Not a vegetable but conspicuously placed among them, mushrooms are a blessing in disguise. They provide much of the same nutrients as vegetables apart from nourishing us with the benefits of meat, beans and grains. Low in calories, sodium, cholesterol and fat and gluten-free these have been given a ‘superfood’ status owing to their different benefits. Fitness and health experts recommend adding mushrooms as a regular part of a vegetarian diet. Know more about mushrooms and learn to differentiate between the healthy and the poisonous ones with the help of tips from the website www.firsteatright.com. Soft when cooked these delights can be easily consumed by older adults too. Moreover, we’ve heard about exercise and brain activation to keep yourself safely away from cognitive impairment and diseases such as Alzheimer’s. What if you are blessed enough to reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment by adding mushrooms as a regular part of your diet?
Grooming Your Brain in a Better Way
Mushrooms have become an indispensable ingredient in various cuisines around the world, nutritious and full of antioxidants. A new study has come up with the fascinating fact that a unique antioxidant present in mushrooms can have a protective effect on the brain. Researchers have come up with the fact that seniors who consume more than two standard portions of mushrooms every week are at a 50% reduced risk of suffering from mild cognitive impairments (MCI). One portion is 3/4th cup of cooked mushrooms that weighs about 150 grams and two portions is about half a plate. The study was based on more than 600 Chinese adults over the age of 60 whose diet and lifestyle were monitored from 2011 to 2017.
MCI is somewhere in between mild cognitive decline and dementia. Individuals with MCI show signs of forgetfulness, memory loss and decline in skills such as language, attention and visuospatial abilities. The major difference between MCI and other serious forms of dementia is that MCI does not affect daily activities or impair living as seen in Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. When that’s the case, the researchers tried to gauge the brain health of the participants with neuropsychological tests that can measure various features of a person’s cognitive abilities.
As the research was done in Singapore, six mushrooms that were common to the country-golden, oyster, shiitake, white button mushrooms, dried mushrooms and canned mushrooms-were taken up for study. Consuming any of the mushrooms is beneficial for cognitive skills and this invoked the researchers’ curiousness in the magic ingredient in these fungi that enabled decreased cognitive risk. And, their answer is ergothioneine (ET). ET is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent that humans fail to synthesize on their own and mushrooms are a versatile source of this nutrient. We’ve had studies previously showing that individuals with MCI had ET levels lower than the rest in the group and also studies revealing that decreased ET levels might be a risk factor for neurodegeneration. Hence, consuming mushrooms that help us increase ET levels in our body might promote cognitive health. Researchers say that certain other compounds such as bioactive compounds, dictyophorines, erinacines and scabronines might add additional value to cognitive health.
Eat not one but two or more portions of mushrooms every week to sharpen your cognitive skills and stay away from neurodegeneration.
The craze for marathons, walkathons and other similar events are climbing up the ladder as the world is becoming more and more health conscious. It is indeed a good sign! There are such events organized for creating awareness for various reasons-right from those such as health awareness, walk for a cause events, marathons that are arranged as charity events and so. The cause might be any but you become the boss of your health by participating in such events. Its usual to see people enrolling themselves into fitness classes for building up their stamina and expanding their activity schedules to improve their body fitness before participating in such events. Mind you, these are not child’s play. While a 10-kilometer or 15-kilomenter run might seem pretty easy there are ones such as the 50-kilometer events that need real stamina and fitness to complete them and achieve success. Do you want to improve your endurance and stamina? There’s a simple way out that’s healthy and wise.
Bringing in the Mediterranean Diet
A small study done by a research team has come up with the valuable information that consuming a Mediterranean diet just four days before an athlete’s endurance exercise performance is sure to show positive results. The Mediterranean diet is one of the few diets that’s got the approval of the majority of health experts for its nutritional benefits.
Mediterranean diet is an umbrella term that includes eating patterns of all those people who live in countries alongside the Mediterranean Sea. A typical Mediterranean diet comprises of high consumption of fruits and veggies, olive oil occupies a central place in the diet, dairy, fish and poultry are consumed in limited quantities, nuts are taken in moderation and there is minimal consumption of red meat, wine, trans and saturated fats and sugar. Find an elaborate list of items that comprise the heart of the Mediterranean diet by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com. Its been shown that people following a Mediterranean diet are less prone to heart attacks than those following a Western diet but this is not 100% due to the diet alone. Lifestyle factors too play a role in defining the overall health of a person. Western diets are usually composed of scarce consumption of fruits, vegetables and minimal-processed oils, increased consumption of trans and saturated fats, dairy, refined sugar, sodium and processed foods such as burgers, French fries and baked goods. Whereas, the foods included in a Mediterranean diet contain antioxidants and nitrates and are said to have high anti-inflammatory properties, all of which help in improving performance of endurance athletes. So, when a person follows a Mediterranean diet, he/she can see a definite change in exercise performance immediately or within a few days. This made a team of researchers start thinking over the possibility of including the nutrients that are a part of the Mediterranean diet in the daily meal plan of individuals and look for changes in performance.
