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This Is Your Body And Brain On Coffee

Drinking more caffeine lately? Here’s how it can affect you over time and advice on making it better for you.

An industry survey estimated that 64% of Americans drank a cup of coffee every day. And with good reason: There are tons of health benefits.

For example, studies have linked coffee to a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. But, as with most good things, too much of it may have negative consequences.

Coffee ― and we don’t mean decaf ― can be a treatment or a trigger for health concerns, depending on a number of variables, including how much you consume, how frequently you consume it, how it’s prepared and your health history. Here are some of the potential benefits and drawbacks of drinking coffee.

Coffee is often touted for its disease-fighting properties. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in coffee are likely responsible for the association between coffee drinking and the reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer (including oral cancers).

Those antioxidants, however, won’t necessarily offset the negative effects of the sugars, syrups and creamers you add.

“If you now load your coffee with sugars and other things that increase inflammation or you have coffee with that big muffin, then the anti-inflammatory or antioxidants in the coffee will not be able to counteract that at all,” said Zhaoping Li, a professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Black coffee may help reduce body fat.
One study found that drinking four cups of coffee daily was associated with a reduction in body fat of roughly 4%. (But, again, that was without cream and sugar.)

The caffeine in coffee may raise metabolism, potentially burning more calories and leading to reduced body fat, said Derrick Johnston Alperet, the study’s co-author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Our study results and evidence from previous studies suggest that regular coffee intake may aid in weight loss and in achieving better overall health if it is incorporated into a healthful diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, but less of sugar and artificially sweetened beverages and processed and red meat,” Alperet said.

Coffee could help extend your life.
Regular coffee drinkers tend to live longer. Coffee drinkers are less likely to die of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

Caffeine puts your brain on alert.
We can’t talk about coffee without addressing the thing people think of first: caffeine. Caffeine — which occurs naturally in coffee beans, tea leaves and cocoa beans — is a dietary component, not a nutrient. It stimulates the central nervous system, causing you to feel more alert.

“Obviously, when you’re alert, you’re able to concentrate and perform mentally,” UCLA’s Li said. That’s why so many of us turn to coffee to start our day or as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Of course, you’ll also find caffeine in other beverages, including brewed black tea, brewed green tea and caffeinated soda. In terms of natural beverages, though, coffee has the highest concentration of caffeine, Li said.

Different types of coffee can have different amounts of caffeine. A single fluid ounce of brewed coffee will have roughly 12 milligrams of caffeine; a similar amount of instant coffee will have only 8 milligrams, while an ounce of espresso will have a whopping 64 milligrams, according to the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020.

Low to moderate amounts of caffeine (50 to 300 milligrams) can increase alertness, energy and the ability to concentrate, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Higher doses, however, can lead to negative effects.

“Sometimes people aren’t aware that the side effects they’re having are due to coffee or something else,” such as stress or diet, said Donald Hensrud, director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program and editor of the Mayo Clinic Diet.

For example, several things can contribute to heartburn, including eating too late, gaining weight or consuming certain types of food or beverages — including coffee.

People who experience anxiety should also take a look at their coffee habits and if coffee could be affecting their symptoms. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions in the country, affecting 40 million adults 18 and older. Research suggests that more than 250 milligrams of caffeine — the amount in about 2½ cups of coffee — may trigger anxiety in some people.

Pregnant women are often advised to limit caffeine, but recommendations on how much can vary.

Coffee makes you pee more.
Caffeine is thought to be a diuretic. Coffee can increase urination and act as a bladder irritant. For people who experience bladder control problems, this can worsen their symptoms, Hensrud said.

Coffee can either help or heal headaches, depending on a few unique factors.
The caffeine in coffee can be either a treatment or a trigger for headaches. On the one hand, caffeine blocks brain receptors associated with pain and relieves headache pain, said Elizabeth Mostofsky, an epidemiology instructor at the Chan School and research fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

It can also make other pain medications as much as 40% more effective, Mostofsky added.

But drinking more than three caffeinated beverages a day may actually trigger a headache in people prone to migraines.

Have you ever had a cup of coffee late in the afternoon and then wound up starring at your bedroom ceiling until 2 a.m.? Or can you enjoy a cappuccino after dinner and then sleep soundly that night?

Each person’s body processes caffeine a bit differently, based on his or her tolerance and metabolism. The “awake” feeling we get from drinking coffee can last up to six hours or so, depending on the individual, Li said.

If you notice that you’re still feeling the effects of an afternoon coffee at bedtime, Hensrud advised cutting off coffee earlier in the day.

So how much coffee is OK?
The potential health benefits of drinking coffee are clear. But there’s no advice telling you to start drinking coffee if you don’t already.

“I think if you like coffee, coffee is part of your healthy diet,” Li said. “If you’re not a coffee drinker, there is no necessity to drinking coffee. You can drink tea or water.”

Li added that green tea has much less caffeine than coffee and also happens to be a great source of antioxidants. Decaf coffee can also provide some of the benefits of regular coffee without the effects of caffeine.

Regular coffee drinkers might be looking for that magic number of cups they should drink to feel their best. Dietary guidelines say that moderate coffee consumption is three to five cups per day (providing up to 400 milligrams per day of caffeine).

“Studies are showing if you have about three cups — some studies are showing four cups — a day, it’s definitely safe,” Li said.

Like most things with diet, though, it really comes down to moderation and paying attention to your body.

“The end result of a lot of things in nutrition is practicality and enjoyment,” Hensrud said. “Sometimes people get lost in the weeds or the details. For example, there are no guidelines for people to start drinking coffee if they don’t. If you enjoy it, drink it, and if you’re having side effects, cut back. I like to bring it back to a practical level and let people decide for themselves.”

Kristin Lesko                 04/23/2020
coffee

The Healthiest Way To Brew Your Coffee
– And Possibly Lengthen Your Life

For many of us, the day doesn’t start off right until we have that cuppa joe.

Just the aroma of that dark, rich brew can get our senses stirring, ready for the mood boost we know is coming.

And it turns out that coffee’s not just fine for your health, it may even lengthen your life — but only if you prepare it with a filter, according to a new long-term study published Wednesday in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

“Unfiltered coffee contains substances which increase blood cholesterol. Using a filter removes these and makes heart attacks and premature death less likely,” said study author Dag Thelle, a senior professor in the public health and community medicine department of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

“Our study provides strong and convincing evidence of a link between coffee brewing methods, heart attacks and longevity,” Thelle said.

That’s bad news for lovers of coffee made with the French press, or cafetière, that is so popular today, or those fond of strong Greek and Turkish brewing methods. Boiling coffee or using a coffee press can actually increase your risk of heart disease.

