and all the BS fit to read!

Current Nutritional Labelling is Difficult to Follow

Current Nutritional Labelling is Difficult to Follow

Apr 7, 2016

If you’re like most shoppers, then chances are, a trip to the grocery is usually unplanned, quick, and sometimes, not very fruitful when it comes to making healthy choices. Much of the blame can be attributed to current nutrition labelling which is ineffective, according to a study by McGill University. The study, published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, found that other labelling systems are more efficient. Researchers compared four different systems, finding that the one most frequently used in the US and Canada is the least useful for buyers.  This system lists percentages of the daily value of specific nutrients. Although the labels do provide exhaustive information, they can be confusing and can be difficult to compare in terms of nutritional value to similar products. Another system called NuVal, which indicates the overall nutritional value of products with a single score between 1-100, is used in some products in the US and Canada. Researchers found this system to be much easier to follow, since it does away with the need to ascertain the health values of foods by comparing so many different contents (including fat, sugar, salt, etc.). For instance, one product may be low in fat, yet high in sugar; another similar product may contain more fat but less salt and sugar. Therefore, working with one overall number is more practical for the average shopper. NuVal takes a wide array of nutritional factors into account to come up with a single score; these factors include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, trans fats, saturated fats, Omega-3 fats, cholesterol, sugar and salt. NuVal also takes into account the quality of different foods and their caloric content, as well as their carbohydrate content and glycemic index. Foods made with high fructose corn syrup, for instance, which tend to be high up on the glycemic index, naturally have a lower NuVal score than foods sweetened with healthier alternatives like Stevia. Antioxidant content is also considered important – thus, scientists look into total bioflavanoid and carotenoid leves, as well as Vitamins A, C and E. Scores for different products can change over time, for instance if the product is made with different ingredients, or if new...

Mindfulness as Effective as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

Mindfulness as Effective as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

Mar 29, 2016

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is currently the gold standard therapy for treating depression and anxiety (two of the most common mental conditions in the United States). A new study carried out by scientists at Lund University in Sweden, however, suggest that group mindfulness treatment may be just as effective. Mindfulness, often used in meditation and yoga, is essentially a way of living that focuses on ‘being in the here and now’. Guilt about the past and worry about the future can provoke the ‘fight or flight’ response, leading to anxiety and sometimes, depression, yet remaining ‘in the present moment’ can bring about the opposite response in the body. Techniques such as mindfulness (and pranayamic/controlled breathing) have been shown to lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol, but this is the first randomized study to compares the effectiveness of mindfulness, to CBT. During the study, a total of 215 patients with reaction to severe stress, and others with depression or anxiety, were randomly place in a mindfulness treatment group (where they received structured group mindfulness treatment), or a regular treatment group (where they received CBT). Patients were also treated privately and were asked to jot down their exercises in a diary. The study period lasted eight weeks. After the treatment period, the patients were asked to fill in questionnaires rating the seriousness of their depression and anxiety. In both groups, symptoms of these mental disorders were significantly reduced. The findings showed there was no statistical difference between both therapies. Researchers are hopeful about the findings, because they indicate that group mindfulness therapy can be used in health care centers that cannot afford one-on-one CBT for their patients. The benefits of mindfulness when it comes to stress reduction are well documented. Thus, mindfulness either in its own right or as part of yoga, is often used in top rehabilitation centers for alcohol addiction and substance abuse in many countries in the world. Controlled breathing is one of the most important stress busting effects of mindfulness meditation in particular, which is of great aid in preventing the negative emotions and thought patterns that can trigger relapse. One recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that mindfulness can also significantly improve the quality...

The Benefits of Life Long Healthy Eating

The Benefits of Life Long Healthy Eating

Feb 9, 2016

We all know that we should eat five portions of fruits and vegetables every day, and that eating an apple is better for your waistline than reaching for another cheeseburger. But the health benefits and ramifications of healthy eating are much more wide reaching than simply the effect on weight and BMI: eating a healthy and balanced diet in the long term can mean that you live longer and that you are healthier, more energized, and happier. Fight of Illness Eating an unhealthy and fat rich diet can be a huge risk factor in leading to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. All of these illnesses can be life shortening, and they all have devastating and uncomfortable side effects too.  If you miss out on too much of the protein, vitamins and minerals that your body needs, your muscle mass will decrease as your fat stores increase, meaning that your body won’t have the strength that it needs to fight off common illnesses. A recent study conducted by researchers in China on a huge target group of 6,000 women found that women who ate diets rich in antioxidant rich cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower and kale) had a much lower chance of developing breast cancer after menopause than those eating an unhealthy and fat rich diet. Extensive additional research estimates that at least 30% of breast cancer examples are linked to the consistent consumption of a poor diet. Other vulnerable groups can benefit from utilizing a healthy and nutritionally rich diet to enhance their health and reduce their risk of succumbing to illness: There is no one that can’t benefit from eating a balanced and healthy diet in the long term. Research has found that Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) can even play a vital and essential role in helping those in recovery from addiction and alcoholism to bring their body’s back to full health and help they overcome the nutritional deficiencies and other adverse health effects that can play such a huge role in the lives of these individuals. You’ll Show Less Signs of Aging The result that the aging process will have on your face and skin is largely controlled...

