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The Everyday Foods Which Reduce Social Anxiety

People who are particularly neurotic may benefit from this group of common foods — plus exercise.

People who eat more fermented foods have lower social anxiety, a new study finds.

The benefit is particularly noticeable amongst people who are highly neurotic.

Neurotic people are prone to anxiety.

Fermented foods that are a regular part of the Western diet include milk, cheese, yogurt and bread.

They typically contain probiotics, which are likely behind the benefit.

Professor Matthew Hilimire, one of the study’s authors, said:

“It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favorably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety.
I think that it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind.”

The study asked around 700 young adults to keep track of what they ate over a month.

The researchers controlled for how much exercise people did and how healthily they ate.

Dr DeVylder explained the results:

“The main finding was that individuals who had consumed more fermented foods had reduced social anxiety but that was qualified by an interaction by neuroticism.
What that means is that that relationship was strongest amongst people that were high in neuroticism.”

The study also found that the more exercise people did, the lower their social anxiety.

The researchers are planning an experiment to back up the results of this survey.

Dr DeVylder said:

“However, if we rely on the animal models that have come before us and the human experimental work that has come before us in other anxiety and depression studies, it does seem that there is a causative mechanism.
Assuming similar findings in the experimental follow-up, what it would suggest is that you could augment more traditional therapies (like medications, psychotherapy or a combination of the two) with fermented foods — dietary changes — and exercise, as well.”

Dr Jordan DeVylder, another of the study’s authors, said:

“This study shows that young adults who are prone towards anxiety report less social anxiety if they frequently consume fermented foods with probiotics.
These initial results highlight the possibility that social anxiety may be alleviated through low-risk nutritional interventions, although further research is needed to determine whether increasing probiotic consumption directly causes a reduction in social anxiety.”

The study is to be published in the journal Psychiatry Research (Hilimire et al., 2015)

source: PsyBlog
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Is Yogurt the Secret to Happiness?

Recent research reveals fascinating new connections between gut and brain — and yogurt’s mood-boosting abilities.

Scientists have long known that the brain sends signals to the gut, a process that reveals why stress, for example, can express itself through gastrointestinal symptoms. But it wasn’t until 2013, when researchers at the UCLA uncovered the first evidence that the signal can go the other way as well: from gut to brain.

By studying a group of women who regularly ate yogurt — and with it, the beneficial bacteria known as probiotics — they found that ingested bacteria in food can affect human brain function, effectively altering the way the brain responds to the environment. Specifically, the researchers found that the bacteria in yogurt may help relieve anxiety and stress by reducing activity in the insula, the region of the brain responsible for emotion.

“Many of us have a container of yogurt in our refrigerator that we may eat for enjoyment, for calcium or because we think it might help our health in other ways,” said Kirsten Tillisch, an associate professor of medicine in the digestive diseases division at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “When we consider the implications of this work, the old sayings ‘you are what you eat’ and ‘gut feelings’ take on new meaning.”

The study is just one of many that comprise a growing body of research examining how gut flora, and the fermented foods that contain it, such as yogurt, impacts mood. Since 2008, when the U.S. National Institutes of Health launched the Human Microbiome Project, a five-year initiative to identify and characterize the microorganisms in both healthy and diseased humans, “the profound appreciation for the influence of such organisms has grown rapidly with each passing year,” writes Peter Andrey Smith in a New York Times Magazine article in June.

These helpful bacteria like probiotics do a lot for us, from extracting energy from the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates and increasing the growth of intestinal epithelial cells to synthesizing vitamins and suppressing the growth of pathogens.

Now a new study recently published in the journal Food Research International indicates that there may be other, completely different reasons why yogurt has the power to make us happy, and it has to do with the way expectation impacts mood and possibly even scent.

Conducted by a team of European researchers from Finland, Austria and the Netherlands, the study found that eating vanilla yogurt made people feel happy. Specifically, eating vanilla yogurt resulted in the study’s participants projecting more positive emotions than when they ate other flavors. Additionally, yogurts with less fat gave people a stronger positive emotional response, while yogurts with different fruits did not have much difference in their effect on emotions.

