5 Tips For Ear Health

5 tips for ear health. Keep your ears in order to stay healthy. A healthy ear can provide comfort in the activity. Can also improve your concentration. Wash your ears at least 2 times a day. Do not rush while cleaning the ear. It may cause irritation or injury to the ear canal.
Everyone has heard of swimmer's ear -- but there are other "ears" you don't want this summer, such as "music-lover's ear" and "unpressurized ear." Experts gave WebMD five tips for keeping your ears healthy -- over the summer and year-round.

No. 1: Don't Blast Your Inner Ear With Music
According to a Zogby International poll reported in March by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 28% of high-schoolers say they have to turn up the volume to hear the television. A similar number (29%) report saying "huh" or "what" a lot during conversations. A smaller, but significant number (17%) say they have experienced tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.

Other symptoms of hearing damage from personal entertainment devices include thinking that other people are speaking in a "muffled" way.
These are symptoms older people get, not kids. Until now.
The earbuds on MP3 players funnel the sound waves directly into the ear.
Long-term exposure to high volume levels can gradually wear out the tiny hair cells of the inner ear that convert sound into nerve signals that go to the brain.

Hearing loss can also be caused by age, disease, infections, drugs, trauma, and genetics. Or it can occur with sudden exposure -- or a very few exposures -- to severely loud sounds (like an explosion).
Occasionally music slamming into the ear from earbuds can be 100 decibels. "The rule of thumb," Bruce R. Maddern, MD, chair of the otolaryngology section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, tells WebMD, "is if an observer can hear the device, it's too loud."
"If it's that loud," Maddern adds, "you also can't hear a car coming at you."
Hearing loss from noise usually accumulates over time and does not happen all at once.
Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, professor of otolaryngology at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., offers the following advice:

Take breaks if you must listen to music through earbuds. "An iPod at 60 is safe for an hour a day," he says.
Check out noise-reducing headphones. That way, you don't have to crank up the music volume to cancel out party noise or beach shouts.
Don't stand or sit right next to a speaker at a party or concert.
Parents should note: Do not let your child fall asleep with earbuds in. Make sure their devices are set at 60 or lower.
Incidentally, 60 decibels is the level of normal conversation. A power lawn mower can generate 90 decibels, a chainsaw or rock concert 110-140, and a 12-gauge shotgun 165 decibels.

No. 2: Don't Go Overboard Cleaning Your Ears
Earwax may look unsightly, but it is designed to protect the ear. When it migrates to the outside, you can clean it off with a washcloth.
"Every package of [swabs] says not to insert into the ear!" cautions Rosenfeld. "Sticking something in your ear canal to get out wax can push the wax farther in and compact it."
If your ear is impacted with ear wax, see your doctor who can safely clear it out for you.

No. 3: How to Treat Swimmer's Ear
Maddern says you might want to make sure your child's ears are not packed with wax and debris before the summer-long pool dunking starts. "If there is a lot of stuff down there and it is not addressed and warmth and bacteria-filled water is added," he says, "swimmer's ear can result."
Swimmer's ear is caused by any number of common bacteria found in lakes, hot tubs, and pools. In many cases, the infection gets going from a trauma in the ear canal – possibly a nick or scratch.
Swimmer's ear starts out as itching and maybe some soreness inside the ear but soon becomes severely painful and swollen, especially if you press on the little flap next to the ear opening.

"The doctor," Rosenfeld says, "may clean everything out. If the ear is swollen shut at this point, he or she may also put in a wick, which is a cellulose sponge that will carry the prescription drops to the infection."
Rosenfeld does not recommend that you use earplugs in the pool, however. "These can also cause trauma in the ear canal," he points out.
People who wear hearing aids are especially prone to swimmer's ear, according to Rosenfeld. "If you get a case, leave out the hearing aids for awhile," he advises.

No. 4: Pierce Only in the Lobe
Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, is co-director of laser surgery at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, and teaches at Johns Hopkins University.
She tells WebMD that she worries about people neglecting to put sunblock on their ears. "The ears are very sensitive to sun," she exclaims. "Don't forget them."
Tanzi says she sees a fair amount of skin cancer on the top of the ear. It starts out as a red, flaky patch and can bleed easily if scratched. Consult a doctor if this occurs.
As for insect repellent, it's OK to put it on the outer ear. Never spray inside.
As for piercing, Tanzi recommends sticking with the lobe area, which has a good blood supply to fight infection. Piercing up the curve goes into cartilage, which has a shortage of blood and where a serious infection can get going and not leave. "It can be very difficult to clear those," Tanzi says.

Take care of newly pierced ears as instructed. Wash your hands before handling the area. Then soak a cotton ball in alcohol and smoosh it around over the earring and post several times a day. If the lobe starts to get hot or itchy (hours or days after the piercing), you may have an infection. If this cannot be stopped with antibiotic cream, you may need to let the hole close.
As for earrings, if you have a contact allergy to nickel, which is common, stick with gold or stainless steel posts or hooks. Tanzi says that commercial coatings for ear wires designed to keep the nickel away from the skin don't work well for the severely allergic.

No. 3: How to Treat Swimmer's Ear
Maddern says you might want to make sure your child's ears are not packed with wax and debris before the summer-long pool dunking starts. "If there is a lot of stuff down there and it is not addressed and warmth and bacteria-filled water is added," he says, "swimmer's ear can result."
Swimmer's ear is caused by any number of common bacteria found in lakes, hot tubs, and pools. In many cases, the infection gets going from a trauma in the ear canal – possibly a nick or scratch.
Swimmer's ear starts out as itching and maybe some soreness inside the ear but soon becomes severely painful and swollen, especially if you press on the little flap next to the ear opening.
"The doctor," Rosenfeld says, "may clean everything out. If the ear is swollen shut at this point, he or she may also put in a wick, which is a cellulose sponge that will carry the prescription drops to the infection."
Rosenfeld does not recommend that you use earplugs in the pool, however. "These can also cause trauma in the ear canal," he points out.
People who wear hearing aids are especially prone to swimmer's ear, according to Rosenfeld. "If you get a case, leave out the hearing aids for awhile," he advises.

No. 4: Pierce Only in the Lobe
Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, is co-director of laser surgery at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, and teaches at Johns Hopkins University.
She tells WebMD that she worries about people neglecting to put sunblock on their ears. "The ears are very sensitive to sun," she exclaims. "Don't forget them."
Tanzi says she sees a fair amount of skin cancer on the top of the ear. It starts out as a red, flaky patch and can bleed easily if scratched. Consult a doctor if this occurs.
As for insect repellent, it's OK to put it on the outer ear. Never spray inside.
As for piercing, Tanzi recommends sticking with the lobe area, which has a good blood supply to fight infection. Piercing up the curve goes into cartilage, which has a shortage of blood and where a serious infection can get going and not leave. "It can be very difficult to clear those," Tanzi says.

Take care of newly pierced ears as instructed. Wash your hands before handling the area. Then soak a cotton ball in alcohol and smoosh it around over the earring and post several times a day. If the lobe starts to get hot or itchy (hours or days after the piercing), you may have an infection. If this cannot be stopped with antibiotic cream, you may need to let the hole close.
As for earrings, if you have a contact allergy to nickel, which is common, stick with gold or stainless steel posts or hooks. Tanzi says that commercial coatings for ear wires designed to keep the nickel away from the skin don't work well for the severely allergic.

