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Whole Grain Benefits

Foods That Lower Cholesterol

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Food has a direct impact on many aspects of your health, including your heart health. Certain foods can improve your cholesterol levels, thereby lowering your risk of heart disease. Keeping your cholesterol in a normal range by choosing heart healthy foods can help you lead healthier lives.

This article describes different types of foods and how they can be part of your cholesterol control plan.

Beans

In addition to being a good source of vegetable protein and minerals like iron and magnesium, beans are also a good source of fiber. Beans, in particular, are high in soluble fiber, which dissolves in water to form a gel-like material when it passes through the digestive tract. Soluble fiber is known to lower cholesterol, especially LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.

nuts

Nuts may be small, but they are packed with nutrients, including healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. In a review of three large prospective cohort studies, people who ate more nuts had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease.

Walnuts are especially good for heart health because they contain the essential omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke.

Almonds are another nut that is often studied for its heart health benefits as it is high in monoun and polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants like vitamin E. A review of studies found that consuming almonds can not only lower LDL cholesterol levels, but also maintain “good” HDL cholesterol levels, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Avocados

Not only are avocados a delicious addition to your diet, they’re also heart healthy. This green fruit is high in healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber that help lower LDL cholesterol levels, especially when consumed in place of less healthy saturated fats.

A 2020 randomized controlled study found that people who were overweight or obese who ate one avocado per day as part of an overall heart-healthy diet had an improved LDL cholesterol profile from baseline.

Oily fish

Fish is known as a lean source of protein and is often touted for its heart health benefits.

Your doctor may even have recommended eating more fish, taking a fish oil supplement, or following a Mediterranean diet (fish is a key ingredient) to help improve your cholesterol levels. This is because fish – especially oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout – are full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

A large 25-year follow-up study published in 2016 concluded that adults who ate non-fried oily fish were at lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome. This syndrome includes a group of risk factors, including low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides, that increase your risk of heart disease.

barley

Barley is a whole grain that is high in beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are a type of soluble fiber that lower cholesterol by interacting with fats and bile salts in the digestive tract.

A 2016 review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that barley beta-glucan lowers LDL cholesterol and other non-HDL cholesterol. Because of this, including foods containing barley in your diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

soy

Soybeans are a legume that is high in vegetable protein. Soy is found in edamame and other foods like tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and more. One study found that consuming around 30 grams of soy foods a day lowered cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.

Another review of 35 studies concluded that soy foods offer heart health benefits, especially in people with high cholesterol, including improvements in LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol levels.

Dark chocolate

It might seem ridiculous, but adding a little dark chocolate and cocoa to your diet could benefit your heart. Studies have shown that the flavonoids found in dark chocolate and cocoa can reduce your risk of heart disease.

In particular, one clinical study looked at 84 people who consumed either two grams of dark chocolate or two grams of milk chocolate for six months. At the end of the six months, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol all decreased significantly, and blood pressure improved significantly in those who ate 70% dark chocolate compared to those who ate milk chocolate.

You shouldn’t eat too much chocolate, however, as it is often high in added sugar, which can have a negative impact on heart health. It is best to limit your daily intake of dark chocolate to one serving and choose one with a cocoa content of 70% or more.

Apples, citrus fruits and berries

Fruit is part of any heart-healthy diet, and for good reason. Many fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Pectin, a type of soluble fiber found in many fruits including apples, citrus fruits, and berries, helps lower cholesterol in part by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver.

A small clinical study of 40 adults found that those who ate two apples a day for eight weeks had lower LDL and total cholesterol levels than the control apple drink.

Antioxidant compounds called polyphenols found in these fruits also provide anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol and preventing it from being oxidized.

vegetables

Including vegetables in your diet is beneficial for many reasons, including heart health. Just like fruits, vegetables are nutritious and high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Plus, they’re low in calories and low in fat, which makes them a heart-healthy choice.

Fiber from whole foods, including vegetables, can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels.

tea

Tea contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties called polyphenols. These compounds can help prevent heart disease and stroke.

Although some studies have been mixed, the majority of research seems to agree that both green tea and black tea offer heart health benefits.

olive oil

As a staple in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has often been studied for its heart health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is high in healthy monounsaturated fats that help lower LDL cholesterol. It’s also a good source of polyphenols, which can help reduce inflammation and your risk of heart disease.

Replacing saturated fats (like butter) with extra virgin olive oil in your diet can have heart protective benefits.

