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7 Foods Every Woman Must Eat

foods_for_womenby Lenora Phillips

Here’s some good news: The more you munch on healthy eats, the less you need to worry about Friday night’s fat burger and fries. Who says? Harvard. Its medical school has found that women who routinely nibble nutritiously slash their risk of dying from the usual culprits, including heart disease and cancer.

To up your odds of living a long and healthy life–despite occasional blow-outs at TGIF–make sure you regularly include these 7 nutritional powerhouses in your diet. “They’re the cream of the healthy-foods crop,” says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Age-Proof Your Body.

 

1. BERRIES
Why: Ounce for ounce, berries have more protective plant antioxidants than almost any other food. “These compounds not only lower your disease risks, they help prevent memory loss,” says Somer.

 

How Much: Aim for a cup of berries–any berries, fresh or frozen–at least three times a week (berry researchers say eat a cup daily). Since berries are high in fill-you-up fiber, they may also help curb weight gain.

 

How:

Toss them in salads

Snack on them one by one, like healthy potato chips

Add them to yogurt, cereal, and smoothies

Stir them into anything you bake

 

2. LEAFY GREENS

Why: It’s almost impossible to meet your nutritional needs without eating dark leafy greens, from spinach and romaine to collard greens and chard. They’re huge sources of fiber; vitamins C and K; folic acid (a B vitamin that guards the heart and memory and fights birth defects); lutein, a vision protector; and four essential minerals: calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium.

 

How Much: Two servings a day, and the darker, the better.

 

How:

Add arugula to your sandwich

Layer chard into lasagna

Fold spinach into omelets

Add any green to stir-fries, pasta dishes and soup

 

3. WHOLE GRAINS
Why: They have up to 96 percent more fiber, magnesium, zinc, chromium and vitamins E and B6 than refined grains. This nutritional powerhouse helps prevent the same health problems that refined grains help cause: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and even obesity.

 

How Much: Ideally, all of the six daily grain servings you need should be whole, unrefined grains, but aim for at least three.

 

How:

Start your day with oatmeal or whole-grain cold cereal

Use 100% whole-wheat bread for toast and sandwiches

Switch to whole-wheat couscous and pasta

Opt for brown rice (instant is fine), whole-grain pretzels, even whole-wheat tortillas

 

4. NUTS
Why: They’re excellent sources of protein, magnesium, B vitamins and E–trusty fighters in the war against heart disease and cancer. Yes, nuts are high in fat calories, but their fat is the heart-healthy kind. Replace junky snacks with them and you won’t gain an ounce.

 

How Much: Up to five small fistfuls a week (roughly 1/4 cup or about 15-20 almonds, cashews, walnuts or pecans).

 

How:

Sprinkle plain or toasted nuts on salads instead of croutons

Mix them into cooked cous cous and brown rice

Stir them into cereal and yogurt

Use them to garnish a stir-fry just before serving

 

5. GOLDEN VEGGIES
Why: Just one serving of fiber-filled, deep-yellow-orange vegetables supplies five times the beta carotene you need daily to lower your cancer risk, defend against colds and other infections, and protect your skin from sun damage. The potassium in these veggies also keeps your heartbeat in sync and your blood pressure down.

 

How Much: Aim for two half-cup servings a day, the equivalent of one sweet potato, 12 canned apricot halves or a cup of butternut squash or carrots.

 

How: Try this sweet potato quickie from Somer’s The Food & Mood Cookbook:

Cajun Sweet Potatoes
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut sweet potatoes into 1-inch thick slices and toss with olive oil, Cajun seasoning and freshly ground pepper.
3. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly brown and cooked through, but still slightly crunchy.

 

6. GREEK YOGURT
Why: Low- or no-fat plain yogurt is a terrific source of B vitamins, protein, calcium and –if it has active cultures–the healthy bacteria known as probiotics, which crowd out disease-causing germs.

 

How Much: Three cups a week, if this is your main dairy source.