Make Room for Organic Foods in 2015

Make Room for Organic Foods in 2015

Jan 13, 2015

According to a recently released Roper survey, 40 per cent of all Americans said that organic fruits and vegetables would play a bigger role in their diet within a year; of those surveyed, some 63% already purchased organic foods and beverages at least occasionally. There are many reasons why you should consider going organic this year. They include: * Organic fruit and veg are healthier, tastier and more aromatic: Pesticide-free products are richer in phytochemicals, compounds which are responsible for many of the wonderful aromas of vegetables, herbs and spices. It is thought that organic produce contains higher levels of phytochemicals because they are unprotected by pesticides and fungicides. As they are more stressed by insects and microbes, they need to defend themselves more and they do this by producing more phytochemicals. These powerful compounds have an important role to play in fighting ageing. Some of the most powerful phytochemicals include: * Allicin (found in onions, garlic and leeks): These enhance the production of glutathione S-transferase, which protects against some types of cancers and strengthens the immunity. * Beta Carotene (found in dark green, red and yellow vegetables and fruits, such as carrots and peaches): These phytochemicals also reduce the risk of many cancers and improves the immunity. * Lycopene (found it abundance in tomatoes and watermelon): This phytochemical protects against cell damage. * Sulphorophane (found in cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and kale): These help the body rid itself of harmful toxin and has been found to inhibit breast cancer development in animals. There are many more phytochemicals, which are present in large amounts in nearly all types of fruit and vegetables; ensure you consume a wide variety of these foods to maintain the maximum benefit. * Organic food is healthier:  A recent study finally put a famous 2012 study (deeming organic product to be no healthier than conventionally grown produce) to rest. The new study was published in July, 2014, in the British Journal of Nutrition. It involved a review of 343 peer-reviewed publications, which looked into the nutritional value and safety of conventional vs organic produce. The team used updated meta-analysis techniques, which lent greater reliability and accuracy to their findings. The researchers found that organic produce contains significantly more antioxidants. This is...

Healthy Eating in 2015: How to Make Your Weight Loss Resolutions Stick

Healthy Eating in 2015: How to Make Your Weight Loss Resolutions Stick

Dec 28, 2014

When it comes to making new years resolutions, health improvements always seem to feature highly on people’s lists and often include things like quitting smoking or cutting back on drinking. But weight loss in particular seems to be a popular choice when it comes to self improvement for the coming year. However with statistics revealing that just 8% of resolution-makers achieve their goals, it seems that sticking to your promises can be easier said than done – this is often because we set ourselves unrealistic targets. If you are serious about losing weight in 2015 then they key is make changes that you can easily work into your lifestyle and stick to on a daily basis. Don’t vow to cut out all carbs or lose 40lb by the end of January – it’s unlikely to happen and will leave you feeling disheartened. Here are some easily achievable diet and lifestyle resolutions to start you off on your weight loss journey for the new year. Eat breakfast If you are one of the 31 million Americans that skip breakfast in the morning because you believe you’re cutting out calories or are simply short of time, then this is a bad eating habit that you need to change in 2015. Research shows that skipping breakfast makes your more hungry and likely to snack, nibble or binge throughout the rest of the day. Essentially fasting for this amount of time also means that your metabolism is slowed right down and therefore your body is unable to break down fats successfully. Get up an extra 15 minutes earlier and start your day with high fibre breakfast of oatmeal, bran, wholegrain toast or fruit to set you up with stable, regulated blood sugar and energy levels that will see you through til lunchtime and keep you feeling full on fewer calories. Designated days Totally turning your diet around can feel like a daunting prospect and it can be difficult to know where to begin. Take baby steps by planning meals in advance. This can be made easier by having designated days – for example Friday Fish Day, Monday Carb Day and so on. You could also color coordinate your days so that on a purple day you...

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