Food enriched with plant sterols and stanols

Plant sterols and stanols are compounds that are naturally found in small amounts in many plant foods, including grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. They help lower cholesterol by blocking the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.

Many food manufacturers add plant sterols and stanols to their products, from margarine and cheese to orange juice and bread. You can also find plant sterols and stanols in supplement form. With a daily intake of two grams, plant sterols or stanols can lower LDL cholesterol levels by 8 to 10%.

frequently asked Questions

What foods can lower cholesterol quickly?

Not a single food will change your cholesterol levels overnight. Diet alone or in combination with physical activity can take months to lower cholesterol. Focus on an overall heart healthy diet by including high fiber foods, healthy unsaturated fats, and antioxidants.

Which foods can lower cholesterol the most?

Instead of focusing on one or two foods to lower cholesterol, it’s more beneficial to include multiple foods that lower cholesterol in different ways. The most important parts of a heart-healthy diet include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined, lean protein, and healthy fats instead of saturated and trans fats.

Additionally, consuming foods or supplements fortified with plant sterols and stanols can help lower cholesterol levels.

What foods should you avoid if you have high cholesterol?

Contrary to what was previously believed, dietary cholesterol may not have as much of an impact on blood cholesterol as was previously believed. Instead, it has been shown that saturated fats and trans fats are more likely to be responsible for increasing blood cholesterol levels.

Foods that are often high in saturated fat include animal products like red meat, butter, and cheese, as well as highly processed snacks and desserts like cookies, cakes, chips, ice cream, and pastries.

Summary

Foods that can improve your cholesterol levels include beans, nuts, avocados, oily fish, barley, soy, dark chocolate, certain fruits, vegetables, tea, olive oil, and foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols. These foods should be varied and enjoyed as part of a lifestyle that also reduces saturated and trans fats and includes exercise.

A word from Verywell

In addition to the Mediterranean diet, other heart-healthy eating patterns include the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet.

Always consult your doctor before starting a new diet or if you are concerned about your cholesterol levels. They can answer all of your questions and help you find the right treatment plan for you.

Whole Grain Benefits

The Top Bladder Health Foods 2 Urologists Always Eat| Well+Good

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ONEExcept for those times when you *don’t* remember to down a whole Diet Coke before bed (knowing you’ll wake up at 2am and need to pee urgently) or when you get a UTI and sprinting to the bathroom to store cranberry juice, you might not think much about how what you eat and drink is affecting your bladder.

However, there are many reasons to consider your bladder and its well-being when planning your meals. “Failing to regularly neglect the health and care of your bladder can lead to bladder infections and diseases over time, as well as some other immediate, undesirable side effects, including frequent urination and pelvic pain, among others,” says S. Adam Ramin, MD, urologist and medical director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles. “The inner lining of the bladder wall, called the mucosa, is very sensitive to certain chemicals. Irritants can lead to inflammation of the bladder known as cystitis, which then causes urinary symptoms including frequent urination, urgency, burning with urination, nighttime urination, pelvic pain and incontinence.”

These chemical irritants enter the body through food, which is why the foods and beverages you consume can promote or adversely affect bladder health. After being metabolized by the liver in the gastrointestinal tract, these byproducts of food and drink enter the bloodstream and are filtered through the renal system before being excreted in the urine. A good rule to keep in mind, according to the urologist: if they’re not good for your bladder, they won’t feel good when you pee them out either.

The best and worst foods for bladder health, according to a urologist

Not everyone has a sensitive bladder, but for many, paying attention to eating and drinking habits that help or hurt the bladder can make a significant difference in their overall well-being (and, TBH, mental health). This is because certain foods are known to irritate the bladder, while others are better tolerated.

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“In general, acidic foods, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol tend to cause bladder irritation,” says Mehran Movassaghi, MD, urologist and director of Men’s Health at Providence Saint John’s Health Center and assistant professor of urology at Saint John’s Cancer Institute and a feeling of incomplete voiding.” A few other foods that Dr says are high in sugar, salt, and/or preservatives For example, packaged baked goods or frozen meals that contain saturated fat can cause inflammation.

Conversely, foods that promote bladder health are high in water, alkaline rather than acidic, and high in antioxidants to help reduce inflammation in the body — fruits and vegetables are a good example. according to dr Movassaghi’s good rule of thumb is to include leafy greens or fresh fruit in as many meals and snacks as possible, and to fill your plate so that you’re eating multiple servings a day. Garlic, eggs, fish, nuts, and potatoes are a few other bladder-healthy foods to stock up on, says Dr. Movassaghi.

