Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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A Gut Makeover for the New Year

If you’re making resolutions for a healthier new year, consider a gut makeover. Refashioning the community of bacteria and other microbes living in your intestinal tract, collectively known as the gut microbiome, could be a good long-term investment in your health.

Trillions of microbial cells inhabit the human body, outnumbering human cells by 10 to one according to some estimates, and growing evidence suggests that the rich array of intestinal microbiota helps us process nutrients in the foods we eat, bolsters the immune system and does all sorts of odd jobs that promote sound health. A diminished microbial ecosystem, on the other hand, is believed to have consequences that extend far beyond the intestinal tract, affecting everything from allergies and inflammation, metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity, even mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

Much of the composition of the microbiome is established early in life, shaped by forces like your genetics and whether you were breast-fed or bottle-fed. Microbial diversity may be further undermined by the typical high-calorie American diet, rich in sugar, meats and processed foods. But a new study in mice and people adds to evidence that suggests you can take steps to enrich your gut microbiota. Changing your diet to one containing a variety of plant-based foods, the new research suggests, may be crucial to achieving a healthier microbiome.

Altering your microbiome, however, may not be easy, and nobody knows how long it might take. That’s because the ecosystem already established in your gut determines how it absorbs and processes nutrients. So if the microbial community in your gut has been shaped by a daily diet of cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizza, for example, it won’t respond as quickly to a healthy diet as a gut shaped by vegetables and fruits that has more varied microbiota to begin with.

“The nutritional value of food is influenced in part by the microbial community that encounters that food,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, the senior author of the new paper and director of the Center for Genome Science and Systems Biology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Nutritional components of a healthy diet have to be viewed from “the inside out,” he said, “not just the outside in.”

One of the questions the study set out to answer was how individuals with different diets respond when they try to improve their eating habits. The scientists harvested gut bacteria from humans, transplanted them into mice bred under sterile conditions, and then fed the mice either American-style or plant-based diets. The scientists then analyzed changes in the mice’s microbial communities.

Of interest, the scientists harvested the gut bacteria from people who followed sharply different diets. One group ate a fairly typical American diet, consuming about 3,000 calories a day, high in animal proteins with few fruits and vegetables. Some of their favorite foods were processed cheese, pepperoni and lunch meats.

love-your-gut

The other group consisted of people who were devotees of calorie restriction. They ate less than 1,800 calories a day and had meticulously tracked what they ate for at least two years, sticking to a mostly plant-based diet and consuming far less animal protein than the other group, a third fewer carbohydrates and only half the fat.

This calorie-restricted group, the researchers found, had a far richer and more diverse microbial community in the gut than those eating a typical American diet. They also carried several strains of “good” bacteria, known to promote health, that are unique to their plant-based diet. “Their choices as adults dramatically influenced their gut community,” said Nicholas W. Griffin of Washington University, the paper’s lead author.

The study, published in Cell Host & Microbe, is not the first to report findings suggesting dietary shifts can induce persistent changes in a gut microbial community, said Dr. David A. Relman, a professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology at Stanford University, who was not involved in the current research. He noted that other studies had found even more profound effects.

After the human microbiota was transplanted into the mice, the mice got to eat either like typical Americans or like the calorie restrictors.

Mice that had a microbiota conditioned by the typical American diet had a weaker response to the plant-based diet. Their microbial communities didn’t increase and diversify as much. “They all responded in a predictable direction, but with not as great a magnitude,” said Dr. Griffin.

Another aspect of the study suggests the company you keep may also enrich your gut microbiota — at least in mice. At first the animals were kept in separate cages. Then, when they were housed together, the microbes from the communities conditioned by plant diets made their way into the American-diet microbiome.

It’s not clear how that translates to humans: Mice eat one another’s droppings when they live together, so they easily share the bacterial wealth. Still, it’s possible humans have other ways of sharing bacteria, Dr. Griffin said. “We know from previous work and other studies that spouses who live together will develop microbial communities that are similar to each other,” he said.

Perhaps the best way to cultivate a healthier microbiome is to eat more fiber by consuming more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts or seeds, said Meghan Jardine, a registered dietitian who was not involved in the current study but has published articles on promoting a healthy microbiota. (She is also affiliated with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which recommends a plant-based diet.) She urges people to aim for 40 to 50 grams of fiber daily, well above levels recommended by most dietary guidelines.

“When you look at populations that eat real food that’s high in fiber, and more plant-based foods, you’re going to see they have a more robust microbiota, with more genetic diversity, healthier species and fewer pathogenic bacteria living in the gut,” she said.

