Archive for the ‘Detox’ Category

To Detox or Not … that is the Question?

December 14, 2014

spring_detox-2Detoxing is a scam.
“You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth.”
This article first appeared in the Guardian, December 5th 2014.

There’s no such thing as ‘detoxing’. In medical terms, it’s a nonsense. Diet and exercise is the only way to get healthy. But which of the latest fad regimes can really make a difference?

Whether it’s cucumbers splashing into water or models sitting smugly next to a pile of vegetables, it’s tough not to be sucked in by the detox industry. The idea that you can wash away your calorific sins is the perfect antidote to our fast-food lifestyles and alcohol-lubricated social lives. But before you dust off that juicer or take the first tentative steps towards a colonic irrigation clinic, there’s something you should know: detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.

“Let’s be clear,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.” The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. “The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.”

If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, he says, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention. “The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak,” he says. “There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”

Much of the sales patter revolves around “toxins”: poisonous substances that you ingest or inhale. But it’s not clear exactly what these toxins are. If they were named they could be measured before and after treatment to test effectiveness. Yet, much like floaters in your eye, try to focus on these toxins and they scamper from view. In 2009, a network of scientists assembled by the UK charity Sense about Science contacted the manufacturers of 15 products sold in pharmacies and supermarkets that claimed to detoxify. The products ranged from dietary supplements to smoothies and shampoos. When the scientists asked for evidence behind the claims, not one of the manufacturers could define what they meant by detoxification, let alone name the toxins.

Yet, inexplicably, the shelves of health food stores are still packed with products bearing the word “detox” – it’s the marketing equivalent of drawing go-faster stripes on your car. You can buy detoxifying tablets, tinctures, tea bags, face masks, bath salts, hair brushes, shampoos, body gels and even hair straighteners. Yoga, luxury retreats, and massages will also all erroneously promise to detoxify. You can go on a seven-day detox diet and you’ll probably lose weight, but that’s nothing to do with toxins, it’s because you would have starved yourself for a week.

Then there’s colonic irrigation. Its proponents will tell you that mischievous plaques of impacted poo can lurk in your colon for months or years and pump disease-causing toxins back into your system. Pay them a small fee, though, and they’ll insert a hose up your bottom and wash them all away. Unfortunately for them – and possibly fortunately for you – no doctor has ever seen one of these mythical plaques, and many warn against having the procedure done, saying that it can perforate your bowel.

Other tactics are more insidious. Some colon-cleansing tablets contain a polymerising agent that turns your faeces into something like a plastic, so that when a massive rubbery poo snake slithers into your toilet you can stare back at it and feel vindicated in your purchase. Detoxing foot pads turn brown overnight with what manufacturers claim is toxic sludge drawn from your body. This sludge is nothing of the sort – a substance in the pads turns brown when it mixes with water from your sweat.

“It’s a scandal,” fumes Ernst. “It’s criminal exploitation of the gullible man on the street and it sort of keys into something that we all would love to have – a simple remedy that frees us of our sins, so to speak. It’s nice to think that it could exist but unfortunately it doesn’t.”

That the concept of detoxification is so nebulous might be why it has evaded public suspicion. When most of us utter the word detox, it’s usually when we’re bleary eyed and stumbling out of the wrong end of a heavy weekend. In this case, surely, a detox from alcohol is a good thing? “It’s definitely good to have non-alcohol days as part of your lifestyle,” says Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian at St George’s Hospital. “It’ll probably give you a chance to reassess your drinking habits if you’re drinking too much. But the idea that your liver somehow needs to be ‘cleansed’ is ridiculous.”

The liver breaks down alcohol in a two-step process. Enzymes in the liver first convert alcohol to acetaldehyde, a very toxic substance that damages liver cells. It is then almost immediately converted into carbon dioxide and water which the body gets rid of. Drinking too much can overwhelm these enzymes and the acetaldehyde buildup will lead to liver damage. Moderate and occasional drinking, though, might have a protective effect. Population studies, says Collins, have shown that teetotallers and those who drink alcohol excessively have a shorter life expectancy than people who drink moderately and in small amounts.

“We know that a little bit of alcohol seems to be helpful,” she says. “Maybe because its sedative effect relaxes you slightly or because it keeps the liver primed with these detoxifying enzymes to help deal with other toxins you’ve consumed. That’s why the government guidelines don’t say, ‘Don’t drink’; they say, ‘OK drink, but only modestly.’ It’s like a little of what doesn’t kill you cures you.”

This adage also applies in an unexpected place – to broccoli, the luvvie of the high-street “superfood” detox salad. Broccoli does help the liver out but, unlike the broad-shouldered, cape-wearing image that its superfood moniker suggests, it is no hero. Broccoli, as with all brassicas – sprouts, mustard plants, cabbages – contains cyanide. Eating it provides a tiny bit of poison that, like alcohol, primes the enzymes in your liver to deal better with any other poisons.

Collins guffaws at the notion of superfoods. “Most people think that you should restrict or pay particular attention to certain food groups, but this is totally not the case,” she says. “The ultimate lifestyle ‘detox’ is not smoking, exercising and enjoying a healthy balanced diet like the Mediterranean diet.”

Close your eyes, if you will, and imagine a Mediterranean diet. A red chequered table cloth adorned with meats, fish, olive oil, cheeses, salads, wholegrain cereals, nuts and fruits. All these foods give the protein, amino acids, unsaturated fats, fibre, starches, vitamins and minerals to keep the body – and your immune system, the biggest protector from ill-health – functioning perfectly.

So why, then, with such a feast available on doctor’s orders, do we feel the need to punish ourselves to be healthy? Are we hard-wired to want to detox, given that many of the oldest religions practise fasting and purification? Has the scientific awakening shunted bad spirits to the periphery and replaced them with environmental toxins that we think we have to purge ourselves of?

Susan Marchant-Haycox, a London psychologist, doesn’t think so. “Trying to tie detoxing in with ancient religious practices is clutching at straws,” she says. “You need to look at our social makeup over the very recent past. In the 70s, you had all these gyms popping up, and from there we’ve had the proliferation of the beauty and diet industry with people becoming more aware of certain food groups and so on.

