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Five Foods That May Increase Your IQ

A healthy diet as you’re growing up may help you have a higher IQ, while a diet high in processed foods, fat and sugar may result in a lower IQ, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health in February 2011. Many of the same foods typically recommended for a healthy diet may also be good for your IQ.

Fish and Omega-3 Sources

Omega-3 fats, found in many types of fish and seafood, walnuts and flaxseeds, are important for infant brain development. An article published on the Association for Psychological Science website notes that children given omega-3 fats have higher IQs than those who don’t consume much of these essential polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats may also help protect against dementia as you get older. Oysters are also a good seafood choice, because they’re rich in zinc. Zinc deficiency may adversely affect brain development, according to a review article published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in 2013.

Children and pregnant women are particularly sensitive to contaminants in fish, so choose those that are high in omega-3 fats but low in contaminants, such as wild salmon, sardines, Atlantic mackerel, mussels and rainbow trout for the recommended two servings per week of seafood to maximize benefits while minimizing risks.

Fruits and Vegetables

Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens and orange and red fruits and vegetables, may help protect your brain function and your memory as you age because of the beta-carotene and vitamin C they contain.

A diet rich in herbs, legumes, raw fruits and vegetables and cheese resulted in a higher IQ in children than a diet that included higher amounts of sweet and salty snacks, according to a study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology in July 2012.

Another study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in 2009, came to a similar conclusion, showing that children who ate higher amounts of fruits, vegetables and home-prepared foods had higher IQs.

Iron-Rich Foods

Iron-deficiency anemia may impair your attention span, IQ and ability to concentrate, so eat plenty of iron-rich foods. Increasing iron intake only appears to help IQ when children are deficient in iron, however, according to the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience article. Iron-rich foods include lean meats, oysters, beans, tofu, spinach, sardines and fortified breakfast cereals.

Other Protein-Rich Foods

Diets higher in protein and lower in fat may help improve your concentration because of the dopamine your body releases with protein consumption. Soy protein may be particularly helpful, since it also contains lecithin, which may improve memory and brain function. Lowfat dairy products, lean meats and poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes are all nutritious sources of protein.

Get Plenty of B Vitamins and Choline

Foods containing folate, vitamin B-12 and choline may also help keep your brain healthy, limiting your risk for dementia, depression and neurological disorders. They are also important for cognitive development, so if children don’t get enough of these vitamins they may have a lower IQ. Folate is available in fortified breakfast cereals, spinach, beef liver, rice, asparagus, black-eyed peas, Brussels sprouts and avocado, and most animal-based foods contain vitamin B-12. Good sources of choline include beef, eggs, scallops, salmon, chicken breast, cod, shrimp, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

by JESSICA BRUSO       Jun 17, 2015


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Are Eggs Healthy?

In some ways, eggs are very good for you.

First of all, they are a nutrient-dense food. They contain high-quality protein, meaning eggs offer all nine essential amino acids that can’t be made by humans and therefore must come from our diets. Protein in eggs can help build and preserve muscle as well as boost satiety, both of which are important for weight control.

Eggs are also one of the few food sources of vitamin D and a source of the nutrient choline, which may help protect against birth defects in infants. They contain vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin (B2) and the antioxidant selenium, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, which help keep our eyes healthy.

Most of an egg’s calories, vitamins and minerals are found in the yolk.

But what about the cholesterol in eggs? It’s true that eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, which is also found in the yolk, but they’re low in saturated fat, which is the bigger culprit when it comes to raising blood cholesterol levels. Because of this, eggs get the green light according to the government’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

In fact, one recent meta-analysis found that higher consumption of eggs (up to one egg per day) is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke. And a 2016 Finnish study involving more than 1,000 men concluded that egg or cholesterol intakes are not associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease, even in those who are genetically predisposed to experience a stronger effect of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol.

What is more likely to affect your health is how eggs are prepared, as well as which other foods you combine with them. One large poached egg has 71 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat, and an omelet made with spinach and one yolk is also a lean choice. But a serving of eggs Benedict with bacon and Hollandaise sauce has about 800 calories and 26 grams of saturated fat.

So feel free to enjoy eggs, but watch how you eat them. And balance eggs with other healthy fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

By Lisa Drayer, CNN     Fri April 14, 2017
 
Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, author and health journalist.
 
source: www.cnn.com


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8 Ways Eating Better Can Improve Your Mental Health

You probably already know that fruits and veggies can make you healthier, but did you know they could also make you happier?