Reviewed on July 02, 2007

Strategies and Tips for Good Mental Health

Strategies and Tips for Good Mental Health.

  People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behavior. They are able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks. But just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, so it is with mental and emotional health. Improving your emotional health can be a rewarding experience, benefiting all aspects of your life, including boosting your mood, building resilience, and adding to your overall enjoyment of life.

 What is mental health or emotional health?

Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties.
Good mental health isn't just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Similarly, not feeling bad is not the same as feeling good. While some people may not have negative feelings, they still need to do things that make them feel positive in order to achieve mental and emotional health.

People who are mentally and emotionally healthy have:

  • A sense of contentment.
  • A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
  • The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
  • A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
  • The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change.
  • A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
  • The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem.
These positive characteristics of mental and emotional health allow you to participate in life to the fullest extent possible through productive, meaningful activities and strong relationships. These positive characteristics also help you cope when faced with life's challenges and stresses.

The role of resilience in mental and emotional health

Being emotionally and mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress.
The difference is that people with good emotional health have an ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is called resilience. People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good.
One of the key factors in resilience is the ability to balance stress and your emotions. The capacity to recognize your emotions and express them appropriately helps you avoid getting stuck in depression, anxiety, or other negative mood states. Another key factor is having a strong support network. Having trusted people you can turn to for encouragement and support will boost your resilience in tough times.

Physical health is connected to mental and emotional health

Physical health is connected to mental and emotional healthTaking care of your body is a powerful first step towards mental and emotional health. The mind and the body are linked. When you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. For example, exercise not only strengthens our heart and lungs, but also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood.
The activities you engage in and the daily choices you make affect the way you feel physically and emotionally.
  • Get enough rest. To have good mental and emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body. That includes getting enough sleep. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep each night in order to function optimally.
  • Learn about good nutrition and practice it. The subject of nutrition is complicated and not always easy to put into practice. But the more you learn about what you eat and how it affects your energy and mood, the better you can feel.
  • Exercise to relieve stress and lift your mood. Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression. Look for small ways to add activity to your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going on a short walk. To get the most mental health benefits, aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise per day.
  • Get a dose of sunlight every day. Sunlight lifts your mood, so try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun per day. This can be done while exercising, gardening, or socializing.
  • Limit alcohol and avoid cigarettes and other drugs. These are stimulants that may unnaturally make you feel good in the short term, but have long-term negative consequences for mood and emotional health.

Improve mental and emotional health by taking care of yourself

In order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Don’t let stress and negative emotions build up. Try to maintain a balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise.
Taking care of yourself includes pursuing activities that naturally release endorphins and contribute to feeling good. In addition to physical exercise, endorphins are also naturally released when we:
  • Do things that positively impact others. Being useful to others and being valued for what you do can help build self-esteem.
  • Practice self-discipline. Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.
  • Learn or discover new things. Think of it as “intellectual candy.” Try taking an adult education class, join a book club, visit a museum, learn a new language, or simply travel somewhere new.
  • Enjoy the beauty of nature or art. Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. The same goes for strolling through a park or an art gallery, hiking, admiring architecture, or sitting on a beach.
  • Manage your stress levels. Stress takes a heavy toll on mental and emotional health, so it’s important to keep it under control. While not all stressors can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into balance.
  • Limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying. Try to avoid becoming absorbed by repetitive mental habits—negative thoughts about yourself and the world that suck up time, drain your energy, and trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression.
More tips and strategies for taking care of yourself:
  • Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
  • Engage in meaningful, creative work. Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for it—things like gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, or building something in your workshop.
  • Get a pet. Yes, pets are a responsibility, but caring for one makes you feel needed and loved. There is no love quite as unconditional as the love a pet can give. Animals can also get you out of the house for exercise and expose you to new people and places.
  • Make leisure time a priority. Do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do them. Go to a funny movie, take a walk on the beach, listen to music, read a good book, or talk to a friend. Doing things just because they are fun is no indulgence. Play is an emotional and mental health necessity.
  • Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Think about the things you’re grateful for. Mediate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.
Everyone is different; not all things will be equally beneficial to all people. Some people feel better relaxing and slowing down while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to feel better. The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give you a boost.

Supportive relationships: The foundation of emotional health

No matter how much time you devote to improving your mental and emotional health, you will still need the company of others to feel and be your best. Humans are social creatures with an emotional need for relationships and positive connections to others. We’re not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Our social brains crave companionship—even when experience has made us shy and distrustful of others.
Social interaction—specifically talking to someone else about your problems—can also help to reduce stress. The key is to find a supportive relationship with someone who is a “good listener”—someone you can talk to regularly, preferably face-to-face, who will listen to you without a pre-existing agenda for how you should think or feel. A good listener will listen to the feelings behind your words, and won’t interrupt or judge or criticize you. The best way to find a good listener? Be a good listener yourself. Develop a friendship with someone you can talk to regularly, and then listen and support each other.

Tips and strategies for connecting to others:

  • Get out from behind your TV or computer screen. Screens have their place but they will never have the same effect as an expression of interest or a reassuring touch. Communication is a largely nonverbal experience that requires you to be in direct contact with other people, so don’t neglect your real-world relationships in favor of virtual interaction. 
  • Spend time daily, face-to-face, with people you like. Make spending time with people you enjoy a priority. Choose friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members who are upbeat, positive, and interested in you. Take time to inquire about people you meet during the day that you like.
  • Volunteer. Doing something that helps others has a beneficial effect on how you feel about yourself. The meaning and purpose you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life. There is no limit to the individual and group volunteer opportunities you can explore. Schools, churches, nonprofits, and charitable organization of all sorts depend on volunteers for their survival.
  • Be a joiner. Join networking, social action, conservation, and special interest groups that meet on a regular basis. These groups offer wonderful opportunities for finding people with common interests—people you like being with who are potential friends.

Risk factors for mental and emotional problems

Your mental and emotional health has been and will continue to be shaped by your experiences. Early childhood experiences are especially significant. Genetic and biological factors can also play a role, but these too can be changed by experience.  

Risk factors that can compromise mental and emotional health:

  • Poor connection or attachment to your primary caretaker early in life. Feeling lonely, isolated, unsafe, confused, or abused as an infant or young child.
  • Traumas or serious losses, especially early in life. Death of a parent or other traumatic experiences such as war or hospitalization.
  • Learned helplessness. Negative experiences that lead to a belief that you’re helpless and that you have little control over the situations in your life.
  • Illness, especially when it’s chronic, disabling, or isolates you from others.
  • Side effects of medications, especially in older people who may be taking a variety of medications.
  • Substance abuse. Alcohol and drug abuse can both cause mental health problems and make preexisting mental or emotional problems worse.
Whatever internal or external factors have shaped your mental and emotional health, it’s never too late to make changes that will improve your psychological well-being. Risk factors can be counteracted with protective factors, like strong relationships, a healthy lifestyle, and coping strategies for managing stress and negative emotions.

