CategoryNutritions

5 Foods to Eat for Eye Health

As you may know, what you eat can influence your health in meaningful ways. A healthy, well-balanced diet can energize your body, protect you from diet-related chronic diseases (i.e. heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers), and help to reduce your risk of developing cataracts and eye disease.

According to the National Eye Institute, 36.5 million Americans are affected by some type of eye disease. The major types include age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and refractive error. Each year the American economy takes a hit of $139 billion to cover medical care treating these conditions. These statistics are concerning as we rely on our sense of sight to experience the world around us.

It doesn’t stop there either. The Institute predicts that by the year 2030, approximately 4.3 million Americans will be affected by glaucoma compared to the 2.7 million who currently have it in 2019.

Taking care of yourself to ensure you maintain your vision is rather important. So, what foods should you focus on to help keep your eyes healthy?

1. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish contains essential Omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA, which is recommended for dry eyes and helps to restore the structural support of the eye’s membranes. Examples of fatty fish with DHA include sardines, mackerel, tuna and salmon. It’s best to include fatty fish 2-3 times per week to get an adequate amount of Omega 3 fatty acids.

2. Green Leafy Vegetables: Making vegetables a part of your meals is extremely important. Eating dark leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are beneficial as they are filled with carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids protect the eye from the sun and from blue light.

3. Fruits: Fruits are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and beta carotene. These nutrients are specifically important for daytime vision and can be found in squash, sweet potato and cantaloupe.

4. Eggs: Eggs contain components that protect the lens of the eye. These protective components include cysteine, sulfur, lecithin, amino acids and lutein.

5. Soy: Soy and soy products contain essential fatty acids, phytoestrogens, vitamin E, and natural anti-inflammatory agents that work to protect the eye.

The next time you’re in the supermarket looking to buy food for the week, keep this handy list in the back of your mind. Incorporating these foods into your meals can be a fun challenge while improving your eyesight.

Bonnie R. Giller is a Registered and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She helps chronic dieters, emotional eaters, and people with medical conditions like diabetes, break the spell that diets have over them and reclaim WholeBody Trust™ so they can live their life to the fullest.

6 Ways to Add Flaxseed to Your Meals

Flaxseed may look unimpressive at a first glance, but these small seeds are a great opportunity for added nutrition in your diet. Full of fiber and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, flax can provide you with several health benefits. Research shows that eating flaxseeds regularly can improve digestion and decrease your risk of developing certain chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

Flaxseed can be purchased as flour, oil, or in seed form and can be found at your local health food store. If you buy the seeds themselves, be sure to grind them at home so your body can absorb the nutrients easily. You can grind them in your coffee grinder or in a food processor. Be sure to store your flaxseeds in a cool, dry place.

Flaxseed can easily be incorporated into the diet using the seeds and oil. Flaxseed oil is commonly used in salads, and the crushed seeds are used in yogurts, cereals, salads, soups, and more! The general recommendation for adults is 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily.

When incorporated into your favorite foods, the daily requirement is easy to meet! Consuming flaxseed has no side effects when following the recommended daily amount. It is safe for pregnant women, but be sure to get medical clearance from your health care provider before taking any nutrition supplements. The same is true for anyone with a medical condition and who are taking medications.

Here are 6 ways to incorporate flaxseed into your daily meal plan:

  1. Add a few tablespoons of flaxseed to smoothies made with fresh fruit.
  2. Sprinkle flaxseed over cereal or mix in with yogurt or cottage cheese for breakfast.
  3. Add flaxseed to salads, fish, meat, or chicken dishes.
  4. Add flaxseed when baking cookies or your favorite cake for an added nutritional boost.
  5. Add flaxseed to muffins, breads, brownie and cupcake mixes.
  6. Add flaxseed to tomato sauce, gravies, and sauces.

Ground flaxseed has a nutty flavor and can add nice crunch to your food. Adding a sprinkle or drizzle of flaxseed to your everyday meals is a great way to get essential fatty acids and fiber. These essential fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. Fiber can also reduce cholesterol levels and help regulate blood sugar.

So go ahead and try some flaxseed and reap the benefits of this healthful seed today!

Bonnie R. Giller is a Registered and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She helps chronic dieters, emotional eaters, and people with medical conditions like diabetes, break the spell that diets have over them and reclaim WholeBody Trust™ so they can live their life to the fullest.

10 Super Foods for Baby Boomers Over 50

Eating healthy is important at any age but becomes especially crucial for baby boomers over 50. Why?

Okay, the bad news first. As we get older, our bodies go through some major changes, as nutritional expert Tara Collingwood M.S., RDN points out in an interview for Newsmax. “Men and women alike are susceptible to bone loss, muscle loss, hormonal changes, and the dreaded middle age spread,” the dietitian explains. “We see and feel these changes in our achy joints, vision impairment, heart complications, weight gain, decreased memory retention, and lack of energy – all of which are tied directly to nutrition.”

The good news? Eating the right foods can help prevent diseases, maintain a healthy metabolism, and help you look and feel good.

Win-win!

With that in mind, here are 10 super foods that boast a high nutrient-to-calorie ratio to keep your body performing optimally. You’ll notice that some of these age-defying and disease-fighting super foods are items that you may already love and are sitting inside your refrigerator or pantry.

#1 Wild Salmon

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish two times a week, particularly fatty fish like salmon. Salmon is packed with vitamin D, potassium, B vitamins, and other important minerals, but that’s not all. Fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps fight inflammation, removes triglycerides from the blood, benefits arthritis, and may even help with memory loss and dementia. (By the way, omega-3 can also be found in other fatty, cold-water fish like herring, sardines, rainbow trout, cod, tuna, and mackerel.)

In addition, salmon is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids. This is important since protein is what our bodies use for maintenance and repair. No wonder experts often put salmon at the top of their list of healthy foods that promote good health!

#2 Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are nutritional, energy-boosting dynamos and the richest source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids available. The seeds are full of antioxidants, protein, minerals, plus soluble and insoluble fiber to help digestion.

