Heart Health! Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids

Heart Health! Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids

Happy Valentines Day! Since today is filled with love and hearts, I thought I’d do a short post dedicated especially for your heart health!

The focus is on fatty acids. We’ve read and heard all about these in the media lately and we all know that they’re good for us…but did you know the benefits they have on your heart?

Here’s some basic background info about what these fatty acids actually are:

OMEGA-3 (n-3) FATTY ACIDS: They are polyunsaturated fatty acids that contain a double bond at the third carbon atom on the carbon chain. These “good” fatty acids are essential for our health and are needed for many functions in our body. Being “essential” means that our body cannot make them but we need them for our health and therefore we need to supplement them through our diet. Omega-3 are associated with many heart healthy benefits, such as protecting against heart disease and stroke. Dr. Frank Sacks a professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Harvard School of Public Health explains that new studies have found other potentially good benefits of these omega’s such as protection against cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS), rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
In our diet, we have two major sources of omega-3 fatty acids and they are obtained from different sources of foods. One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and can be found in certain vegetable oils (soybean, canola, flaxseed), walnuts, some green leafy veggies (kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and salad). Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is the second type of omega-3 and can be found in, you guessed it, fatty fish such as salmon!
Dr.Sacks recommends to try and aim to get at least one good source of omega-3 fatty acids into your diet every day for good health!

OMEGA-6 (n-6) FATTY ACIDS: these fatty acids like the omega-3’s are also polyunsaturated and essential nutrients. Omega-6’s are more common in our type of diet here in North America and best sources include safflower, corn, and soybean oils.
These omega-6’s are responsible for lowering the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in our bodies and also help to reduce inflammation. Like the omega-3’s they are also heart healthy!

It’s important to get an abundant amount of both types of fatty acids into our bodies and a healthy diet contains a balanced amount of omega-3 and omega-6. The range you should aim should be between 2:1 – 4-1 of omega-6 to omega-3.

So for you special valentine, why not cook a meal of salmon with some greens on the side tonight?

Works Cited:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3/

https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega6-fatty-acids

Magnesium: “The Miracle Mineral”

It is well known that Magnesium is the body’s most important mineral, but did you know that it’s needed for over 300 biochemical reactions?! When you think about what goes on in your body, there’s a good chance that magnesium will be involved in some way or another, hence why it’s referred to as “the miracle mineral”.

As stated by Reader’s Digest “Foods that Harm Foods that Heal” book, magnesium’s role in health is to ‘stimulate bone growth, is necessary for muscle and nerve function and metabolism, and also helps to support immunity’. Now in order to do all this, you can only imagine how necessary magnesium is in order for us to function. However, many health professionals believe that most of the population is deficient in this vital mineral. Dr. David Thomas, a researcher from England has noted that our foods today have a lower magnesium content then they did in the mid- 1900’s. This makes it extremely important to try increase well-known magnesium-rich foods in your diet or to supplement with a magnesium natural health product!

Here are some of the best food sources of magnesium:
Leafy green vegetables, legumes and whole grain cereals and breads; meats, poultry, fish, and eggs; nuts

It’s recommended that the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for adults is as follows:
Males 19-30 years = 400 mg
Males 31+ years = 420 mg
Females 19-30 years = 310 mg
Females 31+ years = 320 mg

Here are 22 magnesium-related conditions that can help be relieved or prevented as confirmed by studies from Drs. Bella and Burton Altura:
1. Anxiety and Panic Attacks
2. Asthma
3. Blood clots
4. Bowel disease
5. Cystitis
6. Depression
7. Detoxification
8. Diabetes
9. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
10. Heart disease (irregular heartbeat, angina)
11. Hypertension (aka high blood pressure)
12. Hypoglycemia (aka low blood sugar)
13. Insomnia
14. Kidney Stones
15. Liver Disease
16. Migraines
17. Stiff and Aching Muscle Conditions
18. Nerve Problems
19. Obstetrics and Gynecology-premenstrual syndrome, cramping during your period, infertility, premature contractions, lessens the risk of cerebral palsy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
20. Osteoporosis
21. Raynaud’s Syndrome
22. Tooth Decay

Magnesium may also reduce the risk of diabetes and the occurrence of colon cancer! (These are currently being studied).

As you can see, magnesium really is critical for our bodies, so make sure you consume more magnesium-rich foods or start taking a supplement daily. This is one mineral you definitely don’t want to be lacking!

Works Cited:

Reader’s Digest. Foods That Harm Foods That Heal: The best and worst choices to treat your ailments naturally. White Plains, NY: Adult Trade Publishing, 2013. Print.

Flora “fact sheet” regarding Magnesium Liquid: “The Miracle Mineral – Magnesium”.

Krazy for Kale

Krazy for Kale

Lately it seems that Kale is the hottest superfood of the year. Why shouldn’t it be? It’s got a ridiculous amount of nutritional benefits and also tastes amazing. Kale is great alone, or a good pair in salads, smoothies and even baked and seasoned as their very own healthy chips! (see recipe below).

Here are the top 10 health benefits kale has to offer as suggested by mindbodygreen.com:

1. Kale is low in calories, has zero fat, and is high in fibre. Because it’s high in fibre it makes a great aid for digestion and elimination! It’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and folate.

2. Kale is high in iron.
Kale has even more iron per calorie than beef! We all know how important iron is – its responsible for transporting our oxygen throughout our entire body by forming hemoglobin and enzymes.

3. Kale has high Vitamin-K.
Vitamin-K is best known for preventing blood clotting. Research has also shown that a diet rich in vitamin-K can help protect against certain cancers.

4. Kale has tons of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are the fighters that help protect against cancer. They help protect molecules in our bodies from becoming oxidized which can eventually lead to the formation of cancer cells.