And most importantly, your body needs water to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water (and eating foods high in water content) is also key to urinary tract health. “Drinking one to two liters of water a day can help dilute any irritants in the food or drink consumed. This is especially important for those who have a sensitive bladder,” explains Dr. Movassaghi. He adds that if you have an active lifestyle and sweat frequently, these numbers can change. “Water intake prevents constipation, and hard stools and full bowels can lead to pelvic congestion, which puts pressure on the bladder,” says Dr. Movassaghi. This means that high-fiber foods that contain lots of water (like fresh fruits and vegetables) help prevent both constipation and bladder irritation.

What urologists eat regularly to maintain optimal bladder health

Both urologists maintain a diet packed with fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like nuts and olive oil, whole grains, lean protein, and oily fish. And they go with freshly overprocessed whenever possible. Read below for more details on urologists’ favorite foods for bladder health.

For breakfast:

Her breakfasts are nutrient-dense: think eggs with whole wheat toast, fresh fruit smoothies, Greek yogurt, and smoked salmon with sliced ​​avocado and cucumber.

“I love bananas, which are high in magnesium and potassium to allow for normal bowel function,” says Dr. Mohavagghasi. “I also eat nuts, berries, and eggs every day — and I always have fresh berries with no added sugar.” He recommends eating them plain or mixing them with unsweetened yogurt that contains blister-friendly probiotics, like Greek yogurt or skyr.

Eggs served on whole wheat toast with mashed avocado, or as an omelette or frittata on a bed of veggies and hash browns are also great for your bladder. dr Mohavaghassi also spreads nut butter on whole wheat toast with sliced ​​bananas and chia seeds, or mixes banana with berries, veggies and creamy avocado for a portable, on-the-go breakfast.

For lunch:

dr Ramin likes to eat protein-packed salads, which include a range of fruits and vegetables for antioxidant benefits. “My top choices for protein sources are grilled or baked hormone-free chicken, oven-baked salmon, or seared ahi tuna,” says Dr. Ramin. These are healthier than proteins with a higher saturated fat content, like red meat or fried chicken. “I recommend eating red meat in moderation to avoid increasing your risk of heart disease and high cholesterol,” he adds.

Choose a variety of veggies for your topper: Red, yellow, green, orange, and white fruits and veggies all have a place on the plate. “Leaf greens, peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, and berries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties,” says Dr. Ramin. He also recommends avocados and olive oil for healthy fats. “I love a base of leafy greens — lettuce, spinach, kale, or arugula — and mixing in a serving of grains for texture and nutrition,” says Dr. Ramin and says couscous and quinoa are two favorites.

You can also use nuts, seeds, and berries as salad ingredients, all of which have bladder-supporting properties, especially cranberries. Almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and cashews are all good sources of unsaturated fats and/or omega-3s.

For dinner:

For dinner, both urologists like to eat chicken breast, tofu, and fish along with a whole grain and vegetable side (or two) for added protein and fiber, which can come from starches and lots of vegetables. Salads, corn bowls, and tacos are delicious examples. They recommend pairing tofu with a side of sautéed vegetables and garlic, which is a natural antibiotic and good for the bladder. (And feel free to swap out tofu for turkey breast, chicken, salmon, ahi tuna, halibut, or beans instead.)

A baked sweet potato is one of Dr. Mohavaghassi – It’s a vehicle for protein, fiber and potassium for electrolyte benefits, making it a good suggestion for a bladder-friendly dinner, especially post-workout. Try filling it with veggies, cheese, and legumes.

For snacks:

Keep these simple and nutritious. “I love unsalted almonds and hard-boiled eggs,” says Dr. Mohavaghassi as they are high in protein, fiber and healthy fats. “Keeping the fat content low minimizes both intestinal and bladder irritation,” he says. Other ideas include egg cups with veggies and cheese, avocado or hummus on toast, homemade trail mix, or kale chips with nutritional yeast and garlic powder.

Bladder Health Tips (Beyond Diet)

In addition to eating nutrient-dense foods that don’t irritate your bladder, lifestyle choices can also keep UTIs down. These habits include peeing as quickly as possible if you have to and not holding it in. “Peeing within 30 minutes of when the urge kicks in is ideal,” says Dr. Ramin. Also, pay attention to the color of your urine as it is a good indicator of fluid balance. “A nice light yellow to translucent is perfect because the darker the urine color, the more dehydrated your body is.”

