Healthy Byte: 20 Vegetarian Recipes for Meatless Mondays

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ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE

The best part about vegetarian meal-prep recipes is…where do we even begin? Easy to whip up and inexpensive (like, sometimes $1.50 a serving), they’ll wait in the fridge for you all week long. Here, 20 options so tasty that even non-vegetarians will swoon.

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Meal-Prep Vegetarian Quinoa Burrito Bowls

You’ll have five days’ worth of food in less than 20 minutes.

Get the recipe

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Make-Ahead Aloo Gobi

Tender and flavorful, it keeps in the fridge for up to four days.

Get the recipe

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Lo Mein Meal Prep

Kick takeout to the curb.

Get the recipe

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Crispy Sesame Tofu with Zucchini Noodles

Low-carb, vegan and gluten-free.

Get the recipe

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Tofu Burrito Bowl Meal Prep

It’s anything but bland.

Get the recipe

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Cold Sesame Noodle Meal Prep Bowls

You’ll want to drizzle the spicy almond butter dressing on everything.

Get the recipe

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Spring Vegetable Bowls and Meatless Meatball Bowls with Pesto

Everything we want in a lunch bowl.

Get the recipe

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Quinoa and Kale Quesadillas

Tip: Layer the cheese first, and it’ll prevent the tortillas from getting soggy.

Get the recipe

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Maple Miso Roasted Carrot Meal Prep

It’s pretty hard to beat $1.50 a serving.

Get the recipe

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Kale and Greek Salad Meal Prep

Feta + creamy hummus = magical.

Get the recipe

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Healthy Meal Prep Bowls

We give you permission to use canned chickpeas.

Get the recipe

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Meal Prep Veggie Stir-Fry

Whip up rice, quinoa and farro so you don’t get bored.

Get the recipe

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Vegan Quinoa Fajita Bowls

Charred pepperoncini amps up the flavor.

Get the recipe

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Vegan Arugula Pesto Pasta Meal Prep

Bonus: It’s tasty chilled or heated.

Get the recipe

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Summer Quinoa Salad Jars with Lemon Dill Dressing

Instead of tossing your salad, you can shake it up. Jars are fun like that.
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Red Pepper Cashew Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower

Dairy-free has never tasted so creamy.

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Mediterranean Chickpea and Egg Salad Jars

Sad lunch salad? No can do.

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Meal Prep Chickpeas and Grilled Veggies

Even meat lovers will dig this hearty combo.

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Vegan Mediterranean Meal Prep Bowls

The secret ingredient? Marinated artichoke hearts.

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Mix-and-Match Meal Prep

Totally foolproof.

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Healthy Byte: Get to Know Your Fats

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ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE

Over the last few years we’ve changed our attitude on one major food group in particular: fat. Fat is no longer the main enemy to a healthy body and mind (that’s sugar, in case you hadn’t guessed!).

But not all fat is created equal. Eating good fats is great, having a healthy balance of body fat is too (especially for women) but there’s no getting around it – some fats are still bad for us, and putting on too much of the wrong type of body fat can play havoc with our health.

We asked itsu’s collaborating nutritionist, Alix Woods, what different types of fat our body has, which are healthy and which we could stand to lose.

THE FACTS

“We have four main types fat in our bodies,” explains Alix. “Each has its own molecular structure and health implication, so knowing which is which and what they do can help us manage our health better.”

Alix compares body fat to an organ, like the heart, lungs and skin. “It stores energy and manages hormones, especially metabolism, meaning that the types of body fat you already have affect how much more you store, and where.”

Alix goes on to lay out the main types: brown, beige, white subcutaneous and white visceral fat.

“In general, darker fats are the ‘good kind’, while light, or ‘white’ fats are what accumulate in the body when your diet and lifestyle aren’t right for you, and cause longer term health issues.”

1. Brown fat

This is the ‘good’ fat which provides cellular energy. It actually feeds on droplets from the white fat, so helps keep your weight down.

