Tag Archives: Milk

Top Foods To Cure What Ails You

What to Eat to Fend Off a Cold

White Button Mushrooms – Foodies rave about exotic mushroom types, but the common white button variety could be your key to a cold-free winter, suggests research from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. They contain polysaccharides, which activate natural killer cells that destroy cold- and flu-causing viruses, says Dayong Wu, PhD, a scientist at the center.

Salmon – Three ounces of salmon can supply nearly 800 IUs of vitamin D, close to the amount that some experts recommend you get each day. That’s a good defense against sniffles: Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver found that people with low levels of D had significantly more colds. Without enough of this crucial nutrient, your body can’t produce antimicrobial proteins called cathelicidins, which destroy bacteria and viruses, according to lead study author Adit Ginde, MD.

Sunflower Seeds – This healthy snack is packed with vitamin E, which has been shown to boost the activity level of the body’s infection-fighting T cells. That may be why scientists at the Center on Aging found that this nutrient lowers the risk of getting a cold by 20 percent.

Yogurt – People who ate two cups of yogurt a day for four months had four times the gamma interferon, a natural substance that fights viral and bacterial infections, than those who skipped the calcium-rich food, a University of California Davis School of Medicine study reveals. The key: Choosing yogurt with live active cultures.

What to Eat to Beat Stress

Shrimp – Omega-3 fatty acids in shellfish may boost your mood by reducing stress hormones, like cortisol. People who ate three to four ounces a day lowered their risk of anxiety, depression, and stress by 30 percent, according to a study from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain.

Curry – The curcumin in turmeric — a spice in curry — lowers stress levels by inhibiting cortisol secretion, says a study conducted in China.

Milk – In a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, women who ate four or more servings of calcium a day had a 30 percent lower risk of PMS symptoms like anxiety and irritability.

Pistachios – Eating one and a half to three ounces of pistachios daily can lower blood pressure when you’re faced with a mental challenge by relaxing blood vessels, say researchers at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

Red Bell Pepper – Vitamin C, which is abundant in these peppers, lowers stress by limiting cortisol production and stimulates the release of oxytocin, a feel-good chemical. When researchers at the University of Trier in Germany subjected people to the anxiety of public speaking, those who took 3,000 milligrams of C felt calmer and their blood pressure returned to normal faster than those who skipped C.

What to Eat to Soothe Stomach Pain

Yogurt –In a study at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, women with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who ate two 4.4-ounce servings of Activia yogurt daily for a month saw up to a 78 percent decrease in bloating. The yogurt contains probiotics — good bacteria that help restore normal stomach and intestinal functioning.

Fennel – Anethole, a substance in fennel leaves, seeds, and oil, is known to alleviate stomach cramping. It even helps colicky babies, says research from St. Petersburg Medical Academy of Postdoctoral Education in Russia.

Ginger – Studies show that this root quashes nausea from motion sickness, morning sickness, and even chemotherapy by 30 percent. This may be because ginger reduces inflammation in the stomach, according to study author Julie Ryan, PhD.

Peppermint Oil – Seventy-five percent of IBS patients had 50 percent fewer symptoms after taking two capsules containing 225 milligrams of peppermint oil twice a day for four weeks, say researchers at G. d’Annunzio University in Italy. The menthol in peppermint appears to soothe irritated intestinal muscles.

Raspberries – Fiber, which is found in oats, vegetables, and fruits like raspberries, was more effective than a placebo in taming symptoms of IBS, according to a review of studies at McMaster University in Canada.

Head Off Headaches

Snapper – The omega-3s in fish are great for your head. Almost 90 percent of people who got migraines reported fewer of the headaches after taking two grams of omega-3 concentrate daily, according to a Brown University School of Medicine study. “Fish and fish oil lower the production of a prostaglandin, a chemical that causes inflammation and pain,” says researcher Zeev Harel, MD.

Black Beans – Beans contain riboflavin, a nutrient that has been found to reduce the number of headache days by at least 50 percent in more than half of sufferers, say researchers at the University of Liege in Belgium.

Cayenne Pepper – The compound that gives cayenne its heat, capsaicin, can ease cluster headaches (which typically affect one side of the head and occur several days in a row), probably by destroying a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. Although people who get cluster headaches often inhale capsaicin through a nasal spray, try adding cayenne to your cooking.

Quinoa – Magnesium, often deficient in migraine sufferers, is plentiful in this grain. “The mineral relaxes blood vessels and normalizes serotonin receptors,” explains Alexander Mauskop, MD, director of the New York Headache Center in New York City. In one German study, patients taking 600 milligrams of magnesium daily saw their headache frequency plummet by more than 40 percent.



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An Ideal Daily Food Menu

Will this be your best day ever? Or your beastliest? What you put in your mouth will have a lot to do with the answer. Food can help fuel body and mind to ensure that you perform at the peak of your abilities.