Finally, try incorporating Kegel exercises into your fitness routine. according to dr For Ramin, the ideal is to tighten the muscles around the urethra and hold them for five seconds per interval. “I recommend doing this at least 20 times a day,” he says. “Not only does this help with symptoms of an overactive bladder, but it also prevents incontinence.”

Finally, skip the cigarettes (duh) because chemicals found in cigarette smoke increase the risk of bladder cancer.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Nutrition, health benefits, and more

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Hemp seeds are a plant-based source of complete protein that provides a range of nutrients. It’s an excellent option for people who want to add more protein to their diet while avoiding animal products.

Hemp protein comes from the hemp plant, which is the same species as the cannabis plant. However, unlike cannabis, hemp contains only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the intoxicating compound that produces a high.

Hemp is the source of cannabidiol, or CBD oil, but its seeds are also a rich source of plant-based protein. Manufacturers make hemp powder by grinding hemp seeds into a fine, earthy-tasting powder.

This article looks at hemp protein, its nutrition and health benefits. It also compares hemp protein to other protein powders and looks at alternative plant-based protein sources.

Learn all about the hemp plant here.

Hemp protein is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that the human body needs but cannot produce. Therefore, a person needs to include these amino acids in their diet.

Some experts claim that hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally complete food sources. People can consume hemp seeds either whole or without the husk, or in various hemp seed products such as oil, flour, and protein powder.

Studies have found that the nutritional value of hemp seeds varies significantly depending on the environment they were grown in and the specific type of plant they are. Typically, however, its nutritional profile includes:

The most abundant protein in hemp seeds is edestin, which makes up about 82% of the total hemp protein content. Albumin accounts for about 13% of total protein, while β-conglycinin accounts for up to 5% of total protein.

Together, these proteins contain the nine essential amino acids. The most common is glutamic acid, followed by arginine. Hemp protein has more sulfur-containing amino acids like methionine, cysteine, and homocysteine ​​than soy protein and milk protein casein.

Hemp protein also contains more amino acids than soy protein, with the exception of aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and lysine. Lysine is the primary deficiency in hemp proteins.

According to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database, a 31-gram (g) serving of hemp protein powder contains 12 g of protein and 120 calories.

Learn more about essential amino acids here.

Hemp protein has several health benefits, including:

Easily digestible

Although humans typically digest animal protein more easily than plant-based protein, research shows that humans can easily digest hemp protein.

This may be because hemp protein is high in edistin and albumin, which the body can easily digest. The body breaks down these foods and uses a large proportion of the amino acids in various processes, such as tissue repair and cell maintenance.

When hemp protein is subjected to heat treatment, it becomes even more digestible.

Learn more about the differences between plant and animal protein here.

A great source of fiber

Eating enough fiber supports digestive health and reduces the risk of heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

The consumption recommendations range from 19 to 38 g per day, depending on a person’s sex and age. However, around 95% of people in the United States don’t get anywhere near that amount of fiber.

Individuals might consider adding hemp protein to their diet to improve their fiber intake, as a 31g serving contains approximately 11g of fiber.

Learn more about the importance of dietary fiber here.

Contains healthy fats

Hemp protein contains unsaturated fats. A 31g serving contains around 2g of fat, most of which is healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).

The polyunsaturated fatty acids in hemp protein include linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). The body cannot synthesize these fatty acids, so they must come from a food source.

Omega fatty acids are essential to health as they help maintain cell membranes, contribute to heart health, and regulate inflammation and metabolic processes.

Learn more about dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids here.

Protein powders are either plant-based or animal-based. In addition to hemp protein, whey protein and soy protein are other popular alternatives.

The protein and calorie content in 100 g of these proteins is:

Although whey protein is high in protein, it is also an allergen. Therefore, people who are sensitive or allergic to dairy products may need to avoid this protein source. Likewise, soy allergies are relatively common. However, as a rule, experts do not consider hemp an allergen, and some suggest that it is suitable as an ingredient in hypoallergenic foods.

In addition, whey protein is not vegan and cannot supplement a vegan diet. However, hemp and soy products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Hemp and soy proteins come from plants and are complete sources of protein. However, many people may choose hemp because it is less processed, is not likely to cause allergies, and is easy to digest.

Learn more about suitable proteins for vegans here.

If individuals dislike the taste of hemp protein, there are other ways to consume hemp seed and benefit from its health-promoting properties, including:

  • meals: People can sprinkle whole or ground seeds over salads, cereal, or yogurt. If you prefer a softer texture, you can add hemp seeds to soups or stews.
  • Bakery products: Ground or whole hemp seeds add interesting texture to bread, muffins, and other baked goods.
  • hemp milk: A person can make hemp milk at home by soaking, blending, and straining the seeds. The resulting product is a high-protein, plant-based milk that people can add to tea or coffee, or make into smoothies or milkshakes.

