Healthy Foods That Live Long

mojatunuts

Natural foods are much valued for nutritions and health benefits; they tend to, however, spoil easily. For this reason, eating healthy inevitably involves frequent trips to the grocery store. It can also be a challenge when travelling without access to a refrigerator.

 

But in fact, many healthy foods can be stored for a long time without concerns, as long as they’re kept in the right temperature and moisture conditions. Some of  such foods include:

 

1. Nuts

Nuts are a great source of protein, fat and fiber; and they offer variety. Most types of nuts last for about a year, even longer if frozen.

 

2. Canned Meats and Seafood

Canned meats and seafood can last for 2-5 years in many cases. They are an excellent source of protein and mega-3 fatty acids in the case of canned fish.

 

3. Dried Grains

Grains usually be stored for years, as long as they are kept dry and sealed tightly. For gluten-free requirement, rice, buckwheat and gluten-free oats are good options to choose from. 

 

4. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate that’s stored in a cool, dry place can last 4-6 months past the “best by” date on its label. It is an excellent source of fiber, magnesium and many other important nutrients.

 

5. Canned Fruits and Veggies

Canned fruits and vegetables that have been fermented or pickled are sold in airtight containers because they’re usually packaged in an acidic solution, they can last for years.

 

6. Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is loaded with various nutrients, such as fiber. However, it should only be consumed in moderation because of its high composition of sugar and calories. The dehydration process will prevent the fruit from molding easily.

 

7. Canned Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is high in saturated fat, but this type of fat tends to be stable and doesn’t go rancid easily. When canned coconut milk is sealed properly, it will resist spoiling for over a year.

 

8. Dried Beans

Beans are one of the easiest sources of protein to preserve for a long time. They have a naturally low moisture content and can last for years. Additionally, beans are among the most nutritious foods; hey are loaded with protein, fiber and various important minerals, such as magnesium.

 

9. Jerky

Just like dried beans, jerky can be a great great choice if you need high-protein options. Pretty much any meat can be dried or dehydrated and stored for up to a year or more, as long as it’s stored in airtight packaging.

 

10. Protein Powders

You might not have considered protein powders, such as whey protein. These are easy-to-store protein sources that can last up to 5 years.

 

11. Dehydrated Milk

Similar to protein powder, dehydrated milk powder stores easily and lasts even longer, or up to 10 years.

 

12. Honey

Honey is a natural antibiotic because of its high composition of sugar and surprisingly low moisture. If you want to use a sweetener, then honey is significantly “less bad” than refined sugar. That said, this sweet food should still be consumed in moderation.

 

13. Hard Cheese Encased in Wax

When hard cheese is sealed in a waxy outer coating, it can last up to 25 years before beginning to spoil.

 

14. Ghee

Ghee is clarified butter, from which all the non-fat solids are removed. Because it consists largely of saturated fats, it can last a very long time in room temperature if it’s well-sealed.

 

15. Coconut Oil

Similar to ghee, coconut oil has a highly saturated fat content and can last for years on a shelf at room temperature. It’s also handy to keep around for a variety of health reasons.

 

16. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Just like coconut oil, olive oil can stay for a year or more if kept in a dark, cool place. It also has many impressive health benefits.

 

17. Canned Olives

Olives are a healthy source of fat and can last for over a year if canned properly.

 

18. Seeds

Many different kinds of seeds provide a little protein, a little fat and a lot of fiber. Try flax, chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds for some variety.

 

19. Vinegar

Vinegar is a mild acid; as long as it remains sealed, it can theoretically last indefinitely. Apple cider vinegar also lasts indefinitely, as long as kept in a cool, dry place.

 

20. Red Wine

In most cases, wines taste best after aging for several years. In the case of red wine, it can also have some impressive health benefits when consumed in moderation. Shelf life may vary depending on how it’s produced. Most commercially bottled wines are on a shelf for 1-3 years, but fine wine can often last for decades.

 

21. Salt

If yo can’t think of a time seeing mold grow on salt, there’s a reason to it. Pure salt is a very inhospitable environment for bacteria and will never spoil.

 

22. Dried Herbs and Spices

Just like other plants that have had their moisture removed, dried herbs and spices are fantastic foods to be stored for long periods.

 

As long as they are kept dry, they can often last for years.

 

Take Home Message

The best foods to store for long periods of time are those that have little or no moisture and are not temperature sensitive. Foods that have a higher moisture content can be stored long-term in many cases, but they may require special procedures to stay good.

 

 

Source: Authority Nutrition

How Cooking Turns Foods

mojatucooking

We make the effort to cook with a view to the pleasant taste as well as nutrients, which are majorly affected by the way we cook.

 

Nutrient Content is Often Altered During Cooking. Cooking food improves digestion and increases absorption of many nutrients. For example, protein in cooked eggs is 180% more digestible than in raw eggs. However, several key nutrients are reduced with some cooking methods.

 

The following nutrients are often reduced during cooking:

 

Water-soluble vitamins: vitamin C and the B vitamins — thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B7) and cobalamin (B8).

Fat-soluble vitamins: vitamins A, D, E and K.

Minerals: primarily potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium.

 

Bottom Line: Although cooking improves digestion and the absorption of many nutrients, the levels of some vitamins and minerals may decrease.

 

Boiling, simmering and poaching are similar methods of water-based cooking. These techniques differ by water temperature:

Poaching: less than 180°F/82°C.

Simmering: 185-200°F/85-93°C.

Boiling: 212°F/100°C.

 

Vegetables are generally a great source of vitamin C, but a large amount of it is lost when cooked in water. In fact, boiling reduces vitamin C more than any other cooking method. Broccoli, spinach and lettuce may lose up to 50% or more of their vitamin C when boiled. Because vitamin C is water-soluble and sensitive to heat, it can leach out of vegetables when they’re immersed in hot water.

 

B vitamins are similarly heat sensitive. Up to 60% of thiamin, niacin and other B vitamins may be lost when meat is simmered and its juices run off. However, when the liquid containing these juices is consumed, 100% of the minerals and 70-90% of B vitamins are retained.

 

On the other hand, boiling fish is shown to preserve omega-3 fatty acid content significantly more than frying or microwaving.

 

Bottom Line: While water-based cooking methods cause the greatest losses of water-soluble vitamins, they have very little effect on omega-3 fats.

 

Grilling and broiling are similar methods of cooking with dry heat. When grilling, the heat source comes from below, but when broiling, it comes from above. Grilling is one of the most popular cooking methods because of the great flavor it gives food.

 

However, up to 40% of B vitamins and minerals may be lost during grilling or broiling when the nutrient-rich juice drips from the meat.

 

There are also concerns about polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are potentially cancer-causing substances that form when meat is grilled and fat drips onto a hot surface. Luckily, researchers have found that PAHs can be decreased by 41-89% if drippings are removed and smoke is minimized.

 

Bottom Line: Grilling and broiling provide great flavor but also reduce B vitamins. Grilling generates potentially cancer-causing substances.

 

Microwaving is an easy, convenient and safe method of cooking. Short cooking times and reduced exposure to heat preserve the nutrients in microwaved food. Studies have found that microwaving is the best method for retaining the antioxidant activity in garlic and mushrooms. About 20-30% of vitamin C in green vegetables is lost during microwaving, which is less than most cooking methods.

 

Bottom Line: Microwaving is a safe cooking method that preserves most nutrients due to short cooking times.