How: Cut back on sugar and calories by choosing plain yogurt and adding fruit, especially berries, and some granola. Or be more inventive:

Mix a dash of vanilla and chopped mint into yogurt and dollop on fruit

Use yogurt instead of sour cream for dips, sauces and salad dressings

Top baked potatoes with yogurt and chives

Thicken sauces and make soups “creamy” with yogurt

 

The Harmful Effects of High Protein Diets

Keith Markel

So your friend tells you she’s starving and has a case of hunger pains. After your workout, you both head to lunch. She orders a cheeseburger deluxe platter, no bun, extra cheese, no fries. She explains the carbs are totally bad for her and that she’s on a high-protein diet. Whether it’s the Atkins Diet, Zone Diet, The South Beach Diet, Meat-Mania, Proteinopia or whatever fancy name they call that high-protein diet she’s on, it’s doing more harm than good.
 
The calling card of high-protein diets is that your body burns fat for energy and that, in turn, will result in weight loss. Prolonged consumption of high protein sends the body into a state of ketosis. That’s top of the list of cons of high-protein diets. Ketosis occurs when the liver converts fats into fatty acids for use as energy and the by-product, ketones. Ketones increase the acidity of the blood and can be detected in the urine. In extreme cases of starvation or fasting, the body undergoes gluconeogenesis, which is the production of glucose from sources other than carbohydrates, primarily protein.

Possible kidney damage

High-protein diets place a lot of stress on the kidneys. The initial weight loss on high-protein diets is from water loss. When carb intake is restricted, the body uses muscle and liver glycogen for energy. For each gram of glycogen, two grams of water are used or “lost.” The minute you give into your carb craving, that weight will come back. The diuretic effect of eliminating carbohydrates from your diet stresses the kidneys while they remove urea, a by-product of protein synthesis, from the body. Compounding that problem, when the body is in a state of ketosis, increased levels of calcium are excreted — that can lead to kidney stones; a build-up of calcium in the urine. Think about the experiment when you put a nail in a cup of Coke: After a few days the acid in the soda starts to dissolve the nail. The same breakdown happens to your bones. Calcium (along with other minerals) is leached from bones and teeth because of the increased acidity of the body. Literally pissing away calcium is a major con of high-protein diets because that will have a negative effect on your workouts. Calcium is a necessary mineral for muscle contraction and nerve impulse. Calcium loss can also lead to stress fractures.    

Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

A balanced diet consists of approximately 60% carbs, 25% protein and 15% fats. However, 30% to 50% of calories come from protein on diets like Atkins. That shift also means an increase in fat consumption: up to 50% of calories come from fat, and increased calorie consumption. For every gram of carbohydrates there are four calories compared to nine calories per gram of fat. Meats, cheese and eggs — animal and dairy products — all contain saturated fats and cholesterol, even the leaner varieties. When you think about it, how healthy does eating sausage, egg and cheese for breakfast, a cheeseburger and milkshake for lunch and (let’s say you’re trying to be healthy) a salad for dinner with chicken, egg, bacon bits, nuts, and with Ranch, Caesar or blue cheese dressing sound? Over time, consumption of this sort of diet, along with limited fiber and fruit consumption will raise LDL cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. 

Negative effect on social interactions

Complex and simple carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is used for energy. Not getting enough glucose is next on the list of the cons of high-protein diets. Glucose is the only fuel source for your brain (not to mention your boys below the belt). When your brain is lacking that vital nutrient, you become fuzzy and can’t think straight. You also become irritable and cranky, and may experience dizziness, fatigue and headaches. What causes this change in mood is low serotonin levels and tryptophan. That moody and tired disposition definitely doesn’t make you a fun person to be around. And while you’re telling off your friends or yelling at your boyfriend or girlfriend, they’ll recoil from your breath. Bad breath is a “symptom” of high-protein diets. The body releases ketones through the lungs as well. Your breath will have a sickly, sour or alcoholic odor.

Increased risk of constipation

The restriction of carbohydrates on high-protein diets also reduces the amount of fiber you get in your diet. Fruits and grains are considered off-limits. Limited fiber intake can cause constipation, not to mention the dehydration caused by ketosis and limited carbs. Insoluble fiber found in fruits, veggies and whole cereal grains can prevent constipation. Soluble fiber can decrease blood cholesterol. And when you pop those laxatives, you may still have a hard time eliminating your bowels because diets high in meat can cause hemorrhoids.

