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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Your Food: 8 things you didn’t know about what you’re eating

How much salt is in your Kraft Dinner, how much vitamin C is packed into an orange, and what nutrients are you getting from your kale salad?
There are superfoods and then there are processed goods. Here are eight things you didn’t know about what’s on your plate and in your fridge and pantry.

Source: http://globalnews.ca/

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cold weather may spur weight loss

Feeling the January chill? Well, being cold isn't all bad. Scientists have found that exposing yourself to cold temperatures regularly could speed up weight loss.

It turns out there just might really be a way to burn calories more efficiently without slaving away at the gym or (god forbid) turning down dessert. The trick barely takes any effort: Just step outdoors or lower your thermostat, and you could be golden — if the newest research from the Center for Integrative Metabolic and Endocrine Research at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, checks out. 
To get how all this works, you need to know a bit about fat: When you eat more calories than you burn, your body stores the leftovers as white or brown fat, explains James Granneman, Ph.D., a scientist at Wayne State University who co-authored the new research. White fat can accumulate in your tissues, cause inflammation, and mess with your health, while brown fat creates energy more efficiently, generates heat, and excretes a mix of hormones that further promote energy metabolism. Because of this, it's in your best interest to have more brown fat than white fat.
To figure out what controls that brown-to-white fat ratio, Granneman and his colleagues assessed the body fat of mice before and after exposing them to 40-degrees Fahrenheit temperatures for one week straight. To put this in perspective, that's the temperature of the average refrigerator.
The cold temperatures favored brown fat and made white fat act a little more like brown fat, according to Granneman. The likely culprit is adrenaline, the same hormone and neurotransmitter that your body spews out when you're scared. (Which makes sense — just thinking about spending a week in a Sub-Zero is enough to scare anyone shitless.)

Even if you could handle a week in near-freezing temperatures, which you'd need to do to give your brown fat a leg up, it probably wouldn't boost your calorie burn enough to significantly affect your weight (or your health), says Granneman, who co-authored human research on the topic. But scientists are still digging around for ways to enhance the benefits of brown fat, he adds.

The bottom line is that all fat isn't equally bad — and that while winter weather is a bitch, chilly temperatures could, at least in theory, help your fat behave (even just a bit).

Take fitness outdoors this winter
Winter activities are a great way to mix up your fitness program and beat the winter blues. Get creative this winter and even if you can’t get to the gym, add fun new activities that your whole family can enjoy.
To make the most of your winter workouts, begin by changing your attitude toward the cold. With some planning, appropriate clothing and a spirit of adventure, winter outdoor fitness can be fun and effective.
Go out and play: Whether you have children or just act like a child, play is good for your heart and soul. Building a snowman is functional training and builds mobility and strength. Depending on how big you build it, you may burn as many calories as weightlifting or jogging. The bigger the snowman the more strength benefits you get. A vigorous snowball fight will burn up calories and work your whole body. And if you’re not into these activities, make snow angels. It’s good for flexibility and will elevate your heart rate.

Take up a winter sport: Skating is a fantastic non-impact cardiovascular sport. An outdoor skate feels invigorating without impact. If your joints can’t take running; skating and cross-country skiing are great alternatives. These gliding activities train balance, mobility and co-ordination. Cross-country skiing is one of the best calorie burning activities, as it requires both upper and lower body in the movement. If you don’t know how, don’t worry as these activities are easy to learn.
When the snow falls, snowshoeing is one activity that burns mega calories and is an excellent cardiovascular sport, burning equivalent or higher calories then running depending on your intensity and the snow conditions. Snowshoeing is one of the fastest growing winter sports. Not only is it an amazing fitness activity, it is convenient and easy to learn. If you can walk you can snowshoe.
Snowshoeing is great conditioning for running. Snowshoes add resistance, yet there is less impact to the joints. In fact, research shows that runners who substituted snowshoeing in the winter improved their running fitness over those who chose running as their primary activity.
Tobogganing is another healthy winter activity. Pulling a sled up hill will raise your heart rate and strengthen the upper and lower body. In fact, many of the top trainers are recommending sled pulling as an excellent cardiovascular workout. Instead of pulling a sled indoors, take it back to its origin and see amazing results. Plus you get the exhilaration of sliding downhill at rapid speeds.
Decreased motivation and feelings of sadness are common in the winter. Getting outdoors and catching even an hour of daylight can raise the spirits. Physical exercise stimulates the release of endorphins that gives you an overall feeling of well-being.
Remember when your parents used to send you outdoors to get some “fresh air?” Well, there is something to be said about this wise tale. Getting outdoors in the fresh air is good for your respiratory system. Being locked indoors with re-circulated air can cause headaches and congestion. Stepping outside and going for a walk can relieve headaches and help you breathe more easily.

