyone-but it is important to look for it if you have any chronic illness.

By failing to identify gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, we create needless suffering and death for millions of Americans. Health problems caused by gluten sensitivity cannot be treated with better medication. They can only be resolved by eliminating 100 percent of the gluten from your diet.

The question that remains is: Why are we so sensitive to this “staff of life,” the staple of our diet?


There are many reasons …

They include our lack of genetic adaptation to grasses, and particularly gluten, in our diet. Wheat was introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages, and 30 percent of people of European descent carry the gene for celiac disease (HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8), (xii) which increases susceptibility to health problems from eating gluten.

American strains of wheat have a much higher gluten content (which is needed to make light, fluffy Wonder Bread and giant bagels) than those traditionally found in Europe. This super-gluten was recently introduced into our agricultural food supply and now has “infected” nearly all wheat strains in America.

To find out if you are one of the millions of people suffering from an unidentified gluten sensitivity, just follow this simple procedure.

The Elimination/Reintegration Diet

While testing can help identify gluten sensivity, the only way you will know if this is really a problem for you is to eliminate all gluten for a short period of time (2 to 4 weeks) and see how you feel. Get rid of the following foods:

• Gluten (barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, wheat, triticale–see http://www.celiac.com for a complete list of foods that contain gluten, as well as often surprising and hidden sources of gluten.)

• Hidden sources (soup mixes, salad dressings, sauces, as well as lipstick, certain vitamins, medications, stamps and envelopes you have to lick, and even Play-Doh.)

For this test to work you MUST eliminate 100 percent of the gluten from your diet–no exceptions, no hidden gluten, and not a single crumb of bread.

Then eat it again and see what happens. If you feel bad at all, you need to stay off gluten permanently. This will teach you better than any test about the impact gluten has on your body.

But if you are still interested in testing, here are some things to keep in mind.

Testing for Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease

There are gluten allergy/celiac disease tests that are available through Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics. All these tests help identify various forms of allergy or sensitivity to gluten or wheat. They will look for:
• IgA anti-gliadin antibodies
• IgG anti-gliadin antibodies
• IgA anti-endomysial antibodies
• Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases)
• Total IgA antibodies
• HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic suspectibility).
• Intestinal biopsy (rarely needed if gluten antibodies are positive–based on my interpretation of the recent study)

When you get these tests, there are a few things to keep in mind.

In light of the new research on the dangers of gluten sensitivity without full blown celiac disease, I consider any elevation of antibodies significant and worthy of a trial of gluten elimination. Many doctors consider elevated anti-gliadin antibodies in the absence of a positive intestinal biopsy showing damage to be “false positives.” That means the test looks positive but really isn’t significant.

We can no longer say that. Positive is positive and, as with all illness, there is a continuum of disease, from mild gluten sensitivity to full-blown celiac disease. If your antibodies are elevated, you should go off gluten and test to see if it is leading to your health problems.

So now you see-that piece of bread may not be so wholesome after all! Follow the advice I’ve shared with you today to find out if gluten may be the hidden cause of your health problems. Simply eliminating this insidious substnace from your diet, may help you achieve lifelong vibrant health.

Are you one of the millions that have been lead to believe gluten is perfectly safe to eat?
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD

References
(i) Ludvigsson JF, Montgomery SM, Ekbom A, Brandt L, Granath F. Small-intestinal histopathology and mortality risk in celiac disease. JAMA. 2009 Sep 16;302(11):1171-8.
(ii) Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, Johnson DR, Page W, Erdtmann F, Brantner TL, Kim WR, Phelps TK, Lahr BD, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ 3rd, Murray JA. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93
(iii) Green PH, Neugut AI, Naiyer AJ, Edwards ZC, Gabinelle S, Chinburapa V. Economic benefits of increased diagnosis of celiac disease in a national managed care population in the United States. J Insur Med. 2008;40(3-4):218-28.
(iv) Farrell RJ, Kelly CP. Celiac sprue. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan 17;346(3):180-8. Review.
(v) Sedghizadeh PP, Shuler CF, Allen CM, Beck FM, Kalmar JR. Celiac disease and recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a report and review of the literature. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2002;94(4):474-478.
(vi) Margutti P, Delunardo F, Ortona E. Autoantibodies associated with psychiatric disorders. Curr Neurovasc Res. 2006 May;3(2):149-57. Review.
(vii) Ludvigsson JF, Reutfors J, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of mood disorders–a general population-based cohort study. J Affect Disord. 2007 Apr;99(1-3):117-26. Epub 2006 Oct 6.
(viii) Ludvigsson JF, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of schizophrenia and other psychosis: a general population cohort study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2007 Feb;42(2):179-85.
(ix) Hu WT, Murray JA, Greenaway MC, Parisi JE, Josephs KA. Cognitive impairment and celiac disease. Arch Neurol. 2006 Oct;63(10):1440-6.
(x) Bushara KO. Neurologic presentation of celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2005 Apr;128(4 Suppl 1):S92-7. Review.
(xi) Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498. Review.
(xii) Green PH, Jabri B. Coeliac disease. Lancet. 2003 Aug 2;362(9381):383-91. Review.
Mark Hyman, M.D. practicing physician and founder of The UltraWellness Center is a pioneer in functional medicine. 

