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Category Archives: Diet

Olive Oil’s Potentially Positive Heart Health Effects

by Jane Hart, MD
Olive Oil’s Potentially Positive Heart Health Effects : Main Image
Olive oil has become well known as a “healthy” fat when included as part of a balanced and healthy diet
Olive oil, when included in a healthy diet, has been linked to important health benefits, and now a study in Clinical Nutrition suggests that a daily dose of olive oil may be one important dietary option for heart and vascular disease prevention.

Olive oil may reduce heart disease risk factors

Prior studies have suggested that plant chemicals in olive oil, known as polyphenols, may help reduce risk factors for heart disease. This study looked at a particular aspect of that protection: the effect of olive oil on blood fats (lipids).

In this study, 200 healthy men were randomly assigned to three, three-week interventions of 25 ml per day of olive oil with low (2.7 mg per kg), medium (164 mg per kg), or high (336 mg per kg) content of olive oil polyphenols. Blood levels of various markers were measured before and after each intervention.

Results showed that, particularly at the higher amounts of polyphenols, participants who ate a little olive oil each day potentially reduced a toxic form of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which may lower their risk of heart and vascular disease.

“Our results provide further support to recommend the use of polyphenol-rich olive oil as a source of fat,” said Olga Castaner and colleagues from the Research Institute Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain.

It is important to point out, however, that it is not clear from studies to date whether the endpoint measured in this study is truly predictive of heart disease risk, and further research is needed to understand the role of olive oil in heart and vascular health.

Benefits of olive oil

  • Olive oil has become well known as a “healthy” fat and when included as part of a balanced and healthy diet has been linked to important health benefits including improved cholesterol levels and blood sugar control.
  • Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fat, which research suggests is a better dietary option compared with saturated or trans fats, which increase your risk for chronic disease. Too much of any type of fat, however, is not good as oils are high in calories, so olive oil should be used in moderation.
  • When buying olive oil, choose virgin or extra-virgin olive oils, which are unrefined and retain more of the healthful contents.
  • A healthy diet is one important part of preventing heart and vascular disease and choosing healthy fats—such as olive oil—over unhealthy fats may be a step toward better health. Talk with a doctor about what else you can be doing to prevent heart and vascular disease based on your health history.

(Clinical Nutrition 2011;30:490–3)

Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.
 
 

Try Chia Seeds for Big Nutrition in a Small Package

By Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD

If you’re seeking an easy way to add protein, fiber, healthy fat, and minerals to your diet, look no further than the humble chia seed. The nutritional numbers support their reputation as a healthful addition to the diet. One ounce of chia seeds—about three tablespoons—contains 140 calories, plus:

11 grams of fiber
180 mg of calcium
4 grams of protein
9 grams of fat

With this much fiber and calcium, chia seeds provide more than a third of your daily fiber needs and nearly 20% of your daily calcium needs in a single serving. The 4 grams of hunger-quashing protein add to chia’s nutritional offerings.
Fat is where it’s at

Our bodies do not make omega-3 fats, so we must get them from food. And having more omega-3s in the diet is linked with good health, and with lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. This is where chia seeds come into the picture: more than half of the fat in chia seeds is alpha-linolenic acid, a beneficial, omega-3 fat.
Chewing (or sipping) on chia

You’ll find chia seeds in the bulk section of your natural grocery store, and in the health food section of your regular supermarket. If you’re ready to give chia seeds a try, there’s no shortage of creative ways to work them into your diet. Chia seeds are tasteless, and slip into other foods and beverages easily without altering flavor.

Get soaked. Place a large spoonful of chia seeds into a small glass and cover with water. Let stand for 20 minutes; they will form a gel. Add the chia seed-gel mixture to smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal. It’s okay to soak seeds over night, so they will be ready for breakfast.
Drink up. Toss a spoonful of chia seeds into your water bottle or add them to juice. You won’t taste them and they are so tiny you may not even notice them in the liquid.
Cook. Add chia seeds to soups, stews, and casseroles, as a thickener.
Bake. Process chia seeds in a coffee bean grinder and mix with flour, milk, eggs, mashed banana, and cinnamon to make pancakes. Add chia seeds to the batter or dough when making muffins, bread, or other baked goods.
Surf for ideas. Perform a quick internet search of “chia seed recipes.” You will find hundreds of additional ideas, tips, recipes, and hints for incorporating chia seeds into your food and drinks.
Call your doctor. If you have digestive health issues, such as diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease, do not add chia seeds without first talking to your healthcare provider. While these tiny seeds improve digestive health for many, they may not be right for people with existing digestive conditions.

