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Whole Grain Benefits

5 staple foods of the Mediterranean diet to help you stay healthy, live longer

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Switching the foods you eat and eliminating bad ingredients can dramatically improve your health and longevity. It all depends on your individual needs as different people can react differently to the same foods. (This is why it’s usually a good idea to speak to your doctor first.)

But one diet that has been gaining popularity in recent years is the Mediterranean Diet. It was recently ranked first in overall best diets for the fourth consecutive year, according to the US News & World Report’s annual list.

As a nutritionist, I often recommend trying to incorporate foods from the Mediterranean diet – which are high in vegetables, fruits, olive oil, and whole grains, and moderate in protein and animal fats – into your eating routine. Research suggests that primary foods in this diet can help ward off chronic illness and improve longevity. Another study found that there might be benefits for the brain as well.

Here are five Mediterranean staples I ate to stay healthy and strong:

1. Oats

By improving the passage of food and waste through the intestines, fiber helps your body eliminate carcinogens. An estimated 95% of American adults and children do not consume enough fiber, according to a 2017 analysis published in the US National Library of Medicine.

Oats are my first choice for high fiber foods. The gluten-free whole grain is a great source of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Cooked slowly, it provides a balanced proportion of fats, carbohydrates and vegetable protein, as well as a good dose of iron and B vitamins.

In a study last year, researchers found that higher fiber intake resulted in lower mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The American Heart Association eating plan suggests that your total fiber intake should be between 25-30 grams per day (from food, not supplements).

Oats are also a staple food for Adventists, a small community in Loma Linda, California that researchers have found lives up to a decade longer than other Americans.

My breakfast often consists of classic oat flakes with fruit, but oats can also be made hearty. You can use it as a coating instead of breadcrumbs or in a hearty risotto instead of rice.

2. Extra virgin olive oil

Not all liquid oils (for cooking or cold preparations) are created equal. Many nutritionists and health experts recommend extra virgin olive oil as the first choice.

Extra virgin olive oil contains mostly monounsaturated fat in the form of oleic acid, along with high levels of antioxidants – both of which researchers say can help reduce biomarkers of inflammation.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who consumed half a tablespoon or more of extra virgin olive oil daily had a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and an 18% lower risk At risk for coronary artery disease. Replacing five grams of other fats (such as butter or margarine) a day with olive oil also reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease overall by 5 to 7%.

My favorite way to use extra virgin olive oil is to drizzle a small amount over vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots before roasting them in the oven.

3. fish

Oily fish like tuna, salmon, herring, and lake trout contain high amounts of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that research has shown can improve your cardiovascular health.

If you’re a fish lover like me, the American Heart Association recommends that adults eat two servings of fish – especially the fatty one – per week, with one serving being 3.5 ounces of cooked fish, or about 3/4 cup of fish flakes. (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises children and pregnant women to eat fish with the potential for the highest levels of mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tile fish.)

Do you want to get creative with fish? Try using it in your tacos in place of beef or chicken. Salmon patties are also a must. Remember to balance your plate with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and other healthy fats.

4. Green leafy vegetables

Leafy vegetables like spinach, romaine lettuce, and kale are another aspect of the Mediterranean diet. They are filled with essential nutrients – vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin K, iron, calcium, and potassium.

The amount of vegetables you need, which can vary from one to three cups per day, depends on your age, gender, and level of physical activity. In general, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of vegetables is equal to one cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or two cups of raw leafy vegetables.

Make a fresh salad with a variety of leafy vegetables for a mix of nutrients and flavor. You can also add them to whole wheat pasta or soups. To get a green kick that wakes me up instantly, I like to throw some kale in my breakfast smoothies.

5. Berries

Although there are several essential fruits in the Mediterranean diet, berries – blueberries and strawberries in particular – are high on my list of favorites because of their high antioxidant content.

Berries are also high in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid. Research suggests that anthocyanins can have several beneficial effects on the body, including lowering blood pressure and making blood vessels more elastic.

Dr. Eric Rimm, Associate Professor at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, has done extensive research showing the benefits of berries. He recommends three or more half-cup servings of blueberries or strawberries per week. According to the USDA, one cup of whole strawberries provides almost 100% of your daily vitamin C needs.

I usually start the day with blueberries in my yogurt, granola, or oatmeal. And my salads are never completely berry-free (along with sunflower seeds, nuts, and beans for extra protein).

Lauren Armstrong is a qualified nutritionist and personal nutrition coach. She previously worked as a nutritionist for the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program. Lauren received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Western Michigan University and has written for several publications, including Livestrong and HealthDay. Follow her on Instagram @ laurenarmstrong.rdn.

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Whole Grain Benefits

10 Easy Tips for Lowering Your Processed Food Intake

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Processed foods are any foods that have been canned, cooked, frozen, pasteurized, or packaged.