 Posted: 01/02/10         source: Huffingtonpost.com 


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Whole Grains: Teff (Eragrostis)

by Karen Railey

Teff is an intriguing grain, ancient, minute in size, and packed with nutrition. Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BC. Teff seeds were discovered in a pyramid thought to date back to 3359 BC.

The grain has been widely cultivated and used in the countries of Ethiopia, India and it’s colonies, and Australia. Teff is grown primarily as a cereal crop in Ethiopia where it is ground into flour, fermented for three days then made into enjera, a sourdough type flat bread. It is also eaten as porridge and used as an ingredient of home-brewed alcoholic drinks. The grass is grown as forage for cattle and is also used as a component in adobe construction in Ethiopia. At this time it is not widely known or used in the U.S., though it is cultivated in South Dakota and Idaho and is available in many health food stores.

The word teff is thought to have been derived from the Amharic word teffa which means “lost,” due to small size of the grain and how easily it is lost if dropped. It is the smallest grain in the world, measuring only about 1/32 of an inch in diameter and taking 150 grains to weigh as much as one grain of wheat. The common English names for teff are teff, lovegrass, and annual bunch grass.

Because the grains of teff are so small, the bulk of the grain consists of the bran and germ. This makes teff nutrient dense as the bran and germ are the most nutritious parts of any grain. This grain has a very high calcium content, and contains high levels of phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition, with lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Teff is high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It contains no gluten so it is appropriate for those with gluten intolerance.


The color of the Teff grains can be ivory, light tan to deep brown or dark reddish brown purple, depending on the variety. Teff has a mild, nutty, and a slight molasses like sweetness. The white teff has a chestnut-like flavor and the darker varieties are earthier and taste more like hazelnuts. The grain is somewhat mucilaginous. It is interesting that documents dated in the late 1800’s indicate the upper class consumed the lighter grains, the dark grain was the food of soldiers and servants, and cattle consumed hay made from teff.

Teff is a fine stemmed, tufted annual grass characterized by a large crown, many shoots, and a shallow diverse root system. The plants germinate quickly and are adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to water logged soil conditions. It is a reliable low risk crop. There are 250 known species of Eragrostis, or love grasses, but only a few are of significant agricultural value.

Teff is a very versatile grain. Teff flour can be used as a substitute for part of the flour in baked goods, or the grains added uncooked or substituted for part of the seeds, nuts, or other small grains. Due to it’s small size, only 1/2 Cup of teff is needed to replace 1 cup of sesame seeds. It is a good thickener for soups, stews, gravies, and puddings and can also be used in stir-fry dishes, and casseroles. Teff may be added to soups or stews in either of two ways: 1) Add them, uncooked to the pot a half-hour before serving time. 2) Add them cooked to the pot 10 minutes before serving. Cooked teff can be mixed with herbs, seeds, beans or tofu, garlic, and onions to make grain burgers. The seeds can also be sprouted and the sprouts used in salads and on sandwiches.

To cook teff place 2 cups purified water, 1/2 cup teff, and 1/4 tsp. sea salt (optional) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Teff should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place in tightly covered containers such as glass jars. Cooked Teff can be kept in the refrigerator, but should be used within a few days.

This grain would be a worthy and healthful addition to your diet. Be creative, use your imagination, and enjoy this wonderful nutritious grain.

source: ChetDay.com


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Amazing Amaranth

Try this gluten-free grain
by Pamela Durkin

         Does your intake of whole grains consist of the reliable, but rather mundane duo, whole wheat and brown rice? Or do you find that gluten-containing grains wreak havoc with your digestive system? If you answered yes to either question, consider adding amaranth and its health benefits to your culinary repertoire.