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

Copyright © 2012 Aisle7. All rights reserved. http://www.Aisle7.net

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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Chia, Chia Seeds, Diet, Fiber, Nutrition, Omega-3, Protein

 

MyPlate Provides Simple, Sensible Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy Eating Advice
ByKimberly Beauchamp, ND

First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently unveiled the federal government’s newest strategy to help Americans eat better: replacing the confusing and flawed food pyramids of the past with “MyPlate,” a much simpler visual model that helps people keep healthful diet tips in mind.

The plate makes sense

Unlike previous icons, the multicolored MyPlate breaks good nutrition down to these basics:
eat mostly vegetables and fruits,
some lean protein,
whole grains,
and lesser amounts of low-fat dairy, which is shown to the side of the plate.

There’s no place on the new icon for desserts or other snack foods. Instead, these count mostly towards the daily “empty calories” allotment, which includes foods with added sugars and solid fats like butter or shortening.

With empathy to busy parents, and recognizing that they have competing demands that may keep them from feeding their families as well as they would like to, the new icon provides a simple checkpoint. “…We do have time to take a look at our kids’ plates,” says the First Lady. “As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”

The MyPlate icon will soon hit schools, supermarkets, and restaurants, so we’ll more often see the reminder to fill half of your plate with produce. Instead of worrying about measuring exact portion sizes, you can now eyeball it to see if you’re falling within the new guidelines. This should make it infinitely easier to plan healthy meals and choose what to order when eating out.

The take home

The MyPlate icon is just one part of the plan to help get Americans eating better and tackle the obesity epidemic. A host of interactive information and helpful links are available at ChooseMyPlate.gov. “What we have learned over the years is that consumers are bombarded by so many nutrition messages that it makes it difficult to focus on changes that are necessary to improve their diet,” said Vilsack. “This new campaign will help unify the public and private sectors to coordinate efforts and highlight one desired change for consumers at a time.” Here are some of the key messages that the will be addressed by the MyPlate campaign:
Enjoy your food, but eat less.
Avoid oversized portions.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
Switch from whole milk to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
Make at least half your grains whole grains.
Compare sodium (salt) in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals, and choose foods with lower numbers.
Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her doctoral degree from Bastyr University, the nation’s premier academic institution for science-based natural medicine. She co-founded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, where she practiced whole family care with an emphasis on nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, detoxification, and food allergy identification and treatment. Her blog, Eat Happy, helps take the drama out of healthy eating with real food recipes and nutrition news that you can use. Dr. Beauchamp is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved. http://www.Aisle7.net

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2011 in Diet, Healthy Eating, MyPlate

 

Thai Green Papaya Salad with Grilled Strawberries


From: California Strawberry Commission
Quick Facts
Servings: 3
Prep Time: 10 min.

