Nutrition Articles

Is Donor Breastmilk Really Best for Preemies?

Should Preemies Use Donor Breastmilk?

 

You have probably heard the quote “breast is best.” This is true for all babies regardless if the breastmilk is from the baby’s mother or other sources. 

Preemies are especially susceptible to more illness and disabilities later in life. In the past, preemies have been mostly excluded from donor breast milk due to the fact that doctors and hospitals were concerned with the safety of the breast milk.

Research shows that donor breast milk CAN be incredibly beneficial for preemie babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the governing body for pediatric doctors, has embraced breast milk in the neonatal unit, if “proper safety measures” are used in the hospital.

The AAP does discourage buying donor breast milk from online sources and “milk-sharing”.

How is donor breastmilk safe?

Donors are screened for hepatitis and HIV, and the milk is pasteurized and sometimes the milk is cultured for bacterial contamination. Although pasteurization does kill “good” bacteria, this is seen as a necessary step for the vulnerable infant.

Why is breastmilk best?

Breastmilk is the IDEAL nutrition for an infant. The list of benefits is long and even effects the child for the rest of his or her life. For a quick and dirty list, breastmilk helps fight off viruses, bacteria, infections, allergies, asthma, diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, reduces hospitalization, fewer ear infections, fewer respiratory illness, etc.

Mother’s breastmilk is best for the infant, but if that’s not possible than using donor breastmilk could be the next best thing – even for preemies.

Photo by j2dread

Why “Mommy Brain” is a Good Thing.

Why “Mommy Brain” is a Good Thing!

Being a mother, 3 times over, one thing that seems to weaken every time is my memory and brain. The first couple years are usually a blur of late-night feedings, teething woes, bumps and bruises and trying to remember anything beyond this new bundle of energy.

Many times, I have talked with other moms about having “mommy brain”. Forgetting important events, showing up late or completely forgetting events never happened prior to kids. Now, it’s a weekly occurrence.

New research just out shows that “mommy brain” is a good thing!

Here’s what happens.

After giving birth, moms had greatly reduced gray matter in the brain associated with social interactions. These long-term changes were theorized to improve a mom’s ability to protect and nurture her child. AND the areas of the brain that retain memories and thinking functions had no changes.

These changes lasted for at least the first two years after birth. Researchers theorize that this is an evolutionary change for mother’s to develop emotional attachments to her baby. Further, the more changes to the mother’s brain, the higher the emotional attachment.

So, maybe “mommy brain” is a good thing.

What do you think?

The Benefits of Hemp Protein Powder 

Hemp Protein Powder  photo
Photo by beckstei

Hemp protein powder is derived from the ground up seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seeds contain fats and proteins that are essential to your body’s overall health and wellbeing. Hemp protein powder is meant to be used in the traditional ways of any other protein powder. Feel free to add it to your morning smoothie or shake for a healthy boost. You should always consider purchasing organic hemp protein powder to avoid any chemical additive that may have been used to extract the protein from the seeds in processing.

Due to the illegal nature of growing hemp seeds inside of the US, hemp protein powder is imported from other areas of the world, such as, Canada, china, and other countries where hemp is not considered illegal or to have negative dietary effects. While hemp protein powder does contain minimal amounts THC, it is still closely related to marijuana, which remains illegal in the majority of states.

The Benefits

Hemp protein powder is believed to be full of all the essential proteins your body needs. A one ounce serving of hemp protein powder contains a whopping 14-grams of protein. Hemp protein powder contains complete protein, full of every amino acid. Without the required amino acids your body would fail to complete necessary task, such as repairing damaged muscle tissue. The fact that hemp protein powder contains all of the essential amino acids makes it extremely popular, no other plant protein contains all amino acids.

Though hemp protein powder doesn’t contain as much protein as other available sources, such as soybeans, it is easily digested. It doesn’t contain any oligosaccharide or trypsin inhibitors, which tend to reduce the amount of protein absorbed and cause bloating. It also contains globulin edestrin, a plant protein that allows it to be better digested. Hemp protein powder is extremely versatile and can be easily accommodated into anyone’s diet without much thought. It is high in zinc, iron, copper, phosphorus, B vitamins, and magnesium; making it an extremely beneficial dietary supplement to add into your routine.

