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- From quinoa to spinach to tuna: Why these 7 ‘superfoods’ are NOT as healthy as you think Wednesday February 22nd, 2017
Tuna, spinach, almonds, and other foods are touted as rich nutrient sources
However, nutritionist Rob Hobson warns they may not be as rich as we think
Here he explains how much nutrients you get from each item, and what’s better
Are you relying on almond milk to get your daily calcium intake or canned tuna for omega 3?
You may need to think twice, warns leading nutritionist Rob Hobson.
While they do contain some essential nutrients, Hobson believes their good-for-you powers have been over-exaggerated.
All unprocessed foods in their natural state are healthy and should be included as part of a healthy balanced diet.
And food companies cannot make a claim of being healthy unless they stick to strict guidance laid out by the EFSA in Europe, or USDA in America.
But in some cases, Hobson warns, their nutritional benefits may be misunderstood or over-reported.
Whilst there is definitely no reason to eliminate any of these foods from your diet, relying on them to boost your intake of a specific nutrient may be misleading.
Here, Hobson, co-author of the Detox Kitchen Bible, explains which foods to be wary of, and what might be a better alternative…
KNOWN FOR: Iron
YOU NEED: 10-15mg iron per day
SPINACH GIVES: 2.2mg ironper 80g serving
BETTER OPTION: Red kidney beans, 6.6mg iron per 80g serving
This nutritious green vegetable is a rich source of vitamin C, magnesium, folate and vitamins A and K.
But it is best known as being a rich source of iron – helped along by a huge PR boost from the Popeye show.
However, while it is a useful source, it does not contain as much iron as other vegetable sources.
An 80g serving of spinach provides 11 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron.
However, the same amount of edamame beans provides 15 percent of your RDA of iron.
Even better, a similar serving of red kidney beans provides 17 percent of your RDA.
Source of iron? While spinach does contain iron, it is not the richest source you could have
Researchers at UCR try to answer how clean is your spinach?
2. CANNED TUNA
KNOWN FOR: Omega 3
YOU NEED: At least 450mg omega 3 per day
CANNED TUNA GIVES: 271mg omega 3 per 100g serving
BETTER OPTION: Salmon, 2,250mg omega 3 per 100g serving
We should all be eating 450mg of omega 3 per day, according to health guidelines in the US and the UK.
For many of us looking to boost our omega 3 levels, canned tuna seems an easy solution – it lasts months unopened, and can be thrown into any salad or sandwich.
However, due to the canning processing involved, much of the omega 3 is lost.
A survey of 1000 people carried out by leading supplement brand Healthspan found that 58 percent considered canned tuna to be a good source of omega 3.
Compared to other fish, however, the health benefits are minuscule.
For every 100g of canned tuna, you get 271mg of omega 3.
Fresh salmon, on the other hand, contains eight times that amount – around 2,250mg of omega 3 per 100g.
That said, canned tuna can be a rich source of protein, niacin and vitamin B12.
KNOWN FOR: Omega 3
YOU NEED: At least 450mg omega 3 per day
COD GIVES: 160mg omega 3 per 100g serving
BETTER OPTION: Salmon, 2,250mg omega 3 per 100g serving
Ultimately, salmon is the supreme when it comes to omega 3.
Another misconception is that many breeds of white fish are thought to be just as nutritious.
The Healthspan survey showed that 33 percent of people considered cod to be a good source of omega 3.
But a 100g serving contains only 160mg compared with salmon at 2,250mg.
Cod is a rich source of protein and a source of vitamin B6 and B12.
Even less omega 3? A 100g serving of cod contains less omega 3 than canned tuna
KNOWN FOR: Vitamin D
YOU NEED: 400 International Units vitamin D per day
EGGS GIVE: 35IU vitamin D per two-egg serving
BETTER OPTION: Eggs + supplements
Eggs are rightly touted as one of the few foods high in vitamin D.
But it is not enough alone.
While you may think a two-egg omelette is a solid dose of vitamin D, that barely scratches the surface.
According to official guidelines, we need to consume 10 micrograms of (or 400 International Units) of vitamin D.
Two eggs provide just 35 International Units.
Eggs are a rich source of protein and riboflavin as well as being a source of B12.