The tiny seeds are also a “complete protein” containing all nine essential amino acids, rare for a plant-based source of protein. Another benefit? These little seeds have an unusual quality – when combined with liquid they swell and absorb more than 10 times their weight. That means adding a spoonful or two to meals will help you feel fuller while adding some crunch and texture. If you’re trying to lose a few pounds, this can be helpful!

So here are a few fun facts about this super food. Although chia seeds have only become a popular health food recently, they’ve been around a long time as a staple of Mayan and Aztec diets. In fact, “chia” means “strength” in the Mayan language. Aztec warriors were known to use the seeds to give them high energy and endurance, especially during battles. And in case you’re wondering, these seeds are the same ones used for the iconic Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pets that allow you to “grow” garden animals and characters. However, the seeds in these kits aren’t approved for consumption, so head to a grocery or drugstore to enjoy the health benefits.

These nutritious seeds are virtually tasteless, so you can add them to just about anything including oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, sauces, breakfast cereals, soups, and salads. Another popular way to eat the seeds is by making “chia pudding.” Just mix some seeds with one cup of liquid like almond milk. After 15 minutes or so, the seeds “swell” and the “pudding” is ready to eat. Add some fruit, nuts, or other toppings for extra flavor. Just be careful about eating spoonfuls of the seeds by themselves which could pose a choking hazard.

#3 Avocados

This unique and nutritious fruit has 20 different vitamins and minerals along with antioxidants including carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are valuable for eye health. Surprisingly, avocados have more potassium than bananas – an essential mineral that most older adults don’t get enough of that helps reduce blood pressure.

Other bonuses: Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which numerous studies have shown can help lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol while boosting ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. These fruits are also high in omega-3 fatty acids which, as previously mentioned, help remove triglycerides from the blood and lower inflammation.

#4 Blueberries/Blackberries

These small berries are full of nutrients including vitamins, potassium, minerals and antioxidants. Blueberries and blackberries contain high levels of soluble fiber which is beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight, lowering cholesterol, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, and lowering blood pressure.

The berries rank the highest of any fruit for antioxidants including concentrated levels of flavonoids, a natural brain booster that helps reduce age-related declines in motor skills and cognitive ability.

When selecting berries, note that the darker they are, the more antioxidants they have. These fruits are also anti-inflammatory. The good news is that frozen are just as good as fresh and easy to toss on your morning cereal or salad.

#5 Almonds.

Nuts in general are good for our bodies, but almonds are the most nutrient-dense nut, ranking highest in protein, calcium, vitamin E (which helps skin stay supple), magnesium, and folate. Almonds are also high in manganese and copper which are necessary to form collagen and can help aging bodies look and feel younger.

An added bonus: Dieters who ate almonds daily shed 62 percent more weight and 56 percent more fat than those who didn’t, a study from Loma Linda University in California found. “The fiber in nuts may prevent your body from absorbing some fat, speeding weight loss,” says lead author Michelle Wien, R.D. Almond eaters also lowered their blood pressure, the study noted.

#6 Ginger

Ginger may be best known for its ability to soothe stomach aches and ease nausea. But it has so much more to offer.

This anti-aging herb is a good source of many nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and vitamin B6; however, the majority of its benefits for anti-aging nutrition come from its special phytonutrients called gingerols. As WebMD points out: “When you eat or drink phytonutrients, they may help prevent disease and keep your body working properly.” Healthline adds: “Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.”

By the way, other herbs such as garlic and turmeric also contain anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve achy joints and stiff muscles.

#7 Matcha Green Tea

Matcha comes from the same plant as green tea, but since it’s made from the entire leaf, it packs in a more concentrated amount of antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds.

The good news is that these powerful properties can help us baby boomers as we age.What makes matcha such a super food? Its key component is EGCG, a catechin linked to lowering risks to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. Loaded with antioxidants, matcha is known for its immunity-boosting and disease-fighting properties. According to Healthline.com, “Including matcha in your diet could increase your antioxidant intake, which may help prevent cell damage and even lower your risk of several chronic diseases.”

EGCG is also linked to potential weight loss benefits. Matcha can crank up your metabolism, helping you burn more calories every day and process food more effectively. In fact, researchers conducted a series of studies on dieters and found that those who drank green tea lost more weight than those who didn’t drink it.

The amino acid L-theanine in matcha, which stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin helps improve concentration and memory. According to a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, regular consumption of green tea may even offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

An added benefit: Unlike coffee, the amino acids in Matcha help your body absorb the caffeine gradually which releases energy slowly and sustainably. Matcha promises a four to six hour energy boost that’s just enough to perk you up.

Janie Zeitlin, a registered dietitian in White Plains, NY and New York City, says matcha is a “nutritional powerhouse,” and “a valuable addition to any diet,” but adds that moderation is best because of the potency. Most experts recommend drinking a cup or two a day.

#8 Beans

Experts recommend adults consume three cups of beans per week to promote health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. With good reason.

This often overlooked super food is considered “heart healthy” since beans contain an abundance of soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Beans also deliver a powerful combination of vitamins and minerals, including blood-pressure-regulating magnesium, energizing iron, bone-strengthening calcium, potassium, and folate as well as antioxidants. Keep in mind, the darker the bean, the higher its antioxidant levels.

As a bonus, beans help raise levels of the hormone leptin which curbs appetite and thus can help you maintain a healthy weight. Beans are also metabolized more slowly than other complex carbs, helping you feel fuller longer while delivering a great source of energy throughout the day.

A comparatively inexpensive source of protein, beans can be purchased canned, frozen, or dried. To increase your intake, incorporate beans into main dishes like chile or soup, use as a filling side-dish instead of bread or potatoes, toss into a salad, or eat snacks like roasted chick peas or hummus. Have a variety of beans including kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), split peas, fava beans, and lentils in your pantry and get creative!

#9 Quinoa

The South American grain quinoa is well-known to vegans and vegetarians because it’s a complete protein and filled with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, such as B2, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorus.