 

Roasting and baking refer to cooking food in an oven with dry heat. Although these terms are somewhat interchangeable, the term “roasting” is typically used for meat while “baking” is used for bread, muffins, cake and similar foods.

 

Most vitamin losses are minimal with this cooking method, including vitamin C. However, due to long cooking times at high temperatures, B vitamins in roasted meat may decline by as much as 40%.

 

Bottom Line: Roasting or baking does not have a significant effect on most vitamins and minerals, with the exception of B vitamins.

 

With sautéing and stir-frying, food is cooked in a saucepan over medium to high heat in a small amount of oil or butter. These techniques are very similar, but with stir-frying the food is stirred often, the temperature is higher and the cooking time is shorter. In general, this is a healthy way to prepare food.

 

Cooking for a short time without water prevents loss of B vitamins, and the addition of fat improves the absorption of plant compounds and antioxidants.

 

On the other hand, stir-frying has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of vitamin C in broccoli and red cabbage.

 

Bottom Line: Sautéing and stir-frying improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and some plant compounds, but they decrease the amount of vitamin C in vegetables.

 

Frying involves cooking food in a large amount of fat, usually oil, at a high temperature. The food is often coated with batter or bread crumbs. It’s a popular way of preparing food because the skin or coating maintains a seal, which ensures that the inside remains moist and cooks evenly.

 

The fat used for frying also makes the food tasty. However, not all foods are appropriate for frying. Fatty fish are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits. These fats are very delicate and prone to damage at high temperatures. Frying tuna has been shown to degrade its omega-3 content by up to 70-85%, while baking caused only minimal losses.

 

In contrast, frying preserves vitamin C and B vitamins, and it may also increase the amount of fiber in potatoes by converting their starch into resistant starch. When oil is heated to a high temperature for a long period of time, toxic substances called aldehydes are formed. Aldehydes have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases. The type of oil, temperature and length of cooking time affect the amounts of aldehydes produced. Reheating oil also increases aldehyde formation. If you’re going to fry food, don’t overcook it, and use one of the healthiest oils for frying.

 

Bottom Line: Frying makes food taste delicious, and it can provide some benefits when healthy oils are used. It’s best to avoid frying fatty fish and minimize frying time for other foods.

 

Steaming is one of the best cooking methods for preserving nutrients, including water-soluble vitamins that are sensitive to heat and water. Researchers have found that steaming broccoli, spinach and lettuce reduces their vitamin C content by only 9-15%.

 

The downside is that steamed vegetables may taste bland. However, this is easy to remedy by adding some seasoning and oil or butter after cooking. Try this easy recipe for steamed broccoli with suggested additions to improve the flavor.

 

Bottom Line: Steaming is one of the best cooking methods for preserving nutrients, including water-soluble vitamins.

 

Here are 10 tips to reduce nutrient loss while cooking:

Use as little water as possible for poaching or boiling.

Consume the liquid left in the pan after cooking vegetables.

Add back juices from meat that drip into the pan.

Don’t peel vegetables until after cooking them. Better yet, don’t peel at all to maximize fiber and nutrient density.

Cook vegetables in smaller amounts of water to reduce loss of vitamin C and B vitamins.

Try to finish cooked vegetables within a day or two, as vitamin C content may continue to decline when the cooked food is exposed to air.

Cut food after rather than before cooking, if possible. When food is cooked whole, less of it is exposed to heat and water.

Cook vegetables for only a few minutes whenever possible.

When cooking meat, poultry and fish, use the shortest cooking time needed for safe consumption.

Don’t use baking soda when cooking vegetables. Although it helps maintain color, vitamin C will be lost in the alkaline environment produced by baking soda.

Bottom Line: There are many ways to preserve the nutrient content in foods without sacrificing taste or other qualities.

Take Home Message

 

It’s important to select the right cooking method to maximize the nutritional quality of your meal. However, there is no perfect method of cooking that retains all nutrients. In general, cooking for shorter periods at lower temperatures with minimal water will produce the best results. Don’t let the nutrients in your food go down the drain.

 

 

Source: Authority Nutrition

11 Ways to Stop Cravings for Unhealthy Foods

mojatuunhealthyfood

Food cravings are the dieter’s worst enemy. These are intense or uncontrollable desires for specific foods, stronger than hunger. The types of foods that people crave are highly variable, but these are often processed junk foods that are high in sugar and fat. Cravings are one of the biggest reasons why people have problems losing weight and keeping it off.

 

Here are 11 simple ways to prevent or stop cravings for unhealthy food and sugar.

1. Drink Water

Thirst is often confused with hunger or food cravings. If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, try drinking a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. You may find that the craving fades away, because your body was actually just thirsty. Furthermore, drinking plenty of water may have many health benefits; for instance, it can help reduce appetite and increase fullness when taken before a meal. 

Bottom Line: Drinking water before meals may reduce cravings and appetite, as well as help with weight loss.

 

2. Eat More Protein

Ingesting more protein may reduce your appetite and keep you from overeating. It also reduces cravings and helps you feel full for longer. Increasing protein intake to 25% of calories reduces cravings by 60%. Additionally, consuming more protein during the day helps abate the desire for late-night snacks by 50%.

Bottom Line: Increasing protein intake may reduce cravings by up to 60% and cut the desire to snack at night by 50%.

 

3. Distance Yourself From the Craving

When you feel a craving, try to distance yourself from it. For example, you can take a brisk walk or a shower to shift your mind onto something else. A change in thought and environment may help stop the craving. In addition, chewing gum can help reduce appetite and cravings.

Bottom Line: Try to distance yourself from the craving by chewing gum, going on a walk or taking a shower.

 

4. Plan Your Meals

If possible, try to plan your meals for the day or upcoming week. Having an idea about what you’re going to eat helps eliminate the spontaneity and uncertainty that might lead to casual consumption of unhealthy food. If you don’t have to think about what to eat at the following meal, you will be less tempted and less likely to experience cravings.

Bottom Line: Planning your meals for the day or upcoming week eliminates spontaneity and uncertainty, both of which can cause cravings.

 

5. Avoid Getting Extremely Hungry

Hunger is one of the biggest reasons why we experience cravings. To avoid getting extremely hungry, it may be a good idea to eat regularly and have healthy snacks close at hand. Staying prepared and avoiding long-lasting hunger, you may be able to prevent the craving from showing up at all.

Bottom Line: Hunger is a big reason for cravings. Avoid extreme hunger by always having a healthy snack ready.

 

6. Fight Stress

Stress may induce food cravings and influence eating behaviors, especially for women. Women under stress tend to take in significantly more calories and experience more cravings than non-stressed ones. Furthermore, stress raises your blood levels of cortisol, a hormone that can make you gain weight, especially in the belly area. Try to minimize stress in your environment by planning ahead, meditating and generally slowing down.

Bottom Line: Being under stress may induce cravings, eating and weight gain, especially in women.

 

7. Take Spinach Extract

Spinach extract is a “new” supplement on the market, made from spinach leaves. It helps delay fat digestion, which increases the levels of hormones that reduce appetite and hunger, such as GLP-1. Taking 3.7–5 grams of spinach extract with a meal may reduce appetite and cravings for several hours. 

Bottom Line: Spinach extract delays the digestion of fat and increases the levels of hormones that can reduce appetite and cravings.