Fresh, colorful and aromatic, this salad boasts exciting flavors like lime, mint and Thai basil!
Ingredients
1/2 clove garlic
1 tsp chopped shallot
8 cherry tomatoes
1 cup Chinese long beans, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbs Thai fish sauce
2 Tbs palm sugar or light brown sugar, or to taste
2 cups shredded green papaya
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, stemmed and cut into wedges
1 Tbs crushed roasted cashews
1 Tbs chopped dried shrimp (optional)
red chili flakes
6 large fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 tsp finely slivered Thai basil leaves
1 tsp finely slivered mint leaves
1/4 cup carrot shreds
Directions
In a large mortar and pestle, or in a bowl with a metal meat mallet, mash garlic and shallot to a paste. Add tomatoes and long beans; pound a few times to release juices. Add lime juice, fish sauce and sugar; stir gently to dissolve sugar. Add papaya; pound lightly.
Mix in strawberry wedges, cashews, shrimp and chili flakes; season with salt. Place strawberry halves on a hot grill, cut side down, 30-40 seconds or until grill marks form. Mound salad on a platter or 3 salad plates; garnish with grilled strawberries, basil, mint and carrot shreds.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 335
Calories from Fat 25 (7%)
(5%)
Total Fat 3g
(0%)
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
(0%)
Cholesterol 0mg
(40%)
Sodium 953mg
(0%)
Potassium 0mg
Total Carbohydrate 67g
(40%)
Dietary Fiber 10g
Sugars 0g
Sugar Alcohols 0g
(32%)
Protein 16g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Nutrition facts are calculated by a food expert using nutritional values provided by the USDA for common products used as recipe ingredients. Actual nutritional values may differ depending on the amounts or products used and can be affected by cooking methods.

Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved. http://www.Aisle7.net

 

Blackened Salmon

Gunther Emathinger
New Orleans-style blackened fish is customarily coated Cajun seasonings and then cooked in a very hot cast iron skillet.

Ingredients

  • 2 8 oz salmon filets
  • 3 Tbs Cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 4 cups hot cooked short or long-grain rice
  • Vegetables8 oz haricot verts (thin French green beans) or regular green beans
  • 2 oz carrots, sliced julienne (thin strips)
  • 1 Tbs fresh basil finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Mango salsa3/4 cup chopped, pitted & peeled mango
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 small jalapeño seeded, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbs fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat cast-iron pan to medium-high heat. Coat the top and bottom of the salmon filets with Cajun spice. Add the oil to the pan, then the salmon filets rounded side facing downward. Sear salmon filet for about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn filets over (the seasoning on the cooked side should be nice and dark to almost black in color) and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes to a medium to medium-well doneness.
  • Green Beans:Trim regular green beans if using fresh, place them in a large saucepan of boiling salted water and cook until crisp-tender (2 minutes for haricots verts or 3 to 4 minutes for regular green beans) and drain in a colander. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.) In a small sauté pan melt the butter, add carrots, green beans and basil. Sauté vegetables until hot, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mango Salsa:Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
  • Place the rice in the center of plate. Top with the sautéed vegetables, and then with the backened salmon filet. Place the mango salsa on top of the salmon filet and around the plate. Enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of the National Fisheries Institute

Nutrition Facts

Calories 527
Calories from Fat 181 (34%)
(31%)Total Fat 20g
(23%)Cholesterol 68mg
(20%)Sodium 483mg
(19%)Potassium 677mg
Total Carbohydrate 54g
Sugars 7g
Sugar Alcohols 0g
(60%)Protein 30g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Nutrition facts are calculated by a food expert using nutritional values provided by the USDA for common products used as recipe ingredients. Actual nutritional values may differ depending on the amounts or products used and can be affected by cooking methods.

Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved. http://www.Aisle7.net

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Diet, Egg-Free, Fish, Food, Low-Calorie, Main Course

 

Macrobiotic Diet

A macrobiotic diet is a strict whole-foods pesco-vegetarian (a diet that includes fish but no meat or poultry) diet. It is appealing to health-minded people who are practicing a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well-being. It focuses on balancing yin and yang foods, which are described below. There have been numerous anecdotal reports of the macrobiotic diet curing people of cancer or other serious diseases, but very little scientific evidence exists. * 50 to 60% of your diet should be whole grains, 25 to 30% vegetables, 5 to 10% miso and bean soups, and 5 to 10% beans and sea vegetables. * Avoid very yin or very yang foods (see description below). * The diet includes other principles like eating only when hungry, chewing food completely, and keeping the kitchen tidy.

Best bets: Brown rice, barley, whole wheat, fresh broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, chickpeas, tofu, sea vegetables like kombu and nori, and vegetable soups. A few servings of nuts and seafood per week are allowed.