“The detox industry is just a follow-on from that. There’s a lot of money in it and there are lots of people out there in marketing making a lot of money.”

Peter Ayton, a professor of psychology at City University London, agrees. He says that we’re susceptible to such gimmicks because we live in a world with so much information we’re happy to defer responsibility to others who might understand things better. “To understand even shampoo you need to have PhD in biochemistry,” he says, “but a lot of people don’t have that. If it seems reasonable and plausible and invokes a familiar concept, like detoxing, then we’re happy to go with it.”

Many of our consumer decisions, he adds, are made in ignorance and supposition, which is rarely challenged or informed. “People assume that the world is carefully regulated and that there are benign institutions guarding them from making any kind of errors. A lot of marketing drip-feeds that idea, surreptitiously. So if people see somebody with apparently the right credentials, they think they’re listening to a respectable medic and trust their advice.”

Ernst is less forgiving: “Ask trading standards what they’re doing about it. Anyone who says, ‘I have a detox treatment’ is profiting from a false claim and is by definition a crook. And it shouldn’t be left to scientists and charities to go after crooks.”

Articles sourced from:
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/05/detox-myth-health-diet-science-ignorance

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Fats & cholesterol

November 30, 2014

Understanding fats and cholesterol 
goodversusbadfatblackman
Fats have got a bad rap over the past few years, but fats are an essential part of healthy eating.

Healthier fats
Healthier fats include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats – omega-3 and omega-6. These fats reduce the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood and increase the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. This helps to lower your risk of getting heart disease.

Unhealthy fats
Unhealthy fats include saturated fats and trans fats. Too much saturated and trans fat increases LDL levels in our blood contributing to the build up of fatty material, called plaque, on the inside of your blood vessels which is a major cause of heart disease.

Replacing unhealthy fats with healthier fats
To reduce the risk of heart disease, foods with unsaturated fat should be used in place of foods with saturated fat, and trans fat should be limited as much as possible.

Sources of saturated fat include:

  • Processed meat such as sausages, burgers and salami
  • Pastry
  • Fatty or fried take-away foods
  • Packaged cakes and biscuits
  • Butter
  • Hard and full fat soft cheeses
  • Full fat dairy products
  • Cream
  • Crème fraiche
  • Chicken skin
  • Fat on meats
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • Palm oil

Sources of unsaturated fat include:

  • Olives
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Oils made from olives, nuts and seeds (e.g. olive oil, canola, sunflower, safflower)
  • Oily fish
  • Lean meats and poultry, eggs
  • Margarine spreads (both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)
What about cholesterol?
Cholesterol in foods (dietary cholesterol) has only a small effect on your blood cholesterol, especially when compared with the much greater increase caused by saturated and trans fat in food.

 Choosing less unhealthy fat (saturated and trans fat) and more healthier fats is more important to your blood cholesterol than dietary cholesterol.

What can I do?

  • Choose vegetables, fruit, wholegrains and nuts and seeds everyday.
  • Including fish two to three times a week instead of meat or chicken is a simple way to reduce saturated fat in the diet while getting the added benefits of omega-3.
  • Limit deep fried foods and fatty take-away foods and fatty snacks, such as crisps, cakes, pastries, biscuits and chocolate.
  • Use reduced fat milk, cheese and yoghurt.
  • Select lean meat, poultry and game. Try to trim all visible fat from the meat before cooking. Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
  • Use spreads and margarines made from canola, sunflower or olive oil and dairy blends with the Heart Foundation Tick instead of butter. Spread thinly so you can still see the bread.
  • Cook with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, such as canola, sunflower, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils. Measure out your oil with a teaspoon or use a spray oil.
  • Grill, bake, poach, steam or stir fry rather than shallow or deep frying and roasting in oil so that you don’t need to use a lot of fat.
What is the Heart Foundation doing?
The Heart Foundation, through the Tick Program, works with manufactures to improve the nutrition profile of commonly consumed processed foods. The Tick Program sets strict criteria for saturated and trans fat. For example, the Heart Foundation began challenging Australian margarine manufacturers to remove trans fats to the lowest possible levels in the early 90s.  
As a result the levels of trans fats in almost all margarines in Australia are now amongst the lowest levels in the world.

Read more about margarine vs butter here.

The Heart Foundation also works to improve the food supply, so that healthier oils are used when Australians choose to eat out.  Find out more about the Healthier Oils initiative.

Healthy heart tip
Include a handful of nuts everyday, not only are they delicious but they are nutritious providing healthier unsaturated fats, fibre and vitamins and minerals. Choose raw, dry roasted and unsalted varieties.

Information sourced from: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/fats/pages/default.aspx

Spring Clean Your Life

September 14, 2014

index
Spring is here, and I enjoy using this time of year to prepare for the renewal this season provides.

One of the things you can do right now for yourself is prepare for the upcoming opportunities of the new season. Spring often inspires us to increase our fitness levels, participate in more activities outdoors and embrace a healthier way of eating — more greens perhaps as local food becomes increasingly available. Use this time to prepare yourself for those opportunities by getting organized.

Clutter, which has likely been accumulating all winter long, keeps us from moving forward, it blocks energy, it stops our creativity and it weighs us down. The more we have in your home, car, office, hand bag, computer hard drive, the more energy we need to attend to those things. Organizing, decluttering and preparing will put you in a physical, emotional and spiritual space that supports you in the new changes you have the opportunity to make this spring.

Here are a few steps to follow if you want to change you physical and spiritual landscape and prepare for spring:

1. Eliminate and purge.

You can apply this principle to all of your living spaces, or you can choose to apply it one room at a time. Evaluate what you have and what you need, keeping in mind the 80/20 principle that suggests we use about 20% of what we have and essentially do not really need the other 80%. Decide what you longer need or what no longer brings you pleasure, and donate it.

