7 Foods to Improve Eyesight

Our eyesight is among the conditions underestimated by many people. Usually, people take care of their eyesight only when they start experiencing some problems. However, this should not be the case!

main-qimg-76078aa7014b8616a84e48dece8a02a7-c.jpeg

Our eyes are extremely important and they help us to see the everyday beauty that life offers us, so we should take constant care of them, doing everything in our power to protect them. The care related to our eyes is pretty complex, and our diet is one part that plays an important role in it. The food we consume can help us to protect our eyesight and to prevent numerous health issues related to it.

These are the best foods that can improve your eyesight:

1. Carrots

Carrots are the most beneficial food for the good condition of your eyes. They are abundant with vitamin A that can prevent night blindness and essential for the health of your eyes. Carrots can reduce the risk of macular degeneration and Cataracts due to their rich content of antioxidants, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein.

2. Salmon and sardines

To protect your eyesight, you should regularly consume fish. It is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that can improve the health of your eyes. The regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can protect the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Make sure to consume fish, such as salmon, sardines, or herring, twice a week.

3. Broccoli

It is a well-known fact that broccoli is extremely beneficial for our overall health. Broccoli can significantly improve the health of your eyes. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and can supply your body with the essential nutrients. By consuming broccoli, you will intake vitamins A, E, and C, all of which work together to protect your eyesight.

4. Spinach

This green plant contains carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Moreover, it is a great source of vitamins E and C which can prevent macular degeneration and night blindness.

5. Eggs

Maybe you will not believe it, but eggs can improve the health of your eyes. They contain vitamin A, vitamin B complex, essential fatty acids, and zinc. It doesn’t matter how you consume them as long as they are included in your diet, so make sure to regularly consume them for your breakfast….or whenever you like to eat eggs!

6. Almonds

Almonds are a great source of vitamin E which can slow down the development of problems that occur as a result of aging. Moreover, they can prevent cataracts.

7. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries

These fresh and delicious fruits are abundant with antioxidants which are known to reduce the risk of many eye problems. They are also packed with vitamin C which can significantly protect the health of your eyes. Other foods recommended for improving your eyesight: Milk, avocados, lemons, oranges, dark chocolate, papaya, pumpkin, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, and apricots.

Our bodies depend on us to choose the right fuel sources!

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Enjoy fruit for dessert most days and limit traditional desserts to special occasions. Try a delicious smoothie, a mixed berry and yogurt parfait, or a baked spiced apple or pear!

Daily Inspiration 

pexels-photo-414612-min.jpeg

 

 

 

A spoonful of oil: Fats and oils help to unlock full nutritional benefits of veggies

The song says a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but an Iowa State University scientist has published new research suggesting a spoonful of oil makes vegetables more nutritious.

CarotenoidsGraphic.jpg

A new study led by Wendy White, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition, shows that eating salad with added fat in the form of soybean oil promotes the absorption of eight different micronutrients that promote human health. Conversely, eating the same salad without the added oil lessens the likelihood that the body will absorb the nutrients. The study appeared recently in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and the results may ease the guilt of countless dieters who fret about adding dressing to their salads. White’s study found added oil aided in the absorption of seven different micronutrients in salad vegetables. Those nutrients include four carotenoids — alpha and beta carotene, lutein and lycopene — two forms of vitamins E and K. The oil also promoted the absorption of vitamin A, the eighth micronutrient tracked in the study, which formed in the intestine from the alpha and beta carotene. The new study builds on previous research from White’s group that focused on alpha and beta carotene and lycopene.

White said better absorption of the nutrients promotes a range of health benefits, including cancer prevention and eyesight preservation. The study also found that the amount of oil added to the vegetables had a proportional relationship with the amount of nutrient absorption. That is, more oil means more absorption. “The best way to explain it would be to say that adding twice the amount of salad dressing leads to twice the nutrient absorption,” White said.

That doesn’t give salad eaters license to drench their greens in dressing, she cautioned. However, she said consumers should be perfectly comfortable with the U.S. dietary recommendation of about two tablespoons of oil per day. The study included 12 college-age women who consumed salads with various levels of soybean oil, a common ingredient in commercial salad dressings. The subjects then had their blood tested to measure the absorption of nutrients. Women were chosen for the trial due to differences in the speed with which men and women metabolize the nutrients in question.