The researchers also found that liking or being familiar with a product had no effect on a person’s emotion. But most tellingly, what did affect mood was how they felt after eating the yogurt compared to what they expected to feel before eating it. In other words, their moods were influenced by their expectation — either being pleasantly surprised or disappointed after eating the food in question.

Yogurt

“We were looking for a valid, quick and not too expensive and time-consuming method to measure the emotions or mood changes evoked by food,” said Jozina Mojet from Food & Biobased Research in the Netherlands, lead author of the study. “This sort of implicit method can reveal the complex interactions between the different factors involved in a situation, which, based on his or her memory and expectations, is given meaning by the person under investigation.”

In addition, the strong positive emotional response elicited by eating vanilla yogurt supports earlier evidence that “a subtle vanilla scent in places like hospital waiting rooms can reduce aggression and encourage relationships among patients and between patients and staff,” according to the study’s press release.

To determine the effect of different yogurts on mood, the researchers exposed 24 subjects to a pair of yogurts of the same brand and marketed in the same way, but with different flavors or fat content. They used various analytical methods in the study, including tracking the subjects’ eye movements as they looked at the packaging, reading their faces while they ate the yogurt and a mood-based autobiographical reaction time test.

Notably, the researchers also used a new emotive projection test (EPT), in which study participants were shown photographs of other people and asked to rate them on six positive and six negative traits. “The idea behind the test is that people project their emotions onto their perception of others, so their judgment of others can indicate their own mood,” writes Lucy Goodchild van Hilten, senior marketing communications manager for life sciences at Elsevier, the publisher of Food Research International.

“We were surprised to find that by measuring emotions, we could get information about products independent from whether people like them,” said Jozina Mojet, lead author of the study. “This kind of information could be very valuable to product manufacturers, giving them a glimpse into how we subconsciously respond to a product.”

The study supports the findings of an earlier study by researchers at University College London that lower expectations lead to a greater level of happiness.

“It is often said that you will be happier if your expectations are lower,” said Robb Rutledge, the study’s lead author. “We find that there is some truth to this — lower expectations make it more likely that an outcome will exceed those expectations and have a positive impact on happiness.”

‘Our computational model suggests momentary happiness is a state that reflects not how well things are going but instead whether things are going better than expected,” write the study’s authors.

Could eating yogurt and lowering expectations help to combat depression? While more research is needed, these studies suggest the answer is yes. In the meantime, for a quick and easy mood booster that’s also safe and healthy, try some vanilla yogurt. And try not to expect too much out of it.

By Reynard Loki / AlterNet December 15, 2015

Reynard Loki is AlterNet’s environment and food editor. Follow him on Twitter @reynardloki. Email him at reynard@alternet.org.


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8 Tips to Buy Better Yogurt

Michelle Schoffro Cook      May 22, 2015

Despite all of the hype not all yogurt is good for you. Here are 8 tips to help you select the best and healthiest yogurt for you:

1. Look for live cultures. The live cultures in yogurt provide the many beneficial gut health and overall health benefits we attribute to yogurt. So be sure to look for a yogurt that says “live cultures” on the package. It could be in the ingredients list or somewhere else on the package but it needs to be there.

2. Check the sugar content. Some yogurt contains a whopping 26 to 29 grams of sugar for an individual serving of yogurt. That’s more than many soft drinks or doughnuts. Most of the sugars naturally present in milk or milk alternatives should be eliminated during the culturing process since the sugars act as food for the probiotic cultures. If the yogurt contains much sugar that means either a) the manufacturer added sugar to the yogurt after the culturing process; or b) the culturing process didn’t take place and the manufacturer added flavors and thickening agents to the milk instead.

3. Check the serving size. Some brands of yogurt list the amount of nutrients and sugars for a four-ounce serving while others indicate a six- or eight-ounce serving size. That way you can compare the amount of sugar and nutrients based on similar servings.

4. Avoid any yogurt that says it has been “heat treated” after the culturing process or during the packaging process. The beneficial probiotics that proliferate during the yogurt-making process are heat-sensitive.   If they are heated during packaging or at another stage of the manufacturing process it is unlikely you will reap any of the health benefits of eating the yogurt. This type of product is better left at the store.