 

8. Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is about practicing mindfulness, a type of meditation, in relation to foods and eating. It teaches you to develop awareness of your eating habits, emotions, hunger, cravings and physical sensations. Mindful eating addresses the difference between cravings and actual physical hunger. It helps you choose your response, instead of acting thoughtlessly or impulsively. Eating mindfully involves being present while you eat, slowing down and chewing thoroughly. It is also important to avoid distractions, like the TV or your smartphone.

Bottom Line: Mindful eating is about learning to recognize the difference between cravings and actual hunger, helping you choose your response.

 

9. Get Enough Sleep

Your appetite is largely affected by hormones that fluctuate throughout the day. Sleep deprivation disrupts the fluctuations, and may lead to poor appetite regulation and strong cravings. Studies support this, showing that sleep-deprived people are up to 55% more likely to become obese, compared to people who get enough sleep. For this reason, getting good sleep may be one of the most powerful ways to prevent cravings from showing up.

Bottom Line: Sleep deprivation may disrupt normal fluctuations in appetite hormones, leading to cravings and poor appetite control.

 

10. Eat Proper Meals

Hunger and a lack of key nutrients can both cause certain cravings. Therefore, it’s important to eat proper meals at mealtimes. When the body is satisfied with sufficient and balanced nutrients, the mind won't have to deal with cravings. If you find yourself in need of a snack between meals, make sure it’s something healthy. Reach for whole foods, such as fruits, nuts, vegetables or seeds.

Bottom Line: Eating proper meals helps prevent hunger and cravings, while also ensuring that your body gets the nutrients it needs.

 

11. Don’t Go to the Supermarket Hungry

Grocery stores are probably the worst places to be when you are have cravings. Firstly, they give you easy access to pretty much any food you could think of. Secondly, supermarkets usually place the unhealthiest foods at eye level. The best way to prevent cravings from happening at the store is to shop only when you’ve just eaten. Do not go to the supermarket with an empty stomach.

Bottom Line: Eating before you go to the supermarket helps reduce the risk of unwanted cravings and impulsive buying.

 

Take Home Message

Cravings are very common. In fact, more than 50% of people experience cravings on a regular basis. They play a major role in weight gain, food addiction and binge eating. Being aware of your cravings and their triggers makes them much easier to avoid. It also makes it a lot easier to eat healthy and lose weight.

  

Source: Authority Nutrition

Are Goitrogens to Be Worried about?

mojatugoitrogenssprouts

If you have thyroid problems, you’ve probably heard of goitrogens; you may even have heard that some foods should be avoided because of them. But in fact, goitrogens may not be as notorious as regarded by many. This article addresses the health effects goitrogens can provide for the body. 

 

Goitrogens are compounds that interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. Put simply, they make it difficult for the thyroid to produce the hormones your body needs for normal metabolic function.

 

The link between goitrogens and thyroid function was first described in 1928, when scientists observed thyroid gland enlargement in rabbits eating fresh cabbage. This enlargement of the thyroid gland is also known as a goiter, which is where the term goitrogen comes from. This discovery led to the hypothesis that substances in some vegetables may affect thyroid function when consumed in excess. Since then, several types of goitrogens have been identified, in a variety of foods.

 

Bottom Line: Goitrogens are substances found in certain foods. When consumed in excess, they can interfere with the function of the thyroid gland.

 

There are three main types of goitrogens- Goitrins, Thiocyanates, and Flavonoids. Goitrins and thiocyanates are produced when plants are damaged, such as when they’re sliced or chewed.

 

Flavonoids are naturally present in a wide variety of foods. Some examples include the resveratrol in red wine and the catechins in green tea.

 

Flavonoids are generally considered to be healthy antioxidants, but some of them can be converted into goitrogenic compounds by our gut bacteria.

 

Bottom Line: Goitrins, thiocyanates and flavonoids are the three most common types of goitrogens. They are found in many common foods.

 

For people with thyroid problems, high intake of goitrogens can worsen thyroid function by:

Blocking iodine: Goitrogens may prevent iodine from entering the thyroid gland, which is needed to produce thyroid hormones.

Interfering with TPO: The thyroid peroxidase (TPO) enzyme attaches iodine to the amino acid tyrosine, which together form the basis of thyroid hormones.

Reducing TSH: Goitrogens may interfere with thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which helps the thyroid gland produce hormones.

 

When the thyroid’s function is disrupted, it has trouble producing the hormones that regulate your metabolism. This can lead to problems controlling body temperature, heart rate, protein production, calcium levels in the blood and how your body uses fats and carbs. The body can make up for a decrease in thyroid hormone production by simply releasing more TSH, which pushes the thyroid to produce more hormones.

 

However, a malfunctioning thyroid is not as responsive to TSH. The thyroid compensates by growing more cells, leading to an enlargement known as a goiter. Goiters can create a feeling of tightness in your throat, coughing, hoarseness and may make breathing and swallowing more challenging.

 

Bottom Line: Goitrogens can reduce the thyroid’s ability to produce the hormones your body needs to function normally. They are more likely to negatively impact people who already have poor thyroid function.

 

Goiters aren’t, in fact, the only health concerns to consider. A thyroid that can’t produce enough hormones may cause other health issues, including:

 

Mental decline: In one study, poor thyroid function increased the risk of mental decline and dementia by 81% for people under 75 years of age.

Heart disease: Poor thyroid function has been linked to a 2–53% higher risk of developing heart disease and an 18–28% higher risk of dying from it.

Weight gain: During a 3.5-year long study, people with poor thyroid function gained up to 5 lbs (2.3 kg) more weight.

Obesity: Researchers found that individuals with poor thyroid function were 20–113% more likely to be obese.

Developmental delays: Low levels of thyroid hormones during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, may disrupt fetal brain development.

Bone fractures: A study found that people with poor thyroid function had a 38% higher risk of hip fractures and a 20% higher risk of non-spine fractures.

Bottom Line: Thyroid hormones help regulate your body’s metabolism. A thyroid unable to produce as many hormones as it should may lead to various health problems.

Which Foods Contain the Most Goitrogens?

 

A surprising variety of foods contain goitrogens, including vegetables, fruits, starchy plants and soy-based foods: bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rapeseed, rutabagas, spinach, swedes, turnips, fruits and Starchy Plants, bamboo shoots, cassava, corn, lima beans, linseed, millet, peaches, peanuts, pears, pine nuts, strawberries, sweet potatoes, soy-Based Foods, tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk. 

 

Bottom Line: Goitrogens are found in a wide variety of cruciferous vegetables, fruits, starchy plants and soy-based foods.

 

If you have an underactive thyroid, or are worried about goitrogens in your diet, there are a few simple ways to reduce the risk of negative effects:

Vary your diet: Eating a variety of plant foods will help limit the amount of goitrogens you consume. Plus, it’ll help you get enough vitamins and minerals.

Cook all veggies: Toast, steam or sauté veggies instead of eating them raw. This helps break down the myrosinase enzyme, reducing goitrogens.

Blanch greens: If you like fresh spinach or kale in smoothies, try blanching the veggies and then freezing them. This will limit their impact on your thyroid.

Quit smoking: Smoking is an important risk factor for goiters.

Increase Iodine and Selenium Intake

 

Getting enough iodine and selenium can also help limit the effects of goitrogens. Two good dietary sources of iodine include seaweed, such as kelp, kombu or nori, and iodized salt. Less than 1/2 a teaspoon of iodized salt actually covers your daily iodine need.

 

However, consuming too much iodine can also affect your thyroid negatively. Yet this risk is less than 1%, so it should not cause too much concern. Getting enough selenium can also help prevent thyroid diseases. Great sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, fish, meat, sunflower seeds, tofu, baked beans, portobello mushrooms, whole grain pasta and cheese.

