By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Lead Nutritionist for TheBestLife.com
Nutritionists love seafood for good reason: Diets high in fish are linked to lower levels of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression. And for pregnant women, eating more fish can even make your baby more intelligent.
But what about mercury, a contaminant that can cause nerve damage and other problems? You’ll find the chemical in large fish like swordfish and tuna. These fish eat large quantities of small fish that are low in mercury, but over time, these small amounts concentrate in the big fish’s body.
Fortunately, there are plenty of low-mercury fish options at the seafood counter (see the list below).
* Note: Seafood with an asterisk (*) are rich in omega-3s, which help fight inflammation in the body and offer many health benefits, like a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
The Purest Picks
• Arctic char*
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., RD, Best Life lead nutritionist
Which of your five senses is most important to you? If you said “sight,” you’d be in the majority—four out of five baby boomers chose sight in a survey by the Ocular Nutrition Society.
So be proactive about protecting your sight: Eating to ensure your eyes stay healthy is as easy as following these three steps:
Choose antioxidant-rich foods. Antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E protect your eyes from free radicals, damaging compounds that can cause cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. A recent study of Swedish women found that those who consumed a diet with the most antioxidant power (one that featured antioxidants that worked best together to protect health) were 13 percent less likely to develop cataracts. Fruits and vegetables topped the list of main sources of antioxidants with 44 percent, followed by whole grains (17 percent) and coffee (15 percent).
By Team Best Life
We know how tough it can be to find the time for a healthy breakfast when you’re trying to get out the door in the morning. But a recent survey from the NPD Group, a market research company, suggests that people have found a solution: More and more Americans are opting for grab-and-go breakfasts.
That’s a smart strategy since the benefits of breakfast have been well proven—people who start their day with a healthy meal are generally slimmer and healthier than those who skip it. Not only can a morning meal help keep your appetite in check, but it can also give you a boost of energy.
Check out the grab-and-go breakfast ideas below, all of which can help you power through your day:
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., lead nutritionist for TheBestLife.com
Now that a new study found that regular nut eaters are less likely to develop a number of diseases, including biggies like heart disease and cancer, I feel even better about all the nuts I eat. While I do snack on nuts, I tend to use them more as part of a meal. Staying conscious of their high-calorie content, I often sub them in for other foods—not in addition to. For instance, instead of sprinkling feta on a salad, I’ll top it with sunflower seeds or pecans.
Besides being so tasty, nuts provide healthy fat—the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated types. These fats keep our cell membranes healthy, reduce the risk for heart disease, and play other roles in the body. Plus, you need a little fat in the meal for satiety (keeping you feeling full for longer).
Here’s how I use nuts (and seeds, which also have health-promoting properties) in meals:
In smoothies: 1 tablespoon of almond or peanut butter along with milk or soymilk and a banana makes a complete breakfast.
Atop cereal: The 2 to 3 tablespoons I typically add are often the only fat in my skim-milk-fruit-cereal breakfast. (more…)
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
For years now, scientists have known that periodontal disease increases the risk for heart disease. Now, a new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association shows that if you take care of your gums you can reduce a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
A research team led by Columbia University in New York City examined the mouths of 420 middle-aged men and women for periodontal disease. (Periodontal disease is caused when bacterial plaque on the teeth move into the gums causing inflammation. This can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, causing “pockets” that become infected with bacteria, and eventually lead to tooth loss.) Researchers collected gum bacterial samples and used ultrasound to measure the thickness of the carotid arteries, which supply the brain with blood. Artery thickness is a marker for stroke and heart disease; if the carotid arteries get clogged with plaque, you can bet the coronary arteries leading to the heart are clogging as well.
Three years later, people whose oral health improved (read: they had fewer bacteria linked to heart disease in their mouth) had a much slower rate of carotid artery thickening than those whose periodontal disease was worse or remained the same. It doesn’t take much plaque to have devastating consequences. Picture this: a 0.033-millimeter-per-year increase in carotid artery thickness doubles the risk of heart disease and heart attack. In this study, people with gums that deteriorated, developed, on average, a 0.1-mm increase, meaning their heart disease risk shot up six-fold. (more…)