2. Make function easier.

Once you’ve gone through the elimination process, create a system to keep things neat and organized. Pick the system that you’re most likely to stay with and is most effective for your situation. Here are a few options to consider: baskets, file folders, storage containers, or dividers. When organizing your things, keep the items you use most often easiest to access. For example, organize and sort your clothing by season — take out your spring and summer clothes and find a storage solution for your winter clothes. Sort items by their function and keep like things together. For example, create “stations” in your home. In my very small kitchen I have a smoothie station where I keep my Vitamix and several Mason jars containing the ingredients I use daily to nourish my body.

3. Create a donation bag.

Keep a bag or box to which you can add items you longer want. Instead of allowing drawers and closets to fill up throughout the year with things you don’t need or want, create a place in your home where you can collect these items and then donate them in the spring as part of your regular spring cleaning. Check online for nonprofit organizations that will pick up your donated items, including small appliances, from your home for free.

4. Eliminate clutter hot spots.

Flat surfaces, drawers, the back seat of your car and sometimes handbags can become repositories for all sorts of unwanted or unused items. Mail and paperwork are classic examples of the clutter that can accumulate easily when left unattended. Devise a system that works for you in addressing your mail and paperwork as it’s generated. Take a few minutes each week to place important documents in these files and recycle any unneeded paper, or, when possible, go digital, and file your documents electronically. By implementing a system for use and function after you’ve purged, you’ll likely feel much lighter, energized, renewed and inspired after your hard work, providing you with the motivation and energy to continue moving forward with your goals and embracing the newness of spring.

5. Upgrade your home’s energy.

Rearrange your furniture. Get a new houseplant. Play upbeat music. Open your window, even just for a few moments. Diffuse tangerine and peppermint essential oils. Invite new energy and life into your home to become a happier and healthier human being this spring.

By using early spring to organize your living and work spaces, you can position yourself to achieve the health, wellness and personal goals you’ve been working toward!

This article was sourced from: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12988/5-strategies-to-spring-clean-your-entire-life.html

Lactose Intolerance

August 26, 2014

Lactose is the main sugar in milk and other dairy products. If you have lactose intolerance, you can’t digest it well. Lactose intolerance is not curable, but there are many ways to cut your symptoms and feel better.

What Are the Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance?

Between 30 minutes and 2 hours after eating a dairy product, you have one or more of these symptoms. They may be mild or severe.

  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful gas
  • Nausea

Even with lactose intolerance, you can tolerate a certain amount of lactose. This affects how quickly you have symptoms and how severe they are. Someone else may be sensitive to small amounts of foods with lactose, while you may be able to eat more before you have symptoms.

What Foods Have Lactose?

Dairy products such as milk and ice cream are some of the most common foods high in lactose. It’s also in foods with dry milk solids, milk byproducts, nonfat dry milk powder, or whey, such as:

  • Breads and baked goods
  • Candy
  • Cereals
  • Salad dressings

Lactose is in some prescription medicines, including birth control pills, and over-the-counter drugs, such as some tablets to ease stomach acid or gas.

What Causes Lactose Intolerance?

If you have lactose intolerance, you can’t digest lactose because your small intestine doesn’t make enough lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. The lactose that isn’t digested makes gas in your colon.  So when you eat foods or take pills with lactose, you have symptoms.

For many people, lactose intolerance develops naturally with age, because the small intestine starts to make less lactase.

Your body may also make less lactase if your small intestine is injured or you have certain digestive problems, such as Crohn’s or celiac disease.

Who Gets Lactose Intolerance?

Millions of Americans have lactose intolerance, so it’s quite common. About 75% of all people around the globe have too little lactase to some degree. If you’re African-American, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American, you’re more likely to have it.

What Is Life Like With It?

Lactose intolerance is easy to manage. You can probably eat some foods with lactose and not have symptoms. You may need to use trial and error to figure out what foods and how much of them you can tolerate, though.

You can also find many lactose-free dairy options at grocery stores. Lactase enzyme supplements can help you get the nutrition benefits of dairy, especially bone-building calcium and vitamin D, and avoid symptoms of lactose intolerance. And nondairy drinks, such as soy, almond, and rice milk, are often fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

If you have lactose intolerance, keep these things in mind:

  • You may do better having a little milk or dairy products with meals, because it’s easier to digest lactose eaten with other foods.
  • Some dairy products may be easier for you to digest, such as cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
  • Using lactose-free milk, cheese, and other nondairy products in recipes will likely make the meal more pleasant.

     

Thirty minutes have passed since you ate a bowl of ice cream, and now your stomach is cramping and gassy. You feel like you might have diarrhea. Does this sound like you? Or, you had milk, mashed potatoes, or even candy almost 2 hours ago and have these symptoms. Does that sound like you? If either does, you could have lactose intolerance.

Lactose is the main sugar in milk and most other dairy products. Your small intestine makes the enzyme lactase to help you digest that sugar. When you’re lactose intolerant, you don’t make enough lactase to digest lactose well.

You can’t cure lactose intolerance, but if you change what and how you eat, you may cut or even get rid of your symptoms.

Ease Your Symptoms

Millions of Americans have symptoms of lactose intolerance: 

  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful gas
  • Nausea

You can use trial and error to find out what foods cause symptoms, and in what amount. Or, you may want to see your doctor for a diagnosis. You may be sensitive to small amounts of foods that have lactose, or you may only have symptoms if you eat a lot of lactose foods. Your symptoms may be severe or mild. Lactose intolerance is different for everyone.

Find the Culprits (Hint: It might not just be dairy.)

Milk and dairy products are the best-known lactose foods, but there are many others. Some nondairy products have a protein called casein, which can have traces of lactose. To avoid symptoms from lactose intolerance, read food labels carefully. When shopping or cooking, look for these ingredients that have lactose: 

  • Curds
  • Dry milk solids
  • Milk
  • Milk byproducts
  • Dry milk powder
  • Whey

If you are highly sensitive to lactose, you may need to avoid foods such as: 

  • Baked goods
  • Bread, baking, and pancake mixes
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Certain types of candy, such as milk chocolate
  • Instant foods (breakfast drink mixes, mashed potatoes, soups, and meal replacement drinks)
  • Margarine
  • Nondairy creamers (liquid and powdered)
  • Nondairy whipped topping
  • Processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats)
  • Protein and meal replacement bars
  • Salad dressing

Get a Diagnosis

Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of the foods you eat, to note when you have symptoms, and to stop eating an offending food to see if your symptoms go away. To make a diagnosis, some doctors simply look at your symptoms and whether avoiding dairy products for 2 weeks relieves them.

