Archive for October, 2016

A Healthy Diet Promotes Better Memory!

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Memories influence and shape your personality. It’s your thoughts, connections, and all other recollections that make you who you are, and memory loss is essentially a loss of a part of you. However, there might be more you can do to boost your memory. Studies show that healthier diets help improve memory in the long run.

brain memoryDiets high in cholesterol and fat could increase the rate at which beta-amyloid plaques in the brain are created. Amyloid beta is a protein involved with Alzheimer’s disease; it is the main component found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.  Also affected are the blood vessels in the brain which can be damaged thus preventing brain cells from receiving the oxygen-rich blood they need to function normally.  The end result may be a a degradation in thinking and memory.

Although there is still not much information available about a brain-healthy diet, a hearty-healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, reduces risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity and may also help prevent memory loss. A heart-healthy diet is very similar to a Mediterranean diet which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil, and limited red meat. There are limited studies that dietary supplements such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may stall memory loss, but may be considered for some.


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Why Does Stress Cause Weight Gain?

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Stress has a short term effect of lost of appetite; the brain releases corticotropin hormones that reduce hunger.  Adrenaline is also released, which activates the fight or flight response in the body to temporarily decreases your appetite. However, if you are experiencing constant stress, the suprarenal gland will start releasing cortisol which actually increases appetite as well. Cortisol levels will fall once the body returns to homeostasis, but if the body continues to be subjected to stress in the long term, cortisol levels will remain high and can negatively affect your health.

How Cortisol and Stress Increase Eating

When your body is under pressure and stress with cortisol in an elevated state, your body tends to crave foods that are higher in sugar and fat.  This is considered emotional eating.  Emotional eating can be so strong that many eaters feel powerless over their food cravings; they can’t control their desires for unhealthy food or eating it.

Additional factors include the sleep deprivation, increased alcohol intake and a decrease in exercise for those experiencing physical or emotional distress in the long term.  All of these factors exacerbate stress and may play a large role in weight gain.

Decrease or Address Stress, Get Plenty of Sleep and Eat Well

There are many ways to reduce stress to prevent weight gain. First off, you should avoid buying foods high in fat and sugar. If they are not easily within reach, you are less likely to eat them.  Meditation is also a great technique to reduce stress and also become more mindful of your eating habits. You may want to try tai chi or yoga because they are a combination of meditation and exercise which helps to significantly reduce stress.

Take Control of Your Health!

 


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Controlling Inflammation levels

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Inflammation is the body’s reaction to infections and it occurs to protect your body and  keep it healthy. There are two types of inflammation that may happen in your body: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation would be the “good” type of inflammation, as it helps your body heal by sending white blood cells to the troubled area. Acute inflammation also doesn’t last very long because your body typically heals quickly. Chronic inflammation does the opposite of acute inflammation, the white blood cells burn through healthy tissue or organs instead of healing your body. It is important to have your inflammation levels tested by getting a C-reactive protein blood test (CRP).  The CRP will be elevated if your body is dealing with inflammation.

The CRP test is not diagnostic, but it does provide relevant information to your health provider if inflammation is present.  The test results, along with other information from a physical exam can determine if there is acute or chronic inflammation occurring in the body.

Diet and exercise are the primary ways to beat inflammation.  Try to avoid processed foods which contain high amounts of sugar and fats.  Increase your level of activity.  This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours at the gym everyday.  Adding activity can be as simple as decreasing the amount of time you spend sitting, increasing walking and other activities throughout the day.

The CRP test is offered on our website: www.HealthOneLabs.com. You may read more about inflammation in this article.


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Chocolate – Healthy or Not?

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Some argue that chocolate may help prevent cardiovascular disease and better your memory, but is it true? There have been studies conducted to see if chocolate really was correlated with the prevention of heart disease and dementia and it seems that it’s not really the chocolate that is helping but the flavanols that the cocoa beans contain. Flavanols are bioactive compounds that have a unique blend of phytonutrients which can only be found in the cocoa bean. Although there has not been enough clinical trials to determine whether or not flavanols can help prevent heart disease, flavanols can relax blood vessels and stimulate blood flow to the brain.

chocolateChocolate is made with many components but cocoa solids and cocoa fat are the main ones. Cocoa solids are rich in flavanols but the cocoa fat doesn’t have any flavanols at all. Using those two components, plus other ingredients, you can make the four most popular types of chocolate; cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate.

Cocoa powder is produced by fermenting, roasting, and crushing cocoa beans into a paste-type of substance. Then the fat is removed and ground into a fine powder. Naturally processed unsweetened cocoa powder is great for you because it is rich in flavanols and low in calories.

Dark chocolate is made of cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and sugar. The amount of flavanols you get from dark chocolate varies: You might be getting a high dosage of flavanols but in the process you will also be digesting a lot of calories.

Milk chocolate contains cocoa powder, cocoa butter, milk solids and sugar. It has less cocoa than dark chocolate therefore having less flavanols.  In order to get a high dosage of flavanols from milk chocolate you would have to consume over 1,000 calories of it.

Chocolate is a great source of flavanols but just make sure you watch how much chocolate you eat because it is also high in calories.  Eating chocolate is a great alternative to eating baked goods, so if you eat it in moderation it shouldn’t do you any harm!

Flavanol-rich Food for Thought


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