While there are many great ways to workout outdoors this winter, be sure to always stay safe. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
1. — Dress for the weather. Layer your clothing to accommodate for the changing environment from cold to hot as you work out.
2. — Wear reflective clothing and avoid black. With darkness in the morning and early evening protect yourself by being seen.
3. — Keep your feet, hands and head warm, as this is where you lose the most heat. Cover up with appropriate winter gear.
4. — Wear shoes with good traction to avoid slipping.
5. — Find a workout buddy or let someone know you are going outdoors. You never know what can happen and you want to be sure someone knows where you are in case of an emergency.
6. — Carry a cellphone and don’t go out alone in the wilderness. Always check in with the park warden.
7. — Bring water and snacks. Even though you may not feel like you are sweating, you are still expending energy and dehydrating from exercise.
Change your perspective and get excited this winter about fitness. Winter activities are exhilarating and good for your health. Embrace the season and wrap up your winter fitness activity with a cup of dark chocolate milk.

Source: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/; http://calgaryherald.com/

Monday, January 5, 2015

5 aids to help in post-holiday detoxing

Your liver and other organs need a boost after the overindulgence of the holidays. Here are five items you should stock up on to kickstart your wellbeing in 2015.

After the holidays — with their traditional onslaught of stuffing, gravy, and mountains of chocolate — our bodies are begging for a detox. When it comes to shedding water weight and eliminating toxins, we rely on the liver and other organs, and there are several ways to give them a boost. Here are a few ingredients to be sure to include in your diet over the coming days to start 2015 on the right foot.

Herbal teas and tinctures
Health food stores are the first place to go when the need for a detox sets in, as they offer natural products known to help the body eliminate toxins. Some classic detox aids include tinctures and teas made with rosemary, artichoke, burdock, dandelion, black radish, peppermint, lavender or lemon essential oil.

Water, water and more water
After a period of excess, water is one of your best allies when it comes to flushing out the system. Particularly while attempting to detox, it is important to drink around 50 to 70 fluid ounces of water per day (1.5 to 2 liters). Drinking H2O helps to promote better digestion and, somewhat counter intuitively, to shed water weight. To reap even more benefits, choose bottled mineral water that is rich in calcium and magnesium and low in sodium.

The lemon method
There is one ingredient people around the world swear by after overindulging during the holidays: lemon. Adding lemon juice to a large bottle of water and drinking it throughout the day helps regulate the digestive system and stimulate the elimination of toxins. Of course, lemon juice can also be added to food as a light salad dressing, for example.

Seasonal fruit
Rich in vitamins and water, pineapple, grapefruit, apple, orange and lemon are ideal detox aids when eaten raw before and (especially) after a meal.

Green vegetables instead of starch
Instead of mashed potatoes or white pasta, fill your plate with green vegetables in the weeks following the holidays. A diet rich in herbs, lettuces, kale and cabbage — as well as onions and garlic — can help the body eliminate toxins while replenishing vitamins and minerals. While any detox diet should also include a few whole grains in moderation, avoid white starches as well as all forms of processed sugar, alcohol, coffee and dairy products.