Hemp seeds are not genetically modified and are a great way to promote a healthy living environment; it requires no pesticides or herbicides to cultivate. Many feel that hemp can meet a global need for locally-grown renewable food source, that can be grown in even some of the harshest conditions. Hemp protein powder is likely to be seen rising in popularity as more and more health benefits come to light.

Photo by Brian Tomlinson

Are Mushrooms Paleo?

Did you know that mushrooms aren’t plants? In fact, mushrooms and humans are kind of related—we belong to the same genetic kingdom, albeit distantly. I’ve always wondered why people were so eager to eat mushrooms, since undoubtedly quite a number of people met their ends after sampling a dangerous variety of mushrooms. Thankfully, they’ve done the hard work for us, and now we’ve got a checklist of shrooms that regularly appear on the dinner menu. But if these fungi have such a history of being dangerous, should we really be including them in the Paleo lifestyle?

Are mushrooms healthy?

Well, it turns out we don’t really have anything bad to say about mushrooms! They’re not the greatest source of many of your typical vitamins and minerals, but they do include some of the rarer nutrients that can be difficult to work into your diet, like selenium and copper.

Mushrooms have been linked with a reduction in mood disorders, especially depression and anxiety, because they promote healthy nerve function and encourage active brain processing. They’re also associated with nutrient intake, because mushrooms seem to help us absorb the nutrients in the foods we eat. Their chemical compounds help to make the vitamins and minerals in our food more bioavailable so that our body can use them.

Truth be told, it doesn’t really seem like there’s too much wrong with mushrooms, right? Well, we’ve got just a little bad news. While mushrooms seem to be a great food, it’s important to know that they lose many of their antioxidants just days after being picked. That means that the natural sugars have been destroyed by ripening, and we lose a lot of the health benefits of mushrooms.
However, the Paleo experts still agree that mushrooms are a great choice for your diet.

What do other Paleo experts say?

Mark Sisson says: “Humans have probably always eaten mushrooms, since mushrooms grow wild everywhere….they’re good sources of relatively rare nutrients like selenium, copper, and pantothenic acid.”

Chris Kresser says: “The [foods] that are most highly recommended for health…are asparagus and broccoli and kale and spinach, mushrooms, arugula, lettuce, [but]they respire so rapidly that within two or three days of harvest they might have half or even less of the antioxidants.”

Are mushrooms Paleo?

Yes!

Mushrooms are a great addition to a Paleo diet, but do your best to eat them when fresh in order to get the most out of them. Try checking out local mushroom hunting groups or mycological societies to learn how to mushroom hunt for yourself and find the mushrooms you can eat (and the mushrooms you definitely can’t).

Issue No. 46

Protein Powders, in Comparison; Casein Vs. Whey Vs. Hemp

Protein Powder photo
Photo by beckstei

Protein is astoundingly important for our body’s, especially if you are on a strict workout regimen or body building plan. The majority of people choose to get a big boost of protein just before a workout or just after, typically, by fitting it into a smoothie, shake, or high protein drink. But, are all protein powders created equally? Let’s take a difference at each one and get a better idea of which one you need.

Casein Protein Powder

Casein protein powder is a slow-digesting protein that is mainly found in milk, it is frequently called “Milk Protein”. Approximately 80% of the protein found in whole milk is casein protein. Casein protein is slow-digesting; it turns into a gel like or clotted substance in the stomach, which is slow dissolving and last longer. Like most protein options, casein protein contains all of the essential amino acids; it also contains less short chain amino acids than other proteins. Casein protein stops the body from breaking down amino acids that are already present on muscle structure and doesn’t increase protein synthesis compared to other proteins.

Whey Protein Powder 

Whey protein is very similar to casein protein in many ways. It is also derived from milk, but is a fast digesting protein. Whey protein is a faster acting protein, though, it doesn’t last as long as other proteins and leaves the body faster. Whey protein also, causes more of an amino acid spike. Whey protein has been proven to be beneficial for weight loss, increased energy, and to boost the antioxidant known as, glutathione. Whey is a common choice for many people because it is easy to digest and is considered the best protein for increasing metabolism and forming muscle.  Whey protein powder is easily digestible for those who are lactose intolerant, despite its milk origin and Is also a vegetarian option.

Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp protein powder remains’ the more controversial of protein powders. It is derived from hemp seeds and is still hard to get or illegal in many areas. That being said, hemp protein powder is believed to be the safest of plant based proteins. Hemp protein powder is easy to digest, typically organic, and has a long list of other health benefits, such as improving heart health.  Hemp protein powder is also, vegetarian and vegan. It contains 20 amino acids, including 9 essential amino acids. It is often considered the safest option, as it is organic, natural, requires no pesticides to cultivate or harvest, and rarely has any additives.

