Euphoria, Pleasure, Happiness! Which Nutrient do You Need?

Need a pick me up? Do you feel deflated, demotivated, or depressed? Such pessimistic symptoms can leave one dragging their feet, however, can also be combatted through an intake of dietary nutrients that provide a natural supplementation for enhancement of moods

Foods that Increase Euphoria & Pleasure Release Dopamine

A good reason to consume 1 ounce of dark chocolate a day is that it has the chemical phenylethylamine which releases dopamine.  Dr. Mindy Dopler Nelson of Stanford University,  states that, “The compound is thought to be  responsible for the high you experience after eating chocolate because it releases natural feel-good chemicals called endorphins in your brain.  According to All Chocolate, PEA is released by the brain when people are falling in love, and this might explain why chocolate and Valentines Day are so closely linked.”

Chocolate has a chemical that causes dopamine to be released in the brain, inspiring a sense of euphoria and pleasure.

Dr. Nelson explains, “Chocolate is a stimulant that will release the dopamine that creates that pleasure feeling. It’s in the cocoa. There’s more of it in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate. But there’s something about the fat in the milk that also will make you feel good. Some people associate a comfort food with a high-fat food. There also are antioxidants in the dark chocolate, but watch the dosage! Excess can be harmful for your liver and pile on the pounds. Dopamine has an amphedamine effect, hence the term chocoholic. You also cannot ignore the fact it contains mucho caffeine that will keep you up at night. (And if you don’t get enough sleep it will effect your serotonin level.)

Other food sources of phenylethylamine are: Almonds (can promote migraine headaches if too many are consumed.) and Cheese should be consumed in 1 ounce or 28 grams per day, Red Wine (4-6 ounces or 125-200 ml per day) and Tomatoes.  An apple a day contains tyrosine which also converts to dopamine.

Eat to Improve Mood, Memory, & Sleep: vitamin B6 & Trytophan

If diagnosed with depression, try pursuing some dietary changes before starting medication, or implement in addition to the intake of medication.  Facing depression head on, incorporating walking twice a day along with new nutritional choices and professional help can give you a new perspective on life.  Your daily dietary intake should consist of 2-3 of the following through out the day:

  • Nuts (1 ounce, or 28 grams a day) Cashews or Brazilian Nuts are also linked to reducing coronary, depression, and diabetic symptoms in addition to promoting weight loss.
  • Bananas (1 banana per day)
  • Poultry for protein (tryptophan. 4-6 ounces)
  • Salmon
  • Tofu
  • Milk  (8-16 ounces or 245-490 ml per day)
  • Yogurt (4-6 ounces a day or 125-200 ml day)
  • A plate of Sri Lanken Chicken Cashew has nutrition properties to reduce symptoms of depression.

Cashew nuts are very rich source of minerals. Minerals especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium are concentrated in the nuts. A handful of cashew nuts a day in the diet would provide enough of these minerals and prevent deficiency diseases.

 “Vitamin B6 and Tryptophan”.   Foods such as turkey, chicken, quail, banana, and even milk can fight depression symptoms. All contain Vitamin B6 (which helps create serotonin) and have the protein Tryptophan  that can be converted to the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is linked with happiness, or known as a “Mood” enhancer.  In simplified terms, a Neurotransmitter (serotonin for example), is like the super-autostrada of information in your brain that allows different parts to talk to each other!!!

Tryptophan can be found in a variety of foods to help fight depression, they include: chocolate, bananas, poultry, meat, whole grain pasta, fennel seeds, figs, fish, peanuts, milk and cottage cheese.  A list that many can pick and choose from and find health and comfort.                                                         

Artificial sweeteners are often found in beverages and processed foods; such sweeteners depress pleasure hormones dopamine and interfere with the production of serotonin.

Foods to AVOID.  Any foods or drinks (Diet) with artificial sweetners should be avoided.  Multiple studies have shown this aritficial sweetner to depress serotonin levels. Those with a history of mood disorders or depression have been linked to a severe reaction after consuming aspartamine. Additional weight gain is attributed to aritificial sweetners, as they interfere with an individual’s “internal calorie counter” causing the hormones ghrelin (go eat) and leptin (stop eating) to malfunction. While consuming a diet drink with a meal of 700 calories, the leptin hormone does not respond to the feeling of satiety because the internal calorie counter thinks that only 300 calories have been eaten; that kind of deficit adds up to weight gain and to depression.

Stay on the medication.  Do talk to your doctor about how you can work with them in pursuing necessary dietary changes that will nutritionally benefit you as well.

Nutritional Facts:  Include foods in your diet with B Vitamins. They contain two amino acids: Phenylalanine and Tyrosine, which are precursors to noraepinepherine and tryptophan, which are precursors to the neurotransmitter, serotonin.

