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Kick Carbs to the Curb: 3 Undeniable Benefits

credit: picture and recipe from, http://www.tablefortwoblog.com/zucchini-chips/

Carbohydrates are not evil! Most sources of carbohydrates that most people eat are processed (cereal, bagels/bread, yogurt, pasta), add calories and stimulate appetite without providing much benefit. Kick unhealthy carbohydrates to the curb but swap them for healthier versions of carbohydrates. Get “nutritional bang for your calorie buck”!

Carbohydrates from low-calorie veggies, low glycemic fruits, nuts and seeds are filled with nutrients that keep you healthy and looking good.

The 3 strongest arguments for cutting unhealthy carbohydrates and substituting healthy carbs are:

  1. Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are nutrients provided by a plant through its color or pigment,  http://health.mo.gov/living/families/wic/wiclwp/pdf/phytonutrientsposter.pdf,  and they have been found to stave off disease (cancer, heart disease…), slow aging, lower inflammation and support good health. More than 100,000 phytonutrients are found in colorful fruits and vegetables. Some phytonutrients in plants are fat soluble and need fat for nutrient absorption.

When you swap commercially prepared carbohydrates like bread, pretzels, processed rice… for plant foods you fuel your body with an artillery of phytonutrients that boost body systems to function at peak performance reducing the chance of health issues. Healthy carbohydrates with phytonutrients and their colors are:

  • Lycopenes, ellagic acid, quercetin, hesperidin, anthocyanidins are red so eating tomatoes, red onion, watermelon, pink grapefruit or promote heart health, urinary tract health and can protect memory.
  • Carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene), beta cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, hesperidin are orange/yellow and help maintain healthy eyes and skin and protect against cancer and heart disease use these substitutes: carrots, winter squash, yellow & orange bell peppers, pumpkin, cantaloupe and tumeric/curry.
  • EGCG, allicin, quercetin, indoles, glucosinolates compounds are white/tan eat onions, cauliflower, tea, turnips and garlic to help boost the immune system and support heart health.
  • Lutein/zeaxanthin, isoflavones, EGCG, indoles, isothiocyanates, sulphoraphane from greens like spinach, kale, collards Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy all work to detox the body and slow cell damage, lower oxidative stress and inflammation. Eating these green carbohydrates can help ward off cancer and all types of illnesses.
  • Anthocyanidins, resveratrol, phenolics, flavonoids  are antioxidant powerhouses that help neutralize free radicals which contribute to aging and many disease conditions. Choose these carbohydrate foods from the blue and purple group: berries, eggplant and plums.
  1. Slashing calories

Replacing unhealthy carbs with non-starchy veggies is calorically economical and can help in weight management.

A serving of bread or starch contains 80-100 calories and 12-15 grams of carbohydrate, (if you read the label, any given product may contain more). In comparison a serving of non-starchy vegetables is  < 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates.

Simple math gives you the answer. Reduce the starch and bread and cut calories by 75% and lower carbs by two thirds.

  1. Taste

Tantalize your tongue with these unhealthy carbohydrate replacement recipes. When you are happy and satisfied with your meals nothing else matters!

  • Paleo Zucchini Tortillas:

http://beautyandthefoodie.com/paleo-zucchini-tortillas/

  • Cauliflower fried rice:

http://www.paleocupboard.com/cauliflower-fried-rice.html

  • Zucchini chips:
Zucchini Chips

  • Don’t feel like cooking? try spicy pumpkin seeds:

http://www.amazon.com/Eden-Organic-Pumpkin-Roasted-Pocket/dp/B00HZO4X1G/ref=sr_1_4?                i.e.=UTF8&qid=1439868333&sr=8-4&keywords=eden+foods+pumpkin+seeds

  • Desserts? Try these:

http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/low-carb-dessert-recipes.html

So now, what is stopping you from optimal nutrition and kicking unnecessary carbs to the curb?

 

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You’re So Vain; But Ketones Trigger An Anti-Aging Brain

Elderly woman with granddaughter

Diet and exercise are tools used to achieve a physical or weight goal in order to improve appearance. You might say some people diet and exercise in vain.

Yet new research supports a deeper more important biochemical connection between diet and exercise that goes beyond the vanity of physical appearance and protects against an aging brain.

Dr. Moses Chao, a professor of cell biology, physiology and neuroscience at New York University School of Medicine and his colleagues published their study of mice and how “strenuous exercise seems to beneficially change how certain genes work inside the brain,” https://elifesciences.org/content/5/e15092.

It seems as though exercise “triggers” the production of a protein involved in nerve cell growth and helps improve memory. This protein is called “brain-derived neurotrophic factor”, or BDNF. 

A low level of BDNF is linked to diseases of aging such as depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The more BDNF, the lower the neuro-degenerative mental health risk. What the scientists found was that mice who strenuously exercised for one month had higher BDNF levels when compared to those that didn’t exercise at all.