The results showed maximal nutrient absorption occurred at around 32 grams of oil, which was the highest amount studied, or a little more than two tablespoons. However, White said she found some variability among the subjects. “For most people, the oil is going to benefit nutrient absorption,” she said. “The average trend, which was statistically significant, was for increased absorption.”

Therefore, a spoonful or two of salad dressing may indeed help you derive the optimal nutritional benefit from your veggies. The relationship between a spoonful of sugar and the medicine going down, however, remains outside the scope of White’s research.

*Research collaborators included Yang Zhou, a former ISU postdoctoral researcher; Agatha Agustiana Crane, a former graduate research assistant in food science and human nutrition; Philip Dixon, a University Professor of Statistics, and Frits Quadt of Quadt Consultancy, among others. Unilever, a global food company, provided funding for the research. The company had no input in the publication of the study.

Adapated from: Wendy S White, Yang Zhou, Agatha Crane, Philip Dixon, Frits Quadt, Leonard M Flendrig. Modeling the dose effects of soybean oil in salad dressing on carotenoid and fat-soluble vitamin bioavailability in salad vegetables. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2017; 106 (4): 1041 DOI: 10.3945/%u200Bajcn.117.153635

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Try sparkling water, unsweetened tea or sugar-free beverages instead of sugar-sweetened soda or tea. Add lemon, lime or berries to beverages for extra flavor.

Daily Inspiration 

mountains_sf2301122017dfgh-min.jpeg

 

 

 

 

Too much sugar? Even ‘healthy people’ are at risk of developing heart disease

artboard 1.png

Healthy people who consume high levels of sugar are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. A ground-breaking study from the University of Surrey found that a subject group of otherwise healthy men had increased levels of fat in their blood and fat stored in their livers after they had consumed a high sugar diet. The study, which has been published in Clinical Science, looked at two groups of men with either high or low levels of liver fat, and fed them a high or low sugar diet to find out if the amount of liver fat influences the impact of sugar on their cardiovascular health. The low sugar diet contained no more than 140 calories a day worth of sugar, an amount close to the recommended intake, while the high sugar diet contained 650 calories worth.

After 12 weeks on the high sugar diet, the men with a high level of liver fat, a condition known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), showed changes in their fat metabolism that are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes. Fat metabolism is the biochemical process by which fats are transported and broken down in the blood, and used by the cells of the body. The results also revealed that when the group of healthy men with a low level of liver fat consumed a high amount of sugar, their liver fat increased and their fat metabolism became similar to that of the men with NAFLD.

Professor of Nutritional Metabolism, Bruce Griffin, said: “Our findings provide new evidence that consuming high amounts of sugar can alter your fat metabolism in ways that could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. “While most adults don’t consume the high levels of sugar we used in this study, some children and teenagers may reach these levels of sugar intake by over-consuming fizzy drinks and sweets. This raises concern for the future health of the younger population, especially in view of the alarmingly high prevalence of NAFLD in children and teenagers, and exponential rise of fatal liver disease in adults.”

Adapted from: A. Margot Umpleby, Fariba Shojaee-Moradie, Barbara Fielding, Xuefei Li, Andrea Marino, Najlaa Alsini, Cheryl Isherwood, Nicola Jackson, Aryati Ahmad, Michael Stolinski, Julie Anne Lovegrove, Sigurd Johnsen, Jeewaka Mendis, John Wright, Malgorzata E Wilinska, Roman Hovorka, Jimmy Bell, Louise E Thomas, Gary Frost, Bruce Arthur Griffin. Impact of liver fat on the differential partitioning of hepatic triacylglycerol into VLDL subclasses on high and low sugar diets. Clinical Science, 2017; CS20171208 DOI: 10.1042/CS20171208

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Use fresh or dried herbs and spices or a salt-free seasoning blend in place of salt when cooking. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to add flavor to cooked foods.