Other vitamins which may contribute to mood enhancers are: zinc, selenium, calcium, Vitamin D, iron and magnesium.

By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

Literature Research

Low-Acid Food Diet

Watermelon is at the top of the list of the Low Acid Diet

Each individual’s “bio-chemistry and predisposition” to disease is unique and  are continuously being explored in the medical world. While a new diet is not designed to be a monthly fad, the Low Acid Diet can be applied to most individuals, especially those who may combat stomach discomfort.

The normal bodily pH of 7.35- to 7.45 keeps our bodies in homeostasis. Water has a neutral pH 7; all  foods and beverages can then labeled as more basic, for numbers higher than pH 7, or they maybe be classified as acidic, for numbers are lower than pH 7.

The Low-Acid Diet has benefited: weight loss, treats those suffer from Acid Reflux, GERD, curves Osteoporosis, and improves Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. This diet is safe for those who like to change their dietary routine and/or introduce some new foods into there meals or snacks.

A salad with the Low Acid Diet ingredients can benefit anyone!

Watermelon ranks the highest on the list of basic nutrition, other foods are: beans, nuts, olive oil, lettuce, celery, broccoli and grapefruit.  Interestingly, many of these foods are also contributors to keeping the liver healthy by synthesizing bile salts and secreting bile acid so that toxins do not build in the body and regular bowel movements occur daily. Those who suffer from IBS will also be able to follow this diet.

Complete nutrition includes both basic and acidic foods and should be a part of 3 square meals. Acidic foods have been listed as the following, consume in moderation: processed foods, coffee, alcohol and animal proteins found in dairy products, red meats, chicken, fish.

Researchers have explored acidic food’s impact on bone health, having shown that “dairy products do not have a negative impact on bone health”, Department of Community and Health Sciences, University and Calgary, Canada; confirmed by Researchers at Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center.

In conclusion, all foods can be eaten in controlled amounts, those with specific needs should review individual concerns with your doctor or dietitian before adjusting your dietary intake.

By: Kimberly Crocker- Scardicchio

Additional Reading at Eat Know How:
Fennel Seeds to Soothe and Restore Health
Fast Food: Fatty Liver
Gas Pains, Drink Lemon Water

Visit Recipes for ideas on how to supplement your meals.
Fava Bean Soup
Vegetable Couscous
Lentil Soup with Natures Cure

Reference

Health Benefits of Lemon Water

Relieving digestive problems can be done through food and beverages that you may already have in your own kitchen.

Squeeze juice from 1 lemon into a glass of water.

Constipation, upset stomach gas pains, kidney stones and edema? Can all be uncomfortable and difficult to overcome. A solution that works and practiced in many countries is Drinking Lemon Water.

There is a natural way to soothe body pain,or reduce flatulence and relieve constipation, providing your body with the necessary fluid intake, Vitamin C  and potassium to flush out excess sodium, keeping your organs (i.e. heart, kidneys ) and muscles healthy and the electrolytes in balance. 

 

Malic Acid, a common ingredient used in over the counter “upset stomach” medication, is a “Naturally occuring Organic element” within lemons.  The alkaline malic acid is introduced to the stomach working with the pH balance and then into the intestinal tract, reducing the negative effects of enzymes that contribute to gas and bacteria. 

The SECRET HEALTH HINT comes from one of the many benefits of a lemon.  A simple recipe will provide immediate results:

1.  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into a glass of water. Do this once or twice a day if you are under 150 pounds/83 kilo’s, once in the morning and once at night.

2.  Over 150 pounds/ 83 kilo’s, squeeze the juice of 1 whole lemon in a glass of warm water, twice a day.

Fiber  and exercise will also “get things moving” and should be a regular part of ones daily dietary intake.  

Food and beverages that may assist in synthesizing bile salts and secreting bile acids, returning you to comfort are: berries, watermelon, celery, spinach, dandelion, artichokes, fennel or dandelion tea and spices like fennel seeds, turmeric, or red pepper flakes. (see quantities below.) All credited to contributing to the success of a healthy body. (Suffer from IBS?  Include these foods & beverages in your daily intake.) 

Lastly, keep your muscles toned by scheduling a walk 20 minutes per day to improve your overall digestion and stay in a regular way! 

 

By Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

Include the following foods into your daily routine to relieve stomach discomfort and promote regular bowel movements.

 

1/3 cup berries of choice

1/2 cup watermelon

1-2 stalks celery

1 cup spinach salad

1/3 cup sauteed dandelion greens

1/4 cup artichokes

1/3 cup sliced fennel

12-18 fennel seeds can be chewed on per day

1/4 tsp turmeric added to potatoes, rice or pasta

1/8 tsp of pepper flakes to soups and vegetables

Drink plenty of water and tea! 2-4 cups of fennel or dandelion tea a day will also relieve discomfort of the stomach.

