Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Month: September 2016 (Page 1 of 2)

good nutrition advice

PUFAs Keep Children Lean and Healthy

good nutrition advice

A diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, or PUFAS, helps keep children lean and healthy.

A recent study has shown that children who have a diet rich in PUFAS are leaner with less belly fat than those who don’t. The study published in the Journal of Nutrition looked at children between the ages of 7 – 12 years old.  The children and their carers completed questionnaires on their food intake. The children were also scanned to assess their levels of belly fat. The results showed children who had plenty of PUFAS in their diet were leaner, with less body fat and belly fat.

PUFAs are good for everyone. We can’t make them in our bodies so we have to get them from food. They make up cell membranes and nerve coverings. They are also important for controlling inflammation, blood clotting and muscle movement. Good sources of PUFAS include tree nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, cashews), oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flaxseed).

References: Higher Intake of PUFAs Is Associated with Lower Total and Visceral Adiposity and Higher Lean Mass in a Racially Diverse Sample of Children

good nutrition advice

Calcium & Magnesium Reduce Metabolic Syndrome

good nutrition adviceCalcium and magnesium reduce metabolic syndrome.

With obesity on the rise, the risk of metabolic syndrome increases as the two are closely linked. A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found calcium and magnesium could reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.

The research carried out by Case Western Reserve University (U.S.) used data from 9,418 adults and found that women who were meeting the US Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) for magnesium and calcium had a lower risk of metabolic syndrome. It was bad news for men, though, who appeared to need over the RDA for their risk to be lowered.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of characteristics that include fat around the middle, glucose intolerance and high blood pressure (hypertension). The syndrome is also associated with high levels of harmful fats in the blood linked to heart disease, cancers and type 2 diabetes.

Good food sources of magnesium include pulses, nuts, seeds, leafy vegetables and whole grains. Good food sources of calcium include white beans (cannellini), dried figs, kale, black-eyed peas, almonds and tofu. It is also worth taking a good quality supplement to support your diet.

References: Dietary intake of calcium and magnesium and the metabolic syndrome in the National Health and Nutrition Examination

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Psoriasis Link to Depression

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Psoriasis link to depression

If you suffer from psoriasis, no matter how severe, you could be at risk of depression. A study presented at the American Academy of Dermatology Summer Meeting in New York 2015 has made a connection between the skin disease and mental illness.

The researchers used data from over 12,000 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Three percent of the participants had psoriasis and 8% had major depression. Of those with psoriasis, 16.5% had symptoms of major depression.

Psoriasis is a skin disease that can take its toll on both your self-esteem and your quality of life. As well as having to live with discomfort and itching sufferers are often worried about what other people might think of them. The scientists that carried out this study recommend those who are struggling with psoriasis seek help to manage their condition.

References: Research links psoriasis, depression

good nutrition advice

High Salt Intake: Overeating Fatty Food

good nutrition adviceHigh salt intake could lead to overeating fatty food.

Two studies published in the Journal of Nutrition and Chemical Senses confirm the relationship between high salt and high fat intake. The first study took 49 participants aged 18 – 54 and gave them tomato soup with four different fat concentrations and five different salt concentrations.

The researchers found that those who preferred and detected the lower-fat soups also favoured the option with no added salt, leading them to conclude that salt masks fat.

The second study consisted of 48 adults (18-54) who attended four lunches over a six-day period. The lunch was the same each time with different concentrations of salt and fat. The scientists found that the participants consumed up to 11% less energy when their lunches were low salt, high fat. However, they ate much more when the lunch was high fat, high salt.

Your body should have an inbuilt mechanism to tell you when it’s full but this mechanism is blocked when salt is added to food. If you struggle with overeating watch your salt intake. Eating out and convenience foods will be the most problematic as these foods tend to contain much more salt than you would naturally add at home.

The solution? Make as much of your food as possible so you know what goes in it.

References: Effects of Salt and Fat Combinations on Taste Preference and Perception

good nutrition advice

Tomatoes and Gout

good nutrition adviceTomatoes and gout.

If you suffer from gout you may want to avoid tomatoes. Scientists from the University of Otago in New Zealand investigated the connection between the fruit and gout, which is an excruciating form of arthritis.

The study, published in journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders looked at 2051 people with gout to assess which foods trigger the disease. Tomatoes were confirmed as a problem for 20% of the participants.