Eggs are rightly touted as one of the few foods high in vitamin D. But it is not enough alone
KNOWN FOR: Protein
YOU NEED: About 56g protein per day for sedentary people
QUINOA GIVES: 8g protein per 180g serving
BETTER OPTION: Greek yogurt, 23g protein per 8oz serving
This ‘pseudo-grain’ is in fact a seed, which is why it has a good protein profile containing all the essential amino acids.
This is a great food for vegans who may struggle to get a full range of amino acids in their diet.
Whilst it’s often reported as being a rich source of protein and is certainly useful, it only contains 8g per 180g serving.
That means it is classed as a source and not a rich source of protein, according to the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) food labeling guidance.
Quinoa is a source of folate and iron as well as being a rich source of magnesium.
Quinoa is a source of protein, but not a rich source of protein like chicken or Greek yogurt
Gluten free and full of nutrients, Teff is the superfood of 2017
KNOWN FOR: Calcium
YOU NEED: 1,000mg calcium per day (different for pregnant women and elderly)
ALMOND MILK GIVES: 80mg calcium per 25g serving
BETTER OPTION: Tofu, 434mg calcium per half-cup serving
Like other nuts, almonds are a highly nutritious food and valued addition to the diet.
Nuts are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats that are good for the heart.
Almonds are often reported as being a rich source of calcium but a single 25g serving only contains around 7 percent of the RDA.
Whilst this still contributes to your daily intake you can’t rely on this nut if you don’t eat dairy foods (richest source of calcium).
If you choose to replace cow’s milk for any plant-based alternative such as almond milk, then look for brands that fortify with vitamins and minerals (especially calcium).
Almonds are a source of riboflavin and magnesium as well as being a rich source of vitamin E.
Whilst almond milk contributes to your daily intake of calcium you can’t rely on this nut if you don’t eat dairy foods (which are the richest sources of calcium)
KNOWN FOR: Being the ‘healthiest sweetener’; supposedly ‘rich in iron’
YOU NEED: 1,000mg iron per day (different for pregnant women and elderly)
HONEY GIVES: To get just 3.5mg (15 percent) you need to consume 750g honey
MAJOR CAVEAT: 750g honey equates to 123tsp added sugar – 20 times the daily limit
BETTER OPTION: No sweetener
This is the most naturally sourced form of sweetener and considered by some to be a healthier choice.
However, it still contains 17g (3.4tsp) of ‘added sugar’ per tablespoon.
That is 56 percent of the recommended limit of 6tsp per day.
To get any iron from honey, you would have to consume 750g of the sticky stuff. That, however, would equate to 123tsp of ‘added’ sugar – more than 20 times the daily limit
Honey is also often touted as being rich in minerals.
Whilst the most abundant might be iron, you would need to eat 750g to provide a source (at least 15 percent of the RDA). That, however, would equate to 123tsp of ‘added’ sugar.
Bottom line is that there is no such a thing as a healthy sweetener and all of them should be used in moderation.
If you’re trying to boost your intake of a specific nutrient, then look for reliable information that can be found at websites such as NHS choices.
Source: Daily Mail
- Stress hormone may help explain health advantages of marriage Wednesday February 22nd, 2017
(Reuters Health) – Married couples may be healthier than single, divorced or widowed adults at least in part because they have lower levels of a stress hormone associated with a variety of medical problems, a recent study suggests.
Previous research has linked marriage to a longer life and other health benefits, which could be due to the relationship itself or to other factors like higher household income, better medical insurance or improved access to care. The current study, however, offers fresh insight into another possible benefit of marriage: less stress.
For the study, researchers tested levels of cortisol, a hormone released under stress, in 572 healthy men and women aged 21 to 55. They found married individuals consistently had lower cortisol levels than people who never married or who were previously married.
“Our findings provide new and important initial insights into how our most intimate social relationships can ‘get under the skin’ to impact physical health,” said lead study author Brian Chin, a psychology researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“We aren’t able to draw any strong conclusions from our study about exactly how this happens, but we are able to make some educated guesses based on earlier research,” Chin added by email.
It’s possible, for example, that married people might have better access to care than single individuals because they have good health insurance through a spouse or more funds available to pay for care, Chin said. Being married might also help encourage people to stick to a healthier lifestyle or avoid behaviors that can lead to illness like smoking or excessive drinking.