More nutrtion articles to read:

Fast Relief: Fennel Seeds Combat Gas and Upset Stomach  and  Turmeric to Ease Acid Reflex

References

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/benefit_of_drinking_green_tea

Nephron Protectively due to effects of Vitamin C

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23009987

Anti-bacteria activity reversed by Vitamin C and E

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Heart Attack / Stroke

A variety of vegetables packed with vitamins & minerals to make the body healthier.

Priniciple carbohydrates are seasonal and local vegetables / fruits. Choose a variety packed with vitamins & minerals to make the body healthier.

LIFESTYLE, LIFE CHANGING, LONGEVITY.  The foundation of Eat Know How Cooking Classes remains The Mediterranean Diet.   Those who live on the mediterranean coast organize their meals from local shopping, to seasonal meal preparation and order of food consumption.  Affirmation of what the  mediterranean people have

A lifetstyle high in fruits/vegetables, grains, olive oil, fish and wine.

A lifetstyle high in fruits/vegetables, grains, olive oil, fish and wine.

understood for 1000’s of years,  a dietary intake high in grains, vegetables, fish, oil, and wine promotes an individual’s overall health. A recent study released by the New England Journal of Medicine, was quickly halted, realizing that by not releasing the information, they would do the country harm instead of showing the positive results from their research.  The following study is the copied research, documented in it’s entirety. Take a moment to explore what the doctors, researchers and dietitians quickly observed from their study.

Freshly pressed olive oil.

Freshly pressed olive oil. The “fat” utlized in the mediterranean diet for meal preparation.

The traditional Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweets; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals.1 In observational cohort studies2,3 and a secondary prevention trial (the Lyon Diet Heart Study),4 increasing adherence to the Mediterranean diet has been consistently beneficial with respect to cardiovascular risk.2-4 A systematic review ranked the Mediterranean diet as the most likely dietary model to provide protection against coronary heart disease.5 Small clinical trials have uncovered plausible biologic mechanisms to explain the salutary effects of this food pattern.6-9 We designed a randomized trial to test the efficacy of two Mediterranean diets (one supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and another with nuts), as compared with a control diet (advice on a low-fat diet), on primary cardiovascular prevention.

Methods

Study Design

The PREDIMED trial (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) was a parallel-group, multicenter, randomized trial. Details of the trial design are provided elsewhere.10-12 The trial was designed and conducted by the authors, and the protocol was approved by the institutional review boards at all study locations. The authors vouch for the accuracy and completeness of the data and all analyses and for the fidelity of this report to the protocol, which is available with the full text of this article at NEJM.org.

Supplemental foods were donated, including extra-virgin olive oil (by Hojiblanca and Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero, both in Spain), walnuts (by the California Walnut Commission), almonds (by Borges, in Spain), and hazelnuts (by La Morella Nuts, in Spain). None of the sponsors had any role in the trial design, data analysis, or reporting of the results.

Participant Selection and Randomization

Eligible participants were men (55 to 80 years of age) and women (60 to 80 years of age) with no cardiovascular disease at enrollment, who had either type 2 diabetes mellitus or at least three of the following major risk factors: smoking, hypertension, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, overweight or obesity, or a family history of premature coronary heart disease. Detailed enrollment criteria are provided in the Supplementary Appendix, available at NEJM.org. All participants provided written informed consent.

Beginning on October 1, 2003, participants were randomly assigned, in a 1:1:1 ratio, to one of three dietary intervention groups: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, or a control diet. Randomization was performed centrally by means of a computer-generated random-number sequence.

Interventions and Measurements

Fish is a critical "Protein" in the lifestyle. Light, easy to digest, a good source of Vitamin B 12, Omega 3,  & minerals.

Fish is a critical “Protein” in the lifestyle. Light, easy to digest, a good source of Vitamin B 12, Omega 3, & minerals.

The dietary intervention8,10-13 is detailed in the Supplementary Appendix. The specific recommended diets are summarized in Table 1Table 1 Summary of Dietary Recommendations to Participants in the Mediterranean-Diet Groups and the Control-Diet Group.. Participants in the two Mediterranean-diet groups received either extra-virgin olive oil (approximately 1 liter per week) or 30 g of mixed nuts per day (15 g of walnuts, 7.5 g of hazelnuts, and 7.5 g of almonds) at no cost, and those in the control group received small nonfood gifts. No total calorie restriction was advised, nor was physical activity promoted.

For participants in the two Mediterranean-diet groups, dietitians ran individual and group dietary-training sessions at the baseline visit and quarterly thereafter. In each session, a 14-item dietary screener was used to assess adherence to the Mediterranean diet8,14 (Table S1 in the Supplementary Appendix) so that personalized advice could be provided to the study participants in these groups.