Quinoa is easy to use in place of other grains, pastas, or white rice. An excellent source of protein with sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids, it packs more nutrition than most grains.

In addition, quinoa contains large amounts of flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol. These are potent antioxidants with several health benefits.

#10 Dark Chocolate

Okay, I saved the best for last. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Just so happens that quality dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and a few other minerals.

Dark chocolate also contains organic compounds that function as antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins. Some studies indicate that consuming small amounts of dark chocolate on a regular basis can lower blood pressure and decrease the rate of stroke in women by 20 percent.

The darker the chocolate, the lower the fat and sugar content. However, don’t go too crazy. Unfortunately, there are 170 calories in one piece (one ounce) of dark chocolate and the treat does contain sugar along with all those nutrients, so should be eaten in moderation. Still, I love that dark chocolate can be counted as a health food, don’t you?

Facts About Flatulence

Many people think that if their digestive system is normal they won’t have any gas unless they eat a particular food like beans. The fact is that normal people on a normal diet expel nearly a quart of intestinal gas a day. Most of us aren’t aware of this. It’s when we become aware of the gas and it becomes uncomfortable and embarrassing.

Gas is formed when certain foods reach the large intestine without being completely and adequately digested. Once they arrive there bacteria go to work to digest them and in the process produce gas. This is a normal occurrence and in most cases intestinal gas is not a sign of an illness or disease. Today we eat more high fiber foods than our grandparents. Fruits and vegetables can be a source of intestinal gas, especially in people not used to eating a lot of them, or in the case of fructose intolerance.

The major cause of occasional excess gas is gas-producing foods. Most people are aware that beans are a major suspect, but there are other foods that will put you are risk including: apricots, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, onions, and mangoes.

Obviously, the first step in reducing flatulence is to avoid the foods that cause this problem for you. Keep in mind that people react differently to different foods.

Some people have found that corn, oats and any wheat-containing product give them gas. (I talk about food allergies in another article).

Many people are unaware that dairy products are causing their gas. In fact lactose intolerance is probably the major cause of bloating and excessive gas. It seem this author that complete avoidance of dairy products is the smartest solution.

There is a simple home test for lactose intolerance. Avoid ALL dairy and cheese products for ten days to see if your symptoms are alleviated. Then have some, if the gas and bloating returns you have your answer and you didn’t have to pay for any expensive blood tests. Acidophilus is often helpful for many people. The best acidophilus is the kind that needs to be refrigerated, so don’t fall for those cheap pills they sell in the chain drug stores.

Don’t fret there are cheddar cheeses that are lactose free. They are usually aged for two or more years. These hard cheeses should say lactose free on the label. I think the lactase-the sugar found in milk-is the culprit is broken down over time to become lactic acid.

If you are a person who swallows a lot of air you most likely are a person who also chews gum or a smoker. In addition, drinking carbonated beverages will add excess air into your system and thus promoting flatulence.

If you have chronic gas it is possible that you are suffering from something other than a simple case of flatulence. Check out articles on the following conditions: Celiac Disease, Diverticulitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Avoid activated charcoal tablets for several reasons. While activated charcoal tablets are effective for absorbing gas, they do however interfere with the absorption of any medication taken within two to three hours. This includes any prescription medications like the birth control pill, hormones, antibiotics and vitamin supplements. Those medications need to be effective.

5 Tips To Reduce Sodium In The Diet

Sodium is an essential mineral you must get from the food you eat in order for your body to function. Sodium not only helps in keeping the fluid balance maintained in the body but it also helps in nerve and muscle function. The human body regulates how much sodium it contains depending upon the levels. If the sodium levels in the body are too high, one gets thirsty and drinks water. Along with that the kidneys speed up the process of throwing the excess sodium out of the body. Keeping the intake of sodium in check should always be a part of a healthy eating plan as well as weight loss programs.

What is the difference between sodium and salt?

Sodium is a component of the common salt that we consume in foods. Salt is a chemical compound made up of 40 % of sodium and 60% of chloride and is by far the biggest dietary contributor of sodium. Different varieties of salt are available but the composition of the salt remains the same. One teaspoon of salt contains 2300 milligrams of sodium. However, it is also naturally found in many foods – although in much lesser amounts than the foods in which salt is added. Today, then processed and packaged foods are largely the contributors of the high sodium levels in the diet.

How much sodium is needed by a person?

The American Heart Association recommends not more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day (1 teaspoon of salt). However, the ideal limit as per them is no more than 1500 milligrams per day. Most of us eat more than the recommended limit. Keeping the intake of sodium within recommended levels is a part of a balanced and healthy eating diet.

Why does sodium need to be restricted?

When there is more sodium than required by the body, the kidneys flush the excess by making more urine. When kidneys are not able to flush out the excess sodium it accumulates in fluid in between the cells. Sodium pulls extra water and increases the volume of the fluid and blood. As the blood volume increases the heart has to work harder and also puts a pressure on the blood vessels. Over a period of time this can stiffen the blood vessels leading to hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attack, stroke or heart failure. High blood pressure can also damage the kidneys leading to kidney failure over a period of time.

Hypertension has become a lifestyle disease today. One in three adult Indians suffers from hypertension today. And what’s more – even children can develop it. A sedentary lifestyle with little or no physical activity coupled with unhealthy eating patterns are major contributors for hypertension. Most people today are unaware that they suffer from hypertension (a repeatedly elevated blood pressure 130/80 mm of Hg).

How do I cut back on sodium?

