Things are about to get real toasty.
Fact: Carbs aren’t bad for you. There, I said it.
Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients and act as a principal energy source in our bodies. They provide the body with glucose, which is converted by insulin into fuel used to support bodily functioning and physical activity.
Carbs have gotten a bad rap in recent years, though, which is highly correlated with the upsurge in popularity of the ketogenic diet: a diet plan that emphasizes eating lots of high-fat foods and almost no carbohydrates.
But according to the U.S. News and World Report, a much smarter way to eat is to follow the Mediterranean diet. In fact, they named this regime (more like a lifestyle) the healthiest diet overall. The Mediterranean diet is characterized by consuming plenty of produce, fish, olive oil, and—drum roll, please—bread.
Of course, not all types of bread (and not all forms of carbs) are created equal. The healthiest breads are made from whole grains, meaning the kernels still contain the bran, germ, and endosperm. These components house most of the beneficial nutrients that we get from grains, like fiber, vitamin B, zinc, magnesium, iron, and copper. White bread and other loaves made from refined, highly processed grains are much lower in nutritional quality.
But under the whole grain umbrella, the specific style of bread that nutrition experts are flagging as being ahead of the rest nutrient-wise is sprouted grain. Sprouted grains are basically whole grains that have started to germinate, which makes nutrients in grains more readily available.
“The germination process has a direct impact on the nutritional attributes of the seed and grain, which means sprouted grain bread may have some unique benefits over traditional whole grain breads,” says Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, the Plant-Powered Dietitian. “Germination increases the bioavailability of nutrients such as phosphorus, iron, zinc, calcium, manganese, potassium, magnesium, folic acid. It also increases the level of vitamins A, C and amino acids, fiber, and phenolic compounds. Basically, it makes the nutrients easier to digest,” she adds.
But before you run to the grocery store to stock up on sprouted grain bread, keep in mind that the term “sprouted grain” can be used as a marketing tool and isn’t regulated (plus it’s mega-trendy), so follow these key rules for finding an *actually* healthy loaf:
Still stumped? We’ve got you! These are a few of our favorite nutrient-rich sprouted grain bread breads you can buy.
This article originally appeared on Realsimple.com
Women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week were able to avoid memory problems for an average of 2.5 years longer than women who didn’t regularly eat berries, according to a study published in the Annals of Neurology. Researchers attributed the beneficial effects of berries to flavonoids, antioxidants that are believed to combat the inflammation that has been linked to cognitive decline.
Women’s Nutrition Connection, Vol NC-18
We can do many things to help minimize the uncomfortable and often disabling effects of inflammation. A healthy lifestyle including diet, exercise, and good sleep habits are powerful tools in fighting swelling and other side effects.
Here are several ways from Dr. Wayne Andersen’s Dr. A’s Habits of Health book to refer to when trying to stave off inflammation.
I guess most people would agree that weekends are just too short! Whether a weekend activity list includes a few tennis games, mountain biking with the kids, yard work or reorganizing the garage, many of us pack in as much as we can- be it fun or chores or both. For everyone who likes to “work hard, play hard”, finding time for physical activity during the week can be difficult. And, packing it all in during those coveted two days can be a double-edged sword for many “weekend warriors”.
The good news is that the scientific literature is clear that physical activity, even if it’s reserved for the weekend, is health-promoting. But the key for the weekend warrior is to have a proactive plan to reduce the risk of injury.
According to a 2017 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, weekend warriors do reduce their risk of chronic illness compared to people who are sedentary. But it’s important to note that weekend warriors who do not exert themselves to the recommended level of 75 minutes of vigorous activity in the two days or 150 minutes of moderate activity in the two days, do not get the same health benefits, which indicates that intensity and quantity are significant.
On the other hand, several studies show that weekend warriors are at an increased risk of injury. Whether the weekend activity includes intense athletic sports or tackling a big DIY project, research clearly indicates that weekend warriors are at increased risk of all kinds of injuries that can be as simple as a sprain or strain or as extreme as a ligament tear or broken bones or worse.
