Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Tag: Omega-3

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 Amino Acids 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

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

Fatty Acids in Fish May Shield Brain from Mercury Damage

Fatty Acids in Fish May Shield Brain from Mercury DamageNew findings from research in the Seychelles provide further evidence that the benefits of fish consumption on prenatal development may offset the risks associated with mercury exposure.

In fact, the new study, which appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that the nutrients found in fish have properties that protect the brain from the potential toxic effects of the chemical.

Three decades of research in the Seychelles have consistently shown that high levels of fish consumption by pregnant mothers — an average of 12 meals per week — do not produce developmental problems in their children. Researchers have previously equated this phenomenon to a kind of biological horse race, with the developmental benefits of nutrients in fish outpacing the possible harmful effects of mercury also found in fish.

However, the new research indicates that this relation is far more complex and that compounds present in fish — specifically polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) — may also actively counteract the damage that mercury causes in the brain.

“These findings show no overall association between prenatal exposure to mercury through fish consumption and neurodevelopmental outcomes,” said Edwin van Wijngaarden, PhD., and associate professor in the University of Rochester Department of Public Health Sciences and a co-author of the study. “It is also becoming increasingly clear that the benefits of fish consumption may outweigh, or even mask, any potentially adverse effects of mercury.”

The new study comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and international agencies are in the process of revisiting fish consumption advisories to better reflect the health benefits of nutrients found in fish. The FDA’s current guidance — which recommends that pregnant women limit their consumption of certain fish to twice a week — was established because of the known risk of high level mercury exposure on childhood development.

Mercury is found in the environment as a result of both natural and human (e.g. coal plant emissions) activity. Much of it ends up being deposited in the world’s oceans and, as a result, fish harbor the chemical in very small amounts.

 

 

Walnuts: omega 3 and heart disease

walnuts

Walnuts contain good levels of omega 3

YES, I’m going nuts again …! This time it’s walnuts and they’re getting more good press. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that eating whole walnuts and using walnut oil as a salad dressing reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Senior author Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State, stated that although we already know that eating walnuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower blood cholesterol levels, we didn’t know which component of the walnut was providing this benefit. The research pointed to the alpha-linolenic acid, gamma-tocopherol and phytosterols in walnuts.

Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. Gamma-tocopherol is a major form of vitamin E found in many plant seeds, and phytosterols are compounds found in plants that can lower cholesterol levels.

Walnuts, depression and omega 3

Walnuts contain more omega 3 than any other nut. Apart from lowering triglyceride levels, omega 3 is particularly important for the brain to function properly. Other studies have shown that eating more omega 3, either from walnuts or fish, can significantly lower depression. Many people who suffer from depression have low levels of omega 3 in their bodies. Several other studies have also linked omega 3 deficiency in children with ADHD.

The FDA has also recognised the benefits of eating nuts to control heart disease. Nuts that contain less than 4g of saturated fat per 50g include walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts and some pine nuts. A study in 2009 published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed those who ate walnuts had a significantly higher decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The study also showed that walnuts provided good levels of antioxidant protection with no adverse effects on body weight.

A handful of walnuts provide 2.5g of ALA, the plant-based source of omega 3, 4g protein, 2g fiber and 10% of the daily recommended allowance of magnesium and phosphorus.

Ref: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/04/24/jn.112.170993.abstract

Inflammation: five foods to beat it

Tart cherries are great anti-inflammatory foods

Tart cherries are great anti-inflammatory foods

INFLAMMATION. While the word itself sounds daunting, inflammation is actually a natural response by your body to a stressful situation. Inflammation is the first response as your immune system protects your body from infections, irritation and allergies. Even good sources of stress — such as exercise — can increase inflammation in your body.

Unfortunately the swelling, redness and pain that inflammation can cause is not always wanted and chronic inflammation can cause more serious illnesses. Help your body protect itself by adding foods that promote health, while reducing unnecessary inflammation. Here are five anti-inflammatory foods to add to your shopping list:

Spinach

Want to reduce inflammation after exercise? Popeye knew what he was doing with his spinach consumption! Spinach contains antioxidants vitamin C, and E, as well as carotenoids and flavonoids — all which fight against inflammation.