To get a jump start on your health this year, try my post-holiday detox smoothie recipe below:


2 cups kale
2 cups spinach
1/3 of a cucumber
½ an apple
1-inch slice of ginger
1 frozen banana
3 tbsp hemp hearts
Juice of ½ a lemon
3 cups water
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend!
Makes 2 servings.

Per servingCalories 211 / Calories from fat 62 / Total fat 6.9 g / Saturated fat 1 g /  Cholesterol 0 mg / Sodium 70 mg / Total carbohydrates 31 g / Fibre 7 g / Sugar 13 g / Protein 9 g

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Sharing with you easy last minute ideas to decorate your Christmas table...

Monday, November 24, 2014

10 Superfoods Healthier Than Kale

In the world of marketing, image is everything. If you’re James Franco or Roger Federer or Taylor Swift, your name and face can be used to sell anything from phones to watches to perfume—even if you’re not necessarily famous for the your tech-savvy, your promptness, or the way you smell.  

In the food world, the biggest celebrity of all might be kale—the Shakira of salads, the Lady Gaga of leafy greens. It’s universally recognized that kale anything—kale chips, kale pesto, kale face cream—instantly imparts a health halo. Even 7-Eleven is making over its image by offering kale cold-pressed juices. And yes, kale has plenty of benefits—including high levels of folate and more calcium, gram for gram, than a cup of milk. (It’s head and shoulders above these items found in our Eat This, Not That! Special Report: “Health” Foods Worse for You Than a Donut.)

Still, kale’s actually not the healthiest green on the block. In fact, in a recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control that ranked 47 “powerhouse fruits and vegetables,” kale placed only 15th (with 49.07 points out of 100 for nutrient density)! Here’s a roundup of the 10 leafy green cousins that researchers say pack a greater nutritional wallop. Read ’em, eat ’em, and reap the benefits.  

 SUPERFOOD #10 Collard Greens
Nutrition Score: 62.49
A staple vegetable of Southern U.S. cuisine, collard greens also boast incredible cholesterol-lowering benefits — especially when steamed. A recent study published in the journal Nutrition Research compared the effectiveness of the prescription drug Cholestyramine to steamed collards. Incredibly, the collards improved the body’s cholesterol-blocking process by 13 percent more than the drug! Of course, that won’t do you any good if you insist on serving them with ham hocks.

SUPERFOOD #9 Romaine Lettuce
Nutrition Score: 63.48
Even more so than its cousin kale, the humble Romaine lettuce packs high levels of folic acid, a water-soluble form of Vitamin B that’s proven to boost male fertility. A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found supplemental folic acid to significantly increase sperm counts. Get the man in your life to start craving Caesar salads, and you may soon have a baby Julius on board. (Ladies, this green packs health benefits for you, too! Folate also plays a role in battling depression, so change out your kale for Romaine and, while you’re at it, stock up on these other 8 Foods That Boost Your Mood.)

SUPERFOOD #8 Parsley
Nutrition Score: 65.59
Yes, that leafy garnish that sits on the side of your plate—the one they throw away after you eat the rest of your meal—is a quiet superfood, so packed with nutrients that even that one sprig can go a long way toward meeting your daily requirement for vitamin K. Moreover, research suggests the summer-y aroma and flavor of chopped parsley may help control your appetite. A study in the journal Flavour found participants ate significantly less of a dish that smelled strongly of spice than a mildly scented version of the same food. Adding herbs, like parsley, creates the sensory illusion that you’re indulging in something rich—without adding any fat or calories to your plate.

SUPERFOOD #7 Leaf Lettuce
Nutrition Score: 70.73
The nutritional Clark Kent of the salad bar, this common and unsuspecting leafy green is ready to take its place among the superfoods. Two generous cups of lettuce provides 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement for strong, healthy bones. A report from the Nurses’ Health Study suggests that women who eat a serving of lettuce every day cut the risk of hip fracture by 30 percent than when compared with eating just one serving a week.