To watch your sodium intake here are a few tips to follow:

  • Avoid processed and packaged foods: Canned, processed, and frozen foods contain high amount of sodium in them. Avoid sauces, pickles, mayonnaise, ready to eat soups, canned vegetables, processed cheese and breads as these foods contain hidden sodium in them. Buy unsalted nuts or seeds. Compare the nutritional labels of the product you are buying with low sodium content per serving. If a nutritional label says sodium free, light sodium, low sodium or reduced sodium it means the following: a sodium free food should contain less than 5 milligrams sodium per serving, light means 50 percent less sodium than the regular version, reduced sodium means 25 percent less sodium than the regular version. Hence, make it a habit to read the nutritional labels when purchasing the food to avoid the high sodium intake consequences.
  • Cooking: While preparing or cooking the food use onions, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, spices, vinegar in place of extra salt to enhance the taste of food. Avoid usage of salt while cooking rice, rotis, parathas, pasta etc. Grilling, sautéing, and roasting cooking techniques bring out the natural flavor of the food and hence will reduce the need to add salt. Incorporating potassium rich foods like bananas, tomatoes, oranges, potatoes and sweet potatoes, white beans, will help to reduce the effect of sodium and also help in reducing the blood pressure.
  • Be mindful of what you order at restaurants: At restaurants ask if the dishes you are ordering can be made using minimum salt. Request for a salad with the dressing on the side as the dressings contain high sodium content. Avoid foods that contain soy sauce, ketchup, mustard etc. Do not add extra salt to the dish you have ordered. While eating pizza opt for less cheese, pepperoni or barbeque sauce, etc. Eat pasta with red sauce and vegetables instead of creamy cheese, bacon or sausage. In sandwiches, avoid the filling with cheese, bacon, ham, mayonnaise etc. Go for vegetable and avocado based fillings. Avoid eating Chinese meals as they contain lot of sodium in them.
  • Concentrate on fruits and vegetables: Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables as they are very low in sodium. Avoid canned or frozen fruits and vegetables. Before buying the canned variety look for no salt added version or reduced salt version.
  • Use the sodium allowance wisely: Instead of spending your sodium allowance on salty snacks and heavily processed foods, use small amounts of salt to enhance the flavor of foods like whole grains, legumes, and other healthy ingredients.

Needing the extra salt in your food is an acquired taste. It takes a few weeks to get accustomed to eating foods with less salt in it. Once your taste has been set for low salt in the food you will find the fast foods and the processed foods salty. The above tips may help to reduce the intake of sodium to prevent the hazardous outcomes. High salt intake not only leads to heart problems, high blood pressure and kidney problems, it also increases one’s chances of stomach cancer. High salt intake may increase the growth of Helicobacter pylori a bacterium that causes inflammation and stomach ulcers leading to stomach cancer. A nutritionist in Mumbai would be the best person or you may attend the weight loss program to guide you on your daily intake of sodium and how to reduce sodium in your diet as well. If children are habituated to eating a lot of salt in the diet a child nutritionist with her counselling skills would be the best person to help the child rid of this habit.

Eating Out? Make the Right Choices

Eating out is very common in today’s world. One does not want to be the odd one out by always refusing to eat out with friends, family and colleagues in a bid to eat good home cooked meals and sticking to their health goals. Also, people are travelling more from what they used to once – whether it is for work or for leisure. However, it is possible to have a balanced and healthy lifestyle while still eating outside of home. All that is needed is making sound choices.

While eating food at a restaurant or at a food café or at a buffet, we may not know which food options are loaded with fat and calories. This becomes difficult for people on weight loss programs or those with clinical conditions. But, it does not mean that they do not eat out. Today healthier options are available at restaurants and food cafés and good choices can be made at buffets.

Just following the simple guidelines below will help you make healthy and guilt free food choices:

1. Skip the fancy drinks

Both, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks add to only calories in a meal. The margaritas, pina coladas and the other fancy drinks are laden with sugar. If a drink is must, a glass of wine or a simple martini can be an option. For those preferring a non alcoholic drink, buttermilk, jal jeera or a light lemonade can keep away the unwanted calories. However, plain water is always the best option.

2. Appetizers and Soups

Avoid fried or breaded appetizers, which are generally high in calories. Of course, you can also save calories by skipping the appetizer altogether. Steamed appetizers like momos, grilled chicken, dimsums, etc are good options. When choosing soups the best choices are broth-based or tomato-based soups. Cream soups, chowders and pureed soups can contain heavy cream or egg yolks.

3. Salad tips

Those opting for salads before the main course tend to eat fewer overall calories. However, avoid creamy cheese, honey based dressings, cheese, potatoes, bacon, fried noodles, croutons etc in salads as they are high in calories. Instead, squeeze a lemon or try rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar. If you want to order a dressing based salad ask for the dressing on the side as then the amount of dressing you put in the salad will be in your control. A salad with just some vegetables, corn, lean meat or beans could be a great filler. Stir fries can also be a great option instead of the salad to help you avoid eating more calories later.

4. Watch the portion sizes

At restaurants, since the dish ordered is usually sufficient for 2-3 people, split the dish with your partner instead of eating the entire portion yourself. If you are at a fast food restaurant, order the small sized meal instead of the large sized one. Let go of the fries and the carbonated beverages.

5. Make your meals low in fat

When you go out at a restaurant to eat always check how the food is prepared. Check whether the food is broiled, poached, grilled, baked, or steamed as it tends to be lower in fat than foods that are fried. Limit foods that come with cream sauce or gravy. Avoid or have butter, sour cream, gravy, and sauces served on the side. This will allow you to control how much you eat as they are high in fat and calories. While ordering for burgers and sandwiches avoid ordering them with cheese, bacon, and other sweet sauces and opt for whole wheat or multigrain bread with added vegetables. With sandwich meals, choose water and fruit or plain yogurt if they’re available, rather than sugary or carbonated drinks, chips, and fries. Choose seafood, chicken, or lean red meat rather than fatty or processed meats.

6. Add fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

At fast food restaurant ask if french fries can be replaced by fruit or salad. Order extra vegetables with pizza, sandwiches etc. Indian, Thai and Japanese restaurants have a lot of vegetarian options available. Always opt for brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat or multigrain bread and tortillas instead of white rice, pasta, or white bread.