When to seek professional help for emotional problems

If you’ve made consistent efforts to improve your mental and emotional health and you still don’t feel good—then it’s time to seek professional help. Because we are so socially attuned, input from a knowledgeable, caring professional can motivate us to do things for ourselves that we were not able to do on our own.

Red flag feelings and behaviors that may require immediate attention

  • Inability to sleep
  • Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time
  • Concentration problems that are interfering with your work or home life
  • Using nicotine, food, drugs, or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions
  • Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears that you can’t control
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
If you identify with any of these red flag symptoms, consider making an appointment with a mental health professional.

Source:www.helpguide.org

Tips for Choosing Healthy Fats

Healthy Diet: Good Fats, Bad Fats, and the Power of Omega-3s

For years, nutritionists and doctors have preached that a low-fat diet is the key to losing weight, managing cholesterol, and preventing health problems. But more than just the amount of fat, it’s the types of fat you eat that really matter. Bad fats increase cholesterol and your risk of certain diseases, while good fats protect your heart and support overall health. In fact, good fats—such as omega-3 fats—are essential to physical and emotional health.
Healthy Diet
Healthy Diet

Making sense of dietary fat

A walk down the grocery aisle will confirm our obsession with low-fat foods. We’re bombarded with supposedly guilt-free options: baked potato chips, fat-free ice cream, low-fat candies, cookies, and cakes. But while our low-fat options have exploded, so have obesity rates. Clearly, low-fat foods and diets haven’t delivered on their trim, healthy promises.
Despite what you may have been told, fat isn’t always the bad guy in the waistline wars. Bad fats, such as trans fats and saturated fats, are guilty of the unhealthy things all fats have been blamed for—weight gain, clogged arteries, and so forth. But good fats such as the monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s have the opposite effect. In fact, healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight.
The answer isn’t cutting out the fat—it’s learning to make healthy choices and to replace bad fats with good ones that promote health and well-being.

Myths and facts about fats

Myth: All fats are equal—and equally bad for you.
Fact: Trans fats and saturated fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.
Myth: Lowering the amount of fat you eat is what matters the most.
Fact: The mix of fats that you eat, rather than the total amount in your diet, is what matters most when it comes to your cholesterol and health. The key is to eat more good fats and less bad fats.
Myth: Fat-free means healthy.
Fact: A “fat-free” label doesn’t mean you can eat all you want without consequences to your waistline. Many fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories.
Myth: Eating a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss.
Fact: The obesity rates for Americans have doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the low-fat revolution. Cutting calories is the key to weight loss, and since fats are filling, they can help curb overeating.
Myth: All body fat is the same.
Fact: Where you carry your fat matters. The health risks are greater if you tend to carry your weight around your abdomen, as opposed to your hips and thighs. A lot of belly fat is stored deep below the skin surrounding the abdominal organs and liver, and is closely linked to insulin resistance and diabetes.

Types of dietary fat: Good fats vs. bad fats

To understand good and bad fats, you need to know the names of the players and some information about them. There are four major types of fats:
  • monounsaturated fats (good fats)
  • polyunsaturated fats (good fats)
  • trans fats (bad fats)
  • saturated fats (bad fats)
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.
GOOD FATS
Monounsaturated fat Polyunsaturated fat
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu
Saturated fats and trans fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol.
Appearance-wise, saturated fats and trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature (think of butter or traditional stick margarine), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid (think of olive or corn oil).
BAD FATS
Saturated fat Trans fat
  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Lard
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Candy bars
The controversy surrounding saturated fat
For decades, doctors, nutritionists and health authorities have told us that a diet high in saturated fats raises blood cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, recent studies have made headlines by casting doubt on those claims, concluding that people who eat lots of saturated fat do not experience more cardiovascular disease than those who eat less.
So does that mean it’s OK to eat saturated fat now?
No. What these studies highlighted is that when cutting down on saturated fats in your diet, it’s important to replace them with the right foods. For example, swapping animal fats for vegetable oils—such as replacing butter with olive oil—can help to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk for disease. However, swapping animal fats for refined carbohydrates, such as replacing your breakfast bacon with a bagel or pastry, won’t have the same benefits. That’s because eating refined carbohydrates or sugary foods can also have a negative effect on cholesterol levels and your risk for heart disease.
In short, nothing has changed. Reducing your intake of saturated fats can still improve your cardiovascular health—as long as you take care to replace it with good fat rather than refined carbs. In other words, don’t go no fat, go good fat.

General guidelines for choosing healthy fats

If you are concerned about your weight or heart health, rather than avoiding fat in your diet, try replacing trans fats and saturated fats with good fats. This might mean replacing fried chicken with fresh fish, swapping some of the meat you eat with beans and legumes, or using olive oil rather than butter.
  • Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Check food labels for trans fats. Avoiding commercially-baked goods goes a long way. Also limit fast food.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods. Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions.
  • Eat omega-3 fats every day. Good sources include fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.

How much fat is too much?

How much fat is too much depends on your lifestyle, your weight, your age, and most importantly the state of your health. The USDA recommends that the average individual:
  • Keep total fat intake to 20-35% of calories
  • Limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your calories (200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet)
  • Limit trans fats to 1% of calories (2 grams per day for a 2000 calorie diet)

Get your personalized daily fat limits

See Resources and References section below for an easy-to-use tool from the American Heart Association that calculates your personalized daily calorie needs, recommended range for total fats, and limits for trans fats and saturated fats.

Trans fat: eliminate this bad fat from your diet

When focusing on healthy fats, a good place to start is eliminating your consumption of trans fats. A trans fat is a normal fat molecule that has been twisted and deformed during a process called hydrogenation. During this process, liquid vegetable oil is heated and combined with hydrogen gas. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which is very good for food manufacturers—and very bad for you.
No amount of trans fats is healthy. Trans fats contribute to major health problems, from heart disease to cancer.

Sources of trans fats

Many people think of margarine when they picture trans fats, and it’s true that some margarines are loaded with them. However, the primary source of trans fats in the Western diet comes from commercially prepared baked goods and snack foods:
  • Baked goods – cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, and some breads like hamburger buns
  • Fried foods – doughnuts, French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, and hard taco shells
  • Snack foods – potato, corn, and tortilla chips; candy; packaged or microwave popcorn
  • Solid fats – stick margarine and semi-solid vegetable shortening
  • Pre-mixed products – cake mix, pancake mix, and chocolate drink mix

Be a trans fat detective

  • When shopping, read the labels and watch out for “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients. Even if the food claims to be trans fat-free, this ingredient makes it suspect.
  • With margarine, choose the soft-tub versions, and make sure the product has zero grams of trans fat and no partially hydrogenated oils.
  • When eating out, put fried foods, biscuits, and other baked goods on your “skip” list. Avoid these products unless you know that the restaurant has eliminated trans fat.
  • Avoid fast food. Most states have no labeling regulations for fast food, and it can even be advertised as cholesterol-free when cooked in vegetable oil.
  • When eating out, ask your server or counter person what type of oil your food will be cooked in. If it’s partially hydrogenated oil, run the other way or ask if your food can be prepared using olive oil, which most restaurants have in stock.