SUPERFOOD #6 Chicory
Nutrition Score: 73.36
Chicory is a family of bitter greens, but its most well-known member is radicchio, the small red or purple leaf that comes in a head about the size of a softball. It’s one of the best dietary sources of polyphenols—powerful micronutrients that serve a role in preventing disease. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who consume 650 mg a day of polyphenols have a 30 percent chance at living longer than those who consume less than that. A cup of chicory leaves clocks in at about 235 mg (double that of spinach!), so consider adding a little leafy red into your leafy greens.

SUPERFOOD #5 Spinach
Nutrition Score: 86.43
Spinach is to kale what Michael Jordan is to LeBron James—the once unrivaled king now overshadowed by the hot new thing. But like MJ, spinach has a few more championship rings than its more current rival—primarily its position as a top source of biceps-building iron. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 180 gram serving of boiled spinach provides 6.43 mg of the muscle mineral—that’s more than a 6 oz hamburger patty! Recent research also suggest compounds in the leaf membranes called thylakoids may serve as a powerful appetite suppressant. A recently published long-term study at Lund University in Sweden found that having a drink containing thylakoids before breakfast could significantly reduce cravings and promote weight loss. On average, the women who took the spinach extract lost 5.5 pounds more than the placebo group over the course of three months. 

SUPERFOOD #4 Beet Greens
Nutrition Score: 87.08
Yes, the stuff they cut off and throw in the garbage before charging you an arm and a leg for “beet salad.” A scant cup of the bitter green serves up nearly 5 grams of fiber—that’s more than you’ll find in a bowl of Quaker oats! Researchers at the University of Leeds found that risk of cardiovascular disease was significantly lower for every 7 grams of fiber consumed. Try them in stir frys and eat to your heart’s content!

Nutrition Score: 89.27
Chard. Sounds like “burnt.” It’s not as fun a name to drop as, say, “broccolini,” but it might be your best defense against diabetes. Recent research has shown that these powerhouse leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, including anthocyanins–anti-inflammatory compounds that could offer protection from type 2 diabetes. Researchers from the University of East Anglia analyzed questionnaires and blood samples of about 2,000 people and found that those with the highest dietary intakes of anthocyanins had lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation.

SUPERFOOD #2 Chinese Cabbage
Nutrition Score: 91.99
Taking the silver medal in the powerfood Olympics is Chinese cabbage, also called Napa or celery cabbage. Rich sources of highly available calcium and iron, cruciferous vegetables like the cabbage have the powerful ability to “turn off” inflammation markers thought to promote heart disease. In a study of more than 1,000 Chinese women, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, those who ate the most cruciferous vegetables (about 1.5 cups per day) had 13 percent less inflammation than those who ate the fewest.

SUPERFOOD #1 Watercress
Nutrition Score: 100
The top dog, the unrivaled champion, the chairman of the cutting board, watercress may also be the closest thing yet to a true anti-aging food. Gram for gram this mild-tasting and flowery-looking green contains four times more beta carotene than an apple, and a whopping 238 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin K per 100 grams — two compounds that keep skin dewy and youthful. The beauty food is also the richest dietary source of PEITC (phenylethyl isothiocyanate), which research suggests can fight cancer. Results from an eight-week trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest daily supplementation of 85 grams of raw watercress (that’s about two cups) could reduce DMA damage linked to cancer by 17 percent. Exposure to heat may inactivate PEITC, so it’s best to enjoy watercress raw in salads, cold-pressed juices, and sandwiches.

