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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Fruit and Vegetables With The Most Water Content

Vegetables With The Most Water Content

Although most of our bodies are made of water, we still need a lot of it to survive on a daily basis. You probably have heard the story that you have to drink eight glasses (or more) of water per day in order to stay hydrated.

This is partly true if you do not take water in any other forms. In fact, 20% of your daily water intake comes from solid food, mostly fruits and vegetables. That’s why you should “eat your water” instead. Water maintains homeostasis in our bodies and it is of utmost importance that we stay hydrated.

Water deficiency is called dehydration and can cause serious headaches, confusion, appetite loss, excessive tiredness and even seizures. It is also bad for you to consume water in excess. You might experience nausea, vomiting, or muscle cramps.

The U.S. Reference Dietary Intake (RDI) of water is 3.7 liters (15.6 cups) daily for men and 2.7 liters (11.4 cups) for women. In the summer or in some extreme cases, these numbers are higher. Vegetables are an excellent source of water in every season and they often contain more than 90% water. Quench your thirst with these vegetables:

Cucumber 
Water content: 96.7%

Cucumber is many people’s summer favorite veggie. It contains the most water of any solid food and you may use it sliced in salads or with hummus. There are also many recipes on how to get hydrated with cucumber. You can try to blend it with mint, nonfat yogurt, and ice cubes to get a good chilled soup for the hot summer days, or at any time of the year.

Iceberg lettuce
Water content: 95.6%

Although not so popular among health experts, this vegetable is full of water. It is not a favorite one because of other green vegetables such as romaine lettuce or spinach, which contain a lot more fiber than iceberg lettuce. However, if you want to get hydrated, this crispy lettuce is the best choice because of the high amount of water. You can use it for making sandwiches, as a tacos wrap, or in burgers.

Celery 
Water content: 95.4%

You must have heard the popular saying that celery has negative calories, but let’s see what you are up for with this vegetable. It is a fact that celery comes with only 6 calories in one stalk and it is also full of fiber. In terms of its nutritional value, it contains folate as well as many vitamins, including A, C, and K. Celery can help in neutralizing stomach acid and relieve heartburn or reflux.

Radishes 
Water content: 95.3%

If you are a fan of a mixture of spicy and sweet taste in your spring and summer salads, radishes can brighten up your day and give you a new colorful meal. These vegetables are full of antioxidants including catechin (which can also be found in green tea). If you would like a crunchy hydration recipe, mix radishes with summer coleslaw, slicing them up with cabbage and carrots, sliced snow peas, and chopped parsley and hazelnuts. Then use poppy seeds, olive oil, lemon juice and add salt and pepper. Enjoy this beautiful mixture!

Tomatoes 
Water content: 94.5%

These vegetables are mostly used for making salads and sandwiches, but it is important to use all of the varieties, including sweet cherry and grape ones, which will help you in the hydration process. You can also mix them with nuts as a snack or some cheese low in sodium. One idea of a recipe is the following: skewer some grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil leaves on toothpicks as appetizers or snacks.

Green peppers 
Water content: 93.3%

These types of bell peppers have the highest amount of water and contain many antioxidants as the other types of peppers, such as the red and sweet ones. Peppers are great to use as a snack when you have a craving, instead of falling for something sweet and unhealthy. Plus, you will get hydrated and feel refreshed.

Cauliflower
Water content: 92.1%

This white flower-looking vegetable is full of vitamins and phytonutrients that help in fighting cancer, including breast cancer, and lowering cholesterol. Cauliflower is best used in your favorite salad, in order to make it crunchy and get hydrated.

Spinach 
Water content: 91.4%

Spinach is both green and full of water – a really healthy treat for your body. You can put it in your sandwiches or salads and enjoy its taste. Spinach is not only hydrating but also rich in lutein, fiber, potassium, and brain-boosting folate. One cup raw leaves of spinach can satisfy your daily intake of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals (damaging molecules).

 

fruit vegetables

 

Fruits with Highest Water Content

Water is as important as oxygen to lead a healthy life. Your body cannot function properly without enough water, which comprises 60 percent of your body weight. Water plays many crucial roles in the body, from detoxification to absorption of nutrients.

