Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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9 Foods That Will Naturally Detox You

BY MARIA GUADAGNO – NOVEMBER 23, 2012 

Think the only way to detox is with a juice cleanse? Think again!

Our bodies are naturally built to detoxify us. Everyday, we eliminate and neutralize toxins through our colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph, and skin. It’s just that, in this day and age, these organs often get over-worked from the constant barrage of toxins from pollution, animal products, and processed foods.

Luckily, Mother Nature has the perfect antidote! 

Below are 9 potent detoxifying foods that support your body’s natural cleansing system…and you don’t have to juice them to get the benefits. You’ll receive benefits just by incorporating more of these foods into your diet: 

Cauliflower
This antioxidant rich cruciferous veggie aids your body’s natural detoxification system and reduces inflammation.

Lentils
This fiber-rich legume aids in elimination, helps lower cholesterol, balances blood sugar, and even increases your energy.

Broccoli
A strong detoxifier, broccoli neutralizes and eliminates toxins while also delivering a healthy dose of vitamins.


Turnip Greens
A potent detoxifier, this cruciferous veggie also has been found to help prevent many types of cancer and is a great for reducing inflammation. 

Grapefruit
This fiber-rich sweet and tangy fruit helps lower cholesterol, prevent kidney stones, and aids the digestive system.

Steel Cut Oats
High in both soluble and insoluble fiber, oats will keep you satiated and your digestive system moving.

Cucumbers
Nutrient dense cucumbers, which are 95% water, help flush out toxins and alkalize the body.

Sunflower Seeds
High in selenium and Vitamin E, sunflower seeds aid the liver’s ability to detox a wide range of potentially harmful molecules. In addition, they help prevent cholesterol build up in the blood and arteries.

Hemp Seeds
These tiny nutritional powerhouses are an excellent source of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, are an easily digestible plant based protein, have a strong anti-inflammatory effect, and also aid in elimination. 


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12 Top Vegan Iron Sources

Melissa Breyer   August 7, 2011

If you are a vegan, what is the first argument you hear from meat-eating advocates? Well the sarcastic ones might say something about plants having feelings too, but the most popular rebuttal usually has something to do with iron. And yes iron is an essential mineral because it contributes to the production of blood cells. The human body needs iron to make the oxygen-carrying proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin. But just because you don’t eat meat doesn’t mean your going to wither away with anemia.

However, anemia is not something to be taken lightly. (Although I realize I just did.) The World Health Organization considers iron deficiency the number one nutritional disorder in the world. As many as 80 percent of the world’s population may be iron deficient, while 30 percent may have iron deficiency anemia. The human body stores some iron to replace any that is lost. However, low iron levels over a long period of time can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms include lack of energy, shortness of breath, headache, irritability, dizziness, or weight loss. So here’s the 411 on iron: how much you need, where you can get it, and tips to maximize its absorption.

Iron Requirements
The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following:

Infants and children
• Younger than 6 months: 0.27 milligrams per day (mg/day)
• 7 months to 1 year: 11 mg/day
• 1 to 3 years: 7 mg/day
• 4 to 8 years: 10 mg/day

Males
• 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
• 14 to 18 years: 11 mg/day
• Age 19 and older: 8 mg/day

Females
• 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
• 14 to 18 years: 15 mg/day
• 19 to 50 years: 18 mg/day
• 51 and older: 8 mg/day


Non-animal iron sources:
Eating red meat and organ meat are the most efficient ways to get iron, but for vegans, obviously, that’s not going to happen. Here are 12 plant-based foods with some of the highest iron levels:

Spirulina (1 tsp): 5 mg
Cooked soybeans (1/2 cup): 4.4 mg
Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce): 4.2 mg
Quinoa (4 ounces): 4 mg
Blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp): 4 mg
Tomato paste (4 ounces): 3.9 mg
White beans (1/2 cup) 3.9 mg
Cooked spinach (1/2 cup): 3.2 mg
Dried peaches (6 halves): 3.1 mg
Prune juice (8 ounces): 3 mg
Lentils (4 ounces): 3 mg

Tips to get the most iron out of your food:

Eat iron-rich foods along with foods that contain vitamin C, which helps the body absorb the iron.

