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Whole Grain Benefits

The 7 Best Brain-Friendly Breakfast Foods

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ANDYou already know you should be eating breakfast every day – and that doesn’t mean ordering an oat milk latte and calling it good. Listen to us: When you feed your body the right nutrition every morning, it’s not just about filling up your energy tank. Eating a quality, nutritious breakfast will actually help you perform better at work (and play) and improve your overall brain health, according to research. “Emphasizing the words ‘high quality’ and ‘nutrient-rich’ is key,” said Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, author of the Family Immunity Cookbook.

For example, a study published in the journal Nutrients in April 2021 found that teenagers who ate a nutritious breakfast had better cognitive performance in school than those who didn’t. A small 2016 study in Neuroscience & Medicine showed that certain areas of the brain experience significantly higher levels of activation when young adult participants eat a nutritionally balanced breakfast versus a sugar-filled breakfast. And a 2019 study published in the Journal of Psychophysiology concluded that skipping breakfast can negatively affect short-term cognition, particularly disrupting the attention process (i.e., the ability to pay attention).

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If that’s not convincing enough, get it from a registered dietitian: Amidor says eating breakfast daily should be “top priority”. (Not to mention the fact that having breakfast can also improve your mood and emotional well-being.)

While there’s no official time you should have breakfast, Amidor recommends eating within an hour of waking up, even if it’s small – like a fruit yogurt or a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter. “You don’t need a complicated breakfast, but it should have multiple food groups of nutritious foods,” she adds.

Remember, however, that eating for optimal brain health and cognitive function is not just related to your morning meal. “It’s becoming more and more about the overall pattern of what you eat and drink in a day, in a week, and so on, versus each individual food item,” said Maggie Moon, MS, RD, author of The MIND Diet.

However, there are some breakfast foods that are better than others when it comes to targeted boosting cognitive function and overall brain health. Read on for top recommendations from two nutritionists for brain-friendly breakfast foods.

The 7 best brain-friendly breakfast foods according to the RDs

1. Salmon

Fancy some smoked salmon when you wake up? Ooh, you send. But you’re in luck – this fish provides tons of omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA, says Amidor. Salmon is an excellent breakfast choice, especially because DHA makes up a significant portion of the fat in your brain and is therefore critical to brain development, she adds. Research shows that DHA, either alone or in combination with EPA, contributes to improved memory function in older adults. Amidor recommends topping a slice of seedless rye bread with whipped cream cheese and an ounce of smoked salmon and sliced ​​vegetables, or integrating smoked salmon and vegetables into an omelette. You can also try smoked salmon on a mushroom bagel or Better Bagel, or add it to a salad for the best brunch at home.

2 eggs

Speaking of omelets … as it turns out, the humble egg is also one of the best brain-friendly foods out there. “Easy to cook but to make things more decadent, an egg contains both choline and lutein, two vital nutrients that help the brain develop in our early years and then protect it from cognitive decline in mid-life “Says Moon, citing a 2018 report on the benefits of egg cells published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Learn seven ways to eat eggs without scrambled eggs. Tired of dirtying a pan? Microwave pre-made egg bites like Appleton’s Market Power Veggie Bites for the next best option.

Eggs are so nutritious that this nutritionist actually calls them nature’s multivitamin:

3. Oatmeal

We get it – another dietitian who recommends oatmeal for breakfast comes as no big surprise. However, there’s a reason oats are so popular with nutritionists: as whole grains, they have been linked to improved cognitive functions like better reading comprehension and improved fluency in speech. Moon says she prefers steel cut oats, which are closer to the whole-food form of oats and have a comfortably chewy texture.

In a hurry in the morning? Try packaged, high-protein oatmeal (without all the added sugar) like mush or oats overnight.

4. Turmeric

Incorporating a pinch of this yellow spice into the first meal of your day can improve your brain health. It contains a chemical called curcumin that has been shown to have memory and cognitive benefits in both healthy adults and those with Alzheimer’s disease. Try this breakfast smoothie recipe from Amidor: puree the carrots, orange juice, cinnamon and natural Greek yogurt in a high-performance mixer and then sprinkle with turmeric. Or try oatmeal with a handful of turmeric-containing trail mixes like Toodaloo for crunch and brain benefits.

