April 8, 2013

Egg Consumption and the Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Filed under: health,health food,healthy food,heart disease,stroke — drwatson @ 3:14 pm

Are eggs healthyWe have all heard the rumors that a diet high in eggs can increase our risk of heart disease and stroke. But is this actually the truth?

In an attempt to uncover the facts, we went searching for the research around egg consumption and the risk of heart disease.

Here’s what we found.

The link between eggs, heart disease and stroke
Typically, it was believed that the high cholesterol levels present in eggs could potentially lead to a significantly increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

However, the results of a meta-analysis from BMJ revealed that this may not be the case. The meta-analysis reviewed information from almost half a million participants from eight clinical studies and showed no direct link between high consumption (one per day) of eggs and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The meta-analysis did illustrate though, that further research was needed on the impact of egg consumption on those suffering from diabetes, as this relationship appeared to result in an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Cholesterol and eggs
So why then are individuals with high cholesterol levels often recommended to decrease their egg consumption?

The clinical review team from the BMJ meta-analysis believe this is because it is often assumed that no other dietary changes will be made, so in order to impact cholesterol levels you should reduce egg intake. This is largely because eggs do actually pack a whopping cholesterol punch. There is almost 210 mg of cholesterol in every large egg!

Despite this, the meta-analysis confirmed that in their opinion, egg consumption did not lead to a risk of heart disease and stroke.

Benefits of egg consumption
In fact, the researchers on the BMJ research panel insisted that the consumption of eggs led to a variety of health benefits.

They suggest that eggs are both inexpensive and readily available, and are a great low-calorie option for the public.

Eggs also contain nutrients, proteins and minerals, which the BMJ team say could actually decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. They are full of calcium, iron,
potassium, and vitamins A, D, E, B2, B6 and B9.
So don’t scratch eggs off the weekly shopping list just yet!

It looks like that egg a day for breakfast isn’t actually so bad for you after all. To increase the quality of the eggs you consume, look for barn-laid eggs or free-range eggs. Not only is this a cruelty-free option, but eggs produced this way are also less likely to be contaminated by salmonella and are considered to be a better quality.

Happy egg eating!

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February 24, 2012

The Best Oils to Use for Cooking

Filed under: diet,healthy food — drwatson @ 12:22 am

Oils for CookingCooking oils are as important consideration as what food you place into your body. In general, you should look for oils that are high in Omega-3 and Monounsaturated Fats. The former are essential fatty acids, meaning that they cannot be synthesized by the human body even though are vital for maintaining good metabolism. Monounsaturated fats are double bonded fatty acids with many positive health effects. For example, high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids are positively associated with breast cancer risk.

Refined versus Unrefined Cooking Oils

Refined oils have undergone processes to change their structure, whereas unrefined oils haven’t undergone any processes. It is usually best to choose an unrefined oil, as they are in their natural state.

High Oleic Oil versus Linoleic

It is best to choose high oleic options over linoleic options. High-oleic oil contains a lower percentage of negative fatty acids, such as polyunsaturated or saturated fatty acids. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid, meaning it is more stabilized than polyunsaturated acids. Additionally, linoleic typically means that the oil has been refined, losing the benefits of its healthy fatty acids.

The Best Oils for Cooking

The healthiest oils to cook with will be high in Omega-3 and Monounsaturated Fats.

The best hot temperature oil (ideal for stir-fry) is Tea Seed Oil (not to be confused with Tea Tree Oil). Macadamia oil, which contains some unique antioxidants, is also ideal when cooking at high temperatures.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: You should look for Olive Oil in tin cans, not glass bottles, as exposure to light can have adverse effects. You should also not fall prey to the phony olive oil. Olive oil is versatile in that it can be used for either baking or stir fry.

There are also many healthy, temperature-sensitive oils that you should consider adding to your salads (aka oils ideal for low temperature oils), such as flax or safflower oil.

Oils to use Sparingly

Butter (if it is grass-fed) contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is an essential fatty acid and is good for you. Yet, butter should still be used sparingly. Grain-fed butter is high in both “bad” saturated fats and Omega-6.

Another salad oil to use occasionally is unrefined pumpkin seed. It contains 50%-65% valuable, easily digestible fat and around 30% protein.

Bad Oils for Cooking

Canola oil: unless it is organic and expeller pressed, this oil is probably high in pesticides and has been genetically modified. Additionally, the Omega-3s it contains, which are usually “good,” were probably exposed to high heat during processing, and thus have lost their good attributes.