7. Be aware of overeating at a buffet

Check the entire buffet before you start filling your plate. Always start with a soup (non-creamy, broth based), fill the plate with veggies; opt for non-fried and less oily options. Instead of sugar sweetened beverages opt for plain water, buttermilk or jal jeera. Avoid butter / oil laden kulchas, puris, parathas, butter nan and ask for plain wheat rotis. Instead of desserts go for fresh cut fruit plate. Always wait for 5 to 10 minutes before going for a second helping.

8. Be conscious of what you eat while travelling

At hotel breakfast buffets do not eat large portions. Have a healthy mix of foods rich in carbohydrates and proteins with some fresh fruits. Make healthier food choices at meal times. Always drink plenty of water during travel as that is one aspect often neglected. Pack healthy snack options like roasted makhanas, nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, dried fruits like dates, anjeer, apricots, raisins etc to avoid unhealthy snacking. Instead of drinking carbonated beverages always check for the availability of coconut water, buttermilk etc. Fresh fruits are also a good option to keep yourself from indulging in fried and other unhealthy foods.

Dining out does not by any means letting go of your health goals. Following the above tips will let you enjoy eating out with lesser guilt and keep you happy and satisfied. Today, healthy options are available when one wants to eat out, however the guidance on how to make right food choices is needed. Besides individuals taking care of their health goals today, we see companies investing in the health of their employees through their corporate wellness programs as their executives and other employees on the field are constantly on the go. Eating out need not be unpleasant – one can make it enjoyable with sound health with the correct choices. Also for some people it become difficult on weight loss programs or those with clinical conditions. But, it does not mean that they do not eat out. Today healthier options are available at restaurants and food cafés and good choices can be made at buffets.

Arati Shah is an expert nutritionist and she runs her own weight loss centre in Mumbai, Café Nutrition. Having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition along with a Post-Graduation in Sports Sciences and Nutrition from S.N.D.T Juhu, she is one of the top child nutritionist in Mumbai who can also guide the concerned parents about the right nutrition for children with same efficacy. She heads the Nutrition team in Mumbai and takes personal interest in each and every client of Café Nutrition. In addition, her sports nutritionist programs are easy to follow as she works on bringing about a change with our regular food habits.

Some of The Amazing Health Benefits of Oregano

The name of the herb comes from the Greek word “oros”, meaning mountain and “Ganos”, which means joy. It usually grows about 50 cm tall and has purple leaves about 2-3 cm long.

The chemicals that give the herb its unique and pleasant scent are thymol, pinene, limonene, carvacrol, ocimene, and caryophyllene.

It contains powerful antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties.

Facts about oregano:

Here are some important facts about oregano. More detail in the main article.

Oregano is a Mediterranean herb that is used for cooking and medicinal purposes, ranging from the treatment of infections to the repelling of insects.

Active ingredients in oregano can help in the treatment of osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes.

Use to give flavor to sauces, make spicy rolls, and in marinades for meat.

People with an allergy to mint should be careful with consuming oregano.

Health benefits of Oregano:

Oregano has been used in herbal medicine since the ancient Greeks.

Hippocrates used it as an antiseptic.

Possible medicinal uses of oregano include the treatment of respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal disorders (GI), menstrual pain and urinary tract disorders.

Applied locally it can help treat a number of skin conditions such as acne and dandruff.

1) Antibacterial properties

Oregano oil contains an essential substance, called carvacrol, which has antimicrobial properties.

The herb has shown antimicrobial activity in a number of studies. A group of researchers discovered that Origanum vulgare essential oils were effective against 41 strains of the food pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.

Another team from India and the United Kingdom (UK) reported that the essential oil of the Himalayan oregano has strong antibacterial properties that can protect against the hospital superb bacterium MRSA.

2) Anti-inflammatory properties

Scientists from Germany and Switzerland identified an active ingredient in oregano, known as beta-caryophyllene (E-BCP), which can help treat disorders such as osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis. E-BCP is a nutrition cannabinoid.

3) Protection against cancer

Research published in the journal PLoS ONE in 2013 suggested that oregano exhibits activity against cancer. The scientists concluded that Origanum majorana could help prevent and treat breast cancer by delaying or preventing progression.

In 2014, food scientists discovered that the popular culinary herbs contain oregano, rosemary and marjoram compounds that may treat the type 2 diabetes in a similar way to some currently prescribed drugs.

Other possible health benefits

According to The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, oregano can be used for the following diseases and conditions:

  • cold sore
  • muscle strain
  • acne
  • rose
  • bronchitis
  • a toothache
  • bloated feeling
  • a headache
  • heart conditions
  • allergies
  • intestinal parasites
  • an earache
  • a sore throat
  • fatigue
  • ward off insects
  • menstrual pain

Oregano essential oil, made from Origanum vulgare or Thymus capitatus, can help with the following problems:

Foot or nail fungus: A few drops in the water and let your feet enjoy it, or apply it as diluted oil locally on the affected area.

Sinus infections and colds: Use a few drops in a steam bath and inhale.

Note: Each essential oil must be diluted before use, either with a carrier oil, such as olive oil, or in water, or for a steam bath.

More research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of oregano as a treatment.

Cooking Tips with Oregano:

Oregano is a Mediterranean herb that fits well with pizzas and pasta sauces.

Other ideas include:

sprinkle meat or chicken with oregano for more flavor

to use in marinades

chop and mix in bread dough to make sandwiches

to add to a fresh salad

Here are some tips:

Add it to the end of the cooking process for maximum flavor

The smaller you cut or grind, the more flavor will be released

Start with a small amount, too much of the food can make it bitter

A teaspoon of dried oregano corresponds to a tablespoon of fresh oregano

It is available dried or fresh in supermarkets, or you can grow it yourself in a pot on a window sill or a balcony or in the garden. It is a perennial, which means that it will continue to grow throughout the year.

An Important Vitamin You May Not Know

Many people know that vitamin K1 is involved in helping blood clot. It’s found in plant foods, particularly leafy greens. Examples include kale, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Apparently, vitamin K1 deficiency is rare.