What is the exercise “trigger” that increases BDNF? Ketone bodies, also known as β-hydroxybutyrate, are simply defined as by-products of burning fat for energy. Ketones were found to be the underlying reason for higher BDNF levels. So ketones helped improve memory and lower mental/neurological health risks.

Chao says, “increased BDNF levels are associated with lower rates of dementia and that studies have shown that BDNF levels in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease are, on average, half that of people without either brain-damaging disease.”

Experiments also showed that exercise inhibits an enzyme, histone deacetylase or  HDACs. HDACs work to lower BDNF and influence the genetic expression of mental health conditions that occur as we age.  Currently mood stabilizing and seizure preventive pharmaceutical drugs are used to act on lowering HDACs to treat these diseases.

How can you increase BDNF and keep HDACs at bay without taking prescription drugs? There are two ways to naturally elevate ketone bodies:

  1. Eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day (based on your personal goals with calorie consumption being equal or less than your body needs). This can be done by eating fat and protein from meat, chicken, eggs, fish, oils, olives, coconut consuming 2-3 cups of green leafy veggies. KetoDiet, https://ketodietapp.com/, is an example of one tool that can be used to help target your calorie needs and guide your nutritional choices.
  2. Exercise helps burn more ketone bodies. Once glycogen stores are depleted more fat is used to provide calories for energy; It takes 20-30 minutes of moderately intense exercise, or, immediately if you are following a ketogenic diet to start burning fat as a primary fuel.

Your vanity may help maintain your quality of life. A ketogenic diet and moderate to high intensive activity can act as powerful tools in the genetic response to aging, mental/neurological health and as substitutes for more risky pharmaceutical drugs that work by blocking natural body processes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drinking Skim Milk: The Diabetes Obesity Connection

Image result for skim milk

When you are diagnosed with a medical condition such as diabetes. You might seek to get what you think is invaluable information from a well established diabetes organization like the American Diabetes Association.

When you visit The American Diabetes Association website for diet advice,  http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/dairy.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/, you will read about the best choices for dairy products:

“What are the Best Choices?”

“The best choices of dairy products are:

Fat-free or low-fat (1% milk)

Plain non-fat yogurt (regular or Greek yogurt)

Non-fat light yogurt (regular or Greek yogurt)”

Yet, low-fat dairy products have more carbohydrates that influence blood sugar, insulin and appetite than natural high fat dairy products.

Current research, “Circulating Biomarkers of Dairy Fat and Risk of Incident Diabetes Mellitus Among US Men and Women in Two Large Prospective Cohorts“, July 5, 2016, Volume 134, Issue 1, http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2016/03/22/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.018410.abstract, suggests full fat (NOT low-fat) dairy may help lower diabetes risk and assist in weight maintenance. The twenty year study followed over 3,000 participants ages 30 to 75.  Those who consumed the higher percent fat dairy “had about a 50 percent lower risk of diabetes.”

Low and non fat dairy may not just be a culprit in elevating diabetes risk, additional research has shown an association between skim milk and weight gain especially in children, http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/20/health/skim-milk-obesity/.

Dr. Mark DeBoer, an associate professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine authored a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. They found children who drank 2% fat milk showed lower BMI scores than those drinking the 1% fat milk. Over time, he found that children who were normal weight at the start of the study and consistently drank the 1% milk showed a 57% increased chance of becoming overweight or obese by the time they were 4 years old.”

Despite these findings from 3 years ago, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Heart Association (AHA) continue to recommend that children older than 2 years drink skim or low-fat milk.

Hmmm…if the science is finding skim milk is not healthy, why not scrap the recommendations that are given by most experts, and at least give full fat dairy equal billing to help fight the diabesity battle, and in doing so, re-think the skim milk offerings within the school lunch programs.

There is no essential need to drink milk. Good sources of calcium containing foods (kale, collard greens, broccoli, edamame, bok choy, sardines, oranges, tofu, almonds),  foods that contain vitamin D (salmon, tuna, pasteurized eggs, sardines) and supplements are viable options.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and calcium acts similarly in that it requires a carrier for absorption.  So if you drink milk for the purpose of attaining these nutrients, drink milk with more fat and avoid 1% or skim milk to help vitamin absorption and to reduce the risk of weight gain and diabetes.

 

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The Potassium Tie in to Insulin Sensitivity

Image result for potassium foodsImage result for potassium foods

There may be a valid rationale to use potassium citrate as a supplement for those who are interested in improving beta cell function (i.e. diabetes) and insulin sensitivity.

Although the sample size is small, the research method for “Effects of potassium citrate or potassium chloride in patients with combined glucose intolerance: A placebo-controlled pilot study”, seems to hold its own.