“Unfiltered coffee, like Greek and Turkish coffee, which is boiled, or coffee made in a French press contain higher amounts of cafestol and kahweol – chemicals found in oil droplets floating in the coffee and also in the sediment,” said registered dietitian Lisa Drayer, a CNN health and nutrition contributor.

“Studies have shown that these substances can raise triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol levels,” Drayer said. “So stick with filtered coffee, such as a paper filter that you would use in a drip-brewed coffee, which can help to trap these chemicals.”

Drinking filtered coffee better for health

The new study followed over half a million healthy Norwegian men and women between the ages of 20 and 79 over a 20-year period.

Results showed drinking boiled or pressed unfiltered coffee raised the risk of death in men aged 60 and above, due to elevated cardiovascular mortality.

But drinking filtered coffee – that through a paper filter, for example, was found to be healthier than drinking no coffee at all.

Filtered coffee was linked to a 15% reduced risk of death from any cause, a 12% decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease in men and a 20% lowered risk of death from heart disease in women when compared to drinking no coffee.

In fact, the study found those who drank one to four cups of filtered coffee per day had the lowest mortality rate.

“The finding that those drinking the filtered beverage did a little better than those not drinking coffee at all could not be explained by any other variable such as age, gender or lifestyle habits. So we think this observation is true,” Thelle said.

Evidence-based recommendations

The findings echo other research highlighting coffee’s health benefits. According to the American Heart Association, filtered coffee can sharpen your mental focus, boost mood and improve performance during exercise.

The British Medical Journal published a huge umbrella study in 2017 that looked at over 200 meta-analyses of the health benefits of coffee and that found drinking three to fours cups of black coffee a day provides the most health benefits overall.

Those included lowering the risk of heart disease; numerous types of cancer; and neurological, metabolic and liver disorders; as well as overall mortality. Other studies have found coffee reduces the risk for melanoma, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, computer-related back pain and more.

Of course, nothing is perfect. There are some reasons you may want to limit or avoid coffee.

Watch your sleep. “If you have trouble falling asleep, it’s best to avoid coffee and all sources of caffeine in the evening or close to bedtime,” Drayer suggested.

Careful if you’re at risk for fractures. The British Medical Journal analysis found high levels of coffee consumption (over four cups a day) was associated with a higher risk of fractures in women who already had a greater likelihood, but not in men.

Pregnant women should also be wary. Higher levels of coffee consumption were found to increase risk for preterm births and stillbirths, as well as low birth weight in babies. This is possibly due to the fact that the half-life of caffeine is known to double during pregnancy, raising the dose of caffeine per cup, according to the study.

Not for those with Parkinson’s. A study published in September 2017 reversed opinion on the benefits for Parkinson’s disease, which was long thought to be helped by caffeine. Researchers who first found that coffee reduced tremors in those with Parkinson’s went back and studied a larger sample of patients for a longer time. This time, they found no difference between those taking caffeine tablets and those taking a placebo. After the initial data came back negative, the study was stopped.

But for the vast majority of us, coffee is just fine, experts said.

“For people who know they have high cholesterol levels and want to do something about it, stay away from unfiltered brew, including coffee made with a cafetière,” Thelle said. “For everyone else, drink your coffee with a clear conscience and go for filtered.”

To keep your coffee consumption even more healthy, Drayer suggested the following tips:

Add low-fat milk and skip the cream. “Cream contributes about 50 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon,” Drayer said, adding that low-fat milk has fewer calories and will help to offset calcium losses (a tablespoon has only 6 calories, but 19 milligrams of calcium).

Avoid sugar in your coffee. “A teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories. It may not sound like much, but if you add two teaspoons to your brew and drink a few cups per day, the calories add up,” she said.

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN    Wed April 22, 2020

 

 

Instant Coffee: Good or Bad?

Instant coffee is very popular in many areas of the world.

It may even account for more than 50% of all coffee consumption in some countries.

Instant coffee is also faster, cheaper, and easier to make than regular coffee.

You may know that drinking regular coffee is linked to many health benefits but wonder whether the same benefits apply to instant coffee.

This article explains everything you need to know about instant coffee and its health effects.

What is instant coffee?

Instant coffee is a type of coffee made from dried coffee extract.

Similarly to how regular coffee is brewed, the extract is made by brewing ground coffee beans, although it’s more concentrated.

After brewing, the water is removed from the extract to make dry fragments or powder, both of which dissolve when added to water.

There are two main ways to make instant coffee:

  • Spray-drying. Coffee extract is sprayed into hot air, which quickly dries the droplets and turns them into fine powder or small pieces.
  • Freeze-drying. The coffee extract is frozen and cut into small fragments, which are then dried at a low temperature under vacuum conditions.

Both methods preserve the quality, aroma, and flavor of the coffee.

The most common way to prepare instant coffee is to add one teaspoon of powder to a cup of hot water.

The strength of the coffee can easily be adjusted by adding more or less powder to your cup.

SUMMARY
Instant coffee is made from brewed coffee that has had the water removed. To make instant coffee, simply add one teaspoon of powder to a cup of warm water.

Instant coffee contains antioxidants and nutrients

Coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the modern diet.

Its high antioxidant content is believed to be responsible for many of its associated health benefits.

Like regular coffee, instant coffee contains many powerful antioxidants.

According to one study, instant coffee may contain even higher amounts of certain antioxidants than other brews, due to the way it is processed.

Furthermore, one standard cup of instant coffee contains only 7 calories and small amounts of potassium, magnesium, and niacin (vitamin B3).

SUMMARY
Instant coffee is full of powerful antioxidants. It may even contain higher amounts of some antioxidants than other types of coffee.

Instant coffee contains slightly less caffeine

Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world, and coffee is its biggest dietary source.

However, instant coffee generally contains slightly less caffeine than regular coffee.

One cup of instant coffee containing one teaspoon of powder may contain 30–90 mg of caffeine, while one cup of regular coffee contains 70–140 mg.

Since sensitivity to caffeine varies by individual, instant coffee may be a better choice for those who need to cut back on caffeine.

Instant coffee is also available in decaf, which contains even less caffeine.

Too much caffeine may cause anxiety, disrupted sleep, restlessness, upset stomach, tremors, and a fast heartbeat.

SUMMARY
A cup of instant coffee containing one teaspoon of powder generally contains 30–90 mg of caffeine, while regular coffee contains 70–140 mg per cup.

Instant coffee contains more acrylamide

Acrylamide is a potentially harmful chemical that forms when coffee beans are roasted.