This ancient gluten-free grain, once prized by the Aztecs, is experiencing a renaissance fuelled by its remarkable nutritional profile, great taste, and versatility in the kitchen.


History

A relative of the common pigweed, amaranth was a staple in the diets of pre-Columbian Aztecs in Mexico and Peru. There are actually over 50 different plant species in the genus Amaranthus. The tiny seeds the Aztecs prized, now commonly referred to as a grain, played an intricate role in their religious ceremonies and rituals.

The Aztecs believed that consuming amaranth imparted increased energy and strength. When the invading Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico in the 1500s they swiftly set about eradicating the Aztecs’ beloved crop—very few plants survived. Thankfully, the plant made a comeback in Mexico, and more recently, its growing reputation as a superfood has ignited interest in amaranth in other parts of the world. It is now cultivated in the US, South America, Europe, and China.


Nutritional profile

What’s in amaranth that garners such attention? Plenty—although tiny in size, the tan-coloured seeds pack a nutritional punch that is unrivalled among cereal grains. Amaranth is loaded with calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins. It is also high in protein and abundant in lysine, an essential amino acid missing from most grains.

Unlike other grains, amaranth is a rich source of essential fatty acids, including the heart-healthy oleic acid normally associated with olive oil. But its nutrient density doesn’t end there—amaranth is also chock full of health-enhancing peptides and phytochemicals such as rutin, nicotiflorin, squalene, and lunasin. This all-star lineup of nutrients can improve your health in several ways.


Cancer prevention

Adding amaranth to your menu may be one of your best defences against cancer. Lunasin, a bioactive peptide in amaranth, has been shown to inhibit the development of cancer cells. While soy also contains lunasin, researchers have found that the lunasin in amaranth penetrates the nucleus of cancer cells more rapidly. There’s more good news—scientists have discovered that squalene, one of amaranth’s antioxidant compounds, may halt the blood supply to tumours.

Knocks out cardiovascular disease

Oats get most of the attention when it comes to heart-healthy grains, but amaranth is equally good for our ticker. Several animal studies have demonstrated amaranth’s ability to lower triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Recently, Russian researchers confirmed amaranth oil’s heart-healthy benefits in humans. They found that amaranth consumption significantly lowered blood pressure, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol; and aided in heart rhythm normalization. Not surprisingly, researchers reached the conclusion that amaranth should be considered a functional food in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.


Strengthens bones

When it comes to bones, amaranth offers up a payload of minerals renowned for keeping them strong—calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Mother Nature also wisely added high amounts of the amino acid lysine to this mix.

What’s lysine got to do with bone health? Plenty—it helps the body absorb calcium and decreases the amount of calcium lost in urine. Lysine also plays a role in the formation of collagen, a substance crucial for sturdy bones. Furthermore, studies indicate lysine and L-arginine, another amino acid, work together to make bone-building cells more active.



Irons out anemia

Anemia makes you pale and weak, and can cause headaches and a poor appetite. Not getting enough iron in your diet can increase your risk for anemia. Amaranth can help. Loaded with 5.17 mg per 1 cup (250 mL) serving, amaranth provides plenty of iron to keep anemia at bay.

Brain food

A bowl of amaranth may be as good for your noggin as it is for your heart. Rutin and nicotiflorin, two polyphenols found in amaranth, have established anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Science has now provided evidence that they also have a neuroprotective effect. A recent study found that they not only decreased inflammatory cytokines, but also aided in the repair of damaged brain cells.

Preparation and serving suggestions


To cook one serving of amaranth: 

Bring 1 cup (250 mL) liquid to a boil, add 1/4 cup (60 mL) amaranth, cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

For a nutritious breakfast: 

Cook amaranth in milk and top with nuts and dried fruit.

As a nutritious topping and snack:

You can pop amaranth seeds just like popcorn. Popped amaranth makes a crunchy topping for salads and soups. It can also be mixed with honey, dried fruit, and nuts to make energy bars. In Mexico it is mixed with molasses to make a crunchy snack called alegria, which means joy or happiness in Spanish.

To make a savoury side dish: 

Cook amaranth in stock or juice; add your favourite seasonings and a dollop of butter. A blend of apple juice, garlic, and ginger makes a perfect simmering medium for amaranth.

As a thickener: 

Add a few tablespoons of amaranth to help thicken soups, stews, or gravies.