Protein isn’t particularly dangerous, but an over-consumption of protein may be associated with:

  1. Dehydration. Experts advise drinking a half gallon of water per 100 grams of protein.
  2. Seizures. Seizures have been linked to excess protein intake – but only if insufficient amounts of water are consumed.
  3. Increase in liver enzymes.
  4. Nutritional deficiencies. Just focusing on protein intake causes some high-protein dieters to overlook other nutrients. Ensure that your diet is balanced and nutritious.

While this list may seem alarming, it’s important to remember that many of these side effects are only associated with highly excessive protein diets coupled with unbalanced nutrition.

The average person needs about .4 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Active individuals may require .6 grams. People that exercise frequently and at a high intensity – like myself – require about a gram per pound of body weight. Bodybuilders and athletes may require even more.

high-protein = high-risk

Remember, any diet that encourages you to limit or totally eliminate a certain food or food group — such as carbs on a high-protein diet — should be carefully considered before following. The best diet for health, weight management or weight loss is a balanced diet that will not harm vital organs or systems in your body.

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Almond Milk vs. Soy Milk – Which Is Better?

Almond Milk vs Soy Milk: Both almond milk and soy milk are loaded with health benefits. Each are extremely different from cow’s milk and have a lot more health benefits. Soy milk is made by soaking soybeans and grinding them into water. Most will agree that soy milk has somewhat of a “beany” taste. Almond milk on the other hand has been said to contain a “light, nutty, and crisp” taste. Fortunately, each type of milk provides roughly the same health benefits.

Almond Milk vs Soy Milk. Which is better?Soy Milk

Soy milk contains an abundance of protein and a small amount of fiber. The protein and fiber come from the soybeans it is made with. Protein is necessary for muscle mass and can also help provide a “full” feeling to prevent hunger. Fiber can also help to prevent excess hunger. It is necessary for a healthy digestive system and can also help to lower the risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

One of the most notable benefits of soy milk is that it contains isoflavones, which are natural chemicals similar to the female hormone estrogen. It has been suggested that isoflavones may help to decrease the risk of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Soy milk also contains no lactose. Approximately 75 percent of the human population has a lactose intolerance at some point in their lives. It also contains prebiotic sugars stachyose and raffinose, which can boost immunity and decrease the amount of toxins inside the body.

Another benefit is the lack of allergies to soy milk experienced among children. In comparison, approximately 0.5 of all children have been found to be allergic to soy milk, whereas 2.5 were found to have an allergy to cow’s milk.

Almond Milk

Almond Milk is better than Soy.Almond milk is considered to be a healthy, flavorful, nutritious beverage. A lot of people drink almond milk plain or unsweetened almond milk, while others choose to use it as an extra ingredient to enhance the flavor of certain foods. One of the first benefits of almond milk is that it contains less calories than most other types of milk. It’s an effective replacement beverage, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. What’s better is that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor.

Almond milk contains an abundance of magnesium, potassium and Vitamin E, all of which are a necessary part of everyone’s diet. Magnesium is necessary for the body’s absorption of calcium, leading to healthier bones and teeth. Potassium is necessary for keeping the heart, brain and kidney tissues strong and healthy. Vitamin E is essential for helping to fight off free radicals, resulting in a lesser chance of developing deadly diseases such as cancer, as well as slowing down the process of aging.

Quite like soy milk, almond milk is also a great alternative for people who experience lactose intolerance. When people who are lactose intolerant attempt to drink regular cow’s milk, they tend to suffer from bloating, indigestion, gas and also become sick in general. Most will agree that almond milk is also tastier than regular cow’s milk, making it an even better, healthier alternative altogether. In addition, it also contains an abundance of protein, making it great for building muscle. Another benefit is that it is considered the healthiest of all other dairy alternatives, especially since it’s the lowest in sugar (lower than soy milk). Almond milk is much lower in sugar in contrast to other dairy alternatives, as it contains only 8 carbs and a total of 7 grams of sugar per serving. It helps to boost energy levels and can keep blood sugar levels from spiking, making it a delightful drink for diabetics and those who suffer from lack of energy in general. It contains 50 percent of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin E. It contains 30 percent of the daily recommended amount of calcium, as well as 25 percent Vitamin D, making it an excellent source for keeping the bones strong and the immune system healthy.