Participants in the control group also received dietary training at the baseline visit and completed the 14-item dietary screener used to assess baseline adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Thereafter, during the first 3 years of the trial, they received a leaflet explaining the low-fat diet (Table S2 in the Supplementary Appendix) on a yearly basis. However, the realization that the more infrequent visit schedule and less intense support for the control group might be limitations of the trial prompted us to amend the protocol in October 2006. Thereafter, participants assigned to the control diet received personalized advice and were invited to group sessions with the same frequency and intensity as those in the Mediterranean-diet groups, with the use of a separate 9-item dietary screener (Table S3 in the Supplementary Appendix).

A general medical questionnaire, a 137-item validated food-frequency questionnaire,15 and the Minnesota Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire were administered on a yearly basis.10 Information from the food-frequency questionnaire was used to calculate intake of energy and nutrients. Weight, height, and waist circumference were directly measured.16 Biomarkers of compliance, including urinary hydroxytyrosol levels (to confirm compliance in the group receiving extra-virgin olive oil) and plasma alpha-linolenic acid levels (to confirm compliance in the group receiving mixed nuts), were measured in random subsamples of participants at 1, 3, and 5 years (see the Supplementary Appendix).

End Points

The primary end point was a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke, and death from cardiovascular causes. Secondary end points were stroke, myocardial infarction, death from cardiovascular causes, and death from any cause. We used four sources of information to identify end points: repeated contacts with participants, contacts with family physicians, a yearly review of medical records, and consultation of the National Death Index. All medical records related to end points were examined by the end-point adjudication committee, whose members were unaware of the study-group assignments. Only end points that were confirmed by the adjudication committee and that occurred between October 1, 2003, and December 1, 2010, were included in the analyses. The criteria for adjudicating primary and secondary end points are detailed in the Supplementary Appendix.

Statistical Analysis

We initially estimated that a sample of 9000 participants would be required to provide statistical power of 80% to detect a relative risk reduction of 20% in each Mediterranean-diet group versus the control-diet group during a 4-year follow-up period, assuming an event rate of 12% in the control group.10,17 In April 2008, on the advice of the data and safety monitoring board and on the basis of lower-than-expected rates of end-point events, the sample size was recalculated as 7400 participants, with the assumption of a 6-year follow-up period and underlying event rates of 8.8% and 6.6% in the control and intervention groups, respectively. Power curves under several assumptions can be found in Figure S1 in the Supplementary Appendix.

Yearly interim analyses began after a median of 2 years of follow-up. With the use of O’Brien–Fleming stopping boundaries, the P values for stopping the trial at each yearly interim analysis were 5×10−6, 0.001, 0.009, and 0.02 for benefit and 9×10−5, 0.005, 0.02, and 0.05 for adverse effects.18 The stopping boundary for the benefit of the Mediterranean diets with respect to the primary end point was crossed at the fourth interim evaluation; on July 22, 2011, the data and safety monitoring board recommended stopping the trial on the basis of end points documented through December 1, 2010.

All primary analyses were performed on an intention-to-treat basis by two independent analysts. Time-to-event data were analyzed with the use of Cox models with two dummy variables (one for the Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil and another for the Mediterranean diet with nuts) to obtain two hazard ratios for the comparison with the control group. To account for small imbalances in risk factors at baseline among the groups, Cox regression models were used to adjust for sex, age, and baseline risk factors. We tested the proportionality of hazards with the use of time-varying covariates. All analyses were stratified according to center. Prespecified subgroup analyses were conducted according to sex, age, body-mass index (BMI), cardiovascular-risk-factor status, and baseline adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Sensitivity analyses were conducted under several assumptions, including imputation of data for missing values and participants who dropped out (see the Supplementary Appendix).

Results

Baseline Characteristics of the Study Participants

From October 2003 through June 2009, a total of 8713 candidates were screened for eligibility, and 7447 were randomly assigned to one of the three study groups (Figure S2 in the Supplementary Appendix). Their baseline characteristics according to study group are shown in Table 2Table 2Baseline Characteristics of the Participants According to Study Group.. Drug-treatment regimens were similar for participants in the three groups, and they continued to be balanced during the follow-up period (Table S4 in the Supplementary Appendix).

Participants were followed for a median of 4.8 years (interquartile range, 2.8 to 5.8). After the initial assessment, 209 participants (2.8%) chose not to attend subsequent visits, and their follow-up was based on reviews of medical records. By December 2010, a total of 523 participants (7.0%) had been lost to follow-up for 2 or more years. Dropout rates were higher in the control group (11.3%) than in the Mediterranean-diet groups (4.9%) (Figure S2 in the Supplementary Appendix). As compared with participants who remained in the trial, those who dropped out were younger (by 1.4 years), had a higher BMI (the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters; by 0.4), a higher waist-to-height ratio (by 0.01), and a lower score for adherence to the Mediterranean diet (by 1.0 points on the 14-item dietary screener) (P<0.05 for all comparisons).