More about this diet

The earliest recorded usage of the term “macrobiotics” is found in the writings of Hippocrates. Translated literally, macro is the Greek word for “great” and bios is the word for “life.” Macrobiotics is used by its practitioners as a tool that allows one to learn to live within the natural order of life. Throughout history, philosophers and physicians from many parts of the world have used this term to signify living in harmony with nature, eating a simple, balanced diet, and living to an active old age. The modern practice of macrobiotics was started in the 1920s by a Japanese educator named George Ohsawa. Ohsawa is said to have cured himself of a serious illness by changing to a simple diet of brown rice, miso soup, and sea vegetables. At the core of Ohsawa’s writings on macrobiotics is the concept of yin and yang. In Chinese philosophy, the opposing forces of yin and yang govern all aspects of life. Yin—representative of an outward centrifugal movement—results in expansion. On the other hand, yang—representative of an inward centripetal movement—produces contraction. In addition, yin is said to be cold while yang is hot; yin is sweet, yang is salty; yin is passive, yang is aggressive. In the macrobiotic view, the forces of yin and yang must be kept in balance to achieve good health. The macrobiotic diet, therefore, attempts to achieve harmony between yin and yang. To this end, foods are classified into yin and yang categories, according to their tastes, properties, and effects on the body. The two food groups—grains and vegetables—that have the least pronounced yin and yang qualities, are emphasized in the macrobiotic diet. Eating these foods is thought to make it easier to achieve a more balanced condition within the natural order of life. Foods considered either extremely yin or extremely yang are avoided. The standard macrobiotic diet recommendations are as follows:

* Whole grains—including brown rice, barley, millet, oats, corn, rye, whole wheat, and buckwheat—are believed to be the most balanced foods on the yin/yang continuum, and should comprise 50 to 60% of a person’s daily food intake. Although whole grains are preferred, small portions of pasta and bread from refined flour may be eaten.

* Fresh vegetables should comprise 25 to 30% of food intake. Daily consumption of any of the following vegetables is highly recommended: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, mustard greens, turnips, turnip greens, onion, daikon radish, acorn squash, butternut squash, and pumpkin. Vegetables to be eaten occasionally (two to three times per week) include celery, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, snow peas, and string beans. Vegetables should be lightly steamed or sautéed with a small amount of unrefined cooking oil (preferably sesame or corn oil).

* Beans and sea vegetables should comprise 5 to 10% of daily food intake. Especially recommended are adzuki beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lentils, and tofu. Sea vegetables, including wakame, hijiki, kombu, and nori, are rich in many vitamins and minerals, and are easily added at each meal.

* Soups and broths comprise 5 to 10% of food intake. Soups containing miso (soy bean paste), vegetables, and beans are acceptable.

* A few servings each week of nuts, seeds, and fresh fish (halibut, flounder, cod, or sole) are permissible. Brown rice syrup, barley malt, and amasake (a sweet rice drink) may be used as sweeteners. Brown rice vinegar and umeboshi plum vinegar may be used occasionally. Naturally processed sea salt and tamari soy sauce may be used to flavor grains and soups.

* Fluid intake should be governed by thirst. Only teas made from roasted grains, dandelion greens, or the cooking water of soba noodles are generally considered acceptable. All teas with aromatic fragrances or caffeine are avoided. Drinking and cooking water must be purified.

* To maintain proper yin/yang balance, all extremely yang foods and all extremely yin foods are avoided. All animal foods, including eggs and dairy products, are believed to have a strong yang quality. Extremely yin foods and beverages include refined sugars, chocolate, tropical fruits, soda, fruit juice, coffee, and hot spices. In addition, all foods processed with artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives must be avoided.

* All foods should be organically grown. Produce should be fresh and locally grown. Macrobiotic principles also govern food preparation and the manner in which food is eaten. Recommendations in this area include: avoid using a microwave oven to prepare food; cook rice in a pressure cooker; eat only when hungry; chew food completely; eat in an orderly, relaxed manner using good posture; and keep the home in good order, especially where food is prepared.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Diet, Vegetarian, Yin and Yang

 

Flavorful Ways to Get Flavonoids—and Live Longer in the Process

These powerful antioxidants have been shown to prolong life
By Maureen Williams, ND
If you thought that everything that tastes good is bad for you, here is good news: a study found that drinking red wine and eating apples, strawberries, and even chocolate might prevent heart disease and postpone death.