As a rice substitute:

Cooked amaranth can be refried in place of rice.

It can also be added to muffins or cookies for added nutrition and texture.

Nutritional all-star
1 cup (250 mL) cooked amaranth contains~
   9.35 g   protein
   5.2 g     fibre
   116 mg  calcium
   364 mg  phosphorus
   332 mg  potassium
   5.17 mg  iron
   2.12 mg  zinc
   0.37 mg  copper
  13.5 mcg selenium 
   0.58 mg  niacin
   0.05 mg  riboflavin 
   0.28 mg  vitamin B6 
   54 m       folate

About the Author

Pamela Durkin is a registered nutritional consultant and freelance writer. She adores all-star grains such as amaranth.

source: Alive.com


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6 Simple Steps to Keep Your Heart Healthy

A healthy heart – and a healthier you – starts today with these quick tips.

By Wendy C. Fries WebMD 
Feature Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD 

Keeping your heart healthy is simple when you look at the big picture: Get exercise. Eat right. Stress less. Watch your weight. Don’t smoke.
Putting those goals into action, of course, isn’t so simple. Which matter most? How can you put them into daily practice?
Here are practical hints for a way of life that makes you feel great while it strengthens your heart.

Make Time to Play

Adults need at least 30 minutes of exercise five or more days a week for heart health. Make exercise playtime and you’re more likely to get it done. Play kickball with your kids, walk the dog, or shoot hoops, or go “mall-walking” with co-workers on your lunch break.
Go for a total of at least 30 minutes of exercise daily – and break it up, if you like. Aim for a 10-minute morning walk, workout with hand weights at lunch, and some digging in the garden before dinner, and you’ve met your goals.
“Folks should get their heart rate up so they’re somewhat breathless, but can still carry on a conversation,” says Susan Moores, RD, MS, of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. All kinds of exercises are important, from strength training and aerobics, to flexibility and stretching exercises.

Add the ‘Food Rules’ to Your Memory

  • Limit Bad Fat: If you eat a typical American diet, this one change can bring dramatic results: Eat less saturated fat. You can “reduce your risk of heart issues by half,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD. Start by switching to low-fat meat and dairy, and change to healthier fats like olive and canola oils.
  • Cut the Salt: Cook without salt, limit processed foods, and go easy on the salt shaker. Aim to bring down the sodium you eat to 1,500 milligrams, the American Heart Association’s daily limit.
  • Pump Up Produce: Eat at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and fruit every day. You’ll lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. And there’s a slimming bonus: “For all the nutrients fruits and vegetables provide, you’re also getting few calories,” says Kerry Neville, MS, RD, “And they fill you up.”
  • Go for Grains: Whole grains help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and may help prevent type 2 diabetes.  Think about corn tortillas, whole wheat pancakes and pasta, bulgur wheat, oatmeal, quinoa, and chewy, delicious brown rice or wild rice.

Soothe Stress

Doing absolutely nothing can be a big part of keeping your heart healthy. Be sure to “relax and unplug daily,” says Moores. “Stress is a significant villain of heart health and really any health issue. It can wreak havoc.”
Carve out time for yourself regularly. Walk away from the computer, the phone, and other distractions. Make time to recharge your batteries, to find both energy and calm.

Work Toward a Healthy Body Weight

Gaining weight is a constant threat for most Americans in our world of cheap, convenient, and decadent foods. And extra pounds – especially if you tip into obesity – raise the risk of a heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.
Now the good news: Losing even a few pounds starts you on the road to a healthier heart. Lose a few more and you’re likely to have more energy and sleep better, too. Here are the basics:
  • Go for good nutrition: Choose foods that are rich in nutrients, not just empty calories. A can of regular cola has over 120 calories and a lot of added sugar. Added sugar can give you a lot of empty calories without a lot of nutritional benefits. For a nutrient-packed snack worth the calories, try a palmful of mixed nuts. That has about 165 calories and is packed with protein and heart-healthy fats.
  • Balance calories: Be aware of the balance between the calories you eat and the calories your body needs. To lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn.
  • Get physical: Get moving at least 30 minutes daily, most days of the week. Children and teens need at least 60 minutes of activity each day.

Find Your Personal Best Way to Quit Smoking

Cancer, lung disease, a higher chance of a heart attack: The damages smoking can do are well-known. Did you know that tobacco is also linked to early menopause, infertility, and pregnancy complications?
There’s no best way to quit smoking. Medicine, support groups, counseling, or a combination of all three may be what it takes to help you quit. Reach out, get help.

