Tuesday, October 17, 2017

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

Everyone knows that sleep is good for you. However, there might be some unexpected benefits of sleep. A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology showed a negative correlation between people who got enough sleep at night and eating junk food. Those who got enough sleep were better able to handle the stresses of day to day life, and therefore did not stress eat to the same extent that their sleep deprived peers did. The study also found that those with good sleep habits were more likely to have better eating habits overall.

For this information and more, go to: https://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2017-07-14/sound-sleep-may-help-you-junk-the-junk-food.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Eat Like it's Autumn

Fall is officially here! With the change in weather comes a change in cravings for our favorite nostalgic fall foods. This gives us a great opportunity to spice up our usual diet with these top produce picks for fall weather:
·      Orange vegetables, such as pumpkin and sweet potatoes, have the ability to take taste towards a sweet or savory direction. Both of these versatile vegetables are perfect for fall and increasing your intake of fiber and vitamin A.
·      Beets are a great add-on to your next meal this chilly season, and also help to create healthy blood pressure levels! 
·      For those looking to cut carbs, turn to spaghetti squash! This unique, kid-friendly vegetable is perfect for sneaking extra nutrients into your next meal.
·      Fall is perfect for a variety of soups to warm up on cool days. By adding kale to your next soup, you will also be increasing your intake of vitamins A, C, K and magnesium! 
·      Along with all the fall vegetables come fall fruitsCranberries and pear are perfect for the new season and will also have some bonus health benefits. Pears will help increase your fiber intake while cranberries improve the lining of your bladder. 
·      Okra and Parsnips are also perfect add-ons to your next autumn kitchen creation and will increase your intake of Vitamin C, fiber and folate! 

Check out these fun fall produce in your local grocery store to spice up your season!  

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Most Important Meal of the Day

A recent study was conducted in Madrid to test the effect that breakfast, or the lack thereof, has on cardiac health. The participants in the study filled out a questionnaire relating to their daily food intake and when they ate throughout the day. They were then broken down into three groups: those who skipped breakfast, low-energy breakfast consumers, and those who consumed high-energy breakfasts. The study showed that the participants who either skipped breakfast or consumed low-energy breakfasts had a higher rate of atherosclerosis, or the hardening and narrowing of arteries due the buildup of plaque. These individuals also showed to have higher blood pressure, greater waist circumference, higher body mass index, and more likely to be overweight or obese. They showed to have overall unhealthier lifestyles in comparison to their breakfast eating counterparts, including those with poorer diets and increased alcohol consumption. This study proves that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! 

To read this research or find similar articles, go to: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171002145635.htm.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

You are What You Think You Eat

A recent study was conducted to observe how the perception of amount of food consumed effects subsequent hunger and calories consumed in following meals. Participants were given a three egg omelet for breakfast but told it was made with either two or four eggs. When told their omelet was made with two eggs, participants reported greater hunger sooner after breakfast and consumed more food throughout the rest of the day. The opposite was observed when participants were told the omelet was made with four eggs. Researchers were also able to collect blood samples of participants and found that the difference in hunger and calories was not due to ghrelin, an appetite stimulating hormone. Although more research is being done, it may have you thinking a little more about how much food you have actually eaten to better judge future choices!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pumpkin Spice: The Fall Favorite

Whether or not you’re a pumpkin spice fan, the fury of this fall-season flavor is well known throughout the world. The methodology behind the popularity of this spice blend has been proposed, along with reasons why people tend to “crave” it.

Catherine Franssen, assistant professor of psychology and director of the neurostudies minor at Longwood University in Virginia, suggests that the smell and taste of pumpkin spice has been engraved in our brains as a comforting sensation. This spice is typically associated with happy memories like family gatherings or times of celebration. In addition, marketing plays a huge role in the craving of pumpkin spice flavored products. For example, we have conditioned our brains to anticipate the comfort of drinking pumpkin spice lattes, muffins, bread, etc., as the fall season approaches. The proposed reasoning of how this flavor and smell becomes addictive, or something we crave, is due to the combination of the spice with sugar or sucralose. Franssenstated that when you remember the tasty combination, you automatically want to consume it, or more of it.

Kantha Shelke, a food scientist at a Chicago-based food science and research firm, added to the conversation stating that, “natural pumpkin spice mixtures without added sugars, fat or salt could offer some potential health benefits if used in a pumpkin soup or to flavor vegetables”, as it is a source of nutrients such as vitamin A and fiber. Therefore, try feeding your pumpkin spice addiction without the sugar addition, on vegetables or in a soup recipe.

Find this information and more at: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/13/health/pumpkin-spice-ingredients-science-explainer/index.html

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What are Processed Foods?

Processed food is anything that has been changed from its original form.  This can be done in the home or in factories, which is what most people think of when processed food is talked about. But, why do we process food? Before grocery stores were around, people had to grow and process all their own food. Although many of us could not imagine a life without grocery stores, processing, was the only way to ensure they had food all year long when crops were not producing food. They had to can, freeze, and dry all the food they grew in order to store it for the rest of the year. 

Today, some foods are minimally processed simply for our convenience, such as spinach in a bag or frozen green beans. These processes slightly change the nutritional composition of these foods. There are also more heavily processed foods that are created in factories with added sugar, salt, fat, and preservatives that the body is unfamiliar with. Examples of these foods are frozen or microwave dinners and deli meats. 

When we consume high amounts of these highly-processed foods we are consuming extremely high amounts of sugar, sodium, and fat that the body is not accustomed to eating. The best way to avoid these foods is to try and eat foods that are closest to their natural form. Looking at the nutrition label to see specific nutrient content, and reading the ingredient list can also help. A good indication of whether a food is highly processed or not is to see how familiar the ingredients are. Often highly processed foods  have unknown ingredients that are hard to pronounce. The reason we would want to shy away from eating heavily processed food is because these processes change the nutrient composition, often decreasing nutrient density, while increasing caloric content.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Can Chocolate Treat Type 2 Diabetes?

A new study conducted by Brigham Young University suggests that cocoa may help treat type 2 diabetes.  They found that the pancreas’s beta cells release insulin more readily when epicatechin monomers are present.  These monomers are naturally found in cocoa.  

To test their hypothesis, animals consuming diets high in fat were given the epicatechin compounds to ingest.  As a result, these animals lost weight and their blood glucose levels increased.  It is proposed that the epicatechin monomers strengthen the mitochondria in the beta cells, allowing these cells to produce more ATP and thus release greater amounts of insulin.

However, these benefits would likely only come with the consumption of large amounts of chocolate, something that brings much sugar and fat into the diet.  Because of this, the focus of this research has now shifted into the isolation of these monomers, leading to the potential creation of a new treatment for those with type 2 diabetes.