 

Bottom Line: A varied diet, cooking foods, avoiding smoking and getting your fill of iodine and selenium are simple ways to limit the effects of goitrogens.

 

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t worry too much about goitrogens. Unless your thyroid function is already impaired, you don’t need to limit your intake of foods that contain goitrogens. What’s more, when these foods are cooked and consumed in moderation, they should be safe for everyone — even those with thyroid problems.

 

Incidentally, most foods that contain goitrogens also happen to be quite nutritious. Therefore, the small risk from goitrogens is far outweighed by other health benefits.

 

 

Source: Authority Nutrition

Sweetener: Good or Bad?

mojatu sweetener

Sugar can have terrible effects on metabolism and overall health; for this reason, many turn to artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda). However, while authorities claim that sucralose is safe to eat, it can still cause health problems. This article takes an objective look at sucralose and its health effects, both good and bad.

 

What is Sucralose/Splenda?

Sucralose is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener, and Splenda is the most common sucralose-based product. Sucralose is made from sugar, in a multi-step chemical process where 3 hydrogen-oxygen groups are replaced with chlorine atoms. It was discovered in 1976, when a scientist at a British college misheard instructions about testing a substance. Instead, he tasted it, realizing that it was highly sweet. Splenda products were then jointly developed by the companies Tate & Lyle and Johnson & Johnson. It was introduced in the US in 1999, and became one of the most popular sweeteners in the country. Splenda is commonly used as a sugar substitute in both cooking and baking. It’s also used in thousands of food products worldwide.

 

Sucralose is calorie-free, but Splenda also contains the carbs dextrose and maltodextrin, which brings the calorie content up to 3.36 calories per gram. However, the total calories and carbs contributed by Splenda are negligible because you only need to use tiny amounts each time. Sucralose is actually 400-700 times sweeter than sugar, and does not have a bitter aftertaste like many other popular sweeteners.

 

Bottom Line: Sucralose is an artificial sweetener, and the most popular product made from it is called Splenda. Sucralose is made from sugar, but contains no calories and is much sweeter.

 

Sucralose May Affect Blood Sugar and Insulin

Sucralose is said to have little or no effects on blood sugar and insulin levels. However, this may depend on you as an individual and whether you’re used to consuming artificial sweeteners. Several studies conducted on people who regularly consumed sucralose found no significant change to their blood sugar. But for those who don’t consume sucralose on a regular basis, it’s possible that they may experience some changes to blood sugar and insulin levels. 

 

Bottom Line: Sucralose may raise blood sugar and insulin levels in people who do not consume artificial sweeteners regularly. However, it probably has no effect in people who regularly use artificial sweeteners.

 

Baking with Sucralose May Be Harmful

Splenda is considered to be heat-resistant, and good for cooking and baking. Yet recent studies have challenged this. It seems that at high temperatures, it starts to break down and interact with other ingredients. One study found that heating sucralose with glycerol, the backbone of fat molecules, produced harmful substances called chloropropanols. These substances may raise the risk of cancer. More research is needed, but in the meantime it may be best to use other sweeteners instead when baking at temperatures above 350° F or 120° C.

 

Bottom Line: At high temperatures, sucralose may break down and generate harmful substances.

 

Does Sucralose Make You Gain or Lose Weight?

Products that contain zero-calorie sweeteners are often marketed as being good for weight loss. However, sucralose and artificial sweeteners don’t seem to have any major effects on your weight. Observational studies find no connection between artificial sweetener consumption and body weight or fat mass, but some of them report a small increase in body mass index. A review of randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of research, reports that artificial sweeteners reduce body weight by around 1.7 lbs (0.8 kg) on average.

 

Bottom Line: Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners do not seem to have any major effects on body weight.

 

Is Sucralose Safe?

Like other artificial sweeteners, sucralose is highly controversial. Some claim that it is totally harmless, but new studies suggest that it may have some effects on your metabolism. For some people, it may raise blood sugar and insulin levels. It may also damage the bacterial environment in the gut, but this needs to be studied in humans. The safety of sucralose at high temperatures has also been questioned. You may want to avoid cooking or baking with it, as it may release harmful compounds. That being said, the long-term health effects are still not clear, and health authorities like the FDA do consider it to be safe.

 

Bottom Line: Health authorities consider sucralose to be safe, but studies have raised questions about its health effects. The long term health effects of consuming it are unclear.

 

Should You Avoid it?

If you like the taste of sucralose and your body handles it well, then it’s probably fine to use. There is certainly no clear-cut evidence that it is harmful, at least not in humans. However, it may be a bad choice for high-heat cooking and baking, and it may be something to look at if you have persistent problems related to gut health. If you choose to avoid sucralose or artificial sweeteners in general, then there are plenty of great alternatives.

 

Source: Authority Nutrition

Gluten and Its Effects on Health

mojatugluten

A majority of sources claim that gluten is safe for everyone except those who have celiac disease while some others believe that gluten is harmful for most people.

 

 

Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like wheat, rye, spelt and barley. Of the gluten-containing grains, wheat is by far the most commonly consumed.

 

The two main proteins in gluten are glutenin and gliadin, and the latter is responsible for most of the negative health effects. When flour is mixed with water, the gluten proteins form a sticky network that has a glue-like consistency.

 

This glue-like property makes the dough elastic, and gives bread the ability to rise when baked. It also provides a chewy, satisfying texture.

 

Bottom Line: Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley. Gliadin and glutenin are the two main gluten proteins.

 

Most people tolerate gluten just fine. However, it can cause problems for people with certain health conditions. This includes celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy and some other diseases.

 

Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance. It affects about about 0.7–1% of the population. It is an autoimmune disorder, and involves the body treating gluten as a foreign invader. The immune system attacks the gluten, as well as the lining of the gut. This damages the gut wall, and may cause nutrient deficiencies, anemia, severe digestive issues and an increased risk of many diseases.

 

The most common symptoms of celiac disease are digestive discomfort, tissue damage in the small intestines, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headache, tiredness, skin rashes, depression, weight loss and foul-smelling feces. However, some people with celiac disease do not have digestive symptoms, but may have other symptoms like tiredness or anemia.

 

For this reason, celiac disease can be very difficult to diagnose. In fact, up to 80% of people with celiac disease don’t know that they have it.

 

Bottom Line: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that makes the body attack gluten in the digestive system. This can cause severe digestive disorders and other health problems.

 

There are many people who do not test positive for celiac disease, but still react negatively to gluten. This condition is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include diarrhea, stomach pain, tiredness, bloating and depression.

 

There is no clear definition of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but the diagnosis is made when a patient reacts negatively to gluten, but celiac disease and allergies have been ruled out. However, some experts believe this isn’t a real condition. They think the adverse effects are imaginary or caused by substances other than gluten.

 

Bottom Line: Many people react negatively to gluten but do not have celiac disease. This condition, known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, is controversial.

 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder that causes symptoms like abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas and diarrhea. It’s a chronic condition, but many people are able to manage their symptoms with diet, lifestyle changes and stress management. Interestingly, studies have shown that some individuals with IBS may benefit from a gluten-free diet.

 

For about 1% of the population, a wheat allergy may cause digestive issues after consuming gluten. Furthermore, studies have shown that a gluten-free diet may benefit some individuals with schizophrenia, autism and a disease called gluten ataxia.