Brown fat, also known as brown adipose tissue (BAT), is responsible for our core temperature and is found in the back of the neck and chest areas.

As well as being a ‘fat burning’ fat, it may also help keep diabetes away.

The good news is that we can increase the healthy brown fat by eating healthily, taking the right supplements and making lifestyle changes. And other elements, such as being exposed to cold temperatures stimulates the transformation of white fat to brown fat.

2. Beige fat

This is a combination of white and brown fat and is found along the spine and collarbone.

With exercise, the hormone, irisin is released, which converts white fat to beige fat. Certain foods, in particular grapes, can also help with this ‘browning’ process.

3. White subcutaneous fat

This stores calories and produces adiponectin, another hormone, which helps the liver and muscles to manage insulin. (Insulin is the glucose or sugar-controlling hormone that’s super important for our energy levels.) It keeps blood sugar stable and keeps white fat stores in check.

A problem arises when there is so much of this white fat (and subsequently adiponectin secretion) that the metabolism slows down. When this happens, we start to gain excess weight – especially around the hip, thigh and tummy area – which is often the most difficult to lose.

4. Subcutaneous fat (SF)

This is just under the skin, and is the fat that’s measured to determine body fat percentage. It’s found all over the body, but particularly on the back of arms, thighs and bums.

You want to avoid excess SF around the belly to prevent long term health risks like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

This fat also produces oestrogen hormones in both sexes, and if there is excess oestrogen it becomes the dominant hormone, causing toxic weight gain that increases the risk of obesity, CVD disease, diabetes and cancer.

5. Visceral fat

This is the more ‘dangerous’ deep fat found around abdominal organs. It may feature as a ‘big belly’, or more seriously as an enlarged liver – caused by the blood draining from the visceral fat around the organs, getting dumped there.

This causes an increase in overall blood cholesterol, along with inflammatory chemicals that may lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

This is why abdominal fat – fat around your middle – is a worrying sight of excess visceral fat in your body. However, in healthy proportions, it’s an essential fat for overall health, to cushion and protect our organs and help keep our core temperature stable.

SO HOW DO WE LOSE THE BAD FAT?

“The life threatening, unhealthy ‘deep’ organ or visceral fat (such as belly fat) is lost first when you go on a diet that reduces your calories to below your daily requirement and your body starts to make energy from the fat it has stored,” Alix explains.

“SF is more challenging to lose, and in excess it may be seen as unattractive. The body keeps it in reserve in case of any emergencies, like starvation or for recovery. It’s an ancient, evolutionary tactic, but of course in our modern lives this rarely, if ever, happens.

“Good bouts of exercise and staying on a diet will eventually lead to fat loss in all areas of the body,” the nutritionist advises. “This is because the body senses the reduction in calories and moves the fat around for energy, which encourages overall weight loss.”

Alix also notes that “a general rule with weight loss is the less weight you have around your tummy, the sooner the more stubborn subcutaneous fat stores will ‘melt’ away. So seeing a reduction in that area is the first step.”

ALPHA AND BETA

“As well as types of fat storage, the body also has two fat receptors – Alpha and Beta,” the nutritionist explains. “They work in opposition to each other as Alpha receptors decrease fat burning and blood flow while Beta receptors increase the body’s ability to burn fat and increases blood flow through fat cells. The ratio of these in your body will determine how easy or hard it is for you to lose weight – meaning it’s a totally different process for everyone.

“The more Alpha receptors, the more challenging it is to burn fat and the reverse for Beta receptors,” Alix adds.

The bad news is the amount of receptors is determined at birth and research has found that people with Alpha fat receptors find it difficult to lose weight. “The only solution to this is to maintain healthy diet and exercise regularly,” the expert notes.