To assess stress levels based on marital status, Chin and colleagues collected multiple cortisol samples throughout the day from each participant on three separate days.
The 292 people who never married were younger, averaging around 29 years old, compared with about 37 years old for the 160 married individuals in the study and an average age of 40 for the 56 adults who were previously married.
In addition to looking at overall cortisol levels, researchers also analyzed fluctuations in participants’ cortisol levels during the course of a day.
Typically, cortisol levels peak when a person wakes up and decline as the day progresses, the study team writes in Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Married people in the study had faster drops in cortisol levels during the day, a pattern that’s associated with health benefits including a lower risk of heart disease and longer survival among cancer patients, researchers note.
Differences in cortisol during the day between married and unmarried people were not due to variations in participants’ starting levels of cortisol at the beginning of the day.
Instead, it appeared that married people had a more rapidly accelerating decline in cortisol during the afternoons than people who were never married, though not individuals who had been previously married.
Married people might have lower cortisol levels and steeper declines in the hormone during the day because they’re more satisfied with their relationships and lack the kind of stress that’s associated with being in a poor relationship or being unmarried, the authors speculate.
However, the researchers note that some previous studies have not found a relationship between marital quality and changes in cortisol levels over the course of a day.
The current study isn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove how marriage influences cortisol or stress levels or to assess any related health benefits, the researchers add.
“This study is exciting because we know being married is associated with better health but we don’t know why this association occurs,” said Kira Birditt, a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who wasn’t involved in the study.
“Cortisol is a measure of stress response and may provide interesting insights into how relationships affect health,” Birditt added by email. “Unfortunately, this study did not include assessments of daily stress exposure or daily social interactions to understand if these associations may be accounted for by variations in the daily lived experiences of married versus unmarried individuals.”
SOURCE: bit.ly/2mi99U1 Psychoneuroendocrinology, online January 19, 2017.
- Could this be a good reason to turn vegan? Monday February 20th, 2017
Experts assessed the impact of eating different types of fats and type 2 diabetes
They discovered that it only takes 12g of butter each day to trigger the condition
Findings highlight the importance of swapping animal fats for olive oil and nuts
Vegans are at lower risk of developing diabetes, new research suggests.
Consuming animal products doubles someone’s risk of developing the potentially fatal condition, scientists claim.
And it only takes less than a tablespoon of butter each day, according to the Spanish study.
The findings highlight the importance of swapping saturated animal fats for olive oil and nuts, experts warn.
New research suggests that vegans are at lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes because they avoid animal fats
Researchers evaluated the link between eating different types of fat and type 2 diabetes.
Some 3,349 participants were assessed over a period of nearly five years by a team from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona.
Consumption of 12g of butter each day doubled the risk of the condition, they discovered.
While eating the same amount of whole-fat yoghurt was associated with a lower risk, the study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found.
Consuming animal products doubles someone’s risk of developing the potentially fatal condition, scientists claim
Recently, dietary guidelines have shifted toward a plant-based diet rich in legumes, whole-grain cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
ANOTHER BENEFIT OF GOING VEGAN
Vegans don’t need to worry about bulking up.
Their diets are just as effective in protein uptake and maintaining muscle strength as meat eaters, new research suggested.
Critics of the ethical diet have long been convinced that those who stick to plant-based foods are missing out on protein from meat.
But scientists from the University of Massachusetts discovered that so long as they eat legumes, nuts and kale, they will have the same strength as a meat-eater.
It is also recommended to keep consumption of animal-based foods low, as they may linked to cancer, heart disease and strokes.
At the same time, vegan diets have become increasingly popular in the past few years mainly due to growing concerns about the treatment of animals.
More and more people are ditching the meat in favour of an animal-free diet,
And research last August suggested it could be a clever switch after scientists found swapping meat and eggs for lentils and nuts could add years to someone’s life.
Eating less protein from animal sources and choosing instead to eat cereals, beans and soya, substantially reduced death rates.
But a study published yesterday suggested that a lack of meat in a father’s diet could massively impact their chances of ever having grandchildren.
In a study on fruit flies, scientists from Monash University, Melbourne, found skipping out on protein can damage their offspring’s chances of conceiving.
Source: Daily Mail
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