As part of a healthy diet, you can enjoy many processed foods, including canned vegetables, frozen fruits, and pasteurized dairy products. However, some highly processed products are loaded with salt, sugar, additives, and preservatives that can be harmful to your health.

Reducing your intake of these highly processed foods is one of the most effective ways to improve your health and improve the quality of your diet.

When people ask me for nutritional advice, one of the first things I recommend is avoiding processed foods.

Here are 10 simple, sustainable, and realistic strategies to help you eat less processed foods.

If you’re running out of time, grabbing a pre-packaged snack on the way out can be tempting.

However, if you stock your kitchen with plenty of portable, nutritious snacks, you can make healthy choices much easier on the go.

Some of my favorite healthy snacks are fresh fruit, mixed nuts, edamame, and vegetables with hummus.

If you have more time, you can also prepare some simple snacks in advance. Hard-boiled eggs, turkey roll-ups, homemade kale chips, and overnight oats are some great goodies that you can make quick and have on hand for later.

One of the easiest ways to cut down on your processed foods is to trade them in for healthier whole foods.

Specifically, you can swap refined grains like white pasta, rice, bread, and tortillas for whole grain alternatives like brown rice and whole wheat pasta, bread, and tortillas.

Whole grains not only contain higher levels of important nutrients such as fiber, but have also been shown to protect against diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer (1).

If you’re feeling adventurous, give your favorite processed foods a healthy touch by recreating them in your kitchen. This gives you complete control over what to put on your plate while experimenting with interesting new ingredients.

For example, you can make vegetable chips by mixing potato, zucchini, beet, or carrot slices with a little olive oil and salt and then baking them until crispy.

Other healthy processed food alternatives that you can make at home include chia pudding, air-popped popcorn, granola bars, and fruit leather.

Personally, I love to cook meals from my favorite restaurants at home instead of ordering take-away. Not only does this save money, but it also makes it easier to eat more whole foods by topping up ingredients like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Sugary drinks like lemonade, sweet tea, fruit juice, and sports drinks are high in sugar and calories but low in essential nutrients.

Gradually swapping these drinks for water throughout the day is a great way to reduce your processed food intake and improve your overall nutritional quality.

Sparkling or flavored water are two great options if plain water isn’t your favorite beverage. Alternatively, you can infuse water with fresh fruits or herbs for an extra taste explosion.

Preparing meals in bulk once or twice a week will ensure that you have plenty of nutritious meals ready in your refrigerator, even if you are too busy to cook.

It can also be less tempting to drive through the driveway on the way home or to pounce on frozen ready meals when you are short of time.

To start off, choose a few recipes to prepare each week and set a specific time to prepare your meals.

I also prefer to find a few recipes with similar ingredients so I can go through multiple meals during the week to avoid repetition.

When preparing meals at home, add at least one serving of vegetables to increase your intake of healthy, unprocessed foods.

This can be as simple as adding spinach to your scrambled eggs, frying broccoli for an easy side dish, or tossing carrots or cauliflower into soups or casseroles.

Vegetables are very nutritious and good sources of fiber that will keep you feeling full between meals to help reduce your appetite and curb food cravings (2, 3).

It’s much easier to limit your processed food intake when you don’t have one on hand.

The next time you hit the grocery store, fill your shopping cart with healthy, minimally processed ingredients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

You can also try to stick to the perimeter of the store and avoid the middle aisles where processed snacks and junk food are usually found.

When shopping, be sure to read the labels on your favorite products. If possible, avoid foods high in sodium, trans fats, or added sugars.

There are tons of healthy swaps out there for many processed products. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Swap your sugary breakfast cereal for a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit.
  • Place popcorn on the stove instead of microwave popcorn.
  • Whip a homemade vinaigrette with olive oil and vinegar to drizzle over salads in place of processed dressings.
  • Make trail mix from nuts, seeds, and dried fruits as a healthy alternative to store-bought varieties.
  • Top your salads with nuts or seeds instead of croutons.

Processed meats like bacon, sausage, lunchtime meat, and hot dogs have several disadvantages and are even classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (4).

You’ll be happy to hear that there are plenty of easy ways to cut down on processed meats.

For starters, you can simply swap these foods out for less processed meats like fresh chicken, salmon, or turkey. You can also replace prepackaged lunch meats with other sandwich fillings, including tuna salad, chicken breast, or hard-boiled eggs.

Alternatively, you can eat more plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, tofu, or tempeh.

There is no need to completely cut processed foods from your diet at once.

In fact, making changes slowly is often more effective and sustainable in the long run. Some research suggests that minor lifestyle changes help develop lasting habits and make actions that are difficult at first much easier over time (5).

Every week, try experimenting with one or two of the strategies listed above, then gradually implement more.

Remember, as part of a healthy, balanced diet, you may still be happy to eat out or eat processed foods in moderation.