Saturated fats: reduce this bad fat

Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as red meat and whole milk dairy products. Poultry and fish also contain saturated fat, but less than red meat.

Simple ways to reduce saturated fat

  • Eat less red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and more fish and chicken
  • Go for lean cuts of meat, and stick to white meat, which has less saturated fat.
  • Bake, broil, or grill instead of frying.
  • Remove the skin from chicken and trim as much fat off of meat as possible before cooking.
  • Avoid breaded meats and vegetables and deep-fried foods.
  • Choose low-fat milk and lower-fat cheeses like mozzarella whenever possible; enjoy full-fat dairy in moderation.
  • Use liquid vegetable oils such as olive oil or canola oil instead of lard, shortening, or butter.
  • Avoid cream and cheese sauces, or have them served on the side.
Sources of Saturated Fats Healthier Options
Butter Olive oil
Cheese Low-fat or reduced-fat cheese
Red meat White meat chicken or turkey
Cream Low-fat milk or fat-free creamer
Eggs Egg whites, an egg substitute (e.g. Eggbeaters), or tofu
Ice cream Frozen yogurt or reduced fat ice cream
Whole milk Skim or 1% milk
Sour cream Plain, non-fat yogurt

Getting more good fats in your diet

Okay, so you realize you need to avoid saturated fat and trans fat… but how do you get the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats everyone keeps talking about?
The best sources of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish.
  • Cook with olive oil. Use olive oil for stovetop cooking, rather than butter, stick margarine, or lard. For baking, try canola or vegetable oil.
  • Eat more avocados. Try them in sandwiches or salads or make guacamole. Along with being loaded with heart and brain-healthy fats, they make for a filling and satisfying meal.
  • Reach for the nuts. You can also add nuts to vegetable dishes or use them instead of breadcrumbs on chicken or fish.
  • Snack on olives. Olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. But unlike most other high-fat foods, they make for a low-calorie snack when eaten on their own. Try them plain or make a tapenade for dipping.
  • Dress your own salad. Commercial salad dressings are often high in saturated fat or made with damaged trans fat oils. Create your own healthy dressings with high-quality, cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil, or sesame oil.

Damaged fat: When good fats go bad

A good fat can become bad if heat, light, or oxygen damages it. Polyunsaturated fats are the most fragile. Oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats (such as flaxseed oil) must be refrigerated and kept in an opaque container. Cooking with these oils also damages the fats. Never use oils, seeds, or nuts after they begin to smell or taste rank or bitter.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Superfats for the brain and heart

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. While all types of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, omega-3 fats are proving to be especially beneficial.
We’re still learning about the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but research has shown that they can:
  • Prevent and reduce the symptoms of depression
  • Protect against memory loss and dementia
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer
  • Ease arthritis, joint pain, and inflammatory skin conditions
  • Support a healthy pregnancy

Omega-3 fatty acids and mental health

Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain. Research indicates that they play a vital role in cognitive function (memory, problem-solving abilities, etc.) as well as emotional health.
Getting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help you battle fatigue, sharpen your memory, and balance your mood. Studies have shown that omega-3s can be helpful in the treatment of depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder.

There are several different types of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • EPA and DHA – Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have the most research to back up their health benefits. Both are found in abundance in cold-water fatty fish.
  • ALA – Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) comes from plants. Studies suggest that it’s a less potent form of omega-3 than EPA and DHA. The best sources include flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil.

Fish: The best food source of omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fats are a type of essential fatty acid, meaning they are essential to health, but your body can’t make them. You can only get omega-3 fats from food.
The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon (especially wild-caught king and sockeye), herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines, or high-quality cold-water fish oil supplements. Canned albacore tuna and lake trout can also be good sources, depending on how the fish were raised and processed.
If you’re a vegetarian or you don’t like fish, you can still get your omega-3 fix by eating algae (which is high in DHA) or taking a fish oil or algae supplement.

What to do about mercury in fish

Fish is an excellent source of protein, and its healthy oils protect against cardiovascular disease. However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury, a toxic metal, and some seafood contains other pollutants known as POPs. As small fish are eaten by larger fish up the food chain, concentrations of mercury and POPs increase, so that large, predatory deep-ocean fish tend to contain the highest levels. That makes it best to avoid eating these large fish, such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel.
Because a diet rich in seafood protects the heart and benefits neurological development, fish remains an important component of a healthy diet.
Recommendation: Most adults can safely eat about 12 ounces (two 6-ounce servings) of a variety of cooked seafood a week as long as they avoid the large predatory ocean fish mentioned above and pay attention to local sea- food advisories.
For women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and children ages 12 and younger, caution is needed to avoid potential harm to a fetus’s or a young child’s developing nervous system. The same amount, 12 ounces, is considered safe with these additional guidelines:
  • Eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
  • Another commonly eaten fish, albacore (“white”) tuna, has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your fish and shellfish, eat no more than 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.
  • Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish from local waters, but don’t consume any other fish during that week.
  • Follow these same recommendations when feeding fish and shellfish to your young child, but serve smaller portions
Adapted with permission from Healthy Eating: A Guide to the New Nutrition, a special health report published by Harvard Health Publications.

Choosing the best omega-3 supplement

With so many omega-3 and fish oil supplements and fortified foods, making the right choice can be tricky. These guidelines can help.
  • Avoid products that don’t list the source of their omega-3s. Does the package list the source of omega-3 fatty acids? If not, chances are it’s ALA (sometimes from plain old canola or soybean oil), which most Westerners already get plenty of.
  • Don’t fall for fortified foods. Many fortified foods (such as margarine, eggs, and milk) claim to be high in omega-3 fatty acids, but often, the real amount of omega-3 is miniscule.
  • Look for the total amount of EPA and DHA on the label. The bottle may say 1,000 milligrams of fish oil, but it’s the amount of omega-3 that matters. Read the small print. It may show only 300 mg of EPA and DHA (sometimes listed as “omega-3 fatty acids”), which means you’d have to take three capsules to get close to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3.
  • Choose supplements that are mercury-free, pharmaceutical grade and molecularly distilled. Make sure the supplement contains both DHA and EPA. They may be hard to find, but supplements with higher concentrations of EPA are better.
Fish oil supplements can cause stomach upset and belching, especially when you first start taking them. To reduce these side effects, take them with food. You may also want to start with a low dose and gradually increase it, or divide the dose among your three meals.

How much omega-3 do I need?

The American Heart Association recommends consuming 1–3 grams per day of EPA and DHA (1 gram = 1,000 milligrams). For the treatment of mental health issues, including depression and ADHD, look for supplements that are high in EPA, which has been shown to elevate and stabilize mood. Aim for at least 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per day.

The truth about dietary fat and cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance that your body needs to function properly. In and of itself, cholesterol isn’t bad. But when you get too much of it, it can have a negative impact on your health.
Cholesterol comes from two sources: your body and food. Your body (specifically, the liver) produces some of the cholesterol you need naturally. But you also get cholesterol directly from any animal products you eat, such as eggs, meat, and dairy. Together, these two sources contribute to your blood cholesterol level.