What are flavonoids?

Flavonoids are compounds found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grain fiber such as in bran, tea, wine, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. Many flavonoids are strong antioxidants, which are believed to prevent atherosclerosis by reducing damage to the cells that line the blood vessels. Some flavonoids have other beneficial properties, including anti-inflammatory effects and clot prevention.

Disease-fighting power

The report used data from the Iowa Women’s Health Study, in which more than 34,000 postmenopausal women between 55 and 69 years old answered questionnaires about diet and other factors related to cardiac risk and stroke risk.

The women’s diets were analyzed for total flavonoid content as well as for seven specific types of flavonoids:

  • Anthocyanidins—found in blueberries, raspberries, and red wine
  • Flavanones—found in oranges, grapefruit, and lemons
  • Flavones—found in parsley and celery

The women whose diets contained high amounts of anthocyanidins were less likely to die from cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart disease, and from any other cause than those who got little or didn’t get any. Flavanone intake was linked to lower risk of death due to coronary heart disease, and flavone intake to lower risk of death for any reason.

Get more in your meals

Specific foods reduced risk of death from heart disease, stroke, and all causes. Try some of the following suggestions to get more of these foods in your diet:

  • Eating bran, apples, pears, strawberries, red wine, and chocolate protected the women against death from cardiovascular disease.
  • Eating apples, pears, red wine, and grapefruit protected them against death from coronary heart disease.
  • Adding bran to food prevented death from stroke.
  • Chocolate, though the effect was small, was found to prevent cardiovascular disease-related deaths.

The study’s authors speculated that, as information about food make-up becomes more precise, we will learn more about the effects of specific food compounds on health and disease. In the meantime, tasty ways to work in more flavonoids abound. Enjoy!

(Am J Public Health 2006;96:1815–20)

Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice in Quechee, VT, and does extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.
Pear and Brie Quesadillas: Main Image

Pear and Brie Quesadillas

Quick Facts

Servings: 8
Cook Time: 8 min.

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A small amount of flavorful Brie cheese goes a long way in these unusual and elegant Mexican inspired appetizers.

Ingredients

  • 4 flour tortillas, 10-inches (25cm) in diameter
  • 2 medium Bartlett pears, at the peak of ripeness
  • 4 oz Brie cheese*
  • 1/4 cup or more fresh salsa, red or green salsa can be used

Directions

  • Place the 4 tortillas on a flat working surface.
  • Slice and core the pears into thin pieces (about 1/4-inch (0.5cm) thick).
  • Slice Brie into 12 or more very thin slices.
  • To assemble quesadillas, place pear slices and cheese on each tortilla, leaving one side of the tortilla empty for folding over. Fold the tortilla to form a semi-circle, with the pear and cheese on the inside.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet. Place a folded tortilla in the pan and heat just until the cheese starts to melt. Gently turn the quesadilla over and continue heating until the tortilla is lightly browned.
  • Remove to a platter and repeat with each of the 4 tortillas.
  • Slice each quesadilla in half and drizzle about 1 Tbsp (15g) of salsa over the top. Serve with napkins or a plate and fork, as it can get quite messy!

* Allergy notes: The egg protein lysozyme is an unlabeled additive in some cheeses. People allergic to eggs should eliminate any cheese in this recipe.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 132
Calories from Fat 46 (35%)
(8%)Total Fat 5g
(5%)Cholesterol 14mg
(8%)Sodium 201mg
(3%)Potassium 122mg
Total Carbohydrate 18g
(9%)Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 6g
Sugar Alcohols 0g
(9%)Protein 5g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Nutrition facts are calculated by a food expert using nutritional values provided by the USDA for common products used as recipe ingredients. Actual nutritional values may differ depending on the amounts or products used and can be affected by cooking methods.
 

Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved. http://www.Aisle7.net

Learn more about Aisle7, the company.

Learn more about the authors of Aisle7 products.

The information presented here is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2011.