Health experts recommend drinking water throughout the day to keep the body hydrated. However, water is not the only way to keep the body hydrated.

Eating more water-rich fruits has other health benefits, too. Such fruits are low in calories and help with weight loss. They are rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber that are important for good health. Water-rich fruits also help flush waste and toxins out of the body.

Aim to eat water-rich fruits with about 85 percent or higher water content. You can eat the fruits raw, or make smoothies or juices.

Eat 2 cups of fruits per day to provide your body with fluids.

Watermelon
Water content: 92%

Watermelon is one of the most water-rich fruits you can eat. It contains essential rehydration salts – calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium – that help keep the body hydrated and largely reduce the chance of dehydration.

According to a 2009 study by University of Aberdeen Medical School researchers, watermelon helps hydrate the body twice as effectively as a glass of water after an intense workout.

In addition, watermelon is a good source of vitamins A and C, beta-carotene and lycopene, which keep your body fit and healthy. Lycopene also protects the body from ultraviolet (UV) light.

You can eat watermelon as it is, or add it to your fruit salads and smoothies. You can even keep a water pitcher in the refrigerator with watermelon cubes in the bottom.

Strawberries
Water content: 92%

All berries are good foods for hydration, but strawberries are the best with 92 percent water. They also contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber and folic acid. The fiber in strawberries has a satiating effect, keeping you feeling full so you do not indulge in unnecessary snacking.

In addition, these berries are a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. Strawberries offer a wide range of health benefits, from anti-aging effects to supporting cardiovascular health.

Adults as well as children like their sweet, slightly tart flavor. Eat a handful of ripe strawberries daily as a healthy snack. You can also blend a few strawberries in your favorite smoothie.

In addition to strawberries, cranberries, blueberries and raspberries also have a high water content.

Grapefruit
Water content: 91%

This juicy, tangy fruit is also one of the most hydrating fruits with 91 percent water content. Grapefruit also contains important electrolytes that help prevent dehydration.

It is high in soluble fiber and vitamin C, and contains smaller amounts of vitamins A, B-complex, E and K. It also has calcium, folate, phosphorus, potassium and several phytonutrients.

Regular intake of grapefruit can lower your insulin level, help control your appetite, protect against the common cold, aid in weight loss, make your skin beautiful and lots more.

Try eating half a grapefruit at breakfast or drink a glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice daily.

Note: This fruit may interact with certain medications like blood pressure medications and may not be suitable for women with hormone sensitive conditions.

Cantaloupe
Water content: 90%

Cantaloupe, also known as muskmelon or mush melon, is another high water content fruit with 90 percent water.

Cantaloupe also contains potassium, an important electrolyte that can be lost during sweating and cause dehydration. Other vital nutrients found in cantaloupe are vitamins A, C and K, protein, fiber, folate, calcium and iron.

Regular intake of cantaloupe reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, while promoting healthy skin and hair. It also provides protection against a range of diseases and conditions from the common cold to cancer.

You can add some ice to fresh-squeezed cantaloupe juice for a refreshing drink in the summer. You can also use cantaloupe to make delicious cold soup or tasty smoothies.

Peaches
Water content: 88%

Peaches contain about 88 percent water content, making them a great solution to beat dehydration. Fresh peaches are juicy and taste great. They are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various other chemical contents.

Peaches contain vitamins A, C and K as well as fiber, potassium, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.

At the same time, they are low in calories and contain no saturated fats. Peaches help fight obesity and prevent related diseases like diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

You can muddle ripe peaches into your glass of lemonade, iced tea or water to make a refreshing drink. Another option is to add sliced peaches to your oatmeal, yogurt and cold cereals.

Pineapple
Water content: 87%

Pineapple is another fruit with high water content. It has 87 percent water. It is a powerhouse of nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, thiamin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, folate and fiber.

Pineapple also contains a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain that has many health benefits. Additionally, it is low in sodium and fat.

This fruit is both juicy and fleshy that helps keep your body hydrated and cleanses your body to get rid of harmful toxins. Moreover, pineapple boosts your immune system, improves digestion, promotes eye health and makes your bones strong.