 

Bottom Line: Gluten may be problematic for people with irritable bowel syndrome and wheat allergy. People with schizophrenia, autism and gluten ataxia may also benefit from a gluten-free diet.

 

Digestive discomfort is the most common indication of gluten intolerance. You may also have anemia or trouble gaining weight. To figure out what’s causing your discomfort, ask your doctor to check for celiac disease first.

 

There are two main ways to find out if you have celiac disease:

Blood tests: There are several blood tests that screen for antibodies. The most common one is called the tTG-IgA test. If that is positive, a tissue biopsy is usually recommended to confirm the results.

Biopsy from small intestine: A health professional takes a small tissue sample from the small intestine, which is analyzed for damage.

 

If you think you may have celiac disease, you should consult with your doctor before trying a gluten-free diet. This makes it easier to get a correct diagnosis. If you don’t have celiac disease, the best way to find out if you are sensitive to gluten is to follow a strict gluten-free diet for a few weeks to see if symptoms improve. Then, you’ll have to introduce gluten back into your diet and see if your symptoms return.

 

If your symptoms don’t improve on a gluten-free diet, and don’t get worse when you re-introduce gluten, then the culprit is probably something other than gluten.

 

Bottom Line: If you think you react negatively to gluten, you should consult with your doctor to see if you have celiac disease. If that’s ruled out, a gluten-free diet may help determine if you’re actually gluten intolerant.

 

FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates found in many foods, including wheat. Many people are unable to digest these properly, which can cause various digestive symptoms. 

 

In fact, there is some evidence that many people with “gluten sensitivity” are actually sensitive to FODMAPs, not gluten. One study of 37 people with self-reported gluten sensitivity placed participants on a low-FODMAP diet, which reduced symptoms. The participants were then given isolated gluten, which did not affect their digestive symptoms.

 

This indicates that FODMAPs may be the true culprit for many people who think they react negatively to gluten.

 

Bottom Line: FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates found in many foods, including wheat. They may be the true culprit for many people who think they react negatively to gluten.

 

The most common sources of gluten are wheat, spelt, rye, barley, bread, pasta, cereals, beer, cakes, cookies and pastries. Wheat is also added to all sorts of processed foods. If you want to avoid gluten, then you better start reading food labels.

 

Bottom Line: The most common dietary sources of gluten are wheat, spelt, rye, barley, bread, pasta, cereals and baked goods.

 

Starting a gluten-free diet may be rather challenging. The first thing you need to do is start reading the labels on everything you eat. You’ll soon realize that gluten, especially wheat, is added to a surprising number of foods. You should also eat mainly whole, healthy foods, as most whole foods are naturally gluten-free. Avoid processed food, cereals and grains that contain gluten.

 

There are a few grains and seeds that are naturally gluten-free. These include: corn, rice, quinoa, flax, millet, sorghum, tapioca, buckwheata, arrowroot, amaranth, oats. 

 

However, while oats are naturally gluten free, they may be contaminated by it. Therefore, it is safest to only consume oats with a gluten-free label.

 

There are plenty of healthy whole foods that are naturally gluten-free, including meat, fish and seafood, eggs, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, tubers, fats, such as oils and butter, herbs and spices. 

 

As a rule of thumb, it’s better to choose foods that are naturally gluten-free, rather than processed gluten-free products. These tend to be low in nutrients and high in added sugar or refined grains. Most beverages are also gluten-free, except beer (unless it says it’s gluten-free).

 

Bottom Line: There are plenty of foods and grains that are naturally gluten-free. Try to choose mostly healthy, whole foods.

 

For the vast majority of people, avoiding gluten is unnecessary. However, for people with certain health conditions, removing gluten from the diet can make a huge difference. Furthermore, the diet is usually harmless to try. There is no nutrient in gluten grains that you can’t get from other foods.

 

Just make sure to choose healthy foods. A gluten-free label does not automatically mean that a food is healthy. Gluten-free junk food is still junk food.

 

 

Source: Authority Nutrition

10 Beneficial Facts about Honey

Mojatuhoney

For centuries, honey has been used as both food and medicine. It’s very high in plant compounds, which offer quite a few benefits. Honey is particularly healthy when used in replace of refined sugar, which contains mere calories. Here are the top 10 health benefits of honey with scientific basis.

 

1. Honey Contains Nutrients

Honey is a sweet, thick liquid made by honeybees. The bees swarm the environment and collect the sugar-rich nectar of flowers. Then inside the beehive, they repeatedly consume, digest and regurgitate (“vomit”) the nectar. The end product is honey, a liquid that is supposed to serve as stored food for the bees. The smell, color and taste depend on the types of flowers the bees visit. Nutritionally, 1 tablespoon of honey (21 grams) contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar including fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose. It contains virtually no fiber, fat or protein. It also contains trace amounts (under 1% of RDA) of several vitamins and minerals, but you would have to eat many pounds to fulfill your daily requirements. Where honey shines is in its content of bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. Darker types tend to be even higher in these compounds than lighter types.

 

Bottom Line: Honey is thick, sweet liquid made by honeybees. It is low in vitamins and minerals, but may be high in some plant compounds.

 

2. High-Quality Honey is Rich in Antioxidants

High-quality honey contains many important antioxidants. These include phenols, enzymes and compounds like flavonoids and organic acids. Scientists believe that it is the combination of these compounds that gives honey its antioxidant power. Interestingly, buckwheat honey increases the antioxidant value of blood. Antioxidants have been associated with reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer. 

 

Bottom Line: Honey contains a number of antioxidants, including phenolic compounds like flavonoids.

 

3. Honey is “Less Bad” Than Sugar For Diabetics

The evidence on honey and diabetes is mixed. On one hand, it helps with some risks common in diabetes. For instance, it lowers LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammation, and raises HDL- the good cholesterol. However, it can also increase blood sugar levels, even though not as much as refined sugar. While honey may be “less bad” than refined sugar, it is still to be taken with caution by diabetic patients. 

 

Bottom Line: Some studies show that honey improves heart disease risk factors in diabetics. However, it also raises blood sugar levels, so it can not be considered “diabetic-friendly.”

 

4. Honey Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is a key risk for heart disease, and honey may help lower it. This is because honey contains antioxidant compounds that have been linked to lowering blood pressure. It's been proven that blood pressure can be brought down from consuming honey.

 

Bottom Line: Eating honey may lead to modest reductions in blood pressure, which is an important risk factor for heart disease.

 

5. Honey Also Helps to Improve Cholesterol

Having a high LDL cholesterol level is a notable risk for heart disease. It plays a major role in atherosclerosis, the fatty buildup in the arteries that can cause heart attacks and strokes. Interestingly, honey can improve cholesterol levels, reducing total and LDL cholesterol while significantly raising HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. 

 

Bottom Line: Honey seems to have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. It leads to modest reductions in total and LDL cholesterol, while raising HDL.

 

6. Honey Can Lower Triglycerides

Elevated blood triglycerides are another major risk for heart disease. They are also a key sign of insulin resistance, a major driver of type 2 diabetes. Triglyceride levels tend to increase on a diet that is high in sugar and refined carbs. Multiple studies have linked regular honey consumption with lower triglyceride levels, especially when it is used to replace sugar. 

 

Bottom Line: Elevated triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Several studies show that honey can lower triglyceride levels, especially when it is being used to replace sugar.

