Thursday, January 9, 2014
There are thousands of healthy foods on this planet AND there are also thousands of unhealthy choices.
You can’t eliminate every bad food at once so I’ve list the top ones to beware of!
1. Oreo Cookies and Snickers
Why: Sugar and Chemicals
- Oreos may be as addictive as cocaine! Eating the cookies activated more neurons in the rat brain pleasure center than drugs like cocaine.
- One Snickers bar contains:
-6.5 teaspoons sugar (your blood only needs one). This can trigger cravings
-16.5g fat, putting extra pressure on your heart
-296 calories. A bar a day will add 31 pounds in one year.
- Sugar is not a food! It depresses your immune system, is full of fattening calories, has no nutrients and has been found to damage your brain is just one week.
Solution: Use a good stevia. Also coconut sugar is a low glycemic sugar.
2. Non-organic Strawberries
- They are drenched in deadly pesticides and fungicides and always near the top of the list of the Dirty Dozen.
- “The workers wear these suits to protect themselves from the dozens and dozens of known dangerous pesticides applied to strawberries. When I saw this, I thought to myself, if this is how berries are grown, I don’t really want to eat them anymore.” said Kenner while filming Food Inc.
- If you don’t care about your health, do it for the farmers!
Solution: Grow your own organic strawberries or buy organic strawberries at a reasonable price when in season.
If I cannot afford organic strawberries I just do not eat them and choose one of the many other Powerfood fruits like raspberries, apples, mangos and bananas.
Why: Fat and Additives
- Bacon is loaded calories and 69 percent of those calories in bacon are bad fat.
- Half of that fat is saturated.
- One ounce of bacon contains 30 milligrams of cholesterol.
- Cancer and chronic pulmonary disease are caused when processed meat with nitrates like bacon are consumed. - University of Zurich and Columbia University
- Cured with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol, sodium phosphates, maple syrup, sodium erythorbate, natural and artificial maple flavor, corn syrup, caramel color, sucralose, and sodium nitrite (label ingredients). Is that what your body can deal with? Notice that there are 5 sweeteners in it!
The average American eats about 18 pounds of bacon a year.
Solution: For that crunch use vegetables or a few nuts or seeds. Your heart and digestive system will be happier
4. Junk Food
Why: Empty Calories and Chemicals
- Teenage girls eating lots of junk food may be at a higher risk of breast cancer, a study claims. Lead researcher Sandra Haslam, of Michigan University, said: Our findings show the culprit is the fat itself rather than weight gain.
- Addictive. Junk food is filled with flavor-enhancing chemicals that are rewarding to the addict. Chemicals like MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, and aspartame are all highly-addictive. MSG excites the brain so much that it causes neurological brain damage but because it tastes so good, people keep eating it.
- Effects memory! Healthy people who ate junk food for five days in a 2011 study had impaired reaction times. – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- Gain 56 pounds this year eating one Big Mac a day. (197,000 calories).
- One fast food meal will have all of the calories you need for a whole day!
Do You Want Beautiful Skin? Cameron Diaz won her battle with acne by giving up junk food, the Sun reports. “I used to live on processed fast food. I drank a ton of soda and ate greasy, cheesy foods constantly.” says Cameron Diaz who is considered one of the most beautiful women in the world.
5. Diet Soda
Why: More empty calories and health destroying additives.
- Obesity is on the rise due to Diet soda! Yes, it is true. Drinking two or more cans a day increased waistlines by 500 percent. – University of Texas Health Science Center study found.
- Erodes your teeth as much as much as crystal meth when drinking large quantities. – General Dentistry study
- Kidney problems caused due to artificial sweeteners in the soda when drinking more than two sodas a day. 11 year Harvard Medical School study of more than 3,000 women.
- Strokes and heart disease were found to increase with a diet soda every day. – 2012 study found.
Solution: Drink more water or fresh juice, lemon water, cold herbal fruit tea sweetened with stevia or a healthy punch made with sparkling mineral water.
They may taste good, and appear somewhat harmless, but if you value your health, step away from these chemical-laced, high-sugar foods.