Friday, November 14, 2014

World Diabetes Day: Coffee May Cut Type 2 Diabetes Risk By One Quarter

LOVE YOUR COFFEE? New research, published today on World Diabetes Day, shows that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of type two diabetes by up to 25%.
The report, carried out by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) finds that moderate consumption of coffee on a daily basis may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Three to four cups 
Evidence shows that drinking three to four cups of coffee per day is associated with an approximate 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to consuming none to less than two cups per day.
The study, which was carried out in May 2014 with a sample size of 1000 participants, showed that increasing coffee consumption by one cup per day over a 4 year period resulted in an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in the subsequent 4 years.
Those who decreased coffee intake by one cup per day had a 17% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Research has also suggested that the time of coffee consumption could play a distinct role in glucose metabolism.

Lunch time 
One prospective cohort study of 69,532 women examined the long-term effects of coffee on type 2 diabetes and found drinking coffee, especially at lunch time, reduced the risk of developing diabetes.
Conor Minogue from the Irish Coffee Council said the study is welcome news for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes in Ireland.
He said moderate coffee consumption fits well with a healthy balanced diet and can be enjoyed as part of active lifestyle.
“However, we do recommend that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake from all sources to 200mg per day in line with current guidelines,” he said.

Find out if you're at risk of diabetes with this test:

Sources: http://www.thejournal.ie/, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Monday, November 10, 2014


Pomegranate has been renowned as a superfood for centuries, and has been found to contain vitamins A, C and E as well as iron and antioxidants – chemicals which help neutralise harmful oxygen molecules called free radicals. From reducing the risk of prostate cancer to lowering cholesterol levels, Alzheimer's to arthritis, stress relief to appetite suppressant, pomegranates and their many health benefits have been well documented. And if that was not enough to convince you to try pomegranate, the fruit is now being hailed as the elixir of youth.

Researchers from the Probelte Bio Labatory in Spain used a potent new type of pomegranate extract including the skin, pith and seeds of the fruit. The 60 participants were asked to take the extract for 30 days in the form of a pill. The results found a significant decrease in a marker associated with cell damage, that disrupts brain, muscle, liver and kidney functions, as well as causing ageing. Dr Sergio Streitenberger, who led the study, said: "We are very excited about this study which we believe demonstrates that regular consumption of this pomegranate extract can slow down the process of DNA oxidation (...) We get old because we fall apart, cell by cell. One way to look at ageing is to think of it as rusting or oxidizing, a damaging process. The free radicals that oxidize our body's molecules include fats, heavy metals and numerous other chemical compounds we breathe, eat and drink. If free radicals reach the DNA of our cells, the damage is cumulative and significant. Being able to guard against this process would be a significant breakthrough".

But pomegranate appears to have an extra benefit: it cuts hunger pangs.
Scientists say regular consumption of pomegranate extract may reduce feelings of hunger, while increasing the sensation of being full. Volunteers who took a pomegranate supplement daily for three weeks reported feeling significantly less hungry during the experiment than those who had a placebo instead. A total of 29 volunteers took part in the study carried out by Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Half the group took a pomegranate extract, containing the skin, pith and seeds of the fruit, every day for three weeks and the rest took a placebo tablet. After three weeks, each volunteer drank a glass of pomegranate juice before sitting down to a meal of pasta with tomato sauce. The pomegranate extract group felt less hungry (by an average of 12%), had less desire to eat (21%), felt fuller (16%) and more satisfied (15%). They also ate an average of 447 grammes of the pasta meal compared with 574 grammes for the control group, or 22% less. Dr Emad Al-Dujaili, who lead the research, said: "We and other researchers have shown that pomegranates contain potent antioxidants that can neutralise free radicals better than red wine, green tea and commonly consumed juices (...) Pomegranate juice intake can cause a reduction in blood pressure and insulin resistance. The present study shows that pomegranate extract can promote satiety by reducing hunger and desire to eat and enhancing fullness and satisfaction" These results indicate that pomegranate extract consumption may have the potential to assist in the challenge of reducing risk factors for overweight and obesity.