You can have fresh pineapple juice or make yummy pineapple popsicles during the hot summer. You can also enjoy it as a fruit snack or add it to fruit salad, stir-fry and soups.

 

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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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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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Diet Is Associated With Risk of Depression

Sep. 16, 2013 — A healthy diet may reduce the risk of severe depression, according to a prospective follow-up study of more than 2,000 men conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. In addition, weight loss in the context of a lifestyle intervention was associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms.

“The study reinforces the hypothesis that a healthy diet has potential not only in the warding off of depression, but also in its prevention,” says Ms Anu Ruusunen, MSc, who presented the results in her doctoral thesis in the field of nutritional epidemiology.

Depressed individuals often have a poor quality of diet and decreased intake of nutrients. However, it has been unclear whether the diet and the intake of foods and nutrients are associated with the risk of depression in healthy individuals.

Those following a healthy diet are less at risk

A healthy diet characterized by vegetables, fruits, berries, whole-grains, poultry, fish and low-fat cheese was associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms and a lower risk of depression during the follow-up period.

Increased intake of folate was also associated with a decreased risk of depression. Vegetables, fruits, berries, whole-grains, meat and liver are the most important dietary sources of folate. In addition, increased coffee consumption was non-linearly associated with a decreased risk of depression.

In addition, participation in a three-year lifestyle intervention study improved depression scores with no specific group effect. Furthermore, a reduction in the body weight was associated with a greater reduction in depressive symptoms.


Junk food, sugar and processed meats may increase depressive symptoms
Adherence to an unhealthy diet characterized by a high consumption of sausages, processed meats, sugar-containing desserts and snacks, sugary drinks, manufactured foods, French rolls and baked or processed potatoes was associated with an increased prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms.

Contrary to some earlier observations, vitamin B12 intake, serum concentrations of n-3 PUFAs, serum ratio of n-6 to n-3 PUFAs, tea drinking and total caffeine intake were not related to the risk of depression in this study.

The study was based on the population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study. The participants, over 2,000 middle-aged or older Finnish men were followed-up for an average of 13-20 years. Their diet was measured by food records and food frequency questionnaires, and information on cases of depression was obtained from the National Hospital Discharge Register. The effects of the three-year lifestyle intervention on depressive symptoms were investigated in the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS) with 140 middle-aged men and women randomized to intervention and control groups.

Depression is one of the leading health challenges in the world and its effects on public health, economics and quality of life are enormous. Not only treatment of depression, but also prevention of depression needs new approaches. Diet and other lifestyle factors may be one possibility.

The whole study is available online at: 
http://epublications.uef.fi/pub/urn_isbn_978-952-61-1201-5/urn_isbn_978-952-61-1201-5.pdf


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25+ Vegan Sources of Calcium

Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati    September 24, 2013

We have all been taught that calcium is an essential nutrient for maintaining bone health (although it has many other uses, including balancing body pH.) There are also a number of other factors that influence bone health, such as an individual’s level of physical activity.

What I want to talk about today though is the myth that animal milks (especially cheeses) are the optimal source of calcium.

As explained by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM):

“Although many people think of calcium in the diet as good protection for their bones, this is not at all the whole story. In fact, in a 12-year Harvard study of 78,000 women, those who drank milk three times a day actually broke more bones than women who rarely drank milk. Similarly, a 1994 study of elderly men and women in Sydney, Australia, showed that higher dairy product consumption was associated with increased fracture risk. Those with the highest dairy product consumption had approximately double the risk of hip fracture compared to those with the lowest consumption.”

Calcium is an essential nutrient in our diet. But as you can see, not all calcium is equal. Did you know that although animal milks have calcium in them, they also leach calcium from the bones? (This helps explain the outcomes of the studies mentioned above). In fact, all animal proteins leach calcium from our bones!

