Yes, eating healthy means choosing the right foods, but that’s only part of it. For example, the skin of many fruits and veggies (or just under it) is where a lot of the vitamins and minerals are, so when you peel it off, you’re missing out. Find out what you can do to get the most nutritional value out of what you put in your mouth.
Spinach may not give you superhuman strength to fight off villains like Popeye’s nemesis Bluto, but this leafy green and other foods containing iron can help you fight a different type of enemy — iron-deficiency anemia.
Iron-deficiency anemia, the most common form of anemia, is a decrease in the number of red blood cells caused by too little iron. Without sufficient iron, your body can’t produce enough hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that makes it possible for them to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. As a result, you may feel weak, tired, and irritable.
About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men do not have enough iron in their body. The solution, in many cases, is to consume more foods high in iron.
How Your Body Uses Iron in Food
When you eat food with iron, iron is absorbed into your body mainly through the upper part of your small intestine.
There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin. It is found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry (meat, poultry, and seafood contain both heme and non-heme iron). Your body absorbs the most iron from heme sources. Most nonheme iron is from plant sources.
Very good sources of heme iron, with 3.5 milligrams or more per serving, include:
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- 3 ounces of beef or chicken liver
- 3 ounces of clams or mussels
- 3 ounces of oysters
Good sources of heme iron, with 2.1 milligrams or more per serving, include:
- 3 ounces of cooked beef
- 3 ounces of canned sardines, canned in oil
Other sources of heme iron, with 0.6 milligrams or more per serving, include:
- 3 ounces of chicken
- 3 ounces of cooked turkey
- 3 ounces of ham
- 3 ounces of veal
Other sources of heme iron, with 0.3 milligrams or more per serving, include:
- 3 ounces of halibut, haddock, perch, salmon, or tuna
Iron in plant foods such as lentils, beans, and spinach is nonheme iron. This is the form of iron added to iron-enriched and iron-fortified foods. Our bodies are less efficient at absorbing nonheme iron, but most dietary iron is nonheme iron.
A clinical trial led by La Trobe University has shown eating fish such as salmon, trout and sardines as part of a healthy diet can reduce asthma symptoms in children.
The international study found children with asthma who followed a healthy Mediterranean diet enriched with fatty fish had improved lung function after six months.
Lead researcher Maria Papamichael from La Trobe said the findings added to a growing body of evidence that a healthy diet could be a potential therapy for childhood asthma.
“We already know that a diet high in fat, sugar and salt can influence the development and progression of asthma in children and now we have evidence that it’s also possible to manage asthma symptoms through healthy eating,” Ms Papamichael said.
“Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties. Our study shows eating fish just twice a week can significantly decrease lung inflammation in children with asthma.”
Co-researcher and Head of La Trobe’s School of Allied Health, Professor Catherine Itsiopoulos, said the results were promising.
“Following a traditional Mediterranean diet that is high in plant-based foods and oily fish could be an easy, safe and effective way to reduce asthma symptoms in children,” Professor Itsiopoulos said.
Associate Professor Bircan Erbas, from La Trobe’s School of Psychology and Public Health, is an expert in asthma and allergies, who co-supervised the trial.
“Asthma is the most common respiratory disease in young people and one of the leading reasons for hospitalisations and trips to emergency for children,” Associate Professor Erbas said.
“Unfortunately, the rate of asthma worldwide remains high. It is imperative that we identify new therapies that we can use alongside conventional asthma medications.”
The clinical trial involved 64 children from Athens in Greece, aged 5 to 12 who had mild asthma. Researchers from Australia and Greece divided the children into two groups and instructed around half to eat two meals of cooked fatty fish (of at least 150 grams) as part of the Greek Mediterranean diet every week for six months. The remaining children followed their normal diet.
At the end of the trial, they found the group who ate fish had reduced their bronchial inflammation by 14 units. Above 10 units is significant under international guidelines.
Elevated levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) — a compound linked with the consumption of fish, seafood and a primarily vegetarian diet — may reduce hypertension-related heart disease symptoms. New research in rats finds that low-dose treatment with TMAO reduced heart thickening (cardiac fibrosis) and markers of heart failure in an animal model of hypertension. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology — Heart and Circulatory Physiology and was chosen as an APSselect article for November.