Schedule Checkups

Regular blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol checks, as well as physical exams, are important to keep your heart healthy. Two conditions that can hurt your heart — high blood pressure and high cholesterol — are “silent.” That means you typically won’t know you have them unless you get tested. Ask your doctor how often you need a heart checkup and put the next one on your calendar now.
source: webmd.com


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5 ancient grains that are good for you

By Dr. Joey Shulman, DC, RNCP


If you want to make a healthy change to your diet, opt for ancient grains. Our guide describes five types of ancient grains and how to use each one: spelt, amaranth, quinoa, millet and kamut.

There has been a rise in the popularity of ancient grains in recent years, due largely to heightened food sensitivities and the population’s desire to become healthier. Much to my delight, it’s now possible to find quinoa dishes, spelt pizza crusts and brown rice pasta at many restaurants and fast food establishments in our local neighbourhoods.
 
In addition to offering a higher amount of nutrients and protein than other grains, ancient grains (also called heritage grains) are delicious in taste and can be added to a variety of meals.
 
Some of the most popular ancient grains include: 
 
1. Spelt
Also known as triticum spelta, spelt is a tasty whole grain with a nutty flavour. This distant cousin of wheat contains gluten and is therefore not suitable for those who have gluten intolerance, though it does tend to be easier to digest than wheat and may be better tolerated by those who have wheat sensitivity.
 
Spelt contains a wider variety of nutrients than wheat, including more protein, folate, magnesium and selenium. Spelt is also a high source of fibre, with ½ cup of the whole grain containing 4 grams of fibre. You can use spelt flour in baking, and the grain can be found in a variety of products, including cereals, breads, pasta and crackers.
 
2. Amaranth
Amaranth is often called a “pseudo-grain” and has been referred to as both an herb and a vegetable. However you classify it, amaranth is gluten free and has an impressive nutritional profile, being high in both protein and the amino acid lysine (which is often found in only low amounts in cereal grains). It is also high in fibre and has been shown to be beneficial in lowering cholesterol.
 
You will need quite a bit of water when cooking amaranth: 6 cups (1.5 L) of water for 1 cup (250 mL) of amaranth. Gently boil the amaranth for 15 to 20 minutes, rinse and then fluff it. Amaranth can be added to soups, salads and stir-fries, and amaranth flour can be used in baking.

3. Quinoa
Pronounced “keen-wah,” quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain. It has gained enormous popularity thanks to its high protein levels (it is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids), and because quinoa is gluten free it is a perfect option for those who are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease.
 
Before cooking quinoa, be sure to rinse the seeds well to remove their bitter, resin-like coating, which is called saponin. Cooked quinoa is excellent in casseroles, soups, stews and stir-fries, and is also great cold in salads. The seeds are prepared similarly to rice and cook very quickly – in about 15 minutes. 

Simply boil 2 cups (500 mL) water for every 1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let the quinoa simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed (it will look like a little curly tail on the kernel). Remove the pot from the heat and let stand for about three minutes before fluffing the quinoa with a fork.
 
4. Millet
Millet is another gluten-free seed with high nutritional value. It is an excellent source of protein and is high in fibre and B vitamins. Millet is also particularly high in magnesium, giving the seed heart-protecting properties.
 
Millet has a mildly sweet, nut-like flavour. Depending on the cooking style, the texture can range from fluffy to creamy. When cooking millet, you will need one part millet to two-and-a-half parts boiling water. Once the water has come to a boil, lower the heat and let the millet simmer for 25 minutes with the lid in place.
 
5. Kamut
Known as an ancient cereal grain, kamut is an excellent alternative to traditional wheat. The protein content is significantly higher and it also has a high amount of selenium, giving this grain strong antioxidant properties, which help protect the immune system.
 
Kamut is known to have a natural sweetness, which makes it a great grain for baking. When cooking kamut, it is best to soak the grain overnight. Use three parts water for one part kamut. Once the water has come to a boil, reduce the heat and allow the grain to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the tenderness you prefer.
 
Ancient grains are definitely worth exploring. High in fibre and rich in mineral content, these tasty whole grain options are definitely here to stay and can be a wonderful addition to your diet.
 
Joey Shulman, DC, RNCP, is a bestselling author and the founder of the Shulman Weight Loss Clinics. For more information, please visit drjoey.com.