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Five best healthy foods for lowering your stress levels fast
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037321_healthy_foods_lowering_stress_almonds.html#ixzz27aJHoBEq
(NaturalNews) Most of us would agree that life is a busy endeavor, which can lead to lots of stress. And the busier we get, the more stress we have to deal with.
Fortunately, there is a medicine-free way in which you can reduce a significant portion of that stress, all from the comfort of your own kitchen and dining room. Here are six excellent, healthy foods that can help you lower your stress levels naturally:
Grab a couple handfuls of almonds daily. Almonds, and other nuts, are so good for so many different reasons – among them; their ability to reduce your stress level.
“Nuts are loaded with vitamin E, which boosts immunity,” says Health and Living. “A healthy immune system means you’re less likely to fall victim to that cold that’s making its way around the office, and a healthier you means a less stressed you, too.”
According to Anna Magee and nutritional therapist Charlotte Watts, authors of the book The De-Stress Diet, “Nuts are crammed with B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and omega oils, nutrients that are depleted when anxiety is high. As a source of healthy fats, nuts have also been shown to curb appetite, naturally balance blood sugar levels, reduce sugar cravings, and support the metabolism.”
Use caution; however, in terms of the amount of almonds and other nuts you consume, writes Lisa Collier Cool for Yahoo! Health.
There’s no fish like oily fish. Fish like salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is the perfect dinner de-stress option. “Omega-3s have been shown to boost mood and brain function, and can aid significantly in dealing with anxiety and depression,” Health and Living says.
“A 2011 study from Ohio State showed a 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical school students who took omega-3 supplements,” Cool notes. “The researchers made this surprising discovery during research to test their theory that omega-3s would lower stress-induced levels of cytokines, compounds that promote inflammation in the body, which can lead to illness and heart attack.”
Oily fish also contain a host of vitamins and minerals – B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium – “that help reduce sugar-addiction cycles and counteract the damaging effects of stress on the body,” says Dina Spector of BusinessInsider.com.
Oh, yes – chocolate. Not that the other foods aren’t good (and good for you), but seriously, who can resist a little chocolate?
Few of us can but that’s all right because a little chocolate goes a long way towards reducing our stress levels.
“Too much indulgence is likely to keep you from your weight-loss goals, but a small portion of chocolate as a pick-me-up isn’t such a bad idea,” Health and Living says. “This sweet treat helps to boost serotonin levels, which plays a key role in dealing with stress. In a study conducted by Duke Medical Center, researchers found that lower levels of serotonin actually cause a more extreme reaction when the body encounters stress.”
How much is just enough?
“Research has shown that 40g of dark chocolate a day can help us cope with stress by releasing ‘happy chemicals’ known as beta endorphins in the brain,” says Spector. “When it comes to a treat, dark chocolate can be a good snack choice to stave off cravings for less healthy choices, while providing a much-needed energy boost without the agitating effects of caffeine.”
From chocolate to… spinach. Well, Popeye knew a little something about nutrition after all.
“Spinach and other dark leafy greens like Swiss chard and kale are loaded with magnesium, which has been credited as a major stress fighter, helping to relax muscle fibers and put you at ease,” says Health and Living.
“There’s no such thing as a chill pill, but some foods contain body-boosting nutrients that help soothe stressed-out nerves,” adds Whole Living, noting that green leafy foods contain folic acid, which helps “make dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.”
Oranges – for sunshine in your life. Oranges, along with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, red and green peppers and strawberries contain lots of vitamin C, which “boosts your immune system and fights brain-cell damage resulting from constant exposure to cortisol,” says Whole Living.
“Stress makes our body release even more free radicals than when we are in good mood. Interestingly, vitamin C helps to keep the free radicals in control, and repairs the body. Basically, it helps protect the body from the cumulative effects of stress,” adds Dr. Lee Dobbins, a physician who specializes in weight loss-related issues.
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Low-carbohydrate diets make you lean and healthy, systematic review shows
Thursday, August 30, 2012 by: Eric Hunter
(NaturalNews) The amount of research on low-carbohydrate diets have skyrocketed the last couple of years; mostly due to the increased popularity of carbohydrate restriction and the “overwhelming” amounts of anecdotal reports from people following these types of diets. Individuals who adhere to a low-carbohydrate eating style usually get most of their calories from fat, and skeptics often argue that the increased consumption of meat and saturated fat will “clog the arteries” and increase the risk of disease. A new meta-analysis, a systematic review of studies, found that low-carbohydrate diets lead to weight loss and improved health.
A low-carbohydrate diet usually involves reduced consumption of grains, legumes, rice, certain dairy products and sometimes fruits and root vegetables. Fat becomes the main source of energy, and avocado, coconut products, oils, full-fat dairy, meat, fish, fowl, eggs, olives etc., are common food staples.
The exact amount of carbohydrates in different types of “low-carbohydrate” diets usually range from 0-100 grams.
The systematic review of low-carbohydrate diets used 23 reports that met the criteria of the analysis; which includes 17 clinical investigations and a total of 1,141 obese patients. Low carbohydrate diets were found to be associated with significant decreases in body weight, blood pressure, insulin levels and plasma C-reactive protein. In general, low-carbohydrate diets were found to improve all cardiovascular risk factors. Weight loss in itself also contributes to improved metabolic markers.