Yogurt

5. Avoid yogurt with fillers. Making yogurt takes two ingredients: a type of milk (or milk alternative) and live cultures. The cultures do the rest of the work to transform the milk into yogurt. If the yogurt you purchase contains more ingredients than just milk and live cultures it probably contains harmful ingredients like sugar, colors, fillers, or other less-than-healthy substances and is best avoided.

6. Go Greek. When it comes to yogurt varieties Greek or plain yogurt are preferable. That’s because most of these varieties contain fewer ingredients like colors, fillers, or sweeteners.

7. Dairy-free yogurt alternatives can also make excellent choices. In my research I found that dairy-free yogurt varieties often contained a greater diversity of probiotic strains than dairy yogurt. That doesn’t mean all dairy-free yogurt is better than cow’s milk yogurt, but it does mean that if you’re vegan or just avoiding milk products you can still reap the health benefits of yogurt.

8. If you’re choosing cow’s milk yogurt, choose organic as much as possible. Cow’s milk frequently contains antibiotic or other medication residues as well as the genetically-modified hormone known as rBST. BST is a hormone known as bovine somatotropin; rBST is a genetically-modified version of the hormone developed by Monsanto using genetically-engineered E. coli bacteria and is probably not something you want in your body.

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules since there are many manufacturing and processing variables that determine the quality of the yogurt you choose but the above guidelines will help you pick the best one for your buck.

For more information check out The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out (DaCapo, 2015, Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM).


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7 Ways Probiotics DetoxifyYour Body

By Sayer Ji        Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

You’ve probably heard the buzz already about the many health benefits of probiotics, a word which literally translates to: pro- “for” + biotics “life” — FOR LIFE.  But did you know that these remarkable commensal microorganisms, which outnumber our bodily cells 10 to 1, and contribute over 95% of our body’s total genetic information, also break down highly toxic manmade chemicals which your body is either incapable, or only partially capable, of defending itself from?

Learn about some of the amazing ways in which ‘good bacteria’ help to detoxify chemicals within our body:

Bisphenol A:

This ubiquitous toxicant — linked to over 40 diseases — found in anything from thermal printer receipts, paper money, canned food liners, dental composites, and of course plastics, is a powerful endocrine disrupter now found in everyone’s bodies. Remarkably, two common probiotic strains, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, have been found in animal research to help the body detoxify it by reducing the intestinal absorption of bisphenol A through facilitating increased excretion.[i] The animals receiving probiotic treatment were found to have 2.4 times higher excretion of Bisphenol A in their feces, suggesting probiotic supplementation could be of significant benefit to humans as well.

Pesticides

Probiotic strains from the traditional Korean fermented cabbage dish known as kimchi have been identified to degrade a variety of organophosphorous pesticides such as chlorpyrifos, coumaphos, diazinon, methylparathion, and parathion.[ii] These nifty organisms actually use these exceedingly hard to break down chemicals as sources of carbon and phosphorous – ‘food’! – and were found to break down the pesticide 83.3% after 3 days and degraded it completely by day 9.[iii]  While this test tube study likely does not reflect exactly what happens in our gut when we ingest both chlorpyrifos and Kimchi, it is provocative, and may indicate there is some protective effects in the gut, and certainly cabbage tainted with organophosphorous pesticide which is subsequently fermented as an ingredient in Kimchi would certainly reduce the burden of this chemical in the diet.

Heavy Metals 

Lactobacillus bacteria found in food have been looked at as a potential adjunct agent for reducing metal toxicity in humans. According to one study, “This is because they have resistance mechanisms which are effective in preventing damage to their cells and they can bind and sequester heavy metals to their cell surfaces, thus removing them through subsequent defecation.” [iv] The study differentiates between detoxification and detoxication, the former of which is described as “the ability to remove drugs, mutagens, and other harmful agents from the body,” and the latter of which is the mechanism through which ‘good bacteria’ prevent “of damaging compounds into the body.” Because there is a large body of research on probiotics preventing and/or healing up intestinal permeability, this may be another way in which toxic stomach contents are preventing from doing harm to the body as a whole.