But another vitamin – K2 – is important for its completely different functions. K2 helps to:
• prevent cardiovascular disease
• form strong bones and teeth
• prevent osteoporosis
• prevent kidney stones
• promote healthy skin and prevent wrinkles
• prevent cavities, and more.

K2 is found primarily in animal products and fermented foods. (It has several subtypes, but I’m going to declare that info beyond the scope of this brief article!) Food sources of K2 are listed below.

While K1 and K2 are similar in structure, they seem so different. Is there any connection between the two? And if so, what is it?

Let’s Start with How K2 Prevents Cardiovascular Disease

K2 promotes the deposit of calcium in bones and teeth, especially when it’s combined with vitamin D3. That’s because K2 activates osteocalcin and other proteins related to skeletal growth and bone formation.

Yet K2 also prevents the deposit of calcium in soft tissues, where it doesn’t belong. As a result, it can help prevent calcification of arteries and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.

That’s its link with cardiovascular disease prevention.

Why Are Animal Products the Primary K2 Source?

The human body can convert K1 to K2 but is limited in its ability to do that. Animals are better at the conversion process.

And here we find the connection between the 2 vitamins.

Animals get their K1 from eating grasses and other plants. They convert that K1 to K2.

So it’s not enough to eat cheese or butter to get K2, for example – even though some sources simply list those foods. Instead, we need to choose cheese or butter from grass-fed cows because of the K1/K2 connection.

Fermented cheeses – such as Jarlsberg, Edam, Gouda, cheddar, Brie, and blue – contain vitamin K2 formed by the bacteria used during their production. Of these, cheddar and Brie are particularly high in K2 due to the types of bacteria used.

Ghee (clarified butter) from grass-fed cows is an excellent source of K2, even better than regular butter.

Egg yolks are another good source of K2 – but should come from free-range chickens, which eat grasses.

Dark chicken meat and beef are good K2 sources, but again should be from grass-fed animals.

Two other sources are goose liver and chicken liver. In keeping with the other K2 info, my recommendation would be to eat free-range versions of those animal products, as well.

What Should Vegans Eat to Get K2?

Natto from fermented soy is one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin K2, and has a high K2 content.

Sauerkraut is another K2 source.

I suggest real, fermented sauerkraut. That means the label should list only 2 ingredients: cabbage and salt. Possibly water, as well. Avoid a more “standard” product with vinegar. That would actually be pickled cabbage, not fermented sauerkraut.

Kimchi is fermented vegetables and also contains K2.

So there’s a little info on vitamin K2. Because we can convert K1 to K2 to some degree, I’d recommend that you eat plenty of leafy green vegetables – for many health reasons, but also to get lots of K1.

Change Your Diet To Change Your Life

Balancing your diet and your busy professional life can be a difficult task. Considering how you’re spending most of your time at work, you have little time for your nutrition and diet. But good health is necessary to live; how can you then make time to pay attention on your diet?

Actually you don’t need to, not much anyway as there are a few ways that you can modify your diet. These are very small and it takes almost no time to make these changes. Here are three small but very useful dietary modifications you can make:

Avoid Cooked Breakfasts

First thing in the morning the body is still in cleanse mode. As such it is important to avoid heavy, cooked breakfasts first thing as this is going against what your body naturally wants to do. Eat light breakfasts such as fruit first thing in the morning, which lines your stomach and may result in you eating less.

Alternatively, try eating something like porridge with flaxseeds or pumpkin seeds. Both of these seeds are a good source of omega-3 (another source of which is fish) which is good for the joints and can help prevent depression, and brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. So avoid cooked breakfasts in the mornings and opt for something that’s easier on your digestive system.

Reduce your portion sizes

You tend to lose track of what you eat and how much you eat when your mind is preoccupied. You’re worried about deadlines, presentations and meetings at work, so you don’t pay attention to how much you’re eating. You can, however, easily rectify this by simply reducing your portions sizes. Reducing your food intake means you don’t overeat, and you’ll be consuming only what your body really needs.

Overeating is one of the most common causes of obesity, acidity, high cholesterol and diabetes. By eating smaller portions you reduce the risk exponentially of ending up with one or more these conditions. In addition to reducing your portion sizes, try to eat more slowly so you can more easily recognize when you’re full, as well savouring the flavour of your food.

Drink more water

While caffeine may be beneficial in the short term by keeping you awake and alert, the extra sugar dosage you get from it is not. Avoid coffee if you can as it is an artificial stimulant. If you absolutely need it, try to skip the sugar or reduce the amount. In addition, increase the amount of water you consume throughout the day by keeping a water bottle with you and taking periodic sips from it. The water will keep you hydrated and refreshed throughout the day and reduce the need for coffee and other stimulants.

These small but simple dietary modifications will allow you to live a much healthier and more nutritious lifestyle. Contrary to popular belief, the key to a healthy lifestyle does not require big changes. Small modifications, much like the ones discussed in this article, can make a huge difference to the quality of your health and life. The challenge is to stick with them, not give in to temptation and be consistent.

Carmen Gilfillan is the founder of Stimulus Development & Training. Stimulus specialises in helping people overcome emotional trauma, experience emotional breakthroughs and live their best lives. We do this through Life & Wellness Coaching, Emotional Freedom consultations and training in the areas of personal, professional and spiritual growth.

The Good And Bad About Soy

Soy has been promoted as a health food for many decades. Due to its high protein content, soy is also very popular among vegans and vegetarians. So is soy really a health food? Are all soy products the same? What is the latest research regarding soy and disease?

Soy is cheap to grow and cheap to process, so it is truly a food manufacturer’s dream. The industry has marketed soy as an ancient health food. They claim that Asian cultures have eaten soy for thousands of years and associate their longevity and health with the consumption of soy. But if you examine the diets of Asian cultures closely, you will discover that:

  • first, they only use soy as a condiment and do not eat it as a main item or in large quantities,
  • second, they eat fermented soy which is remarkably different from the unfermented soy that Americans typically eat, such as the following:

Examples of Unfermented Soy Foods

soy milk

soy ice cream

soy cheese

soy yogurt

soy protein isolate in energy bars and protein powders

textured vegetable protein (TVP)

edamame (green soybeans)

soy hot dog or sausage

soyburger

tofu

soy nuts

soy flour

soybean oil

soy chips

soy nut butter

soy lecithin

In traditional Asian diets, people eat soy which has been fermented, that means the soy food has been cultured with beneficial bacteria, yeast, or mold. This type of soy is entirely different from the unfermented, processed soy products (like the ones listed above) that are sold in American grocery stores.