This chemical is also commonly found in a wide range of foods, smoke, household items, and personal care products.

Interestingly, instant coffee may contain up to twice as much acrylamide as fresh, roasted coffee.

Overexposure to acrylamide may damage the nervous system and increase the risk of cancer.

However, the amount of acrylamide you’re exposed to through diet and coffee is much lower than the amount that has been shown to be harmful.

Therefore, drinking instant coffee should not cause concern regarding acrylamide exposure.

SUMMARY
Instant coffee contains up to twice as much acrylamide as regular coffee, but this amount is still lower than the amount considered to be harmful.

Like regular coffee, instant coffee may have several health benefits

Drinking coffee has been linked to many health benefits.

Given that instant coffee contains the same antioxidants and nutrients as regular coffee, it should provide most of the same health effects.

Drinking instant coffee may:

  • Enhance brain function. Its caffeine content can improve brain function.
  • Boost metabolism. Its caffeine may increase metabolism and help you burn more fat.
  • Reduce disease risk. Coffee may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • Decrease diabetes risk. Coffee may help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Improve liver health. Coffee and caffeine may reduce the risk of liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancer.
  • Improve mental health. Coffee may help lower the risk of depression and suicide.
  • Promote longevity. Drinking coffee may help you live longer.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that many of these studies were observational.

These types of studies can’t prove that coffee causes a reduced risk of disease — only that people who habitually drink coffee are less likely to develop disease.

If you’re wondering how much coffee to drink, consuming 3–5 cups of instant coffee each day may be optimal. Studies have often linked this amount to the highest risk reductions.

SUMMARY
Instant coffee offers most of the same health benefits as regular coffee, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and liver disease.

The bottom line
Instant coffee is quick, easy, and doesn’t require a coffee maker. It also has a very long shelf life and is cheaper than regular coffee.

Therefore, it may be very handy when you’re traveling or on the go.

Instant coffee contains slightly less caffeine and more acrylamide than regular coffee, but it contains most of the same antioxidants.

Overall, instant coffee is a healthy, low-calorie beverage that is linked to the same health benefits as other types of coffee.

Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN (Ice)        October 8, 2019


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The Everyday Foods Linked To Good Mental Health

The foods can offset the impact of major life events, like divorce and unemployment.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to a lower risk of depression new research concludes.

An extra four portions of fruit and vegetables per day can offset the impact of major life events, like divorce and unemployment.

The boost from more fruit and vegetables could counteract half the pain of getting divorced or one-quarter that of being unemployed.

The effect on mental well-being of eating 8 portions per day compared with none is even more dramatic.

These benefits come on top of the well-known protective effect against cancer and heart disease.

The conclusions come from an Australian survey of 7,108 people carried out every year since 2001.

All were asked about their diet and lifestyle.

The results showed that the more fruit and vegetables people ate, the less likely they were to be diagnosed with mental health problems later on.

fruits-veggies

Dr Redzo Mujcic, the study’s first author, said:

“If people eat around seven or eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day the boost in mental well-being is as strong as divorce pushing people the other way, to a depressed state.
We found being made unemployed had a very bad and significant effect on people’s mental health, greatly increasing the risk of depression and anxiety.
But eating seven or eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day can reduce that by half.
And the effect is a lot quicker than the physical improvements you see from a healthy diet.
The mental gains occur within 24 months, whereas physical gains don’t occur until you are in your 60s.”

One possible mechanism by which fruit and vegetables affect happiness is through antioxidants.

There is a suggested connection between antioxidants and optimism.

Dr Mujcic said:

“If people increase their daily intake of fruit and vegetables from zero to eight they are 3.2 percentage points less likely to suffer depression or anxiety in the next two years.
That might not sound much in absolute terms, but the effect is comparable to parts of major life events, like being made unemployed or divorced.
We tested for reverse-causality—ie whether it might be that depression or anxiety leads to people eating less fruit and vegetables—but we found no strong statistical evidence of this.”

About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. 
He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
The study was published in the journal Social Science & Medicine (Mujcic & Oswald, 2019).

 


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17 Food Combinations that Can Boost Your Health

Hard boiled egg + salad
Out of all the numerous topping options at the salad bar, pick up a hard boiled egg. The fat in the egg yolk helps your body best absorb carotenoids, disease-busting antioxidants found in veggies, according to 2015 research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Count it as one more reason you should definitely eat the yolks.

Fries + veggies
You don’t want to have to choose between the steamed veggie or fries as a side. Why not get them both? Pairing a nutritious and less-nutritious food choice (officially called a ‘vice-virtue bundle’) can help you stick to your health goals, suggests research in the journal Management Science. One tip to balance the calories—keep your portion of fries/dessert/onion rings small or medium, suggest researchers. If you can order only one size and it’s jumbo, ask for half to be packed upie immediately in a to-go box—or portion out half the plate for a companion. The researchers found that people didn’t actually want to eat enormous piles of treats anyway.

Marinade + steak
Grilling is a quick and healthy way to get dinner on the table, no doubt. However, cooking meat at high temps (a la grilling) creates potentially cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). The delicious solution: marinate your meat. Especially when you use certain herbs and spices in your marinade, including rosemary, it can reduce HCAs by up to 88 percent, according to a study from Kansas State University.

Olive oil + kale
Even though the buzz around heart-healthy fats like olive oil is good, you may still be trying to cut down on oil in an effort to save calories. But it’s time to start sauteeing your veggies again. ‘Vegetables have many fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, which means they need fat to be absorbed,’ explains culinary nutrition expert and healthy living blogger Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, of Nutritioulicious. In addition to kale, make sure you cook carrots, sweet potatoes, and broccoli with a little fat too.

Almonds + yogurt
Vitamin D is credited with so many health benefits, including boosting your bones, mood, and immune function. Many yogurts supply one-quarter your daily need for D per cup. To make the most of it though, toss some slivered almonds on top before digging in—especially if you’re eating non- or low-fat yogurt. The fat in the nuts helps raise the levels of D found in your blood 32 percent more compared to having no fat at all, reveals research in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Sardines + spinach
The fatty fish is abundant in vitamin D, while spinach offers magnesium. In 2013 research, magnesium was shown to interact with the vitamin to boost levels of D in your body. Long-term, this may even help reduce risk of heart disease and colon cancer.

Turmeric + black pepper
You’ve no doubt heard the buzz around the anti-cancer properties of curcumin, the molecule in turmeric that gives the spice its yellow hue. Problem is, it can be difficult for your body to absorb and truly reap the benefits. Combining turmeric with black pepper—which isn’t hard to do in cooking—is a great way to up your body’s ability to use it by 2,000 percent, research shows.