Cancerous Food Preservatives 

Another imchi study found it contained a strain of bacteria capable of breaking down sodium nitrate, a naturally and artificially occurring chemical (used from anything to rocket fuel and gunpowder) linked to a variety of chronic degenerative diseases, including cancer.[v] The study found a depletion of sodium nitrate by up to 90.0% after 5 days. Sodium nitrate becomes toxic when it is converted in food products, and even our intestines via microbiota, to N-nitrosodimethylamine. A study found that four lactobacillus strains where capable of breaking this toxic byproduct down by up to 50%.[vi]

Perchlorate

Perchlorate is an ingredient in jet fuel and fireworks that widely contaminates the environment and our food. Sadly, even organic food has been found concentrate high levels of this toxicant, making it exceedingly difficult to avoid exposure. It is now found in disturbing concentrations in breast milk and urine, and is a well-known endocrine disrupter capable of blocking the iodine receptor in the thyroid, resulting in hypothyroidism and concomitant neurological dysfunction.  A study found that the beneficial bacterial strain known as Bifidobacterium Bifidum is capable of degrading perchlorate, and that breast fed infants appear to have lower levels than infant formula fed babies due to the breast milk bacteria’s ability to degrade perchlorate through the perchlorate reductase pathway.[vii]

Yogurt

Heterocylic Amines

Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCA) are compounds formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures of 150-300 degrees C, and are extremely mutagenic (damage the DNA). Lactobacillus strains have been identified that significantly reduce the genotoxicity of theses compounds.[viii]

Toxic Foods

While not normally considered a ‘toxin,’ wheat contains a series of proteins that we do not have the genomic capability to produce enzymes to degrade. When these undigested proteins – and there are over 23,000 that have been identified in the wheat proteome – enter into the blood, they can wreak havoc on our health. Research has found that our body has dozens of strains of bacteria that are capable of breaking down glutinous proteins and therefore reduce its antigenicity and toxicity.

While the role of probiotics in degrading gluten proteins sounds great, a word of caution is in order. Since modern wheat is not a biologically compatible food for our species – having been introduced only recently in biological time, and having been hybridized to contain far more protein that our ancient ancestors were ever exposed to – it would be best to remove it entirely from the diet. Also, the aforementioned research showing bacteria in the human gut are capable of breaking some of these wheat proteins revealed that some of the species that were capable of doing this for us are intrinsically pathogenic, e.g. Clostidium botulinum and Klebsiella. So, relying on the help of bacteria to do the job of digesting a ‘food’ we are not capable of utilizing on our own, is a double-edged sword. Again, the best move is to remove it entirely from the diet as a precuationary step.

What Probiotic Should I Take?

While plenty of probiotic pills and liquids exist on the market, and many of which have significant health benefits, it is important to choose one that is either shelf stable, or has been refrigerated from the place of manufacture all the way to the place you are purchasing it from. Moreover, many probiotics are centrifugally extracted or filtered, leaving the nourishing food medium within which it was cultured behind. This is a problem in two ways: 1)  without sustenance, the probiotics are in ‘suspended animation’ and may either die or not properly ‘root’ into your gastrointestinal tract when you take them.  2) the ‘food matrix’ within probiotics are grown provides a protective medium of essential co-factors that help them survive the difficult journey down your gastointestinal tract.

With that said, another option is to consume a traditionally fermented, living probiotic food like sauerkraut, kimchi, or yogurt (focusing on non-cow’s milk varieties, unless you are lucky enough to find a source that has the beta-casein A2 producing cows). There is always goat’s milk which is relatively hypoallergenic.

Finally, the reality is that the probiotics in our bodies and in cultured foods ultimately derive from the soil, where an unimaginably vast reservoir of ‘good bacteria’ reside – assuming your soil is natural and not saturated with petrochemical inputs and other environmental toxicants.  And really fresh, organically produced – preferably biodynamically grown – raw food is an excellent way to continually replenish your probiotic stores. Food is always going to be the best way to support your health, probiotic health included.

