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Whole Grains Health

The Best Brain Breakfast: Overnight Oats With Blueberries and Walnuts



Wake up to this brain breakfast a few times a week and your noggin will thank you for it.

Credit: Westend61 / Westend61 / GettyImages

If you want to start the day off with a healthy start, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and other brain experts recommend overnight oats with walnuts and blueberries.

When making standard overnight oats, all you need to do is:

  1. Soak ½ cup of oatmeal with 1 cup of almond milk.
  2. Chill overnight.
  3. Top with fresh blueberries and walnuts in the morning.

You are more likely to eat healthy if you have a nutritious breakfast in the morning, and this simple one will help boost your brain health from the get-go.

“The foods we eat are directly related to our brain functions,” says Randall Wright, MD, a neurologist at the Houston Methodist Hospital. “When it comes to nutrition and nutrition, we now see that it’s all about brain energy. The brain uses a large amount of energy compared to the rest of the body.”

This is why it’s important to provide your brain with foods that fight stress and damage. This is exactly what this power pack helps you with. Here are four perks of having an overnight oats breakfast with blueberries and walnuts.

1. Blueberries contain compounds that protect your brain

The delicious blueberry can help protect your brain from damage and improve its long-term function. Brain experts tend to recommend three diets for a healthy brain – all of them recommend fruit and one of them specifically recommends blueberries.

“When I talk to patients about diets to focus on for brain health, I usually refer them to three main diets: the Mediterranean Diet, the MIND Diet, and the DASH Diet,” says Philip Stieg, MD, one Neurosurgeon and founder of the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center.

Here’s what you need to know about each of these diets:

  • The Mediterranean diet: This diet is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, high-fiber breads, whole grains, and healthy fats, and has been linked to lower rates of stroke, Alzheimer’s and other dementia, depression, stroke, and Parkinson’s, according to Michigan Medicine.
  • The DASH diet: Also known as Dietary Approaches to Stopping High Blood Pressure, this diet focuses on foods that lower blood pressure and the “bad” LDL cholesterol, and recommends vegetables, fruits, whole grains, non-fat or low-fat dairy products, poultry, beans, Nuts and vegetable oils, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Dr. Rose notes that a diet that is heart healthy is usually also healthy for the brain.
  • The MIND diet: The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), the most popular brain health diet, is a mix of the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet and was formulated by researchers to highlight foods that are beneficial to health affect the brain. It’s high in vegetables, meatless meals, nuts, the occasional fish, and olive oil, and specifically names blueberries, which have been linked to slower rates of cognitive decline, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The MIND diet recommends two or more servings of each type of berry per week, but it does suggest that blueberries may be more beneficial. Older adults who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had the slowest rates of cognitive decline in a July 2012 study in the Annals of Neurology. The California Strawberry Commission partially funded the study, but it’s worth noting that they reviewed data from over 16,000 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study over 20 years.

In the study, those who ate the most blueberries and strawberries delayed cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years. Anthocyanidins, which are a subclass of flavonoids, can cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in areas of the brain that are responsible for learning and memory, such as the hippocampus.

“It’s clear that berries, and blueberries in particular, have direct benefits,” says Marwan Sabbagh, MD, an Alzheimer’s expert at the Cleveland Clinic. “Flavonoids are very potent free radical scavengers and antioxidants.”

In other words, flavonoids can help protect yourself from the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation that occur naturally in your body. Your body creates free radicals, unstable molecules that cause oxidative stress (which, in turn, can lead to cell damage) when you digest food, exercise, smoke, or are exposed to environmental factors like sunlight or air pollution, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Oxidative stress is thought to play a role in a variety of diseases, including those affecting the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

“The chemicals in blueberries are what the brain needs to protect itself,” says Dr. Wright. “If our diet doesn’t reflect this, disease can begin.”

Antioxidants in blueberries can help prevent or delay cell damage in your body, but it’s best to get them through your diet – while a diet high in antioxidant fruits and vegetables has been shown to be healthy, antioxidant supplements have not proven helpful proven disease prevention, per NIH.

2. Walnuts contain brain-healthy fats

Nuts like walnuts are high in vitamin E, which is known for its brain-protective properties, according to the Mayo Clinic. The MIND diet recommends eating a handful of nuts at least five times a week instead of processed snacks like chips – just go for the raw, unsalted variety with no added sodium, sweeteners, or oils.