Of course, the best advice is to be physically active throughout the week and not just on the weekends. But sometimes that’s just not easy. Here are some important tips for weekend warriors:
Warm up. Take at least 10 minutes before diving into that big activity to do some gentle stretching. Also, even if daily exercise isn’t in the cards throughout the week, stretching should be.
Be realistic. Taking on too much can be the path to injury. Set goals that make sense based on previous activity level. Don’t aim too high.
Be aware. People who pay attention to their bodies’ signals will be better able to avoid overexertion injuries.
Drink water. Staying well hydrated, especially during an active weekend, is important for overall health but it’s especially important for muscles and joints.
Eat healthy. Warriors who have a healthy diet and maintain normal body weight are less likely to be injured during their active weekend.
Dietary supplements. Daily dietary supplements can support healthy muscles and joints, but they can also help with recovery. Muscular pain and inflammation from occasional overuse can be addressed with proactive use of antioxidants, omega-3s, curcumin, boswellia, systemic enzymes and magnesium.* These key ingredients can be a helpful part of the plan for any weekend warrior!
O’Donovan G, Lee I, Hamer M, et al. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2017;177(3):335-342.
O’Donovan G, Sarmiento OL, Hamer M. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy
One of the reasons apples are so healthy is they contain both soluble fiber (pectin) on the inside and insoluble fiber (cellulose) in the skin. The soluble fiber helps remove cholesterol from your body, slow down the absorption of glucose, and promote healthy bacteria in the colon. The insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticular disease. The fiber and phytonutrients in apples may have heart health benefits, too. One study showed that women who ate about half a medium apple a day were at 43% lower risk to die from coronary problems.
The Healthy Aging Diet by Timothy Cole
How can protein help you keep your independence? As you age you lose lean muscle mass. In fact, your muscles hit their peak mass when you’re in your thirties. Unfortunately, a reduction in the amount of muscle you have decreases your muscle strength. This muscle weakness can keep you from being able to carry out daily tasks and increases your risk of falling – two problems that often lead to a loss of independence. Recent research showed that people who ate the highest amount of protein – about 91 grams/day lost 40% less lean muscle mass than others who got only 57 grams of protein per day. Protect your strength and independence with a healthy diet including lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, pork tenderloin, and fish and seafood.
In addition to a healthy diet, strength training will help to improve your muscle strength. Regular exercise on the Choice Fitness circuit will keep your muscle strong!
The Healthy Aging Diet by Timothy Cole
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient shown to be beneficial to overall health. It helps strengthen the immune system and fend off infection.
When scientists reviewed results from a recent meta-analysis about the effects of vitamin D for bone health, they found interesting results. AT FIRST it appeared that Vitamin D had no real effect on bone health. However, when they took out the results of those people who admitted they didn’t actually take the vitamin, the results were dramatic. Those who took at least6 800 IU of Vitamin D daily had a 30% lower risk of breaking their hip. In addition, those taking between 700 and 1,000 IU daily were able to lower their risk of falling by 20%.
Health & Nutrition Letter from Tufts University
Vitamin D is both a nutrient we eat and a hormone our bodies make. Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, so the biggest dietary sources of vitamin D are fortified foods and vitamin supplements. Good sources include dairy products and breakfast cereals (both of which are fortified with vitamin D), and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.
For most people, the best way to get enough vitamin D is taking a supplement, but the level in most multivitamins (400 IU) is too low. Encouragingly, some manufacturers have begun adding 800 or 1,000 IU of vitamin D to their standard multivitamin preparations. If the multivitamin you take does not have 1,000 IU of vitamin D, you may want to consider adding a separate vitamin D supplement, especially if you don’t spend much time in the sun. Talk to your healthcare provider.
The body also manufactures vitamin D from cholesterol, through a process triggered by the action of sunlight on skin, hence its nickname, “the sunshine vitamin.” Yet some people do not make enough vitamin D from the sun, among them, people who have a darker skin tone, who are overweight, who are older, and who cover up when they are in the sun.
