The Salk Institute published a report two years ago showing that mice who fasted for 16 hours every day were leaner, more energetic and healthier than mice who didn’t fast. Now the Intermountain Medical Center finds that the same may be true in humans.
One explanation for the Salk mice study is for two hours after eating your liver converts the nutrition in your meal into fat for later use. If you don’t eat for at least two hours, your liver then stops making fat molecules, and starts making molecules for cellular repair. However, if you keep eating every two to three hours, your liver keeps making fat molecules, and spends little time making molecules for cellular repair.
The researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center add that fasting forces your body to use up stored fat cells for energy. And fasting may trigger action from the human growth hormone (HGH) to protect lean muscle and metabolic balance.
The net result of periodic fasting are lower triglycerides, weight and blood sugar levels. And your liver is allowed more time to help repair damaged tissue throughout your body.
But why do some people find it difficult to not snack throughout the day and night?
Researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University speculate that our modern lifestyle and out-of-balance circadian system may be to blame. Artificial light helps us to sleep less and eat more. And the modern lifestyle encourages larger calorie intake at night.
Unfortunately, this may lead to obesity and poor long term health. Ideally, we should eat the most calories at breakfast, and the least at dinner. Combine this with sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night promotes the health benefits indicated in this new research results.
Think about it. If you’re sleeping 7 to 8 hours each night, that’s 7 to 8 hours you’re not eating. And if your can avoid eating for at least two hours before bed time, that’s a total of 9 to 10 hours of fasting. That gives your body 9 to 10 hours to repair your body tissues, rather than producing fat molecules.
This may be one of the reason that people who sleep 7 to 8 hours a night are healthier than people who sleep less.
Try these suggestions to increase your ability to fast for 10 to 12 hours each day.
- Eat a large breakfast of proteins, healthy fats and whole grains.
- Make dinner your smallest meal of the day.
- Don’t reduce your calorie intake, but try to eat them within a 12 hour period during the daylight time period.
- Try to get a good dose of natural sunlight during the day.
- Don’t eat 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Snack during the day with high protein snacks, such as nuts and seeds.
- Limit your sugar intake, and stay away from low fiber carbohydrates.
- Don’t drink high caffeine drinks after 2 pm.
If you can fast for 10 to 12 hours each day, you’ll significantly reduce your risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
We now have a nutrient dense food list provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Jennifer Di Noia. And dandelion greens are sixteenth on the list of forty-one high nutrient dense foods. Of course, you won’t be able to eat your dandelion greens if you kill them with herbicides.
I’ve used Whole Foods’s top 100 healthiest foods for many years. But there’re several nutrient dense foods on the CDC list that is lacking in the Whole Foods list, such as watercress, chicory, dandelion greens, arugula, kohlrabi, and rutabaga. I’m surprised to see Iceberg Lettuce on the CDC list. I’ve considered Iceberg Lettuce to be nutrient deficient. Romaine lettuce is the better choice, since Romaine lettuce is ninth on the CDC list, while Iceberg lettuce is twenty-ninth on the list.
Dr. Di Noia assigned a nutrient density score to each food based on the Darmon method of nutrient density standards for vegetables and fruits. In addition, foods are considered powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV) if they provide 10% or more of the daily value of a nutrient. And the nutrients a food should provide include potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.
Even though many of us prefer to pop a pill for nutrition, vitamins and minerals are always more bioavailable from foods. One reason is these chemicals and minerals don’t provide nutrition by acting alone. For example, vitamin C is more than the chemical ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is actually a complex of many chemicals, which includes ascorbic acid. And this is true of all bioavailable forms of vitamins and minerals.
Start eating those dandelion greens rather than killing them to get more bioavailable vitamins and minerals into your diet.
The forty-one high nutrient dense foods in order of nutrient content are watercress, Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens, spinach, chicory, leaf lettuce, parsley, Romaine lettuce, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, endive, chive, kale, dandelion greens, red pepper, arugula, broccoli, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, scallion, kohlrabi, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, tomato, lemon, iceberg lettuce, strawberry, radish, winter squash, orange, lime, red grapefruit, rutabaga, turnip, blackberry, leeks, sweet potato and white grapefruit.