 

7. Honey is Linked to Other Beneficial Effects on Heart Health

Again, honey is a rich source of phenols and other antioxidant compounds. Many of these have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. They may help the arteries in the heart dilate, increasing blood flow to the heart. They may also help prevent the formation of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. All this being said, there is no long-term study on human available regarding honey and heart health, so take this with a grain of salt.

 

Bottom Line: The antioxidants in honey have been linked to beneficial effects on heart health, including increased blood flow to the heart and a reduced risk of blood clot formation.

 

8. Honey Promotes Burn and Wound Healing

The history of using honey to heal wounds and burns can be traced back to ancient Egypt, and this practice is still active today. In one review from 2015, 26 studies on honey and wound care were evaluated; it suggested that honey is most effective at healing partial thickness burns and wounds that have become infected after surgery. It is also an effective treatment for diabetic foot ulcers, which are critical complications and can lead to amputation. Researchers believe that its healing powers come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its ability to nourish the surrounding tissue. What’s more, honey can help treat other skin conditions including psoriasis, hemorrhoids and herpes lesions.

 

Bottom Line: When applied to the skin, honey can be part of an effective treatment plan for burns, wounds and many other skin conditions. It is particularly effective for diabetic foot ulcers.

 

9. Honey Can Help Suppress Coughs in Children

Coughing is a common problem for children with upper respiratory infections. It can affect sleep and quality of life, for both the children and their parents. Several existing studies have shown that honey reduces cough symptoms and improves sleep even more affectively than cough medication. Nevertheless, honey should never be given to children under 1 year of age, with a concern of botulism. 

 

Bottom Line: For children over one year of age, honey can act as a natural and safe cough suppressant. Some studies show that it is even more effective than cough medication.

 

10. Honey is Delicious, But it’s Still High in Calories and Sugar 

Honey is a delicious, healthier alternative to refined sugar. Make sure to choose high-quality honey, because some of the lower-quality brands may be adulterated with syrup. However, keep in mind that honey should only be consumed in moderation, as it is still high in calories and sugar. The benefits of honey are most pronounced when it is replacing another unhealthier sweetener. At the end of the day, honey is simply a “less bad” sweetener than sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

 

Source: Authority Nutrition

A Detailed Guide to Caffeine in a Cup of Coffee

mojatucoffee

Coffee is the biggest dietary source of caffeine. You can expect to get around 95 mg of caffeine from an average cup of coffee. However, this amount varies between different coffee drinks, and can range from almost zero to over 500 mg.

 

This is a detailed guide to the caffeine content of different types and brands of coffee.

 

What Factors Affect Caffeine Content? The caffeine content of coffee depends on many factors, such as:

Type of coffee beans: There are many varieties of coffee beans available, which may naturally contain different amounts of caffeine.

Roasting: Lighter roasts have more caffeine than darker roasts, although the darker roasts have a deeper flavor.

Type of coffee: The caffeine content can vary significantly between regularly brewed coffee, espresso, instant coffee and decaf coffee.

Serving size: “One cup of coffee” can range anywhere from 30–700 ml (1–24 oz), greatly affecting the total caffeine content.

Bottom Line: Caffeine content is affected by the type of coffee bean, roast style, how the coffee is prepared and the serving size.

 

How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Coffee?

The main determinant of caffeine content is the type of coffee you are drinking.

 Brewed Coffee

Brewing is the most common way to make coffee in the US and Europe. Also known as regular coffee, brewed coffee is made by pouring hot or boiling water over ground coffee beans, usually contained in a filter. One cup of brewed coffee (8 oz) contains about 70–140 mg of caffeine, or about 95 mg on average.

 

Espresso

Espresso is made by forcing a small amount of hot water, or steam, through finely ground coffee beans. Although espresso has more caffeine per volume than regular coffee, it usually contains less per serving, since espresso servings tend to be small. One shot of espresso is generally about 30–50 ml (1–1.75 oz), and contains about 63 mg of caffeine. A double shot of espresso therefore contains roughly 125 mg of caffeine.

 

Espresso-Based Drinks

Many popular coffee drinks are made from espresso shots mixed with varying types and amounts of milk. These include lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and Americanos. Since the milk does not contain any additional caffeine, these drinks contain the same amount of caffeine as straight espresso. A single (small) contains about 63 mg of caffeine on average, and double (large) contains about 125 mg.

 

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is made from brewed coffee that has been freeze-dried or spray-dried. It is generally in large, dry pieces, which dissolve in water. To prepare instant coffee, simply mix one or two teaspoons of dried coffee with hot water. There is no need for any brewing. Instant coffee usually contains less caffeine than regular coffee, with one 8-oz cup (237 ml) containing roughly 30–60 mg.

 

Decaf Coffee

Although the name may be deceiving, decaf coffee is not entirely caffeine free. It may contain varying amounts of caffeine, ranging from 0–7 mg per cup, with the average cup containing 3 mg. However, some varieties may contain even higher amounts of caffeine, depending on the type of coffee, method of de-caffeination and cup size.

Bottom Line: The average caffeine content of an 8-oz, brewed cup of coffee is 95 mg. A single espresso or espresso-based drink contains 63 mg, and decaf coffee contains about 3 mg of caffeine (on average).

 

Are Commercial Brands More Caffeinated?

 Some commercial coffee brands contain more caffeine than regular, home-brewed coffee. Coffee shops are also notorious for their large cup sizes, which can range up to 700 ml (24 oz). The amount of coffee in such cups is equivalent to about 3–5 regular-sized cups of coffee.

 

Starbucks

Starbucks is probably the best-known coffee shop in the world. It also offers some of the most caffeinated coffee available.

The caffeine content of brewed coffee at Starbucks is as follows:

Short (8 oz): 180 mg

Tall (12 oz): 260 mg

Grande (16 oz): 330 mg

Venti (20 oz): 415 mg

Furthermore, one shot of espresso at Starbucks contains 75 mg of caffeine. Consequently, all small, espresso-based drinks also contain 75 mg of caffeine. This includes lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and Americanos, among others (10). Larger sizes, which are made with two, or even three, espresso shots (16 oz), likewise contain 150 or 225 mg of caffeine.

 

Decaf coffee from Starbucks contains 15–30 mg of caffeine, depending on cup size.

Bottom Line: An 8-oz, brewed coffee from Starbucks contains 180 mg of caffeine. A single espresso and espresso-based drinks contain 75 mg, while an 8-oz cup of decaf coffee contains about 15 mg of caffeine.

 

McDonald’s

 McDonald’s sells coffee all over the world, often under their McCafe brand. However, despite being one of the biggest fast food chains that sells coffee, they do not standardize or calculate the amount of caffeine in their coffee. 

As an estimate, the caffeine content of their brewed coffee is about:

Small (12 oz): 109 mg

Medium (16 oz): 145 mg

Large (21–24 oz): 180 mg

 

Their espresso contains 71 mg per serving, and decaf contains 8–14 mg, depending on the size of the cup.

Bottom Line: McDonald’s doesn’t standardize the amount of caffeine in their coffee. As an estimate, a small cup of brewed coffee contains 109 mg of caffeine. Espresso contains about 71 mg, and decaf has about 8 mg.

 

Dunkin Donuts 

Dunkin Donuts is another chain of coffee and donut shops that is very popular worldwide. The caffeine content of their brewed coffee is as follows:

Small (10 oz): 215 mg

Medium (16 oz): 302 mg

Large (20 oz): 431 mg

Extra large (24 oz): 517 mg

 

Their single espresso shot contains 75 mg of caffeine, which is also how much you can expect to get from their espresso-based drinks.