Avocado + toast
If you’re participating in ‘Toast Tuesdays,’ you might have tried the much-obsessed over avocado toast. And it is delicious, FYI. The foods are a perfect match not just for their taste but because the fat from the avocado will slow the rate at which carbs are broken down, absorbed, and converted into sugar, points out Levinson. It’s simple: just spread avocado on whole grain toast and top with some sea salt and pepper (and even lemon juice or hot sauce) and you’re good to go. Add a fried egg for an extra protein boost.

avocado toast

Tomato sauce + spinach
Might as well pack more veggies into the sauce, right? Spinach contains iron, something you may need more of if you’re not eating meat (which is the most abundant source of the mineral). The catch? Iron is not easily absorbed from plant sources, so to tip the scales in your favor, you need to eat these plants with a source of vitamin C, according to Levinson. In this case, tomatoes provide the kick of vitamin C you need to best absorb your spinach. Try her recipe for tomato sauce with spinach, or opt for these other power duos: spinach salad with strawberries, beans and bell peppers, or tofu and broccoli.

Brown rice + lentils
If you’re vegetarian, you may have heard that you should eat certain foods together to ensure you’re getting a complete protein. It’s actually more important that you get a variety of plant proteins throughout the day rather than in one specific meal, says Levinson. Still, some combos are classics for a reason—together, they form a complete protein. Try a brown rice and lentil bowl, beans wrapped in corn tortillas, or nut butter slathered on whole grain bread.

Salmon + leafy greens
Greens to the rescue once more! Vitamin D and calcium are typically found together in dairy, and for good reason: Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, both of which are critical for bone health, points out Levinson. But if you don’t eat milk or yogurt, what do you do? Buy  salmon and eat it atop a bed of cooked greens of your choice (sauteeing them cooks them down, making it easier to eat a bigger serving).

Brown rice + garlic + onion
Here’s a reason to make a stir-fry tonight: Garlic and onion help increase the availability of iron and zinc in whole grains, according to Levinson. You can thank the sulfur-containing compounds within the stinky alliums (garlic and onion) for the mineral boost, say researchers.

Carbonation + water
Think we’re getting one by you? If you have trouble getting yourself to drink plain H20, hear us out about why bubbles and water make an ideal match. One German study found that people who made carbonated water at home (think SodaStream), drank more water than those who didn’t—and bonus!—consumed less fat during the day, too.

Red wine + black pepper
The spice does it again. Black pepper contains a compound called piperine, which may help improve the bioavailability of resveratrol (the disease-busting antioxidant in red wine) to tissues, suggests an animal study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. While it doesn’t seem like a natural pairing, simply drink a glass of vino with dinner, and keep the pepper mill handy. Bon appetit!

Green tea + lemon
When you give your cup a squirt of citrus, the vitamin C preserves green tea’s antioxidant catechins, helping them survive the harrowing journey through your digestive tract to where your body can absorb them—so you can reap the benefits from the brew—reveals Purdue University research.

Guacamole + salsa
Pass the chips, please. This is another perfect example of how the antioxidants in certain produce, like tomatoes, need a little fat in order to be absorbed. In fact, a study in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating avocado with salsa improved the absorption of lycopene and beta-carotene in the tomatoes by 4.4 and 2.6 times, respectively. It’s the perfect excuse to go for Mexican tonight.

Pistachios + raisins
When you think about it, trail mix makes lots of sense. Eating dried fruit and nuts together can help improve your metabolic health to help decrease your diabetes risk, suggests a review published in Nutrition Journal. Together, they supply fiber, vitamins, and minerals—and the fat from the nuts helps keep your blood sugar at an even keel. Try making your own custom trail mix instead of paying a premium for the pre-packaged kind.

 

Jessica Migala  2019-01-16
source: www.msn.com


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4 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic

The organic food industry is a booming business, and with the recent sale of natural-foods giant Whole Foods to Amazon, it’s expected to grow even larger in the near future. While some consumers buy organic because they believe it’s better for the environment, even more do so for health-related reasons, according to one 2016 survey.

What, exactly, are the health benefits of going organic? That depends on who you ask and which studies you consult. But if you do choose to buy organic foods, here are some science-backed bonuses you’re likely to get in return.

Fewer pesticides and heavy metals
Fruits, vegetables and grains labeled organic are grown without the use of most synthetic pesticides or artificial fertilizers. (The National Organic Standard Board does allow some synthetic substances to be used.) While such chemicals have been deemed safe in the quantities used for conventional farming, health experts still warn about the potential harms of repeated exposure.

For example, the commonly used herbicide Roundup has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen,” and the insecticide chlorpyrifos has been associated with developmental delays in infants. Studies have also suggested that pesticide residues—at levels commonly found in the urine of kids in the U.S.—may contribute to ADHD prevalence; they’ve also been linked to reduced sperm quality in men.

A 2014 meta-analysis in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organically grown crops were not only less likely to contain detectable levels of pesticides, but because of differences in fertilization techniques, they were also 48% less likely to test positive for cadmium, a toxic heavy metal that accumulates in the liver and kidneys.

More healthy fats
When it comes to meat and milk, organic products can have about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated healthy fat, than conventionally produced products, according to a 2016 study in the British Journal of Nutrition. Organic milk tested in the study also had less saturated fat than non-organic.

These differences may come from the way organic livestock is raised, with a grass-fed diet and more time spent outdoors, say the study’s authors. They believe that switching from conventional to organic products would raise consumers’ omega-3 intake without increasing overall calories or saturated fat.

dirty dozen

No antibiotics or synthetic hormones
Conventional livestock can be fed antibiotics to protect against illness, making it easier for farmers to raise animals in crowded or unsanitary conditions. The FDA limited the use of certain antibiotics for livestock earlier this year, but loopholes in the legislation still exist. And with the exception of poultry, conventionally raised animals can also be injected with synthetic growth hormones, so they’ll gain weight faster or produce more milk.

But traces of these substances can make their way to consumers, says Rolf Halden, professor and director of the Biodesign Center for Environmental Security at Arizona State University. Drug residue is believed to contribute to widespread antibiotic resistance, he says, and organic foods—which are produced without antibiotics—“are intrinsically safer in this respect.” Organic meat and dairy also cannot contain synthetic hormones, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

More antioxidants, in some cases
In a recent six-year study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that organic onions had about a 20% higher antioxidant content than conventionally grown onions. They also theorized that previous analyses—several of which have found no difference in conventional versus organic antioxidant levels—may have been thwarted by too-short study periods and confounding variables like weather.