Tea and coffee contains compounds called polyphenols, which can bind with iron making it harder for our bodies to absorb it.

Calcium also hinders the absorption of iron; avoid high-calcium foods for a half hour before or after eating iron-rich foods.

Cook in iron pots. The acid in foods seems to pull some of the iron out of the cast-iron pots. Simmering acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, in an iron pot can increase the iron content of the brew more than ten-fold. Cooking foods containing other acids, such as vinegar, red wine, lemon or lime juice, in an iron pot can also increase the iron content of the final mixture.

source: care2.com
 


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9 Reasons to Love Lentils

Diana Herrington  May 18, 2011

One of the Top 5 Healthiest Foods On The Planet…
as selected by Health Magazine.

Lentils are good for so many parts of your life: your body, your blood, your pocketbook, your taste buds, and even the environment.

Most recipes with lentils are gluten-free and sugar-free.

9 Big Benefits of these Tiny Beans

1. Low Cost:

Just 20-30 cents will you buy one cup of lentils which can supply 1/3 of the daily protein requirement for a 150-pound adult, plus a truckload of other nutrients.

2. High Protein: 

Lentils have the highest level of protein by weight of any plant-based food.

3. High Nutrition:

Lentils are the mightiest of the beans. If beans are good for you, then lentils — the smallest of the beans — are GREAT for you. In general the smaller the seed, the more nutrition a food has by weight or volume.

4. Low in Fat and Sodium

5. Most Alkaline of all Protein Sources

6. Easy to Digest and Cook:

Compared to many other beans they are much faster to cook and easier to digest. This is why they have been the mainstay of many cultures for centuries.


7. Healthy For the Soil and Environment:

Lentils increase nitrogen and other essential nutrient to the soil during growth. They require less moisture than most crops and prevent soil erosion. By eating lentils you are helping the earth and the environment!

8. High in Cholesterol-Lowering Fiber (both soluble and insoluble):

Numerous studies have shown high levels of fiber are associated with decreased degenerative diseases. In one study that examined food intake of 16,000 middle-aged men, researchers found that legumes were associated with a whopping 82 percent reduction in risk of death from coronary heart disease!

9. Tasty:

Some lentils, like brown lentils grown in North America, are so tasty that all you have to do is boil them and add a bit of salt. Other lentils are more bland so a bit of spice is needed. This is the dahl of many eastern countries. Either way, if you are interested in healthy cooking and have ever considered reducing meat consumption, it definitely worth it to find a few good lentil dishes you like.

History

The lentil is one of the oldest cultivated legume, dating back at least 8,000 years. Although the scientific name relates to the lens of the eye it is interesting that it is one of the foods used in the Christian Lent period, a time when one level of fasting is to abstain from any kind of meat.

Nutrients

Power Nutrients in Lentils: iron, protein, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1, potassium
Power Plus Nutrients: fiber, tryptophan, manganese
Extreme Power Nutrients: folate, molybdenum
Caution: Lentils are high in so many nutrients, including natural substances called purines. If you have a physical condition which requires you to be on a low purine diet, this is to be considered. Recent research, though, indicates that the purines from vegetable sources do not have the same negative effect as the purines from meat and fish.


Recipes: Lentils are SO good for you, and there are many delicious recipes.


source: care2.com


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Top 7 Sources of Plant-Based Protein

BY RICH ROLL     APRIL 11, 2012

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

But where do you get your protein?

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

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

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

1. Quinoa: 11g Protein / Cup

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


2. Lentils: 17.9g  Protein / Cup

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

3. Tempeh: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces

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

4. Seitan: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces

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

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

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

6. Spirulina: 6g Protein / 10 grams

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

7. Hemp Seeds: 16g Protein / 3 Tbsp

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


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Can Chickpeas and Lentils Help Control Diabetes?