HOW TO EAT TO SHIFT YOUR BAD FAT

“Regardless of the location of fat, there are a few good habits to get into to keep your Beta weight-busting receptors ‘on’ and lose the bad fat your body doesn’t need,” says Alix. These are:

1. Eating whole grains and lean proteins, especially lower Glycemic Index fruits and vegetables. I may at times avoid fruit altogether to keep all sugars as low as possible (but make sure you’re getting plenty of veggies for your vitamin and mineral needs.)

2. Removing all white refined carbohydrates and replace with complex whole ‘browner’ grains.

3. Doing a 30-45 minute work out, three time per week.

4. Eating little and often. Have smaller protein-packed snacks, totalling 5-6 little, regular meals a day.

5. Doing two sessions of resistance (weight) training on your off workout days.

6. And an extreme option, when not exercising intensely is doing a detox. On these days drink lots of water and herbal teas and feast on steamed vegetables.

Healthy Byte: New Year’s Resolution – Be Healthier

Originally Posted HERE

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How is it that the United States spends the most money on healthcare, and yet still has the one of the lowest life expectancies of all developed nations? (To be specific: $9,400 per capita, 79 years, and 31st.)

Maybe those of us in healthcare have been looking at it all wrong, for too long.

Healthy lifestyle and longevity

Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a massive study of the impact of health habits on life expectancy, using data from the well-known Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). This means that they had data on a huge number of people over a very long period of time. The NHS included over 78,000 women and followed them from 1980 to 2014. The HPFS included over 40,000 men and followed them from 1986 to 2014. This is over 120,000 participants, 34 years of data for women, and 28 years of data for men.

The researchers looked at NHS and HPFS data on diet, physical activity, body weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption that had been collected from regularly administered, validated questionnaires.

What is a healthy lifestyle, exactly?

These five areas were chosen because prior studies have shown them to have a large impact on risk of premature death. Here is how these healthy habits were defined and measured:

1.   Healthy diet, which was calculated and rated based on the reported intake of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids, and unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.

2.  Healthy physical activity level, which was measured as at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity daily.

3.   Healthy body weight, defined as a normal body mass index (BMI), which is between 18.5 and 24.9.

4.   Smoking, well, there is no healthy amount of smoking. “Healthy” here meant never having smoked.

5.   Moderate alcohol intake, which was measured as between 5 and 15 grams per day for women, and 5 to 30 grams per day for men. Generally, one drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. That’s 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

Researchers also looked at data on age, ethnicity, and medication use, as well as comparison data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research.

Does a healthy lifestyle make a difference?

As it turns out, healthy habits make a big difference. According to this analysis, people who met criteria for all five habits enjoyed significantly, impressively longer lives than those who had none: 14 years for women and 12 years for men (if they had these habits at age 50). People who had none of these habits were far more likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease.

Study investigators also calculated life expectancy by how many of these five healthy habits people had. Just one healthy habit (and it didn’t matter which one) … just one… extended life expectancy by two years in men and women. Not surprisingly, the more healthy habits people had, the longer their lifespan. This is one of those situations where I wish I could reprint their graphs for you, because they’re so cool. (But if you’re very curious, the article is available online, and the graphs are on page 7. Check out Graph B, “Estimated life expectancy at age 50 according to the number of low-risk factors.”)

This is huge. And, it confirms prior similar research — a lot of prior similar research. A 2017 study using data from the Health and Retirement Study found that people 50 and older who were normal weight, had never smoked, and drank alcohol in moderation lived on average seven years longer. A 2012 mega-analysis of 15 international studies that included over 500,000 participants found that over half of premature deaths were due to unhealthy lifestyle factors such as poor diet, inactivity, obesity, excessive alcohol intake, and smoking. And the list of supporting research goes on.

So what’s our (big) problem?

As the authors of this study point out, in the US we tend to spend outlandishly on developing fancy drugs and other treatments for diseases, rather than on trying to prevent them. This is a big problem.

Experts have suggested that the best way to help people make healthy diet and lifestyle change is at the large-scale, population level, through public health efforts and policy changes. (Kind of like motorcycle helmets and seat belt legislation…) We have made a little progress with tobacco and trans-fat legislation.