Combining unsaturated vegetable oils with nitrite rich vegetables protects you from hypertension, according to research by King’s College in London. This new finding may be the reason why a Mediterranean diet is healthy.
But why are nitrates and nitrites in vegetables healthy, while nitrate preservatives in meats increase your risk of cancer?
Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, like natural vitamin C, prevent the natural vegetable source of nitrates and nitrites to convert to the cancer causing molecules called nitrosamines. In meats, however, the nitrates and animal proteins readily react to form nitrosamines.
In addition to not forming nitrosamines, the fruit and vegetable sourced nitrites and nitrates react with unsaturated vegetable oils to form nitro fatty acids. And it’s the nitro fatty acids that inhibit an enzyme called epoxide hydrolase, which regulates your blood pressure. When this enzyme is inhibited, your blood pressure lowers.
A good reason to eat a vegetable salad with healthy vegetable oils every day.
Healthy sources of vegetable unsaturated fats are nuts, olive oil, canola oil, avocados and flaxseed. Nitrate and nitrite rich vegetables include beet roots, romaine lettuce, carrots, spinach, celery, green beans and collard greens. Strawberries are the best fruit source.
Be creative. Make your own salad creations using the combination of healthy vegetable oils and vegetables mentioned above. And throw in a few strawberries to enjoy a long and healthy life.
A new study at Tufts University will determine if eating eggs daily reduces your risks of dementia in old age. Egg lovers will rejoice if an egg a day keeps dementia away. Why eggs?
A study published by the American Society of Nutrition in 2012 found the combination of DHA and lutein supplementation improve cognitive functions in elderly participants of the study. Previous studies found that patients with mild dementia had lower concentrations of lutein in their brains compared to patients without symptoms of dementia.
Based on the results of previous research connecting lutein with mental health, Tufts researchers chose eggs for their study, because eggs have a high concentration of two related antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin. Both are found in high concentrations in healthy brains, along with DHA. DHA is the omega-3 fatty acid, which is one of the primary structural components of our human brain.
If eggs prove to improve brain function in the elderly, it will be a relatively cheap source of nutrition to help reduce their risks of dementia.
Eggs and yellow corn have the highest percentage of both lutein and zeaxanthin, but eggs are the best source of both antioxidants together. Yellow corn has a higher percentage of lutein, while orange peppers have a high percentage of zeaxanthin. Both antioxidants can also be found in kiwi fruit, grapes, spinach, zucchini and other squash.
DHA is found in cold water, fatty fish like wild salmon, sardines, herring and tuna.
Eating fatty ocean fish along with eggs and yellow corn on a bed of spinach, and kiwi fruit for dessert, may prevent the onset of dementia, if the new study at Tufts University determines eggs improve cognitive function in the elderly. You can enjoy a relatively inexpensive and delicious meal, and stay mentally healthy throughout your old age.
In the last few years, medical articles claim olive oil helps build strong bones. A short article at the People’s Pharmacy website, “Olive Oil for Strong Bones,” is an example, citing research from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Some people in the comment section of these articles suggest a bias view from European researchers making this claim with financial help from the olive industry. However, there is a good medical basis for the claim.
The research claims that people who consume olive oil have high blood levels of an amino acid protein called osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is “the most important non-collagen protein in bone matrix, accounts for approximately 1% of the total protein in human bone,” according to the Mayo Clinic. The Linus Pauling Institute states that osteocalcin is a vitamin K dependent protein, and may be important in bone mineralization or bone building.
Olive oil along with canola oil is a decent source of vitamin K, as can be seen in the Nutrition Data of vitamin K. With olive oil containing good levels of vitamin K, increasing blood levels of the bone building protein osteocalcin by consuming olive oil is a logical conclusion.
In addition to building strong bones, olive oil is also associated with heart health, improved cognitive function and cancer prevention, as summarized by Whole Foods.
Vitamin K is also found in higher amounts in dark green, leafy vegetable like kale, spinach and collard greens. To help increase your bone density, eat a salad with these dark green, leafy vegetables topped with extra virgin olive oil. Another reason why a Mediterranean type of diet improves your overall health.
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