Learn about some of the best plant-based protein sources.

If a person wants to increase their protein intake while reducing their use of animal products, they can find a number of alternative plant-based protein sources. Options include:

Although a person can add protein powder to their daily routine to increase their intake, they should not use it in place of a nutritionally balanced diet.

People should also keep in mind that excessive consumption of dietary protein can affect metabolism and gut health.

It’s also worth noting that protein powders can contain various added ingredients like sugar or sodium to enhance their flavor. People should read nutritional information carefully if they want to avoid these additives.

Learn more about the dangers of too much sugar here.

Hemp protein comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. It is a rich source of dietary fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids that the human body can easily digest.

A 31g serving of hemp protein contains approximately 12g of protein and 11g of fat, depending on the source of the hemp plant and the environmental conditions in which it was grown.

If people prefer not to consume hemp protein, they can add hemp seeds to baked goods, soups, salads, or prepare hemp milk and add it to beverages.

Hemp protein contains less protein than whey and soy protein. However, it is suitable for vegans, people with soy or dairy allergies, and those who prefer to avoid highly processed foods.

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Whole Grain Benefits

What Foods Give You Energy? How to Change Your Diet to Feel Invigorated

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Developing healthy eating habits is at the core of any successful eating plan, with the goal of increasing overall energy levels throughout the day. But what foods can you choose to get that welcome boost?

Below are some foods that you can incorporate into your diet for more energy. People may consider consulting their doctor before making any changes to their diet.

Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal

“In general, carbohydrates are digested and converted to energy faster than protein or fat, so this can be important for fueling exercise,” said Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, chair of the Department of Nutrition and director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Die University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Newsweek said.

Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal are made up of more sugar molecules than simple carbohydrates and take longer to digest, allowing them to provide a more consistent supply of energy throughout the day.

Oatmeal is therefore a good high-energy food because it releases energy slowly, so that morning bowl can keep you going for hours.

A stock image shows a bowl of oatmeal, which is a good source of complex carbohydrates.
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eggs

The energy benefits of this common breakfast dish are partly because it contains B vitamins, which help convert food into energy, Lauren Popeck, a registered dietitian with Orlando Health, wrote on the organization’s website. Soybeans are also a source of B-complex vitamins.

Andean millet

People can also try eating quinoa to improve their energy levels. Ginger Hultin, a Registered Dietitian, told Newsweek, “Quinoa is a high-fiber whole grain that’s packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.”

Dark chocolate

For those with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate can be a good energy booster because it contains the stimulant caffeine and also has “rich mineral content including iron, magnesium and zinc, all of which are important for optimal systems in the body,” Hultin said.

dark chocolate
A stock image showing chunks of dark chocolate that may help boost energy.
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bananas

Bananas are often cited as a good, quick energy snack. Bananas are high in potassium, which helps regulate fluid balance and muscle contractions, and are also sources of fiber and B vitamins.

avocados

Avocados are a well-rounded fruit that contains fats and fiber. They make fat-soluble nutrients more available in the body and can help maintain energy levels throughout the day. “Avocados don’t contain a lot of protein,” Hultin said. “I would only highlight their fat and fiber content. Fat is high in calories, which can help boost energy levels.”

Avocado toast
An archive image showing a woman eating avocado toast. Avocados can potentially help maintain energy levels.
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water

While not technically a food, water can be an important energy booster. Essential for transporting nutrients to cells while removing waste products, water is constantly lost through urine, sweat and respiration. Dehydration can lead to weakness and fatigue, so making sure you’re drinking enough fluids can make a big difference in how you feel.

Think of a balanced diet

While some foods are certainly more associated with energy than others, there is no magic food, Mayer-Davis told Newsweek.

“Energy metabolism, which is the energy you feel, is a function of many biological processes, minute by minute throughout the day,” she said. “There is no magic food.”

Mayer-Davis said that for daily energy, a diet high in whole grains, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, especially fish, and healthy fats like olive oil can help.

“Be sure to eat a wide variety of foods and make sure you’re only consuming the amount of foods you need to maintain a healthy weight,” she said.

Update, 4:50 PM ET, 01/19/22: This article has been updated with comments from Ginger Hultin.

person who eats food
An archive image shows a person eating a bowl of food. Some foods have a higher energy content than others.
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