I walked into my apartment to find my roommate sitting on the couch with her head in her hands. She looked as if she had reached a breaking point. “Another tough day at work?” I asked her.

“Not really.” She sighed as she reached for what looked like a day-old carton of fast food fries.

I bit my tongue from reminding her (again) that what you eat actually plays an important role in how you feel mentally. In fact, mental illnesses from depression to schizophrenia have been linked to diet. And if you’re reading this, then I suspect you’re actually ready to hear it—and I’m here for you!

Although French fries and ice cream often make it on the list of grub to dig into when we’re down, true comfort food comes from a healthier crowd. Don’t just take my word for it. Spanish researchers who followed 15,000 young adults over the course of nine years found that those who ate more nuts, fruit, vegetables, and fish had a 30 percent lower incidence of depression than those who gorged on sweets or processed foods. That’s not all. The UK-based Mental Health Foundation reports that fewer than half of patients who suffer from mental health problems eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Contrarily, nearly two-thirds of those free from daily mental health problems eat fresh produce regularly.

Ensuring your diet is full of adequate amounts of healthy nutrients can enhance your mental clarity, provide a more balanced mood, and protect your mind from early mental decline. Discover all the ways that eating better can help improve your mental health—and when you’re finally convinced it’s time to make the change, add these 25 Best Foods for a Toned Body on your grocery list to get you started!

1) YOU’LL SAVE MONEY

Think about all that cash you blow on soda, grabbing takeout at restaurants, picking out a snack every couple of hours, and ordering dessert after every meal. It’s not just food you’ll save money on when you start to eat better. Those who clock in at a healthy weight spend an astounding 42 percent less cash on medical bills and health expenses than their overweight peers, according to a Health Affairs report. Sounds pretty good so far, but get this: you’ll not only be less stressed financially, but a study published in The Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences says that financial strain is a strong risk factor for and predictor of worsening mental health. Clear mind, full wallet, can’t lose.

2) FUELING UP PROPERLY MEANS YOU WON’T BE HANGRY AS MUCH

Whether you’re constantly muttering under your breath about coworkers’ minute errors or snapping at drivers during rush hour, you go about life with a short fuse. Rather than looking to poor anger management or mood disorders, look to your rumbling stomach. You could actually be hangry! One of the reasons why you’re always hungry, and thus, always hangry, is perhaps because of an inefficient diet that subsists on empty carbs. This food burns up in your body quickly, which causes your body to crave substance more quickly.

When you deprive yourself of food while your body screams at you to eat, your body goes into a state of distress. The result is low dopamine levels—AKA less control over your emotions and commonly experiencing irritability, anxiety, mental confusion, and slowness in thought. If you choose to fuel up with slow-burning sources of energy like complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats, you’ll start to see your anger subside in no time.

3) COMBATING NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES CAN IMPROVE YOUR MOOD

Studies show that a number of nutrients are associated with brain health, and deficiencies of these nutrients have countlessly been linked to depression. It should be no surprise that many of these micronutrients are abundant in “healthy” foods and M.I.A. in junk foods. Some of which include omega-3s (salmon, flax and chia seeds, walnuts), folate (asparagus, chickpeas, lentils), vitamin B12 (tuna, shrimp, milk), choline (egg yolks, broccoli, brussels sprouts), magnesium (spinach, yogurt, black beans), vitamin D (fatty fish, eggs). Always check with your doctor before going off any anti-depressants, but you may want to get blood work done to see if the reason your mood has tanked is because you’re experiencing some nutritional deficiencies.

Carrots

4) EATING ANTIOXIDANTS CAN HELP YOU FEEL MORE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE

Whether you’re a recent college grad or just attended your last child’s college graduation, the future can certainly seem daunting at times—and that can cause some serious anxiety. That’s even more so the case if you’re not eating enough carrots. Why? A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that individuals with higher levels of carotenoids (a type of antioxidant) tended to be more optimistic about the future, an indicator of positive health. Unless you’re always ordering sweet potato fries when you eat out, you’re likely missing out on these beneficial antioxidants. On the other hand, a healthy diet easily incorporates many of its top sources: carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and kale.