“Animal protein tends to leach calcium from the bones, leading to its excretion in the urine. Animal proteins are high in sulfur-containing amino acids, especially cystine and methionine. Sulfur is converted to sulfate, which tends to acidify the blood. During the process of neutralizing this acid, bone dissolves into the bloodstream and filters through the kidneys into the urine. Meats and eggs contain two to five times more of these sulfur-containing amino acids than are found in plant foods” – PCRM

Other factors that influence calcium loss and bone health are:

–       Genetics
–       Possibly caffeine
–       Salt
–       Tobacco use
–       Physical inactivity
–       Lack of sun exposure

Another important note to make is about the amount of calcium we actually need on a daily basis:
“The World Health Organization recommends 400-500 milligrams of calcium per day for adults. American standards are higher, at 800 milligrams per day or even more, partly because the meat, salt, tobacco, and physical inactivity of American life leads to rapid calcium loss.” ~ PCRM

So the question remains: How do we get calcium in our diet without leaching calcium from our bones at the same time?
Plants!

There are plenty of calcium-rich plants to get this essential nutrient from. On the next page, I’ve provided a list of plant-based foods to start you off. This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a good mix of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and grains that are packed with calcium, demonstrating that it’s easy to reach a daily calcium intake anywhere from 400mg to 1000mg (depending on your calcium needs) solely using plant sources.


Whole Food Sources:
Plant (Serving Size, mg of Calcium)

–       Collard greens, cooked (1 cup, 357)
–       Figs, dried (10 medium, 269)*
–       Soybeans, green, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt (1 cup, 261)
–       Turnip greens, cooked (1 cup, 249)
–       Tempeh (1 cup, 184)
–       Kale, cooked (1 cup, 179)
–       Bok choy, cooked (1 cup, 158)
–       Mustard greens, cooked (1 cup, 152)
–       Okra, cooked (1 cup, 135)
–       Navy beans, cooked (1 cup, 126)
–       Almonds, whole (1/4 cup, 94)
–       Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt (1 cup, 80)
–       Oranges, All commercial varieties (1 cup sections, 72)
–       Broccoli, cooked (1 cup, 62)
–       Papayas, raw (1 cup mashed, 46)

Fortified or Packaged:
(Food, Serving Size, mg of Calcium)

–   Tofu, raw, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate. (1/2 cup, 861)
–   Blackstrap molasses (2 Tbsp, 400)
–   Oatmeal, instant (2 packets, 326)
–   Tofu, soft-regular processed with nigari (4 oz, 130-400)
–   Tofu, soft-regular processed with calcium sulfate* (4 oz, 200-420)
–   Soy or rice milk, commercial, calcium-fortified, plain     (8 oz, 200-300)
–   Other plant milks, calcium-fortified (8 oz, 300-500)
–   Calcium-fortified orange juice (8 oz 350)
–   Commercial soy yogurt, plain (6 oz, 300)
–   Tahini (2 Tbsp, 128)
–   Almond butter (2 Tbsp, 111)

Sources:
USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, 2011 and manufacturers’ information.
*J.A.T. Pennington, Bowes and Church’s Food Values of Portions Commonly Used. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1994.)
Vegan SocietyHuffington PostNIH – Calcium Quick FactsT Colin Campbell T Colin Campbell

source: care2.com


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Healthy living tied to less cell aging

Study participants highly motivated to stick with diet, exercise and stress relief changes

CBC News       Sep 17, 2013

An intensive plant-based diet, exercise and meditation regime could hold the potential to reverse cellular aging, a pilot study in the U.S. suggests.

The five-year study of 35 men with early stage prostate cancer explored the relationship between lifestyle changes and telomere length. Telomeres are protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. The length of telomeres shrinks every time a cell divides during the aging process.

Scientists suspect that as telomeres shrink, chromosomes become less stable. Shorter telomeres have become associated with aging-related diseases, including some cancers and cardiovascular disease.

“Our comprehensive lifestyle intervention was associated with increases in relative telomere length after five years of followup, compared with controls, in this small pilot study,” Dean Ornish of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., and his co-authors concluded in today’s issue of the journal Lancet Oncology.

“Adherence to these healthy behaviours was also associated with increased relative telomere length when all study participants were assessed together.”

In the study, all the men were monitored with blood tests and biopsies to measure telomere length.

A total of 10 also changed their lifestyles in four ways:

  •     Eating a plant-based diet (high in fruits, vegetables and unrefined grains, and low in fat and refined carbohydrates).
  •     Getting moderate exercise (walking 30 minutes a day, six days a week).
  •     Reducing stress (gentle yoga-based stretching, breathing, meditation).
  •     Meeting weekly to foster social support.