The research was “very well done,” says Guy Crosby, adjunct associate professor of Nutrition at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. But he points out that this specific study “takes just one aspect of phytochemicals and shows they can be improved under organic conditions.” The question of whether organic foods are truly more nutritious is still debatable, he adds. “Had the researchers chosen to measure a different vitamin or mineral, they may have found a different result.”

The bottom line
Organic products are more expensive than conventional ones, and whether they’re really worth the extra cost is certainly a matter of choice. “If you can afford all organic, that’s fantastic, but it’s not feasible for most people,” says registered dietitian Cynthia Sass. “If it’s not, the most important groups to buy organic, in my opinion, include foods you eat daily and produce on the Dirty Dozen list—those with the highest pesticide residues.” If people eat eggs, dairy and meat, she also recommends buying those organic.

Halden says that vulnerable groups—including pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people suffering from allergies—may benefit the most from choosing organically produced foods. He also points out that a strictly organic diet can still be plenty unhealthy: “Eating too much sugar and meat and too few vegetables is risky, regardless of whether the shopper picks from the conventional or organic grocery selection,” he says.

It’s also important for consumers to make educated decisions about why they choose to buy organic, says Crosby—and not to get hung up on individual studies that haven’t been supported by additional research. If you’re trying to reduce exposure to pesticide residues, organic is a good choice, he says. “On the other hand, if you’re buying them because they’re more nutritious, the evidence doesn’t broadly support that,” he says.

By AMANDA MACMILLAN AND JULIA NAFTULIN        July 27, 2017
source: time.com       #OrganicWeek   September 8-16, 2018


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Lemons: Health Benefits, Cleaning and Storing

Dewax and Cleaning Lemons – Fruit and Vegetable Wash

Lemons are often coated with wax to keep the peel fresh and glossy. This wax is considered safe to eat, but if you need to zest the lemon, you may still wish to de-wax it before proceeding.

1 Combine vinegar and water. Pour three parts water and one part white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle. Close the bottle, then shake well to combine.
A commercial fruit and vegetable wash could be used instead of a homemade one.
Another possible fruit and vegetable wash can be made by mixing 1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbsp (15 ml), and 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water. Mix these ingredients together in a spray bottle.

2 Spray the solution onto the lemons. Thoroughly douse all sides of the peel of each lemon with the vinegar cleaning solution.
Allow the solution to sit on the lemons for two to five minutes before continuing. The acidity of the cleansing solution needs several minutes to weaken and dissolve the wax.

3 Scrub the lemons under running water. Scrub the lemon peels with a vegetable brush under cool, running water, applying gentle yet firm pressure.
The temperature of the water is not as significant for this method since no heat was used previously, but lukewarm to cool water is still recommended since it is the least likely to alter the internal temperature of the lemon.
Avoid using brushes or sponges that were previously used in soapy water.
Each lemon only needs to be scrubbed briefly.

4 Rinse under cool water. After you finish scrubbing the lemons, rinse each one under the running water to remove any remaining wax residue.
If you see any wax debris, you can use your fingers to lightly brush it off while rinsing the fruit. Do not use the brush during this step, however.

5 Dry well. Quickly dry the lemons by wiping off any water using clean paper towels.
If desired, you can let the lemons air dry instead of drying them with paper towel.

  • For best results, use the lemons immediately after de-waxing them. Without their protective wax, lemons can spoil faster.
  • Do not store dewaxed lemons that are still wet. Make sure that the peels are completely dry to prevent possible issues with premature spoilage.
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Storing Lemons

How to Keep Lemons Fresh For up to 3 Months

This tip for storing lemons is so easy. According to Food.com, if you refrigerate lemons in a bowl of water, they will keep for up to three months! It sounds insane, but I’d be willing to give it a try. And if you want to extend the life of a lemon even further, freeze the zest and the juice separately.

ANNA MONETTE ROBERTS      November 29, 2017   

lemon juice

 

Is Drinking Lemon Juice Good for You?

Drinking lemon juice benefits your health, which is why many traditional systems of medicine recommend drinking lemon juice daily. Lemons contain vitamins, minerals and other natural compounds that boost your immune system and even fight cancer. They aid in digestion and mineral absorption, may give you more energy and protect your kidneys and urinary health. Drink fresh squeezed lemon juice, diluted in water, regularly to reap the most benefits.

Good for Your Body’s Defense System
One medium-sized lemon contains 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants counteract free-radical damage that occurs during food digestion and exposure to radiation and smoke. Protecting yourself from free radicals by drinking lemon juice regularly can help slow the aging process and might aid in the protection against chronic diseases. Eating more vitamin C when you have a cold might even shorten it or lessen the severity of your symptoms.

Helps Weight Loss and Boosts Energy
Although there’s no “miracle pill” for weight loss, drinking lemon juice could help in your efforts. In an interview with the “Daily Mail,” the author of “The Lemon Juice Diet,” Theresa Cheung, explained that by improving digestion, lemon helps regulate your metabolism. When digestion is poor, your body can’t absorb nutrients it requires to utilize fat. Improving your digestion also helps you eliminate toxins, which improves your energy levels. In a study published in the “Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition” in 2008, obesity was induced in rats through their diet, which was then supplemented with lemon polyphenols, compounds thought to affect fat metabolism. After 12 weeks, the rats lost weight and body fat and had reduced concentrations of fat in their blood as a result of the lemon polyphenols.

Decreases Cancer Risks
Lemons contain 22 different compounds that have been found to fight cancer cells. A study published in “Food & Function” in 2013 discovered that limonoids found in lemons stymie the growth of cancer cells that depend on estrogen for growth and those that don’t. It concluded that consuming lemon may reduce your risk of breast cancer. In a case-control study published in “Cancer Causes and Control” in 2010, researchers found that consuming citrus in general decreased the risk of throat, pharyngeal, colorectal and stomach cancer.

Helps Keep Your Kidney and Urinary Tract Clean
Drinking lemon juice consistently could help dissolve calcium deposits, kidney stones and gallstones while possibly preventing their occurrence. In a study published in “BMC Urology” in 2007, kidney stones were induced in rats via a solution of ethylene glycol and ammonium chloride. While the toxic solution was administered, three groups of rats were given equal amounts of lemon juice, at various concentrations: 100 percent, 75 percent and 50 percent. The control group was given water instead, and another group was given nothing but the toxic solution. In the rats given lemon juice at 75 percent and 100 percent concentrations, the growth of the kidney stones was blocked, whereas those given no lemon juice at all had large calcium oxalate crystal deposits throughout their kidneys.