To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may do other tests, such as:

  • Hydrogen Breath Test: Normally, people have very little hydrogen in their breath. If your body doesn’t digest lactose, though, hydrogen builds in your intestines, and after a while it’s in your breath. This test measures how much hydrogen is in your breath after you have a lactose-loaded drink several times in a few hours. If your levels are high 3 to 5 hours later, your body does not digest lactose well.
  • Lactose Tolerance Test:  When your body breaks down lactose, it releases sugar into your blood. This tests how much sugar is in your blood. After you fast, a small sample of blood is taken. Then, you drink a liquid that is high in lactose. Two hours later, you give another blood sample. Because lactose causes blood sugar levels to rise, your blood sugar levels in this sample should be higher. If you’re lactose intolerant, you’ll have just a low rise in blood sugar and symptoms.

How to Manage Lactose Intolerance

You can’t change how well your body digests lactose, but you can cut or even stop your symptoms.

Talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian who can help you plan a healthy diet that keeps you feeling good. Keep a food diary to help you learn how much (if any) dairy you can eat without having symptoms. Many people don’t need to stop eating all dairy.

If you make small changes in what you eat, you may be able to prevent symptoms by helping your body digest dairy foods easier.

  • Don’t eat dairy alone. It’s easier for your body to digest lactose when you eat it with other foods. So try having small amounts of milk or dairy foods with meals.
  • Choose easier-to-digest dairy products. Some people find it easier to digest dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
  • Use lactose-free or reduced-lactose milk and dairy products. You can find dairy products with most of the lactose removed, or lactase added, at many grocery stores.
  • Switch to dairy-free products. There are many nondairy options, such as almond, rice, or soy milks. Special note about infants and young children: When babies have symptoms of lactose intolerance, many children’s doctors advise changing from cow’s milk formula to soy milk formula until the symptoms go away, then slowly adding cow’s milk formula and dairy products back into their diets.
  • Take a lactase enzyme replacement. These are available over the counter in pills or capsules. Take the advised dose with your first drink or bite of dairy to help prevent lactose intolerance symptoms.

Lactose: How Much Can You Take?

If your doctor just broke the news that you’re lactose intolerant, it doesn’t mean you’ll never get to savor another bite of ice cream.

At first, many people fear they’ll have to give up all dairy products, says Dee Sandquist, RD, a dietitian in Fairfield, Iowa. But with some trial and error, most people find they can still eat small amounts of dairy without having symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, or nausea.

Dairy foods are important to the health of your bones, because they’re loaded with calcium and vitamin D. So the trick is to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients, whether from dairy or other foods.

“Listen to your body and your symptoms,” says Sandquist, who is also a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

How Severe Are Your Symptoms?

How much dairy you can eat depends on how much lactase — the enzyme that digests lactose — your body makes, says Yuri A. Saito-Loftus, MD, MPH. She’s an assistant professor in the Mayo Clinic’s division of gastroenterology and hepatology. “That does vary a little bit from individual to individual. We don’t know 100% what controls that. Presumably, it’s genetically determined.”

Some people with lactose intolerance can adapt. You may be able to add small amounts of foods with lactose to your diet over time and have fewer symptoms. “If you keep eating dairy, you can stimulate some lactase production,” Saito-Loftus says. “That may help you better tolerate dairy products.”

If your symptoms are so severe that you can’t handle lactose in any foods, talk to your doctor about how to get enough calcium and vitamin D.

What Foods You Can Eat — and How Much

“Many people know their symptoms pretty well, so they know if they can handle just a little bit or not,” Sandquist says. In that case, you may be able to keep a mental tally of foods or amounts of foods to avoid. Other people get a better sense of what their body can take by jotting down notes. “A diary is extremely helpful because then you can log what symptoms you have, what you’ve eaten,” Sandquist says. “You can look back and see if there’s a pattern.”

Figure out what foods you can eat. If you’re not sure which foods with lactose you can handle, try one dairy food at a time, Sandquist says. You should be able to tell whether it bothers you within 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating it. Any discomfort from lactose intolerance is likely to set in by then. For example, drink a half-cup of dairy milk and see how well you tolerate it.

See how much you can eat. If you don’t have symptoms from the food and the amount you try, slowly add more to see at what point you do have symptoms. For instance, maybe you don’t have symptoms with a cup of milk, but you do with one and a fourth cups of milk. So your tolerance level is one cup.

If you do have symptoms, cut back on the amount to see if you can handle a smaller portion. 

Once you’ve found how much of one food you can handle, start testing another food.

Find Substitutes

You may find you can’t tolerate any amount of some foods. That’s a good time to try lactose-free or reduced-lactose foods.

For instance, if milk doesn’t agree with you, try lactose-free milk or a dairy-free drink, such as almond, rice, or soy milk. If you have problems digesting cheese, try one with less lactose.

  • Nonfat dry milk powder, 1 cup: 62 grams lactose
  • Sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup: 40 grams lactose
  • Evaporated milk, 1 cup: 24 grams lactose
  • Milk, 1 cup: 10-12 grams lactose
  • Ice milk, 1/2 cup: 9 grams lactose
  • Ice cream, 1/2 cup: 6 grams lactose
  • Yogurt, 1 cup: 5 grams lactose
  • Cottage cheese, 1/2 cup: 2-3 grams lactose
  • Blue cheese, 1 oz.: 2 grams lactose
  • Sherbet, orange, 1/2 cup: 2 grams lactose
  • American, Swiss, or Parmesan cheese, 1 oz.: 1 gram lactose
  • Cheddar cheese, 1 oz.: 0 grams lactose

Be Aware of Calcium Needs

People who are lactose intolerant tend to cut out dairy foods. If you do that, you can shortchange yourself on calcium. You need calcium for healthy teeth and bones, and vitamin D to help your body use calcium. “People who are lactose intolerant are at higher risk for osteoporosis,” or thinning bones, Saito-Loftus says.