5) CHEMICALS IN FAST FOOD BLOCK MOOD-BOOSTING NUTRIENT ABSORPTION

It might be hard to pronounce, but phthalates (thāl-ates) are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemical toxins you need to know about. Just like BPA, phthalates are used in plastic food and beverage wrappers notorious in fast food places—but those toxins aren’t staying just on the wrappers. A study recently made headlines that connected people who ate fast food with dose-dependent higher levels of phthalate metabolites than infrequent eaters. And that’s bad news for all-day-breakfast lovers since a separate study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that exposure to BPA and phthalates may reduce adults’ vitamin D levels—a vitamin whose low levels in the blood have been connected to mental decline in older adults and chronic migraines in young people. Bottom line: lay off the fast food and not only will the scale tip in your favor, but you may also have more mental clarity!

6) YOU’LL KICK THE JUNKY FOODS THAT EXACERBATE STRESS

Believe it or not, but the foods that worsen stress are also the ones that are connected to weight gain. Worst of all, they’re often our go-to snacks when we’re feeling particularly anxious (think: chips and ice cream), which just throws our bodies into an endless cycle of stress. On the other hand, there are numerous options that have been scientifically proven to alter both your brain chemistry and hormones to help your body deal with stress more easily. And you guessed it: they’re all good-for-you foods.

7) YOU MAY BOOST THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR MEDICATION

On antidepressants? A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that supplementing your diet with certain nutrients found in healthy foods—omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and vitamin D—can be effective in boosting the positive effects of antidepressant medication.

8) YOU’LL SLEEP BETTER

You may have never thought about how—or if—your diet controls how easily you fall asleep and how well rested you are upon waking. When you eat a poor diet centered on foods that digest quickly and leave you hungry often, you can disrupt your sleep cycle by making yourself hungry in the middle of the night. When you improve your diet and lose weight, you’ll likely be able to put sleeping problems such as sleep apnea to bed. In doing so, you’ll improve your mental health in the meantime.

Countless studies have found that sleeping problems often precede mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders and depression. In a widespread study of 1,000 adults, researchers found that those who reported a history of insomnia during an interview were four times as likely to develop major depression by the time of a second interview three years later.

By Olivia Tarantino


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Nutritional Strategies to Ease Anxiety

According the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. That’s 40 million adults—18% of the population—who struggle with anxiety. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, with about half of those with depression also experiencing anxiety.

Specific therapies and medications can help relieve the burden of anxiety, yet only about a third of people suffering from this condition seek treatment. In my practice, part of what I discuss when explaining treatment options is the important role of diet in helping to manage anxiety.

In addition to healthy guidelines such as eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, there are many other dietary considerations that can help relieve anxiety. For example, complex carbohydrates are metabolized more slowly and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which creates a calmer feeling.

A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a healthier option than eating a lot of simple carbohydrates found in processed foods. When you eat is also important. Don’t skip meals. Doing so may result in drops in blood sugar that cause you to feel jittery, which may worsen underlying anxiety.

The gut-brain axis is also very important, since a large percentage (about 95%) of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut. Research is examining the potential of probiotics for treating both anxiety and depression.

Foods that can help quell anxiety

You might be surprised to learn that specific foods have been shown to reduce anxiety.

  • In mice, diets low in magnesium were found to increase anxiety-related behaviors. Foods naturally rich in magnesium may therefore help a person to feel calmer. Examples include leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard. Other sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks have been linked to lowered anxiety.
  • Other foods, including fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acid. A study completed on medical students in 2011 was one of the first to show that omega-3s may help reduce anxiety. (This study used supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids). Prior to the study, omega-3 fatty acids had been linked to improving depression only.
  • A recent study in the journal Psychiatry Research suggested a link between probiotic foods and a lowering of social anxiety. Eating probiotic-rich foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, and kefir was linked with fewer symptoms.
  • Asparagus, known widely to be a healthy vegetable. Based on research, the Chinese government approved the use of an asparagus extract as a natural functional food and beverage ingredient due to its anti-anxiety properties.
  • Foods rich in B vitamins such as avocado and almonds

These “feel good” foods spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. They are a safe and easy first step in managing anxiety.

Walnuts

Are antioxidants anti-anxiety?

Anxiety is thought to be correlated with a lowered total antioxidant state. It stands to reason, therefore, that enhancing your diet with foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the symptoms of anxiety disorders. A 2010 study reviewed the antioxidant content of 3,100 foods, spices, herbs, beverages, and supplements. Foods designated as high in antioxidants by the USDA include:

  • Beans: Dried small red, Pinto, black, red kidney
  • Fruits: Apples (Gala, Granny Smith, Red Delicious), prunes, sweet cherries, plums, black plums
  • Berries: Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • Nuts: Walnuts, pecans
  • Vegetables: Artichokes, kale, spinach, beets, broccoli
  • Spices with both antioxidant and anti-anxiety properties include turmeric (containing the active ingredient curcumin) and ginger.