Processed foods are any foods that have been cooked, canned, frozen, or packaged.

While you can eat numerous processed foods as part of a healthy diet, you should limit those high in sodium, sugar, additives, and preservatives.

Try some of the tips outlined in this article to find out what works for you, and remember to make changes slowly for the best results.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Amazing Health Benefits Of Whole Grain Foods

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Whole grains have long been part of the human diet. But proponents of many modern diets like the Paleo diet claim that grain intake is bad for your health. While high consumption of refined grains leads to obesity, inflammation and various metabolic activities.

Nutrient-rich grains

Whole grain products with nutrients include proteins, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants and trace elements (iron, zinc, copper and magnesium). Ingesting whole grains is valuable for various health purposes as it reduces the risk of diabetes and is a supplement to the treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, and weight loss.

The whole grain consists of three parts: bran, germ and endosperm. Every part of the grain provides health-promoting nutrients. The endosperm is the inner layer of grain that contains carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of some B vitamins and minerals. The germ is the center of the seed in which growth takes place; This part is filled with vitamin E, healthy fats, vitamin B, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. The bran is the outer layer that is rich in fiber, which provides B vitamins, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals play a prominent role in disease prevention and are natural chemical compounds found in plants that were found in the past.

Nutrients in 100 grams of wheat grains

The nutrients in 100 grams of whole wheat flour contain about 340 calories, 11% water, 13.2 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fats, 10.7 grams of fiber, and 0.4 grams of sugar. In addition to this, whole grain wheat is also a source of several other vitamins and minerals, including selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper and folate, etc.

Here are the few amazing health benefits of whole grains for those as follows:

Saves against cardiovascular diseases

Consuming whole grains instead of refined grains helps lower cholesterol, lipoprotein cholesterol, insulin rates, and triglycerides, all of which can reduce the risk of fatal heart disease. Whilst whole wheat and the other whole grains even promote intestinal health. In addition, they reduce the risk of colon cancer along with heart disease.

Decrease Your Risk of Obesity

Consuming whole grain foods will help keep you full and prevent new food intake. For this reason, the consumption of high fiber diets is preferred for weight loss. The whole grains are more filled than refined grains and cause a lower risk of obesity. On the other hand, taking three servings of whole grains regularly helps to lower the BMI and to have less belly fat. The whole grain cereal with the addition of bran is associated to cautiously reduce the risk of obesity.

Few grains control diabetes

Few grains control diabetes

Like all whole grains, wheat is mostly made up of carbohydrates and a certain amount of protein. Starch is predominant in carbohydrates, so it affects digestibility, which determines its effect on blood sugar levels. Due to its high digestibility, it leaves behind unhealthy blood sugar peaks, which are particularly harmful to health in diabetics. Likewise, few of the processed wheat products like pasta are digested less well. Therefore, they do not make blood sugar rise to the same extent.

Best for digestive health

The fiber in whole grains helps prevent constipation, a common problem. A high fiber intake is beneficial to avoid diverticulosis (diverticulosis), which reduces the severity of the intestines. Some grains have the naturally occurring protein gluten, while gluten can cause side effects in some people, especially those with celiac disease. Such a disease can damage the small intestine and reduce the absorption of nutrients. Many of the others have eaten gluten all their lives but never caused any side effects to them. So eating whole grains contributes to a healthy diet without causing side effects.

Best used for cat litter purposes

It is always tempting for cat owners to put together the litter box for a cheap price. The natural litter boxes, which are specially made from plant-based materials such as corn and wheat, offer more options for disposal and, above all, they are always the safest and healthiest for the kittens. Best for everyone, the naturally made litter box is beneficial and can be used at a low cost in the long run. They are best for controlling odor and clumsiness, as well as flushability.

Conclusion

Consuming whole grains instead of refined grains is very beneficial for your health. It lowers the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, constipation, cancer, and many more diseases. Fortunately, in this well-stocked world, we have several options to choose from among many healthy whole grains. If you enjoy eating refined grains, switching to whole grains is good for the health benefits.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Whole Grain Labels Confuse People Trying to Pick Healthy Options

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  • A new study found that “whole grain” labels on cereal, bread and crackers can be confusing for people trying to make smarter food choices.
  • To get a “whole grain” label, only 51 percent of a product needs to contain whole grains.
  • Experts found that people often made the wrong decision about which product is healthier when looking at whole grain labeling.

Whole grains may be better for your health, but figuring out which products are healthier by relying on “whole grain” labels can actually make it difficult to make healthy choices.

A new study found that these labels on cereal, bread, and crackers can be confusing for people trying to make smarter food choices.

The report, published in Public Health Nutrition magazine, detailed a survey of 1,030 US adults. Participants were shown photos of real and hypothetical products with food labels. They were asked to identify healthier options for the hypothetical products or to rate the whole grains of the real products.