BY  KAREN MCCARTHY  AUG. 14, 2017
 
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Lemons and Limes Feature Phytonutrients with Antioxidant and Antibiotic Effects

Like many fruits and vegetables, lemons and limes contain unique flavonoid compounds that have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Of special interest in limes have been flavonoids called flavonol glycosides, including many kaempferol-related molecules. While these flavonoids have been shown to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines, they are perhaps most interesting for their antibiotic effects. In several villages in West Africa where cholera epidemics had occurred, the inclusion of lime juice during the main meal of the day was determined to have been protective against the contraction of cholera. (Cholera is a disease triggered by activity of the bacteria called Vibrio cholera). Researchers quickly began to experiment with the addition of lime juice to the sauce eaten with rice, and in this role, lime juice was also found to have a strong protective effect against cholera.

Several other fascinating research studies on the healing properties of lemons and limes have shown that cell cycles—including the decision a cell makes about whether to divide (called mitosis) or die (apoptosis—are altered by lime juice, as are the activities of special immune cells called monocytes.

In addition to their unique phytonutrient properties, lemons and limes are an excellent source of vitamin C, one of the most important antioxidants in nature. Vitamin C is one of the main antioxidants found in food and the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C travels through the body neutralizing any free radicals with which it comes into contact in the aqueous environments in the body both inside and outside cells. Free radicals can interact with the healthy cells of the body, damaging them and their membranes, and also cause a lot of inflammation, or painful swelling, in the body. This is one of the reasons that vitamin C has been shown to be helpful for reducing some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Since free radicals can damage blood vessels and can change cholesterol to make it more likely to build up in artery walls, vitamin C can be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease.

Vitamin C is also vital to the function of a strong immune system. The immune system’s main goal is to protect you from illness, so a little extra vitamin C may be useful in conditions like colds, flus, and recurrent ear infections.

Owing to the multitude of vitamin C’s health benefits, it is not surprising that research has shown that consumption of vegetables and fruits high in this nutrient is associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

source: www.whfoods.com

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Should we be buying organic lemons?

On a budget?
Buying non-organic lemons should be ok,
as they are currently not among the dirty dozen.
Concerned for the environment or GMOs?
Organic farming is better for the environment,
since some pesticides can contaminate local groundwater
and are made with fossil fuels.

 


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Improve Your Health, Well-Being And Happiness With Plants

As we enter a new year, it’s a great time to consider a few ways of adding greater value to our lives.  Engaging the world of plants will improve our sense of well-being, happiness and health, whether that means growing our own food in containers or a garden, nurturing indoor plants or simply walking in a green space.

In terms of growing the healthiest food, the latest research has found that not all varieties are created equal.  Certain varieties of vegetables have far more nutritional value and antioxidants than other varieties in the same food group.  Eating nutritious foods is one of the best ways to stay healthy and maintain a better quality of life, so it’s important to know which varieties offer the most significant health benefits.

Plants promote good health in so many ways

Food gardening has skyrocketed in popularity, mainly because folks want more control over the food they eat. They want fruits and vegetables that are free of harmful pesticide residues, and they want to savour flavours that can be achieved only by harvesting fresh, naturally-ripened produce.  It seems logical that today’s food gardeners should focus on the varieties with the best nutritional, vitamin and antioxidant qualities.

Leeks are great for flavouring many dishes, and the ‘Kilima’ leek has the highest nutritional value.  This variety contains vitamin C, B-complex, potassium, magnesium, silica, iron and calcium. If you enjoy leeks, it makes sense to grow this variety.

Onions are also right up there for flavouring salads, soups and meats, and the variety ‘Candy’ is the most valuable because of its ability to fight bacteria and reduce blood pressure, harmful cholesterol and blood sugars.

Peppers, both sweet and hot, are healthful in many ways, but the hottie, ‘Mucho Nacho’, is high in vitamin C, phenolic acids, plant sterols, and it has lots of carotene.  The sweet peppers, ‘Red Beauty’ and ‘Blushing Beauty’, are chock full of vitamin C, and, ounce for ounce when mature, have more vitamin C than oranges,

Tomatoes, the most popular garden fruit, contains cancer-fighting lycopene, a very strong antioxidant and free radical neutralizer, and ‘Health Kick’ has 50 per cent more lycopene than other standard varieties. Research has shown that men, who consumed a minimum of 10 servings of high lycopene-enriched tomatoes a week could reduce their risk of prostate cancer by 45 per cent. Very few foods contain lycopene — watermelon, apricots, pink grapefruit and guava have varying amounts.

oregano

Combine your favourite edibles to make a beautiful container

Leafy vegetables, particularly the darker green varieties like spinach and kale, contain high levels of lutein and zeathanthin, two carotenoids helpful in protecting eyes, arteries and lungs from those nasty free radicals.  Advanced Nutraceutical Research Inc. has found that folks consuming lutein every day have a 43 per cent less chance of developing macular degeneration.  Two to five servings a day of leafy vegetables will provide adequate amounts.

We often hear of the value of garlic, and garlic researcher Dr. Eric Bloch suggests that regular consumption of garlic lowers the incidence of stomach cancer and reduces the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Yu-Yan Yeh indicates that regular use of garlic results in lower cholesterol levels. Historically, garlic was used in treating infections because of its anti-microbial agent called allicin.  In addition to flavouring so many dishes and keeping vampires away, it also inhibits many harmful bacteria.

All these plant foods simply need to be grown, harvested and enjoyed. Over winter, as you await the arrival of spring and a new opportunity to grow these wonderful foods, do a little research on the varieties that will provide you with the greatest health benefits.

Revive your spirits when you surround yourself in a canopy of green

Our gardens provide another opportunity for improving our lifestyles: exercise. The regular, natural movement of the body is one of the best prescriptions for good physical health, and the anaerobic nature of gardening is an exercise we can enjoy.  The Royal College of Physicians in Britain has produced a list comparing various activities and the number of calories each burned over 30 minutes of exertion.  Here is part of that list:  90 calories when walking, 162 when raking, 182 when weeding, 202 when digging, 243 when using a push mower, and 243 to 364 when shovelling.  Clearly, our gardens can be our new gyms.

Green spaces also afford us the opportunity to engage with plants.  Arizona State University has identified a name for a “connection to plants and nature”:  biophilia.  Creating this connection by bringing the outdoors inside is the latest trend in “interiorscapes.”  Using water, living walls, larger indoor plants, and other natural elements boost people’s mood, productivity and health.  After a long, arduous flight, arriving back at the Vancouver airport to the sound of water and loons and the natural look of weathered stumps is a relaxing and comforting welcome.