Achieving better mental health through diet

Be sure to talk to your doctor if your anxiety symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks. But even if your doctor recommends medication or therapy for anxiety, it is still worth asking whether you might also have some success by adjusting your diet. While nutritional psychiatry is not a substitute for other treatments, the relationship between food, mood, and anxiety is garnering more and more attention. There is a growing body of evidence, and more research is needed to fully understand the role of nutritional psychiatry, or as I prefer to call it, Psycho-Nutrition.

Uma Naidoo, MD, Contributor       APRIL 13, 2016, 9:30 AM


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12 Foods You Can Eat a Lot of Without Getting Fat

One piece of advice often given to dieters is to eat until you reach satiety — that is, until you feel full.

The problem is that different foods can have vastly different effects on hunger and satiety.

For example, 200 calories of chicken breast may make you feel full, but it could take 500 calories of cake to have the same effect.

Thus, weight loss isn’t just about eating until you feel full. It’s about choosing the right foods that make you feel full for the least amount of calories.

What Makes a Food Filling?

Many factors determine a food’s satiety value, or how filling it is relative to its calorie content. The calorie/satiety ratio is measured on a scale called the satiety index.

The satiety index also measures a food’s ability to make you feel full, reduce your hunger and lower your calorie intake over the course of the day.

Some foods simply do a better job at satisfying hunger and preventing overeating than others.

Filling foods tend to have the following qualities:

  • High volume: Studies indicate that the volume of food consumed strongly influences satiety. When foods contain a lot of water or air, the volume is increased without adding calories.
  • High protein: Studies show protein is more filling than carbs and fat. Diets higher in protein increase satiety and lead to lower overall calorie intake than lower-protein diets do.
  • High fiber: Fiber provides bulk and helps you feel full. It also slows the movement of food through your digestive tract, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
  • Low energy density: This means that a food is low in calories for its weight. Foods with low energy density can help you feel full for fewer calories .

So if you eat foods with the above characteristics, then you can usually eat them until fullness without getting in too many calories.

Here are 12 filling foods you can eat a lot of without getting fat.

1. Boiled Potatoes

Due to their higher carb content, many people avoid potatoes when trying to lose weight, but they shouldn’t.

Whole potatoes are loaded with vitamins, fiber and other important nutrients. They also contain a certain type of starch called resistant starch.

Resistant starch contains half the calories of regular starch (2 instead of 4 calories per gram). In your digestive system, it acts a lot like soluble fiber, helping you feel full.

Because adding resistant starch to meals helps satisfy hunger, it causes people to eat fewer calories.

Interestingly, cooling potatoes after they’re cooked increases their resistant starch content. In fact, studies show that cooling and reheating potatoes multiple times continues to increase their hunger-suppressing effect.

In a study that measured the ability of 38 foods to satisfy hunger, boiled potatoes ranked the highest.

While boiled potatoes were the most satisfying food tested, fried potato chips were found to be three times less filling.

Bottom Line: Boiled potatoes, which are highly nutritious, are number one on the satiety index. Fried potato chips are three times less filling and not considered weight loss friendly.

2. Whole Eggs

Eggs are another food that has been unfairly demonized in the past. The truth is, eggs are incredibly healthy and high in several important nutrients.

Most of the nutrients, including about half of an egg’s protein, are found in the yolk.

Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids.

In addition, they’re very filling.

Several studies found that people who ate eggs for breakfast were more satisfied and consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who had a bagel for breakfast.

In particular, one study found that people who ate eggs for breakfast lowered their body mass index (BMI) and lost more weight than those who ate a bagel.

Bottom Line: Eggs are a great source of nutrients, including high-quality protein. They may help you eat less for up to 36 hours after a meal.

3. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a type of porridge, or hot cereal, that is often consumed for breakfast.

It’s incredibly filling and ranks third on the satiety index.

This is mainly due to its high fiber content and ability to soak up water.

Oats are a good source of a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which helps slow down digestion and the absorption of carbs.

When compared to ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, oatmeal was better at suppressing appetite, increasing satiety and reducing calorie intake throughout the day.

Bottom Line: Oatmeal is high in fiber and soaks up water, which makes it incredibly filling. It is more filling than traditional breakfast cereals and may help you eat less throughout the day.