The research team included seven women and four men in their study. All the participants were given the Mediterranean diet for four days and on the fifth day they were recommended to run on the treadmill for 5 kilometers. Nine to sixteen days after this, the participants were fed on a Western diet for another 4 days and were asked to take the treadmill test on the fifth day. The researchers also wanted to test the effect on both these diets on anaerobic exercises such as cycle test or handgrip test. While the study could give us a positive hope with its findings that following a Mediterranean diet helped people run 6% faster on the 5km treadmill test compared to their output after following a Western diet, neither of the diets had any effect on anaerobic exercises.
While we can be happy that following a Mediterranean diet improves performance in as little as four days, we should also be aware of the fact that these improvements are lost soon after switching over to a Western diet. This creates an awareness among all of us reminding that the effects last long only when there is long-term adherence to the dietary pattern. The research team came to the conclusion that a diet that’s good for health is definitely good for exercise performance too.
Marriage has its perks and downsides. You get someone to spend quality time and share your feelings. At the same time an unhappy relationship can multiply stress levels, create ill-feelings and cause unhappiness. Marriage is not a cakewalk and many people genuinely try to make it work at any cost. An affectionate spouse not only adds peace, joy and happiness in the relationship but also promotes your well-being and the urge to take care of yourself.
Vow to Stay Together Forever
A new study has found that marriage lowers the risk of heart disease. Published in the journal Heart, the new study report analyzed more than 30 studies involving over two million people probing on their marital status and heart disease risk. While 80% risk for the disease depended on genetic or lifestyle factors such as high blood glucose levels and diabetes another 20% risk for it was influenced by social factors and personal relationships. This doesn’t come as a surprise because there are other studies supporting the fact that emotional well-being affects heart health greatly and physicians must evaluate it to determine the risk of a heart problem in patients. Stress is a critical risk factor for heart health and its causes might be many-financial strains, health problems, death of a loved one or loneliness. Loneliness is often a problem in people who have lost their spouses or live alone either because they are divorced/separated or they have never been married. Emotional well-being is far more than having money to buy things or having a high-paid job. Stay free from stress and stay positive with the help of practical tips from the website www.firsteatright.com. You need people to share your feelings and love you, and marriage gives you that.
Results of the study showed that:
Heart & Soul of Marriage
While it sounds goods when someone tells you that marriage improves heart health and cheers you on one of those gloomy days when you suffer from a strained relationship, we need to understand what factors stand behind such a proposition!
Maybe the spouses can judge any deterioration to their partner’s health, respond quickly in case of any emergency and ensure that their partners follow a heart-healthy routine. Both the husband and wife care for each other’s well-being and it is human nature to eat well and look after ourselves when there is someone dependent on us. Living alone negates any of these needs according to the individual and he/she takes least pain to eat healthy food or exercise regularly. The feeling of ‘For whom should I take care of myself?’ sinks within the individual which acts as the root cause for many problems. Also, when both husband and wife work their income increases by 2-fold and they are better equipped to afford for proper healthcare needs. But it is also possible that when marriage doesn’t work out between two people and they get divorced they experience stress that can worsen heart health and create other health problems. So, it is unlikely that we recommend people to get married to live heart-healthy but at the same time the advantages should also be considered. Physicians too should review marital status while considering likeliness of heart disease.
Stop the calorie calculations, limiting the portion sizes and differentiating food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Start eating what you want to eat, how much ever you want to eat and whenever you want to eat. Isn’t this a dream come true for many of us? It makes us tear away the layers of dieting principles, get far off from intermittent fasting routines and care only about what we would like to eat. This scenario is not imaginative and forms the basis of what we call as ‘intuitive eating’.