Walnuts in particular contain the most alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid, than any other nut. They are also higher in polyphenolic compounds (a type of antioxidant) than any other nut. Both ALA and polyphenolic compounds can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation – which are two causes of cognitive decline, according to the American Society for Nutrition.

“The cells in our body have cell walls made of lipids or fats,” says Dr. Rose. “Good fats help build normal, healthy cell walls, so make sure you have the appropriate fats in your diet.”

Eating more walnuts boosted adult performance on cognitive tests, regardless of how old they were, in a December 2014 study in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging. Like many other walnut studies, this one was funded by the California Walnut Council. However, it still matters because it was the first large representative study of walnut intake and cognitive function, and it included all of the available cognitive data from multiple National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).

Overnight oats and blueberries

Topping your overnight oats with blueberries and walnuts can have additional brain benefits.

Credit: Angelica Novak / iStock / GettyImages

3. Oats give you sustained, brain-healthy energy

“Our brains were not designed to have an abundance of high-calorie foods in our system, and in this day and age there is an abundance of high-calorie and high-glucose foods, which is harmful to the brain,” says Dr. Wright.

“Maintaining constant glucose levels is extremely important to the brain, and this is where the oats come in.”

The beta-glucan fiber in oats can help prevent sharp spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels after you eat, and could also benefit your gut health as the fiber is broken down and fermented by bacteria in your gut, according to Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

More than 250 adults with type 2 diabetes received a 30-day dietary intervention with a one-year follow-up in a December 2013 randomized controlled trial published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Two of the intervention groups received either 50 grams or 100 grams of whole grain oats daily along with a healthy diet. The other two groups either had no change in diet or followed a generally healthy, high-fiber, low-fat diet.

Participants in the oat groups saw a significant reduction in post-meal blood sugar compared to the control groups, and consuming more oats resulted in a greater reduction. The participants in the 100 gram oat group even showed modest weight loss after a year.

4. It helps protect your heart, which can protect your brain

Your heart health is very closely related to your brain health, and overnight oats made with blueberries and walnuts both benefit.

Your heart sends blood through vessels throughout your body, including your brain, and damage to those vessels can lead to serious health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and dementia, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By keeping your blood vessels healthy, you will have a stronger heart and a stronger brain.

By eating healthy foods like whole grains and fruits, and restricting foods with saturated fats, added sugars, and too much sodium, you can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and vascular dementia, according to the CDC.

If you opt for overnight oats with walnuts and blueberries in the morning instead of, for example, bacon or scones, you are doing both your heart and your brain a favor.

“Saturated fat is not only bad for heart disease, it’s also bad for brain health,” says Dr. Sabbagh. “That’s why you want to cut red meat, lard, butter and fried foods. There are many reasons why following the MIND diet is good for the brain – both in terms of what it has and what it has. “Not having.”

Oats contain soluble fiber that can help lower your LDL cholesterol, and therefore total blood cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic. And foods high in fiber can also lower blood pressure and inflammation, resulting in additional heart benefits. In fact, in a May 2012 study of more than 306,000 participants in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, every 10 grams of fiber daily was linked to a 15 percent lower risk of heart disease.

More tips for preparing your best overnight oats brain breakfast

  • Skip the added sugar:Stick to oatmeal that is not loaded with sugar when making overnight oats or regular oatmeal. “Eat all of the oats because the packaged instant oatmeal can be high in sugar, so you’re missing the point,” says Dr. Sabbagh. In addition, the blueberries give a natural sweetness!
  • Try other toppings:You don’t have to stop with blueberries and walnuts! The MIND diet generally calls for nuts and berries, so add almonds, strawberries, and other toppings as well.
  • Start small:Making overnight oats won’t change your brain overnight – but small steps like improving your breakfast can still make a difference. “Any improvement is good and starts with what you put in your shopping basket,” says Dr. Sabbagh. “Everything is an improvement over nothing.”

Whole Grains Health

4 Positive Changes to Make in 2022



(Family Features) Before you completely overhaul your lifestyle, remember that positive change may just be a few simple steps away. Starting small with achievable goals can help you stay on track throughout the year.

drink more water
Preventing dehydration, maintaining normal body temperature, and lubricating joints are all benefits of drinking enough water every day. Try to carry a reusable bottle as a reminder, choose water over sugary drinks and opt for water when eating out.

learn to cook
If you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, start with simple recipes that don’t force you to sacrifice taste. After all, it’s easier to stick to a meal plan when you enjoy the foods you’re preparing. For example, Baja Fish Taco Bowls take just 20 minutes for a flavorful, freshly-seasoned family meal, and Mediterranean Rice Bowls with Zucchini Fritters are a satisfying step toward meatless meals at home.