4. Broth-Based Soups

Liquids are often considered to be less filling than solid foods.

However, research shows soups may be more filling than solid meals with the same ingredients.

When soup was eaten at the start of a meal in one study, subjects consumed 20% fewer calories at that meal.

Several studies found that routinely eating soup can reduce calorie intake, enhance satiety and promote weight loss over time.

Stick to broth-based soups, as they tend to be lower in calories than cream-based varieties.

Bottom Line: Soups are very filling foods. Eating soup at the start of a meal may increase satiety, reduce calorie intake and lead to weight loss over time.

5. Legumes

Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils, are well known for being good sources of fiber and protein.

This, combined with a relatively low energy density, makes them a filling food that may even promote weight loss.

A review of several studies indicates that beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils are 31% more filling than pasta and bread.

Bottom Line: Legumes are high in protein and fiber, which make them very filling. They are also relatively low in calories, which makes them a weight loss friendly food.

 

apple

6. Apples

Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet.

Several studies indicate eating fruit is associated with lower calorie intake and can contribute to weight loss over time.

In particular, apples score very high on the satiety index.

Because apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that naturally slows digestion, they help you feel full.

They are also over 85% water, which provides volume and improves satiety without adding calories.

It’s important to note that whole, solid fruit increases satiety more than puréed fruit or juice, both of which are not particularly filling.

One study looked at the effects of eating solid apple segments, applesauce or drinking apple juice at the beginning of a meal.

It found that those who ate solid apple segments consumed 91 fewer calories than those eating apple sauce and 150 fewer calories than those drinking apple juice.

Eating apple segments also resulted in higher fullness ratings and lower hunger ratings than other forms of fruit.

Bottom Line: Apples are high in water and soluble fiber but low in calories. Eating whole, solid apples may help you consume fewer calories and contribute to weight loss over time.

7. Citrus Fruits

Similarly to apples, citrus fruits are high in pectin, which can slow digestion and increase satiety.

They also have a high water content. Both oranges and grapefruit contain over 87% water, which means they’re able to fill you up for very few calories.

It has often been suggested that eating grapefruit can promote weight loss.

In one study, obese participants eating grapefruit lost significantly more weight than those given a placebo.

In another study, eating half a grapefruit three times daily at mealtimes for six weeks was associated with modest weight loss and a significant reduction in waist circumference.

When combined with calorie restriction, consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice before meals resulted in a 7.1% weight loss, a significant reduction in body fat and weight circumference.

However, these results may not be exclusive to grapefruit, as drinking water before meals had similar effects.

Bottom Line: Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit are also weight loss friendly foods. They’re high in fiber and water, which can help you feel full and consume fewer calories.

8. Fish

Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids may increase satiety in people who are overweight or obese.

They’re also loaded with high-quality protein, which is known to be very filling.

In fact, fish scores higher than all other protein-rich foods on the satiety index and ranks second of all foods tested.

One study found the effect of fish on satiety was significantly greater than that of chicken and beef.

Another study found participants who ate fish consumed 11% fewer calories at their next meal than those who ate beef.

Bottom Line: Fish is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which may increase satiety. Fish may also be more filling than other types of protein such as chicken and beef.

9. Lean Meats

Cut Pieces of Red Meat

Lean meats are high in protein and very filling.

In fact, higher-protein diets lead to lower overall calorie intake than lower-protein diets.

One study found that people ate 12% less at dinner after eating high-protein meat at lunch, compared to those who had a high-carb lunch.

Beef scored second highest of all protein-rich foods on the satiety index, but other lean meats such as chicken and pork are also weight loss friendly.

Bottom Line: Meat is high in protein and very filling. Eating high-protein lean meat may help you consume fewer calories at subsequent meals.

10. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is low in calories but very high in protein.

It is also packed with healthy nutrients, including B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and selenium.

These characteristics make cottage cheese a weight loss friendly food.

One study found that its effect on fullness is similar to that of eggs.

Bottom Line: Cottage cheese is high in protein and low in calories. Its effect on satiety may be comparable to that of eggs.

11. Vegetables

Vegetables are low in calories and high in volume.

They’re also packed with all kinds of beneficial nutrients and plant compounds that make them an important part of a healthy diet.

Furthermore, they’re high in water and fiber, both of which help fill you up.

Research shows that salads, in particular, help satisfy hunger, especially when consumed before a meal.

In one study, participants who ate a salad at the start of a meal consumed 7–12% fewer calories at the meal.