If you have lactose intolerance, you don’t have to miss out on the bone-building benefits of calcium and vitamin D. Some lactose-free foods are fortified with these nutrients, such as lactose-free milk and cottage cheese. Some nondairy milks — almond, oat, rice, and soy — are also enriched with calcium and vitamin D.

Look at the label, and try to get at least as much calcium and vitamin D as you would get from regular cow’s milk. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help you fill in any gaps to ensure you “bone up” on these vital nutrients.   

Also, add these foods to your diet for an added boost of calcium (without the lactose):

  • Bok choy and Chinese cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Collards
  • Greens: collard, kale, mustard, or turnip
  • Orange juice that is fortified with calcium
  • Salmon or sardines with bones, canned
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu, calcium set

Vitamin D-rich foods include:

  • Eggs
  • Orange juice that is fortified
  • Swordfish or salmon, cooked
  • Tuna fish or sardines, canned

Lactose-Free Milk and Nondairy Beverages

Does milk upset your stomach? You could be lactose intolerant.  
But even if you are, you can probably still enjoy light coffee and creamy desserts without discomfort. Here’s how.

Lactose-Free and Nondairy Options

Dairy products are high in calcium, protein, and other nutrients. You may still be able to get these nutrients from dairy if you’re lactose intolerant.

  • “On average, most lactose-intolerant people can tolerate about 250 ml of lactose,” says David Goldstein, MD, a gastroenterologist in Emerson, N.J. That’s about 1 cup (8 ounces) of dairy milk. Start by trying 1/2 cup of regular milk or less with a meal.
  • Take lactase tablets or capsules before eating or drinking foods that have dairy products or milk.
  • Drink and cook with lactose-free milk. It has added lactase to break down the lactose. It also has about the same nutrients as regular milk.

For nondairy milk, consider these options. They vary in nutrition, so before you buy, compare the labels next to cow’s milk. Choose one that is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. Use unsweetened nondairy milk in savory dishes like mashed potatoes. You might like vanilla, chocolate, or other flavors for baking. 

  • Soy milk is the best source of protein of the nondairy options. It’s thicker than cow’s milk and slightly beige in color.
  • Coconut milk is creamy like whole milk. It has little protein, though, and about the same saturated fat as whole milk — about 4 grams in a cup.
  • Almond milk is also like cow’s milk in texture, though slightly beige in color. It tastes faintly like almonds. It may have more calcium than dairy milk, along with vitamins D and E. But an 8-ounce glass of almond milk has only about 1 gram of protein.
  • Rice milk is white, like cow’s milk, and thinner and sweeter than almond milk. It doesn’t work as well as thicker milks in sauces and puddings. It is low in protein, like almond milk. But you can find it fortified with calcium.
  • Hemp milk is thick and sometimes a little grainy. It is made of hemp seeds, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It also has protein but falls short in calcium.

If you have stomach symptoms while using any non-dairy options, the problem may be guar gum. It’s often added for thickness, says Sonya Angelone, RDN, a dietician in San Francisco and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “This can affect some people adversely, and they experience gas just like they might with lactose.”

Lactose Intolerance vs. Milk Allergy

Lactose intolerance is not the same as a milk allergy, which involves your immune system.

Lactose is the sugar in milk. If you’re lactose intolerant, a glass of milk or a bowl of creamy soup can give you intestinal trouble like cramps, gas, diarrhea, or bloating. That’s because your small intestine isn’t making enough of the enzyme lactase. Lactase breaks down milk sugar so your bloodstream can absorb it well.

A milk allergy can cause stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea, too. But it can also cause hives, swelling, and more severe symptoms, like a drop in blood pressure and trouble breathing.

“If you think you have lactose intolerance, get tested so you have a clear diagnosis,” suggests Beth Kitchin, PhD, RDN. She’s an assistant professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “The dietary advice for each is really different, so getting an accurate diagnosis is important.”

First, your doctor may suggest you avoid all milk products briefly to see if your symptoms improve. If they do, the doctor may do a test to confirm that you are lactose intolerant.

Dairy trouble got you down? Don’t worry! You can still enjoy some of your favorite foods. Try these simple recipe swaps so you can eat the foods you love.

Milk Options

If a recipe calls for 1 cup of cow’s milk, you can replace it with lactose-free cow’s milk or rice or soy milk. Just remember: Rice milk is thinner and soy milk is thicker than cow’s milk. So you may need to tweak the amount you use in cooking and baking.

Closest to milk.  Lactose-free milk is treated with lactase to break down the lactose. It is the closest cousin to regular cow’s milk in taste and offers the same nutrients, such as calcium.

Flavor changers. The most popular alternatives for drinking and cooking are almond, rice, and soy milk. Try them first to make sure you enjoy the taste, and keep in mind that the milk’s flavor may affect the taste of what you’re making. Here are some newer milk options:

  • Cashew
  • Hemp seed
  • Oat
  • Potato

No-Nos. Goat, sheep, and buffalo milk are not suitable, because they all contain lactose.

Cooking Tips. The safest bet, in both sweet and savory recipes, is to choose a light, plain, and unsweetened product.

  • In bread, cake, cookie, or sweet recipes, flavored or sweetened milks may also work.
  • When buttermilk is an ingredient, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of plain milk substitute to make your own. Some store-bought cow’s milk buttermilk, if made with active bacteria cultures, may be low in lactose.
  • When dry milk powder is an ingredient, use an equal amount of coconut, potato, rice, or soy milk powder instead.

Cream Substitutes

There are a few alternatives to heavy cream, light cream, or half-and-half that have similar mouth-feel and thickness to the real thing.