Decaf coffee from Dunkin Donuts may also contain quite a bit of caffeine. According to one source, a small cup (10 oz) has 53 mg of caffeine, and a large cup (24 oz) contains 128 mg. That’s almost as much caffeine as you find in other varieties of regular coffee.

Bottom Line: A small cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts contains 215 mg of caffeine, while a single espresso contains 75 mg. Interestingly, their decaf coffee may contain as much as 53-128 mg of caffeine.

 

Is Caffeine Something to Worry About?

Coffee is high in antioxidants, and many studies show that it is good for your health. However, getting too much caffeine is linked to adverse effects like anxiety, sleep disruptions, heart palpitations and restlessness. Consuming 400–600 mg/day of caffeine is generally not associated with adverse effects in most people. This is about 6 mg/kg (3 mg/lb) of body weight, or 4–6 average cups of coffee per day. That being said, caffeine affects people very differently. Some are very sensitive to it while others find themselves unaffected by large amounts. This is largely due to genetic differences.

 

You’ll just have to experiment and see what amount suits you best.

 

Source: Authority Nutrition

11 Health Facts about Bananas

Healthy Bananas

Bananas are extremely healthy and delicious. They contain several essential nutrients, and have benefits for digestion, heart health and weight loss. Aside from being very nutritious, they are also a highly convenient snack food. Here are 11 health benefits of bananas that are supported by scientific research.

 

1. Bananas Contain Many Important Nutrients

There are many types of bananas available, which vary in color, size and shape. The most common type is the yellow banana, which is green when unripe.

Bananas contain a fair amount of fiber, as well as several antioxidants. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) also contains:

Potassium: 9% of the RDI.

Vitamin B6: 33% of the RDI.

Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI.

Magnesium: 8% of the RDI.

Copper: 10% of the RDI.

Manganese: 14% of the RDI.

Net carbs: 24 grams.

Fiber: 3.1 grams.

Protein: 1.3 grams.

Fat: 0.4 grams.

Each banana contains only about 105 calories, and consists almost exclusively of water and carbs. Bananas contain very little protein and almost no fat. The carbs in unripe (green) bananas consist mostly of starch and resistant starch, but as the banana ripens, the starch turns into sugar (glucose, fructose and sucrose). 

Bottom Line: Bananas are rich in fiber, antioxidants and several nutrients. A medium-sized banana contains about 105 calories.

 

2. Bananas Contain Nutrients That Moderate Blood Sugar Levels

Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, which acts like soluble fiber and escapes digestion. Both pectin and resistant starch may moderate blood sugar levels after meals, and reduce appetite by slowing stomach emptying. Furthermore, bananas also rank low to medium on the glycemic index, which is a measure (from 0–100) of how quickly foods increase blood sugar levels. The glycemic value of unripe bananas is about 30, while ripe bananas rank at about 60. The average value of all bananas is 51. This means that bananas should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels in healthy individuals. However, this may not apply to diabetics, which should probably avoid eating lots of well-ripened bananas and monitor their blood sugars carefully when they do. 

Bottom Line: Bananas contain nutrients that can help moderate blood sugar levels after meals. They may also reduce appetite by slowing stomach emptying.

 

3. Bananas May Improve Digestive Health

Dietary fiber has been linked to many health benefits, including improved digestion. A medium-sized banana contains about 3 grams of fiber, making bananas a fairly good fiber source.

Bananas contain mainly two types of fiber:

Pectin: Decreases as the banana ripens.

Resistant starch: Found in unripe bananas. Resistant starch escapes digestion and ends up in our large intestine, where it becomes food for the beneficial gut bacteria. Additionally, some cell studies propose that pectin may help protect against colon cancer. 

Bottom Line: Bananas are fairly rich in fiber and resistant starch, which may feed the friendly gut bacteria and help protect against colon cancer.

 

4. Bananas May Help With Weight Loss

No study has directly tested the effects of bananas on weight loss. However, bananas do have several features that should make them a weight loss friendly food. For starters, bananas contain relatively few calories. An average banana contains just over 100 calories, yet it is also very nutritious and filling. They are also rich in fiber. Eating more fiber from fruit and vegetables has repeatedly been linked with lower body weight and weight loss. Furthermore, unripe bananas are packed with resistant starch, so they tend to be very filling and may reduce your appetite. 

Bottom Line: Bananas may help with weight loss. They are low in calories, high in nutrients and fiber, and may have appetite-reducing effects.

 

5. Bananas May Support Heart Health

Potassium is a mineral that is essential for heart health, especially blood pressure control. Yet despite its importance, most people are not getting enough potassium in their diet. Bananas are a great dietary source of potassium. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) contains 9% of the RDI. A potassium-rich diet can help lower blood pressure, and people who eat plenty of potassium have up to a 27% lower risk of heart disease. Furthermore, bananas contain a decent amount of magnesium, which is also important for heart health. 

Bottom Line: Bananas are a good dietary source of potassium and magnesium, two nutrients that are essential for heart health.

 

6. Bananas Contain Powerful Antioxidants

Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of dietary antioxidants, and bananas are no exception. They contain several types of potent antioxidants, including dopamine and catechins. These antioxidants have been linked to many health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and degenerative diseases. However, it is a common misunderstanding that the dopamine from bananas acts as a feel-good chemical in the brain. In reality, dopamine from bananas does not cross the blood-brain barrier. It simply acts as a strong antioxidant instead of altering hormones or mood. 

Bottom Line: Bananas are high in several antioxidants, which may help reduce damage from free radicals and lower the risk of some diseases.

 

7. Bananas Helps You Feel More Full

As a rule of thumb, you can estimate that the greener the banana is, the higher the amount of resistant starch it contains. On the other hand, ripe (yellow) bananas contain lower amounts of resistant starch and total fiber, but proportionally higher amounts of soluble fiber. Both pectin and resistant starch have been shown to have appetite-reducing effects and increase the feeling of fullness after meals. 

Bottom Line: Bananas contain high amounts of resistant starch or pectin, depending on ripeness. Both may reduce appetite and help keep you full.

 

8. Unripe Bananas May Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for many of the world’s most serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes. Several studies have shown that 15–30 grams of resistant starch per day may improve insulin sensitivity by 33–50%, in as little as 4 weeks. Unripe bananas are a great source of resistant starch, and may therefore help improve insulin sensitivity. However, the reason for these effects is not well understood, and not all studies agree on the matter. 

Bottom Line: Unripe bananas are a good source of resistant starch, which may improve insulin sensitivity. However, more research is needed.

 

9. Bananas May Improve Kidney Health

Potassium is essential for blood pressure control and healthy kidney function. As a good dietary source of potassium, bananas may be especially beneficial for maintaining healthy kidneys. Studies extending over a span of a decade found those who ate bananas 2–3 times per week were 33% less likely to develop kidney disease; still some other studies have found that those who eat bananas 4–6 times a week are almost 50% less likely to develop kidney disease, compared to those who don’t eat bananas. 

Bottom Line: Eating a banana several times a week may reduce the risk of kidney disease by up to 50%.

 

10. Bananas May Have Benefits for Exercise

Bananas are often referred to as the perfect food for athletes, largely due to their mineral content and easily digested carbs. Eating bananas may help reduce exercise-related muscle cramps and soreness, which affect up to 95% of the general population. The reason for the cramps is basically unknown, but a popular theory blames a mixture of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. However, studies have provided mixed findings about bananas and muscle cramps. Some find them helpful, while others find no effects. That being said, bananas have been shown to provide excellent nutrition before, during and after endurance exercise. 