Moreover, research suggests that pomegranate juice could slow the spread of cancer.
Scientists have found components in the juice which stop the movement of cancer cells, and weaken their attraction to chemical signals which cause them to spread.
They found that particular ingredients in the juice - such as fatty acids - slowed the spread of the disease from prostate cancer to the bone. The team from the University of California hope the fruit will have a similar effect on other cancers. Dr Manuela Martins-Green said: "This is particularly exciting because we can now modify these naturally occurring components of the juice to improve their functions and make them more effective in preventing prostate cancer metastasis...Because the genes and proteins involved in movement of prostate cancer cells are essentially the same as those involved in movement of other types of cancer cells, the same modified components of the juice could have a much broader impact in cancer treatment."

One active area of research has looked at the potential heart health benefits of the pomegranate.
Spanish researchers found that pomegranates could reverse some of the damage done by junk food. They tested a new supplement on pigs. The supplement was made with polyphenols found in pomegranates. The researchers first fed the pigs—whose cardiovascular systems are similar to ours—a diet of fatty, damaging foods. Unsurprisingly, this diet damaged the lining of their blood vessels. Damage to this lining, the endothelium, is often the first step in atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries which leads to heart attacks and strokes. After the intentional vascular damage was done, the pigs were fed a daily dose of Pomanex, a supplement containing 200 mg of polyphenols. The researchers said the punicalagin-containing supplement was able to repair the damage. Dr Lina Badimon, of the Catalan Institute for Cardiovascular Sciences in Spain, said: ‘Enriching a diet with pomegranate polyphenols can help in preventing and retarding endothelial dysfunctions, which are among the first signs of atherosclerosis and strokes.’
Though while this study focuses on a specific product, this isn’t the first study to demonstrate the heart-healthy benefits of pomegranates in general – and other such studies weren’t linked to a man-made supplement.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated pomegranate juice was able to reduce oxidative stress and  plaque on arterial walls. Another found men taking pomegranate juice were able to reduce the plaque in their arteries by 30% in a year’s time. The control group, who didn’t take pomegranate juice, saw a plaque increase of 9%.
Researchers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburg, Scotland found that drinking pomegranate juice could lower blood pressure. In the study, when an undisclosed number of people drank 500 ml (16 ounces) of pomegranate juice a day for four weeks, there was a "significant" fall in blood pressure for 90 percent of the group. Drinking pomegranate juice was also linked to "lower levels of unsaturated fatty acids, which are linked to the storage of stomach fat".

In addition to the benefits on blood pressure, this same research found that pomegranate juice can reduce stress hormone. Volunteers were assessed on mood status using a specialist test. After consumption of pomegranate juice most subjects reported that they were more enthusiastic, inspired, proud and active and all reported that they were less distressed, nervous, guilty and ashamed according to the attributes tested. Research Scientist, Dr Emad Al-Dujaili who led the study said: "On the basis of these findings there is a justified argument for busy workers to drink pomegranate juice to help alleviate chronic stress and maintain good health.”

One other study not related to heart health found that pomegranate juice can significantly improve memory and brain health. In this latest study, subjects with self-reported memory problems were randomly assigned to receive 8 ounces of pomegranate juice of a placebo with similar flavor. Over a four-week study period, the subjects participated in memory tests, MRI scans, and blood draws. Those participants in the pomegranate juice group saw “significant improvement” in their verbal memory tests and their plasma antioxidant levels. They even showed increased brain activity during memory and verbal testing, suggesting the juice helped encourage increased blood flow to “critical task-related” regions of the brain.
Need an idea to enjoy all the benefits of this wonder fruit? Try this

Pomegranate-berry smoothie

TOTAL TIME: 5 min - YIELD: one 8-ounce serving

1/2 cup chilled pomegranate juice
1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 cup frozen mixed berries


Add the juice, yogurt and berries to a blender. Cover and blend until pureed.

Nutritional information per serving: about 250 calories, 6 g protein, 52 g carbohydrate, 2 g total fat (1 g saturated), 5 g fiber, 8 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium

Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ , http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/
Recipe: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/