Compliance with the Dietary Intervention

Participants in the three groups reported similar adherence to the Mediterranean diet at baseline (Table 2, and Figure S3 in the Supplementary Appendix) and similar food and nutrient intakes. During follow-up, scores on the 14-item Mediterranean-diet screener increased for the participants in the two Mediterranean-diet groups (Figure S3 in the Supplementary Appendix). There were significant differences between these groups and the control group in 12 of the 14 items at 3 years (Table S5 in the Supplementary Appendix). Changes in objective biomarkers also indicated good compliance with the dietary assignments (Figure S4 and S5 in the Supplementary Appendix).

Legumes, olive oil, nuts and grains were an important part of the study.

Legumes, olive oil, nuts and grains were an important part of the study.

Participants in the two Mediterranean-diet groups significantly increased weekly servings of fish (by 0.3 servings) and legumes (by 0.4 servings) in comparison with those in the control group (Table S6 in the Supplementary Appendix). In addition, participants assigned to a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil and those assigned to a Mediterranean diet with nuts significantly increased their consumption of extra-virgin olive oil (to 50 and 32 g per day, respectively) and nuts (to 0.9 and 6 servings per week, respectively). The main nutrient changes in the Mediterranean-diet groups reflected the fat content and composition of the supplemental foods (Tables S7 and S8 in the Supplementary Appendix). No relevant diet-related adverse effects were reported (see the Supplementary Appendix). We did not find any significant difference in changes in physical activity among the three groups.

End Points

The median follow-up period was 4.8 years. A total of 288 primary-outcome events occurred: 96 in the group assigned to a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil (3.8%), 83 in the group assigned to a Mediterranean diet with nuts (3.4%), and 109 in the control group (4.4%). Taking into account the small differences in the accrual of person-years among the three groups, the respective rates of the primary end point were 8.1, 8.0, and 11.2 per 1000 person-years (Table 3Table 3Outcomes According to Study Group.). The unadjusted hazard ratios were 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.53 to 0.91) for a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil and 0.70 (95% CI, 0.53 to 0.94) for a Mediterranean diet with nuts (Figure 1Figure 1Kaplan–Meier Estimates of the Incidence of Outcome Events in the Total Study Population.) as compared with the control diet (P=0.015, by the likelihood ratio test, for the overall effect of the intervention).

The results of multivariate analyses showed a similar protective effect of the two Mediterranean diets versus the control diet with respect to the primary end point (Table 3). Regarding components of the primary end point, only the comparisons of stroke risk reached statistical significance (Table 3, and Figure S6 in the Supplementary Appendix). The Kaplan–Meier curves for the primary end point diverged soon after the trial started, but no effect on all-cause mortality was apparent (Figure 1). The results of several sensitivity analyses were also consistent with the findings of the primary analysis (Table S9 in the Supplementary Appendix).

Subgroup Analyses

Reductions in disease risk in the two Mediterranean-diet groups as compared with the control group were similar across the prespecified subgroups (Figure 2Figure 2Results of Subgroup Analyses., and Table S10 in the Supplementary Appendix). In addition, to account for the protocol change in October 2006 whereby the intensity of dietary intervention in the control group was increased, we compared hazard ratios for the Mediterranean-diet groups (both groups merged vs. the control group) before and after this date. Adjusted hazard ratios were 0.77 (95% CI, 0.59 to 1.00) for participants recruited before October 2006 and 0.49 (95% CI, 0.26 to 0.92) for those recruited thereafter (P=0.21 for interaction).

Discussion

In this trial, an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts resulted in an absolute risk reduction of approximately 3 major cardiovascular events per 1000 person-years, for a relative risk reduction of approximately 30%, among high-risk persons who were initially free of cardiovascular disease. These results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular risk reduction. They are particularly relevant given the challenges of achieving and maintaining weight loss. The secondary prevention Lyon Diet Heart Study also showed a large reduction in rates of coronary heart disease events with a modified Mediterranean diet enriched with alpha-linolenic acid (a key constituent of walnuts). That result, however, was based on only a few major events.4,19,20

There were small between-group differences in some baseline characteristics in our trial, which were not clinically meaningful but were statistically significant, and we therefore adjusted for these variables. In fully adjusted analyses, we found significant results for the combined cardiovascular end point and for stroke, but not for myocardial infarction alone. This could be due to stronger effects on specific risk factors for stroke but also to a lower statistical power to identify effects on myocardial infarction. Our findings are consistent with those of prior observational studies of the cardiovascular protective effects of the Mediterranean diet,2,5 olive oil,21-23 and nuts24,25; smaller trials assessing effects on traditional cardiovascular risk factors6-9 and novel risk factors, such as markers of oxidation, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction6,8,26-28; and studies of conditions associated with high cardiovascular risk — namely, the metabolic syndrome6,16,29 and diabetes.30-32 Thus, a causal role of the Mediterranean diet in cardiovascular prevention has high biologic plausibility. The results of our trial might explain, in part, the lower cardiovascular mortality in Mediterranean countries than in northern European countries or the United States.33

The risk of stroke was reduced significantly in the two Mediterranean-diet groups. This is consistent with epidemiologic studies that showed an inverse association between the Mediterranean diet2,34 or olive-oil consumption22 and incident stroke.