Another study showed that eating a salad at the start of a meal increased vegetable consumption by 23%, compared to eating it with the main course.

In order to keep your salad low in calories, avoid adding high-calorie ingredients and dressings.

Bottom Line: Vegetables are high in water and fiber, which may keep you full for longer. Eating low-calorie salads can help increase your vegetable consumption and decrease your calorie intake.

12. Popcorn

Popcorn is a whole grain and contains more fiber than many other popular snack foods.

It is also high in volume, so it takes up a lot of space in your stomach, despite being relatively low in calories.

Studies have found that popcorn will fill you up more than other popular snacks such as potato chips.

Air-popped popcorn is the healthiest. Commercially-prepared or microwave popcorn can be extremely high in calories and contain unhealthy ingredients.

To keep your popcorn low in calories, avoid adding a lot of fat to it.

Bottom Line: Popcorn is a whole grain that is high in fiber and volume, both of which help you feel full. Studies have found that popcorn is more filling than potato chips.

Take Home Message

Filling foods have certain characteristics. They’re high in volume, protein or fiber and low in energy density.

Including more of these foods in your diet may help you lose weight in the long run.

By Kayla McDonell, RD


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The Nut That Protects Against Liver Cancer

When it comes to keeping the doctor away, apples could have some serious competition.

Based on new research, the adage could easily be changed to be “Two Brazil nuts a day keeps the doctor away.” That’s because according to the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a deficiency in the mineral selenium is linked to a marked increase in liver cancer risk. And, you guessed it: Brazil nuts are an amazing source of selenium.

The researchers recognized that selenium deficiency is a widespread health concern that appears to be a risk factor for liver cancer and possibly other forms of cancer, although this study only examined the mineral deficiency’s effect on liver health. The researchers found that suboptimal selenium status may be linked to an appreciably increased risk of liver cancer—up to 10 TIMES the risk.

Eating a diet that contains adequate amounts of the mineral is not only critical to liver health and cancer prevention, it is also imperative to fertility and reproduction, thyroid hormone synthesis, immunity and DNA health. The mineral is also a potent antioxidant that helps to scavenge free radicals before they can damage the body’s cells and tissues.

Earlier studies in the journal Biomedical and Environmental Sciences show that adequate selenium intake also reduces skin cancer risk.

Some of the symptoms of selenium deficiency include: immune weakness, gastrointestinal (GI) problems, hair loss, diarrhea, cirrhosis, fatigue and mood swings. As with many nutritional deficiencies and medical conditions, there can be overlap in symptoms so having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have a selenium deficiency. Conversely, if you have these symptoms you should consult your physician to rule out any other possible health conditions.

brazil-nuts

Selenium-Containing Foods

Oysters, tuna, whole grains, sunflower seeds, crimini mushrooms, poultry and eggs are all good sources of selenium; however Brazil nuts are by far the best. Just one ounce of these nuts (about 6-8) contains 544 micrograms of selenium. The recommended daily intake is 55 micrograms for adult males and females; however, pregnant and lactating women require 60 to 70 micrograms, respectively.

Selenium is also available in supplement form: as either selenomethionine or selenite. Selenomethionine is the more absorbable form of this mineral. Keep in mind that selenium can build up in tissues and can become harmful in excessive doses.

While an apple a day is still a good idea, you might want to add some Brazil nut butter or a handful of raw, unsalted Brazil nuts to round out the healing properties of this classic snack.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook       @mschoffrocook       September 8, 2016
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Life Force Diet: 3 Weeks to Supercharge Your Health and Get Slim with Enzyme-Rich Foods.

 

source: www.care2.com


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Top 11 Most Common Nutrition Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Nutrition is full of misinformation.

Everyone seems to “know” what is right, most often based on zero evidence.

Here are the top 11 most common nutrition mistakes that people keep repeating.

1. Drinking Fruit Juice

Fruit juice isn’t always what it seems to be.

It is often little more than water mixed with sugar and some kind of fruit concentrate.

In many cases, there isn’t any actual fruit in there, just chemicals that taste like fruit.

But even IF you’re drinking real, 100% fruit juice, it is still a bad idea.

That’s because fruit juices like orange juice have just about the same amount of sugar as Coca Cola and Pepsi!

Fruit juice is like fruit, except with all the good stuff removed.

There is no fiber, no chewing resistance and nothing to stop you from downing massive amounts of sugar.

