|Posted on July 17, 2018 at 5:30 PM||comments (1)|
THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS CORNER WITH DANA
The hills of Morocco’s Anti-Atlas mountains are flecked with irregularly shaped argan trees. Some are low to the ground, hunched over like shaggy trolls. Others have grown tall and outstretched, providing high branches for goats to scale and find food. The tree has been generous to the human population of Morocco, too. They provides millions of people, including many indigenous women, with jobs processing and selling argan goods, like internationally renowned hair oil. My recipes.com tells us the difference between cosmetic and culinary argan oil is simple: One’s toasted (the eating kind) and one’s not (the skin and hair kind). To make argan oil, you first take off the pulp of the dried argan fruit to get the inner nut alone. Then you crack the nut to get the kernel which are roasted, ground on a rotary quern, pressed, and decanted. The decanted oil is later filtered to various purities to become ready for your eating pleasure.
Why should we eat this oil? Here is what argon oil direct has to say:
Culinary Argan nut oil is high oleic acid and natural plant sterols.
This makes culinary Argan oil of interest in the regulation of blood cholesterol levels.
One 21 day study discovered that good HDL cholesterol levels in the blood had gone up significantly for subjects given edible Argan Oil.
In addition, it significantly reduced Triglycerides levels in the blood. Triglycerides are linked with cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and stroke.
Heart Disease & Strokes
Damage to the coronary artery walls predispose to forming thrombi leading to acute coronary syndromes such as unstable angina and MI and related effects such as stroke. Foods such as edible Argan Oil have many beneficial effects such as lowering triglycerides levels – which are linked to cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis and stroke .
Studies show that taking Alpha-linolenic acid omega-3 fatty acids leads to a 14% to 20% reduction of heart attacks. In addition the Omega fatty acids from this plant based source were found to be twice as effective as those derived from fish oils.
Further studies into blocking abnormal fatty deposit within the walls of arteries has also been examined.
In Morocco Culinary Argan Oil is used for its anti-inflammatory effects. It contains Triterpenoids, butyrospermol, known for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
In addition, raised levels of linoleic acid, in Culinary Argan Oil increase production of prostaglandins. This can help improve rheumatologic conditions. Antioxidants, flavonoids, sapponins and tocopherols are also found in high concentrations in Argan Oil. These nutrients promote good circulation and have a strong natural anti-inflammatory effects. It is interesting note that culinary Argan Oil has been used for heart health and that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have up to five times the risk of developing premature cardiovascular disease.
Two studies tested the use of Argan Oil in the diet for helping manage diabetes. A promising study revealed a hypoglycaemic effect within one month in test animals. A second study confirmed insulin-sensitising activity in cells tested with Argan press cake.
About Nut Oils, Weight Loss, B.M.I
Carol O’Neil, PhD, MPH, RD and associates evaluated data from 13,292 men and women aged 19 and older. Twenty-four hour data was analysed for the intake of almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Consumers of nuts were defined as those who consumed at least ¼ ounce tree nuts per day. Participants were found to have a decreased metabolic syndrome risk factors that included abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, elevated fasting glucose and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in comparison with those who did not consume nuts. Nut consumers also had a lower level of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and indicator in conditions such as Arthritis.
Maureen Ternus, M.S., R.D., Executive Director of the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (INC NREF), adds, “In light of these new data and the fact that the FDA has issued a qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease with a recommended intake nuts per day”.
I love new and exciting foods that have the ability to heal- try some!
Happy Healthy Eating! Dana
|Posted on June 26, 2018 at 9:20 AM||comments (0)|
Everywhere you go there is talk about Vitamin D. But what's all the hype about?
There is no surprise that vitamins are good for the body and for your health, but many may not know exactly what each vitamin can do for your health and where to find it in food. Vitamin D, which is a unique vitamin for many reasons, is widely considered to be one of the most powerful antioxidants (vitamins are antioxidants) around. Why is this? Vitamin D has been extensively studied in a variety of ways ranging to its benefits on skin, how it affects health and cancer risk, and recently on how it can potentially help your skin to heal quicker once it is damaged from UV rays (sun burn). In addition, the body cannot absorb any calcium without this valuable vitamin, making this an essential vitamin you need more of.
Getting sunlight is critical to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin D, which protects against heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancers of the colon, prostate, and breast. Sunlight also fights against insomnia, depression, and an overactive immune system. But on the other hand, too much sun is dangerous and can even be deadly. So how much sun is too much? And when is the best time to catch some rays?
How much sun do we need daily?
When sunlight comes in contact with skin, a reaction happens that allows skin cells to produce vitamin D. For a person with fair skin, experts have determined that going outside for 10 minutes in the midday sun wearing a tank top and shorts with no sunscreen is enough to produce approximately 10,000 IUs (international units) of vitamin D. People with darker skin or the elderly produce less of the vitamin. So if UV rays are harmful after a certain amount of time spent in the sun- what about sunscreen?
