Friday, March 27, 2015

Short Walks Can Reduce Chocolate Cravings!

Chocolate has become one of our ultimate go-to’s, when we are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or are just craving a sweet treat! As many of us know, chocolate may taste delicious and satisfy our desires, but it is loaded with unnecessary sugars and fats that can be badly affected on our health. A new, recent study has shown that taking a short, brisk walk can reduce your pesky chocolate cravings.

A research team led by Larissa Ledochowski of the University of Innsbruck in Austria reports that a 15 minute walk reduces the urge for a sugary snack, even in people who are overweight, under pressure, and that literally have candy present in front of them. The research found that “small bouts of physical activity could be valuable for reducing the urge to consume at times the person may be particularly vulnerable”.

            The study consisted of forty-seven overweight people who reported consuming “highly caloric sugary snacks, such as chocolate” on a daily basis. Half of them took a 15-minute brisk walk on a treadmill while the others sat quietly for the same period of time. The participants were then given a test, which was shown to cause high stress levels to the participants. The participants were offered a selection of high caloric sugary snacks and were told to unwrap a sugary snack of their choice and handle it without eating it for 30 seconds, increasing their craving. The researchers found that the craving effect was lessened for those who had just taken a short walk. If you sense that your stress is building, take a quick walk, and you can save yourself from craving and eventually consuming sugary foods!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fried Foods Increase Risk for Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  This disease does not discriminate, as anyone of any age or background can be diagnosed.  Heart disease can be caused my many things including family history, lack of physical activity, and an unhealthy diet.  The most common type in the United States is coronary artery disease.  This occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries of the heart causing them to narrow.  With such little room to flow, an inadequate supply of blood reaches the heart.  To work properly, the heart must have enough blood.

The good news is that heart disease is preventable!  Our arteries don’t just clog on their own; it’s what we put into our bodies that clog them.  Take fried foods as an example; a study shows that they increase a person’s risk of heart disease by up to 68%.  The study indicated a 18% increased risk for heart disease if fried foods were consumed up to three times a week, a 25% increased risk if consumed four to six times a week and up to 68% if consumed seven or more times per week.

Eating a healthy diet is a very useful tool in heart disease prevention.  The most healthful diet, according to the study, suggests consuming high amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains and limit foods high in saturated fats.  Instead of frying, try a different method of cooking like grilling, steaming, or baking.  The flavor will still be there, but it will come without the oily mess that clogs your precious arteries.  If you fill your plate with healthy and delicious food, you won’t even miss the greasy stuff!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Is it Safe for Pregnant Women to Eat Tuna?

For years, pregnant women have been warned to limit or omit their consumption of tuna because of concerns about mercury exposure. Recently, a federal panel has investigated the issue. Fish has been found to be rich in several nutrients, including: omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iodine, selenium and vitamin D. Numerous studies have showed that the nutrients in fish are important for the brain development in fetuses and nursing infants.

Tuna, the second most popular seafood in the U.S. behind shrimp, is recommended by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to be limited to 6 oz. per week for pregnant women. While women need to be aware of the type of fish they are eating because of mercury exposure, which can be harmful to their pregnancy, eating limited amounts of fish can be beneficial. The key is to include a variety of seafood in their diet, hindering the amount of mercury exposed to the body of only one kind of fish.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Consumption of Nuts Can Improve Longevity

New research suggests, eating nuts, including peanut butter can increase longevity of life. Diets of 206, 029 people were monitored in the United States and China, finding that nut consumption was linked in lowering risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease and other causes. Researchers monitored the consumption of nuts in men and women for various time periods, ranging from 5 years to more than 12 years. The group who ate the most nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter reduced their risk of early death from cardiovascular disease and all other causes by nearly 20%, compared to those who consumed the least. The U.S. group who ate the most nuts, resulting in the 20% finding, consumed more than 18 grams of peanuts a day, roughly two tablespoons. Include nuts in your daily diet by adding them to yogurt, dried fruit, cereal, or oatmeal, to help yourself live healthier and longer! Nuts are rich in nutrients such as unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, and phenolic antioxidants.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Coffee Daily May Help Your Heart

A new study suggests, drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of developing clogged arteries, reducing the risk of a heart attack. Drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day has been associated with less calcium build-up in the arteries. Calcium build-up is signified to be an early sign of hardening of the arteries and the risk of heart disease. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee also recently released a report saying that the health risks of drinking that much coffee is minimal and can actually have health benefits, such as reducing risk of type 2 Diabetes.

Remember though, what you put on the coffee makes a difference! Add-ins such as whipped cream, syrups, creamers, and too much sugar can knock away the health benefits. Enjoy your cup of Joe with limited toppings in order to get the most beneficial health effects!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The End of Diet Focused Foods

Have you ever thought about what it is that makes you think a certain food is healthy?  Does it have to do with the appearance of the food, where it’s located in the grocery store, information you may have read, or is it because your mother told you so?  We consider so many factors in determining whether a food is healthy and because of this, America’s view of health food is continually changing.

            According to an article written by Anjali Athavaley, Americans are focusing less on weight-management foods like Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, and Special K. Instead of counting calories, today’s consumers are more focused on actually being able to read and understand the ingredients.  In addition, consumers are reaching for more gluten-free, high-protein, and ethnic flavors.  This is clearly a major concern for companies, as they now need to rethink their products as well as their marketing strategies. 

            As consumers, we need to be aware that food marketed as healthy, just might not be.  The front of the package may be deceiving, so always remember to shop smart and check the ingredient list.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Many Americans Do Not Handle Poultry Safely When Cooking

According to a new study, many Americans do not follow the recommended safety practices when handling and cooking poultry. Fewer than two-thirds of consumers have a food thermometer, and less than 10% of those who have the devices check to see if the poultry was cooked to a safe temperature. Pathogens, such as salmonella and Campylobacter may be present on raw poultry. The only reliable way to ensure the food was cooked safely and to the internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, to destroy any harmful bacteria, is to use a food thermometer. Among people with a food thermometer, the use of the device was higher when they were cooking whole chickens and turkeys (57% to 73%). It was found that nearly 70% of consumers rinse or wash poultry before using it. This is potentially unsafe because contaminated water can splash and spread bacteria to other foods and other surfaces. Remember to handle your poultry with care, as many forbidden guidelines can get you sick!