While whole fruits take a long time to eat and digest, it is easy to consume large amounts of fruit juice in a short amount of time. One glass of orange juice can contain the sugar equivalent of several whole oranges.

If you’re healthy, lean and active or you just ran a marathon, then you can probably tolerate fruit juice and other sources of sugar without problems.

However, the majority of people would do best minimizing all rapidly digested sugars, which can lead to insulin resistance and all sorts of serious diseases down the line.

So… eat your fruit (unless if you’re on a low-carb diet, which may require moderating them) but avoid fruit juice like the plague.

Bottom Line: Most fruit juices contain as much sugar as sugar-sweetened beverages. It is best to avoid them and choose whole fruits instead.

2. Not Reading Labels

Many of the marketers at the junk food companies are shameless liars.

They tend to put highly misleading labels on foods… convincing health conscious people to buy unhealthy junk foods for themselves and their children.

Because most people don’t know much about nutrition, they repeatedly fall for labels like “includes whole grains,” “low-fat” or “contains Omega-3s.”

Adding small amounts of healthy ingredients to an unhealthy, highly processed food does not make it healthy.

For example, tiny amounts of Omega-3s are not going to make up for the fact that a food contains large amounts of sugar.

So… it is important to read labels. Even health foods can contain sugar, refined wheat and other very harmful ingredients.

This also applies to children’s foods that are marketed as healthy… do NOT trust the food manufacturers, READ the label.

Bottom Line: It is important to read labels, even “health foods” can contain nasty ingredients like added sugar.

3. Eating Whole Wheat

Awareness of the harmful effects of refined wheat has increased dramatically in the past few decades.

However, whole wheat is often mistakenly assumed to be healthy.

The problem is that whole wheat usually isn’t “whole” … the grains have been pulverized into very fine flour.

This makes the grain rapidly digestible and it can spike blood sugar just as fast as its refined counterpart.

Wheat also contains large amounts of gluten, a protein that many people are sensitive to and can contribute to various adverse effects like digestive issues, pain, fatigue and stool inconsistency.

There are also multiple studies linking wheat consumption to serious diseases, including schizophrenia, autism and cerebellar ataxia. One study shows a dramatic increase in cholesterol for people eating whole wheat.

Saying that whole wheat is better than refined wheat is like saying that filtered cigarettes are better than unfiltered cigarettes.

Using that same logic, everyone should be smoking filtered cigarettes for the health benefits. It doesn’t make sense.

Bottom Line: Whole wheat is often mistakenly assumed to be healthy, but studies show that it can contribute to various symptoms and health issues.

4. Not Focusing on Real, Unprocessed Foods

When it comes to optimal health, people tend to get lost in the details. They miss the forest for the trees.

Even though “nutrition” as an academic discipline can be incredibly complicated, eating healthy can and should be simple!

Keep in mind that humans and pre-humans have managed to survive and be healthy for millions of years.

Yet, we only learned about calories, vitamins, macronutrients and all that stuff very recently. Knowing about this stuff has NOT made us healthier.

What healthy, non-industrial societies that maintain excellent health all have in common is that they eat real, unprocessed foods that resemble what they looked like in nature.

Multiple studies have examined such societies and noted almost a complete absence of Western, lifestyle-related diseases like obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it!

Bottom Line: It is most important to simply eat real, unprocessed foods. Avoid stuff that looks like it was made in a factory.

5. Not Eating Enough Protein

The health authorities advocate a relatively low protein intake.

They say that we should aim for about 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women.

However, even though this meager intake may be enough to prevent downright deficiency, it is not enough for optimal health.

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Studies show that a higher protein intake can be beneficial for body composition, especially in people who are physically active.

Protein is also by far the most satiating macronutrient and your body expends quite a few calories metabolizing it. For this reason, adding protein to your diet can help you lose weight without even trying.

Bottom Line: Most people aren’t getting enough protein in their diet. Increased protein can enhance fat burning, reduce appetite and improve health in various ways.

6. Being Afraid of Eating Fat

Back in the 60s and 70s, many scientists believed that saturated fat was a leading cause of heart disease.

This idea formed the foundation of the low-fat, high-carb diet… which has been recommended to all Americans since the year 1977.

Since then, multiple studies have shown that the low-fat diet simply does not work. It doesn’t lead to weight loss or a lower risk of heart disease or cancer.

In the past few decades, many studies have examined the health effects of saturated fats.

They consistently show that these fats are harmless. They raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and change LDL (the “bad”) to a benign subtype. Saturated fat does NOT raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.