Our results compare favorably with those of the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial, wherein a low-fat dietary approach resulted in no cardiovascular benefit.35 Salient components of the Mediterranean diet reportedly associated with better survival include moderate consumption of ethanol (mostly from wine), low consumption of meat and meat products, and high consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish, and olive oil.36,37 Perhaps there is a synergy among the nutrient-rich foods included in the Mediterranean diet that fosters favorable changes in intermediate pathways of cardiometabolic risk, such as blood lipids, insulin sensitivity, resistance to oxidation, inflammation, and vasoreactivity.38

Our study has several limitations. First, the protocol for the control group was changed halfway through the trial. The lower intensity of dietary intervention for the control group during the first few years might have caused a bias toward a benefit in the two Mediterranean-diet groups, since the participants in these two groups received a more intensive intervention during that time. However, we found no significant interaction between the period of trial enrollment (before vs. after the protocol change) and the benefit in the Mediterranean-diet groups. Second, we had losses to follow-up, predominantly in the control group, but the participants who dropped out had a worse cardiovascular risk profile at baseline than those who remained in the study, suggesting a bias toward a benefit in the control group. Third, the generalizability of our findings is limited because all the study participants lived in a Mediterranean country and were at high cardiovascular risk; whether the results can be generalized to persons at lower risk or to other settings requires further research.

As with many clinical trials, the observed rates of cardiovascular events were lower than anticipated, with reduced statistical power to separately assess components of the primary end point. However, favorable trends were seen for both stroke and myocardial infarction. We acknowledge that, even though participants in the control group received advice to reduce fat intake, changes in total fat were small and the largest differences at the end of the trial were in the distribution of fat subtypes. The interventions were intended to improve the overall dietary pattern, but the major between-group differences involved the supplemental items. Thus, extra-virgin olive oil and nuts were probably responsible for most of the observed benefits of the Mediterranean diets. Differences were also observed for fish and legumes but not for other food groups. The small between-group differences in the diets during the trial are probably due to the facts that for most trial participants the baseline diet was similar to the trial Mediterranean diet and that the control group was given recommendations for a healthy diet, suggesting a potentially greater benefit of the Mediterranean diet as compared with Western diets.

In conclusion, in this primary prevention trial, we observed that an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events among high-risk persons. The results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

With GREAT Appreciation to all of those who participated in and conducted the study, ~ Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

References

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet

February 25, 2013DOI:  10.1056/NEJMoa1200303

Ramón Estruch, M.D., Ph.D., Emilio Ros, M.D., Ph.D., Jordi Salas-Salvadó, M.D., Ph.D., Maria-Isabel Covas,  D.Pharm., Ph.D., Dolores Corella, D.Pharm., Ph.D., Fernando Arós, M.D., Ph.D., Enrique Gómez-Gracia, M.D., Ph.D., Valentina Ruiz-Gutiérrez, Ph.D., Miquel Fiol, M.D., Ph.D., José Lapetra, M.D., Ph.D., Rosa Maria Lamuela-Raventos, D.Pharm., Ph.D., Lluís Serra-Majem, M.D., Ph.D., Xavier Pintó, M.D., Ph.D., Josep Basora, M.D., Ph.D., Miguel Angel Muñoz, M.D., Ph.D., José V. Sorlí, M.D., Ph.D., José Alfredo Martínez, D.Pharm, M.D., Ph.D., and Miguel Angel Martínez-González, M.D., Ph.D. for the PREDIMED Study Investigators

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1200303?query=featured_home&#t=articleBackground

Sore Throat Remedy

Cinnamon, Ginger, Honey and Turmeric all contain properties to fight against colds and influenza.

YES!! Healing your throat can be overcome by using nature’s products so why not give it a try! Four simple items is all that is needed and quickly found at your local grocer.  Honey, cinnamon, turmeric or ginger have a combination of everything needed to fight influenza, colds and germs. The active components are: antibacterial, antifungal, antimricrobial, and antiviral.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon honey (Also 1 tablespoon of honey will do!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (or Ginger)

On the spoon of honey,  place both turmeric and cinnamon. With a toothpick, swirl the spices into the honey. Can be eaten off the spoon 3 times a day, or add to hot tea and drink!

By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

OMG !!! & Other Popular Diets

A well written article by Emily Jupp on June 12, 2012 for The Independent, in which she  pursues the challenge of the OMG Diet and attentively documents her journey, discusses what the facts are, and her overall impression about this latest diet. Thank You Emily for allowing me to share your story!