Eat more whole grains
Skip refined grains and instead opt for whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, which offer a fuller package of health benefits. You can count on options like Success Rice’s Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice and Tri-Color Boil-in-Bag Quinoa, which are ready in just 10 minutes, to take the guesswork out of cooking while giving home cooks more time to focus to give on uplifting crockery for loved ones.

Create a nutrition plan
Creating weekly menus can help you avoid drive-through by scripting meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, it makes grocery shopping easier (and less frequent) as you can buy all the ingredients you need for the week ahead in one go. Encourage family members to offer suggestions so the planning process doesn’t become overwhelming.

For more delicious recipe inspiration, visit

Mediterranean rice bowls with zucchini fritters

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1 bag of Brown Success Rice
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups diced cucumber
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup garlic hummus
  1. Prepare rice according to package directions.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss zucchini with salt; leave on for at least 10 minutes. Place in a colander and squeeze out excess moisture. Pour back into the bowl and stir in the eggs, scallions, dill, and garlic.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, parmesan, baking powder, cumin, and pepper. Stir the dry mixture into the zucchini mixture and mix into a thick batter.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup oil. Portion 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan for each donut. Fry 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown, adding remaining oil as needed. Drain on a tray lined with kitchen paper.
  5. Divide rice among four bowls. Top each with cucumber, tomatoes, feta and donuts. Garnish each bowl with a scoop of hummus.
  6. Substitutes: Hummus can be substituted with prepared Greek tzatziki sauce if desired.

Baja Fish Taco Shells

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 2 bags of Success Tri-Color Quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 white-fleshed fish fillets (5-6 ounces each)
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups of packaged baby kale
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
  1. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season fish with Cajun seasoning and salt. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until fish is lightly browned and beginning to crumble. Put aside.
  3. Whisk together the yogurt, lime zest, lime juice, and cumin in a small bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the quinoa and kale. Divide into four bowls. Top each with fish, sliced ​​avocado and a dollop of yoghurt lime cream.
  5. Substitutes: Taco seasoning or chili powder can be used in place of Cajun seasoning. Arugula or baby spinach can be used instead of kale.

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Whole Grains Health

New year, new workout routine. Here’s how to avoid burning out



Nisha Sharma/EyeEm/Getty Images

We’ve all heard about it work-related burnout, whether from personal experience or from others who have experienced it, and it’s a real threat to your mental and physical health. However, burnout is not solely limited to work-related endeavors. It can also happen on a physical level when you start a new exercise routine and go a little too hard at first.

Here’s the real catch: Workout burnout isn’t just for fitness newbies — it can happen to anyone. When you start a new exercise routine (even if you’re in shape from other types of exercise), you can burn out right from the start if you don’t take the right steps to recover and allow your body to properly adjust to the new workout you are about to do incorporate into your fitness routine.

“Whenever you start a new exercise program, whether it’s HIIT, running, or Pilates, you can expect your body to experience a natural type of ‘shock to the system,'” says Brooke Taylor, certified trainer and founder of Taylored Fitness. “Every time you incorporate a new type of exercise into your workout, you’re recruiting the muscles in a different way,” says Taylor.

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You may be thinking, if you’re already in shape, why is it taking longer than normal to recover from exercise? Or maybe you’re worried you’re not making the progress you want because you’re so sore all the time. Here’s why: When you pick up a new exercise routine, such as Pilates, when you’re used to running, your body uses different muscles or uses them in a different way than it’s used to. “Running activates your fast-twitch muscle fibers to hit the ground and accelerate, while Pilates activates the small intrinsic muscle fibers that surround your core, spine, glutes, etc. This can make you more tired or sore from another type of activation,” explains Taylor.

If you’re feeling excessively sore or tired after a workout and are concerned that you’re not in shape or making progress, don’t worry. “Actually, it just means you add variety to your workout,” says Taylor. And it’s a good thing to add variety to your workouts, by the way. “It’s very important that you incorporate other modalities of cross training to prevent injury and muscle imbalances and to maintain proper alignment. The same repetitive motion over time can lead to increased stress, leading to tissue breakdown and causing injury,” says Taylor. All of this simply means that doing one workout at a time isn’t good, and variety is a good thing.

Read on to find out how you can help your body adapt to a new exercise routine and avoid burnout.

