What the World’s Healthiest Diets Have in Common

  • Diets

Celebrity trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak traveled to the healthiest countries around the world to learn more about what made their meals extra nourishing. To start, in the United States, we eat much bigger portions than people in other countries. While there are many different factors that come into play, the overlapping feature found in healthiest countries around the world is that they walk much more than the average American. Food for thought?

The Brain-Gut Connection

  • The Brain-Gut Connection

Some studies suggest a link between fat and sugar on cognitive function and behavior, and are suggesting that such problems may be linked to alteration of the microbiome. A study was done and team observed that both a high-fat and high-sugar diet, compared to a normal diet caused changes in gut bacteria that appear related to a significant loss of “cognitive flexibility” or the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations.

Fiber Intake Linked to Successful Aging

  • Fiber Intake Linked to Successful Aging

While it is well known that a diet with adequate fiber assists in keeping people “regular,” eating the right amount of fiber also helps to avoid disease and disability into old age. Increased dietary fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and has been shown to lower blood pressure. Researchers explored the relationship between carbohydrate nutrition and healthy aging, examining total carbohydrate intake, total fiber intake, glycemic index and sugar intake. Fiber made the greatest difference in “successful aging.”

Preserving Muscle in Menopause

  • Preserving Muscle in Menopause

Taking vitamin D supplements can help to increase muscle strength and reduce the loss of muscle mass in women long after menopause. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted over a nine-month period. Research showed that women receiving supplements exhibited a significant increase in muscle strength compared to those not receiving supplements.

Chamomile Tea May Reduce Thyroid Cancer Risk

  • Chamomile Tea May Reduce Thyroid Cancer Risk

According to new research, regularly drinking chamomile tea may help to keep the thyroid gland healthy and reduce the risk of thyroid cancer. It was found that participants in the study who drank chamomile tea 2 to 6 times a week were 70% less likely to develop thyroid abnormalities, while 30 years of regular consumption reduced the risk by about 80%. This adds to the growing body of evidence pointing to the potential health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

Foods That Can Make You Feel Older

  • Foods That Can Make You Feel Older

Like the age-old adage “you are what you eat”, indulging in certain foods can make you look and feel older than you are. The top five most common foods to avoid include hydrogenated oils or trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, refined salt, processed meats and alcohol. Although you may have heard about the dangers of the first two types of food, the others may be lesser known. Refined salt not only raises your blood pressure but it also leads to skin puffiness and swelling, therefore experts suggest eliminating or reducing salt use whenever possible. Processed meats such as bacon and deli meats also contain a lot of preservatives which can cause skin irritation and also conflict with the body’s ability to produce collagen, which is what maintains firm, youthful looking skin. Due to the fact that it is processed through the liver, alcohol is another common substance that can produce acne, rosacea and wrinkles – all skin-aging side effects from unprocessed toxins. Eliminating these foods or reducing the intake to a minimum can promote healthier looking appearances and make you feel better overall.

Raw Foods

  • Foods You Love

If you’re looking to take your health to the next level, it’s important to know the best way of preparing foods in order to maximize the nutritional benefits. For some food, cooking them increases their nutritional value so your body can take in more. However, when dealing with other foods this does the opposite and can even make it more difficult for the body to absorb all the vitamins and minerals as when eating them raw. Although cooked veggies can have more flavor or be easier to chew, you may be undoing some of great nutritional benefits. See why eating these foods raw is healthier:

  1. Beets – These vegetables are high in fiber, vitamin C and potassium but when cooked they can lose as much as 25% of their folate, a healthy brain compound.
  2. Broccoli – Among other benefits broccoli also contains sulforaphane, a compound which is more easily absorbed when consumed raw and has been found to fight cancer cells, lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and provide antioxidants that help with anti-aging and immunity.
  3. Onions – Allicin, the stuff in onions that makes you tear up, is a phytonutrient that helps curb hunger, prevent cancer, promote cardiovascular health, and reduce high blood pressure – and you get more of it when you eat onions raw.
  4. Red Bell Peppers – Roasting, frying, or grilling red bell peppers at a temperature over 375 degrees Fahrenheit will cause their vitamin C properties to break down, taking away from their full nutritional benefits.
  5. Garlic – A study revealed that eating raw garlic two or more times a week reduced risk of developing lung cancer – like onions, you’ll get more nutritional benefits when eating it raw.

Fitness Progress

  • Fitness Progress

We’ve all missed a workout before but when it comes to building muscle and staying in shape – is the old adage true that if you don’t use it, you lose it? While it’s important to rest, it can be a lot harder to bounce back from a break the longer you wait. According to studies, strength loss occurs after about two and a half to three weeks of inactivity for most people. Cardio conditioning falls faster but is easier to regain than muscle strength. Consistency is especially important if you’re new to exercise but thankfully, these new habits make it easier to retain strength. Experts suggest tips for staying strong during downtime, including performing light cardio, incorporating resistance training and eating right.

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