There’s a lot of pushback from big industry on that, of course. If we have guidelines and laws helping us to live healthier, big companies aren’t going to sell as much fast food, chips, and soda. And for companies hell-bent on making money at the cost of human life, well, that makes them very angry.

Healthy Byte: Can’t Out-Gym Consistent Nutrition-Poor Choices

Originally Posted HERE

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healthy diet doesn’t require a lot of money, newfangled appliances or subsisting on any kind of scheme that sounds like a gimmick. Because it’s true what they say about what seems too good to be true: Eating well means listening to that little voice inside that knows what healthy foods generally look like – fresh and recognizable in nature – and what they don’t – prepackaged and processed.

That sensibility may not fit so well with our on-demand culture, where we want results now – be it dinner or weight loss. But if you want a program that works for the long run, you’ll need a lifestyle you can live with and like. That means a diet that’s nutritious and delicious, but one that will take a bit of planning and commitment from you.

While staying lean is a big part of good health, weight lost doesn’t always equal health gained. That new diet that took inches off your waistline could be harming your health if it locks out or severely restricts entire food groups, relies on supplements with little scientific backing or clamps down on calories to an extreme.

“People are so desperate to lose weight that it’s really weight loss at any cost,” says Madelyn Fernstrom, founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center. And when that desperation sets in, Fernstrom says, “normal thinking goes out the window.” Who cares how wacky or unhealthy a recommendation sounds to you? Pounds are coming off. You’re happy. But your body might not be. And that approach always guarantees weight regain.

With our Best Diets 2019 rankings, you can check the nutritional completeness and safety of 41 popular diets, from Atkins to the Fertility Diet to WW (Weight Watchers), in a detailed profile crafted for each one. (The profiles also cover scientific evidence, typical meals and much more.) And U.S. News’ Best Diets for Healthy Eating rankings give each diet a “healthiness” score from 5 (best) to 1 (worst) for safety and nutrition, with safety getting double weight; while you can modify a diet to some degree to adjust for nutritional imbalances or deficiencies, mere tweaking won’t make an unsafe diet safe.

Behind these scores are ratings by a panel of diet and nutrition experts assembled by U.S. News. They assessed the diets across seven categories, including the safety and nutritional completeness categories, for a series of nine different rankings lists. The Best Diets for Healthy Eating rankings overlap significantly with Best Diets Overall. Both give especially high marks to the DASHMINDTLCMediterraneanMayo Clinic and Volumetrics diets.

“The ones that get high scores in safety and in nutritional value – they’re very similar to each other,” says Andrea Giancoli, a registered dietitian who serves on the U.S. News expert panel. The recurring theme across the diets that excelled in healthiness is adequate calories supplied by a heavy load of vegetables, fruits and whole grains; a modest amount of lean protein, nonfat dairy and healthy fats; and an occasional treat. Plants are the foundation, and the menu is always built around minimally processed meals made from scratch.

Because plant-based eating patterns are so healthful and growing in popularity, U.S. News also offers a Best Plant-Based Diets category. And given the rise of food intolerances and sensitivities, we’ve included profiles of diets that are said to ease digestive distress – the gluten-free and low FODMAP diets. These are not ranked, however, as they are not intended for general dietary needs.

Very few diets on the Healthy Eating list are overtly unsafe or severely deficient nutritionally. Ten plans received healthiness scores below 3; these included the PaleoRaw FoodFastDukanAtkins and Whole30 diets. They’re simply too restrictive, say our experts, who call their nutritional qualities into question. The meat-heavy Paleo diet bans grains and dairy, so getting adequate calcium and vitamin D isn’t easy. Atkins, by severely curbing carbs, blows past recommended caps for total and saturated fat. Depending on your personal approach to the Raw Food Diet, you may shortchange yourself on calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D; its restrictive cooking rules also could put you at risk for eating raw or undercooked ingredients.

