Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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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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What Are Oxalates?

What is oxalate?
Oxalate is a naturally occurring molecule found in abundance in plants and humans. It’s not a required nutrient for people, and too much can lead to kidney stones.

In plants, oxalate helps to get rid of extra calcium by binding with it. That is why so many high-oxalate foods are from plants. In humans, it may work as a “prebiotic,” feeding good bacteria in the gut.

How does the body process it?
When we eat foods with oxalate, it travels through the digestive tract and passes out in the stool or urine. As it passes through the intestines, oxalate can bind with calcium and be excreted in the stool. However, when too much oxalate continues through to the kidneys, it can lead to kidney stones.

Calcium oxalate kidney stones are the most common type of kidney stone in the North America. The higher your levels of oxalate, the greater your risk of developing these kinds of kidney stones.

What is a low-oxalate diet?
If you are at high risk for kidney stones, lowering the amount of oxalate that you eat may help reduce this risk.

However, new research indicates that boosting your intake of calcium-rich foods when you eat foods that are high in oxalate may be a better approach than simply eliminating it from the diet. As they digest, oxalate and calcium are more likely to bind together before they get to the kidneys, making it less likely that kidney stones will form.

What causes oxalate buildup?
Foods that are high in vitamin C can increase the body’s oxalate levels. Vitamin C converts to oxalate, and levels over 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day have been shown to increase oxalate levels.

Taking antibiotics, or having a history of digestive disease, can also increase the body’s oxalate levels. The good bacteria in the gut help get rid of oxalate, and when the levels of these bacteria are low, higher amounts of oxalate can be absorbed in the body.

What can reduce oxalate?
Drinking enough fluid each day can help clear kidney stones or even keep them from forming. Spreading liquids throughout the day is ideal. Choosing water over other drinks is preferable.

Getting enough calcium is also helpful. Getting too little calcium can increase the amount of oxalate that gets to the kidneys, which will increase the risk of kidney stones.

Lowering your salt intake can also lower your risk of kidney stones. High-salt diets tend to cause more calcium to be lost in the urine. The more calcium and oxalate in the kidneys, the greater the risk of kidney stones.

How is oxalate measured?
Lists that provide the oxalate content in foods can be confusing. The oxalate levels reported in foods can vary depending on the following factors:

  • when the foods are harvested
  • where they are grown
  • how their oxalate levels were tested

 

oxalates





High-oxalate foods
Foods that are highest in oxalate include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • legumes
  • grains

High-oxalate fruits include:

  • berries
  • kiwis
  • figs
  • purple grapes

Vegetables that contain high levels of oxalate include:

  • rhubarb
  • okra
  • leeks
  • spinach
  • beets
  • Swiss chard

To reduce how much oxalate you get, minimize consumption of:

  • almonds
  • cashews
  • peanuts
  • soy products

Some grain products are also high in oxalate, including:

  • bran flakes
  • wheat germ
  • quinoa

The following foods are also high in oxalates:

  • cocoa
  • chocolate
  • tea

High-calcium foods
Increasing your calcium intake when eating foods with oxalate can help lower oxalate levels in the urine. Choose high-calcium dairy foods such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Vegetables can also provide a good amount of calcium. Choose among the following foods to increase your calcium levels:

  • broccoli
  • watercress
  • kale
  • okra

High-calcium legumes that have a fair amount of calcium include:

  • kidney beans
  • chickpeas
  • baked beans
  • navy beans

Fish high in calcium include:

  • sardines with bones
  • whitebait
  • salmon

How to avoid kidney stones
To lower your risk of kidney stones, add a high-calcium food to a meal that contains a food with higher levels of oxalate.

For example, if you add wheat germ to your oatmeal, be sure to add some milk as well. If you are cooking spinach, don’t feel guilty about combining it with pizza or lasagna. If you have a craving for a berry smoothie, add some regular or Greek yogurt to help provide balance.

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7 (More) Great Reasons To Add Chia Seeds To Your Diet

BY CAITLIN SAMMONS    JULY 17, 2013

Long before the Ch-ch-ch-chia pet of the 1980’s, the Aztecs and the Mayans used chia seeds as a staple of their everyday diets, alongside corn and beans. “Chia” is the Mayan word for strength, and these ancient peoples understood the important health benefits of these seeds.

The Mayans would grind chia seeds into flour, press them for oil, and drink them mixed with water. Ancient people considered these seeds magical due to their ability to increase stamina and energy for long periods of time. However, once the Spanish conquered Latin America, they introduced their own foods and prohibited the farming of chia.

However, chia seeds have recently made a comeback in modern diets as researchers have discovered the hidden benefits from this ancient super seed. Here are just seven of the various reasons you should add this superfood to your diet today.

1. Pack in your fiber.

The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, yet most people only consume about half of that. Chia seeds deliver almost 50% of your necessary daily intake, with 11 grams of fiber per ounce. Fiber is necessary for ultimate health, but especially for digestion and weight loss.

2. Trim the fat.

Chia seeds absorb up to 12 times their weight and expand in your stomach, making you feel full and curbing your appetite. Chia seeds help reduce your caloric intake by filling you up and helping lower the energy density of certain foods — ultimately, assisting greatly in weight loss.