  • Coconut cream makes a good swap for half-and-half when you blend it with half soy milk. Another option: Create your own light cream by mixing 3/4 cup of a plain milk substitute with 1/4 cup of canola oil.
  • Coconut milk can replace evaporated milk or heavy cream in soups and stews. You can also make your own heavy cream with 1/2 cup plain milk substitute and 1/2 cup canola oil.
  • Dairy and lactose free half-and-half substitutes work well in many recipes.

You may be able to use nut butters made from almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts, or macadamias instead of dairy cream in some recipes. Make a nut cream by whisking 1 cup of water into 1/4 cup of nut butter.

Butter Substitutes

Fruit purees. In baked goods (other than cookies), you can substitute fruit purees like applesauce, prune, or banana for part or all of the butter. Usually ¾ cup of fruit puree replaces 1 cup of butter. Many chefs use this approach to lower fat and calories, and make muffins, brownies, and cakes healthier.

Dairy-free margarines or oils. You can also use dairy-free or soy margarine, coconut oil, shortening, and olive or canola oil for part or all of the butter.

Yogurt Substitutes

You may be able to tolerate some cow’s milk yogurts, because they have very little lactose. Choose ones with live, active bacterial cultures for the least amount of lactose.

If you can’t tolerate regular yogurt, try soy or coconut milk yogurts, soy sour cream, or unsweetened fruit puree.

Sour Cream Substitutes

Let soy based or lactose-free sour creams serve as subs in your favorite recipes. Pureed silken tofu and plain soy yogurt can also work well.

Cheese Substitutes

Aged cheeses such as cheddar, Colby, Parmesan, and Swiss have very little lactose, only about 0.1 gram per ounce. American cheese, cream cheese, and cottage cheese are also low in lactose.

You can use hemp, rice, reduced lactose, lactose-free, or soy cheese in recipes to replace cheese.

Ice Cream Substitutes

There is a wide variety of diary-free ice creams and frozen yogurts made from soy, rice, hemp, coconut, and lactose-free milks.

Sorbet, made from fruit, sugar, and water, is another option.

Sherbet is made with milk but only contains a small amount of lactose, about 4-6 grams per cup.

Chocolate Substitutes

Most dark chocolate is lactose-free and comes in a wide variety of shapes and sweetness levels. Check the label to be sure it doesn’t contain any dairy ingredients.

Carob chips and rice milk chocolate are two options for chocolate made with cow’s milk.

Lactose-Free Recipes for Your Favorite Dishes

The thought of eating high-lactose foods like quiche, fettuccine Alfredo, or pudding can give you feelings of both yearning and dread if you have severe lactose intolerance. The good news? You can still enjoy these tasty dishes.

The trick is to swap in calcium-fortified lactose-free milk or nondairy milk for regular cow’s milk, or use lactose-free options instead of cheese, cream cheese, and yogurt in recipes. Nondairy drinks, such as almond, rice, or soy milk, are also tasty options. Use olive oil or canola oil instead of butter if the lactose in butter gives you problems.

If you can eat some types of regular cheese or yogurt, feel free to add as much as you can tolerate to the recipes below. You can also take a lactase enzyme pill before you eat, to make any dairy you do include easier to digest.

Spinach Quiche

Ingredients:

Olive Oil Wheat Crust

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unbleached white flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons ice water (a teaspoon or two more, if needed)

Filling

1 1/4 cups plain lactose-free milk (or almond or soy milk)

2 large eggs (higher omega-3, if available)

1/2 cup egg substitute (substitute 2 large eggs, if desired)

1/2 medium-sized sweet onion, finely chopped

6 slices crisp, cooked turkey bacon, crumbled (optional)

1 cup shredded soy cheese of your choice (mozzarella or Jack flavors work well)

3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and then gently squeezed of excess water

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (add more, if desired)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, white flour, salt, and olive oil, and beat on low until crumbly. Drizzle ice water over the top, and beat on low just until dough forms.
  2. Squeeze dough into a ball and place in a deep pie plate coated with canola cooking spray. Use hands to spread dough evenly into bottom and sides of pie plate.
  3. In same mixing bowl used for the crust, combine lactose-free milk (or almond milk), eggs, and egg substitute; set aside.
  4. In medium bowl, combine chopped onion, turkey bacon (if desired), soy cheese, and chopped spinach, and then pour into the prepared crust. Sprinkle nutmeg and black pepper over the top. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the spinach mixture and bake until center of quiche is set (about 55 minutes).

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 256 calories, 16 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 6 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 228 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 38%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.4 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 2 g

Lactose-Free Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups dried whole wheat elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups thinly sliced crimini mushrooms

1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (add more, if desired)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups plain lactose-free milk (or almond, rice, or soy milk)

5 ounces shredded or cubed soy cheddar cheese

Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring about 8 cups of water to a rolling boil, add macaroni noodles, and boil until tender (8-10 minutes). Once pasta is tender, drain well in colander while finishing steps 2 and 3.
  2. Add olive oil to a large, nonstick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned. Add garlic and black pepper and continue to sauté for an additional minute; set aside.
  3. In 2-cup measure, combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup of lactose-free milk (or almond, rice, or soy milk) to make a smooth paste. Blend in the remaining lactose-free milk. Pour into a medium, nonstick saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce heat to simmer and stir in the shredded or cubed cheese. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted. Add black pepper to taste.
  4. Combine cheese sauce with the drained noodles and spoon sautéed mushroom mixture over the top before serving.

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

Per serving (if 4 servings): 305 calories, 18 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 540 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 21%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.3 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 2.6 g

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

You can make this a day ahead. Keep it chilled in the refrigerator, and then warm it in a slow cooker or in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.