Is One Better Than the Other? 

Whey protein, casein protein, and hemp protein are all extremely beneficial options. In fact, many people who are serious about body building use more than one type of protein powder. For instance, when first thing in the morning as it is fast digesting, casein at bedtime for its slow digestion and hemp between meals. All of these protein powders can be beneficial to building muscle mass, weight loss, and overall body health; it all depends on which one works best for you, your budget, and your workout routine.

9 Small Things You Can Do to Lose Weight 

Setting out on a weight loss journey can be far more intimidating that it truly should be. Signing up for a year-long gym membership filled with fees or a diet plan that purely takes the joy out of your day to day life, aren’t your only options. If you are just fed up with your weight or even just looking to maintain a healthy weight; the small things can always make a difference. It may not seem like something as simple as taking the stairs can make a difference, but remember that all of the small things add up over time! The most important part to benefiting from small changes in your day to day life is to stay committed and consistent. Opting to take the stairs once a month is likely to only give your ego a boost for that one day rather than effect your overall fitness level. Make a plan and stick to it; Start out with just one little change at a time, when it has become natural to you, add in another small step. Overtime, the benefits of your simple changes will start to show through to a healthier you!

stairs photo

1  Take the stairs 

Opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator is a no brainer and is more than likely the easiest workout to commit to. Taking the stairs is a free workout with no equipment needed and is a great way to build up leg muscle. Even if you have a gym membership, climbing the stairs daily can help the transition to harder leg workouts at the gym a breeze.

2  Avoid Going Out to Eat 

Going out to eat and picking up take out have become a normal occurrence in the hectic day to day lives of most people. But the reality is, it just isn’t very good for you. Even if you are going somewhere with the intention of ordering something healthy, temptation will be everywhere. Cooking a healthy dinner at home will give you control over everything you put into the dish and the portion size that hits your plate.

3  Workout During Commercials  

If you are feeling the guilt from curling up on the sofa to watch your favorite reality show rather than hitting the gym; customizing a workout that you can do during commercial breaks is a great idea. It gives you time to indulge in TV and do it guilt free. The average TV show has approximately 15 minutes’ worth of commercial breaks; if you watch two shows a day and workout during all of the commercials, that’s your 30 minute recommended daily workout!

4  Sit On a Ball at Work 

You may be thinking “but I work in a respectful office” on this one, but that is exactly the point! Trade out your office chair for a yoga ball. Sitting on a yoga ball at work all day can give you the ultimate multitasking ability! Trading out your chair for a ball will allow you to burn up-to 350 calories a day, just from doing the same thing you have been doing everyday already! It is also really good for your spine alignment and posture.

5  Use a Pedometer 

A pedometer is a tiny device that counts how many steps you make a day. You can buy one to clip to your waste, a bracelet, and even download them to your smart phone. Using a pedometer is about more than just counting your steps, it is about motivating yourself. Set a goal for how many steps you think you can walk in a day, start out slow and then increase it. At the end of the day take note of how many steps you took. Not only will you be burning calories, but you will also give you a sense of accomplishment when you reach your goal and continuous motivation.

6  Avoid Drinking Carbohydrates  

Of a 2,000 calories recommended daily diet, how many of those calories do you think you are drinking? If you, like so many others, love coffee, soda, tea, and alcohol, then you probably consume at least one or more of these a day. If you truly only indulge once a day, than you are probably on the right track; but as for the rest of us, we are wasting our allotted calories and carbohydrates on empty calories and carbs. If you feel like this could be you, start out slow by keeping a diary of what you ate and drank all day. Continue to do so and write down the calories and carbohydrates for everything you can. At the end of a day, calculate how many empty calories you drank vs. from healthy foods you ate. Once you see how many calories and carbohydrates you are drinking in rather than eating a healthy snack with vitamins and protein, you will start to hold yourself accountable and be more aware of what you are putting into your body!

7 Avoid Sugary Foods 

This may seem like the hardest thing ever, I mean let’s face it, sugar Is in nearly everything! Avoiding sugar has more benefits than just weight loss and is a change you should consider making, even if you aren’t looking for a dramatic weight loss. Sugar contributes to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and the list just keeps going. Even if you start out small, like substituting the sugar in your coffee or tea for honey, will make a difference in the long run!