If you have reservations about a diet’s nutritional content or safety, listen to your body. Fatigue, sleeplessness, dizziness, aches – they’re all red flags. Says Fernstrom: “Losing weight is for good health, so you should feel more vital – not bad.”

Healthy Byte: Low-Carb vs. Low-Fat

Originally Posted HERE

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It’s the staggering truth behind The Biggest Loser: On average, many of the contestants gained back most of the weight they lost on the show. Four were heavier than they were before going on TV, according to a 2016 National Institute of Health (NIH) study. It’s enough to make anyone give up those Crossfit classes in favor of a pack of cake rolls, but there’s a silver lining to that finding — it’s prompted all kinds of research and deeper analysis into major diet trends to find out what really works.

Increasingly, researchers and doctors are finding that the real key to weight loss isn’t low-carb or low-fat; it’s taking a much more personalized approach.

“Some people on a diet program lose 60 pounds and keep it off for two years, and other people follow the same program religiously, and they gain 5 pounds,” weight-loss researcher and Harvard cardiovascular disease prevention professor Frank Sacks toldTime in its June 5 cover story.

The Biggest Loser
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For decades, we’ve followed a basic principle: Work out more, eat fewer calories, and the pounds will melt off. But, as Sacks’s example shows, the end result can vary widely from person to person, and — as The Biggest Loser study showed — it doesn’t mean you’ll keep the weight off, even if you maintain smaller portions later.

Ask Yourself This First.

The biggest thing, it seems, is testing out each method for a few months and noting how you feel during the diet. Is it a lifestyle that wears away at you? Are you always a little hangry? Those are warning signs.

“You need a plan that satisfies hunger,” iDiet founder and Tufts University nutrition professor Susan Roberts told Time. “Most diets fail because hunger erodes willpower.”

<p>This means you should <a href="http://www.redbookmag.com/body/healthy-eating/g3123/food-cravings/" target="_blank" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">tune into hunger/fullness cues</a> to determine whether you <i data-redactor-tag="i">reallllly</i> want that second chocolate chip cookie or not, and not just rely on what other people around you are eating or <a href="http://www.redbookmag.com/body/health-fitness/news/a46001/nickelodeon-bad-kids-health-new-study/" target="_blank" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link">seductive marketing</a>. "Are you really hungry? Ask yourself whether a celery stick or apple sounds delicious — if not, you're probably not hungry," says <a href="http://plantbaseddietitian.com/" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link" target="_blank">Julieanna Hever</a>, R.D., author of <i data-redactor-tag="i"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Vegiterranean-Diet-Mediterranean-Plan/dp/0738217891?tag=bm01f-20&amp;ascsubtag=redbook.gallery.3565" data-tracking-id="recirc-text-link" target="_blank">The Vegiterranean Diet</a></i>.</p>

But Really, Is Low-Carb Better For Me?

Though some research shows low-carb diets have a slight edge over low-fat diets, you see on both sides of the spectrum widely varying results. In a 609-person study that divided people into both diet plans — “low-carb” being about 30 percent carbs and 45 percent fat, and “low-fat” being one with 29 percent fat and 48 percent carbs — each lost about the same amount. Neither group stood out for having a faster metabolism or more fat loss in the end. Even hypotheses that people who have a greater resistance to insulin would perform better on a low-carb diet didn’t hold true here, the Washington Post reported.

“YOU NEED A PLAN THAT SATISFIES HUNGER. MOST DIETS FAIL BECAUSE HUNGER ERODES WILLPOWER.”

What really worked, in this study, was changing your relationship with food. This, too, echoed Roberts’ statement. Instead of focusing on the ways you’re deprived — fewer calories, less fat, fewer carbs — paying greater attention to how you feel as you eat healthy may be key.

“Maybe if you just say ‘Eat as much as you want until you’re satiated, but eat this way until you’re satiated’ … I’d really like to look into that,” said nutrition scientist Christopher Gardner.