TMAO levels in the blood significantly increase after eating TMAO-rich food such as fish and vegetables. In addition, the liver produces TMAO from trimethylamine (TMA), a substance made by gut bacteria. The cause of high TMAO levels in the blood and the compound’s effects on the heart and circulatory system are unclear, and earlier research has been contradictory. It was previously thought that TMAO blood plasma levels — and heart disease risk — rise after the consumption of red meat and eggs. However, “it seems that a fish-rich and vegetarian diet, which is beneficial or at least neutral for cardiovascular risk, is associated with a significantly higher plasma TMAO than red meat- and egg-rich diets, which are considered to increase the cardiovascular risk,” researchers from the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland and the Polish Academy of Sciences wrote.
The researchers studied the effect of TMAO on rats that have a genetic tendency to develop high blood pressure (spontaneously hypertensive rats). One group of hypertensive rats was given low-dose TMAO supplements in their drinking water, and another group received plain water. They were compared to a control group of rats that does not have the same genetic predisposition and received plain water. The dosage of TMAO was designed to increase blood TMAO levels approximately four times higher than what the body normally produces. The rats were given TMAO therapy for either 12 weeks or 56 weeks and were assessed for heart and kidney damage and high blood pressure.
TMAO treatment did not affect the development of high blood pressure in any of the spontaneously hypertensive rats. However, condition of the animals given the compound was better than expected, even after more than a year of low-dose TMAO treatment. “A new finding of our study is that [a] four- to five-fold increase in plasma TMAO does not exert negative effects on the circulatory system. In contrast, a low-dose TMAO treatment is associated with reduced cardiac fibrosis and [markers of] failing heart in spontaneously hypertensive rats,” the researchers wrote.
“Our study provides new evidence for a potential beneficial effect of a moderate increase in plasma TMAO on pressure-overloaded heart,” the research team wrote. The researchers acknowledge that further study is needed to assess the effect of TMAO and TMA on the circulatory system. However, an indirect conclusion from the study could underscore the heart-healthy benefits of following a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish and vegetables.
The terms ‘gluten free’ and ‘wheat free’ are often used interchangeably, which is one of the biggest causes of confusion when you finally discover that they are not, in fact, the same thing. Both diets are on the rise as we are starting to see new sensitivities to mass-produced food arise, and it’s not uncommon to see gluten free and wheat free selections on more and more restaurant menus or grocery store shelves. Roughly around 15% of people are intolerant to gluten or wheat in North America. It also seems to be exactly the same types of food that boast being gluten free or wheat free: generally things made with flour.
In both cases they seem to cause the same negative symptoms. Neither wheat nor gluten is inherently unhealthy or harmful to the human body as a rule. However, as with other allergies and sensitivities, wheat and gluten can both cause adverse reactions, but their effects differ depending on each individual’s immune system and its capabilities. People generally adopt wheat free and gluten free diets to whatever extent they experience the symptoms. Some common reactions to gluten and wheat that can be avoided by changing your diet are constipation, gastrointestinal issues, cramps, headaches, skin rashes, bloating, unexplained allergies and nutritional deficiencies.
So, if there is a difference between wheat free and gluten free diets, what is it?
Wheat Free 101
We all know what wheat is, right? It’s a staple food in the modern human diet, and the third-highest produced cereal grain in the world – just behind maize (corn) and rice. Barn, germ and endosperm are the three major parts of the wheat kernel, and between the three of them it provides us with protein, nutrients (Vitamin B and fiber) and carbohydrates.
We use it most notably to make flour – the basis of baked goodies, breads, cereals and pastas – and to ferment beer and other alcoholic beverages. Things made from barley and rye grains are generally safe for wheat free diets so long as they are not used in combination with wheat. Read those labels carefully if you’ve got a wheat free guest coming. It’s a very difficult thing to avoid, and if you take a minute to paw through your kitchen, you’ll probably be amazed at how many things contain it.
If we take a more scientific look at the wheat grain, its four major components are revealed:
Aha! So, now we know that Gluten is a major component of wheat and that all wheat has gluten in it. Now, what’s gluten free?
Gluten Free 101
Gluten, when compared with wheat, is much more pervasive. If you feel like you just crossed off half your shopping list when you read the list of foods containing wheat, just wait until you learn about the gluten free requirements!
Gluten is basically an elastic protein which is found in wheat – but it is also found in additional foods! For example, gluten is commonly found rye, barley, and some types of oats. Sort of crosses off the last of the breads and cereals, doesn’t it?
Gluten on its own does not cause as many reactions as the wheat cereal does. However, what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Gluten is the major offender for the unfortunate 1% of people suffering from Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to negatively react to gluten and block nutrient absorption leading to malnutrition, depression, slowed growth and delayed puberty, hair loss, itchy skin, fatigue, easy bruising, and a host of other symptoms if left untreated. Luckily, this disease can be managed well by simply adjusting one’s diet.