5. Berries

Who doesn’t love fresh berries for breakfast? A simple morning meal of plain Greek yogurt with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and chopped almonds is a brain-boosting start to the day, says Amidor. A review in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that anthocyanins, the pigment in berries that give them their rich color, can help protect your brain cells from oxidation and help promote communication between brain neurons. (By the way, pomegranate is another fruit that is amazing for brain health.)

If you can’t get your hands on fresh ingredients, Sow Good Freeze Dried Fruits can be stocked up with the same diet and no additional ingredients. Freeze-dried fruits can also be a life-saving snack for travelers.

6. Coffee

Hallelujah! You’d better believe coffee makes the list (but be careful: drinking too much has the opposite effect). Research suggests that having a cup of joe (black) in the morning improves reaction time, improves alertness, and helps us think more clearly. According to Moon, this may be due to the combination of caffeine and antioxidants, as well as the coffee’s ability to improve the brain’s functional connectivity, which is how well different regions of the brain communicate with each other to get tasks done.

Skip the cafe and make yourself at home. Brands like Explorer Cold Brew Co. and Copper Cow Coffee make it more interesting and easier to be your own barista.

7. Water

OK, so this is absolutely not a food – but hydration with H20 is crucial when you wake up to start your day and your mind. “We call it ‘brain water’ in our home because it’s so important to brain health,” says Moon. Our brains are nearly 75 percent water, which means that even mild dehydration can affect cognitive performance and negatively affect your mood as well.

Really in a time constraint? In a pinch, grab a protein bar specially formulated with nutrients to promote brain health, like Mindright or Mosh.

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Whole Grain Benefits

12 Best Snacks for Weight Loss

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  • Healthy weight loss snacks are nutritious, portioned and balanced.
  • Some examples are an apple with peanut butter, a banana and almonds, or a protein bar.
  • You can also try hummus and carrots, fruit and plain Greek yogurt, and homemade trail mixes.
  • Check out the Insider Health Reference Library for more advice.

If you and your doctor have decided that losing weight is the best course of action for your health, then lifestyle and diet changes are likely needed.

That can mean replacing high-calorie snacks that lack nutrients, like potato chips, with healthy snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Unfortunately, many American snack foods are highly processed, high in calories and low in nutritional value. These types of snacks can make you feel sluggish and lead to weight gain,” says Amber Ingram, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

On the other hand, she says that a healthy, balanced snack can boost your energy and provide your body with the nutrients it needs. Ingram says some rules of thumb for healthy snacking are:

  • Nutritious, meaning they contain a nice mix of vitamins and minerals.
  • Portion controlled, like a single apple or orange.
  • Balanced, meaning ideally it contains protein and one complex carbohydrate – which helps to keep you full. A healthy fat can also be a great addition, but it’s not necessary for a balanced snack.
  • About 150-250 calories

Here are 12 healthy snack ideas recommended by nutritionists.

1. An apple and natural peanut butter

  • One medium apple: 95 calories
  • One tablespoon of natural peanut butter: 95 calories
  • Total calories: 190

Snacks that contain protein can help you feel full for longer, which can reduce overeating and subsequent weight gain.

Natural peanut butter is a great source of plant-based protein, and apples are high in soluble fiber, which studies have shown may help promote weight loss and reduce the risk of cancer.


diabetes

, and cardiovascular diseases.

2. Cottage cheese and pineapple

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 2% milk: 90 calories
  • Half a cup of pineapple: 41 calories
  • Total calories: 131

In addition to the protein that keeps you full, cottage cheese is also packed with calcium, which can support bone health.

You can pair it with pineapple, which contains bromelain — a compound with anti-inflammatory benefits that may also aid in digestion, says Ingram.

Plus, a sweet, healthy fruit like pineapple, melon, or mango is perfect for adding a flavor explosion to a snack.