Daily Inspiration 

pexels-photo-91227-min.jpeg

 

 

 

Pass the salt: Mapping the neurons that drive salt cravings

D.+Sodium+intake+Just+as+thirst+stimulates+water+intake,+salt+craving+triggers+a+need+to+ingest+NaCl..jpgWhile the average American’s high-salt diet has been linked to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, the truth is we couldn’t live without this once scarce mineral. Salt helps the body balance its water content and plays a critical role in regulating blood pressure and cellular function throughout the body. As salt is lost through excretion and other metabolic processes, hormones are released in response to sodium deficiency. However, exactly how these hormones work on the brain to trigger salt-seeking and salt-consuming behavior has remained a mystery.

Now, a team of scientists in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), have shed new light on the process. In research published (September, 2017) in the journal Neuron, a team of scientists working in the lab of Bradford Lowell, MD, PhD, identified the sub-population of neurons that respond to the body’s sodium deficiency and mapped the brain circuitry underlying the drive to consume salt. “We identified a specific circuit in the brain that detects sodium deficiency and drives an appetite specific for sodium to correct the deficiency,” said co-first author Jon M. Resch, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in Lowell’s lab. “In addition, this work establishes that sodium ingestion is tightly regulated by the brain, and dysfunction in these neurons could lead to over or under consumption of sodium, which could lead to stress on the cardiovascular system over time.”

The team focused on a subset of neurons, known as NTSHSD2, discovered a decade ago by co-corresponding author, Joel Geerling, MD, PhD, formerly of BIDMC and now assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. In a series of experiments in sodium-deficient mice, the researchers demonstrate that sodium deficiency activates these neurons. They also showed that the presence of the hormone aldosterone, which the body releases during sodium deficiency, increases the neurons’ response. “These neurons appear to be highly influenced by these hormones and less so by inputs from other neurons — though further study is warranted,” said Resch. “This is a unique and very unexpected feature of these NTSHSD2 neurons.”

The researchers also revealed that NTSHSD2 neurons, located in a part of the brain called the nucleus of the solitary tract, are not solely responsible for driving the sodium appetite. In experiments using mice not deficient in sodium, artificial activation of NTSHSD2 neurons triggered sodium consumption only when there was also concurrent signaling by angiotensin II, a hormone also released by the body during sodium deficiency. From this, Resch and colleagues concluded that another set of neurons sensitive to angiotensin II likely plays a role in driving sodium appetite. These neurons have yet to be identified.

The findings demonstrated that only a synergistic relationship between the two distinct sub-populations of neurons that respond to aldosterone and angiotensin II can cause the rapid and robust onset of the sodium appetite seen in the experimentally deficient mice. Resch notes the sodium-appetite circuity he and colleagues have revealed provides a physiological framework for a hypothesis put forth in the early 1980s. “Several questions remain with regard to how sodium appetite works, but a major one is where ATII is acting in the brain and how the signal works in concert with NTSHSD2 neurons that respond to aldosterone,” he said. “We have already begun work to help us close these gaps in our knowledge.”

Adapted from: Jon M. Resch, Henning Fenselau, Joseph C. Madara, Chen Wu, John N. Campbell, Anna Lyubetskaya, Brian A. Dawes, Linus T. Tsai, Monica M. Li, Yoav Livneh, Qingen Ke, Peter M. Kang, Géza Fejes-Tóth, Anikó Náray-Fejes-Tóth, Joel C. Geerling, Bradford B. Lowell. Aldosterone-Sensing Neurons in the NTS Exhibit State-Dependent Pacemaker Activity and Drive Sodium Appetite via Synergy with Angiotensin II Signaling. Neuron, 2017; 96 (1): 190 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.09.014

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Make it fun for kids to try new fruits and vegetables! Let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable in the grocery store each week, and figure out together how to cook or prepare it in a healthy way.

Daily Inspiration 

abstract-blurred-christmas-tree-background-picjumbo-co36m-min.jpg

 

Brain cells that control appetite identified for first time

44CED1B000000578-4925496-image-a-1_1506580398157.jpg

Dieting could be revolutionized, thanks to the ground-breaking discovery by the University of Warwick on the key brain cells which control our appetite. Professor Nicholas Dale in the School of Life Sciences has identified for the first time that tanycytes, cells found in part of the brain that controls energy levels, detect nutrients in food and tell the brain directly about the food we have eaten. According to the new research, tanycytes in the brain respond to amino acids found in foods, via the same receptors that sense the flavor of amino acids (“umami” taste), which are found in the taste buds of the tongue. Two amino acids that react most with tanycytes, and therefore are likely to make you feel more full, are arginine and lysine.