They’re a common part of traditional diets in India and Latin America, but in western repasts, legumes or pulses — that’s lentils, dried beans, and chick peas — have generally been a culinary afterthought. That may soon change, however, thanks to new research suggesting legumes alone can improve the health of diabetics.
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicines, was funded in part by an association of legume farmers and confirms that simply changing what they eat can help diabetics reduce some of their symptoms, as well as lower their risk of heart disease — in as little as a few months.

Starting in 2010, researchers in Toronto, Canada, enrolled 121 patients with Type II diabetes and tested their blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and more. Roughly half of the study participants were randomly selected to add a cup of legumes per day to their diet. The other half were told to try to eat morewhole-wheat products.

After three months, the patients were tested again on the same measures. Both the legume-eaters and the whole-wheat-eaters saw a reduction in their hemoglobin A1c values — a marker of average blood sugar, for a period of several weeks. But that reduction was slightly larger among the legume group than among the whole-what group: 0.5% compared to 0.3%. And while those changes may seem small, the study authors say that drops of this magnitude are “therapeutically meaningful,” and can lead to fewer diabetic symptoms as well as lower doses of medication to control blood sugar levels.  The legume-eaters also achieved modest reductions in body weight relative to the wheat group, losing an average of 5.9 lbs compared to 4.4 lbs, as well as drops in total cholesterol and blood pressure.

While the study was funded by legume farmers, the results confirm previous findings that showed changes in diet can reduce diabetes symptoms and protect patients from more severe complications of the disease. In 2002, a large government trial found that overweight people on the verge of developing diabetes could dramatically lower their risk of the disease by changing their diet and exercising more. And in 2008, David Jenkins, one of the current study’s lead authors, published similar results that demonstrated the strong benefits of a diet high in vegetables, fruit, nuts, flaxseed, and, yes, legumes.

Jenkins, a nutrition expert at the University of Toronto, is credited with developing the idea of the glycemic index (GI) — a measure of how quickly different foods, when eaten, may cause a person’s blood sugar to rise. While controversial — some nutrition experts aren’t convinced it’s a reliable way to measure the impact of food on blood sugar — that index has become a popular guideline for both health organizations and the creators of commercial diet plans as a relatively simple way to think about healthy food. Jenkins and his colleagues say that low glycemic-index foods have been linked to improved blood-sugar control in patients with Type 2 diabetes. In their new article, they say that legume consumption is important to diabetics because “Legumes […] were the first class of foods recognized as having low GI values.”

Others aren’t convinced about the power of GI, however. In an article accompanying Jenkins’ current paper, nutrition consultant Marion Franz argues that some recent studies actually find no impact of glycemic index on diabetics’ blood sugar — and, Franz says, the very definition of glycemic index is “confusing.”

She writes:
The GI measures the relative area under the postprandial glucose curve of 50 g of digestible carbohydrates compared with 50 g of a standard food, either glucose or white bread. It does not measure how quickly foods are digested and absorbed into the blood stream as claimed by diet books (and many health professionals). […] Although there is a modest difference in the glucose peak from […] high- vs low-GI carbohydrates, the peak occurs at similar times. Furthermore, the mean glucose and insulin responses to a high-GI diet vs a low-GI diet are parallel. There is no quick or sharp glucose or insulin peak response to the high-GI meals.
Essentially, Franz does not believe that glycemic index, as it’s currently measured, actually captures what its proponents claim it captures. She notes that sugary foods can have lower GI scores that unprocessed whole grains, and that even candy bars often have only moderate GI scores. She suggests that legume-eaters in Jenkins study may actually have seen improved health markers relative to wheat-eaters simply because they ate fewer calories overall, or because they ate more soluble fiber.

That’s not to say that legumes shouldn’t be part of a healthy diet. Franz agrees that chick peas, lentils, and beans are all high in fiber and vegetable protein, and they’re not too calorie-dense. So whether or not legumes are the answer to controlling diabetes, at least on some level, the experts do agree on the big picture: eat a healthy diet; it matters.

source: Time