3. Fruit and plain Greek yogurt

  • A cup of strawberries: 53 calories
  • A can of plain yogurt: 100 calories
  • Total calories: 153

While yogurt may seem like a healthy choice, many flavored varieties are loaded with added sugar. Added sugar can easily lead to excess sugar consumption, which has been linked to obesity.

You can avoid added sugars by opting for plain Greek yogurt, says Alicia Beltran, MS, a nutritionist at Baylor College of Medicine.

Add flavor and sweetness by adding your fruit of choice. Berries, including strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, are a great option because they’re loaded with antioxidants that help reduce the risk of conditions like kidney and cardiovascular disease caused by free radical damage.

Plus, Greek yogurt contains probiotics, which may have benefits like maintaining a healthy microbiome and cardiovascular health.

4. Hummus and carrots

  • Two tablespoons of hummus: 60 calories
  • A cup of raw carrots: 50 calories
  • Total calories: 110

This snack has two benefits: First, the hummus is a good source of protein and fiber, both of which help keep you feeling full and satisfied, Beltran says. And second, carrots contain beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by your body. Vitamin A can benefit your eyesight, immune system, and cholesterol.

Eating more vegetables in general can also help


weight loss

because vegetables are more filling, which a 2014 study of overweight adults found may help control hunger.

5. Cream cheese with cashew nuts as a side dish

  • A light mozzarella string cheese: 50 calories
  • A quarter cup of cashews: 197 calories
  • Total calories: 247

The combination of spreadable cheese and cashews packs healthy fats and proteins that don’t cause a blood sugar spike that might make you tired and sluggish later, says Allison Childress, PhD, nutritionist and assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech University.

Choosing light or low-fat versions of snacks like cheese is an easy way to cut fat and calories on your weight-loss journey.

Plus, nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts, and macadamias are heart-healthy and can help lower “bad” cholesterol levels.

6. A banana and almonds

  • One medium-sized banana: 105 calories
  • A quarter cup of almonds: 207 calories
  • Total calories: 312

“This snack combines the carbs of bananas with the fat, fiber and protein of almonds for a balanced, filling snack,” says Childress.

The banana is high in potassium, and nutritionists recommend bananas as a weight-loss snack. This is because bananas contain pectin and


resistant starch

, that’s enough.

Note: This snack has a little more calories than the others on this list, so it might not be a snack you want to reach for every day.

7. Wholemeal Toast with Peanut Butter

  • A slice of whole wheat bread: 110 calories
  • One tablespoon of natural peanut butter: 95 calories
  • Total calories: 205

Bread is often vilified in weight loss diets like keto and Whole30 for its high carb content. But if you eat the right type of bread, you can still enjoy a slice every now and then.

In fact, a small 2012 study found that overweight participants who ate bread as part of a restricted-calorie diet were more likely to stick to the diet than those who were told to avoid bread altogether.

Just be sure to avoid white bread and other refined grain options like bleached flour. These typically have little to no fiber. Instead, opt for whole grain breads, which provide more fiber and nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and folic acid.

You should also consider toasting your bread, as research suggests it can lower the glycemic index — a measure of how likely a food is to spike blood sugar. However, more studies are needed to determine how much toasting lowers the GI for whole grain bread and how this might affect weight loss.

8. A protein bar

  • One Quest protein bar: 190 calories

If you’re looking for easy on-the-go snacks, try some protein bars. However, be sure to read the label and make sure they aren’t loaded with added sugar.

A 2020 review found that a high-protein diet can be beneficial for losing weight and preventing weight gain over the course of six to 12 months, whether you’re on a low-calorie diet or not. Additionally, the review found that a high-protein diet may promote feelings of fullness or satiety.

Childress recommends Quest bars, which contain about 15 grams of fiber, 21 grams of protein, and just 2 grams of sugar. Other brands with a healthy balance of fiber and protein and low in sugar include ONE and Alani Nu, says Childress. Experiment with different protein bars and find out which ones are your personal favourites.