“You’ve heard of Dukan, scoffed fat on Atkins, fainted from drinking only honey and lemon water and lost friends from the noxious side-effects of the cabbage diet. Now there’s a new one, this time designed to inspire jealousy and help you to “get skinnier than all your friends”. Six Weeks to OMG comes out in print next month. It has knocked the Dukan Diet off the top of the iTunes diet book chart and a subsidiary of Penguin has bought it for a seven-figure sum.

The book, by British sports scientist and personal trainer Paul Khanna, who goes by the pen name Venice A Fulton, offers controversial tips, such as skip breakfast, take cold baths and drink black coffee. But for short-term weight loss, can the OMG diet really help you shed pounds? Consultant Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Linia Patel, Dr Christian Jessen, the presenter of the Bafta award-winning Embarrassing Bodies series, and the celebrity fitness trainer Jay Darrell Ingleton explain the science behind Fulton’s unconventional theories. I’ve also given Fulton’s tips a try, in a (highly unscientific) experiment, to see how tough they are to stick to.

Skip breakfast……What do I do for energy?

Fulton says skipping breakfast will help to stop you becoming a “fadult” (that’s a fat adult to you and me). “Breakfast is for wimps!”, he writes. He recommends exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and then only eating once three hours have passed, so that your body is forced to burn stored fat rather than food.

The expert view: “Skipping breakfast is a weight-loss disaster,” says Patel. “When you wake up your body produces cortisol, a stress hormone that helps store fat. If you don’t eat, you are putting your body under more strain and stress and therefore more likely to gain weight around the middle. Also, you will want sugary and fatty things when you’re really hungry, which add to weight gain.”

My experience: I skipped breakfast and still had enough energy to run up the stairs on the underground (my “workout”). It didn’t affect my concentration and I ate breakfast at 10am. It was easy, but I consumed exactly the same amount that I usually eat, so I doubt it made much impact on my weight.

Drink black coffee before exercise

Fulton says the caffeine in a cup of black coffee will help to boost your exercise routine: “It’s nature’s cheap and secret potion,” he writes. But he warns against adding any milk or sugar to your drink, because “either would tell your body that food’s arriving,” which, in theory, will prevent it from burning its fat stores.

The expert view: Dr Christian Jessen says coffee can help, but there’s no secret trick to it. “After 12 hours or more of filming, mustering the energy to get to the gym can be hard,” he says. “Coffee gives me the energy to just about squeeze in a workout. It’s a stimulant and that’s what I use it for, but it doesn’t make your workout more efficient.” He also warns that liquids contain calories too. “People forget fluids such as the Starbucks coffee mocha creamy coffee thing can be high in calories. Adding milk and sugar to coffee will add to your intake. Remember your hard work in the gym is lessened by a highly calorific drink beforehand.”

My experience: It made me feel more energetic, which probably helped to psyche myself up for the gym.

Take cold baths….How Cold?

Fulton recommends taking baths of between 15C and 20C to “help you lose calories fast”. He says the cold boosts adrenaline, which he says is particularly good for burning the fat stored in women’s thighs.

The expert view: Ingleton says that a lot of athletes will take ice baths to help their muscles recover. “When athletes do it after a workout it gets blood to the muscles quicker. It has to be freezing otherwise it won’t work, but the author is not saying go to that extent. Also I don’t think everyone will be working out like a top body-builder. For normal people, it probably won’t make much difference to weight-loss.”

My experience: I opt for a cold shower, which is horrible. It feels like my body is in shock and makes my heart race. Afterwards, my skin looks bright and glowing and my clothes feel really warm, but the results don’t outweigh the awfulness. I couldn’t stick to it every day for six weeks.

OMG DIET says, “Eat less fruit” …..REALLY?                                                                                                                

Fulton says you should eat as little as one piece of fruit a day during the diet period, although after the six weeks are up he encourages more balance in your diet.

“Fruit can be a cheeky devil,” he says, because it contains fructose, which can turn to fat if it isn’t burnt off.

The expert view: “It’s all about calories,” says Patel. “We recommend you eat five pieces of fruit and veg a day, but if you want to lose weight have more vegetables than fruit, as fruit is more calorific. It’s ridiculous to just eat one piece of fruit a day for six weeks, because you’re losing out on essential vitamins and minerals.”

My experience: I replaced fruit with colourful salads and felt fine, but I missed having a late afternoon snack and bought a coffee loaded with honey instead of fruit – Fulton wouldn’t approve.

Swap Vegetables for Coke….. WHY?

Fulton says eating unhealthily in the short-term is OK if it makes you thin. “[For some people] to get skinny”, he writes,”it makes no difference whether they get their daily carbs from cans of Coke or from broccoli… for six to 12 weeks there’s no harm in using this knowledge to get super-skinny.”