Here is what Collective Evolution has to say about sunscreens;
Summer may be a long way off, but it’s never too early to start thinking about protecting your skin. For most people, this means covering themselves in sunscreen, which corporate marketing campaigns encourage at every turn. Yet, while we do indeed need protection to prevent sunburns, blocking out the sun entirely is not ideal. Rich in vitamin D, it offers a number of other health benefits, including, oddly enough, cancer prevention. We’ve been made to fear the sun, and, as a result, adults and children are choosing to drench themselves in a bath of toxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals.
Science has long shown that what we put on our skin ends up in our bodies, and quickly. Multiple studies from across the world have examined sunscreen in particular, evaluating its ingredients and how it penetrates and absorbs into the skin after application. One study, conducted at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba, Canada, sought to develop a method for quantifying common sunscreen agents. Results demonstrated a significant penetration of all sunscreen agents into the skin, meaning all of these chemicals are entering multiple tissues within the body. Conversely, a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed a significant drop in hormone-disrupting chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products after participants switched to ‘cleaner’ products. These chemicals include oxybenzone, triclosan, parabens, phthalates, and more. You can read more about that and access the study here. All of these ingredients are found within most poplar sunscreens.
This could in fact be the most troublesome ingredient found in the majority of popular sunscreens. Used because it effectively absorbs ultraviolet light, it’s also believed to cause hormone disruption and cell damage, which could promote cancer.
According to the Environmental Working Group:
Commonly used in sunscreens, the chemical oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic reactions. Data are preliminary, but studies have found a link between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and health harms. One study has linked oxybenzone to endometriosis in older women; another found that women with higher levels of oxybenzone during pregnancy had lower birth weight daughters.
There are also many other ingredients of concern- so how do you choose a sunscreen? The Environmental working group is a nonprofit organization devoted to testing our world for toxic chemicals. They have just released The 2018 Guide to Sunscreens which rate products for children and adults. To find this guide visit; https://www.ewg.org/
The sun is not your enemy- in fact you must have this majestic star's amazing power to survive.
So you do the homework and find a product that is safe for your body when you will be spending extended time in the sun.
Happy Healthy Living!
|Posted on May 20, 2018 at 3:30 PM||comments (1)|
THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS CORNER WITH DANA
To Grill or Not to Grill- that is the Question!
Ok- really? That is a crazy question! We live in Texas where it is 90 in December. Of course we grill! Here is the thing though- you have to do it right or it is a recipe for disaster. Why is that?
A little thing called HCA’S or Heterocyclic Amines. These are a group of compounds that form when proteins, sugars and creatine in meat react at high temperatures. This occurs when we cook meats at 400 degrees and above. When heated, these compounds combine to form a potentially dangerous reaction that can lead to cancer, increase oxidative stress in the body and they may even be neurotoxic.
Talk about killing the party atmosphere Dana! But wait- I do have some tips to save the outdoor barbeque and make your body happy and healthy.
1. Apply vitamin E directly to your meat- ground or larger cuts. Hint- grass fed beef is four times higher in vitamin E so quality does count.
2. Marinate your meat, veggies or tofu prior to cooking with herbs, spices and aromatics. You can make a marinade or a dry rub. Make sure not to use a tomato based barbeque sauce to marinade as it doesn’t help decrease HCA’s. You can put it on after.
3. Use Dark Beer as a marinade- this results in 90% les HCA’s.
4. Cook meats at temps lower than 400 degrees, mound charcoal off to one side, flip meat frequently and cut off black char.
5. Last- pair your meat with the right guest! Fermented foods like sauerkraut or Kimchi are good due to the fermentation/good bacteria present.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and brussel sprouts all contain compounds that inhibit the toxicity of HCA’s. Green tea, red wine, blackberries, red grapes, watermelon and spinach have all shown to reduce the toxicity of HCA’s.
Also know - good old fashioned charcoal and lighter fluid is made from toxic chemicals. Lighter fluid plus charcoal plus match equals a problem. Petroleum-based lighter fluid produces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and leaves petroleum residue on food and in your lungs. Skip the lighter fluid! Try these healthier ways to get the grill going:
• Charcoal chimney starter ($10 to $35): It looks like an oversized metal beer mug with a grate near the bottom. Put in the charcoal, ignite it with paper, and in 15 to 30 minutes the briquettes are good to go.
• Electric charcoal starter ($10 to $20): This is a metal coil you bury in a mound of charcoal and plug in. In 8 to 15 minutes, the fire's on its way.
That said, it's better to eliminate charcoal completely. A propane or natural gas grill is cleaner and more energy-efficient. Charcoal produces soot that irritates respiratory conditions, such as asthma, and releases the carcinogenic VOC benzene, so stand out of the smoke. Also avoid quick-start charcoal soaked with lighter fluid and charcoal with additives, such as sodium nitrate.
Be safe on this holiday and serve safe food!
Happy Healthy Grilling!
This piece was adapted from the original article found in the Natural Grocers monthly flyer titled Master the Art of Healthy Grilling by Heather Pratt MNT and Lindsay Wilson. Checkout Natural Grocers on West 7th in Ft worth, Tx.