Good vs. bad cholesterol

As with dietary fat, there are good and bad types of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the "good" kind of cholesterol found in your blood. LDL cholesterol is the "bad” kind. The key is to keep LDL levels low while, conversely, low HDL can be a marker for increased cardiovascular risk. High levels of HDL cholesterol may help protect against heart disease and stroke, while high levels of LDL cholesterol can clog arteries, increasing your risk.
Research shows that there is only a weak link between the amount of cholesterol you eat and your blood cholesterol levels. The biggest influence on your total and LDL cholesterol is the type of fats you eat—not your dietary cholesterol. So instead of counting cholesterol, simply focus on replacing bad fats with good fats.
  • Monounsaturated fats lower total and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Polyunsaturated fats lower triglycerides and fight inflammation.
  • Saturated fats may raise your blood cholesterol.
  • Trans fats are the worst types of fat since they not only raise your bad LDL cholesterol, but also lower the good HDL cholesterol.
Source: www.helpguide.org

Easy Tips for Planning a Healthy Diet and Sticking to It

Healthy eating tip 1: Set yourself up for success

To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. If you approach the changes gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think.

    Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. This way it should be easier to make healthy choices. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious.
    Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
    Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet. The long term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and reduce the risk of cancer and disease. Don’t let your missteps derail you—every healthy food choice you make counts. Think of water and exercise as food groups in your diet.
Healthy Eating Plane
Healthy Eating Plane


Water. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.

Exercise. Find something active that you like to do and add it to your day, just like you would add healthy greens, blueberries, or salmon. The benefits of lifelong exercise are abundant and regular exercise may even motivate you to make healthy food choices a habit.

Healthy eating tip 2: Moderation is key

People often think of healthy eating as an all or nothing proposition, but a key foundation for any healthy diet is moderation. But what is moderation? In essence, it means eating only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal, but not stuffed. Moderation is also about balance. Despite what certain fad diets would have you believe, we all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body.

The goal of healthy eating is to develop a diet that you can maintain for life, not just a few weeks or months, or until you've hit your ideal weight. For most of us, that means eating less than we do now. More specifically, it means eating far less of the unhealthy stuff (refined sugar, saturated fat, for example) and replacing it with the healthy (such as fresh fruit and vegetables). But it doesn't mean eliminating the foods you love. Eating bacon for breakfast once a week, for example, could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner—but not if you follow it with a box of donuts and a sausage pizza. If you eat 100 calories of chocolate one afternoon, balance it out by deducting 100 calories from your evening meal. If you're still hungry, fill up with an extra serving of fresh vegetables.

    Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.” When you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. If you are drawn towards sweet, salty, or unhealthy foods, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often. If the rest of your diet is healthy, eating a burger and fries once a week probably won’t have too much of a detrimental effect on your health. Eating junk food just once a month will have even less of an impact. As you reduce your intake of unhealthy foods, you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.
    Think smaller portions. Serving sizes have ballooned recently, particularly in restaurants. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entree, split a dish with a friend, and don't order supersized anything. At home, use smaller plates, think about serving sizes in realistic terms, and start small. If you don't feel satisfied at the end of a meal, try adding more leafy green vegetables or rounding off the meal with fresh fruit. Visual cues can help with portion sizes–your serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards and half a cup of mashed potato, rice, or pasta is about the size of a traditional light bulb.

Healthy eating tip 3: It's not just what you eat, it's how you eat

Healthy eating is about more than the food on your plate—it is also about how you think about food. Healthy eating habits can be learned and it is important to slow down and think about food as nourishment rather than just something to gulp down in between meetings or on the way to pick up the kids.

    Eat with others whenever possible. Eating with other people has numerous social and emotional benefits—particularly for children—and allows you to model healthy eating habits. Eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to mindless overeating.
    Take time to chew your food and enjoy mealtimes. Chew your food slowly, savoring every bite. We tend to rush though our meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavors and feel the textures of our food. Reconnect with the joy of eating.
    Listen to your body. Ask yourself if you are really hungry, or have a glass of water to see if you are thirsty instead of hungry. During a meal, stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.
    Eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating small, healthy meals throughout the day (rather than the standard three large meals) keeps your energy up and your metabolism going.
    Avoid eating at night. Try to eat dinner earlier in the day and then fast for 14-16 hours until breakfast the next morning. Early studies suggest that this simple dietary adjustment—eating only when you’re most active and giving your digestive system a long break each day—may help to regulate weight. After-dinner snacks tend to be high in fat and calories so are best avoided, anyway.

Healthy eating tip 4: Fill up on colorful fruits and vegetables
Shop the perimeter of the grocery storeFruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet. They are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

Try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day and with every meal—the brighter the better. Colorful, deeply colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—and different colors provide different benefits, so eat a variety. Aim for a minimum of five portions each day.

Some great choices include:

    Greens. Branch out beyond bright and dark green lettuce. Kale, mustard greens, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are just a few of the options—all packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.
    Sweet vegetables. Naturally sweet vegetables—such as corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, and squash—add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for other sweets.
    Fruit. Fruit is a tasty, satisfying way to fill up on fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Berries are cancer-fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on.

The importance of getting vitamins from food—not pills

The antioxidants and other nutrients in fruits and vegetables help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases. And while advertisements abound for supplements promising to deliver the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables in pill or powder form, research suggests that it’s just not the same.

A daily regimen of nutritional supplements is not going to have the same impact of eating right. That’s because the benefits of fruits and vegetables don’t come from a single vitamin or an isolated antioxidant.

The health benefits of fruits and vegetables come from numerous vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals working together synergistically. They can’t be broken down into the sum of their parts or replicated in pill form.

Healthy eating tip 5: Eat more healthy carbs and whole grains

Choose healthy carbohydrates and fiber sources, especially whole grains, for long lasting energy. In addition to being delicious and satisfying, whole grains are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, which help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. Studies have shown people who eat more whole grains tend to have a healthier heart.
A quick definition of healthy carbs and unhealthy carbs

Healthy carbs (sometimes known as good carbs) include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable.

Unhealthy carbs (or bad carbs) are foods such as white flour, refined sugar, and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. Unhealthy carbs digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and energy.
Tips for eating more healthy carbs
Whole Grain Stamp

    Include a variety of whole grains in your healthy diet, including whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, and barley. Experiment with different grains to find your favorites.
    Make sure you're really getting whole grains. Be aware that the words stone-ground, multi-grain, 100% wheat, or bran can be deceptive. Look for the words “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” at the beginning of the ingredient list. In the U.S., Canada, and some other countries, check for the Whole Grain Stamps that distinguish between partial whole grain and 100% whole grain.
    Try mixing grains as a first step to switching to whole grains. If whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat pasta don’t sound good at first, start by mixing what you normally use with the whole grains. You can gradually increase the whole grain to 100%.

Avoid: Refined foods such as breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals that are not whole grain.

Healthy eating tip 6: Enjoy healthy fats & avoid unhealthy fats
Good sources of healthy fat are needed to nourish your brain, heart, and cells, as well as your hair, skin, and nails. Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA are particularly important and can reduce cardiovascular disease, improve your mood, and help prevent dementia.
Add to your healthy diet:

    Monounsaturated fats, from plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts (like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans), and seeds (such as pumpkin, sesame).
    Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold water fish oil supplements. Other sources of polyunsaturated fats are unheated sunflower, corn, soybean, flaxseed oils, and walnuts.