Low-carbohydrate diets will not clog your arteries
The link between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease has long been considered an established connection by many medical professionals. However, when looking into the human physiology and biomedical literature, one quickly realizes that it’s not so cut and dry. Several comprehensive reviews conclude that low-carbohydrate diets don’t increase the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
The new systematic review also showed that low-carbohydrate diets cause an increase in HDL, the “good” cholesterol, and no significant changes in LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. It’s also known that the majority of people can eat cholesterol without it affecting their cholesterol levels. Rather than elevated blood cholesterol, inflammation seems to be the major cause of heart disease.
This doesn’t mean that a low-carbohydrate diet is necessarily the optimal diet
The benefits of these systematic reviews are that they look at several reports, rather than just presenting the data from one study. This way it’s possible to get a larger picture and be able to draw more accurate conclusions. However, this meta-analysis gives little information about the effects of low carbohydrate diets compared to other popular diets, the exact amount of carbohydrate necessary to achieve good results and which foods to choose.
Sticking to a low-carbohydrate diet usually means increased consumption of paleolithic foods and reduced consumption of processed foods, grains, legumes, milk and other western foods staples.
These “modern” foods often have a high-carbohydrate density and contain several anti-nutrients, problematic proteins and hormones. Thereby, avoiding these foods results in reduced inflammation and a healthier life.
Epidemiological studies show that humans can maintain excellent health when eating a high-carbohydrate diet based on fruits, berries, nuts and root tubers and other vegetables.
The one group of people that “always” benefits from carbohydrate restriction is overweight and obese individuals. All of the available literature shows that low carbohydrate diets are linked to significantly more weight loss compared to other diets. Overweight and obesity usually go hand in hand with low-level chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and leptin resistance. Carbohydrate restriction usually improves insulin and leptin resistance among other things, thereby contributing to weight loss.
Sources for this article include
Santos FL, Esteves SS, da Costa Pereira A, et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors.
Obes Rev. 2012 Aug 21. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01021.x. [Epub ahead of print]
Mente A, et al. A systematic review of the evidence supporting a causal link between dietary factors and coronary heart disease.Arch Intern Med. 2009 Apr 13;169(7):659-69.
Hooper L, et al. Reduced or modified dietary fat for preventing cardiovascular disease.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jul 6;(7):CD002137.
Siri-Tarino PW, et al. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the associationof saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46.
Kratz M, et al. The relationship between high-fat dairy consumption and obesity, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease. European Journal of Nutrition, Online First?, 18 July 2012
‘Wheat-belly’ 101 – Five clues that your excess weight is caused by gluten
Friday, August 17, 2012 by: PF Louis
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(NaturalNews) Wheat today is not what it used to be. It is more of a hybrid version of 19th century and earlier versions of wheat our ancestors relied on for their daily bread. The same is true for a few other grains.
Today’s wheat is a genetic modification of horticultural or agricultural specie combining. This genetic modification is different than laboratory GMO gene splicing. Nevertheless, the amount of 20th century agricultural genetic modification has outpaced the human digestive system’s ability to adapt.
The result is that even if you are not a celiac disease sufferer or gluten sensitive, you still could be suffering from the ill effects of wheat and other grains. Even organic whole wheat has a high glycemic index (GI), which over time may increase your glycemic load and create diabetes II.
So although whole wheat grains are considered complex carbohydrates, modern day wheat contains amylopectin A, which is a rapidly absorbed carbohydrate that spikes your blood sugar, but more. The other grains that can contribute to wheat belly include: Barley, rye, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), bulgur, farina, kamut, seminola, durum flour, and spelt. Bummer, eh?
There are safer grain options, however. Buckwheat, which is not actually wheat, amaranth, rice, hominy, sorghum, tapioca, arrowroot, quinoa, and einkorn are okay. Uncommon einkorn is the ancient traditional wheat our ancestors enjoyed. Oats are controversial. Some argue that oats are contaminated by wheat.
The downside of wheat and some other grains
Beer belly is actually wheat or grain belly, according to Body Ecology. It is visceral fat, or fat that has accumulated around body cavity organs, such as the liver, stomach, or intestines. Subcutaneous fat is just under the skin. It is the flabby, flesh of any part of your body.
Obese folks have both visceral and subcutaneous fat issues. A beer or wheat belly most likely indicates visceral fat. In addition to the obvious potential of diabetes II from obesity, there is another ominous aspect of visceral fat.
Visceral fat acts as a gland, secreting hormones that make the immune system react. This produces more fat to store and protect pathogens from invading our organs. It’s the proverbial vicious cycle, and it also produces low level chronic inflammation that can result in various autoimmune diseases.
Cardiologist William Davis, MD, warns against the gluten free diet for losing a wheat belly. The wheat substitutes such as potato flour have high glycemic index issues also, and they can increase your GI load to cause the obesity you’re trying to avoid.
Five wheat belly indicators in addition to a bloated belly
1) High blood sugar
2) Skin problems, rashes, acne, and eczema
3) Bouts of anxiety and depression – low energy
4) Gut disorders – yeast infections
5) Early aging disorders that include dementia
Beyond this lies celiac disease, which can be determined by a blood test and/or gut biopsy.
Sprouted grain bread options
Weston A. Price Foundation founders Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD, researched sprouted grains and determined they had a lower GI than grains not sprouted.
The sprouts still contain some gluten, but sprouted grain enzymes break down a good deal of the grains’ normally harmful ingredients. They are more nutritious than merely whole grains.
There are the Ezekiel sprouted grain breads. Some bakeries make sprouted wheat and other sprouted grain breads. Whole Food bakeries provide a sourdough, sprouted wheat bread without bromide, a harmful ingredient used by most bakeries.
You might be able to get away with some of the options mentioned in this article instead of being forced into a strict Paleolithic (Paleo) or hunter/gatherer diet to avoid wheat belly.