Updated October 2014

Article References
[i] Kenji Oishi, Tadashi Sato, Wakae Yokoi, Yasuto Yoshida, Masahiko Ito, Haruji Sawada. Effect of probiotics, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, on bisphenol A exposure in rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Jun;72(6):1409-15. Epub 2008 Jun 7. PMID: 18540113
[ii] Shah Md Asraful Islam, Renukaradhya K Math, Kye Man Cho, Woo Jin Lim, Su Young Hong, Jong Min Kim, Myoung Geun Yun, Ji Joong Cho, Han Dae Yun. Organophosphorus hydrolase (OpdB) of Lactobacillus brevis WCP902 from kimchi is able to degrade organophosphorus pesticides. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 May 12;58(9):5380-6. PMID: 20405842
[iii] Kye Man Cho, Reukaradhya K Math, Shah Md Asraful Islam, Woo Jin Lim, Su Young Hong, Jong Min Kim, Myoung Geun Yun, Ji Joong Cho, Han Dae Yun. Biodegradation of chlorpyrifos by lactic acid bacteria during kimchi fermentation. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Mar 11;57(5):1882-9. PMID: 19199784
[iv] Marc Monachese, Jeremy P Burton, Gregor Reid. Bioremediation and tolerance of humans to heavy metals through microbial processes: a potential role for probiotics? Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Sep ;78(18):6397-404. Epub 2012 Jul 13. PMID: 22798364
[v] Chang-Kyung Oh, Myung-Chul Oh, Soo-Hyun Kim. The depletion of sodium nitrite by lactic acid bacteria isolated from kimchi. J Med Food. 2004;7(1):38-44. PMID: 15117551
[vi] Adriana Nowak, Sławomir Kuberski, Zdzisława Libudzisz. Probiotic lactic acid bacteria detoxify N-nitrosodimethylamine. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2014 Jul 10. Epub 2014 Jul 10. PMID: 25010287
[vii] C Phillip Shelor, Andrea B Kirk, Purnendu K Dasgupta, Martina Kroll, Catrina A Campbell, Pankaj K Choudhary. Breastfed infants metabolize perchlorate. Environ Sci Technol. 2012 May 1 ;46(9):5151-9. Epub 2012 Apr 20. PMID: 22497505
[viii] Adriana Nowak, Zdzislawa Libudzisz. Ability of probiotic Lactobacillus casei DN 114001 to bind or/and metabolise heterocyclic aromatic amines in vitro. Eur J Nutr. 2009 Oct ;48(7):419-27. Epub 2009 May 16. PMID: 19448966


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Top 10 Probiotic Foods to Add to Your Diet

By Dr. Edward F. Group     Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Probiotics are beneficial forms of gut bacteria that help stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. In addition to taking a probiotic supplement, you can also support your probiotic intake through eating foods that are hosts to these live bacterium.

We all know of the great health benefits of probiotics, however, not all of us know how to take advantage of these health benefits. Below is a list I put together to outline the best probiotic foods for you to add to your diet. I would also recommend buying the organic version of all these probiotic foods.

1. Yogurt

One of the best probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt, especially handmade. Look for brands made from goat milk that has been infused with extra forms of probiotics like lactobacillus or acidophilus. Goat’s milk and cheese are particularly high in probiotics like thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus and acidophilus. Be sure to read the ingredients list, as not all yogurts are made equally. Many popular brands are filled with High Fructose Corn Syrup, artificial sweeteners and artifical flavors.

2. Kefir

Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of goat milk and fermented kefir grains. High in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria, kefir is also rich in antioxidants. Look for a good, organic version at your local health food shop.

3. Sauerkraut

Made from fermented cabbage (as well as other vegetables), sauerkraut is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but also aids in reducing allergy symptoms. Sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins B, A, E and C.

4. Dark Chocolate

Probiotics can be added to high-quality dark chocolate, up to four times the amount of probiotics as many forms of dairy. This is only one of the health benefits of chocolate.

dark chocolate

5. Microalgae

This refers to super-food ocean-based plants such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae. These probiotic foods have been shown to increase the amount of both Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the digestive tract. They also offer the most amount of energetic return, per ounce, for the human system.

6. Miso Soup

Miso is one the main-stays of Japanese traditional medicine, and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. Made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup, full of lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria.

Beyond its important live cultures, miso is extremely nutrient-dense and is believed to help neutralize the effects of environmental pollution, alkalinize the body and stop the effects of carcinogens in the system.

7. Pickles

Believe it or not, the common green pickle is an excellent food source of probiotics. Try making your own home-made pickles in the sun. Here’s a great set of instructions for making your own probiotic-rich dill pickles.