Or it can sabotage your best efforts, leaving you panicked, drained, and floundering. Are you eating your way to disaster, or triumph? Let’s go through your daily menu of foods and tasks to help you snack, slurp, and sup your way to success.

6:43 a.m.  Eat This: Bacon or ham and fried eggs

You’ve just rolled out of bed. You need to be on the road by 7:20. Big day of work ahead.

Benefit 1: Fullness and energy
The protein in this power meal will keep you feeling full throughout the morning. A University of Illinois study found that people who eat more protein and less carbs than in conventional meals find it easier to stick to a diet. Protein is satiating and may also boost calorie burn, the study authors say.

Benefit 2: Relaxed blood vessels
When you digest eggs, protein fragments are produced that can prevent your blood vessels from narrowing—which may help keep your blood pressure from rising. In fact, Canadian scientists found in a lab study that the hotter the eggs, the more potent the proteins, and frying them sends their temps soaring.

Not That: Pancakes, or a bagel with cream cheese
These carbohydrate-loaded options will send your blood glucose skyward, and you may feel ready to tackle anything. But don’t be fooled: That soaring blood sugar will lead to a crash, and you’re bound to feel hungry again before lunch. Resist the tempting ease of most high-carb breakfasts, and go find some protein.

Extra tip: Eat now at home, not later on the road. A University of Massachusetts study found that eating breakfast out instead of at home more than doubles your odds of obesity. Not only are restaurant meals often bigger than home-cooked ones, but you’re also vulnerable to an impulse buy at a drive-thru or convenience store.

7:37 a.m.  Try This: Chewing gum

You’re caught in stop-and-go traffic. Figures it’d happen on the day you need to arrive early to prepare for the big meeting.

Benefit: Stress relief
Stop pounding the steering wheel and reach for a pack of gum. In a British study, people who chewed gum while taking math, memory, and concentration tests reported an average 13 percent drop in stress. The study authors believe that the act of chewing might lead to subconscious associations with positive social settings (like mealtimes), which may reduce tension.

Not That: Coffee
Caffeine can trigger a spike in the stress hormone cortisol. It’s not the best choice in a situation you can’t control. Have your caffeine fix at the office, to help you power through problems.

9:42 a.m.  Drink This: Peppermint tea

Your to-do list is tedious and never-ending. You’re having trouble staying on task.

Benefit: Focus
Researchers in Cincinnati found that periodic whiffs of peppermint increases people’s concentration and performance on tasks requiring sustained attention. (Sniff: “I can do this.”) Now, we know most guys don’t keep peppermint tea in their desks. So here’s your Men’s Health–approved shopping suggestion. The brand Stash has made MH’s Best Foods for Men list for the last 2 years. Brew a cup and impress coworkers with your focus.

Not That: Soda
British researchers discovered that sleepy people who downed a sugary, caffeinated drink similar to soda had slower reaction times and more lapses in attention after 80 minutes than people who drank a sugar-free beverage.

12:00 p.m. Eat This: Grilled salmon

Lunchtime. You can’t stop stressing over the big meeting in an hour. You have to give a presentation—and stay awake through your colleagues’ presentations. You’re not sure which challenge is more daunting.

Benefit: Alertness
Salmon contains tyrosine, an amino acid that your brain uses to make dopamine and norepinephrine—neurochemicals that keep you alert. The brain-balm omega-3s in salmon may also help tame your neurotic tendencies. Halibut and trout are good alternatives to salmon.

Add This: Spinach or arugula salad
Benefit: Improved mood and memory
Leafy greens are a good source of the B vitamin folate, used by the brain to make the mood controllers serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Folate shortages have been linked to depression. Add carrots: Beta-carotene may help reduce the effects of oxidative stress on your memory.

Not That: Tea with milk
Tea can cut stress. In a British study, tea drinkers who performed stressful tasks had a 27 percent lower level of cortisol afterward than those who drank a placebo. But those effects disappear when you add milk to the mix. The proteins in milk may bind with the tea catechins, reducing their blood-vessel-relaxing benefits.

Extra tip: Preserve your gray matter by eating these foods:

1. Even more salmon: People who eat fatty fish three or more times a week have a 27 percent lower chance of developing brain lesions associated with cognitive decline and stroke.
2. Blueberries: Their polyphenols may shield your brain against oxidative stress. 3. Garlic: It may increase the brain’s levels of serotonin, linked to better memory function.
4. Steak: High blood levels of vitamin B12 (found in meat, milk, and fish) may combat age-related brain shrinkage.
5. Brazil nuts: The selenium in the nuts spurs antioxidant activity that helps preserve cognitive functioning.

2:17 p.m. Try This: Cayenne pepper

Meeting’s over—finally. Too bad you’re completely drained and you have a pounding headache.