A significant number of respondents gave the wrong answer as to which product was healthier.

“Our study results show that many consumers cannot properly identify the amount of whole grains they consume or choose a healthier whole grain product,” said Parke Wilde, PhD, study author and professor at Tufts University, in a statement.

The authors wanted to find out if there was a strong legal argument that whole grain labels were misleading. Evidence could support a move for increased labeling requirements.

“I’d say wholegrain claims are among the worst when it comes to fraudulent labels,” added co-author Jennifer L. Pomeranz, assistant professor of public health policy and management at New York University in New York City.

Whole grain labeling has “been a source of confusion and deception for a long time,” said Dr. Amy Burkhart, an integrative medicine doctor and registered nutritionist based in Napa, California. “Many brands use the term whole grain and others to influence customers’ purchasing decisions by creating a facade for a ‘healthy product’.”

The term “whole grain” means that all parts of the kernel are contained in the product, explained Burkhart.

“This is where the blurring of the lines begins,” she said. “The product only has to contain 51 percent whole grain ingredients to use the term ‘whole grain’.”

For example, a label might say “whole grains,” but up to 49 percent of the product can contain processed grains.

There are whole grains and refined grains, said Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN, a consultant with Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Whole grain products contain three parts: the bran, germ and endosperm layer. Refined grains have been stripped of the bran and cotyledons and, in turn, are free of the fiber, iron, B vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants that are inherent in whole intact grain.

Refined grains are white flour products that can be fortified or fortified with vitamins and minerals to provide nutritional value.

Wheat-based whole grain products contain gluten. Wheat-free grains are usually gluten-free unless there is cross-contamination during processing of the grain, Retelny said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Agriculture Department’s 2015-2020 Nutritional Guidelines for Americans, half of all grains consumed should be whole grains. Getting enough whole grains has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

The most common types of whole grains containing gluten include wheat, barley, rye and spelled. Whole grain gluten-free products include corn, oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, sorghum, teff, millet, and amaranth, Burkhart said.

Ancient grains such as farro and spelled are those that have not been changed by modern breeding methods in the last hundred years. Ancient whole grains that are not made from wheat include sorghum, quinoa, and millet, she noted.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more nutritious, but they require fewer pesticides and water to grow, which is good for the planet,” said Burkhart.

As part of the survey, the packaging of the hypothetical products either did not have a wholemeal front label or was marked with “Mehrkorn”, “Made with wholegrain” or a wholegrain stamp. The packaging of the real products showed the actual product labels, including “multigrain”, “honey wheat” and “12 grains”.

When looking at the hypothetical products, people had to answer whether they thought the product was healthier. For the real products, they were asked to rate the whole grain content.

Of the hypothetical products, 29 to 47 percent mistakenly identified the healthier product. Specifically, they got the wrong answer 31 percent of the time for cereals, up to 37 percent for crackers and 47 percent for bread items.

Of the real products that were not predominantly wholegrain, 43 to 51 percent of those surveyed overestimated the wholegrain content, depending on the product.

Researchers found that 41 percent overestimated the grain content for multigrain crackers, 43 percent for honey wheat bread, and 51 percent for 12-grain bread.

However, the respondents identified the whole grain content of an oat grain, which mainly contained whole grain, more precisely.

While experts find the Food and Drug Administration’s labeling standards confusing, other groups have pushed for more transparency.

The Whole Grains Council, a not-for-profit consumer protection group, has developed three postage stamps as a guide for consumers, but they are not found on all products.

Companies must apply to use the stamp. The 100 percent stamp includes products where all grains are whole grains and the product contains at least 16 grams of whole grains per serving. The 50 percent stamp means that at least 50 percent of the grains in the product are whole and the product contains at least 8 g of whole grains per serving. The basic stamp means the item contains at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving, Burkhart explained.

Terms like wheat, semolina, durum wheat, organic flour, stone flour, multigrain, fiber and cracked wheat may or may not be whole grains.

“When buying a whole grain product like bread or crackers, make sure the first ingredient is a whole grain ingredient like whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour,” said Amy Gorin, MS, a registered nutritionist in New Jersey. “Many whole grain products are made from whole grain, but do not contain them as a main ingredient.”

For example, on bread labels, the first ingredient should be whole wheat flour, whole wheat flour or another whole grain ingredient. For example, it shouldn’t be fortified wheat flour.

“The fiber content on the nutrition label is another giveaway – whole grains are likely good or excellent sources of fiber,” Gorin said.

Retelny advises her customers to focus on a product’s ingredient list for the word “whole” before the grain. For example, look for “whole grains” or “whole grain oats” instead of “fortified” wheat or oats, as these are refined versions of the grain, she said.

“Just because it’s black bread doesn’t mean it’s whole-grain bread,” said Gorin.

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