Guest blogger Yishane Lee is the author of “The Athlete’s Palate: Renowned Chefs, Delicious Dishes, and the Art of Fueling Up While Eating Well” (Rodale), a cookbook for the gourmet endurance athlete.
Most athletes know that carbohydrates and protein are critical to fuel a workout and aid recovery after exercise. But beyond those nutrients, there are five essential nutrients to incorporate into your diet in order to make sure your body operates at its peak.
This antioxidant gives red, blue, and purple fruits and vegetables their color. It reduces inflammation and counteracts muscle damage that can be caused by working out and also improves cardiovascular function. Blueberries, strawberries, cherries, blood oranges, eggplant, and red grapes are all good sources of anthocyanins. Even the cocoa in dark chocolate contains this antioxidant.
While both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids belong to what’s called polyunsaturated fats, they have distinct differences. They are both referred to as “essential” because they are a necessary part of sustaining a healthy body. The importance is underlined by the fact that our bodies cannot make them, so we must get them through dietary means.
Omega-3s get most of the press, particularly for their anti-inflammatory and heart disease prevention benefits. Additional benefits include improving arthritis, preventing cancer, and improving your skin’s condition.
Like an infomercial… but wait, there’s more! Omega-3s improve eye health, and benefit brain function, improving mood and memory. (more…)
You may not know what chia seeds are, but you’ve probably heard of the sprout, famously grown and marketed as the Chia Pet. For our sake, we want to concentrate on the seed, because that is where you will find some pretty amazing health benefits.
Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows in abundance in southern Mexico. The chia can be traced back more than 3,000 years to Central America when the Aztecs used it as a primary food source, ranked up with corn and beans.
The nutty-tasting whole grain chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, they are said to be up to four times higher in essential fatty acids than other grains. For the sake of comparison, chia has a 64 percent concentration of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), while the better known flax (flax seed) contains 55 percent. (more…)
As a young Army brat in my tween years living in Germany, I have distinct memories of enjoying the original German Gummy Bears, known there as Gummibär (rubber bear) or Gummibärchen (little rubber bear). I also enjoyed another German treat that made its way over to the States, Capri Sun, but that’s getting off subject a bit.
My wife and I have been giving my three-year-old daughter gummy bear vitamins for a year or so now. We’ve found it an easy way to get her to supplement her very finicky diet. And I even find myself occasionally dipping into her stash. (more…)
Everywhere we go, we are assaulted by claims of “Enriched with Vitamin C!”, “Added B vitamins!”, “More Vitamin A than the leading brand!”, and so on. We all know that vitamins and minerals are essential to the proper balance and function of our bodies, but which supplements are vital and necessary to our health and well being, and which might we avoid, lest we end up with an expensive bathroom trip? Here are my top five choices for essential supplements:
- Calcium – According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended total calcium intake is 1,000 mg a day for women between 25 and 50 years of age, 1,200 – 1,500 for pregnant or lactating women, and 1,500 mg per day for postmenopausal women. The average calcium consumption among North American women is currently only 600 mg per day. I take a calcium magnesium supplement and find that it really helps me with nighttime leg cramps. (more…)
The week of July 20 is Healthy Pregnancy Week at DietsInReview.com.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is different from the “baby blues” that effect up to 80% of women following childbirth. PPD is clinical depression, diagnosed using DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria and effects approximately 1 in 10 women following child birth. PPD may or may not include Postpartum Psychosis, made famous by Andrea Yates, or postpartum anxiety. If symptoms are interfering with your functioning or you believe you are experiencing any hallucinations, please seek the help of a mental health professional. Many people find it is helpful to talk to a caring counselor during any life transition. Other moms may prefer to use diet and exercise to help them overcome PPD. (more…)
There’s further reason to avoid trans fats, and get an ample amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Your eyesight.
New research from two teams in Australia shows that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of developing a retina-destroying condition known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). On the flip side, researchers found that those who ate the most trans fats were almost twice as likely to develop AMD.
The findings aren’t new. In fact, experts have known about the eyesight/omega-3 connection for about a decade. But the latest study helps reaffirm earlier evidence. (more…)
Have you tried all those creams and ointments on the market in hopes of obtaining that glowing, radiant skin you’re seeking? Have you tried products from the grocery store? Did you even consider your diet and the foods you eat as a means of obtaining that flawless skin you desire? Below is a list of skin beautifying foods. Try them out first!
- Water. Good hydration plays a vital role in keeping skin looking healthy and even young. Though the amount you need per day varies, a good amount to shoot for is around eight glasses a day. Water helps to keep your cells hydrated, while moving good nutrients in and toxins out. (more…)
These Emerald Almond snack packs have only 100 calorie servings and no added salt.
Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Health Checklist says knowing your cholesterol is one of your health’s need-to-know-numbers. Optimal cholesterol should be <100 for LDL (bad) and should be >40 for HDL (good). Here are five foods that will help you get those numbers down before your next check-up.
1. Instead of going nuts trying to lower your cholesterol, eat them! Studies show that nuts, specifically walnuts and almonds, help to reduce blood cholesterol. Walnuts and almonds have shown to lower cholesterol and help keep blood vessels healthy and elastic. It’s recommended to consume a cholesterol-lowering diet in which 20% of the calories you eat come from walnuts. (This has shown to lower cholesterol by as much as 12%)! Remember, nuts are high in calories, so portion control is important… eat a handful a day. (more…)
We have all heard the term “brain food” used to identify foods that can increase the health and functioning of your brain. Fish is the most well-known brain food due to the Omega-3 fatty acids, which promote brain cell health. Fish also contains Omega-3 DHA which keeps brain cell membranes healthy and aids communication within brain cells.
Other lesser known brain foods include brightly colored produce high in antioxidants, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, prunes, and my favorite blueberries. Whole grains and whole grain products such as bread, rice, and pasta contain B vitamins and magnesium which assist normal brain and nerve functioning.
Feeding your brain can increase your mental energy. Mental capacity is what we use to organize our lives. When your mental energy is low, you’re likely to become more forgetful, distracted, and have difficulty thinking and completing tasks. Maximum mental energy is derived from oscillation; changing channels mentally permits different parts of the brain to be activated while others rest and can facilitate creativity. (more…)