So which is better? Well in my opinin if you buy almond mik, you’ll be making a wise health decision.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter 

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People with fewer teeth prone to die of heart disease: study

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – People with dented smiles run a far greater risk of dying of heart disease than those who still have all their pearly whites, a Swedish researcher said Monday.

“Cardiovascular disease and in particular coronary heart disease is closely related to the number of teeth” that a person has left, Anders Holmlund told AFP, explaining the results of a Swedish study to be published in the Journal of Periodontology.

“A person with fewer than 10 of their own teeth has a seven times higher risk for death by coronary heart disease than a person of the same age and of the same sex with more than 25 teeth left,” Holmlund said.

Although many studies published in the past 15 years have showed a link between oral health and cardiovascular disease, Holmlund’s study shows a direct relationship between cardiovascular disease and the number of teeth in a person’s mouth.

The study, conducted with colleagues Gunnar Holm and Lars Lind, surveyed 7,674 women and men, most suffering from periodontal disease, for an average of 12 years, and examined the cause of death of the 629 people who died during the period.

For 299 of the subjects, the cause of death was cardiovascular disease.

The theory connecting teeth numbers and heart disease, Holmlund explained, maintains that “infections in the mouth and around the teeth can spill over to the systemic circulation system and cause a low graded chronic inflammation,” which is known to be a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular episodes.

The number of natural teeth a person had left “could reflect how much chronic inflammation one has been exposed to in a lifetime,” he added.

The study had been limited by the fact that it had not been possible to adjust the results for socio-economic factors and to fully adjust them according to other cardiovascular risk factors, he acknowledged.

Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide, claiming upward of 17 million lives every year according to the World Health Organization.

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Couch Potatoes Have Higher Risk of Having A Heart Attack After Sex

Sex and exercise can trigger heart attacks in older people who don’t get much of either, a new analysis finds. The risk is low, but it’s a good reminder that slackers should change their exercise habits gradually, especially in middle age.

People who exercise regularly have a much smaller risk of having a heart attack immediately after sexual or physical activity, said lead author Dr. Issa Dahabreh of Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

“It would be really bad if someone thought our paper means people should not exercise,” Dahabreh said. “If anything, it’s the opposite.”

The analysis, appearing in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association, combined results from 14 studies involving more than 6,000 patients.

The studies involved only people who’d had heart attacks or had died suddenly from a heart problem. The studies looked at what the people were doing during the hour or two before their heart attacks and compared that to the same people’s activity on normal days with no major heart problems.

That study design is used to try to answer the question, “Why did the heart attack occur now?”

Physical activity and sex increased the risk of heart attack by a factor of about three, according to the analysis of the pooled results. Exercise increased the risk of sudden cardiac death by nearly five times. The researchers didn’t find a triggering relationship between sex and sudden cardiac death, that is, a sudden death from a heart problem.

The risk for any one person is extremely low.

“If you were to follow 10,000 people for a year and if they all decided to increase their physical activity by an hour a week, you could expect to see two to three more heart attacks,” Dahabreh said.

That risk is offset for most people by the benefits of exercise. The more frequently people exercise, in general, the less risk they have of exercise or sex triggering a heart attack.

Most of the patients in the studies were in their late 50s and early 60s, but the findings are a cautionary tale for people in any age group who are slowing down.

Exercise might even be considered cross-training for sex, said Mercedes Carnethon, a heart disease researcher at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who wasn’t involved in the research.

“Engaging in regular physical activity is a requirement for maintaining a long, safe, healthy sex life,” Carnethon said.

“If this isn’t more motivation for people to maintain some degree of physical activity, I’m not sure what is,” Carnethon said. “Get out and walk. Do something.”

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