3. Get your omega-3s.

Chia seeds are a concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and they actually have more omega-3s than salmon. Omega-3s are critical for brain health, and chia contains five grams per one ounce serving.

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4. Build your bones.

One ounce of chia seeds has 18 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Chia seeds can help promote better bone and oral health.

5. Boost heart health.

Studies have shown that chia seeds can improve blood pressure and increase healthy cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. Chia seeds can help you maintain a healthy heart — a crucial element of your health.

6. Get your phosphorus.

Your body uses phosphorus to synthesize protein and repair cells and tissues. Chia seeds contain 27 percent of your daily value of phosphorus, and can help your body heal and repair itself faster!

7. Fill up faster.

Tryptophan, the amino acid that’s popularly known for making you sleepy, is also found in chia seeds. Not only will it make you want to take a nap, but it also helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.

There are plenty of ways that chia seeds can benefit your overall health, and it’s no wonder that the ancient Aztecs and Mayans regularly consumed them. Adding chia to your diet can be a great way to help with weight loss and get your daily vitamins and nutrients!


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10 Amazing Health Benefits of Power Packed Chia Seeds

Many people are still unaware of these super seeds and their amazing health benefits. They are easy to add to your diet and are a powerhouse of nutrients.

Chia (Salvia hispánica) is a small flowering plant belonging to the mint family, and native to parts of South America. Aztecs and Mayan people have relied through the centuries on the seeds produced as a rich and filling source of protein in addition to harnessing their intrinsic health benefits. At one stage these ancient peoples also traded them as currency, and offered to the Gods during religious ceremonies, such was their value to society.

Two tablespoons of the seeds contain 138 calories, 9 grams of fat, 10 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and is also rich in calcium. They are a plentiful source of fiber and omega 3 healthy fats.

Here are some of the reasons why we should consider adding chia seeds to our diets.

1. PROTEIN PACKED

Protein is essential in everyone’s diet. It helps form the structural component of body tissues and is vital for many biological processes. The most common protein sources are dairy, meat, eggs, fish, beans and nuts. Chia seeds are a great source of protein especially for vegetarians and vegans. A serving of 28g (approx 2 tablespoons or 1 ounce) contains around 10% of our recommended intake.

2. CALCIUM

Calcium is vital to grow and maintain health bones and teeth. It is also important to consume enough calcium to help prevent osteoporosis. A serving of these seeds will provide 18% of our adult recommended intake. Gram for gram, this is higher than most dairy products. Chia seeds may be considered an excellent source of calcium for people who don’t eat dairy.

3. FIBER

Adequate fiber helps promote healthier bowel function, controls blood sugar and cholesterol levels as well as keeping you fuller for longer. One serving gives you around a third of the recommended daily intake for adults.

4. OMEGA-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are one of the essential nutrients for health. They are necessary for many normal body functions, including controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with many health benefits, including protection against heart disease and possibly stroke. Many experts say they have potential to reduce the risk of conditions including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. For optimum health, you should aim to get at least one rich source of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet every day. Chia seeds provide almost 5g in a serving.

5. ANTIOXIDANTS

Chia seeds are a rich source of antioxidants (i). These are vital to combat the harmful free radicals. Free radicals, formed from a natural process called oxidation, can damage body cells and tissues as well as our actual DNA. It has been widely documented that damage caused by oxidation leads to the onset of a wealth of health problems such as cancer, heart disease, cataracts, arthritis and ageing.

6. HEART DISEASE AND DIABETES

Owing to the high fiber and protein content, these seeds improve metabolic health and slow digestion. Research has shown that chia seeds can lower triglycerides, raise HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and reduce inflammation, insulin resistance and belly fat (ii), (iii). The gelatinous type coating that these seeds develop when exposed to liquids can also prevent blood sugar spikes.

7. FAT AND WEIGHT LOSS

Chia seeds are made up of good fats, which your body needs. A healthy brain consists of two thirds fat. The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber can help to reduce belly fat. The fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach, which should increase fullness and slow the absorption of food. When the seeds absorb water, they form a sort of gelatin. This gelatin results in a slow release of carbohydrates, meaning a slow conversion into glucose/blood sugar for energy.

8. GLUTEN AND GRAIN FREE

Chia is free from gluten and free from grain. This means it is a healthy addition to people suffering from celiac disease, or to those following strict gluten or grain free diets.

9. OTHER MINERALS

A serving of chia seeds contains 18% of the RDI for calcium, 35% for phosphorus, 24% for magnesium and about 50% for manganese. These vital nutrients can help to prevent hypertension, maintain a healthy weight, keep energy levels up, and boost metabolism.

10. IMPROVING SLEEP

Chia seeds contain tryptophan. This is an amino acid that aids good moods, good sleep patterns and a sense of calm. Tryptophan can invoke a feeling of sleepiness (also in turkey) and can help regulate appetite.

How to include Chia Seeds in your diet:

You can use these versatile seeds in juices, smoothies, salads, yogurts, cereals, sprinkled over oatmeal or to vegetables or rice dishes. They can also be used in baking as flour or egg substitutes.

SOURCES

(i) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24811150

(ii) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17356263

(iii) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18492301