Why Unfermented Soy Is Not Recommended

Humans do not have a history of eating much unfermented soy. It was not until the last fifty years that we have introduced a variety of processed, unfermented soy foods.

If you are getting more than 35 grams of soy protein each day from unfermented soy, you should be aware of the following anti-nutrients that are present in this type of soy and their potential effects on your health.

Phytic acid that impairs mineral absorption. Plant seeds, such as nuts, edible seeds, beans/legumes, and grains contain phytic acid. Soy is particularly high in phytic acid, which impairs the absorption of iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. Mineral deficiencies caused by phytic acid are rarely a concern among meat-eaters because their diets are more diverse. However, vegans and vegetarians who consume a lot of high phytic acid foods at every meal can be at increased risk of developing mineral deficiencies overtime.

Oxalates that have been linked to kidney stones. Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stones. Oxalate is a natural substance found in many foods but highest in spinach, wheat bran, nuts, beer, coffee, soybeans, and chocolate. Oxalate cannot be metabolized by the body and is excreted through urine. When there is too much oxalate and too little urine, the oxalate can bind to calcium in the urine and form crystals that stick together into a solid mass (kidney stone). To prevent calcium oxalate stones:

  • Drink enough fluids like water.
  • Reduce sodium in the diet as salt causes more calcium to be excreted in the urine.
  • Eat high calcium foods with oxalate-rich foods (e.g. spinach salad with cheese) so that the oxalate can bind with calcium in the stomach and intestines rather than in the kidneys.
  • Cut down on the oxalate-rich foods.

Goitrogens that suppress the thyroid gland. Goitrogens may prevent the thyroid from getting the necessary amount of iodine and disrupt the normal production of thyroid hormones. Raw vegetables from the cruciferous family (e.g. broccoli, kale, cabbage) and soy contain goitrogens. An overconsumption of soy may eventually lead to an underactive thyroid creating symptoms like weight gain, mood swings, feeling cold, fatigue, insomnia, and an inability to concentrate and remember details. To overcome this problem, make sure your iodine intake (eg. seaweed, seafood, dairy) is adequate when consuming soy.

Trypsin inhibitors that interfere with digestion. Trypsin is a digestive enzyme needed to properly digest protein. Trypsin inhibitors are a plant’s defense mechanism. By having this harmful component, wild animals learn that any food with trypsin inhibitors is a food to avoid. Soybeans are rich in trypsin inhibitors, hence, taking in too much soy may lead to gastric distress like bloating and gas in some individuals.

Lectins that clump red blood cells. Plants produce damaging proteins called lectins as self-defense against hungry animals. Soy contains a specific class of lectins called hemagglutinin that promotes clotting in the blood and impairs blood flow. Hemagglutinins can also tear holes in the gut lining, allowing bacteria to get into the bloodstream and causing autoimmune and allergic problems for people who are sensitive to lectins..

Why Fermented Soy Is Better

Fermented soy is much healthier than unfermented soy. The lengthy fermentation process reduces some of its anti-nutrients, resulting in a form of soy that is:

  • rich in probiotics or healthy bacteria that is extremely important for gut health and the immune system,
  • lower in phytic acid that prevents the absorption of minerals,
  • easier to digest and less likely to cause gastric distress,
  • lower in lectins (hemagglutinins) that promote clumping of red blood cells, and
  • high in the MK-7 form of vitamin K2, an important nutrient for supporting bone and heart health. (Unfermented soy does not contain vitamin K2.)

Top 4 Fermented Soy Foods

Natto. Fermented soybeans that are sticky and gooey with a strong, distinctive taste. A popular breakfast side dish in traditional Japanese cuisine.

Tempeh. Originated from Indonesia, it is a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and an earthy flavor.

Miso. Fermented soybean paste with a salty, buttery texture. It is commonly used to make miso soup in Japanese cooking.

Soy sauce. Originated from China, it is a liquid condiment made from fermented soybeans and roasted grain (wheat). Tamari is soy sauce made without the grain, hence, it is gluten-free.

Considerations When Eating Fermented Soy

Quantity may be the key. Asian cultures do not eat a huge amount of soy. They generally use fermented soy foods as a condiment rather than as a main item. The average intake of soy protein in Asian populations is about 10-20 grams per day. This is in stark contrast to how much unfermented soy Americans consume.

The following shows the soy protein content of some common unfermented soy products. Are you eating multiple servings of these everyday?

Unfermented Soy Foods_____Serving Size_____Protein (grams)

Soy protein isolate____________1 oz_____________25

Soy nuts, roasted_____________1/2 cup___________22

Soy burger__________________1 patty___________14

Tofu, firm___________________4 oz_____________14

Edamame, boiled_____________1/2 cup__________12

Soy milk____________________8 oz______________8

Soy nut butter________________2 Tbsp.___________8

Soy cheese__________________1 oz______________6

Soy yogurt__________________4 oz______________4

Furthermore, unfermented soy is a hidden component of the American diet. Research estimates that soy is present in 70% of all supermarket products and widely used in fast food chains.

  • Soy is used to bulk up and bind many processed foods so that food firms can put a higher protein value on them.
  • The husk of the soybean is used for fiber in breads, cereals, and snacks.
  • The big one is soybean oil which is the most consumed vegetable oil in the world. It is used in frying oils, salad dressings, and many processed foods.
  • Last but not least, 70% of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are used for animal feed, with poultry being the highest livestock sector consuming soybeans, followed by hogs, dairy, beef, and aquaculture. These soy-fed animals are then eaten by us.

