Posts Tagged ‘Healthy LIfestyle’

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Raspberry butter sauce with crispy salmon & salad

October 26, 2017

hi
The raspberries in this sauce make the easy-to-cook salmon a really special dish. Toss the salad greens in the sauce or drizzle the sauce over the salmon – whatever suits your tastes better. Serves 2

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets, skin on
1 Tbsp oil
20 raspberries
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
pinch sea salt
salad greens

Method

  1. Lightly salt both sides of the salmon. Heat oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat until the oil is hot and starts to crackle a little. Place the salmon in the pan, skin side down, and cook until browned and no longer sticks to the pan, about 3 minutes.
  2. Turn the fish over and cook about 3-5 minutes. If the middle is still not cooked to your liking, lower the heat a little and cover the salmon with a lid for a few minutes.
  3. To make the sauce, blend the raspberries and melted butter in a blender until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and mix in the vinegar and sea salt.
  4. Toss with greens and/or drizzle over the salmon.

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

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/

Diabetes diet: Create your healthy-eating plan

October 1, 2013

Definition

A diabetes diet — medically known as medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for diabetes — simply translates into eating a variety of nutritious foods in moderate amounts and sticking to regular mealtimes.

Rather than a restrictive diet, a diabetes diet or MNT is a healthy-eating plan that’s naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories, with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In fact, a diabetes diet is the best eating plan for most everyone.

Purpose

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a dietitian to guide you on dietary changes and MNT that can help you control your blood sugar (glucose) level and manage your weight.

When you eat excess calories and fat, your body responds by creating an undesirable rise in blood glucose. If blood glucose isn’t kept in check, it can lead to serious problems, such as a dangerously high blood glucose level (hyperglycemia) and chronic complications, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage.

Making healthy food choices and tracking your eating habits can help you manage your blood glucose level and keep it within a safe range.

For most people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss also can make it easier to control blood glucose and offers a host of other health benefits. If you need to lose weight, MNT provides a well-organized, nutritious way to reach your goal safely.

Diet details

A registered dietitian can help you put together a diet based on your health goals, tastes and lifestyle and can provide valuable information on how to change your eating habits.

Recommended foods
Make your calories count with these nutritious foods:

  • Healthy carbohydrates. During digestion, sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) break down into blood glucose. Focus on the healthiest carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and low-fat dairy products.
  • Fiber-rich foods. Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. Fiber can decrease the risk of heart disease and help control blood sugar levels. Foods high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), whole-wheat flour and wheat bran.
  • Heart-healthy fish. Eat heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. Fish can be a good alternative to high-fat meats. For example, cod, tuna and halibut have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than do meat and poultry. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by lowering blood fats called triglycerides. However, avoid fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury, such as tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel.
  • ‘Good’ fats. Foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — such as avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives, and canola, olive and peanut oils — can help lower your cholesterol levels. Eat them sparingly, however, as all fats are high in calories.

Foods to avoid
Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by accelerating the development of clogged and hardened arteries. Foods containing the following can work against your goal of a heart-healthy diet.

  • Saturated fats. High-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon contain saturated fats. Get no more than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat.
  • Trans fats. These types of fats are found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarines and should be avoided completely.
  • Cholesterol. Sources of cholesterol include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, shellfish, liver, and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.
  • Sodium. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day.

Putting it all together: Creating a plan
There are a few different approaches to creating a diabetes diet that keeps your blood glucose level within a normal range. With a dietitian’s help, you may find one or a combination of methods that works for you.

  • Counting carbohydrates. Because carbohydrates break down into glucose, they have the greatest impact on your blood glucose level. It’s important to make sure your timing and amount of carbohydrates are the same each day, especially if you take diabetes medications or insulin. Otherwise, your blood glucose level may fluctuate more.

    A dietitian can teach you how to measure food portions and become an educated reader of food labels, paying special attention to serving size and carbohydrate content. If you’re taking insulin, he or she can teach you how to count the amount of carbohydrates in each meal or snack and adjust your insulin dose accordingly.

  • The exchange system. A dietitian may recommend using the exchange system, which groups foods into categories such as carbohydrates, meats and meat substitutes, and fats.

    One serving in a group is called an “exchange.” An exchange has about the same amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories — and the same effect on your blood glucose — as a serving of every other food in that same group. So, for example, you could exchange — or trade — one small apple for 1/3 cup of cooked pasta, for one carbohydrate serving.

  • Glycemic index. Some people who have diabetes use the glycemic index to select foods, especially carbohydrates. Foods with a high glycemic index are associated with greater increases in blood sugar than are foods with a low glycemic index. Complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber — such as whole-grain rice, bread or cereals — have a lower glycemic index than do simple carbohydrates — white bread or white rice, for example — and usually are preferred to highly processed foods. But low-index foods aren’t necessarily always healthier, as foods that are high in fat tend to have lower glycemic index values than do some healthier options.

A sample menu
Your daily meal plan should take into account your size as well as your physical activity level. The following menu is tailored for someone who needs 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day.