Best protein bars

Checking the protein bars


Amazon

We test and recommend the best protein bars. Check out our selection:

9. Homemade Trail Mix

  • A quarter cup of trail mix: about 160 calories

Of course, buying pre-packaged trail mix is ​​an option, but Beltran suggests going the DIY route because you can more easily control total calorie count by choosing what’s in it. Beltran says some healthy options should be included:

  • almonds
  • cashew nuts
  • pecans
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • raisins
  • Dried cranberries

Since trail mixes usually contain high-calorie foods like dried fruit and nuts, moderation is key. Make sure you measure out a quarter cup before snacking instead of eating straight from a bag for portion control.

10. Crispy chickpeas and a hard-boiled egg

  • 1/4 cup crispy chickpeas: 161 calories
  • One large hard-boiled egg: 78 calories
  • Total calories: 149

Roasting chickpeas makes them nice and crispy — a bonus if you’re trying to lose weight, as researchers have found that foods that make a lot of noise when eaten lead people to eat less overall.

Also, eggs are good for weight loss as they are high in protein and nutrient dense while being low in calories.

11. Fruit smoothie with protein powder

The total calorie count depends on the ingredients you choose for your smoothie. In general, opt for a mix of fruits and vegetables such as:

  • 1 medium banana (105 calories) and a bunch of baby spinach (27 calories): About 132 calories
  • 1 medium apple (65 calories) and a handful of celery (20 calories): About 85 calories

One thing to keep in mind about smoothies is that they contain less fiber than if you were to eat those foods whole. As a result, your blood sugar may be more likely to rise. To slow digestion and prevent a spike in blood sugar, add a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie.

12. English muffin with avocado

  • One half of a whole wheat English muffin: 65 calories
  • A quarter of an avocado: 81 calories
  • Total calories: 146

Avocados are high in healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats and rich in nutrients that make them good for heart, eye, and skin health. Plus, the fiber in whole grains can help you feel fuller and promote good gut health.

A 2019 study found that among non-obese people, those who consumed avocados were less likely to gain weight than those who did not consume avocados.

Insider snack

There are so many options for delicious and nutritious healthy snacks to eat while trying to lose weight. Be mindful of portion sizes and always remember that moderation is key.

Also, Beltran says you should make sure you’re really hungry before grabbing a snack, rather than just eating out of boredom, stress, or distraction.

The right healthy snacks will keep you full until your next meal and can help you lose weight.

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Whole Grain Benefits

5 Morning Routines Tips for Holistic Heart Health

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By by now you probably know that keeping your heart healthy is just as important as keeping the rest of your system feeling good and working properly. But when it comes to your ticker, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get full advice from a cardiologist on how best to do it. Mona Shah, MD, a cardiologist also trained in holistic integrative medicine, several lifestyle factors play a role in heart health, including diet, exercise, sleep, and stress.

This is why it’s so important to look at all of the factors that affect your heart health, and not just cardiovascular fitness or cholesterol levels. Enter: holistic integrative medicine.

What exactly is holistic integrative medicine?

It is a comprehensive and informative approach to treating the patient because diagnosis and treatment looks at the whole person – their diet, stress levels, sleep intake, exercise schedule, vitamin intake, supplements and more to reduce their risk of heart disease and other complications later in life.

“Often patients are just given medication without really addressing the underlying causes of inflammation, blockages, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more, all of which can lead to heart disease,” explains Dr. shah “There are definitely cases where we need drugs, but what is the best way to integrate these two different approaches? [medication and lifestyle changes] That’s what I believe most strongly.” She not only believes it for her clients, but also practices it herself, beginning her day with specific rituals designed to keep her mind and body healthy.

dr Shah’s morning routine to promote holistic heart health

“Morning is a great way to start habits that can set the tone for the day, because all too often we get out of bed with a list of everything we need to do and stress levels start to rise,” says dr shah “I’m not a morning person at all, but this morning routine was such an important positive change I’ve made in my life that anyone can do.”

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“After dropping my boys on the doorstep of school, I have about 2030 minutes for me before I have to get ready for work,” she says. This is how she spends it.