Tart cherries or tart cherry juice

Tart cherries contain compounds called anthocyanins, which can block inflammation while helping to prevent muscle damage. Add tart cherry juice to your post-workout drink to gain benefits, or eat a couple as an after-dinner treat.

Garlic

It’s no wonder that garlic is loved by many countries around the world — it’s rich in anti-inflammatory compounds diallyl sulfide (DAS) and thiacremonone. Just one clove of garlic offers many compounds that are known to help lower inflammation and increase circulation, such as phosphorus, selenium, zinc, polyphenols, arginine and vitamins B6 and C.

Omega-3 fatty acids

When you consume omega-3s, your body makes resolvins. Resolvins help fight inflammation by inhibiting the production and regulating the movement of inflammatory chemicals. The best source is fish. Other plant-based sources of omega-3s include flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds.

Kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha

Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha contain probiotics that help to support your immune system and fight inflammation. Probiotics help to support immune system by nourishing your good gut bacteria while crowding out of bad bacteria.

How to keep your brain sharp

how to keep your brain sharp

A mediterranean diet helps keep your brain sharp

RECENT research published in the journal Neurology, found that people who followed a Mediterranean diet had a 19 percent reduced risk of mental impairment. The study, which looked at how to keep your brain sharp in old age, followed the diets of 17,478 people with an average age of 64.

The participants were given tests that measured their mental ability over an average of four years. During the course of the study, only seven percent developed memory and thinking difficulties. The essential fatty acid omega-3, found in oily fish, flax seeds and walnuts, forms the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet. The diet also features high levels of fresh fruit and vegetables and low levels of saturated fats, which are all important factors if you are wondering how to keep your brain sharp.

Lead researcher Dr Georgios Tsivgoulis, from the universities of Alabama and Athens, said: “Since there are no definitive treatments for most dementing illnesses, modifiable activities, such as diet, that may delay the onset of symptoms of dementia are very important.”

Diet is only one of several important lifestyle activities that might play a role in late-life mental functioning. If you are worried about how to keep your brain sharp as you get older, adding regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking are all important factors to consider too.

Other recent research found that eating a Mediterranean-style diet can cut heart attacks, strokes and death rates in people at high risk of heart disease by as much as one third.

Source: Georgios Tsivgoulis, M.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, and University of Athens, Greece; Sam Gandy, M.D., associate director, Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, New York City; April 30, 2013, Neurology

References:

 

Protect yourself against Alzheimer’s

SCIENTISTS can detect signs of Alzheimer’s decades before any symptoms show according to the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute.

Avoid Alzheimer's Disease 2

Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease 2 (Photo credit: AlzheimerHelp)

A team at the institute in Arizona studied brain scans of 20 people. The subjects were all members of a Columbian family who have a genetic mutation that means they tend to get Alzheimer’s in their 40s (the usual onset is age 75+).

The researchers found that differences could be detected more than 20 years before symptoms would appear, so identifying high-risk patients and allowing for earlier treatment.

Signs of dementia only appear when sufficient brain cells have died, maybe up to 20%. At that point it may be too late for treatment.

Early diagnosis and treatment should help prevent damage to memory and thinking – if drugs can be found.

Source: The Lancet

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(12)70228-4/abstract

To keep your brain healthy, it’s important to eat omega-3 oils two or three times a week.

They’re found in oily fish (such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and anchovies), nuts and seeds, and of course omega-3 supplements. Note that baked or steamed fish is better than fried.

You can also increase cognitive performance through regular exercise, as it improves blood flow to the brain and so helps retain mental agility and avoid memory loss. Simply going for a brisk walk every day will help protect you as you age.

Antioxidants including vitamin C found in fruits and vegetables are thought to help relax arteries and improve blood flow.

So there you go – three practical ways to help preserve your memory.

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