Here’s What You Can Learn From ‘The Biggest Loser.’

Okay, here’s where the news gets suckier: Remember those Biggest Losercontestants who gained weight? As the pounds crept back on, their metabolism didn’t speed back up. It stayed low, the NIH study found, burning about 700 fewer calories per day than it did when they started their weight loss journey.

It’s an unfortunate reality — and one to be aware of, because although The Biggest Loser‘s stars lose weight dramatically fast, Time found that even people who lose just a couple pounds a week can struggle with a sluggish metabolism. But there is a way to fight back. The National Weight Control Registry’s study of 10,000 people who’ve kept pounds off found a few things in common, if not a particular diet or meal plan:

  • They eat breakfast daily.
  • They weigh themselves once a week.
  • They watch less than 10 hours of TV a week.
  • They exercise about an hour a day (with walking the most popular method).

It’s a straightforward approach that sounds a lot like how the founders of Georgetown Cupcake, Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis Berman, lost a combined 100 pounds and kept it off for years. In the end, you just have to find what works for you — what you can comfortably tolerate — and stick to it, it seems.

Healthy Byte: Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Originally Posted HERE

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Why eat anti-inflammatory foods?

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury and disease — like when you have swelling and redness around a wound or twisted joint, or fever while your immune system battles an illness. In the short run, inflammation can be helpful. However, chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of conditions, and some evidence indicates lifestyle — including what we eat — may contribute to inflammation. “The role of chronic inflammation in various diseases — obesity, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, certain cancers — is fairly well-accepted in the scientific community,” says Whitney Linsenmeyer, an assistant professor of nutrition at Saint Louis University and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Naturally, people are looking towards dietary changes to reduce inflammation and promote overall health and immunity.”

Don’t exclude whole groups of foods — or limit yourself to just a few.

Some fad diets may claim to be anti-inflammatory. But experts say eating patterns with the most science behind them, like the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (the acronym stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension), are your top choices for an anti-inflammatory diet. They include a broad range of proven-healthy foods you probably have been told to eat since you were young, which research indicates are also anti-inflammatory foods. (Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet, based on the Mediterranean diet, with a few added elements like anti-inflammatory green tea, is also OK — but expert panelists convened by U.S. News didn’t rank the diet nearly as highly as the Mediterranean or DASH diets.) Here are some anti-inflammatory foods — as well as some foods that may contribute to inflammation:

Antioxidant-infused fruits and vegetables

Foods generally considered anti-inflammatory have been proven to be healthy — for any number of reasons. Case in point: fruits and veggies. We know from reams of research that they’re good for us, even if it’s still not clear to what extent anti-inflammatory properties may deserve credit. To hedge your bets, choose colorful fruits and veggies that are high in antioxidants:

— For flavonols, try broccoli, kale and berries.

— For beta carotene, consider red and orange peppers.

— Get your vitamin C from citrus fruits and winter squash.

The bottom line: It’s hard to go wrong with fruits or veggies, including tomatoes, which are sometimes cut from so-called anti-inflammatory diets despite being rich in antioxidants, and avocados, a great plant-based anti-inflammatory source of fat.

Whole grains

In addition to lots of fruits and vegetables, diets considered to be anti-inflammatory are usually rich in whole grains, such as wheat, oats and quinoa, Linsenmeyer notes. These and other whole grains like brown rice and barley are a great source of fiber, as are fruits and vegetables — especially raspberries, apples, peas and broccoli. The dietary inflammatory index, a review of research on foods that are anti-inflammatory and those that seem to promote inflammation, puts fiber squarely in the first camp.

Beans

Beans are another fiber-rich food firmly in the category of lean proteins. Dietary experts like Tamara Randall, a registered dietitian nutritionist and instructor of nutrition at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, say these should be considered as part of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet. Black, kidney, pinto and other beans are a great complement to any diet.