8. Tempeh

A great substitute for meat or tofu, tempeh is a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soy beans. A great source of vitamin B12, this vegetarian food can be sautéed, baked or eaten crumbled on salads. If prepared correctly, tempeh is also very low in salt, which makes it an ideal choice for those on a low-sodium diet.

9. Kimchi

An Asian form of pickled sauerkraut, kimchi is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage, typically served alongside most meals in Korea. Besides from beneficial bacteria, Kimchi is also a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 & B2. Kimchi is one of the best probiotic foods you can add to your diet, assuming you can handle the spice, of course.

10. Kombucha Tea

This is a form of fermented tea high in healthy gut bacteria. This probiotic drink has been used for centuries and is believed to help increase your energy, enhance your wellbeing and maybe even help you lose weight. However, kombucha tea may not be the best fit for everyone, especially those that already have a problem with candida.

Other Sources of Probiotics

Besides from the list of probiotic foods above, you can also get plenty of beneficial bacteria by taking a probiotic supplement.


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10 Foods That Promote Brain Health

by Brandi, selected from Diets in Review

Who doesn’t want to become smarter? Who wants to look better or feel healthier? Many recent studies have shown how certain nutrients can positively affect the brain, specifically in areas of the brain related to cognitive processing or feelings and emotions. Generally speaking, you want to follow a healthy diet for your brain that will lead to strong blood flow, maintenance of mental sharpness and reduce the risk of heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

We know that foods play a great role in our brain, as concluded in several studies led by a phenomenal neuroscientist at UCLA, Gomez Pinilla.

According to one study, the super fats your brain needs most are omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain converts them into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which enhances neuronal communication and promotes neuronal growth.

Food and nutrients represent fuel to our bodies the same way that when we use our car we need to fill the gas tank. Unfortunately, we generally take better care of our cars than our bodies. Why is that? We are hearing frequently that consuming the right nutrients can help our health, aging process, and more efficient brain-body functioning.

With that said, I want to share with you ten foods you must keep in your diet to maintain brain health:

1. Apples: Eating an apple a day protects the brain from oxidative damage that causes neurodegenerative diseases such Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This magical nutrient that acts as protection is quercetin, which is a phytonutrient.

2. Asparagus: Asparagus is rich in folic acid, which is essential for the metabolism of the long chain fatty acids in your brain.

3. Lean Beef: Lean beef is rich in vitamin B12, iron and zinc. These vitamins and minerals have been shown to maintain a healthy neural tissue.

blueberries

4. Blueberries and strawberries: Studies show that people who eat berries improve their memory and their motor skills. In addition, their antioxidant properties can protect your brain from the oxidative process.

5. Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate offers incredible concentration powers. It is a very powerful antioxidant containing natural stimulants that increase the production of feel-good endorphins. Trick: you need to find dark chocolate with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving for optimal benefits.

6. Salmon: Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown to be essential for brain function.

7. Dried oregano: Certain spices have powerful antioxidant properties. In several studies, this powerful spice has shown to have 40 times more antioxidant properties than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and 4 times more than that of blueberries or strawberries.

8. Walnuts: Walnuts are rich in protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and B6 which all promote healthy neural tissue.

9. Whole grains: Whole grains deliver fiber and vitamin E that help promote cardiovascular health, which helps improve the circulation to the brain.

10. Yogurt: Yogurt and other dairy foods are filled with protein and vitamin B that are essential to improve the communication between nerve cells.

Make sure that from now on you select and plan a great menu that include these brain foods. Life is about choices and selecting the right nutrients can play a key role in your health.

Written by Michael Gonzalez-Wallace, who is the author of Super Body, Super Brain.
You can read more from him at http://www.superbodysuperbrain.com or pick up his book Super Body, Super Brain.


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14 Great Sources Of Clean Protein

BY NADYA ANDREEVA     DECEMBER 21, 2013 

Clean protein is harder to come by than you might think. Pesticides, heavy metals, and antibiotics are abundant in almost all factory-produced nonorganic meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs. Fast food joints pump almost all of their items with food flavorings and chemicals to increase shelf life. To avoid all the negative health effects, go for the following foods whenever possible. Make friends with farmers at the closest farmers’ market, read food labels at the stores, and ask questions at the restaurants. You deserve to know where your food is coming from.