Reduce or eliminate from your diet:

    Saturated fats, found primarily in animal sources including red meat and whole milk dairy products.
    Trans fats, found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

What is a healthy daily limit for saturated fat and trans fat?

Experts recommend you limit the amount of saturated fats you eat to less than 7 percent of total daily calories. That means, for example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 140 of them should come from saturated fats. That’s about 16 grams of saturated fat a day.

No more than 20 of those calories should come from trans fat. That’s less than 2 grams of trans fat a day. Given the amount of naturally occurring trans fat you probably eat every day, this leaves virtually no room at all for industrially manufactured trans fat.

Source: American Heart Association

Healthy eating tip 7: Put protein in perspective

Protein gives us the energy to get up and go—and keep going. Protein in food is broken down into the 20 amino acids that are the body’s basic building blocks for growth and energy, and essential for maintaining cells, tissues, and organs. While too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, the latest research suggests that most of us need more high-quality protein than the current dietary recommendations. It also suggests that we need more protein as we age to maintain physical function.
How much protein do you need?

Protein needs are based on weight rather than calorie intake.  Adults should eat at least 0.8g of protein per kilogram (2.2lb) of body weight per day. A higher intake may help to lower your risk for obesity, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

    Older adults should aim for 1 to 1.5 grams of protein for each kilogram of weight. This translates to 68 to 102g of protein per day for a person weighing 150 lbs.
    Divide your protein intake among meals but aim for 25 to 40g of high-quality protein per meal; less than 15g won’t benefit bone or muscle.
    Get plenty of calcium (1,000 to 1,200 mg per day).

Source: Environmental Nutrition

Think of water and exercise as food groups in your diet.

Water. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.

Exercise. Find something active that you like to do and add it to your day, just like you would add healthy greens, blueberries, or salmon. The benefits of lifelong exercise are abundant and regular exercise may even motivate you to make healthy food choices a habit.

The following is a sampling of high-protein foods—some may not be healthy to eat in anything but moderation. Most red meat is very high in fat, as are whole-milk cheeses and the skin on chicken or turkey. In the U.S., non-organic meat and poultry may also contain antibiotics and hormones.
Aim for sufficient protein intake at each meal—including breakfast—in the leanest and healthiest form.
Food Serving size Protein
grams
Sat. fat (g)
Calories
FISH
Canned tuna 3.5 oz (100g) 19
0.2
 
86
Salmon 3.5 oz (100g) 21
0.8
130
Halibut 3.5 oz (100g) 23
0.4
111
Fresh tuna 3.5 oz (100g) 30
1.6
184
POULTRY (skinless)
Turkey breast 3.5 oz (100g) 31
0.6
147
Chicken breast 3.5 oz (100g) 31
1
165
Chicken thigh 3.5 oz (100g) 25
2.3
179
Chicken leg 3.5 oz (100g) 24
2.1
174
MEAT
Pork chops 1 chop (145g) 39
5
286
Skirt steak 3.5 oz (100g) 27
4
205
Ground beef (70% lean) 3.5 oz (100g) 14
11
332
Leg of lamb 3.5 oz (100g) 26
6.9
258
Cured ham 3.5 oz (100g) 23
9
178
LEGUMES
Soy beans 1/3 cup (100g) 17
1.3
173
Kidney beans 1/3 cup (100g) 10
0
123
Black beans 1/3 cup (100g) 9
0.1
132
Baked beans (canned) 1/3 cup (100g) 5
0
94
Peas 1/3 cup (100g) 8
0
118
MILK & EGGS
Skim milk 1/2 cup (100g) 3.4
0
34
Soy milk 1/2 cup (100g) 3.3
0.2
54
Eggs 2 boiled (100g) 13
3.3
155
Egg white 3 eggs (100g) 11
0
52
CHEESE
Non-fat mozzarella 3.5 oz (100g) 32
0
141
Non-fat cottage cheese 3.5 oz (100g) 10
0
72
Low-fat cheddar 3.5 oz (100g) 24
4.3
173
Low-fat Swiss cheese 3.5 oz (100g) 28
3.3
179
NUTS & SEEDS
Peanuts 1/4 cup (28g) 7
2
164
Almonds 1/4 cup (28g) 6
1
167
Pistachios 1/4 cup (28g) 6
1
159
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup (28g) 6
2
166
Flaxseed 1/4 cup (28g) 5
1
150
OTHER PROTEIN OPTIONS
Veggie burger 1 patty (100g) 23
2
219
Tofu 3.5 oz (100g) 7
0.3
55
High-protein cereal 1 cup (50g) 13
1
160
Greek yogurt (non-fat) 1/2 cup (100g) 10
0
59
Whey protein powder 1/3 cup (32g) 19
0.2
120
* Nutrition values are approximate only; significant variations occur according to brand, cut of meat, cooking method, etc.

Healthy eating tip 8: Add calcium for strong bones

Calcium is one of the key nutrients that your body needs in order to stay strong and healthy. It is an essential building block for lifelong bone health in both men and women, as well as many other important functions.
You and your bones will benefit from eating plenty of calcium-rich foods, limiting foods that deplete your body’s calcium stores, and getting your daily dose of magnesium and vitamins D and K—nutrients that help calcium do its job.
Recommended calcium levels are 1000 mg per day, 1200 mg if you are over 50 years old. Try to get as much of your daily calcium needs from food as possible and use only low-dose calcium supplements to make up any shortfall.

Good sources of calcium include:

  • Dairy: Dairy products are rich in calcium in a form that is easily digested and absorbed by the body. Sources include milk, yogurt, and cheese.
  • Vegetables and greens: Many vegetables, especially leafy green ones, are rich sources of calcium. Try turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, fennel, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and crimini mushrooms.
  • Beans: For another rich source of calcium, try black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, or baked beans.

Healthy eating tip 9: Limit sugar and salt

If you succeed in planning your diet around fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and good fats, you may find yourself naturally cutting back on foods that can get in the way of your healthy diet—sugar and salt.

Sugar

Sugar causes energy ups and downs and can add to health and weight problems. Unfortunately, reducing the amount of candy, cakes, and desserts we eat is only part of the solution. Often you may not even be aware of the amount of sugar you’re consuming each day. Large amounts of added sugar can be hidden in foods such as bread, canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, fast food, soy sauce, and ketchup. Here are some tips:
  • Avoid sugary drinks. One 12-oz soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar in it, more than the daily recommended limit! Try sparkling water with lemon or a splash of fruit juice.
  • Sweeten foods yourself. Buy unsweetened iced tea, plain yogurt, or unflavored oatmeal, for example, and add sweetener (or fruit) yourself. You’re likely to add far less sweetener than the manufacturer would have.
  • Eat naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or natural peanut butter to satisfy your sweet tooth. Keep these foods handy instead of candy or cookies.