By RONI CARYN RABIN     DEC. 29, 2016


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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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5 Ways to Boost Your Energy with Food

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook    April 1, 2016     Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook

The most common complaint I hear from people is that they are exhausted or have low energy. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can give your energy a significant boost. Here are some of my favorites:

Give Your Mitochondria a Boost: Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally-occurring substance in our bodies and in some foods that is necessary to provide energy to our cells. Inside our cells there is a micro-sized energy manufacturing facility known as the mitochondria. Mitochondria depend on CoQ10, as it is also called, to boost energy for every cellular function, including brain functions. Unfortunately, this nutrient can become depleted as we age or experience health issues. Coenzyme Q10 is primarily found in legumes, nuts, fish and poultry.

Eat Every 2 to 3 Hours: When we’re busy, rushed or on-the-go, it’s easy to skip meals or go long periods of time between meals—the worst thing you can do for your energy levels. To keep energy high you need to prevent blood sugar spikes and drops since the resulting cascade of hormones causes an energy roller coaster ride. You may feel fine one minute and then exhausted the next. The best and easiest way to maintain balanced blood sugar levels is to eat every two or three hours. It doesn’t need to be a lot of food; just a snack will do. But, you must be consistent.

Eat zinc-rich foods: The mineral zinc is involved in dozens of chemical reactions linked to energy creation in the body, so ensuring your diet has enough zinc is critical to experience an energy boost. Zinc is also necessary for healthy blood, bones, brain, heart, liver and muscles, so if you’re lacking this vital nutrient, you can experience a wide range of deficiency symptoms. Some signs of a zinc deficiency include: acne, brittle nails, infertility, frequent colds or flu, low sperm count or slow hair or nail growth. Zinc is also essential to prostate health. For more information check out my blog “9 Simple Ways to Drastically Reduce Your Prostate Cancer Risk.” Eat zinc-rich foods like sprouts, pumpkin seeds, onions, sunflower seeds, nuts, leafy greens, beets, carrots or peas frequently throughout the day.

pumpkin seeds

To B or Not to B: There are many vitamins found within the B-Complex, including B1, B2, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, folic acid, B12, B13, B15, B17, choline, inositol, biotin and PABA. It’s not necessary to remember all of their names, but it is important to ensure adequate B vitamin intake to experience more energy. B vitamins are essential for energy production. And, the more stressful your life is, the more your body depletes these vital nutrients. Additionally, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, that’s an additional stressor to your body. Because B vitamins are not manufactured or stored by the body, it’s imperative to get B vitamin-rich foods every day. Some of the best food sources of these nutrients include: brown rice, root vegetables, pumpkin seeds, citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe, kale, green vegetables and legumes. For an added boost, take a B complex supplement (50 or 100 mg) once or twice a day.  Keeping your gut healthy is also essential to proper nutrient absorption. To learn more about keeping your gut healthy, check out my blog “5 Reasons Why Your Gut is the Key to Great Health.”

Ensure that every meal or snack has some protein in it: While many diet programs would have you believe that protein equals meat, the reality is that meat takes a lot of energy to digest and tends to sit in the digestive tract for many hours. There are many other excellent sources of protein, including: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, legumes like chickpeas or lentils, avocado, nuts like raw walnuts or almonds and coconut milk. The protein causes a consistent release of energy over time and helps to avoid the blood sugar energy crashes most people experience. Did you notice that pumpkin seeds and legumes keep showing up in the foods that help boost energy? When you need a quick energy boost, these foods will help supply numerous vital nutrients.  Check out “Top Vegan Sources of Protein” for more information.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is a registered nutritionist and international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Burn Fat Fast!


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What is a Pulse?

Pulse: from the Latin puls meaning thick soup or potage, pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family.

Pulse vs. Legume – What’s the Difference?

Legume:
The term “legume” refers to the plants whose fruit is enclosed in a pod. Legumes represent a vast family of plants including more than 600 genera and more than 13,000 species.
 When growing, legumes fix nitrogen into the soil, which reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, fresh peas, lupins, mesquite, soy and peanuts.

Pulse:
Pulses are part of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fibre, and are low in fat. Like their cousins in the legume family, pulses are nitrogen-fixing crops that improve the environmental sustainability of annual cropping systems.