The fats to avoid are man-made trans fats and refined vegetable oils like corn, soybean and others.

There is no reason to avoid foods that are naturally high in saturated fat. This includes butter, coconut oil, eggs and red meat… these foods are perfectly healthy!

Bottom Line: Studies show that saturated fat is harmless and that the low-fat diet pushed by the mainstream nutrition organizations doesn’t work.

7. Throwing Away The Egg Yolks

“When life gives you eggs, you eat the damn yolks.”
– Mark Shields.

Nutrition professionals have an excellent track record of demonizing perfectly healthy foods.

Probably the worst example of that is eggs… which happen to contain a large amount of cholesterol.

Because of the cholesterol, people have been advised to reduce their consumption of eggs.

However, studies show that cholesterol in the diet doesn’t really raise cholesterol in the blood and that eggs do NOT increase your risk of heart disease.

What we’re left with is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Eggs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, quality protein, healthy fats and various nutrients that are important for the eyes and brain.

Keep in mind that this applies to whole eggs only. The yolk is where almost all the nutrients reside, the white contains nothing but protein!

Throwing away the yolks and eating only the whites is just about the worst thing you could do.

Bottom Line: Eggs are incredibly nutritious, but most of the nutrients are found in the yolk. Despite being high in cholesterol, eggs do not raise the bad cholesterol in the blood or your risk of heart disease.

8. Thinking That All That Matters is Calories

There is a large misconception that all that matters for weight (and health for that matter) is calories.

Even though calories (the energy we take in and expend) are important, they are far from being the only thing that matters.

The truth is that different foods and macronutrients go through different metabolic pathways and can affect hunger and hormones in different ways.

Even though simple calorie counting and portion control work for a lot of people, many others fail using these methods.

For some people, it is much better to focus on the right foods and macronutrients to optimize your hunger and hormones to make your body want to lose weight.

Eating less sugar and carbohydrates with more protein and fat can help you lose weight without counting a single calorie.

Bottom Line: Weight loss and health are about much more than just calories. Different foods affect hunger, hormones and health in vastly different ways.

9. Cutting Back on Sodium

The nutrition organizations consistently tell us to reduce sodium in the diet.

This is supposed to lower blood pressure and reduce our risk of heart disease.

However, this doesn’t actually work.

Even though sodium restriction can cause mild reductions in blood pressure, studies show that this doesn’t lower the risk of heart disease, stroke or death.

Restricting sodium too much can even lead to adverse effects such as insulin resistance, as well as elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.

The biggest source of sodium in the diet is processed food. If you’re already avoiding highly processed foods, then there’s no reason not to add some salt to your foods to make them palatable.

If the “experts” had their way… we’d all be eating bland, tasteless foods with zero evidence that it would actually lead to health benefits.

Bottom Line: Despite being able to mildly reduce blood pressure, sodium restriction doesn’t lead to improved health outcomes. Avoiding salt is completely unnecessary for most people.

10. Eating Too Many Meals

Many people seem to think that it is best to eat 5-6 small meals per day.

They say that you need breakfast in the morning to “jump start metabolism” and then eat regularly throughout the day to “stoke the metabolic flame.”

It is true that eating can raise your metabolic rate slightly while you’re digesting and metabolizing the food

However, it is the total amount of food you eat that matters, NOT the number of meals.

This myth has actually been tested and refuted repeatedly. Controlled trials where one group eats many, smaller meals and the other fewer, larger meals find no difference between groups.

The thing is… it’s not natural for the human body to be constantly in the “fed” state.

The human body is well equipped to handle short periods of famine and there are studies showing that a cellular repair process called autophagy starts to occur when we fast for a short while.

Bottom Line: Eating so frequently is completely unnecessary and highly inconvenient. There is no evidence that it leads to improved outcomes.

11. Eating Too Many “Health Foods”

Every passing year, more and more people are becoming “health conscious.”

For this reason… the market for so-called “health foods” has grown rapidly in the past few decades.

The marketers have taken notice and brought all sorts of foods that are supposed to be healthy to the market. On these foods, you will find labels like “organic” and “gluten-free.”

The problem with many of these foods is that they usually aren’t healthy at all. Organic sugar is still sugar and gluten-free junk food is still junk food.

It is best to avoid processed, packaged foods… even if they are found in the “health food” aisle.

If the packaging of a food tells you that it is healthy, then it probably isn’t.

By Kris Gunnars, BSc