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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Foods That Burn Belly Fat

Belly Button2

Believe it or not, your body actually doesn’t want to store fat. And the secret to lasting weight loss does not come down to complicated calorie-counting and weight-loss gimmicks. Instead, it’s about working with your body’s natural hunger and sleep rhythms to curb cravings, burn fat and send your energy levels soaring.

Research shows that our bodies’ inner eat-and-sleep clocks have been thrown completely out of whack, thanks to cues we send it all day with the wrong foods—and too much artificial light at night. The result: You’re caught in a “fat cycle”: a constant flow of hunger hormones that makes your cravings all but impossible to resist. But if you tune into your body’s natural eat and sleep schedules, you can actually—finally—say good-bye to your belly.

Certain foods can actually help you sleep better and help you lose weight on their own.  Eat these foods to sleep better, lose more weight, and melt your belly fat. Here’s how to get started!

 

Fish

Another day, another study about the benefits of eating fish—and for good reason. We know from animal studies that when your diet is deficient in omega-3s, the natural rhythms of your pineal gland—the pea-size gland in the center of your brain—are thrown off, leading to alterations in the production of melatonin, your sleep hormone. Animals with an omega-3 deficit don’t sleep during their usual rest periods—they’re up and spinning in their wheels the same way that humans with insomnia do. A diet rich in omega-3s, on the other hand, can boost heart health, lower your risk of dementia, and improved your moods. As for weight loss, many omega-3 carriers are rich in protein. And study after study confirms: Protein makes you feel full. You even burn more calories digesting protein than you do when you eat fats or carbs. How to get your dose: If you aren’t eating plenty of omega-rich foods—think sardines, salmon, halibut, walnuts, flax seeds, and dark leafy greens—you should be! If you aren’t getting enough easily, you can take fish- or flax seed-oil supplement.

 

Nuts

As if you needed another excuse to eat nuts, these fatty legumes are a great source of mood-boosting magnesium. Without enough magnesium in your body, the part of the brain that regulates melatonin is thrown off, disrupting your sleep. An uptick in magnesium is what tells animals it’s time to hibernate—for us, not having enough of it may play a role in seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the depression—and carb-craving—condition brought on by the low light of winter.

A 2010 study by USDA researchers, published in Magnesium Research, found that magnesium supplementation can help people who have a hard time sleeping to doze peacefully through the night. One group of the 100 tossers and turners over age 51 was given 320 milligrams of magnesium a day, while the other group was given a look-alike placebo. After 7 weeks, those taking the magnesium were sleeping better, and, as a bonus, had lower levels of dangerous inflammation, a rogue reaction by the immune system that is implicated in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

How to get your dose: Foods rich in magnesium are also extremely weight loss friendly: protein-rich fish and nuts, lentils, soy and black beans, as well as fiber-rich grains like bran.

 

Milk

While the link between calcium and weight loss is still feeble (in some studies it promotes greater weight loss, in others it’s a wash), it turns out that milk may really do a body good when it comes to belly fat. A 2010 study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that, among a group of more than 100 premenopausal women, fat was significantly reduced in those who consumed the most calcium-rich foods. In fact, for every 100 milligrams of calcium they consumed per day (that’s 1/2 cup of soft-serve frozen yogurt), they lost an inch of intra-abdominal fat—that’s the really bad stuff tucked in and around your internal organs that has been linked to higher rates of heart disease and cancer. Like magnesium, calcium can also help you sleep if you tend to be awakened by muscle soreness or cramps—the mineral, along with calcium, helps relax muscle nerves and fibers. How to get your dose: Dairy works, but there are other ways to get your calcium in as well, such as sardines, fortified orange juice, tofu, and dark leafy greens like kale and spinach.

 

Tart Cherries

Around bedtime, munch on a few tart Montmorency cherries. These cherries are one of a number of plant-based sources of melatonin, the sleep hormone. (Bananas and corn have it, too.) While there’s no evidence that they’ll help you nod off, studies have found that foods like these can raise melatonin levels in the body. Not only does melatonin help you sleep, but it’s a powerful antioxidant that can protect your cells from free radical damage, the kind that leads to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases. That should help you sleep easy. How to get your dose: Eat them whole! If you’re not a fan of cherries, drink the juice instead. In a recent study, people who drank 8 ounces of tart cherry juice in the morning and another 8 ounces in the evening for 2 weeks reported they slept more soundly.

Read more: http://www.prevention.com

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Who Is Sleep Deprived?