Police in Japan are investigating a nationwide outbreak of food poisoning after over a 1,000 people across the country have fallen sick from food contaminated with malathion. The country’s largest packaged-food maker has withdrawn 6.4 million products.
Some 1.2 million packages have been recovered. However, 5.2 million packages still remain unaccounted for.
“We test products several times a day for evidence of spoilage, based on the law, but we had no reason to believe pesticides would be present, so we didn’t test for that,” Ichiro Gohara, a spokesman for the company, told Bloomberg. “Until now, we haven’t received any reports of problems.”
About 300 employees of Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc., a company that produced the tainted food, have been questioned by police as the investigation has been launched into mass poisoning.
More than 1,700 people across Japan reported health problems after eating the frozen food products, Japanese NHK reported. Complaints have been reported in all 47 prefectures.
In western Osaka Prefecture, a nine-month-old baby was hospitalized on Monday after eating a product called ‘creamy corn croquettes’, according to AFP.
Consumers complained about having food poisoning symptoms, like diarrhea, vomiting and stomach aches after eating packaged frozen croquettes, frozen chicken teriyaki with mayonnaise, or pizza.
It was later revealed that pesticides at 2.6 million times the permitted levels had been found in the frozen croquettes. Pesticides have been detected in other Maruha Nichiro products, and the company has recalled them.
Police suspect that the malathion, which is usually used to fight bug influxes in corn and rice fields, was mixed into the products at the plant run by Aqli Foods, a company owned by Maruha Nichiro.
The company has confirmed that none of the tainted products have been shipped to other countries.
This is not the first time Japan faces mass food poisoning. In August 2012, pickled Chinese cabbage contaminated with E-coli bacteria killed six people, including a 4-year-old girl. At least 100 others were infected. Pickled Chinese cabbage is a popular side dish in Japan, and this particular batch had been made by two local producers and sold across the Hokkaido prefecture.
Friday, January 3, 2014
It’s widely known that your mood can trigger food cravings, cause you to overeat or kill your appetite entirely. But the opposite also holds true in that the food you eat can make or break your mood.This is apparent not only in the minutes after you’ve eaten but also over time, as your diet helps to shape your mental health from the inside out.
How Does Food Impact Your Mood?
I simply cannot overstate the importance of your food choices when it comes to your mental health. In a very real sense, you have TWO brains—one in your head, and one in your gut—both of which are created from the same tissue during fetal development.These two systems are connected via your vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. It is now well established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain.Maintaining optimal gut health is therefore paramount when trying to address your mental state. In this regard, the modern “Western” diet has several things working against it:
- Genetically modified foods can significantly alter your gut flora, thereby promoting pathogens while decimating the beneficial microbes necessary for optimal mental and physical health.
- Glyphosate—the most widely used herbicide on food crops in the world with nearly 1 BILLION pounds applied every year—has been shown to cause both nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals (which are critical for brain function and mood control), and systemic toxicity.Moreover, recent cell research has found that it is so toxic it exhibits carcinogenicity in the nearly unbelievable parts-per-trillion concentration range.
- High-fructose diets also feed pathogens in your gut, allowing them to overtake beneficial bacteria. Furthermore, sugar suppresses activity of a key growth hormone in your brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia.Sugar consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system and wreaks havoc on your brain.Last but not least, sugar (particularly fructose) and grains contribute to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which also play a significant role in your mental health.