8  Get Plenty of Sleep 

Research has shown that when you are short on sleep or staying up late at night, there is an increase in how much snacking and overeating you do. Your brain needs sleep to and when you are short on it, you start to crave junk and overeat. Not to mention, if you are getting less than the recommended amount of sleep, you are less likely to work out the following day. Sleep is vital for energy and a healthy lifestyle.

9  Prepare Snacks

Snacking can easily be a downfall, if snacks are not prepared ahead of time. It’s easier to grab a bag of chips than to make a healthy snack.. the solution? Prepare those snacks ahead of time. Cutting up vegetables like bell peppers (in a variety of colors), wash off fruit or box up those leftovers for the next time your stomach grumbles.

Think These Oils Are Healthy? Think Again! 

Choosing a healthy cooking oil can be a hard decision to make; especially when there are so many on the market and at some point or another, each and every one has been marketed as the healthy alternative. But what should you truly be looking for in a cooking oil? One of the first things you should take into consideration is what you plan to cook and what cooking method you are using to prepare it. Secondly, you should consider the oils fat content, specifically, fatty acids. Generally speaking, there are typically three classifications of fatty acids and each oil contain all three of them, however, it is classified as the fatty acid that it contains the highest percentage of. The three types of fatty acids are Saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated; each oil has different nutritional properties and the different types of fatty acids and content levels also effect each one’s cooking ability, according to, WebMD.

  • Saturated fats are most commonly solids when they are at room temperature, making them easier to spot. High levels of consumption of saturated fats have been linked to high cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease.
  • Polyunsaturated fats are different from saturated fats and can be distinguished by their liquid form. Polyunsaturated fats will remain in liquid form, even during refrigeration. In comparison with saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats have been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels, which in turn will show a reduction in the risk for heart disease.
  • Monounsaturated fats are slightly more challenging to spot. They do remain in a liquid for when stored at room temperature, but upon refrigeration, will appear cloudy as a partial amount of the oil begins to solidify. Monounsaturated fats have also been shown to reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Are your healthy oil choices really the healthy option?

How many healthy oils have you purchased? And how many of them are truly the healthiest option for cooking oils?

Grape Seed Oil

Grape seed oil has made its name as a healthy oil simply by being rich in vitamin E and being a polyunsaturated fat. But it isn’t the healthy oil that it has been chalked up to. Grape seed oil is extracted from grape seed, as the name would imply. It has become a way for wine makers to use up the bulk supply of grape seeds they are left with during the wine making process. The oil is extracted from the seeds using chemicals and high heat. Grape seed was originally considered healthy due to the high volume of nutrients found in the grape seed. The problem is, that all of those nutrients aren’t found in grape seed oil. The chemical processing causes the oil to lose the nutrients, including all of the antioxidant’s. Grape seed oil is composed of 10% saturated fat, 16% monounsaturated fat, and 70% polyunsaturated fat. Similar to other seed and vegetable oils, grape seed oil is high in omega-6 and low in beneficial nutrients.

Canola Oil

While it is true that canola oil is one of the healthier options in cooking oil, many are concerned by the extreme amount of processing that it endures before reaching the supermarket. Due to its refined state, canola oil doesn’t contain the antioxidant’s that other otherwise healthy oils do. Most canola oil is genetically engineered. If canola oil is the healthiest cooking option for you, you should seek out organic canola oil to avoid the over processing and be sure that it is certified organic canola oil that you are purchasing. Some other concerns of consumers is that canola oil causes diseases; there is no scientific proof that canola oil causes any diseases what so ever. Canola oil has a relatively neutral flavor, that won’t have an ill effect on the foods that you are cooking in it. It also has a rather high smoke point, similar to vegetable oil, that makes it much more ideal for frying or cooking at high temperatures without burning and giving your food a rancid flavor. Canola oil is considered a monounsaturated fat, it is made up of 62% monounsaturated fat, 31% polyunsaturated fat, and only 7% saturated fat.