Group of students in pilates reformer class

Each time you start a new exercise routine, you use different muscles, which can leave you feeling even more sore.

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5 Steps To Adapting To A New Workout (Whether You’re In Shape Or Out)

“Every time you add something new, there’s a good chance you’ll get a little sore from shocking the body. You’re training the body in a different range of motion, recruiting muscle fibers in a different way, and challenging your proprioceptive system, and you might feel a little down,” says Taylor. But all of this can be worked through with the right adjustment, including the following steps that Taylor designed to help you avoid injury and adapt well.

Use a foam roller before each workout

“Make sure you take the time to do a foam roller before each workout,” says Taylor. “Self-myofascial release will dissolve any muscle attachments in the body and lengthen the muscles back into what I like to call a ‘neutral state.’ That way you don’t compensate as much when adding load and it gives the weaker muscles a chance to recruit with forced control and precision.

Warm up properly

“Make sure you take the time to warm up properly. Especially if you’re doing HIIT, running, or some other high-intensity workout to give the body time to get the blood flowing,” says Taylor. She suggests warming up on a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stairmaster, or doing dynamic mobility exercises. “Especially during the colder months, when your muscles are naturally tighter and your joints might be a little more sore, the last thing you want to do is go from 0 to 100.”

Stretch after every workout

“After each workout, make time for static stretching. This helps bring the muscles back to a neutral state and relieves some of the lactic acid buildup,” says Taylor. She also recommends holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and avoiding pushing your stretch too far or beyond your flexibility threshold.

Rest and have a good rest

“Listen to your body and when you need a break – take a break and have an active rest day in between. Recovery is key to building muscle, improving performance and maintaining the body’s longevity,” says Taylor. You can also try an Epsom salt bath to relax your muscles and body.

Don’t forget good nutrition

What you eat before and after your workout is also key to feeling good and recovering. “Don’t skip meals. Make sure you’re eating every 2 to 4 hours and incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your diet, lean meats, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains,” says Taylor. “The most important thing is that you stay hydrated and replenish your fluids.”

Check out the Amazon Halo View, the company’s first fitness tracker with a screen

View all photos

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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Whole Grains Health

Liver Fat Is Directly Linked to This Disease, New Study Says — Eat This Not That



A fatty liver can also have serious effects on your blood sugar levels, according to a new study from Brunel University London.

The researchers reviewed MRI scans of 32,859 people, who looked closely at the size of their livers and pancreas. The researchers relied on a type of method of measuring gene function to study cause and effect, called Mendelian randomization.

Not only did the scientists learn that people who are genetically predisposed to store fat in the liver are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but it was shown that every 5% increase in liver fat increased that risk by 27 % elevated.

“Our results encourage better treatment for people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and provide evidence for the multiple benefits of weight loss and better screening for diabetes risk in these people,” said lead study author Dr. Hanieh Yaghootkar issued a press release.

The Cleveland Clinic defines NAFLD as a condition affecting one in three adults who are not heavy drinkers. While the cause of this type of liver disease is unknown, obesity and diabetes are considered likely risk factors.


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“I’m not surprised by these results, as NAFLD has been shown to be a key factor in insulin resistance,” said Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT, a New Jersey-based nutritionist and author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet. “It makes sense that even small accumulations of fat in the liver would, in turn, increase insulin resistance and thus the risk of type 2 diabetes.”

Additionally, she believes this current study offers tremendous value as it points to the importance of focusing on the prevention of excess fatty tissue in the liver centered on your diet. “Some research suggests that coffee may protect against liver damage from fat accumulation. So if tolerated, drinking up to two cups a day can be beneficial,” says Palinski-Wade.

However, she’s quick to add that stirring in the sugar and cream “can speed up fat buildup in the liver. Instead, enjoy black coffee or sweeten it with flavors like cinnamon or vanilla extract.”

In addition to reducing total sugar intake, Palinski-Wade also advises limiting alcohol consumption. “Following a Mediterranean diet high in plant-based fats, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and oily fish may be the best strategy for reducing fat in the liver,” she says.

Also, consider adding more high-fiber foods to your plate like broccoli, berries, apples, and plenty of leafy greens and legumes. “Fiber may help reduce fatty deposits in the liver while also helping to promote stable blood sugar levels and fight insulin resistance,” says Palinski-Wade.

“One study found that spinach, in particular, may reduce the risk of NAFLD, while the resistant starch found in legumes may also help reduce NAFLD,” concludes Palinski-Wade.

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