Almonds

Almonds are strongly anti-inflammatory, and are a good source for healthy fats, fiber, and protein. To make almonds easier to digest, soak them overnight and peel the skins. Nuts aren’t a complete protein since they don’t have a full range of amino acids, but they serve as a great addition to a healthy diet.

Spirulina

Spirulina is one of the great superfoods. It’s approximately 65 to 71 percent complete protein in its natural state, higher than virtually any other unprocessed food. And unlike most other forms of protein, the protein in spirulina is 85-95% digestible. Since spirulina has no cellulose in its cell walls, it’s extremely easy for the body to break it down. While spirulina is great, make sure it’s collected from a clean body of water, not public lakes that allow boats. It also can’t serve as a main source of protein since it would be hard to take it sufficient qualities to make up for body’s demand for protein.

Wild Fish

While most nutritionists would say that fish is healthy, not all fish is equal. The origin matters a lot. Farmed fish is the same as a caged chicken. They aren’t fed a natural diet, are often sick, don’t have as many desirable omega-3s, ant might be full of antibiotics and dioxin. Wild is the way to go if you consume fish on a regular basis.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a “complete protein” pseudo-grain. It tastes great and is easy to cook, even for kitchen newbies. Buckwheat is another grain (seed) that is a complete protein and can be substituted for quinoa.

Cage-free eggs

Eggs are a rich source of thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folic acids, vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D, vitamin E, and phosphorus. Eggs can be a great easy-to-digest food if chickens had a healthy diet, were cage free, and got to run around outside. Whole eggs are also much more nutrient dense than egg whites, since egg yolks contain most of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Buy whole organic eggs, not mechanically separated, chemically altered egg whites.

Hemp Seeds

Sixty-five percent of the total protein content of hemp seed comes from the globular protein edestin, which is easily digested, absorbed, and utilized by the human body. It’s also hypoallergenic. Hemp contains about 30% protein.

0a0be-hemp

Chia Seeds

This miracle food offers complete protein that’s mildly anti-inflammatory, easy to digest, and easy to cook with. Chia seeds are a good source of calcium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese. Chia seed pudding can be a great easy-to-make breakfast option or a healthy fiber- and protein-rich snack.

Whey Powder

Whey protein is the second most abundant protein derived from milk (casein is the most abundant milk protein). It’s found mainly in meal-replacement powders, protein powders, and ready-to-consume drinks. Whey contains all of the essential amino acids and is particularly high in the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) and glutamine (an immune-boosting amino acid). Make sure it’s grass-fed, organic, and hormone free.

Lentils

While they’re not a complete protein, lentils are a great source of amino acids, healthy carbs, and filling fiber. When combined with grains, they form a complete protein. They will keep hunger at bay and are easier to digest than larger beans.

Organic Chicken

Chicken contains all of the essential amino acids, but make sure to choose chickens that were raise in humane conditions, fed a variable nutrient-dense diet, and got to see sunshine, not just a sad cage. It makes a difference in taste and its effects on the body.

Cottage Cheese and Greek Yogurt

If you aren’t sensitive to dairy, plain cottage cheese and Greek yogurt can be a good addition to a balanced diet. Both are pretty low in sugar, have a good amount of protein, and healthy fats. Choose organic to avoid hormones, chemicals, and hidden antibiotics. If you have any symptoms of dairy intolerance, it’s best to do an elimination diet or get blood work done at a qualified center.

Tempeh

Tempeh is made out of fermented soy and can be a great source of clean protein for vegans if they don’t have soy sensitivity. Make sure it is organic and not genetically modified. It’s been shown that soy protein is comparable in digestibility to other high-quality protein sources such as meat, milk, fish, and egg. Avoid processed “fake” soy meats, and don’t rely on soy alone for your protein.

Grass-fed Beef

Beef is loaded with zinc, iron and all the amino acids as well. If you consume meat, make it grass fed, not grain fed. It’s cleaner, more flavorful, safer, and with more nutrients.

Pea and Rice Protein Powder

The combination of rice and pea protein actually provides one of the best-tasting protein concentrates available. The end product is 80-90% pure, hypoallergenic, easily digested protein.