 

Pulse

Pulses are a great tasting addition to any diet. They are rich in fibre and protein, and have high levels of minerals such as iron, zinc, and phosphorous as well as folate and other B-vitamins. In addition to their nutritional profile and links to improved health, pulses are unique foods in their ability to reduce the environmental footprint of our grocery carts. Put it all together and these sensational seeds are a powerful food ingredient that can be used to deliver the results of healthy people and a healthy planet.
Pulses come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and can be consumed in many forms including whole or split, ground in to flours or separated into fractions such as protein, fibre and starch.
Pulses do not include fresh beans or peas. Although they are related to pulses because they are also edible seeds of podded plants, soybeans and peanuts differ because they have a much higher fat content, whereas pulses contain virtually no fat.

What Are Pulses?

Pulses are a type of leguminous crop that are harvested solely for the dry seed. Dried beans, lentils and peas are the most commonly known and consumed types of pulses.

Pulses do not include crops which are harvested green (e.g. green peas, green beans)—these are classified as vegetable crops. Also excluded are those crops used mainly for oil extraction (e.g. soybean and groundnuts) and leguminous crops that are used exclusively for sowing purposes (e.g. seeds of clover and alfalfa).

What are some examples of pulses?

You probably already eat more pulses than you realize! Popular pulses include all varieties of dried beans, such as kidney beans, lima beans, butter beans and broad beans. Chick peas, cowpeas, black-eyed peas and pigeon peas are also pulses, as are all varieties of lentils.

Staples dishes and cuisines from across the world feature pulses, from hummus in the Mediterranean (chick peas), to a traditional full English breakfast (baked navy beans) to Indian dal (peas or lentils).

Why are they important crops?

Pulses are essential crops for a number of reasons. They are packed with nutrients and have a high protein content, making them an ideal source of protein particularly in regions where meat and dairy are not physically or economically accessible. Pulses are low in fat and rich in soluble fibre, which can lower cholesterol and help in the control of blood sugar. Because of these qualities they are recommended by health organizations for the management of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart conditions. Pulses have also been shown to help combat obesity.

For farmers, pulses are an important crop because they can be both sold and consumed by the farmers and their families. Having the option to eat and sell the pulses they grow helps farmers maintain household food security and creates economic stability. Furthermore, the nitrogen-fixing properties of pulses improve soil fertility, which increases and extends the productivity of the farmland. By using pulses for intercropping and cover crops, farmers can also promote farm biodiversity and soil biodiversity, while keeping harmful pests and diseases at bay.

Pulses can contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing dependence on the synthetic fertilizers used to introduce nitrogen artificially into the soil. Greenhouse gases are released during the manufacturing and application of these fertilizers, and their overuse can be detrimental to the environment. However, pulses fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil naturally, and in some cases free soil-bound phosphorous, thus significantly decreasing the need for synthetic fertilizers.

source: www.fao.org


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The Healthiest Nuts

Health Nuts: Ranking Nuts

Here’s our list of favorite nuts, ranked by their nutrient density. These varieties contain the most protein, fiber, B-vitamins, calcium, minerals, and vitamin E for the least amount of saturated fat:

  1. Almonds
  2. Filberts (hazelnuts)
  3. Peanuts
  4. Chestnuts
  5. Pistachios
  6. Walnuts
  7. Cashews
  8. Pecans
  9. Macadamias

Almonds. Our “Top Nut” award goes to the almond. Here are the main nutrients in one ounce of almonds (a medium-size handful):

  • 166 calories
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 14 grams of fat (90 percent unsaturated)
  • 4 grams of fiber (the highest fiber content of any nut or seed), unblanched
  • 80 milligrams of calcium
  • 1.4 milligrams of zinc
  • 1 milligram of iron
  • 6.7 milligrams of vitamin E
  • some B-vitamins, minerals, and selenium

Filberts, (hazelnuts) because they are high in the amino acid tryptophan, are a good nut for sleep. Almonds and filberts have the most vitamin E (6.7 milligrams per ounce) – nearly 25 percent of the adult recommended dietary allowance.

NUTRITIP
Sleep Nuts } Eating a small handful of nuts as a before-bedtime snack may help you catch more Z’s. Some nuts and seeds, especially whole filberts and ground sesame seeds, have a high amount of the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan.

Walnuts have the greatest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.

Chestnuts are lowest in fat, containing only about 10 percent as much fat as other nuts. What little fat is in the chestnut (1.3 grams per ounce) is nearly all the unsaturated type. Chestnuts also contain three grams of fiber per ounce, but they are relatively low in protein.