Vegetable Oil

What exactly is vegetable oil? I mean the term “Vegetable” isn’t very specific. Vegetable oil is a triglyceride extract that comes from plants and is defined as plant based oils that don’t solidify. Vegetable oil is chemically extracted from seeds. While soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, and grape seed oil are all technically “Vegetable Oil’s”, generally speaking when people mention vegetable oil they are talking about oil found in the supermarket that is simply labeled “vegetable oil”. For many decades, vegetable oil has been labeled as a heart healthy oil, leading consumers to believe that it is good for them. Vegetable oil is a polyunsaturated fat, which led to the belief that it is heart healthy, but it is also considered to be one of the unhealthiest fats readily available to consumers. Vegetable oils contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which can be harmful to one’s health when they are consumed in an excessive manor.

Soybean Oil

Soybean oil is extracted from soy beans by heating them and then chemicals are used to extract the oils. Soybean oil is very commonly found in processed, pre-package foods. Similar to other seed oils, the majority of nutrients than can be found in soybeans, will be lost by the end of the extraction process. Soybean oil has a high smoke point, making it appealing to those who are looking to cook at a higher temperature. It is also more on the affordable side from some other oil choices. These factors make it appealing to consumers, without considering what the oil really contains.

Corn Oil

One of the biggest consumer concerns with corn oil is that it is made from different crops of corn all over the world, including, GMO’s. There is no evidence yet as to what GMO crops that have all been treated with more and more chemicals and pesticides, will have on the human body and organs as it works to break down the oil. Corn oil, is considered a vegetable oil and similar to the others has lost its natural nutritional value by the time it reaches our tables.  Corn oil also has high levels of omega-6, which can prove to be unhealthy in large amounts, such as that contained in oils.

Vegan Butter Substitutes

The initial fear of what a vegan butter could contain are almost self-explanatory. It can’t be butter or dairy at all, so that pretty much takes “natural” out of the equation. Vegan butter substitutes can be found in many forms, a common one being good old margarine.  While even margarine as a vegan supplement will need to be purchased as 100% dairy free, as most margarines still contain trace amount of dairy; most margarines are still made of extremely processed soybean oil and are hydrogenated. Just because it has a vegan label on it, doesn’t make this form of soybean oil any healthier than liquid soybean oil. It still has an extremely low nutritional value and is high in omega-6. Not to mention, the added processing that it has gone through to be used as margarine in a solid form.

Why the 5-second rule might be out the door?

watermelon photo
Photo by rremundo

Many people have rules about dropping food on the ground including the ever-famous “5-second rule.” Drop food on the ground, as long as, you pick it up in 5 seconds then it is still “good” to eat.

A new study that was recently published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology states: the food is already contaminated with bacteria!

“The five-second rule is a significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food,” said study lead researcher Donald Schaffner, a professor and extension specialist in food science.

“Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously,” he said in a Rutgers news release.

The deciding factor of bacteria contamination is Moisture. Bacteria use moisture to move, so the more water associated with the food, the faster the contamination.

“Transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food appears to be affected most by moisture,” Schaffner said.

Which foods fared the best and the worst in the study?

Not surprisingly, watermelon has the most bacteria. Last on the list was gummy candy.

Another factor for bacteria? The floor.

Food dropped on carpet had less bacteria than tile or stainless steel. Interestingly, wood floors varied with contamination.

So, you might want to think twice about eating that slice of watermelon after accidentally dropping it on the floor.

 

Benefits of Zucchini

zucchini photo
Photo by Wildcat Dunny

 

 

Zucchini is versatile summer squash that is delicious and easy to use. Zucchini’s flavor lends itself to both being the star of a dish or being easily concealed as a nutritious filler. Zucchini can be eaten both cooked and raw, and is extremely versatile in preparation methods. It is grown in abundance during the summer months and quite easy to come by. Its affordability and ease of preparation make it an ideal choice for a healthy and hearty vegetable. Zucchini contains only 36 calories per 1 cup and 10 grams of the recommended daily value of dietary fiber. Zucchini is also a great source of vitamin c, vitamin A, manganese, and potassium. Zucchini has proven to be both delicious and beneficial to your overall health.

 

 

1  Lower Cholesterol 

Zucchini is rich in dietary fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol. Dietary fiber attaches itself to bile acids created by the liver from cholesterol that is used to digest fat. When the dietary fiber attaches to the bile, it affects the liver’s ability to quickly digest fat causing it to create more bile acid. The liver then uses up more cholesterol to produce the excess bile acid, lowering the overall cholesterol levels.

2  Lower Blood Pressure

The amount of magnesium and potassium found in zucchini promotes lower blood pressure and alleviate stress on the circulatory system. Consuming zucchini on a regular basis can prove to be a great benefit for those suffering from hypertension.