Omega-3-packed fatty fish like salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids not only battle inflammation, they’re also good for brain health. Foods high in omega-3 include fish, nuts (especially walnuts) and plant oils like flaxseed oil. However, the two most beneficial forms of omega-3 — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — come mainly from fish. The best sources for omega-3s are fatty seafoods, which include salmon, albacore tuna and shellfish. Experts generally recommend having fish twice per week, or around 200 to 500 milligrams of EPA or DHA total. Talk with a doctor about whether supplementation is recommended if you don’t eat fish.

Walnuts and other nuts

Another food that’s anti-inflammatory and high in a different form of omega-3 fatty acids (called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA) is walnuts. In fact, just a small handful, or one ounce, of English walnuts contains more than 2 1/2 grams of ALA. While nuts in general are a healthful feature of anti-inflammatory diets like the Mediterranean diet, walnuts lead the pack in omega-3 content. Researchers studying the effects of eating walnuts “have found they lower C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and arthritis,” notes the Arthritis Foundation, adding that studies suggest monounsaturated fats in an almond-rich diet also lower some markers of inflammation, including CRP.

Oils

Featured in the traditional Mediterranean diet, olive oil is a source of healthy fat that’s also anti-inflammatory, Randall notes. Alternatively, a person wishing to eat an anti-inflammatory diet may sparingly use safflower or sunflower oil as well, she suggests. Use oils in moderation, like a tablespoon for cooking or as dressing for a salad. Flaxseed oil, which contains 7 grams of ALA per tablespoon, is another great anti-inflammatory option.

Herbs and spices

In addition to keeping dishes flavorful, herbs and spices are also considered part of a dynamic anti-inflammatory diet. Linsenmeyer especially recommends turmeric and ginger, which many studies find to be anti-inflammatory. Other herbs and spices recommended for their anti-inflammatory properties include cinnamon, cumin, chili peppers, garlic, clove, rosemary, sage and oregano, she says.

Limit sugar.

A diet that’s high in sugar is more inflammatory, says Joan Salge Blake, a professor of nutrition at Boston University and a U.S. News contributor. Still, Salge Blake, like many dietary experts, cautions against trying to cut things entirely out of the diet. Besides being difficult to sustain and usually unnecessary, extreme dietary changes or restrictions can lead to disordered eating. That said, limiting cakes, cookies and soda — what have become everyday indulgences for many — is key to strike a balance. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugars to about 12 teaspoons (for a 2,000 calorie diet) per day. By comparison, the average American consumes about 17 teaspoons of sugar daily, and many have much more than that.

Limit refined carbohydrates.

Go easy on refined carbs such as white bread and crackers, which may also contribute to inflammation. In addition, sweets like doughnuts and pastries — with refined carbs and lots of refined sugar — are a double whammy if you’re trying to avoid inflammatory foods. If you’re a pasta fan, consider a whole-grain pasta over white, refined pasta. Generally speaking, whole foods are best — and highly processed, carb-heavy foods should be limited.

Avoid processed meat and red meat high in saturated fat.

An added benefit of consuming healthy fats is that you’re crowding out — or limiting — unhealthy ones in your diet that may be inflammatory, such as fatty red meats and processed meat like hot dogs and bacon. “So you’re eating a fish — a source that is very low in saturated fat and may be displacing in your diet a protein source that’s very high in saturated fat,” Salge Blake says. If you’re craving meat, look for lean proteins like poultry or leaner cuts of grass-fed beef, which may also be a good source of omega-3s.

Avoid trans fats.

Due to public health concerns, factory-made trans fats — aka partially hydrogenated oil — are mostly gone from foods today. Still, because of the risk they pose — like raising “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and the role they play in inflammation — it’s still worth double-checking food labels to make sure they don’t sneak into your diet. Trans fats are sometimes still included in processed baked goods and fried foods — essentially fare you’ll want to avoid or limit.