Bottom Line: Bananas may help relieve muscle cramps caused by exercise. They also provide excellent fuel for endurance exercise.

 

11. Bananas Are Easy to Add to Your Diet

Not only are bananas incredibly healthy — they’re also one of the most convenient snack foods around.

Bananas make a great addition to your breakfast yogurt, cereal or smoothie. You can even use them instead of sugar in your baking and cooking. Furthermore, bananas rarely contain any pesticides or pollutants, due to their thick protective peel. Bananas are incredibly easy to eat and transport. They are usually well-tolerated and easily digested, and simply have to be peeled and eaten. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

 

Source: Authority Nutrition

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

mojatupizza

The foods you eat can have a major effect on your weight. Some foods, like full-fat yogurt, coconut oil and eggs, help with weight loss. Other foods, especially processed and refined products, can make you gain weight.

 

Here are 11 foods to avoid when you’re trying to lose weight.

 

1. French Fries and Potato Chips

Whole potatoes are healthy and filling, but french fries and potato chips are not. They are very high in calories, and it’s easy to eat way too many of them. It's been raised that potato chips may contribute to more weight gain per serving than any other food. What’s more, baked, roasted or fried potatoes may contain cancer-causing substances called acrylamides. Therefore, it’s best to eat plain, boiled potatoes.

Bottom Line: French fries and potato chips are unhealthy and fattening. On the other hand, whole, boiled potatoes are very healthy and help fill you up.

 

2. Sugary Drinks

Sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, are one of the unhealthiest foods on the planet. They are strongly associated with weight gain and can have disastrous health effects when consumed in excess. Even though sugary drinks contain a lot of calories, your brain doesn’t register them like solid food. Liquid sugar calories don’t make you feel full, and you won’t eat less food to compensate. Instead, you end up adding these calories on top of your normal intake. If you are serious about losing weight, consider giving up sugary drinks completely.

Bottom Line: Sugary drinks can negatively affect your weight and general health. If weight loss is your goal, then giving up soda and similar drinks may have a big impact.

 

3. White Bread

White bread is highly refined and often contains a lot of sugar. It is high on the glycemic index and can spike your blood sugar levels. One study of 9,267 people found that eating two slices (120 grams) of white bread per day was linked to a 40% greater risk of weight gain and obesity. Fortunately, there are many healthy alternatives to conventional wheat bread. One is Ezekiel bread, which is probably the healthiest bread on the market. However, keep in mind that all wheat breads do contain gluten. Some other options include oopsie bread, cornbread and almond flour bread.

Bottom Line: White bread is made from very fine flour, and can spike your blood sugar levels and lead to overeating. However, there are many other types of bread you can eat.

 

4. Candy Bars

Candy bars are extremely unhealthy. They pack a lot of sugar, oil and refined flour into a small package. Candy bars are high in calories and low in nutrients. An average-sized candy bar covered in chocolate can contain around 200–300 calories, and extra-large bars may contain even more. Unfortunately, you can find candy bars everywhere. They are even strategically placed in stores in order to tempt consumers into buying them impulsively. If you are craving a snack, eat a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts instead.

Bottom Line: Candy bars consist of unhealthy ingredients like sugar, refined flour and added oils. They are high in calories, but not very filling.

 

5. Most Fruit Juices

Most fruit juices you find at the supermarket have very little in common with whole fruit. Fruit juices are highly processed and loaded with sugar. In fact, they can contain just as much sugar and calories as soda, if not more. Also, fruit juice usually has no fiber and doesn’t require chewing. This means that a glass of orange juice won’t have the same effects on fullness as an orange, making it easy to consume large quantities in a short amount of time. Stay away from fruit juice and eat whole fruit instead.

Bottom Line: Fruit juice is high in calories and added sugar, but usually contains no fiber. It is best to stick to whole fruit.

 

6. Pastries, Cookies and Cakes

Pastries, cookies and cakes are packed with unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined flour. They may also contain artificial trans fats, which are very harmful and linked to many diseases. Pastries, cookies and cakes are not very satisfying, and you will likely become hungry very quickly after eating these high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. If you’re craving something sweet, reach for a piece of dark chocolate instead.

Bottom Line: Pastries, cookies and cakes often contain large amounts of added sugar, refined flour and sometimes trans fat. These foods are high in calories but not very filling.

 

7. Some Types of Alcohol (Especially Beer)

Alcohol provides more calories than carbs and protein, or about 7 calories per gram. However, the evidence for alcohol and weight gain is not clear. Drinking alcohol in moderation seems to be fine and is actually linked to reduced weight gain. Heavy drinking, on the other hand, is associated with increased weight gain. The type of alcohol also matters. Beer can cause weight gain, but drinking wine in moderation may actually be beneficial.

Bottom Line: If you are trying to lose weight, you may want to consider cutting back on alcohol or skipping it altogether. Wine in small amounts seems to be fine.

 

8. Ice Cream

Ice cream is incredibly delicious, but very unhealthy. It is high in calories, and most types are loaded with sugar. A small portion of ice cream is fine every now and then, but the problem is that it’s very easy to consume massive amounts in one sitting. Consider making your own ice cream, using less sugar and healthier ingredients like full-fat yogurt and fruit. Also, serve yourself a small portion and put the ice cream away so that you won’t end up eating too much.

Bottom Line: Store-bought ice cream is high in sugar, and homemade ice cream is a better alternative. Remember to be mindful of portions, as it’s very easy to eat too much ice cream.

 

9. Pizza

Pizza is a very popular fast food. However, commercially made pizzas also happen to be very unhealthy. They’re extremely high in calories and often contain unhealthy ingredients like highly refined flour and processed meat. If you want to enjoy a slice of pizza, try making one at home using healthier ingredients. Homemade pizza sauce is also healthier, since supermarket varieties can contain lots of sugar. Another option is to look for a pizza place that makes healthier pizzas.

Bottom Line: Commercial pizzas are often made from highly refined and processed ingredients. A homemade pizza with healthier ingredients is a much better option.

 

10. High-Calorie Coffee Drinks

Coffee contains several biologically active substances, most importantly caffeine. These chemicals can boost your metabolism and increase fat burning, at least in the short term. However, the negative effects of adding unhealthy ingredients like artificial cream and sugar outweigh these positive effects. High-calorie coffee drinks are actually no better than soda. They’re loaded with empty calories that can equal a whole meal. If you like coffee, it’s best to stick to plain, black coffee when trying to lose weight. Adding a little cream or milk is fine too. Just avoid adding sugar, high-calorie creamers and other unhealthy ingredients.

Bottom Line: Plain, black coffee can be very healthy and help you burn fat. However, high-calorie coffee drinks that contain artificial ingredients are very unhealthy and fattening.

 

11. Foods High in Added Sugar

Added sugar is probably the worst thing in the modern diet. Excess amounts have been linked to some of the most serious diseases in the world today. Foods high in added sugar usually provide tons of empty calories, but are not very filling. Examples of foods that may contain massive amounts of added sugar include sugary breakfast cereals, granola bars and low-fat, flavored yogurt. You should be especially careful when selecting “low-fat” or “fat-free” foods, as manufacturers often add lots of sugar to make up for the flavor that’s lost when the fat is removed.

 

Source: Authority Nutrition