- Artificial food ingredients, the artificial sweetener aspartame in particular, can wreak havoc with your brain function. Both depression and panic attacks are known potential side effects of aspartame consumption. Other additives, such as artificial colorings, are also known to impact mood.In the big picture, nourishing your gut health is therefore essential to maintaining a positive mood – and I’ll discuss how to do this shortly. However, even individual food choices may make a difference in how you feel mentally and emotionally from day to day …
7 Foods to Enhance Your Mood
Eating the foods that follow may be a simple way to boost your spirits, as each is known to have a positive impact on mood.1. Dark ChocolateIf you’re one of these individuals who gets a nice mood boost whenever you sink your teeth into a bar of pure, unadulterated chocolate, it is not happenstance.There's actually a chemical reason called anandamide, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. It's a derivative of the Sanskrit word "bliss," and one of the great things about chocolate is that it not only produces this compound, it also contains other chemicals that prolongs the "feel-good" aspects of anandamide. Chocolate has even been referred to as “the new anti-anxiety drug.”One study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology also revealed that drinking an antioxidant-rich chocolate drink equal to about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily felt calmer than those who did not.2. ProteinA high-quality source of protein – like organic eggs, a piece of Gouda cheese or a handful of almonds – helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady for enhanced energy and mood.3. BananasBananas contain dopamine, a natural reward chemical that boosts your mood. They’re also rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B6, which help to soothe your nervous system, and magnesium, another nutrient associated with positive mood. Just be careful to limit them if you have insulin/leptin resistance.4. CoffeeCoffee appears to affect a number of neurotransmitters related to mood control, so drinking a morning cup could have an effect on your general sense of wellbeing. Research has also shown that coffee triggers a mechanism in your brain that releases BDNF, which activates your brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, thereby improving your brain health. Interestingly enough, research also suggests that low BDNF levels may play a significant role in depression, and that increasing neurogenesis has an antidepressant effect!5. Turmeric (Curcumin)Curcumin, the pigment that gives the spice turmeric its yellow-orange color, is thought to be the primary component responsible for many of its medicinal effects. Among them, curcumin has neuroprotective properties and may enhance mood and possibly help with depression.6. Purple BerriesAnthocyanins are the pigments that give berries like blueberries and blackberries their deep color. These antioxidants aid your brain in the production of dopamine, a chemical that is critical to coordination, memory function and your mood.7. Animal-Based Omega-3 FatsFound in salmon or supplement form, such as krill oil, the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA play a role in your emotional well-being. One study in Brain Behavior and Immunity showed a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical students taking omega-3, while past research has shown omega-3 fats work just as well as antidepressants in preventing the signs of depression, but without any of the side effects.
3 Mood-Busting Foods to Avoid
Just as foods can uplift your mood, they can also quickly bring it down. Here are the top three foods that can trigger a poor mood.1. SugarSugar can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar, which can bring on mood swings, but its role in poor mood actually goes much deeper than that. Entire books have been written on this topic, such as William Duffy’s book, Sugar Blues. There are at least three potential mechanisms through which refined sugar intake could exert a toxic effect on your mood and mental health:
- Sugar (particularly fructose) and grains contribute to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which play a significant role in your mental health
- Sugar suppresses activity of BDNF, which promotes the health of your brain neurons. BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia, which animal models suggest might actually be causative
- Sugar consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system, which is linked to a greater risk of depression2. GlutenGluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health. In fact, a number of studies indicate that wheat can have a detrimental effect on mood, promoting depression and even more serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia. One mechanism that can help explain the mysterious connection between wheat and mental health problems is the fact that wheat inhibits production of serotonin.Neurotransmitters like serotonin can be found not just in your brain, but also in your gut. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain! Wheatin particular has also been implicated in psychiatric problems, from depression to schizophrenia, due to an array of brain-disruptive opioid peptides, and wheat germ lectin (WGA), which preliminary research indicates has neurotoxic activity.3. Processed FoodsThe list of potentially mood-busting ingredients in processed foods is a long one. Aside from sugar and gluten, they may also contain trans fats, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners and other synthetic ingredients linked to irritability and poor mood.
Nourishing Your Gut Flora May Boost Your Mood and Protect Your Mental Health
As explained by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a medical doctor with a postgraduate degree in neurology, toxicity in your gut can flow throughout your body and into your brain, where it can cause symptoms of poor mood, autism, ADHD, depression, schizophrenia and a whole host of other mental and behavioral disorders. With this in mind, it should be crystal clear that nourishing your gut flora is extremely important to support a positive mood. To do so, I recommend the following strategies:
- Avoid sugar and processed, refined foods in your diet. If you need help doing this, read through my nutrition plan for a simple, whole-food-based diet. There is simply no question that eliminating refined sugars is the most powerful intervention the average person can make to improve their gut flora.