The importance of green spaces in urban areas is now recognized as critical to people’s mental health and sense of well-being.  As little as five minutes in a park can have a positive impact.  Japanese researchers found that spending just 20 minutes walking in a natural area enhances mood, vitality and creativity.  They call it shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing”.  They discovered that trees in forested areas give out aromatic phytoncides, and “forest bathers” inhale these compounds.  They also learned that a forest walk, two days in a row, stimulated the human immune system in a significant way, as well as the production of a type of white blood cell.  Apparently, this effect remains 23 per cent higher after a month of forest exposure.

It’s hard to beat the sound of rushing water

According to the World Health Organization’s report, Urban Green Spaces and Health, increasing children’s exposure to green spaces influenced their cognitive ability in a positive way, improved their social inclusiveness and behaviour and lowered the risk of ADHD.  There’s also a growing understanding that the quality of “streetscapes” enhances social cohesion.

WHO also compared the proximity of green spaces and the corresponding health benefits.  Ideally, there should be 1.5 hectares of green space within a five to 10-minute walk from any home; a 20-hectare park within a 2km distance; a 100-hectare park within 5km, and a 500-hectare green space within 70 km.  Scientists have determined that one-hectare of green space per 1000 people in the surrounding area is the optimal situation.

This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the benefits of connecting to plants and green spaces.  To be happier and healthier in the new year, grow, nurture and eat healthy, fresh foods.  Enjoy the plants inside your home, the ones growing on your patio or in your garden, and visit the parks, gardens and forests around you.


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The Surprising Health Benefits of Avocado

Not only is avocado delicious but this superfood is packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. Find out how this creamy fruit can benefit your health.

Avocado: The underestimated superfood
Yes, avocados are relatively high in fat and calories (138 calories and 14.1g fat in half a medium-sized avocado). But they’re also one of the best foods you can eat, packed with nutrients and heart-healthy compounds. Here are five great reasons to eat them regularly.

Avocado is packed with carotenoids
Avocados are a great source of lutein, a carotenoid that works as an antioxidant and helps protect against eye disease. They also contain the related carotenoids zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, as well as tocopherol (vitamin E).

But avocados aren’t just a rich source of carotenoids by themselves-they also help you get more of these nutrients from other foods. Carotenoids are lipophilic (soluble in fat, not water), so eating carotenoid-packed foods like fruits and vegetables along with monounsaturated-fat-rich avocados helps your body absorb the carotenoids.

An easy way to do this is to add sliced avocado to a mixed salad. (Try this avocado salad with lemon-herb shrimp.)

Avocado can help you lose weight
Half an avocado contains 3.4 grams of fibre, including soluble and insoluble, both of which your body needs to keep the digestive system running smoothly. Plus, soluble fibre slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in your body, helping you feel full for longer.

Avocados also contain oleic acid, a fat that activates the part of your brain that makes you feel full. Healthier unsaturated fats containing oleic acid have been shown to produce a greater feeling of satiety than less-healthy saturated fats and trans fats found in processed foods.

Avocado can help stabilize blood sugar
Rich, creamy, and packed with beneficial monounsaturated fat, avocado slows digestion and helps keep blood sugar from spiking after a meal. A diet high in good fats may even help reverse insulin resistance, which translates to steadier blood sugar long-term. Try putting mashed avocado on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or on bread instead of butter. To keep what’s left over from turning brown, spritz the flesh with cooking spray or coat with lemon juice and wrap in plastic. (If you love caprese salad, this avocado caprese crostini won’t disappoint!)

Avocado can protect your unborn baby-and your heart
One cup of avocado provides almost a quarter of your recommended daily intake of folate, a vitamin which cuts the risk of birth defects. If you’re pregnant-or planning to be-avocados will help protect your unborn baby.

A high folate intake is also associated with a lower risk of heart attacks and heart disease. Does your family have a history of heart problems, or do you have risk factors (such as being overweight or smoking) for heart disease? Avocados could help keep your heart healthy.

Avocado can help lower your cholesterol
As well as increasing feelings of fullness, the oleic acid in avocados can help reduce cholesterol levels. In one study, individuals eating an avocado-rich diet had a significant decrease in total cholesterol levels, including a decrease in LDL cholesterol. Their levels of HDL cholesterol (the healthy type) increased by 11 percent.

High cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. The cholesterol-lowering properties of avocado, along with its folate content, help keep your heart healthy. (If you’re not exactly a fan of avocado, try these fruits and veggies to help prevent high cholesterol.)


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8 Foods That Fight Colds

If someone asked you which foods were good for helping fight a cold, you would probably think of things like oranges, because they are known to contain vitamin C. You might also suggest chicken soup, since this is one of the most well-known home remedies of all time. Scientific research has proven that there are benefits from eating chicken soup, but there are many other foods you can eat that will help you battle a cold. Here is a sample.

#1 Oysters

Most people know that oysters have a reputation as somewhat of an aphrodisiac, but they probably do not know that they can also help your body fight a cold. Oysters are rich in zinc, and zinc is a mineral that helps fights colds as researchers discovered when they tested the effectiveness of zinc lozenges. They found that people whole took zinc lozenges experienced cold systems for a shorter amount of time.

#2 Garlic

We all know that eating lots of garlic comes with a risk of offending some people around you due to the strong odor it can leave on your breath. When you are suffering with a cold, you may consider this a risk well worth taking, however. One of the key ingredients in garlic is called allicin, and it has proven itself as a potent antioxidant, and antioxidants help the immune system fight illness.

#3 Yogurt and kefir

Just about everyone is familiar with yogurt, but have you heard of kefir? Where taste is concerned, kefir might be described as liquid yogurt. It has a lot in common with yogurt, and that includes loads of beneficial bacteria. These tiny microbes are actually helpful to our health, and many of them take up residence in the digestive tract and help fight off bad bacteria. Both yogurt and kefir can help fortify your own private army of beneficial bacteria that will help destroy unfriendly bacteria, and help boost your immune system, making it better able to fight off a cold.

#4 Red peppers

Vitamin C often comes to mind when we think of the best way to fight off a cold, but we are probably inclined to think about things like oranges and other citrus fruits when someone mentions vitamin C. Red peppers should not be left out in the cold, however, since they are loaded with vitamin C. Just a single red pepper averages about 150 milligrams of vitamin C, which is twice the recommended daily allowance for women. Many experts believe even more vitamin C should be used to treat a cold – as much as 500 or even 1000 milligrams a day.

#5 Mushrooms

Another food you may not even consider when thinking of foods that help fight colds are mushrooms. Granted, not everyone loves these earthy-tasting fungi, but for those who cannot get enough, getting a cold means it could be time to pig out on mushrooms. The many varieties of mushrooms that are edible differ quite a bit when it comes to their nutrient content, but most of them contain antioxidants that will help give your immune system a bit more strength to kill of a cold.