3  Skin Hydration

Zucchini has a high water content that is beneficial to hydrating your skin and flushing out toxins.

zucchini photo
Photo by briannaorg

Zucchini can help restore moisture to your skin and return it to a healthy glowing state. Zucchini is beneficial to your skin both when consumed and when used as a topical ingredient in scrubs and washes.

4  Eye Health

Zucchini is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, zinc, and manganese; all of which are crucial to maintaining healthy eyes. Zucchini may also be used as an external application to remove puffy bags around the eyes caused from water retention.

5  Prevents Gout

Zucchini is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory carotenoids, which makes it great to counter the effects of gout. Antioxidants work to reduce joint inflammation. Gout can affect both the knees and the feet and often leads to extreme difficulty walking and standing. Zucchini works against the uric acid in your joints, helping to remove the pain and inflammation.

Photo by csouza_79

10 Benefits of Flax Seeds and The Amazing Nutrient Profile

flax seed photo
Photo by muffinn

Flax, also known as linseed, is a fiber crop that has long been used for manufacturing household linens. Flax seeds are harvested from the flax plant itself. Flax seeds come in a number of varieties, that of which all contain the same nutritional value, with the exception of yellow flax seeds. Flaxseeds are widely used for their nutritional value, and also used to produce a form of vegetable oil that is considered to be one of the oldest commercial oils in production. According to, Wikipedia, the culinary uses for flax seeds range from roasted to being milled for breads.  Flax seeds Is packed full of nutritional value, such as, Omega-3 fatty acid, fiber, protein, vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, copper, and zinc.

The Benefits of Flax Seeds

1  Gluten Free

Even if you don’t live by a strict gluten free diet, doesn’t mean that consuming some gluten free options isn’t a good choice. The healthier choices you make, the better your overall health will be. Flax seeds are a great alternative to traditional grains and can be used as a substitute in cooking and baking. Flax seeds are a natural replacement for gluten filled grains. Flax seeds can be ground and used alone or combined with coconut flour for baking and cooking.

2  High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

If you are reading anything related to healthy lifestyles or diets, you have probably seen omega-3 fatty acids a time or two. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be the key to unlocking great health and warding off many diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Cancer. More research is needed to prove whether or not Omega-3 fatty acids are the key to a successfully healthy life, but one thing is for sure, they are great for your body and an optimal part of leading a healthy life. Flax seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids and are a great option for people with an allergy to fish, who are looking for a natural way to get their daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

3  Reduces Risk of Cancer

Many studies have suggested that flax seeds can aid in reducing ones’ risk of getting certain types of cancer, such as, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Lignans that are found in flax seed are converted by the body into entarolactone and enterodial, which aid in the natural balance of hormones that are believed to be the culprit of some cancer growth. A large part of this can be chalked up to its high omega-3 fatty acid value and anti-inflammatory properties.

4  Menopausal Symptom Relief 

According to, WebMD, there have been significant studies showing that flax seeds can help relieve the symptoms of menopause. Consuming a proper dosage of flax seed daily is believed to relieve hot flashes, night sweats, and other mild side effects of menopause. The flax seed is suggested to have similar effects to that of hormone therapy. Studies have shown that women consuming the recommended amount of flax seed twice a day showed a 50% decrease in the number of hot flashes they had in a day and a decrease in intensity of the remaining hot flashes.

5  Lower Cholesterol 

Flax seeds ability to help lower cholesterol is mainly credited to its omega-3 fatty acid and fiber content. Flax seeds are also rich in lignans, which have been shown to decrease plasma cholesterol, high plasma cholesterol is associated with atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Studies have shown that flax seeds can reduce bad cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, by 14%-18%

6  Gut Health

Flax seeds are a great source of fiber and are packed full of natural fiber to help keep your gut healthy. The high soluble fiber count makes flax seeds the perfect supplement for anyone looking for a natural laxative or regulating supplement. A key tip for using flax seeds for digestive health, is to use ground flax seeds; whole flax seeds are harder for your body to digest and absorb all of the beneficial nutrients. Flax seeds also contain mucilaginous fiber, which increases the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients.

7  Blood Sugar

Flax seeds are low glycemic, meaning that they can help to prevent or reduce spikes in blood sugar. When consuming flax as a normal part of your daily diet, blood sugar levels will begin to level out and show less effect from other foods that you consume, such as foods that are high in sugar. Flax is a great option for diabetic’s looking to more naturally control their blood sugar levels.