Ditch the Deal
Early man had no concept of dieting as finding food was a monstrous task by itself. He ate whatever was edible whenever he found it. There was no limit to his portions and he ate until his stomach was full. This forms the basis of intuitive eating too. Intuitive eating is eating whatever you want whenever you want to. Its just the opposite of dieting-no calorie measurements, carb counting, judging a food for its calorie or nutritive value or measuring waistline every day. It does seem weird after all the meticulous calorie calculations carried out for designing the perfect diet chart for your requirement-weight loss, weight gain, diseases or disorders.
Born unto this world, we learn the art of eating, to eat when we are hungry and to stop when we are full. The clean plate club sometimes disrupts our judgement of these cues and sometimes, growing up can also change them. This is where intuitive eating comes to our rescue. While it might not be easy to understand and pursue, fixing upon one thing in your mind that intuitive eating is just the opposite of the food habits you have been taught will help you get out of the challenges of dieting.
Intuitive Eating Ideologies
Intuitive eating works on certain principles and they include rejecting the idea of a diet, learning to read hunger and fullness cues, knowing your satiety, never differentiating food as good or bad, not succumbing to emotional hunger, respecting your body and realizing that each of us have a unique physique whose structure cannot be changed, exercising regularly, refraining from tracking fitness updates via apps or trackers, realizing that no food is off limits and appreciating a healthy body.
This is a concept that bans the idea of dieting and looks into each food type rationally helping people differentiate between physical and emotional feelings. Rather than eating owing to emotions such as happiness, sadness, joy or anger intuitive eating helps you eat based on the needs of your body. It brings in a routine where we eat because we are hungry and not because the clock shows that its time for breakfast or lunch. Also, please let go of the feeling that intuitive eating is a platform to enjoy as much food as you want-it does involve being mindful of what you eat. The advantage offered here despite the idea of mindfulness is that intuitive eating doesn’t restrict your mind from anything that you desire. You don’t feel guilty after eating a piece of cake or feel bad after consuming a milkshake rather it helps you enjoy the deliciousness of the food surrounding you.
Dieting throughout the year or restricting yourself from all your favorite foods will not work out in the long run. It tires your mind and body, puts you into depression and anxiety and even isolates you from social gatherings and parties as these involve high-calorie foods and finally, might push you into eating disorders too.
Good For All?
Intuitive eating too needs some planning and a certain level of execution. For instance, people with diabetes, blood pressure, heart problems or pregnant women cannot blindly follow the ideologies of this eating form and they need to check it up with their physician to make slight variations in their diet to suit the health requirements of the body. We don’t have anything called as an ‘ideal’ diet and it all depends on the individual. Even when two different people have similar nutrient requirements, weight ranges and height, the diet prescribed would definitely be different. Even if the diet prescription remains the same hypothetically its effect on the individual varies greatly.
Intuitive eating also comes as an eye opener to parents who choose to remove certain food groups completely for some reason. The latest buzz about food trends and diets frighten many of us who finally result in removing carbs or fats completely off our diet plan. Also, intuitive eating might not be immediately suitable for someone coming out of an eating disorder (https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/02/intuitive-eating/583357/) as these individuals’ hunger and satiety cues don’t fall into place correctly but are ruled by their opinions on the different foods that they eat. Hence, a proper meal chart would best serve to bring these individuals to normal eating routines slowly after which intuitive eating might be introduced.
Mind you, if someone tells that intuitive eating is the best way to lose weight, they are not talking about eating according to your intuition but once again trying to force you into dieting. Anything can happen with intuitive eating-weight might increase, decrease or stay unchanged. Studies have shown that intuitive eating proves to be less effective as a weight loss measure while certain studies do show that it does improve the body image of young women. So, intuitive eating might be the best course to be followed once you reach an ideal body weight with the help of nutritionists and dietitians at www.firsteatright.com. By then, you realize your hunger and satiety cues, refrain from eating for emotional comfort and start realizing about your own body.
While we feel proud that intuitive eating is the latest trend if you think deeply it’s the way infants and children eat. They eat when they feel like eating, choose whatever they want to eat and stop when they feel like stopping. Actually, we are all born with an inbuilt capacity for intuitive eating. Why don’t we go back to the basics and get it sorted out?
The Latest diet trend is not dieting: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/02/intuitive-eating/583357/
Intuitive eating: How eating what you want can be better than dieting: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2019/03/22/intuitive-eating-how-eating-what-you-want-can-better-than-dieting/3163410002/
Is intuitive eating the anti-diet to end all diets? https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/intuitive-eating-anti-diet-fads-emotional-healthy-food-hunger-fullness-exercise-a7560201.html
Intuitive eating leads backlash against diet culture: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-47404019
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.