Ingredients:

1 large head garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil

3/4 cup plain lactose-free milk (or almond, soy, or rice milk)

28 to 32 ounces of potatoes, peeled and quartered

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice about 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic heads, throw the tops away, and place the heads on a piece of foil. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the garlic heads and wrap them well in the foil. Bake until tender and golden (about 35 minutes). Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel the skin away from the garlic cloves.
  2. While garlic is baking, place quartered potatoes in a large microwave-safe container with 1/4 cup of water and cook on HIGH until potatoes are tender. If you prefer to use the stove, place potatoes in a stockpot, cover with cold salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook until very tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potato pieces in a colander.
  3. Add hot, steaming, and drained potato pieces directly to a large mixing bowl, along with the garlic cloves and any olive oil drippings, and lactose-free milk (or almond, soy, or rice milk). Beat on low just until blended.
  4. Season with pepper and salt, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 150 calories, 5 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fat (0.2 g saturated fat, 0.8 g monounsaturated fat, 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 3.2 g fiber, 29 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 9%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.2 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 0.3 g

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

If you grew up with tapioca pudding, this may be one of your comfort foods. Here’s a quick and light low-lactose recipe.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 1/2 cups lactose-free milk with a splash of vanilla extract (or vanilla soy, almond, or rice milk)

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 large egg (higher omega-3, if available)

1/3 cup shredded or flaked coconut

Directions:

  1. Combine sugar, tapioca, lactose-free milk (or soy, almond, or rice milk), and egg with whisk in a medium, nonstick saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in coconut. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil (it will take about 8 minutes). It will thicken as it cools. Remove from heat and stir in coconut extract. Cool 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir the mixture and spoon into serving or dessert cups. Serve warm or chilled.

Yield: 5 servings

Per serving: 130 calories, 5 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 1.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 45 mg cholesterol, 0.5 g fiber, 78 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 28%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.2 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 1.3 g

Information sourced from: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/lactose-intolerance-14/default.htm

Sweet Poison – sugar, it never fully satisfies our cravings.

August 12, 2014

addiction
In the last 24 hours, I’ve drunk several cups of coffee, each one sweetened with a sugar cube. I’ve eaten a bowl of porridge sprinkled liberally with brown sugar and I’ve enjoyed on three separate occasions, a piece of my date and apple birthday cake, to which the chef tells me he added one cup of castor sugar.

This is pretty standard fare for me (birthday celebrations notwithstanding) and although occasionally I fret that my sugar intake is perhaps a little high and that I should reign it in or else risk all manner of health problems down the track, I continue to indulge my sweet tooth. Although after listening to David Gillespie present at Happiness & Its Causes 2011, I’m seriously thinking I really do need to wean myself off the white stuff.

Gillespie, a former lawyer, is the author of Sweet Poison: why sugar makes us fat, whose thesis is that sugar, or more specifically fructose (of which folk are consuming, on average, about one kilo a week), actually does much more that pack on the kilos. It also makes us physically ill and exacts a significant toll on our mental health.

What we’ve come to identify as sugar is actually a combination of two molecules: fructose and glucose, the latter an indispensable element to the body’s healthy functioning. As Gillespie explains, “The glucose half is fine. It’s more than just fine; it’s vitally necessary for us. We are machines that run on the fuel of glucose.” Indeed, all the carbohydrates we consume – and which for most of us constitute about 60 per cent of our diet (everything else is proteins and fats) – are converted to glucose.

Fructose, on the other hand, is not metabolised by us for fuel but rather converted directly to fat. As Gillespie says, “By the time we finish a glass of apple juice, the first mouthful is already circulating in our arteries as fat.” But even worse than that, fructose messes with those hormonal signals which tell us we’re full so that we keep on eating sugary, fatty foods.

Two hormones in particular are affected, the first one being insulin “which responds immediately to the presence of all carbs except fructose,” says Gillespie. “When insulin goes up, appetite goes down. So insulin tells us, ‘all right, you’ve had a meal, stop eating’. Fructose does not provoke a response from insulin and in fact, over time, it makes us resistant to the signals we do get from everything else we eat.”

Leptin is produced by our fat cells and works as our “on board fuel gauge” in that the more fat cells we have, the more leptin we produce and the less hungry we are. The problem with fructose is it “makes us resistant to that signal,” says Gillespie.

And yes, this leads to all manner of health problems including Type 2 Diabetes and its associated symptoms including lethargy, blurred vision and skin infections, and what Gillespie says is “significant damage through something called glycation”, the destruction through the excessive production of so-called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) of our skin’s elasticity which causes hardening of our arteries and brittle skin, both unmistakable signs of ageing. Gillespie also cites some biochemistry studies that have found fructose accelerates the growth of pancreatic cancer tumours.

These are just some of the physical effects. The addictive quality of fructose means it’s also a bit of a downer and that’s because of how it interferes with the balance of two feel-good hormones in the brain, dopamine and serotonin. Gillespie explains, “It significantly ramps up our dopamine (released when we anticipate pleasure) at the expense of our serotonin (released when that pleasure is delivered).” In other words, it never fully satisfies our cravings, and as anyone who’s battled an addiction knows, unfulfilled cravings are never much fun.

Article sourced from: http://www.thinkandbehappy.com.au/eating-way-health-happiness/

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Simple Egg Souffle

July 24, 2014

egg

Ways to Boost Your Exercise Motivation

July 20, 2014

motivation

Debbe Geiger could summarize her feelings about exercise in two words. “It stinks,” she’d say.

But then her thinking changed when — after much urging from friends who wanted her to play with them — she joined a volleyball team. Now, she’s at the gym with a convert’s fervor on game nights because she doesn’t want to let her teammates down.

“There have been lots of reasons I could have missed, and I haven’t,” says Geiger of Cary, N.C.

Her experience illustrates what exercise experts have known for years: To stick with an exercise routine, you need a reason to carry on when that little voice inside says, “Sit on the couch. Have a doughnut.”

And just knowing that exercise is good for you doesn’t seem to be enough to get you moving.

 Carla Sottovia, assistant director of fitness at the Cooper Fitness Institute in Dallas, says, “You may have had a bad experience in school, or maybe you’re afraid you’ll hurt yourself. Maybe you’re even afraid to sweat.”

Intimidation is a factor also, experts say. When you’re out of shape, it takes courage to don workout duds and head for the gym.

If any of this sounds familiar, don’t give up hope. Here are fitness inspiration tips from fitness experts and exercise converts that are guaranteed to help you learn how to love moving.