8  Weight Loss

Flax seed has become growingly popular for people looking to use their nutritional benefits for weight loss. Eating flax before a meal can help to reduce your hunger and give you the feeling of being full sooner. Similar to chia seeds, flax seeds absorb liquid and swell to create that “full” feeling. Thus, allowing you to feel full for longer and consume less food for meals.

9  Inflammation

There is no doubt that flax seeds are filled with nutritional value and regardless of whether you are looking to use them as a weight loss aid, natural health remedy, or just as a source of vitamins; flax seeds are great for your body. A hot topic on flax seeds is their anti-inflammatory benefits. The high levels of omega-3 fatty acid, lignans, flavonoids, and fiber all work in sync to reduce inflammation in your body, including inflammation caused by arthritis and Parkinson’s Disease. A daily serving of flax seeds has 140% of your daily value of these anti-inflammatory vitamins.

 10 Skin Health

Generally speaking, we all know that we need optimal nutrition to keep our bodies healthy on the inside. The same is also true for the outside; our skin and hair need all of the essential vitamins and minerals as the rest of your body. Flax seeds benefit your skin by increasing your body’s natural oil production, helping to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated.

Photo by Veganbaking.net

Starbucks Is Adding Almond Milk

starbucks photo
Photo by Howtedious

I’m from Seattle, so it goes hand-in-hand that I love coffee, and most notably Starbucks. It’s no surprise that I have a sweet tooth, and occasionally indulge in one of those sugary treats. However, recently Starbucks has made some changes to their menu. Most notably, Starbucks has added:

Prior to these additions, I always ordered my Starbucks Breve (with cream). However, there are now more PALEO choices at Starbucks!!

The best thing about coconut milk and almond milk is that they are naturally sweet. This is important, since there are NO syrups that are currently approved for Paleo.

So, what are some Starbucks options and still stay on Paleo:

Hot Drinks:

  • Coffee, of course
  • Hot tea
  • Espresso or American (espresso and water)
  • Latte
    • Breve (with Cream)
    • Almond Milk
    • Coconut Milk

Cold Drinks:

  • Unsweetened iced tea
  • Iced coffee
    • Breve (with Cream)
    • Almond Milk
    • Coconut Milk

Stay Away From:

Syrups, even sugar-free syrups (they have unnatural sweeteners and are heavily processed)

What I hope Starbucks Adds:

Stevia – a Paleo-approved sweetener that

Some Starbucks Ideas:

  1. Iced Coffee with Coconut Milk (bring a little Stevia to sweeten)
  2. Latte with Almond Milk with added cinnamon
  3. Iced Tea with Coconut Milk – Yum!

I looked on the Starbucks website, and do not see the coconut milk or almond milk in their nutritional information:

https://news.starbucks.com/uploads/documents/nutrition.pdf

Hopefully they update this soon so we know exactly what we are putting into our bodies!

Photo by Howtedious

Is Wheat Germ Paleo?

Is Wheat Germ Paleo?

By its very name, wheat germ would seem to preclude a place on a Paleo plate, given its push to avoid wheat and other grains, due to their allergenic and inflammatory effects on the body. However, because wheat germ has very little gluten in it (which is one of the primary allergens in wheat) some question whether it’s possible to include it in an evolutionary diet.

Gluten is a protein chiefly confined to the endosperm of a grain, which is the tissue produced inside the seeds of most flowering plants around fertilization. The wheat “germ” is the part of the wheat grain that is primarily protein-free that eventually germinates and grows into a new plant—and also contains very little gluten. Yet gluten (or lack thereof) isn’t the whole story when it comes to deciding if wheat germ earns a Paleo pass or fail.

So, is it Paleo?

While wheat germ is very low in gluten, there are other offenders at work that can be counter-productive to our health. One of these is a little antinutrient called wheat germ agglutinin or WGA, for short, which might be as troublesome as gluten. WGA is a lectin protein that protects the wheat from insects, yeasts and other pests. And while lectins are present in many foods, some of the highest (and potentially damaging) concentrations are found in grains like wheat (and its germ).

There is evidence that, like gluten, WGA can damage the lining of the gut and lead to intestinal permeability. This in turn can prompt our immune system to respond, triggering any number of auto-immune issues.