The Big Explanation
Having looked at both, it’s clear that the gluten and wheat are related, but not interchangeable. Wheat has gluten in it, but not all gluten products contain wheat.
Put simply, a gluten free diet is always totally wheat free plus it has the additional restrictions of rye, barley, and oat products and derivatives.
A wheat free diet excludes all wheat products, but allows gluten products that are wheat free, and allows the consumption of rye, barley, and oats.
Gluten Free (and Wheat Free) Foods:
If you’re looking for some solid gluten free foods, you’re safe with the following. Remember that since gluten free is the more restrictive of the two, all of these foods can also be safely consumed by someone who is wheat free:
• Fish, Poultry, & Meat (unless breaded, or in gravy)
• Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
• Dried Fruits
• Milk, Cream, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products
• All Types of Oils
• Corn flour /meal/starch/chips
• Butter *check for additives
• Corn Chips
• Rice Cakes
• Nuts and Beans
• Fresh Spices
• Jams & Jellies
• Almond, brown rice, taro, bean, pea, corn, potato and soy flour
Additionally, there is a good selection of gluten free cereals and other foods that will be labeled as such in all health stores and most large grocery store chains. Keep your eyes peeled for the bright gluten free signs as you wander the aisles next time you’re doing the weekly food shopping.
Yeast has played an important role in the human diet for thousands of years. This fungus is a vital ingredient in bread, beer, and a range of other foods. In recent years, many people have started consuming a specific type of yeast called nutritional yeast.
Due to its nutritional content, yeast in this form may increase a person’s energy, support their immune system, and offer additional health benefits.
In this article, learn about the benefits of nutritional yeast and how to incorporate it into a healthful diet.
What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast comes from a species of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. There is another form of this yeast species, which is called brewer’s yeast. Although people sometimes use the terms interchangeably, it is essential to note that nutritional yeast is not the same as brewer’s yeast.
As the name suggests, brewer’s yeast is a by-product of the beer-making process, and it grows on hops. Manufacturers can grow nutritional yeast on a variety of sources, including blackstrap molasses, whey, and sugar beets.
Nutritional yeast is similar to the yeast that people use in baking, but it undergoes a heating and drying process that renders it inactive.
Nutritional yeast is dairy-free and usually gluten-free. As a result, it can be a useful supplement for people with food allergies or sensitivities, as well as those on restricted diets. It is also low in fat and contains no sugar or soy.
Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and high-quality protein. Typically, one-quarter of a cup of nutritional yeast contains:
- 60 calories
- 8 grams (g) of protein
- 3 g of fiber
- 11.85 milligrams (mg) of thiamine, or vitamin B-1
- 9.70 mg of riboflavin, or vitamin B-2
- 5.90 mg of vitamin B-6
- 17.60 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12
It also contains vitamin B-3, potassium, calcium, and iron.
The benefits that nutritional yeast may offer people include:
1. Boosting energy
Although many manufacturers fortify nutritional yeast with vitamin B-12, not all of them do, so it is best to check the label. Vitamin B-12 may help boost energy, as a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to weakness and fatigue.
Nutritional yeast can be particularly helpful for vegetarians and vegans if it has added vitamin B-12, as this vitamin mostly occurs in animal products.
Adults need about 2.4 mcg of vitamin B-12 per day. Just one-quarter of a cup of nutritional yeast provides more than seven times this amount.
2. Supporting the immune system
Research has shown that S. cerevisiae, the strain of yeast in nutritional yeast, can support the immune system and reduce inflammation resulting from bacterial infection. It may also be helpful in treating diarrhea.
3. Promoting skin, hair, and nail health
Some research suggests that nutritional yeast can combat brittle nails and hair loss. It may also help reduce acne and improve other common skin problems, particularly in adolescence.
4. Improving glucose sensitivity
While some people believe that nutritional yeast improves glucose sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes, studies have yet to prove this.
However, some research on chromium-enriched yeast, which is usually brewer’s yeast, found that this type of yeast could lower fasting blood glucose levels and cholesterol in an animal model.
5. Supporting a healthy pregnancy
Nutritional yeast can also support a healthy pregnancy. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all women who are planning a pregnancy take 400–800 mcg of folic acid a day to prevent congenital abnormalities and support the growth of the fetus.
Manufacturers frequently fortify nutritional yeast with folic acid, which can make it a useful supplement for pregnant women.
Some brands of nutritional yeast may contain more than a standard serving of folic acid though, so individuals should consult a doctor before using it as a supplement.
How to use
Nutritional yeast comes either in the form of flakes or as a powder. It has a savory, nutty, or cheesy flavor.