The other 25 study participants were not asked to make major lifestyle changes.

In those who made the lifestyle changes, telomere length increased by an average of 10 per cent, the researchers found. In contrast, telomere length decreased by an average of three per cent among those in the control group.
The researchers acknowledged that larger randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm the finding and reduce the possibility of bias. No cause-and-effect relationships can be drawn.

The participants in the lifestyle change group were highly motivated, said Joseph Lee, a human geneticist and associate professor of clinical epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, who was not part of the study.

“They maintained the intervention regimen for more than five years and they continued to attend meetings when the meetings were not required,” Lee told HealthDay News. “One needs to be cautious as to how effective lifestyle changes will be in a large general population where the level of motivation may not be so high.”

Lee also said that the researchers didn’t check health traits such as weight, body-mass index or blood pressure along with the length of the patients’ telomeres.

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Defence, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, Prostate Cancer Foundation and several other foundations. Three of the researchers co-founded a diagnostic company that assesses telomere biology.

source: www.cbc.ca


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Foods that can fix your health problems

By Sarah Richards, Health.com     Fri August 30, 2013

A regular breakfast of 100% whole grain cereal with fruit and low-fat milk is great. for maintaining mood balance.

(CNN) – Can’t sleep? Got the PMS blues? Before you open your medicine cabinet, step into your kitchen.

“Real, whole, fresh food is the most powerful drug on the planet,” says the author of “The Blood Sugar Solution” cookbook, Dr. Mark Hyman. “It regulates every biological function of your body.” In fact, recent research suggests not only what to eat but when to eat it for maximum benefit. Check out the latest smart food fixes.

Problem: I’m bloated

Food fix #1: Dig in to juicy fruits and vegetables

When you’re feeling puffy, you may not want to chow down on watery produce, but consuming foods like melon, cucumber and celery is an excellent way to flush out your system, says the author of the book “Food & Mood,” dietician Elizabeth Somer.
5 foods you should never eat

“We need sodium to survive,” she explains, “but because we often eat too much of it, our bodies retain water to dilute the blood down to a sodium concentration it can handle. Eating produce with high water content helps the dilution process, so your body can excrete excess sodium and water.”

Food fix #2: Load up on enzymes

Bloating can also be a sign that your intestines are out of whack. “If you’re irregular or experience gas right after eating, papaya can help,” explains the author of the book “Food as Medicine,” Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa. “Eating 1 cup several times a week helps rejuvenate the gastrointestinal system, thanks to papaya’s digestive enzyme papain, which breaks down protein.”

The fiber also helps push food through your intestines, improving regularity. Try a smoothie with papaya, pineapple (it also contains digestive enzymes), protein powder, ice and almond milk.

Problem: I’m on an emotional roller coaster

Food fix #1: Say yes to breakfast

“People who eat within an hour or two of waking up have a more even mood throughout the rest of the day and perform better at work,” Somer says. British researchers found that study participants who skipped their morning meal did worse on memory tests and were more tired by midday than those who had eaten.

The optimal breakfast includes a whole grain to supply glucose for your brain to run on, protein to satisfy hunger and keep your blood sugar levels steady and one or two antioxidant-rich fruits or vegetables. Somer’s suggestion: a 100% whole-grain cereal that contains at least 4 grams of fiber and no more than 5 grams of sugar, eaten with fruit and low-fat milk.

Food fix #2: Stock up on selenium

A lesser-known trace mineral, selenium – found in Brazil nuts, tuna, eggs and turkey – helps keep you on an even keel. Women whose diets are deficient in the mineral are more prone to feeling depressed.

Why? Selenium is crucial for the production of thyroid hormones, which govern metabolism and mood. You don’t need much, though: The recommended daily allowance for selenium is 55 micrograms, and you can get that amount by eating one 3-ounce can of tuna.

Problem: My skin is acting up

The food fix: Eat your onions

Battling breakouts? The antioxidants in onions and other sulfur-rich veggies tamp down the inflammation that leads to acne, says Dr. Valori Treloar, a dermatologist in Newton, Massachusetts, and co-author of the book “The Clear Skin Diet.” The sulfur in onions, leeks and scallions helps produce a detoxifying molecule called glutathione, which a 2011 study found to be lower in the skin of people who were prone to breakouts.

