Updated April 5, 12:18 PM CT
February 23, 2020
Mediterranean diet might keep seniors stronger, sharper
Another study is praising the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, this time in an area close to home for me: Aging.
Researchers say the diet—which is heavy on fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and fish—appears to improve gut bacteria in ways that keep seniors physically and mentally healthy.
The study in the British Medical Journal involved about 600 people ages 65 to 79 in the UK, France, Italy, Poland, and the Netherlands. Roughly half were put on the diet for one year, and the others continued to eat their regular, non-Mediterranean food. In 12 months, scientists found all kinds of benefits in the microbiome of those eating Mediterranean-style. Among others things: an increase in the growth of bacteria linked to improved brain function and memory, and a decrease in possibly dangerous inflammatory markers.
Researchers also spotted changes in the "gut microbiota" associated with a reduced risk of frailty. "What we did not know was that consuming this diet changes our internal microbial ecosystem—the gut microbiome—and that (it is) probably this that makes the diet work," microbiologist Paul O'Toole of University College Cork in Ireland tells Newsweek. "It is not just the food ingredients that are healthy, but how it is converted into beneficial metabolites by the bacterial community it stimulates in the gut." The results suggest that changing your overall diet might be a better approach than adding probiotic or prebiotic supplements when it comes to having a healthy microbiome, per CNN. The benefits were consistent no matter the subject's nationality, age, or weight.
June 5, 2019
If you're looking for a healthy snack... One word: Nuts
Nuts are a good source of healthful fats, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients, as are nutritional bars that include them.
I include four protein/nutrition bars (see pic below) in my breakfast every morning. I place all the bars (cut up in dice-sized pieces) in my two cups of coffee and spoon out pieces in bite-sized sips of flavor town!
My breakfast bars are:
- Zone Perfect (Almond/raisin)
- Health Warrior Chia Bar
- 2 Oatmega Bars (Chocolate peanut)
- (And an occasional Biscotti)
Most of these are hard-packed, nutritionally dense bars that would not be a pleasure to eat solo, but in the coffee, they're Awesome!
I also have a variety of nuts throughout the morning.
Here is what I eat each morning:
Pine nuts: 3 tablespoons
Pumpkin seed: One tablespoon
Walnuts: 5 (whole)
2 tablespoons pistachio butter
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons hazelnut/almond butter
Walnuts are full of vitamin E and healthy fats. Not only do those things all help maintain good heart health, but some studies suggest adding them to your regular diet can lower your risk of a heart attack by as much as 51 percent. A healthy helping of walnuts will also help you ward off depression — they contain omega 3 oils that are shown to raise serotonin levels in the brain.
Personally, I can't stand Brazil nuts no matter how many times you tell me they're high in protein, carbohydrates, and good fats. When I get a can of Mixed Nuts, these go straight to a bag that I share with my lawn guy. But you may love them. Brazil nut trees are among the tallest trees in the Amazon, and each of their coconut-sized fruits contains up to 24 seeds — those are the Brazil nuts. Brazil nut trees grow and produce for hundreds of years, but only when there are a few types of insects around to pollinate them.
Sunflower seeds are rich in nutrients. One serving of shelled sunflower seeds is usually an ounce, which is about 1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons (one to two thumb-sized portions.) They're particularly high in healthy fat: A serving delivers 14 grams of fat with a mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The sunflower seed is the fruit of the sunflower.
The Hazelnut is good for you, as they're filled with things like vitamins A and B. Hazelnuts have a healthy dose of dietary fiber, and they also help raise good cholesterol while lowering the bad.
Pistachios are high in protein and fiber, and a single ounce will give you the same amount of potassium you'd get from a banana. They've been linked to helping manage cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels, and adding them to your diet helps lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Pecans are loaded with antioxidants that help protect your heart and healthy fats that help lower your cholesterol. Studies have suggested that pecans can help manage weight, and they also have a type of antioxidant — vitamin E — that helps prevent age-related motor neuron degeneration as well as protect against cell damage and other degenerative diseases.
Chestnuts have no cholesterol and plenty of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin E. They're also one of the only nuts that have a measurable amount of vitamin C. They're more perishable than most nuts and need to be kept in the fridge.
Almonds are one of the most popular nuts. Not only are they tasty but they're good for you in many ways. Almond milk can be a source of non-dairy kinds of milk for those who avoid dairy for a number of reasons. But if you're trying to be environmentally-friendly with your choices, you might want to consider this: The only US state that produces almonds commercially is California, and they're not just sending almonds to domestic markets. More than 80 percent of the world's almonds come from California.
Cashews are filled with fiber, protein, and just plain good for you. The majority of cashews come from India and Vietnam.
Macadamia nuts are delicious, but they're not as healthy as you might think. A one-cup serving of macadamia nuts contains almost 1,000 calories. That same serving also has 102 grams of fat, which is more than you should get in a whole day.
Just trust me on this: They're good for you. Get the shelled, organic, lightly salted bag from Costco.
Pine nuts are buttery and delicious, and they must also be refrigerated after opening the container. Some people have complained about an issue called 'pine mouth,' or 'pine nut syndrome.' It's temporary, developing somewhere between 12 and 48 hours after eating the nuts. For a time, everything else will taste bitter, metallic, or rancid, and some people have had the taste last for months.
For those who have an issue, it typically subsides after a few days to a couple of weeks. The FDA has issued an alert, but there's been no confirmation as to what causes it and how to prevent it. It happens in people who don't have an allergy or sensitivity to nuts, eating something sugary makes the bitterness even worse, it's not connected to mold or bacteria, and it's happened with pine nuts from all different sources. I eat them every day and haven't experienced any issue.
Peanuts contain vitamins and nutrients, but a 1.5 ounce-serving is going to account for a big chunk of your daily calorie intake.
✅=Ran's seal of approval
Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News
Attributes: AASNSports; AASNNews; Wikipedia; FDA; Mashed.com; CNN; Newsweek
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