These amino acids are found in high concentrations in foods such as pork shoulder, beef sirloin steak, chicken, mackerel, plums, apricots, avocadoes, lentils and almonds. Therefore, eating those foods will activate the tanycytes, based on the research, and make you feel less hungry more quickly. The researchers made their discovery by adding concentrated amounts of arginine and lysine into brain cells, which were made fluorescent so that any microscopic reactions would be visible. They observed that within thirty seconds, the tanycytes detected and responded to the amino acids, releasing information to the part of the brain that controls appetite and body weight. They found that signals from amino acids are directly detected by the umami taste receptors by removing or blocking these receptors and observing that the amino acids no longer reacted with tanycytes.

Nicholas Dale, who is Ted Pridgeon Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Warwick, commented: “Amino acid levels in blood and brain following a meal are a very important signal that imparts the sensation of feeling full. Finding that tanycytes, located at the centre of the brain region that controls body weight directly sensing amino acids, has very significant implications for coming up with new ways to help people control their body weight within healthy bounds.” This major discovery opens up new possibilities for creating more effective diets, and even future treatments to suppress one’s appetite by directly activating the brain’s tanycytes, bypassing food and the digestive system. Nearly two thirds of the UK population is overweight or obese and one third of the U.S. population is obese. This excess weight elevates the risk of premature death and a range of illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, which greatly reduce quality of life. A new understanding of how appetite functions could curb the growing obesity crisis.

The research, ‘Amino Acid Sensing in Hypothalamic Tanycytes via Umami Taste Receptors’, will be published in Molecular Metabolism and is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Adapted from: University of Warwick. (2017, September 27). Brain cells that control appetite identified for first time: Dieting could be revolutionized, thanks to the groundbreaking discovery by the University of Warwick of the key brain cells which control our appetite. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2017 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170927093254.htm

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Make snacks count! Be sure your snack consists of protein, whole grains and healthy fat for the trifecta that will keep you feeling fuller longer.

Daily Inspiration 

background_dfg568201220172-min.jpeg

 

 

You’re Only as Full as You Expect to Be

People who ate the same amount of food were hungrier if they thought they got less food! 

53f2278fc91fd1458698ba07e3d9fe9c--fitness-quotes-fitness-funny.jpg

How filling you think a meal will be can affect how much you eat later, a small study found. The research included 26 people who ate what they were told were two-egg and four-egg omelets on two different mornings; however, both omelets contained three eggs. When people ate what they believed to be the smaller omelet, they said they were much hungrier after two hours, ate much more of a pasta lunch and consumed significantly more calories throughout the day than when they believed they had eaten a larger omelet.

The findings were presented at a British Psychological Society meeting. “Previous studies have shown that a person’s expectations can have an impact on their subsequent feelings of hunger and fullness and, to a degree, their later calorie consumption,” study leader Steven Brown, of Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom, said in a society news release. “Our work builds on this with the introduction of solid food and measured people’s subsequent consumption four hours later, a period of time more indicative of the gap between breakfast and lunch,” he said.

Brown said the researchers also measured the food people ate throughout the rest of the day and found that total intake was lower when participants thought they had eaten the larger breakfast. The researchers also measured levels of ghrelin in the blood. Ghrelin is a known hunger hormone.

“Our data also suggest that changes in reported hunger and the differences in later consumption are not due to a differences in participants’ physical response to the food,” Brown explained. “Therefore, memory for prior consumption, as opposed to physiological factors, may be a better target for investigating why expectations for a meal have an effect on subsequent feelings of hunger and calorie intake,” he concluded. Studies presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Stay on the look out for the publication!

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Flip the package over! Read nutrition labels to see what’s really in your food. Do not be fooled by a flashy front-of-package claim. Often, these are the claims you should be most aware of.

