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Here you will find great tips for healthy living, nutritional advice, and the latest news on health studies and research.

Category Archives: Nutrition

Nutrition, the ins and outs.

Low fat, high sugar diets…probably not good..!

Did you know that those diet products you eat are probably making you fat?  This may be why.  Keep in mind that this is a study about rats, however, those rats that were fed a low-fat, high-sugar diet, added the same amount of fat as the control rats who were fed a balanced diet. Unfortunately, they only needed HALF the amount of calories to add the same amount of body fat.  In other words, those rats on the low fat, high-sugar diets needed less than half the calories to generate the same amount of fat.  Scary eh!  This diet also resulted in chronic brain inflammation and intestinal tract inflammation as well as possibly contributing to non-alcoholic fatty liver.  Please take heed of this information. We know that inflammation is also a driver in cardiovascular disease..!!

Reduce the bad carbs, live longer?

I touched on a study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine in which they concluded that we should rethink worrying about lowering saturated fat in our diets to prevent heart disease.  They conclude it is more important to focus on decreasing insulin resistance and inflammation in the body by targeting exercise, diet and reducing stress. During a review of previous studies the researchers found that even those people who lowered there LDL cholesterol and overall cholesterol and replaced their saturated fat with omega-6 fatty acids, still had a higher rate of death. Researchers went on to say that we should concentrate on a Mediterranean style diet.  The problem is that when people try low fat diets (to avoid saturated fats) they tend to eat more refined carbs which leads to insulin resistance, higher blood sugar, higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and obesity.  The bottom line is that we as a society must be more focused on lifestyle changes that prevents insulin resistance and reduces inflammation.

Eggs to lose weight?

If you like eggs, and want to lose some weight, this might be just for you. A recent study of men and women who ate two eggs at breakfast (as part of a reduced-calorie plan) lost a whopping 65% more weight than those who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories. The egg eaters also felt more energetic. As far as the yolk, nutritionists are encouraging you to eat the yolks in that they contribute to the weight loss, but also increase the HDL cholesterol as well as being a good source of vitamin B12 and choline. I wouldn’t recommend the buttered toast, hash browns and bacon to go along with those eggs, if you are trying to lose some weight, however, having protein to start the day, helps reduce appetite and keeps blood sugar levels from wild fluctuations.

Eat the fat, not the sugar!

I am always amazed when I read health news. It seems as soon as one study comes out, the next research contradicts the previous one.  I read an interesting but controversial article where the researchers (three cardiologist from Britain) say that saturated fat does not clog your arteries and that the “clogged pipe” model of heart disease is “plain wrong.”  They go on to say that in people over 60, the number one risk factor for heart attacks is inulin resistance, driven by a number of dietary factors, especially increased sugar and other refined carbohydrates.  In other words, its not the saturated fat in your burger that causes the problem, it is the bun, fries and sugary drink that you wash it down with, that you should be concerned with. Remember inflammation is a driver of cardiovascular disease and pro-inflammatory ingredients are the sugars, refined carbs and industrial seed oils found in processed foods.  I will have a bit more on this next time!

Diet Pop, Stroke & Dementia…!!

Did you know that your artificially sweetened diet sodas may increase your risk of stroke and dementia?  A recent study from the Boston University School of Medicine reports that there is an association between those people who drink artificially sweetened diet pop on a daily bases and the risk of stroke and dementia.  Those who drink these specific beverages daily, have a three times greater risk, than those who drink one a week or less. This is the first of such studies to provide evidence of the connection between risk of all cause dementia and dementia because of Alzheimer’s disease and daily intake of artificially sweetened beverages. Surprisingly, researchers did not find the same risks for sugar-sweetened beverages.  However, they did find other risks for those who regularly consume sugary juices and sodas, such as smaller brain volumes, poorer memory function and smaller brain hippocampus, which is the area of brain important for memory consolidation.  Knowledge is power, maybe it’s time to reconsider our beverage consumption…!!

Foods that fight inflammation..!!

We all know that what you eat greatly affects your health.  Inflammation is a big driver in cardiovascular disease and other diseases as well, such as Rheumatoid arthritis.  Foods that are high in simple sugars such as desserts or soda’s, can increase inflammation in our body.  This can then increase the pain in our joints and contribute to other problems that may appear mundane in nature, however might become serious over time. There are many foods that fight inflammation and here are a few; olive oil, spinach, kale, broccoli, almonds, walnuts, fatty fish such as salmon, strawberries, blueberries and cherries.  There are many more, but I haven’t enough time to list them all.  Finally, the Mediterranean diet is a good way of eating, as it is higher in monounsaturated fats such as olive oil.  These foods can literally reduce the inflammatory markers in your blood and keep you healthier and reduce pain symptoms.  Bon appetit…!!

Muscle Cramps and Hydration !!

Have you ever had a cramp in a muscle?  Chances are you have.  The most common reason is generally due to lack of hydration.  Many people just do not drink enough water.  Also another reason for cramps is an imbalance of electrolytes in your system.  Usually the culprits are calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium and often vitamin B.  Sometimes an easy fix for this is to try a sport drink (low carb) that contains these electrolytes.  It is an inexpensive fix for cramps. Avoid caffeinated drinks if you have recurrent cramps.  Massage and stretching are also good for post cramp issues but continue to hydrate all day long.  Drink fluids more often (every 15 minutes) if you are working out.  You might not know this, but many people with chronic headaches can also help themselves by hydrating more often.  Hope this helps!!

Breakfast & Reducing Health Risks!!

Did you know that breakfast may be better for you than you may have previously known. The American Heart Association has recently released a scientific statement that breakfast is good for the heart.  The AHA guidelines recommend eating breakfast every day, eating more calories earlier in the day and eating less calories in the later day.  This can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.  If you are among the 30% of American adults who skip breakfast, now may be the time to start eating that morning meal.  Apparently, starting the day without those essential nutrients is not a good idea.  Eat smart, healthy and your body will appreciate it!!!

Flu Prevention

Did you know, in this region, the norovirus has ran rampant at several schools and recently caused the closing of a local high school?  The controversy around flu vaccines will always be prevalent however in an article in our local paper, a physician said “truth be told”, the flu shot rarely prevents the flu.  However, there are some herbs and foods that can help combat the risk of catching the flu.  For instance glycyrrhiza lepidota (licorice plant), helps the body stimulate anti-virus compounds and has anti-inflammatory properties. It can raise blood pressure, so if you take BP meds, consult your doc. Red Korean ginseng helps reduce the symptoms and duration of upper respiratory infections however it too can increase blood pressure. Cranberries and elderberries are directly toxic to the influenza virus and can be used without contraindication. Echinacea  tea is often used to fight flu symptoms, as it can enhance the immune system with its anti-viral properties.  If you are allergic to ragweed you may want to avoid this. Just a couple things you can do to fight back during the cold and flu season and don’t forget the usual Vitamins C, D and zinc!!

Coffee & Reduced Inflammation

As I write this, I have a steaming cup of coffee sitting on my desk, as I do enjoy a cup in the morning.  Did you know yet another study just published, shows the benefits of caffeine?  Though coffee is controversial as a health aid, this study found that it does have a surprising benefit.  Those individuals that drink coffee regularly (5+ cups daily) had lower levels of inflammation.  This is amazing, as inflammation is now considered the driving force for many chronic diseases.  In fact most of the diseases of aging are basically diseases of inflammation. It seems that caffeine inhibits a molecule that promotes inflammation and the more coffee these folks drank, the more protected they were from a chronic state of inflammation. This was determined by the participants blood samples.  Time for another cup of Joe!!