Alcohol in moderation and everything in context

Having a glass of wine with dinner isn’t discouraged with diets like the Mediterranean. But drinking in excess can increase inflammation, Salge Blake says. (The U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines suggest having no more than one drink per day for women and two daily for men.) Ultimately, if you’re trying to reduce inflammation and improve your health through diet and lifestyle, the point is to consider everything you eat and drink. Look at the big picture of your lifestyle. “You can’t say, ‘OK, I’m going to have salmon two meals a week, and then I’m going to smoke and take in excess alcohol, be overweight and (not) eat any fruits and vegetables,” Salge Blake stresses. “That’s not going to work.”

What to eat on an anti-inflammatory diet

— Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.

— Whole grains.

— Beans.

— Salmon and other fatty fish.

— Walnuts.

— Olive oil and flaxseed oil.

— Herbs and spices, including turmeric and ginger.

Healthy Byte: Protein, the Fountain of Youth

Originally Posted HERE

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(Reuters Health) – Older adults who cut back on the amount of vegetable protein in their diets may be more likely to experience age-related health problems than their peers who increase the amount of plant protein they eat, a Spanish study suggests.

Researchers examined data on 1,951 people aged 60 and older who completed dietary surveys and questionnaires to detect four types of unhealthy aging: functional impairments; reduced vitality; mental health issues; and chronic medical problems or use of health services. Participants provided this information in three waves: from 2008-2010, in 2012 and again in 2017.

Overall, study participants got an average 12% of their calories from animal protein, including meat and dairy, and about 6% from vegetable protein, including sources such as legumes, nuts, grains, root vegetables and green plants.

Compared to people who decreased vegetable protein intake by more than 2% between the first wave and 2012, those who increased their consumption of vegetable protein by more than 2% developed fewer deficits associated with unhealthy aging during the study.

“There is growing evidence supporting a beneficial effect of higher intakes of total protein on muscle mass and strength, physical functioning, hip fracture and frailty,” said Esther Lopez-Garcia, senior author of the study and a researcher at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid.

The study offers fresh evidence that the type of protein matters, too.

“If you eat more plant-based sources of proteins, you are also getting a lot of micronutrients and healthy fats, and fiber that help improve your health,” Lopez-Garcia said by email. “On the other hand, if you consume animal sources of proteins full of saturated and trans fats, and other substances added during the processing (mostly salt and nitrites), you are getting all the detrimental effects of these substances.”

At the start of the study, people got about 5.2% of their calories from meat, 3.3% from dairy, 3% from refined grains and 2.8% from fish. Participants got less than 1% of their calories from legumes, eggs, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, tubers or nuts.

Changes in animal protein consumption during the study didn’t appear to influence the potential for people to show more signs of unhealthy aging by the end of the study, researchers report in the American Journal of Medicine.

But adding more vegetable protein was linked to fewer deficits by the end of the study.

“Since substitution of plant protein for animal protein has been associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, it is relevant to understand which source of protein may be more beneficial for a healthy aging,” Lopez-Garcia said.

The study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how eating more plant proteins may stall unhealthy aging. It also wasn’t able to determine which types of vegetable proteins might be best from an aging perspective.

One limitation of the study is that many participants dropped out before the end. It’s also possible that results from this study of older adults might not apply to younger people.

“While high protein intake might not be preferable for middle-aged adults, it has been shown that high level of protein intake is protective among those aged 66 years and older,” said Yian Gu, a neurology researcher at Columbia University in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It is important to interpret scientific findings on protein intake based on age groups, ” Gu said by email. “The current study results are consistent with findings in the elderlies, with further information from innovative analyses of animal and plant based proteins separately.”

The sources of protein also matter, Lopez-Garcia said.

Good sources of plant-based protein include lentils, beans, peas, soybeans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains like teff, wheat, quinoa, rice, oats, and buckwheat, Lopez Garcia advised.

Healthy options for animal protein can include poultry, seafood, eggs, as well as dairy in moderation, Lopez-Garcia advised. Protein sources to reduce or limit include red and processed meat.