#6 Sunflower seeds

These tasty seeds are popular as a snack, and are often salted and sold in individual packages in retail stores. It’s the antioxidant power of the vitamin E in sunflower seeds that makes then useful in the battle against colds. They are probably a bit healthier if you get them unsalted, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure.

#7 Brazil nuts

While we’re talking about nuts, we may as well take a little time to mention Brazil nuts. These crunchy treats not only help you fight colds, they can also help your body kill off other viruses like the flu. A medical research study from 2001 found that mice infected with a flu virus suffered from more severe inflammation if they did not have enough selenium in their system. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, and don’t need to be eaten in great quantities to get their benefit. Just one Brazil nut contains more than the daily recommended amount of selenium.

#8 Tea

This is something that may naturally come to mind to help ease the symptoms of the common cold. Not only does it tend to make you feel better to sip hot tea when you are feeling sick, it has real cold-fighting benefits as well. Virtually all tea contains compounds called catechins which are powerful antioxidants that are effective in the fight against illness. A study conducted in Japan in 2011 found that people who took catechin supplements for five months lowered their chances of catching the flu by 75 percent! That sounds like it might be better than a flu shot!

source: thrutcher.com


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Another Good Reason to Eat More Mushrooms

New research suggests that two antioxidants found in mushrooms may help protect us from age-related health issues, like Alzheimer’s.

The study, published in the journal Food Chemistry, found that mushrooms are the highest dietary source of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione. These compounds may help prevent some of the neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. Add that to the list of great reasons to eat more mushrooms!

Mushrooms Contain Compounds that Protect us from Age-Related Diseases

ERGOTHIONEINE, GLUTATHIONE AND MUSHROOMS

Of course, ergothioneine and glutathione are just two of thousands of antioxidants our bodies need to stay healthy. What makes these particular antioxidants interesting is that researchers are just starting to understand how they can impact our health.

Ergothioneine is great at fighting oxidative stress, protecting our cells from the damage that leads to premature aging. It’s also an intra-mitochondrial antioxidant, meaning that it actually gets into the mitochondria of our cells, making it an even more powerful antioxidant. Glutathione is an antioxidant that’s present in every cell in our bodies. It’s a key part of a laundry list of cell functions that help keep us healthy.

Robert Beelman from Penn State University got into how ergothioneine and glutathione might help combat age-related health issues in a press release about the mushroom study. “There’s a theory — the free radical theory of aging — that’s been around for a long time that says when we oxidize our food to produce energy there’s a number of free radicals that are produced that are side products of that action and many of these are quite toxic.”

Beelman explains that there’s also some evidence that populations eating more ergothioneine-rich foods are healthier. “It’s preliminary, but you can see that countries that have more ergothioneine in their diets, countries like France and Italy, also have lower incidences of neurodegenerative diseases, while people in countries like the United States, which has low amounts of ergothioneine in the diet, have a higher probability of diseases like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Now, whether that’s just a correlation or causative, we don’t know. But, it’s something to look into, especially because the difference between the countries with low rates of neurodegenerative diseases is about 3 milligrams per day, which is about five button mushrooms each day.”

WHICH MUSHROOMS HAVE THE MOST ERGOTHIONEINE AND GLUTATHIONE?

The amount of ergothioneine and glutathione varies quite a bit by mushroom type. The study looked at 13 types of mushroom and found that porcini mushrooms give you the most antioxidant bang for your buck. Even mushrooms lower in these antioxidants, though, provide more than other foods.

Button mushrooms scored lower on the list, for example, but as Beelman mentioned, you only need to eat five button mushrooms a day to get a nice dose of these anti-aging compounds.

The jury may still be out on whether mushrooms directly fight aging, but the good news is that mushrooms are great for you, so adding more to your diet can’t hurt, and it may just help protect brain health as you age.

By: Becky Striepe   November 20, 2017
Follow Becky at @glueandglitter
source: www.care2.com


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Can Green Tea Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

Green tea is touted as an amazing superfood replete with many healing benefits, from its anti-cancer properties to its heart health boosting compounds. So it is no surprise that green tea has been linked with the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. But new research found that it may offer more protection than originally believed.

Green tea is high in antioxidants that fight off harmful free radicals. By some estimates the antioxidants found in green tea may be 20 times more potent than vitamin E, which is a proven brain health booster. But new research shows that green tea is even better than just its amazing antioxidants.

According to a new study by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society found that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has yet another health benefit—it stops beta amyloid plaques linked to Alzheimer’s from forming. Beta amyloid plaques have long been known as causal factors in Alzheimer’s but finding ways to stop the harmful plaques from forming has been the task of many researchers. Beta amyloid plaques disrupt communication between brain and nerve cells, creating the memory loss and dementia, which are the trademark signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

This new research found that EGCG in green tea effectively prevented plaques from being able to damage healthy cells. While the exact mechanism by which EGCG achieves this protection is not fully clear, the discovery is an exciting one into brain health and Alzheimer’s disease.

This ground-breaking research offers hope to the 50 million people worldwide who already suffer from Alzheimer’s disease since EGCG may slow the plaque’s progression and therefore the disease’s progression as well. It may also help anyone looking to prevent the disease, which is probably most people.

This research supports earlier research in the medical journal Brain Research that also found that green tea consumption can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Other research in the American Journal of Medicine found that regular tea consumption can cut the risk of cognitive decline in half, which is impressive by anyone’s standards.

While the research is still quite early so it is not clear exactly how much green tea or its protective compound EGCG is needed to reap the brain protective effects, most experts agree that a few cups of green tea daily should be helpful with brain health. Earlier research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who drank two or more cups of tea each day were less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The benefits were not linked to tea’s caffeine content which is lower than the caffeine found in coffee.

To make green tea: add one or two teaspoons of green tea leaves to a cup of boiled water, preferably in a tea strainer. Let steep for five minutes. Pour over ice if you prefer a cold beverage.  And don’t worry—it contains a lot less caffeine than coffee or black tea. Green tea contains about 55 mg of caffeine per cup while coffee typically contains between 125 and 200 mg per cup.

If you’re not a big fan of the taste of green tea, try it blended with other types of tea, such as ginger or lemongrass. You can also try icing it with some stevia to sweeten the beverage and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a delicious green tea lemonade.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds:  The 4-Week Plan for a Sharper Mind, Better Memory, and Healthier Brain.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook          November 9, 2017
About Michelle    Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook
 
source: www.care2.com