Sleeping

Nearly one third of U.S. workers come to the job with less than six hours of sleep — meaning they are almost certainly sleep-deprived, government researchers say. Among the sleepiest workers: Those who work night shifts (think nurses and cab drivers as well as factory workers), people ages 30 to 64 and those who are widowed, separated or divorced.

http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/healthyperspective/post/2012-04-27/shift-workers-sleep-least-supplements-for-cancer-unproven-toxic-dogs-sicken-vets-helmets-for-tornadoes-nutella-settlement/682167/1

http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/26/11412660-one-third-of-us-workers-dont-get-enough-sleep?lite

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Health and Science

 

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Aspirin cures cancer?

Aspirin cures cancer?.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Health and Science

 

Peter Piper Picked a Pack of Peppers in a Pita

Washing peppers

Peter Piper Picked a Pack of Peppers in a Pita

For a Taste of Summer in the Dead of Winter

2 each Orange, Yellow and Red Sweet Peppers thinly sliced
4-5 Scallions thinly sliced
2 Tbl Soy Sauce or Kikkoman Teriyaki
2 Tsp Sesame Oil
2 Whole Wheat Pita Pockets

After slicing peppers and scallions, place the sesame oil in a medium high skillet and sauté until crisp tender. Continue to stir to help the peppers cook evenly.

Just before removing from the pan stir in soy sauce and heat through (do not let the soy sauce boil or it will breakdown and become too salty).

Remove peppers and onions from the pan and lightly dab onto paper towels (to remove any excess oil).

Stuff into pita pockets and serve. (sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired).

From Aunt Kim at the Garlic Mango Co.

Source:   http://soulsbyfarm.wordpress.com/recipes/

 

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7 Fast Food Items Under 350 Calories

McDonalds' sign in Harlem.

These are great for on the go, but watch that sodium!

  1. Panda Express Mongoli

    an Beef and Mixed Veggies – 235 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 1,260 mg sodium

  2. Best Sub Under 350 Calories: Subway 6” Turkey Breast and Black Forest Ham Sandwich (on 9-grain wheat bread with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, pickles, olives, and mustard) – 310 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 1,255 mg sodium

  3. Best Chicken Under 350 Calories: Chick-fil-A Nuggets (8 count) with Barbecue Sauce 315 calories, 12 g fat (2.5 saturated), 1,170 mg sodium

  4. Best Wrap Under 350 Calories: McDonald’s Grilled Honey Mustard Snack Wrap and Side Salad with Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette – 320 calories, 12 g fat (3.5 saturated), 1,540 mg sodium

  5. Best Burger Under 350 Calories: Burger King Jr. Whopper w/o Mayo and BK Apple Fries – 330 calories, 10.5 g fat (4 g saturated), 500 mg sodium

  6. Best Mexican Under 350 Calories: Taco Bell Fresco Chicken Soft Tacos (2) – 340 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 1,360 mg sodium

  7. Best Breakfast Under 350 Calories: Dunkin’ Donuts Egg White and Cheese Breakfast Wake-Up Wraps (2) with small black coffee – 305 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated), 965 mg sodium

http://eatthis.menshealth.com/slideshow/print-list/185939

 

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Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese.

 

Fish: Wild or Farmed?

Fish farms

Fish farms (Photo credit: mattroyal)

These days, an increasing number of health-conscious consumers are choosing to eat fish for its heart-healthy benefits. The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat fish twice a week to meet their needs for omega-3 fatty acids, but how do you know if the fish you’re eating is beneficial?

There are many factors to consider when choosing which fish to eat, two of which include species (the type of fish, such as halibut, salmon, etc.) and source (where the fish was raised or caught). These aren’t simple decisions when you consider that the nutritional value of fish varies from species to species, and that each source carries a different potential for contamination, nutrition and environmental impact.

There are millions of fish species, but only a handful are popular for eating and even fewer are considered healthy choices. To choose which species to eat, consider first its fatty acid profile. Fish that live in dark, cold waters naturally contain higher levels of Omega-3’s. The fish richest in omega-3s are cold water fatty fish like salmon, rainbow trout, anchovies, sardines, bass, herring, and tuna.

Next, consider the source. There are two categories of sources of fish: farmed or wild. Each method has its own list of pros and cons, which every consumer will have to weigh to make the best decision for his or her own health and priorities.

Farmed Fish
Fish farming, or aquaculture, means that the fish are raised in floating net pens near the ocean shore. Another name for this method is “ocean raised.”

Pros of Farmed Fish

  • Price: Farmed fish are often cheaper and more readily available than wild fish.
  • Controlled diet: Some farmed fish can have higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids than wild fish. This is because fish farmers can better control the diets of the fish they raise—making sure that their fish eat more feed that is converted into Omega-3s than a fish might normally eat in the wild. However, there is really no way for consumers to gauge the amount of Omega-3’s in one piece of fish versus another.
  • Ecology: When fish are farmed, there is a lower danger of overfishing (or depleting) the population of wild fish.