Conen K. et al., conducted this double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 7 males and 4 females ages 47-63 years old who were glucose intolerant (an umbrella term for metabolic conditions which result in higher than normal blood glucose. Pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance is defined by the World Health Organization as a fasting blood sugar level of 6.0 mmol/l) and found that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, beta cell function and insulin sensitivity were significantly and positively affected when given 90 meqs of potassium citrate when compared with potassium chloride. They concluded that the citrate anion (The first intermediate of the citric acid or Krebs cycle, it plays an important role for fatty acids and it acts as a carrier for acetyl-CoA, and then synthesis for fatty acids.)  is responsible for the insulin-sensitizing and blood pressure lowering results.

Yet potassium itself may be more than a viable piece of the diabetes/insulin resistance treatment puzzle. One’s own genetic  mutations (KCNJ11 gene and KCNQ1 (specific to the Asian population) affect potassium channels that influence insulin secretion, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3197792/.

Potassium:

  1. is a necessary nutrient in normal skeletal muscle and nerve function (and we know that skeletal muscle insulin resistance is the primary defect in type 2 diabetes)
  2. works with sodium to maintain fluid and electrical balance for the cell membrane.
  3. is required for optimal heart, adrenal and kidney function.

Low potassium levels can result from fluid loss (from perspiration, vomiting, or diarrhea); excessive consumption of caffeine, salt, or sugar which many folks do on a daily basis, as well as, certain medications and natural supplements deplete potassium stores (aspirin, ACE inhibitors (captopril, enalapril), choline magnesium trisalicylate, colchicine, corticosteroids, thiazide diuretics, laxatives, sodium bicarbonate,  Glycyrrhiza glabra and ramipril.

Potassium researchers recommend a diet that maintains an optimal sodium-to-potassium ratio of 1:5 or less, http://www.anaturalhealingcenter.com/documents/Thorne/monos/Potassium%20mono.pdf.

Potassium recommendations for adolescents and adults is 4,700 mg/day, for children: 1 to 3 years of age is 3,000 mg/day, 4 to 8 years of age is 3,800 mg/day and 9 to 13 years of age is 4,500 mg/day.

Foods that are good sources of potassium include: salmon, tuna, turkey, clams, avocado, white mushrooms, spinach, kale Swiss chard, collards, broccoli, blackberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, artichokes and tomato.

If you are not able to meet potassium recommendations, using a supplement seems prudent.  There are certain population groups like the elderly, pregnant women or children, those with kidney issues, ulcers or anyone prone to metabolic alkalosis that should not use potassium supplements. Any nutrient supplementation should be supervised by a doctor.

If potassium citrate can work as an insulin sensitizer while preserving beta cell function, it, along with other natural supplements like magnesium and chromium should be considered a first line option in diabetes treatment before using pharmaceutical drugs that have long lasting and more severe consequences.

 

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Protect Yourself, Screen Your Sunscreen

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

Most people I know lather on the sunscreen before going out in the sun. But are you really doing the right thing by coating yourself with sun tan lotion? Maybe not!

If you think you are protecting yourself from harmful sun rays, skin cancer and lowering associated health risks with a push of the suntan spray nozzle you better think again. Reading the labels on your suntan lotion (just like reading food labels) can help you pick the safest most effective sunscreen options across the board.

Skin cancer effects more than 2 million Americans each year despite the fact that sunscreen is a $1.3 billion industry (IBIS World). In fact, melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) has tripled over the past 45 years.

PROBLEMS WITH YOUR SUN PROTECTION

  1. Active ingredients that are commonly used, such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate may be hazardous to health. Please…

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Posted by on June 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Protect Yourself, Screen Your Sunscreen

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

 

Most people I know lather on the sunscreen before going out in the sun. But are you really doing the right thing by coating yourself with sun tan lotion? Maybe not!

If you think you are protecting yourself from harmful sun rays, skin cancer and lowering associated health risks with a push of the suntan spray nozzle you better think again. Reading the labels on your suntan lotion (just like reading food labels) can help you pick the safest most effective sunscreen options across the board.

Skin cancer effects more than 2 million Americans each year despite the fact that sunscreen is a $1.3 billion industry (IBIS World). In fact, melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) has tripled over the past 45 years.

PROBLEMS WITH YOUR SUN PROTECTION

  1. Active ingredients that are commonly used, such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate may be hazardous to health…

View original post 535 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

7 “Anti-Aging Angels”: Strength Training And…

Valerie's Voice: For the Health of It

blogart

Is the fountain of youth right underneath your very nose?

Genes are like’ sub folders’, they are segments of DNA that are responsible for appearance, how your body works and almost everything related to life. Yet, alone, they are not the major player in how you age.

Only twenty to thirty percent of longevity relies on genetics. Interestingly researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Center  and the Kuakinni Medical Center in Honolulu have identified two genes that seem to influence longevity. These genes are related to cholesterol (APO B: reduce the levels of LDL in the blood) and insulin (FOX03A: participates in insulin growth factor signaling). In the Lifespan Study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18765803), the FOX03A gene was associated with, “doubling or tripling the odds of living for at least 95-years” and found that the participants who lived had a lower waist-to-hip ratio, lower triglyceride levels, and lower glucose…

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Posted by on June 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
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