Correctly applied sunscreen reduces our ability to absorb vitamin D by more than 90 percent. And not all sunlight is created equal: The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays—the so-called “tanning” rays, and the rays that trigger the skin to produce vitamin D—are stronger near the equator and weaker at higher latitudes. So, in the fall and winter, people who live at higher latitudes (in the northern U.S. and Europe, for example) can’t make much if any vitamin D from the sun.
Lots of food companies tout foods made with “natural” sugar. The problem is that some “natural” sugars are NOT any better for you than plain old table sugar. That includes “natural” sugars like honey, brown sugar, and agave nectar.
But the natural sugar in fruit is a “good-for-you” way to eat sugar. The sugar in fruit takes longer to digest and does NOT cause the spike in blood sugar that processed sweets do. Think of fruit as Nature’s candy.
Consumer Reports The Answers to Good Health
Researchers have discovered an astonishing link between memory and exercise. Exercise releases hormones that help the brain store memories, and some research suggests it may decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s a whooping 45%. Even more surprising: just ONE 20-minute exercise routine can bring memory boosting results. Just imagine how good your memory could become if you come to Choice Fitness 3-4 times a week!
Consumer Reports The Answers to Good Health
Eggs are one of the closest things you can find to a naturally perfect food, says nutrition expert and author J.J. Virgin. They're rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and compounds that researchers have linked to everything from a lower risk of heart disease to better vision in your later years. And now, eggs might be healthier than they've ever been: Fortified eggs have nearly identical nutrition to regular eggs along with some added benefits.
How They're Fortified
Fortified eggs are eggs that typically come from chickens that have had ground flaxseeds added to their regular feed. Flaxseeds have a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. What goes into the chicken comes out again, mainly, in its eggs, so a hen that's been eating feed supplemented with flax meal will yield eggs dense with omega-3 fatty acids. Your body can convert ALA to docosahexanoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, both of which are linked to a lower risk of high blood cholesterol and heart disease. Fortified eggs may also come from chickens that have been supplemented with vitamin E, sea kelp, alfalfa and rice bran.
In 2008, scientists at the Tel Aviv University reported that you're not getting shafted by producers of fortified eggs -- these eggs really do have a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids than regular eggs. According to their study, a fortified egg could provide the average American with about 14 percent of the recommended amount of polyunsaturated fats she should have each day. The typical fortified egg has the same amount of calories, protein and fat as a regular egg, but contains 115 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids compared to the 49 milligrams in an ordinary egg. Depending on the chicken feed, fortified eggs may also have more vitamin D, vitamin E, folate and iodine.
What Experts Say
If you want to eat fortified eggs -- and can afford the usually higher price tag -- nutritionist Monica Reinagel says to go for it. They won't hurt you, and they can help you get the 1,100 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids that the Institute of Medicine recommends daily for adult women. However, the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition assistant director, Susan Bowerman, points out that you shouldn't depend solely on foods like fortified eggs to get your omega-3 fatty acids. A 3-ounce serving of cooked salmon will give you far more. If you're a vegetarian who consumes fortified eggs, you'll still need some other source of omega-3 fatty acids -- dietary supplements, for instance -- in order to get enough.
Egg Intake Recommendations
If you're a healthy woman, eating ordinary or fortified eggs regularly throughout the week isn't going to kill you, says the Dietitians of Canada. Yes, eggs do have cholesterol and saturated fat, but if you don't have high blood cholesterol, diabetes or heart disease, you can have one whole egg a day -- which includes eggs in dishes or baked goods -- without worrying. If you do have a history of these conditions, it's best to limit your intake to no more than two eggs a week. Just don't dump the yolk, especially if you're going out of your way to get fortified eggs -- most of the omega-3 fatty acids are concentrated there. If you skip the yolk, you don't get the heart-healthy fats.
Don’t waste money on eggs labeled “raised with no hormones.” By law, chickens that produce eggs cannot be given hormones. Eggs with a “no hormone” claim are no different from eggs that don’t have the “no hormone” claim.