Other oils to avoid at all costs include margarine, coconut and shortening oils. The three aforementioned contain man-made trans-fats.

Cottonseed oil has the worst omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of any oil and it is usually refined, deodorized and bleached.

Further Information

As you have maybe deduced by this point, the operative variable here for cooking oils is whether the oil itself is going to be cooked. One must be vigilant to know ahead of time the intended application of the oil in question. Depending on whether or not it will be heated, or to what degree, will indicate to you which oil is best for you.

If you would like to see the full visual representation of this date and more, check out this informative chart of cooking oils which presents the health attributes of each oil as prepared cold, or cooked.

December 29, 2009

How to Succeed With This Year’s Resolution

New Years Resolution SuccessWith 2010 fast approaching many of us have probably begun to make preparations to start our resolutions. Again the majority of us probably have our hearts set on losing some of the weight we packed on after all those holiday meals. However, many fail in their weight loss goals for a variety of reasons. However, this year try not to make one large switch in lifestyle, but try to slowly make many little changes.

Most resolutions end up failing within a month of starting. However, try spending that first month just adjusting to your resolution. Each week try to change one or two things in your diet. During the first week you should start by cutting out things like junk food. Cutting out all those sugary foods will be the hardest, but most rewarding step. During the second week try increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables by 1 or 2 servings a day.

Continue this type of cutting back of your unhealthy foods, and increasing the intake of healthy food groups you may not be getting enough of. If you’re able to find some time on a regular basis to exercise then you will definitely start seeing some results of your resolution. However, it won’t be easy and the only way you’ll be able to succeed is if you can stay committed to your goals. If you find it hard to stay focused, try finding someone you know that will keep you on task and will help you throughout the next year.


August 25, 2009

Eat With a Heavier Friend and Lose Weight

Well a recent study has shown; if you want to eat less bring a bigger friend along with you. Researchers tested students to see how much they would eat. When the researcher was a size zero, but ate a lot, the test subject ate more.

However, when the researcher put on a fat suit and became a size sixteen, the test subjects tended to eat significantly less. My theory behind this is if the test subject wanted to stay or become skinny and saw a heavier person eating a lot they would eat less because they see what could happen if they binge on food. Yet, when they see a skinnier person eating a lot their mind tells them that it’s okay to eat a lot sometimes, if this person is skinny and eats a lot, then I can do the same.

When the researcher appeared thin she had a significant boost in control over the test subjects eating habits. However, the test subjects almost always ate less than the researcher regardless of the weight.

So if you really want to lose some weight and eat less food, maybe you should bring one of your heavier friends with you. Now you don’t need those dieting strategies, most of them are unhealthy anyway. You no longer need a personal cook, or to really control yourself as much. You just need a friend that’s a little bit bigger than you.

June 30, 2009

3 Reasons Why Chewing Slowly Is Better For You

Many Americans these days are cooking less often and instead, going out to get fast food. Why so many Americans eat at places like McDonalds isn’t known to me, but I would assume it is either due to a lack of cooking skill, or simply because it is convenient. Whatever the case may be, fast food has changed the way we eat quite significantly.

Many of us tend to eat our food while barely tasting it. This does not only take away from the enjoyment from eating the food, but it also has some negative health outcomes. Here are three reasons why chewing your food slowly is better for you.

Improves Digestion- Chewing slowly helps break down the food in your mouth, where digestion actually starts. The more the food is chewed the easier it is for your stomach to further breakdown the food. Also, taking that additional time to eat your food means that you’re not eating an entire meal in about 5 minutes and your stomach is able to handle the food now that there is not as much of it at one time.

You’ll enjoy your food– Many brand name foods are actually engineered to only taste good after a few bites. After about 3 bites the food begins to taste bland, leaving you wanting more. However, natural foods will continue to be appealing to your taste buds because they are not necessarily engineered. Additionally, you will begin to appreciate the food for not only the taste, but things like the texture of the food.

Lose Weight– That’s right, chewing slowly actually helps you lose weight. Why? Well when you eat food it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to tell you that you are full. By eating slowly it gives you time to register that you’ve eaten enough and should stop. This prevents you from over-eating and actually makes you eat less food, but you feel even fuller than if you would have stuffed yourself in 5 minutes. Also, you end up feeling full for longer.

Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner.

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