People can add it as a savory seasoning to a variety of dishes, including pasta, vegetables, and salads.
Some ways to use nutritional yeast include:
- sprinkling it on popcorn instead of butter or salt
- mixing it into risotto instead of Parmesan cheese
- making a vegan alternative to a cheese sauce, such as the one in this recipe
- as an ingredient in a vegan macaroni and cheese dish, such as this one
- stirring it into creamy soups for added nutrients
- adding it to scrambled eggs or a tofu scramble
- mixing it into a nut roast or stuffing
Nutritional yeast is available to buy in some grocery stores and health food shops, as well as online.
Are there any risks?
Despite all the benefits that nutritional yeast may offer, this supplement is not suitable for everyone. Researchers have recommended that individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), glaucoma, and hypertension avoid using nutritional yeast because it could make their symptoms worse.
People with a yeast sensitivity or allergy should also take care to avoid any exposure to nutritional yeast.
In addition, some researchers say that people with a higher risk of gout may want to avoid nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast is sometimes called a superfood because even a little of this high-protein, low-fat, nutrient-dense food provides a host of vitamins and minerals.
More research is necessary to confirm the benefits of nutritional yeast. However, it seems that it may help boost energy and maintain vitamin B-12 levels, as well as supporting the immune system, dermatological health, and pregnancy.
Many people also really like the taste of this nutritious food. Nutritional yeast is versatile, and people can add it to a variety of healthful dishes.
Vegetables get a bad rap. They really do. Their flavors — if you understand how best to prepare them — are amazing. Don’t believe me? Just try a fistful of roasted Brussels sprouts, tossed with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, a little Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper. These are not your momma’s Brussels sprouts, boiled to within an inch of being recognizable as such. And that’s a challenging one. I mean, who do you know who admits to loving Brussels sprouts? A good friend once recoiled when I said I was going to make Brussels sprouts to go with our chicken. But I got him to trust me and the way I make them, and he now has to eat them at least once a week — often more — he likes them that much.
So before you roll your eyes at the thought of getting into vegetables, give them a try. Prepare them simply, roast often, sauté lightly in a cast iron skillet with a little water and mix of just a hint of olive oil and butter, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been eating them all your life. Seriously. They’re the next big culinary thing. Trust me on that.
For more inspiration, take a read of this story from NBC News: How I learned to love (or at least tolerate) vegetables.
Author Joe Donatelli is convinced that carbs are trying to kill him. He walks readers through the digestion of carbs (we’re talking simple carbs here, white foods like bread, flour, pasta, rice, rolls, cakes cookies, etc.) and the absorbtion, or lack thereof, by the body. It’s an interesting perspective and read, and one that anyone concerned about how carbs affect the human body should dive into: LIVESTRONG.com – Is Eating Carbs REALLY Bad for Me?
Entrepreneurs seem to consistently fail when it comes to healthy eating. Placing health on the back burner while pursuing business goals can land you wildly off track and wondering how you got there. Entrepreneur magazine has lined up five tips when it comes to getting and staying healthy.
Prioritizing and organizing activities and setting personal standards can can go a long way towards getting yourself on track. For all the tips and advice from this Entrepreneur article, follow this link: 5 Tips to Help Busy Entrepreneurs Stay Healthy and Happy
By Dr. Sudip Bose, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Would you believe me if I told you that at a glance, I could predict your future health? No, I’m not an all-seeing or all-knowing deity of any sort, just a man armed with a medical degree and a heck of a lot of experience in battlefield operating rooms and in some extremely busy emergency rooms. I’ve seen things you wouldn’t want to see. I’ve seen dying and dead men and women, and I’ve seen, in quite a few cases, how they got into that state. I’ve seen their loving families sobbing with the loss of their loved ones. And all I’d have to do to make that determination is to take one look at someone’s body composition and the size of that patient’s waist.
If a patient was in the hospital because of issues related to heart disease or stroke or cancer or complications from diabetes, all I’d need to do is look at the patient’s waistline and I’d know the underlying cause without any blood work being done, or a CT scan or an MRI. I could tell you with certainty that obesity was a profound underlying cause of the state of ill health they’re in.
Medical school gave me a very fundamental lesson regarding body fat: Fat on the outside = fat on the inside (visceral fat), surrounding and choking internal organs. Obesity is the core element in many of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. as listed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). And it’s an underlying cause in all of the diseases I just mentioned. That’s right – even cancer. Obesity increases levels of the hormones estrogen and insulin circulating in the body, which can stimulate cancer growth.
Obesity is the key element we need to focus on fixing as a nation to improve our overall health and longevity.