- Eat traditionally fermented, unpasteurized foods. Fermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Ideally, you want to eat a variety of fermented foods to maximize the variety of bacteria you’re consuming. Healthy choices include:
- Fermented vegetables
- Lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner)
- Fermented milk, such as kefir
- Natto (fermented soy)
- Take a high-quality probiotic supplement. Although I'm not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics is an exception if you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis. Research has shown that certain probiotics may help alleviate anxiety by modulating the vagal pathways within the gut-brain, affecting GABA levels, and lowering the stress-induced hormone corticosterone.To sum up, foods have an immense impact on both your body and your brain, and eating whole foods as described in mynutrition plan is the best way to support your mental and physical health. Whether you need a quick pick-me-up or you’ve been struggling with poor mood for a while, the best place to start to turn your mood around is likely not in your medicine cabinet but right in your pantry or refrigerator.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
It's time to shake off the holiday cookie crumbs and start eating healthy again. Fortunately, the new year brings a great selection of tasty, yet nutritious foods that may have flown under our radar in the past, but are now ready to make a big splash.
Food-trend watchers have named cauliflower the new kale. Cauliflower is low in calories and fat, and high in protein and fiber. It can also be prepared in many different ways — roasted, mashed, sauteed, or eaten raw. If you want to really go crazy, you can try orange cauliflower, which has 25 times more vitamin A than the white version.
2. Swiss chard: Dark greens will continue to reign in 2014. But if you're tired of spinach and kale, consider bringing Swiss chard into the kitchen. The thick-ribbed vegetable has a slightly bitter taste but can be cooked just like other leafy green vegetables and packs the same nutritional punch. It's high in vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Saute it with a little olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper for a healthy dish.
3. Mangosteen: Native to Southeast Asia and touted for being rich in antioxidants, this tropical fruit may give the acai berry a run for its money. Despite its name, the mangosteen is not related to the mango.
It has a thick reddish-purple rind and sweet, juicy white flesh on the inside. For decades, fresh mangosteen was not available in the mainland United States because they can harbor insects pests. In August 2013, mangosteens became available at 10 Whole Food stores in the Southern California area. You can tear off the rind and eat the white segments on their own or puree the fruit (including the rind) into a healthy juice.
4. Ancient grains: Thanks in part to the gluten-free craze, ancient grains like amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and teff are making a comeback. These grains are called "ancient" because they have been around unchanged, for at least 1,000 years. (Modern-varieties of wheat and corn, for example, have been selectively bred so they are different from the older cultivated varieties).
Another old grain, called freekeh, is gaining popularity in America, although it has been enjoyed in Middle Eastern for many centuries. Because of the way it's processed, freekeh has more fiber than rice and is also high in protein, though it's not gluten-free.
5. Arctic char: The National Restaurant Association's annual "What's Hot" culinary forecast, predicts that non-traditional fish, like Arctic char, branzino, and barramundi will be edging their way onto menus this year. Arctic char is a mild, yet rich fish that's related to salmon and trout. Because the Arctic char is mostly farmed, Seafood Watch has named it a "best choice" for the environment.
6. Kimchi: This pickled cabbage dish has long been a staple in Korea, but it's been gaining momentum in the U.S. as part of a growing trend in fermented foods. Fermentation is the process by which bacteria converts sugar into alcohol.
Some research also shows that fermentation can be good for you. One study found that people who ate fermented kimchi for one month lost more weight and showed improvements in total cholesterol and blood pressure, compared to those who ate fresh kimchi.
7. Coconut: We've already heard about coconut water, but other coconut foods will be reaching mainstream consumers this year. The National Restaurant Association says that eateries will be serving up more coconut milk pancakes and a survey of dietitians predicts that coconut oil (which has no cholesterol or trans-fats) will continue to be praised for its wide-range of health benefits, including improved brain function and aiding weigh-loss.