Soy is largely genetically modified. 94% of the soy planted in the U.S. is “Roundup Ready”, which means it is genetically bioengineered to survive heavy application of Monsanto’s toxic Roundup herbicide. In March 2019, a San Francisco federal jury unanimously agreed that Roundup caused a man’s non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The verdict is the second in the U.S. to find a connection between the herbicide’s key ingredient glyphosate and cancer. Therefore, even if you are eating fermented soy, make sure it is organically grown.

Soy is one of the top eight allergens. They are cow’s milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybean. These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies. If you have a soy allergy or sensitivity, watch out for “hidden” soy as it is often used in many processed food products.

Research On Soy And Disease

Soy is unique in that it contains a high concentration of isoflavones or plant estrogens (called genistein and daidzein) that are structurally similar to human estrogen but with weaker effects. They can bind to estrogen receptors in numerous tissues, including those associated with reproduction, as well as bone, liver, heart, and brain. In human tissues, isoflavones can have totally opposite effects – they can either mimic estrogen or block

estrogen.

Soy is a controversial food that has been widely studied for its estrogenic as well as anti-estrogenic effects on the body. Proponents claim that soy can tame hot flashes, prevent osteoporosis, and protect against hormonal cancers. Opponents worry that it may actually increase the risk of cancer, cause thyroid problems, and other health issues.

Up to now, there is yet concrete conclusions about soy, but it is probably due to the wide variation in how the studies have been designed – the types of soy used (fermented vs. unfermented), quantity consumed, and duration of exposure (since childhood vs. adulthood). That said, Asian populations have eaten a traditional diet of fermented soy for thousands of years and have reported a neutral to beneficial effect on many health conditions.

Average Isoflavone Intake in Asia is 25-50 mg/day.

Fermented Soy Foods_______Serving Size____Isoflavone content (mg)

Natto______________________1 oz_____________23

Tempeh, cooked_____________3 oz_____________30

Miso______________________1 oz_____________12

Soy sauce__________________1 Tsbp.___________0.02

Breast Cancer

Excessive estrogen stimulates the growth and multiplication of breast cancer cells. So it was once thought that soy foods increase the risk of breast cancer because soy contains isoflavones that may mimic our estrogen.

However, it has also been suggested that the lower risk of breast cancer in Asian countries compared to Europe, North America, and Australia/New Zealand is attributed to a lifelong intake of traditional soy foods. So who is right?

So far studies have not provided a clear-cut answer. Some have shown a slight benefit while others show no association. Nonetheless, no research has demonstrated that soy causes breast cancer, even in women who have had the cancer before. In fact, it appears that soy may have a mild estrogen-blocking action in breast tissues, resulting in a slight reduction of breast cancer risk and recurrence of breast cancer.

In addition, the protective effect seems to be more pronounced for women who start eating soy early in life. Women from Asian countries generally start consuming fermented soy foods found in traditional Asian diets at an early age. Fermented soy contains healthy bacteria that can convert isoflavone daidzein to equol. Equol is believed to block potentially negative effects of estrogen. Studies found that 50-60% of adults in Asia possess the equol-producing gut bacteria compared to only 25-30% of adults in Western countries. This may also explain why women from Asia who eat fermented soy seem to derive more benefits than Western women who generally consume unfermented, processed soy.

Menopausal Symptoms

In theory, the potential estrogenic effects of soy isoflavones could help to tame hot flashes and night sweats that accompany menopause by giving an estrogen-like boost during a time of dwindling estrogen levels. Hence, soy has been a popular alternative treatment though it is not clearly supported by research which shows conflicting results. Nonetheless, in Asian countries where fermented soy is eaten daily, women do report lower rates of menopausal symptoms (10-20%) compared to women in the U.S. (70-80%).

Memory and Cognitive Function

Menopause has been linked with mood changes and memory impairment. Low levels of estrogen in women can reduce the number of estrogen receptors in the brain that are necessary for cognitive functions like memory and learning. The soy isoflavone daidzein has been hypothesized to reduce cognitive decline. Unfortunately, trials have yielded contradictory results with some showing benefits and others no benefit.

Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer

It is thought that the development of endometrial cancer could be related to prolonged exposure to unopposed estrogen, i.e., estrogen not counterbalanced with the hormone progesterone. Excess estrogen relative to progesterone may result in endometrial thickening and ultimately, endometrial cancer. A number of studies have examined whether high intakes of soy with anti-estrogenic activity in uterine tissue could be associated with a lower risk of endometrial cancer. The results are inconclusive.

Osteoporosis

The decline in estrogen production that accompanies menopause places middle-aged women at risk of osteoporosis (loss of bone mineral density). As estrogen receptors are present in bone, whether the estrogenic properties of soy might play any role in preserving bone health and preventing bone loss has been proposed. To date, the results of observational and intervention studies examining the potential protection of soy against osteoporosis have been inconsistent.

Prostate Cancer

The incidence of prostate cancer is highest in Western countries and lowest in Asian countries, where fermented soy foods are a regular part of the daily diet. Soy isoflavones, specifically genistein and daidzein, are found to collect in prostate tissue and may act as weak estrogens and exert a protective effect against the development of prostate cancer.

Interestingly, observational studies have found an increased risk of prostate cancer in Chinese and Japanese men who move to Western countries and adopt a Western diet, but not in those who continue eating the traditional diet.

Heart Health

Based on a number of studies that showed eating substantial quantities of soy protein daily reduced harmful LDL cholesterol, in 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed food companies to claim products that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol and contain soy protein “may reduce the risk of heart disease”. The FDA also suggested that eating 25 grams of soy protein per day may lead to reductions of total and LDL cholesterol levels.

However, since then subsequent scientific findings have not presented sufficient evidence to show a clear connection between soy protein and reduction of heart disease risk. In October 2017, after reviewing additional research, the FDA proposed to revoke the heart health claim regarding soy. At present, the agency has yet made a final decision.