She drinks water with turmeric and lemon after waking up

“I start with a tall glass of warm water with lemon and turmeric because turmeric has so many health benefits and drinking warm water as a first drink is so calming,” says Dr. shah Additionally, turmeric can promote gut health and kick-start the digestive process, and it is anti-inflammatory, which boosts the immune system.

She practices gratitude

After drinking her water, Dr. List three things she’s grateful for to encourage positive feelings and keep stress levels from rising early in the day. “Stress itself is a big risk factor for heart disease, so simple breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, or journaling can help, even for five minutes a day,” she says. “Writing in a gratitude journal and showing kindness releases a variety of feel-good hormones that can lower your risk of heart disease. Gratitude has been shown to improve quality of life, lower cortisol levels, relieve depression and boost immunity, so don’t skip it.”

Then she meditates for 5 minutes

“I breathe in slowly through my nose and I usually say a mantra like ‘I am’ as I breathe in, and I visualize love coming into my heart before I breathe out,” says Dr. shah “With that exhale I could say ‘at peace’ and imagine love going out into the world.”

She wakes up the body with a short yoga flow

“I then do a few yoga poses, such as the sun salutation, to get my body moving before taking a shower, as yoga has a variety of health benefits, including lowering stress levels, improving blood pressure, and enhancing immunity and inflammation. ” She says.

To start your day soaking up the sun like Dr. Greetings Shah, Check out how to do the following yoga flow:

In general, exercise helps reduce heart disease risk, manage weight, reduce stress and improve our mental state — Shah says even just 30 minutes of walking a day can improve mood, tame stress and protect the heart. So swap out yoga for any workout that makes you feel good. Bonus points if it gets your blood pumping.

She puts off breakfast a few hours

“I typically do intermittent fasting, so along with black coffee with a shot of stevia, I don’t eat my first meal until 11 a.m. or noon,” says Dr. Shah risk of heart disease. I’m a vegetarian, so the night before I usually make overnight oats with sprouted gluten-free oats and unsweetened almond milk, blueberries, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and a pinch of powdered cinnamon and stevia.” Other suggestions include whole wheat toast with avocado, chia seeds, and crumbled feta; smoked salmon and Greek yogurt; nut butters and berries; or hummus with egg and vegetables.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Consume these nutrient-rich, whole foods to glow on your wedding day

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From salmon to beetroot—here’s all you need to incorporate into your diet

Time to have healthy foods! (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Wedding day is, undoubtedly, one of the most special days for anyone. Thus, people end up spending months to make sure all the arrangements are perfect and in place. However, amidst this hustle-bustle, many tend to forget their self-care routine which is crucial to glow on your big day. You may have the best hair and make-up artist in place but nothing beats the glow that comes from within.

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Wondering how to amp up your fitness and nutrition game? Nutritionist and diet coach Minaschi Pettukola is here to the rescue. This wedding season, incorporate these colourful, varied, nutrient-rich, whole foods suggested by Pettukola and make sure that you shine not just on your wedding day but for days to come.

salmon

Salmon is a powerhouse of essential fatty acids and is very rich in omega. It is the perfect recipe all on its own for glowing skin and shining hair.

Turmeric

Every Indian household is familiar with the benefits of turmeric. It is an age-old staple in our kitchens and is excellent in healing damaged skin and can repair sun-damaged skin.

Garlic

Garlic is known to reduce and fight off any skin infections. It is also recognized for boosting immunity which is of prime importance nowadays.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits can easily be added to your breakfast as oranges and grapefruit. They promote healthy collagen production and can fight inflammation and toxicity.

greens

Greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, mustard and fenugreek leaves are rich in antioxidants, calcium and folate, necessary to keep your skin healthy and glowing.

bedroot

Beetroot is an exceptionally rich source of antioxidant compounds which repair skin cells, promotes new skin growth and younger cells.

Whole grains

Whole grains are rich in fiber and nutrients, especially in these days of highly processed and nutrient-depleted foods. Whole grain foods help tilt the balance towards a healthier diet.

Others

Other foods which make a big difference to enriching your diet are eggs, nuts and seeds, pro and prebiotics, lentils and green tea.

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📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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