Benefit: Migraine relief
A report in Alternative and Complementary Therapies says capsaicin, the source of some chilies’ heat, can deplete the neurotransmitters that trigger headaches. Not if you eat it, though.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of fresh cayenne powder to a few ounces of warm water. After the powder settles to the bottom, dip a swab into the solution and apply it to the inside of your nostril on the side of your pain (or both sides, if needed). This should burn a bit, but it’s worth a try.

Not That: Diet soda
Caffeine and aspartame have both been linked to aching heads. Steer clear if you want the pounding to subside. (Not to mention that diet soda is 100 percent nutrition free. The more of it you drink, the less good stuff you put in your body.)

3:11 p.m.  Eat This: Ginseng

That headache is still there—and you’re getting over a cold and need something for that cough. And you have a date tonight.

Benefit: Immunity boost
In a Canadian study, people who took 400 milligrams of ginseng extract a day had 56 percent fewer recurring colds than those who popped placebos. Studies suggest ginseng can boost the activity of key immune cells. Another benefit: Ginseng might boost your brainpower. British researchers found that people who swallowed 200 milligrams of the extract an hour before taking a cognitive test scored significantly better than when they skipped the supplement.

And This: Kiwi, oranges, red bell peppers
Benefit: Symptom relief
All three are packed with vitamin C. Studies suggest that taking in at least 200 milligrams daily may help shorten the duration of your symptoms the next time you’re under the weather.

Quick tip: If you’re really hacking up a lung, try downing a spoonful of honey. Penn State scientists found that honey is better at lessening cough frequency and severity than dextromethorphan, the most common active ingredient in over-the-counter cough meds.

5:20 p.m.  Eat This: Half an apple and a shot of espresso

You’re prepping for a predate workout—maybe 20 minutes of cardio, followed by a weight circuit. But you’re feeling peckish.

Benefit 1: Preworkout energy fix
It’s low-calorie enough not to fill you up, but it has the carbohydrates you need for energy. You’ll hit the gym with added vigor.

Benefit 2: Postworkout muscle fuel
Australian researchers found that when cyclists combined carbs with caffeine after a workout, their supply of muscle glycogen refilled at a 66 percent faster rate than it did for cyclists who downed only carbs.

Not That: Nothing
If you don’t fill up before working out, your body will burn muscle tissue, not just fat. If your goal is to bulk up, exercising on an empty, rumbling stomach is the worst thing you can do. Give your body something to work with.

Quick tip: Make sure your drink is cold, not just lukewarm. Drinking cold water before and during exercise can improve your endurance, British scientists found. Cyclists drinking cold water were able to bike 23 percent longer than riders who drank warm liquids.

8:50 p.m.  Eat and Drink This: Steak and Wine

You’ve picked up your date and you’ve just been seated for dinner. Time to order.

Benefit 1: Relaxation
A glass of wine really does take the edge off. University of Toronto researchers discovered that one alcoholic drink causes people’s blood vessels to relax—but the second drink begins to reverse the effect, so limit your intake. You’ll be even more relaxed knowing that that glass of red contains resveratrol, an antioxidant linked to everything from cancer prevention to heart-disease protection. One variety that’s packed with resveratrol: pinot noir.

Not That: Whiskey
A small 2007 study says that more than twice as many people with alcohol or drug problems had prematurely gray hair as those without. Long-term abuse may speed the aging and loss of melanocytes, cells that give hair its pigment.

Benefit: Libido boost
Protein can boost levels of brain chemicals that heighten arousal. Steak also contains zinc, which may help maintain testosterone levels.

Or Maybe This: Oysters
Two forms of an amino acid in oysters have been linked to testosterone production in rats, but it’s unclear whether oysters have any true libido-boosting influence. Go for the suggestive effect.

But Not That: White chocolate
White chocolate has no cocoa solids, so it lacks the methylxanthines (caffeine and theobromine) found in dark and milk chocolate. These stimulants can make you feel more energetic and alert.

Quick tip: Dark chocolate is a foreplay food. A woman becomes more aroused from the melting of dark chocolate in her mouth than from kissing, British scientists found. The chocolate not only raises her heart rate, but brain-wave monitoring shows it also makes her more relaxed and alert. Opt for 60 percent cacao.

11:20 p.m.  Drink This: Cherry juice

You’re at home. Alone. It’s been a long day, but you can’t fall asleep because your mind is racing.

Benefit: Sleep-inducing serotonin
Carbohydrates help boost your brain’s production of serotonin, a neurochemical that can help induce sleepiness. We’re guessing you don’t have any in your fridge. So buy Lakewood Organic Pure Black Cherry juice, which has only one ingredient: juice from organic black cherries. There’s no added sugar, and a 4-ounce glass contains just 70 calories.

Not That: Warm milk
Contrary to popular belief, warm milk will keep you up, not knock you out. Blame the protein in the milk, which can reduce serotonin levels and delay the onset of sleep.

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