Soybean nuts and peanuts are not really nuts at all. They are legumes, and they come from plants rather than trees. Both are very nutritious. Soybean nuts, while less popular because of their less appealing taste, are actually the most nutritious nut. A quarter cup of soybean nuts contains a similar number of calories to other nuts, yet packs the following nutrients:

  • 17 grams of protein
  • 9 grams of fat (90 percent unsaturated)
  • 3.5 grams of fiber
  • 138 milligrams of folic acid (33 percent of the DV)
  • 116 milligrams of calcium (10 percent of the DV)
  • 2 milligrams of zinc (around 15 percent of the DV)
  • 1.7 milligrams of iron (10 percent of the DV)
  • 19 micrograms of selenium

When purchasing soybean nuts, avoid those that are roasted in “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.

almonds

The Five Healthiest Nuts

By  Julie O’Hara

PISTACHIOS
1 OZ./49 NUTS
158 calories, 13 g fat 3 g fiber
Pistachios are high in cholesterol-lowering plant sterols and have more potassium than most nuts (291 mg per ounce).

ALMONDS
1 OZ./23 NUTS
163 calories, 14 g fat, 4 g fiber
One ounce provides half your daily vitamin E—more than any other nut. It also supplies 8 percent of your daily calcium needs.

HAZELNUTS
1 OZ./21 NUTS
178 calories, 17 g fat, 3 g fiber
These are rich in iron and proanthocyanidins, antioxidants that strengthen blood vessels and prevent UTIs.

WALNUTS
1 OZ./14 HALVES
185 calories, 18 g fat, 2 g fiber
Walnuts deliver the most omega-3 fatty acids and contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which supports the immune system.

BRAZIL NUTS
1 OZ./6 NUTS
186 calories, 19 g fat, 2 g fiber
A single Brazil nut provides your daily dose of selenium, an antioxidant that may play a role in preventing breast cancer.

source: www.shape.com


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Mung Beans

Mung beans are one of those foods that seem to be loved or hated but this humble food is actually a nutritional powerhouse and may actually be able to be defined as a superfood.  Read on to learn more about their health benefits.

What are Mung Beans?

Mung beans are part of the legume family and are a good source of protein.  If they are combined with other cereals, a complete protein can be made.  When sprouted, mung beans contain vitamin C that is not found in the bean itself.

Health Benefits of Mung Beans

Mung beans are rich in the following nutrients:

• protein
• vitamin C
• folic acid or folate
• iron
• zinc
• potassium
• magnesium
• copper
• manganese
• phosphorus
• thiamine

Mung beans are also high in fibre, low in saturated fat, low in sodium, and contain no cholesterol.  Because of the wide range of nutrients contained in mung beans, they offer a whole host of health benefits for the immune system, the metabolism, the heart and other organs, cell growth, protection against free radicals, and diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

mung-beans

The folic acid, or folate as it is also known, that is contained in mung beans helps to lower the risk of heart disease, fights birth defects, contributes to normal cell growth, helps in the metabolism of proteins, and is essential for the formation of red blood cells and for healing processes in the body.  Another B vitamin, thiamine, is needed to ensure that the nervous system functions properly.  It is also important for releasing energy from carbohydrates.  Manganese is a trace mineral that is key for energy production and antioxidant defenses.  It is also necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and can be helpful for the brain and nerves.

Magnesium helps the veins and arteries to relax, lessening resistance and improving the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body.  Research has shown that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with a heart attack but that immediately following a heart attack, a lack of magnesium promotes free radical damage to the heart.  The body requires copper in order to absorb iron and copper is also involved in the metabolism of protein.  Iron helps to build resistance to stress and disease and it is essential for the formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to every cell in the body.  It is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.  Potassium is necessary for maintaining the acid-alkaline balance in the blood and for muscle contraction and a normal heart beat.  Zinc is a well known immune system booster and can be helpful in fighting male infertility.  Zinc aids healing processes in the body, growth, and tissue repair.

Like all legumes, mung beans are very high in fibre – more so than fruits and vegetables and even better than wholegrains.  The soluble fibre in mung beans captures cholesterol in the intestines, keeps it out of the blood stream, and carries it out of the body.

Using Mung Beans

Mung beans can be used in a variety of ways.  They can be sprouted, cooked, or ground to make flour.  In some Asian countries, it is made into a paste, sweetened, and used as a filling in pastries, and in some countries it is even made into ice cream and lollipops.  Mung beans should be washed well to remove impurities.  They also contain very few oligosaccharides, the sugars responsible for flatulence.