How sugar is hidden on food labels

Check food labels carefully. Sugar is often disguised using terms such as:
  • cane sugar or maple syrup
  • corn sweetener or corn syrup
  • honey or molasses
  • brown rice syrup
  • crystallized or evaporated cane juice
  • fruit juice concentrates, such as apple or pear
  • maltodextrin (or dextrin)
  • Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Maltose, or Sucrose

Salt

Most of us consume too much salt in our diets. Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure and lead to other health problems. Try to limit sodium intake to 1,500 to 2,300 mg per day, the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt.
  • Avoid processed or pre-packaged foods. Processed foods like canned soups or frozen dinners contain hidden sodium that quickly surpasses the recommended limit.
  • Be careful when eating out. Most restaurant and fast food meals are loaded with sodium. Some offer lower-sodium choices or you can ask for your meal to be made without salt. Most gravy and sauces are loaded with salt, so ask for it to be served on the side.
  • Opt for fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables.
  • Cut back on salty snacks such as potato chips, nuts, and pretzels.
  • Check labels and choose low-salt or reduced-sodium products, including breakfast cereals.
  • Slowly reduce the salt in your diet to give your taste buds time to adjust.

Healthy eating tip 10: Bulk up on fiber

Eating foods high in dietary fiber can help you stay regular, lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and help you lose weight. Depending on your age and gender, nutrition experts recommend you eat at least 21 to 38 grams of fiber per day for optimal health. Many of us aren't eating half that amount.
  • In general, the more natural and unprocessed the food, the higher it is in fiber.
  • Good sources of fiber include whole grains, wheat cereals, barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears—more good reasons to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet.
  • There is no fiber in meat, dairy, or sugar. Refined or “white” foods, such as white bread, white rice, and pastries, have had all or most of their fiber removed.
  • An easy way to add more fiber to your diet is to start your day with a whole grain cereal, such as Fiber-One or All-Bran, or by adding unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite cereal.

How fiber can help you lose weight

Since fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods, the feeling of fullness will stay with you much longer, helping you eat less. Eating plenty of fiber can also move fat through your digestive system at a faster rate so that less of it can be absorbed. And when you fill up on high-fiber foods, you'll also have more energy for exercising.
To learn more, read: Fiber: The Essential Guide

17 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Many societies, especially those of the Americas and China, have a history of using cayenne pepper therapeutically. A powerful compound with many uses, cayenne pepper is currently gaining buzz for cleansing and detoxifying regimes such as the Master Cleanse, which uses the spice to stimulate circulation and neutralize acidity.
Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper has been used for a variety of ailments including heartburn, delirium, tremors, gout, paralysis, fever, dyspepsia, flatulence, sore throat, atonic dyspepsia, hemorrhoids, menorrhagia in women, nausea, tonsillitis, scarlet fever and diphtheria.
The Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
1. Anti-Irritant Properties

Cayenne has the ability to ease upset stomach, ulcers, sore throats, spasmodic and irritating coughs, and diarrhea.


2. Anti-Cold and Flu Agent

Cayenne pepper aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus. Once mucus begins to leave the body, relief from flu symptoms generally follows.
3. Anti-Fungal Properties

The results of one study indicated that cayenne pepper could effectively prevent the formation of the fungal pathogens phomopsis and collectotrichum
4. Migraine Headache Prevention

This may be related to the pepper’s ability to stimulate a pain response in a different area of the body, thus reverting the brain’s attention to the new site. Following this initial pain reaction, the nerve fibers have a depleted substance P (the nerve’s pain chemical), and the perception of pain is lessened.
5. Anti-Allergen

Cayenne is an anti- agent and may even help relieve allergies.


6. Digestive Aid

Cayenne is a well-known digestive aid. It stimulates the digestive tract, increasing the flow of enzyme production and gastric juices. This aids the body’s ability to metabolize food (and toxins). Cayenne pepper is also helpful for relieving intestinal gas. It stimulates intestinal peristaltic motion, aiding in both assimilation and elimination.
7. Anti-Redness Properties

Cayenne’s properties makes it a great herb for many chronic and degenerative conditions.
8. Helps Produce Saliva

Cayenne stimulates the production of saliva, an important key to excellent digestion and maintaining optimal oral health.
9. Useful for Blood Clots

Cayenne pepper also helps reduce atherosclerosis, encourages fibrinolytic activity and prevents factors that lead to the formation of blood clots, all of which can help reduce the chances of a heart attack or stroke.
10. Detox Support
Cayenne is a known circulatory stimulant. It also increases the pulse of our lymphatic and digestive rhythms. By heating the body, the natural process of detoxification is streamlined. Cayenne also causes us to sweat, another important process of detoxification. Combined with lemon juice and honey, cayenne tea is an excellent morning beverage for total body detox.
11. Joint-Pain Reliever

Extremely high in a substance called capsaicin, cayenne pepper acts to cause temporary pain on the skin, which sends chemical messengers from the skin into the joint, offering relief for joint pain.
12. Anti-Bacterial Properties

Cayenne is an excellent preservative and has been used traditionally to prevent food contamination from bacteria.
13. Possible Anti-Cancer Agent

Studies done at the Loma Linda University in California found that cayenne pepper may help prevent lung cancer in smokers. This may be again related to cayenne’s high quantity of capsaicin, a substance that might help stop the formation of tobacco-induced lung tumors. Other studies have also shown a similar reaction in cayenne’s resistance to liver tumors.
14. Supports Weight Loss

Scientists at the Laval University in Quebec found that participants who took cayenne pepper for breakfast were found to have less appetite, leading to less caloric intake throughout the day. Cayenne is also a great metabolic-booster, aiding the body in burning excess amounts of fats.
15. Promotes Heart-Health

Cayenne helps to keep blood pressure levels normalized. It also balances the body of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
16. Remedy for Toothache

Cayenne is an excellent agent against tooth and gum diseases.
17. Topical Remedy

As a poultice, cayenne has been used to treat snake bites, rheumatism, sores, wounds and lumbago.

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
References:

    P.C. Agarwal, Usha Dev, Baleshwar Singh, Indra Rani, Dinesh Chand, R.K. Khetarpal. Seed-borne fungi identified from exotic pepper (Capsicum spp.) germplasm samples introduced during 1976–2005. PGR Newsletter – Bioversity. issue. 149, pp.39-42.
    Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1255-60. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.29094. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

Source: globalhealingcenter.com


Most of The Human Studies Show Health Benefits

Multiple observational studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of many diseases.
Many of the studies pool together fruits and vegetables, while some look at fruits directly.
One review of 9 studies found that the risk of heart disease reduced by 7% for each daily portion of fruit.
A study on 9,665 adults in the U.S. found that fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a 46% lower risk of diabetes in women, but there was no difference in men.
One study that looked at fruits and vegetables separately found that vegetables were associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, but not fruit.
Show Health Benefits
Show Health Benefits
There are many other studies showing that fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a lower risk of heart attacks and stroke, the two most common causes of death in Western countries.
One study looked at how different types of fruit affect the risk of type II diabetes. Those who consumed the most grapes, apples and blueberries had the lowest risk, with blueberries having the strongest effect.
However, a problem with these types of studies is that they can not separate correlation from causation… that is, that the fruit caused the lower risk of the disease.
Because everyone “knows” that fruits are healthy, people who eat more of them are going to be more health conscious overall and less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, etc.
That being said, there are also a few randomized controlled trials (real human experiments) showing that increased fruit intake can lower blood pressure, reduce oxidative stress and improve glycemic control in diabetics.Overall, it seems clear from the data that fruits do have significant health benefits.