 Be Realistic

First-time exercisers often set unrealistic goals that are too ambitious for beginners. Gerald Endress, fitness director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C. says, “They want to go for maximal goals, but they tend to get overwhelmed.”

So don’t start off trying to work out an hour every day. Instead, set more reasonable, achievable goals, like exercising 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a week.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Remember to chart your progress, whether it’s with a high-tech online tracker or an old-school fitness journal. Seeing incremental improvements, whether it’s improved time, increased reps, or greater frequency of workouts, can boost your exercise motivation.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Another pitfall is all-or-nothing thinking, a perfectionist way of looking at life that leads to giving up when you miss a day or two or your workout doesn’t go well. Endress says if you accept that there will be some sidesteps on your fitness journey, you’ll be better prepared mentally to deal with setbacks.

Expect that you’ll get sick from time to time, and be psychologically prepared to miss a few days of exercise when that happens. Don’t let it be an excuse for giving up. “From then on, many people say, ‘I can’t exercise,'” Endress says. “But there’s always a way to exercise.”

To keep injuries from sidelining you, do your best to prevent them by warming up, cooling down, stretching properly, and not doing too much too soon.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

 We’ve all seen those toned, fatless specimens who strut through the gym in their Barbie-sized shorts and sports bras.

Don’t compare yourself to them, Endress says. Forget about them. Forgive them. But do not let them deter you from your goal.

Get Support

Enlist the help of your spouse, girlfriends, boyfriends, buddies — anyone who will encourage you to stay on track.

“The person should be in support, but not say, ‘Why can’t you? It’s so easy,'” says Sottovia. If helpful reassurance turns into criticism, gently remind your pal that you don’t need nagging.

 If you need additional help, hire a trainer, she advises.

Find the Fun In It

Sottovia and Endress both say it’s essential to find an activity you like. With an explosion in the number and types of fitness classes at most gyms, it has become easier to find something to appeal to you, from aerobics to Zumba.

If you’re not the gym type, walk around your neighborhood or try activities around the house, such as walking up and down stairs or dancing with the stars in your living room. If you’re motivated by being social, follow Geiger’s lead and join a team.

Break It Up

You can make it easier on yourself by splitting your exercise session into two or three sessions, says Endress. Research supports the idea that this can be as beneficial as one long workout, he says.

So, for example, if you don’t feel like exercising for an hour on any given day, do three sessions of 20 minutes each.

Make It Convenient

Do whatever you can to remove obstacles to exercise, and make it as convenient as possible, says Sottovia.

If you are time-pressed, for example, don’t spend 30 minutes driving to a gym. Try exercising at home to fitness DVDs instead. If you’re too tired to work out at the end of the day, set your alarm a little earlier and exercise in the morning.

Forget the Past

Don’t let previous bad experiences with exercise hinder you, Sottovia says.

So maybe you weren’t the most athletic kid in high school and were the last chosen for class games. That was years ago. Your goal now is not to win a letter jacket or make the cheerleading squad — you want to exercise to stay healthy and enjoy your life.

Reward Yourself

Treat yourself for making the effort to exercise — not with food, but with something that you enjoy, like a movie or flowers, says Endress

Try to think of indulgences that will reinforce a mind-body connection so you can savor the rewards of your hard work. Plan a short trip, or just an hour in a botanical garden. Go to a ball game. And remind yourself with each precious moment that you are enjoying this time because of all the great things you have been doing for yourself.

 

Article sourced from: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-motivation

 

What’s So Super About Superfoods?

July 15, 2014

superfoods
You may have heard of superfoods. They’re foods that naturally concentrate important nutrients and antioxidants for overall health. In fact, many health professionals emphasize the necessity of superfoods for good health. Steven Pratt, M.D. is one of them. In his book SuperFoods RX:  Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, as well as his other books, he details why he thinks superfoods are so important. 

Pratt, an ophthalmologist who specializes in ocular plastic surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California, says he became convinced of the power of these basic foods when he saw the positive results of a few simple diet changes in his patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration—a leading cause of blindness.

“Whether you’re trying to prevent cataracts, macular degeneration, cancer, or cardiovascular disease, the same type of preventive dietary measures apply,” Pratt says. “The whole body is connected:  a healthy heart equals healthy eyes and healthy skin. You’ll hear about all these special diets for special health needs, but really, the same diet and the same lifestyle choices prevent the same diseases. With rare exceptions, you don’t need 20 different preventive modalities—just one really good diet.”

And that “one really good diet,” Pratt says, should be founded on superfoods, including blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, spinach, green or black tea, tomatoes, probiotic-rich yogurt and walnuts.

“For example,” says Pratt, “blueberries, broccoli and tomatoes have a large number of peer-reviewed published studies substantiating their health benefits. These foods are readily available, inexpensive and have other benefits, such as high fiber content. And they’ve been used for years, with no drawbacks, side effects or toxicity; you’re never going to see a headline that blueberries are bad for you.”

Broccoli, too, is a superfood star. It’s rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant linked with a reduced risk of a number of cancers. “The phytonutrients in broccoli help detoxify carcinogens found in the environment,” says Pratt. “They also have anti-inflammatory properties, and we know that an important factor in reducing the risk of disease is to support healthy inflammation levels.”

Likewise, Bonnie Minsky, a licensed and certified Nutrition Specialist, Public Health educator and certified menopause educator with a private practice in Northbrook, Illinois, outlines her top ten superfoods. Among the superfoods she indicates provide health benefits far beyond their recognized nutritional value are: pomegranates, cinnamon, avocados, algae, flaxseeds, turmeric and wild salmon.

And let’s not forget about coconuts. Coconuts are superfoods packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and ultra-healthy, medium-chain fatty acids.

Even typical holiday foods make the superfood list—so there’s no excuse to not eat them. For example, cranberries are full of antioxidants, including vitamin C and others. Likewise, sweet potatoes are high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese.

In short, superfoods can mean a super you!

 

Information sourced from http://www.gardenoflife.com/A-Way-of-Life/HEALTHY-LIFESTYLE/ContentPubID/662/settmid/3463.aspxsuperfoods