  • Breakfast. Whole-wheat pancakes or waffles, one piece of fruit or 3/4 cup of berries, 6 ounces of nonfat vanilla yogurt.
  • Lunch. Cheese and veggie pita, medium apple with 2 tablespoons of almond butter.
  • Dinner. Beef stroganoff; 1/2 cup carrots; side salad with 1 1/2 cups spinach, 1/2 of a tomato, 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar.
  • Snacks. Two unsalted rice cakes topped with 1 ounce of light spreadable cheese or one orange with 1/2 cup 1 percent low-fat cottage cheese.

Results

Embracing your healthy-eating plan is the best way to keep your blood glucose level under control and prevent diabetes complications. And if you need to lose weight, you can tailor it to your specific goals.

Aside from managing your diabetes, a diabetes diet offers other benefits, too. Because a diabetes diet recommends generous amounts of fruits, vegetables and fiber, following it is likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. And consuming low-fat dairy products can reduce your risk of low bone mass in the future.

Risks

If you have diabetes, it’s important that you partner with your doctor and dietitian to create an eating plan that works for you. Healthy foods, portion control and scheduling are necessary to manage your blood glucose level. If you stray from your prescribed diet, you run the risk of fluctuating blood sugar levels and more-serious complications.

Article sourced from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-diet/DA00027

Benefits of Positive Thinking

July 28, 2013

You have probably had someone tell you to “look on the bright side” or to “see the cup as half full.” Chances are good that the people who make these comments are positive thinkers. Researchers are finding more and more evidence pointing to the many benefits of optimism and positive thinking.

Such findings suggest that not only are positive thinkers healthier and less stressed, they also have greater overall well-being. According to positive psychology researcher Suzanne Segerstrom, “Setbacks are inherent to almost every worthwhile human activity, and a number of studies show that optimists are in general both psychologically and physiologically healthier.”

Even if positive thinking does not come naturally to you, there are plenty of great reasons to start cultivating affirmative thoughts and minimizing negative self-talk.

Positive Thinkers Cope Better With Stress

When faced with stressful situations, positive thinkers cope more effectively than pessimists. In one study, researchers found that when optimists encounter a disappointment (such as not getting a job or promotion) they are more likely to focus on things they can do to resolve the situation. Rather than dwelling on their frustrations or things that they cannot change, they will devise a plan of action and ask others for assistance and advice. Pessimists, on the other hand, simply assume that the situation is out of their control and there is nothing they can do to change it.

Optimism Can Improve Your Immunity

In recent years, researchers have found that your mind can have a powerful effect on your body. Immunity is one area where your thoughts and attitudes can have a particularly powerful influence. In one study, researchers found that activation in brain areas associated with negative emotions led to a weaker immune response to a flu vaccine. Researchers Segerstrom and Sephton found that people who were optimistic about a specific and important part of their lives, such as how well they were doing in school, exhibited a stronger immune response than those who had a more negative view of the situation.

Positive Thinking Is Good for Your Health

Not only can positive thinking impact your ability to cope with stress and your immunity, it also has an impact on your overall well-being. The Mayo Clinic reports a number of health benefits associated with optimism, including a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular problems, less depression, and an increased lifespan. While researchers are not entirely clear on why positive thinking benefits health, some suggest that positive people might lead healthier lifestyles. By coping better with stress and avoiding unhealthy behaviors, they are able to improve their health and well-being.

It Can Make You More Resilient

Resilience refers to our ability to cope with problems. Resilient people are able to face a crisis or trauma with strength and resolve. Rather than falling apart in the face of such stress, they have the ability to carry on and eventually overcome such adversity. It may come as no surprise to learn that positive thinking can play a major role in resilience. When dealing with a challenge, optimists typically look at what they can do to fix the problem. Instead of giving up hope, they marshal their resources and are willing to ask others for help.

Researchers have also found that in the wake of a crisis, such as a terrorist attack or natural disaster, positive thoughts and emotions encourage thriving and provide a sort of buffer against depression among resilient people. Fortunately experts also believe that such positivism and resilience can be cultivated. By nurturing positive emotions, even in the face of terrible events, people can reap both short-term and long-term rewards, including managing stress levels, lessening depression, and building coping skills that will serve them well in the future.

Final Thoughts

Before you put on those rose-colored glasses, it is important to note that positive thinking is not about taking a “Pollyanna” approach to life. In fact, researchers have found that in some instances, optimism might not serve you well. For example, people who are excessively optimistic might overestimate their own abilities and take on more than they can handle, ultimately leading to more stress and anxiety.

Instead of ignoring reality in favor of the silver lining, psychologists suggest that positive thinking centers on such things as a belief in your abilities, a positive approach to challenges, and trying to make the most of bad situations. Bad things will happen. Sometimes you will be disappointed or hurt by the actions of others. This does not mean that the world is out to get you or that all people will let you down. Instead, positive thinkers will look at the situation realistically, search for ways that they can improve the situation, and try to learn from their experiences.

 

Article sources from http://psychology.about.com/od/PositivePsychology/a/benefits-of-positive-thinking.htm