The scientists then analysed data from a long-standing study of 12,720 men and women. The data showed that eating tomatoes is linked to an increase in uric acid in the blood and uric acid is the root cause of gout.

The study authors believe that tomato is similar to seafood, red meat, alcohol and sugar-sweetened drinks in its ability to raise uric acid levels and cause gout flare-ups.

If you suspect a particular food of causing flare-ups it is worth keeping a food diary (along with any symptoms) for a few weeks. Often the association between the food and the symptoms becomes clear.

References: Positive association of tomato consumption with serum urate: support for tomato consumption as an anecdotal trigger of gout flares

good nutrition advice

Inflammation Link to Chronic Disease

good nutrition adviceInflammation is linked to chronic disease.

If you are able to control inflammation you could reduce your risk of chronic diseases. A recent article published in the British Journal of Nutrition looks at the importance of managing inflammation. Inflammation is a very necessary process that can help your body to heal but, if this process gets out of control, it can cause damage to cells and result in disease.

The article authors from the International Life Sciences Institute believe that certain micronutrients could be linked to the control and escalation of the inflammatory response. These include folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin E and zinc. This research highlights that a typical Western diet is rich in fat, sugar and lacking in these micronutrients, which will encourage inflammation.

In fact, after eating unhealthy meals there can be an immediate spike in inflammation, linked to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Inflammation is also thought to be responsible for conditions like food allergies, atopic dermatitis and obesity.

You can lower your risk of inflammation-driven diseases with an anti-inflammatory diet: Include plenty of antioxidants from fruit and vegetables, lots of fibre from wholegrains, omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds.

References: Controlling inflammation to reduce chronic disease risk

nutrition advice

Boredom Link to Food Cravings

nutrition adviceBoredom can make you more likely to crave fatty and sugary foods.

Research presented at this year’s Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society explored the connection between boredom and food consumption. The research was based on two studies involving up to 52 people; the first observed a group’s food intake before and after carrying out a monotonous task and the second study involved observing both food choices (healthy or unhealthy) and amount during both a funny and a boring film.

The results showed that you are more likely to eat unhealthy food when you are carrying out repetitive tasks and you’re more likely to opt for unhealthy food when you’re watching a boring film.

Make sure that you keep plenty of healthy food with you at all times so that if you are doing something repetitive or boring, you always have something healthy to hand.

References: Bored people reach for the crisps

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The Danger of Diet Drinks

good nutrition adviceAre you addicted to diet drinks? 

Well, even though they are sugar–free, they are linked to increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed 66,118 women over 14 years monitoring the drinks they consumed. The researchers found that both sugar-sweetened drinks and artificially sweetened drinks were associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

If you’re trying to cut down on sugar you might think that artificially sweetened drinks (i.e. diet drinks) are a good alternative but they are not. Opt for fizzy water with a dash of juice instead. It won’t taste nearly as sweet but your taste buds will quickly adapt.

ReferencesConsumption of artificially and sugar-sweetened beverages and incident type 2 diabetes

wean off sugar

Other Ways to Wean Yourself off Sugar

wean off sugarAdd protein.

You can change an unrefined carbohydrate into an even slower releasing one by adding protein as you eat it.

So, if you’re having porridge you could add ground nuts and seeds (vegetable protein) and if you are having a jacket potato then you could add tuna (animal protein). You could also sprinkle cinnamon on your porridge along with the ground nuts and seeds. Cinnamon is helpful in balancing blood sugar, as it improves the transport of glucose into your cells.

Protein slows down the rate at which your stomach empties the food into the next part of the digestive tract and so it slows down the emptying of the carbohydrate too.

21 day sugar detox

How to Wean Yourself off Sugar

wean yourself off sugarCut caffeine.

Think about the amount of caffeine you are drinking in coffee, tea, colas and energy drinks. They will cause a similar roller coaster effect to sugar and cause the release of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.

They are classed as stimulants. Because they can cause a drop in blood sugar, they can also trigger either sugar cravings or an increase in appetite in general. Also, when you are changing habits there may be some that are natural stable-mates, such as tea and biscuits, or coffee and a chocolate bar.

So it can be easier to break a habit by breaking the association. If you are not having the cup of coffee, you might not think about having the chocolate bar.

21 day sugar detox

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