Daily Inspiration 

adult-1867694_1920-min.jpg

 

 

 

 

Alternative Medicine Cabinet: Aged Garlic Extract (AGE)

garlic.jpg

It’s time to bring garlic from the kitchen to the medicine cabinet. Known as Allium sativum in scientific circles, garlic is considered one of the best disease-preventing foods because of its potent and widespread effects. For more than 5,000 years, dating back to ancient Egypt, garlic has been used in medicine. Other ancient cultures, including the Greeks, Romans, and Chinese, have used garlic as well. As part of the Allium species, garlic is closely related to onions, shallots, and leeks. It’s a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium, and fiber.

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) is slightly different than the garlic clove used for cooking. Similar to other garlic forms (powder, oil, or extract), AGE must be processed before it can be used as a supplement. Raw, sliced garlic is submerged in ethanol and stored for 20 months. This process naturally stabilizes the sulfur compounds found in garlic, making it easier to digest and increasing its antioxidant content. The aging process also helps remove many of the irritants, oxidants, and odorous components from raw garlic.

As a supplement, AGE can deliver a more uniform dose of garlic at a higher concentration than eating raw garlic cloves. A supplement possesses a high bioavailability rating because it is easily absorbed by the body, crossing into the bloodstream and organ tissues. Recent studies have shown that AGE contains powerful antioxidant compounds, such as carboxylic acid and L-arginine, which play important roles in combating oxidant-induced conditions that occur as the body ages. AGE provides critical nutrients used by the body to produce its own antioxidants for protecting itself from radiation, neutralizing chemicals, and clearing out toxins. It also supports healthy cell production at the DNA level. These properties make AGE an excellent choice for anti-aging support.

AGE has been the subject of more than 700 medical studies assessing its various aspects, including garlic’s benefits for cardiovascular health, immunity support, and even cognition.

CARDIO: Among many benefits, AGE may prevent cardiovascular disease. It can aid in blood vessel health by helping maintain proper blood pressure; studies have shown that AGE is effective in lowering systolic blood pressure by approximately 10 points. It also lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), increases good cholesterol (HDL), and decreases calcified plaque buildup. These health improvements may prevent cardiac events, such as a stroke or heart attack. AGE also lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid related to a high risk for heart disease.

DETOX: Another important benefit of AGE is its ability to help the liver. The organosulfur components of AGE—S-allyl cysteine and S-propyl cysteine—are water soluble and help fortify the liver’s glutathione production. This is a very powerful antioxidant that helps the body eliminate toxins at a cellular level. Glutathione helps prevent damage to liver cells caused by the toxicity of several drugs, even aspirin and acetaminophen. AGE also assists in the conversion of enzymes in the liver, which are responsible for the detoxification of heavy metals, chemicals, and other toxins.

IMMUNITY: AGE has been shown to increase the activity and number of immune cells. It boosts the activity of natural killer cells, which attack foreign bacteria and virus cells, a first line of defense against the common cold and other infections. AGE also helps the body slow the release of histamine, an immune-system response that is commonly associated with allergies. It is also an antifungal, preventing the growth of candida and similar fungal organisms.

OTHER BENEFITS: Due to its antioxidant properties, AGE may also assist in reducing stress, physical pain, and fatigue. It has been suggested that AGE may help regulate body weight by increasing sugar metabolization. AGE also supports brain health by benefitting memory and nerve growth.

DOSAGE: Although many of the same benefits can be seen by consuming raw garlic, garlic oil, or garlic powder, one 1,000-mg dose of AGE is equivalent to six or seven cloves of raw garlic. AGE is easier on the stomach and highly digestible, but it may cause heartburn, in some cases, if taken on an empty stomach. Benefits of garlic supplementation can typically be observed after three months of use. Because garlic thins the blood, consult a physician before taking the supplement if you are currently taking any medication.

Nutrition Tip of the Day

One Meal won’t “Make” or “Break” Your Health! But the trends in your diet will so take a look at your overall eating pattern. Every meal is an opportunity to get your health on-track. What you eat on a regular basis will help keep you healthy or will gradually contribute to illness. Therefore, most of the week, choose to fill half your plate with plant-based fresh foods and less of the plate with meat. Choose whole grains, beans and fish over highly processed foods AND move more and sit less!

Daily Inspiration 

18102017_13860020-min.jpg