This antioxidant is most potent when eaten in raw or lightly cooked foods. Try adding chopped scallions to your salad or stirring diced onions into your salsa or stir-fry. Taking folate and vitamin B6 and B12 supplements may also boost glutathione levels.


Problem: I get crazy-bad jet lag

The food fix: Don’t snack on the plane

It’s no fun spending the first days of your vacation trying to acclimate. One surprising secret to avoiding the headaches, irritability and upset stomach of jet lag is to fast for several hours before arriving at your destination. That’s because when you eat influences your circadian rhythms, in much the same way that exposure to light and dark does.

Let’s say you’re headed to France. On the plane, steer clear of most food (but drink plenty of water), set your watch to Paris time and eat a high-protein breakfast at 7 a.m., no matter where you are on your trip.

“The fast depletes your body’s energy stores, so when you eat protein the next morning, you get an extra kick and help your body produce waking-up chemicals,” explains Dave Baurac, spokesperson for the Argonne National Laboratory, a research institute based in Illinois.

Problem: I’m tossing and turning

Food fix #1: Have a late-night morsel

We’ve all been told to avoid eating too close to bedtime, but applying this rule too strictly could actually contribute to sleep woes. As anyone who has tried a fast knows, hunger can make you feel edgy, and animal studies confirm this.

“You need to be relaxed to fall asleep, and having a grumbling stomach is a distraction,” explains Kelly Glazer Baron, an instructor of neurology at Northwestern University and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “It makes it hard to get to sleep and wakes you up at night.”

The trick is to tame the munchies 30 minutes to an hour before bed with a small snack that includes complex carbohydrates. “Since you metabolize sugars more slowly at night, a complex carb like whole wheat is a better choice,” Baron says. “It keeps your blood sugar levels even.” Try cheese and whole-wheat crackers or almonds and a banana.

Food fix #2: Add cherries

You can boost your snack’s snooze power by washing it down with a glass of tart cherry juice. A recent study of folks with chronic insomnia found that those who downed 8 ounces of juice made from tart Montmorency cherries (available in most grocery stores) one to two hours before bedtime stayed asleep longer than those who drank a placebo juice.

These sour powerhouses – which you can eat fresh, dried or juiced – possess anti-inflammatory properties that may stimulate the production of cytokines, a type of immune-system molecule that helps regulate sleep. Tart cherries are also high in melatonin, a hormone that signals the body to go to sleep and stay that way.

Problem: I have wicked PMS

The food fix: Keep an eye on iron

You might be more susceptible to the monthly blahs if you have low levels of iron, according to a new study. Researchers looked at the diets of 3,000 women over 10 years and found that those who consumed more than 20 milligrams of the mineral daily had about a 40 percent lower risk of PMS than those who ingested less than 10 milligrams.

You can get almost your full daily dose by eating 1 cup of an iron-fortified cereal; other great sources include white beans (4 milligrams per one-half cup) and sautéed fresh spinach (3 milligrams per one-half cup).

The beta-carotene found in carrots is one of the most potent carotenoids and protects your skin from the sun.

Problem: I’m so sensitive to the sun

The food fix: Pile on protective produce

While you still need the usual sun protection (SPF 30 sunscreen as well as a wide-brimmed hat), you may be able to bolster your skin’s own resistance to UV rays with what you eat. The details: Micronutrients called carotenoids in fruits and vegetables protect the skin against sunburn, recent science shows.

“Most topical sunscreens work by filtering out the UV component from the solar light that reaches the skin,” explains researcher Wilhelm Stahl, a professor of biochemistry at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany. “But these micronutrients, if you have enough in your system, actually absorb UV light and prevent damage.”

The most potent carotenoids are the beta-carotene found in carrots, endive and spinach – and the lycopene in watermelon and tomatoes. Keep in mind that the effect isn’t instantaneous; you would need to eat a carotenoid-rich diet for at least 10 to 12 weeks in order to get the full benefit, says Stahl. Still, there is a reward for your patience: skin fortified to fend off sun damage and wrinkles.