Studies have also shown that WGA can increase glucose transport into fat and liver cells while it blocks the body’s ability to released stored fat. This is detrimental to weight loss efforts, and because more glucose is being brought to the liver, blood triglycerides can also increase (not a good thing).

Additionally, WGA has been shown to obstruct our cell’s’ receptors from absorbing the Vitamin D we all need. These studies might help explain that regardless of the amount of time we spend in the sun, the decreased receptors for vitamin D can lead to possible deficiencies of the vitamin.

What do the Paleo gurus say?

Mark Sisson says: “You certainly can (eat it), but I still wouldn’t. Wheat germ has a little something called wheat germ agglutinin, a particularly potent lectin that protects wheat from insects, yeasts and bacteria. It also tries to protect wheat from other, larger predators, like hairless bipedal agrarian apes, by attacking and perforating the intestinal lining. There’s also evidence that WGA interacts with insulin receptors in fat and liver cells, even going so far as to replicate the effects of insulin. Mimicking the effect of insulin with a foreign plant protein? Eh, I’m a little nervous about that.”

Kevin Cann (guest-blogging for Robb Wolf) says: “Understanding WGA and the other toxins found in grains and legumes is an important concept to health and weight loss. Counting calories while eating wheat products may work for some, but there are going to be quite a few people that run into failure. How can one reverse insulin resistance by eating a food that acts like insulin? Consumption of wheat can lead to Vitamin D deficiencies, which may be why we see increasing rates of disease and even osteoporosis. It damages the gut lining and increases inflammation. Inflammation can also lead to weight gain. If anything, remove wheat from the diet for 30 days and see how you feel. Eliminating all grains and legumes would be an even better step towards better health.”

Loren Cordain says: “In vitro studies show that WGA binds the nuclear pore and prevents Vitamin D from causing its normal gene transcription—not a good thing, as proper Vitamin.

Conclusion?

Based on what science has shown and what Paleo experts say, it’s a fairly obvious call when it comes to wheat germ.  We’ll stamp it clearly “Not Paleo” and take to heart that wheat germ is, like other grain products, not a wise choice for those seeking optimal health.

Issue No. 27

Why You Should Try Sardines Today.

Sardines
Health Benefits of Sardines

I learned early on in elementary school that bringing sardines in for lunch was…not the most popular choice. The fish have a very distinct smell, but they certainly are tasty! Before you give up on these little guys because of their pungent aroma, take a minute to learn more about why these snacks of the sea are so great.

There are actually many fish known as “sardines,” but they’re all so closely related genetically that they’re usually just considered to be the same fish. It’s said that Napoleon was responsible for the sardines’ rise in popularity—who knew?

Why Eat Sardines?

  1. Sardines are packed with calcitriol, a form of vitamin D that regulates cell cycles. Because cancer is caused by cells functioning incorrectly, keeping these cycles regulated is a very effective form of cancer prevention.
  2. The protein in sardines gives us necessary amino acids that build and regenerate our bodies. These amino acids repair tissue by grabbing into oxygen and carrying it around efficiently.
  3. The most prevalent nutrient in sardines, vitamin B12, clocks in at a whopping 337% of what you need every day! B12 reduces homocysteine, which is known to degenerate bone through osteoporosis. Thanks to their homocysteine-smashing properties, sardines support bone health.
  4. Sardines are one of the absolute best places to get omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy omega-3s help reduce the risk of inflammatory conditions like heart disease by fighting oxidation.

Anchovies, sardines—tiny fish get a bad rap sometimes. But sardines have a rich, flavorful taste without a fishy aftertaste, so there’s really nothing unusual about them at all. When you’re ready to take the plunge and become addicted to delicious sardines (it’s easier than you might think!), there are a few things to keep in mind.

How to Choose Sardines

  1. If you want whole, uncanned sardines, some stores have them at the seafood counter. You can ask them to remove the large bones for you, but you can leave the little bones; cooking the sardines softens them, and you won’t even know there’s still a few bones floating around.
  2. You can buy canned sardines in water, soy oil, canola oil, tomato sauce, and olive oil—make sure to read the labels. It’s best to avoid those packed in soy oil, canola oil, or tomato sauce (which is filled with sugar). Water is always a solid choice; you can spice up your fish with some homemade Paleo mayo or get creative.

Remember that while sardines are a great snack, that’s just one of their many uses. Try mashing your sardines with avocadoes for a great veggie dip. Be adventurous!

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