Cons of Farmed Fish

  • Contamination: Farmed fish usually contain more contaminants. Farmed fish are fed processed pellets, often made from processed anchovies, sardines and other small fish. Unfortunately, the types of fish used to make the pellets are usually caught in the polluted waters closer to shore and are often contaminated with industrial chemicals. As a result, farmed fish tends to have much higher levels of chemical contaminants that may cause cancer, memory problems, and neurobehavioral changes in children. Farmed salmon, for example, has been found to contain seven times more PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and pesticides than wild salmon. Consumers can reduce the amount of contaminants in farmed salmon by almost half by grilling or broiling it so that the juices drip off, cooking it until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit and removing the skin before eating.
  • Antibiotics: Besides being prone to industrial contamination, farmed fish are more subject to disease, which spreads quickly throughout the entire pen. Sick fish can escape into surrounding open water and spread disease to wild fish populations. To control disease, farmed fish are often given antibiotics to prevent the whole group from becoming ill. Research has shown that farmed salmon, for example, are administered more antibiotics by weight than any other type of livestock.
  • Lower Omega-3’s: While farmed fish can be fed an enhanced diet to increase its Omega-3’s, there is no way for consumers to know whether one piece of fish contains more healthy fats than another. According to research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutritionfarmed salmon contains two or three times fewer Omega-3’s even though it contains more overall fat than wild salmon due to its grain-based diet. The same is is true for other popular farmed fish, such as catfish and tilapia.

Wild-Caught fish
Wild fish, in contrast to farmed, live in open waters and eat a natural diet. Fishermen catch wild fish on open waters, their natural habitat.

Pros of Wild Fish

  • Flavor: Many people prefer the taste of wild fish. Farmed fish do not have as much room to move as their wild counterparts, which reduces the amount of muscle they can develop and affects texture and taste.
  • Appearance: Wild salmon is naturally bright in color due to its food source (krill and other small sea creatures), while farmed salmon is grayish in color and dyes must be added to bring the flesh to an appealing shade.
  • Nutrition: Wild fish are usually healthier (higher in Omega-3s) and less contaminated than farmed fish.

Cons of Wild Fish

  • Overfishing: Most marine biologists agree that there will not be enough wild-captured fish available to meet the growing demand, and many fisheries do not catch wild fish in a sustainable way. Overfishing can deplete certain species of fish, which affects the ecosystem at large.
  • Price: Fresh wild fish is sometimes hard to find and usually more expensive than farmed fish.
  • Distance traveled: Unfortunately, not every fish lover lives on the coast or near a fishery. An Alaskan salmon, for example, must be shipped thousands of miles to reach a grocery store near you. The shipping of fish all over the world uses fossil fuels and pollutes the environment.

Although there are established health advantages to eating fatty fish, the risks of contaminants can’t be ignored either. All fish, wild or farmed, must adhere to FDA limits for PCB content and mercury levels, but some fish may measure in just below that cutoff. This content can build up in the body over time and cause problems later. However, many scientists believe that the heart-healthy benefits of consuming fish outweigh the risk, especially for older adults who may have already had a heart attack. But younger consumers, especially woman who may become pregnant and have a lifetime of exposure to these pollutants ahead of them, may wish to limit the amount of farmed fish they eat.

Only you can decide whether the cardiovascular benefits of fish outweigh the possible safety, nutritional or environmental issues associated with the type of fish you eat. If you eat fish regularly, ask about its source when ordering at a restaurant and read labels for origin when shopping at the supermarket.

No matter what type of fish or seafood you choose, SparkPeople Dietitian Becky Hand offers these top 5 tips for adults* to enjoy healthy fish:

  1. Make seafood a priority. Enjoy fish or seafood at least twice per week.
  2. Be adventurous. Try various types of seafood that you enjoy.
  3. Reel in fatty fish such as salmon and trout. These offer the most health benefits. If you enjoy lean fish such as tilapia and catfish, think about adding another serving of fatty fish to your weekly dinner menu to make up for it.
  4. Don’t skimp on lean fish. They’re healthy, too! Aside from being low in fat and calories, lean fish and shellfish are also loaded with micronutrients that are necessary for good health. For example, tilapia is high in selenium; clams are high in iron; and oysters are high in zinc.
  5. Prepare fish properly. Use low-fat cooking techniques such as broiling, baking, stir-frying, and sautéing. Avoid fried fish and highly processed fish foods such as fish sticks. Season with herbs, spices, marinades and rubs.

*These fish guidelines apply to adults who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Seafood guidelines are different for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Editor’s Note: For more information on a variety of fish, sushi and seafood, including printable pocket-size reference guides, visit: www.MontereyBayAquarium.org or the Washington State Department of Health.

This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople nutrition expert, Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian.

 
 

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