Bottom Line: There are many studies showing that fruit intake is associated with a lower risk of serious diseases like heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes.

Is Fruit Good or Bad For Your Health? The Sweet Truth
“Eat more fruits and vegetables.”

If I had a dime for every time I heard that recommendation, I’d be a rich man today.Everyone knows that fruits are healthy… they are the default “health foods.”They come from plants… they’re real, whole foods and humans have been eating them for a long time.Most of them are also very convenient… some people call them “nature’s fast food” because they are so easily portable and easy to prepare.On the surface, they seem like the perfect food.However… many people have challenged the belief about the health effects of fruit in the past few years.The main reason is that fruit is relatively high in sugar compared to other whole foods.

“Sugar” is Bad… But it Depends on The Context

There is a lot of evidence that added sugar is harmful 
This includes table sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup, which are both about half glucose, half fructose.
The main reason they are harmful, is because of the negative metabolic effects of fructose when consumed in large amounts.
I’m not going to get into the details, but you can read more about the harmful effects of added sugars here.
Many people now believe that because added sugars are bad, the same must apply to fruits, which also contain fructose.
However… this is completely wrong, because fructose is only harmful in large amounts and it is almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating fruit.
Bottom Line: There is a lot of evidence that large amounts of fructose can cause harm when consumed in excess. However, this depends on the dosage and context and does not apply to fruit.

Fruit Also Has Fiber, Water and Significant Chewing Resistance

Eating whole fruit, it is almost impossible to consume enough fructose to cause harm.

Fruits are loaded with fiber, water and have significant chewing resistance.

For this reason, most fruits (like apples) take a while to eat and digest, meaning that the fructose hits the liver slowly.

Plus, fruit is incredibly fulfilling. Most people will feel satisfied after one large apple, which contains 23 grams of sugar, 13 of which are fructose.

Compare that to a 16oz bottle of Coke… which contains 52 grams of sugar, 30 of which are fructose .

A single apple would make you feel quite full, automatically making you eat less of other foods. However, a bottle of soda has remarkably poor effects on satiety and people don’t compensate for the sugar in sodas by eating less of other foods .

When fructose hits your liver fast and in large amounts (soda and a candy bar) then that can have disastrous consequences… but when it hits your liver slowly and in small amounts (an apple) then your body can easily take care of the fructose.

Also, let’s not forget the evolutionary argument… humans and pre-humans have been eating fruit for millions of years. The human body is well adapted to the small amounts of fructose found in nature.

Whereas large amounts of added sugar are harmful to most people, the same can NOT be said for fruit. Period.

Bottom Line: Whole fruits contain a relatively small amount of fructose and they take a while to chew and digest. Humans can easily tolerate the small amounts of fructose found in fruit.

Fruits Contain Lots of Fiber, Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants


Of course, fruits are more than just watery bags of fructose.
There are lots of nutrients in them that are important for health. This includes fiber, vitamins, minerals, as well as a plethora of antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Fiber, especially soluble fiber, has many benefits. This includes reduced cholesterol levels, slowed absorption of carbohydrates and increased satiety. Plus there are many studies showing that soluble fiber can contribute to weight loss (7, 8, 9, 10).
Fruits tend to be high in several vitamins and minerals… especially Vitamin C, Potassium and Folate, which many people don’t get enough of.
Of course, “fruit” is an entire food group. There are dozens (or hundreds) of different fruits found in nature and the nutrient composition can vary greatly between the different types of fruit.
It makes sense that if you want to maximize the health effects, then focus on the fruit with the greatest amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals compared to the sugar and calorie content.
It is also a good idea to switch things up and eat a variety of fruits, because different fruits contain different nutrients.
Bottom Line: Fruits contain large amounts of important nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals and various antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Eating Fruit Can Help You Lose Weight



One thing that is often forgotten when discussing the sugar and carb content of fruit… they are also incredibly fulfilling!
Because of the fiber, the water and all the chewing, fruits are very satiating, calorie for calorie.
The satiety index is a measure of how much different foods contribute to satiety.
Fruits like apples and oranges are among the highest scoring foods tested, even more satiating than beef and eggs (19).
What this means, is that if you increase your intake of apples or oranges, chances are that you will feel so full that you will automatically eat less of other foods.
There is also one interesting study that demonstrates how fruits can contribute to weight loss (20).
In this study, 9 men were placed on a diet that consisted of nothing but fruit (82% of calories) and nuts (18% of calories) for 6 months.
Not surprisingly, the men lost significant amounts of weight. The men who were overweight lost more than those who were at a normal weight.
Overall, given the strong effects fruits can have on satiety, it seems perfectly logical that replacing other foods (especially junk foods) with fruit could help people lose weight over the long term.

Bottom Line: Fruits like apples and oranges are among the most fulfilling foods you can eat. Eating more of them should lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.

When Fruit Should be Avoided

Even though fruit is healthy for most people, there are some reasons I can think of not to eat them.
One obvious reason is some sort of intolerance. For example, eating fruit can cause digestive symptoms in people with fructose intolerance.
The other reason is being on a very low-carb / ketogenic diet. The main goal of these diets is to reduce carbohydrates sufficiently for the brain to start using mostly ketone bodies instead of glucose for fuel.
For this to happen, it is necessary to restrict carbs to under 50 grams per day, sometimes all the way down to 20-30 grams.
Given that just a single piece of fruit can contain more than 20 grams of carbs, it is obvious that fruits are inappropriate for such a diet. Even just one piece of fruit per day could easily knock someone out of ketosis.

Bottom Line: The main reasons to avoid fruit include some sort of intolerance, or being on a very low-carb / ketogenic diet.

Fruit Juices and Dried Fruits Are Always a Bad Idea

Even though whole fruits are very healthy for most people, the same can NOT be said for fruit juices and dried fruit.
Many of the fruit juices on the market aren’t even “real” fruit juices. They consist of water, mixed with some sort of concentrate and a whole bunch of added sugar.
But even if you get 100% real fruit juice, it is still a bad idea.
There is actually a lot of sugar in fruit juice, about as much as a sugar-sweetened beverage.
However, there is no fiber and chewing resistance to slow down consumption, making it very easy to consume a large amount of sugar in a short period of time.
Dried fruits (like raisins) can be a problem as well. They are very high in sugar and it is easy to consume large amounts.
Smoothies are somewhere in the middle. If you put the whole fruit in the blender, then it’s much better than drinking fruit juice, but not as good as eating whole fruit.

For 90 Something Percent of People, Fruit is Super Healthy

If you can tolerate fruit and you’re not on a low-carb/ketogenic diet, then by all means eat fruit… preferably as parts of a healthy, real food based diet that includes animals and plants.
At the end of the day, fruits are “real” foods. They are highly nutritious and so fulfilling that eating them can help you feel more satisfied with less food.
The majority of people would see great health benefits by replacing some of the crap they are eating with fruit.