The expert view: Patel says: “Broccoli is a fibrous carb that helps digestion and gives you nutrients. If you lay off fibrous carbs like bread, pasta and vegetables then you will be constipated with no energy.”

My experience: I’m far too fond of vegetables and regular bowel movements to attempt this one.

The Truth about Duelling diets

If you don’t like the sound of OMG, there are other diets that also promise fast weight-loss, but Dr Jessen warns that we shouldn’t expect miracles: “Coming off the diet and coming back to normal is when the weight can pile back on. Dieting should be about taking a healthy, sensible approach that will work in the long-term. Don’t try to cut everything out at once. Life is about enjoyment, too, and that’s why you work hard, so you can indulge in a cheeky cake in the afternoon if you fancy.”

The Headspace Diet:

10 Days to Finding Your Ideal Weight (Hodder & Stoughton). This is where you think deeply about every mouthful you eat and therefore, the theory goes, consume less.

“Being mindful while you eat is great, as most people tend to eat until they are stuffed,” Patel says. “It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to signal to the brain its full – but most of us can polish off two platefuls in less than 10 minutes!” But she warns that this diet has its risks. “Eating a tiny portion each meal, you would risk not getting in enough nutrients to keep you healthy.”

The Baby Food Diet

This involves just eating jars of baby food in place of your normal, adult-size meals.

“Baby food is full of nutritious vitamins, which are easily digestible,” Ingleton says. But he warns it’s hard to feel satisfied with the lack of texture, and it’s easy to go over the three-to-four jar allowance and overeat.

The Raw Food Diet

“The raw food diet contains fewer trans fats and saturated fats than general Western diets and it can lead to weight loss and may give you more energy,” Ingleton says. He warns that there is a risk that the diet lacks some essential vitamins and fatty acids, so you would need to take vitamin supplements.

The Blood Group Diet

Devised by Peter J D’Adamo, this is when you cut out dairy, meat, wheat or grains depending on your blood type.

“There is no reasonable scientific basis for this,” Ingleton says. Patel agrees: “You risk getting an unbalanced diet if you are cutting out a whole food group.”

The Dukan Diet

Like the Atkins diet, the Dukan diet involves eating mostly protein for a few weeks and then gradually introducing other foods.

“It’s a high-protein diet, so while it might work for some to kick-start weight loss it won’t work for all, as it’s hard to cut out carbs,” Patel says. “You risk having low energy.””

Read Your Palm, Determine Your Diet

Open hand, read your palm to know your serving size of meat.

Read your own palm and know your personal dietary needs. An open flat palm (don’t include the fingers) shows the size of meat, poultry or fish that YOU should consume. The thickness and the length of the palm perfectly identifies your personal protein needs. While an individual’s fist size (closed hand) can give you your own serving size for fruit and vegetables.

Your fist size determines your own single serving.

Clear the confusion over serving size, don’t let it upset your apple cart and ruin your diet! By better understanding what a serving size may look like, consider these unique tips to trigger your memory the next time your prepare a meal, or go out to eat a restaurant. Ones body can tell an individual how they must eat to meet their own individual needs. Remember, in order to not over eat, drink (245 ml) 1 glass of water before your meal and another during the meal.

Serving Sizes: Use the list below to measure foods and serving sizes. A serving size means the size of food after it is cooked or prepared.

  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) is about the size of the tip of your little finger (from the last crease)
  • 1 tablespoon (Tbsp) is about the size of the tip of your thumb (from the last crease).
  • 2 tablespoons (Tbsp) is about the size of a large walnut.
  • One ounce of hard cheese is about a 1 inch cube.
  • 3 ounces of cooked meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards.
  • 1 ounce of cooked meat, fish, or poultry is about 1/4 cup (c).
  • 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables is about half of a fist (A serving of cooked vegetables is 1/2 cup (1/2 handful) or 1 cup (1 handful) raw.)
  • 1 cup of food is the size of a fist, or 8 fluid ounces of liquid.
  • 1-1/2 cup (12 fluid ounces) of liquid is the size of 1 soda-pop can.
  • 1 pint or 2 cups (16 fluid ounces) of liquid is the size of 1-1/3 soda-pop cans.

The American Dietetic Association counsels that individuals maintain a healthy lifestyle by
including the following into their dietary intake:

  • 4 Serving Fruits
  • 5 Servings Vegetables
  • 2 Servings of Milk
  • 2 Servings of Protein
  • 2 Servings of Healthy Fat (2 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive or Canola Oil)
  • 6-11 Servings of Bread (Determined by body size; men eat more bread servings, while women eat less.)
Be smart and plan each meal! When choosing foods, aim for a daily total of 25-38 grams of fiber that will come from Vegetable, Fruit and Multi-Grains.
By: Kimberly Crocker- Scardicchio

References