5. Kale makes a great anti-inflammatory food.
High in omega-3 fatty acids, this is essential to help protect and fight arthritis, asthma, and other autoimmune disorders.

6. Kale supports our cardiovascular system.
Research has shown that kale can actually help lower cholesterol levels which in turn can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

7. Kale is rich in Vitamin-A.
Vitamin A is known as the main vitamin that helps our vision. Vitamin A is also good for skin and preventing lung and oral-cavity cancers.

8. Kale is high in Vitamin-C.
Vitamin C is critical for our immune system and metabolism!

9. Kale is high in Calcium.
Calcium, especially in those over 50 years old, is extremely important to help reduce bone loss! Once we pass 50, the level of calcium we create is reduced and without supplementation or a calcium-rich diet, many people become deficient in calcium which leads to all the joint (osteoporosis) and bone problems we see in the senior population.

10. Kale is a great detox food.
Filled with both fibre and sulfur, kale makes a great food that helps to detox your body and keep the liver healthy!

Here’s an easy recipe (from allrecipes.com) to make some of those crunchy yummy kale chips:

What you’ll need: 1 bunch kale, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil.
What you do:
(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
(2) Remove kale leaves from the stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry the kale. Drizzle olive oil onto the kale and season with the salt. Season as desired.
(3) Bake until the edges are brown, but not burnt! Usually around 10-15 minutes.

Time to enjoy!

“Eat food. Not …

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

This is a great quote by Michael Pollan who wrote In Defense of Food.  It really explains the type of diet we should be consuming!  Most Canadians consume what is called a ‘Western Diet’ which is also known as the ‘meat-sweet’ diet in that it is high in red meats, high-sugar and high-fat foods and refined grains.  However, Pollan along with Health Canada suggests a more well-balanced and higher plant-based diet that will improve health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases later in life.  The ‘Mediterranean Diet’ focuses more on fruits,vegetables, fish and seafood and less on meats and sweets.

So next time you’re looking for a snack or cooking your next meal, consider Pollan’s quote and see if you’re following what he recommends!  

Liquid Life

Liquid Life

Water. A truly vital source for the human body and for life on earth. Most of us take water for granted or don’t fully understand just how critical it is. Sure, we all know that we need water to survive. It’s instinct that when we’re thirsty, we know to drink.

I had a client come into work the other day and he was looking for a supplement that would help him. He said he was often dizzy, always tired, had no energy and he didn’t feel like eating lately. I asked him to explain his diet to me. His diet seemed normal. Then I asked how much water he drank in a day. His answer- ONE cup! Clearly he was not getting enough water. And also, he said he drinks coffee every day too. Coffee is a diuretic, meaning it makes you need to urinate which also means that you’re eliminating water from your body. For every cup of coffee you drink, you need to balance it with 2 cups of water. So I told this man to go home and to immediately start increasing the amount of water he drinks each day and to aim for a minimum of 8-10 glasses per day. I said that if after increasing his water intake and it still didn’t help his problems then he should come back to the store for another visit. I haven’t seen him since.

Water represents the most important nutrient for our body. Here’s a little breakdown of where exactly water is used:
Blood: 83% water
Heart: 79.2% water
Muscle: 75.6% water
Brain: 74.8%
Skin: 72%
Bone: 22%

In our bodies, water is used as a:
TRANSPORTER (aka.in our bloodstream) to carry nutrients, oxygen, and waste throughout our body; a PROTECTOR to keep our joints lubricated and to keep dirt and grime and other yucky things away and out of our body; a CHEMICAL REACTANT that is used to help us digest our food, use energy, and many other processes our body needs to function; a pH REGULATOR to make sure our bodies maintain a specific pH of 7.4 (neutral).

I feel like this post on H2O doesn’t need to be long and exaggerated. I think we all understand how crucial water is and that we need to drink plenty of it every day. Try to increase your amount of clear water intake and see how much better you feel! So go and grab yourself a nice tall, cool and refreshing glass of water, your body will thank you for it!

 

 

Source:  http://people.chem.duke.edu/~jds/cruise_chem/water/watdiet.html

Food for Thought

Hello! I’m Kristina and I’m a recent graduate from the University of Guelph with a major in Biological Sciences and minor in Mathematical Sciences.  In my senior years at school, I developed a strong passion for human health and nutrition and ever since then I’m constantly reading up on all the latest nutrition news, working part-time at a nutrition store in St. Catharines as a nutritional consultant, and I’m constantly telling my family “No, don’t eat that, that’s not healthy”.  I’m in the process of applying for graduate studies in the field of Human Health and Nutrition and specializing in Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences. My dream career is to become a nutritionist and what better way to begin then starting a blog that is completely nutrition-related?

I’m not gonna lie, I have my moments where I binge on junk food.  I love chips, who doesn’t? They’re salty and delicious and I can eat a whole bag if they’re in front of me. Timbits too. I have a terrible weakness for honey dip timbits.

So this is my very first blog and I’m super excited to get started. Since I’m a science-based individual, I’m not a very big writer, however I’m pretty pumped to write short and sweet informative little blogs.  I’ll do my best to post a couple blogs a week and the focus of each blog I write will be geared towards something in the field of nutrition – literally anything that has to do with food, supplements, health, disease, or general well-being. If I read something interesting from one of my nutrition magazines or come across anything especially exciting I’ll definitely share and feature it within my blogs.  So if you’re a foodie or just generally interested in learning a few cool facts regarding nutrition and health, then feel free to grab a (healthy!) snack, sit back, and enjoy the read!

Cheers,

KT

Also, for all you foodies out there, here is a link to another great blog!  The focus is on Italian cooking and recipes!  Check it out here:

http://mavilivescookseats.blogspot.ca/2014/01/hi-follow-me-if-you-like-to-cook-eat.html?spref=fb