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Blog posts of '2013' 'March'

Watching Not Only What You Eat but What You Drink

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Watching Not Only What You Eat but What You DrinkMany people constantly tweak their diets and eating habits trying to find that right formula in order to better their heath and promote healthier weight management. The food you put in your body is, no doubt, of the utmost importance. But sometimes you can forget just how vital an impact—both positive and negative—the fluids you drink can have on your overall health. The right fluids can boost your nutrient intake while adding minimal calories, fats, and sugars to your daily diet.

The Element of Life

Given that you need to consume fluids every day, what fluid is cheap, abundant, and crucial to your body's needs? The answer, of course, is water. Vital to all forms of life on Earth, this simple, yet all-important, liquid is the best "go-to drink" when it comes to fluids with no added calories, sugars, or fats. Water is essential in promoting healthy function in your body and should not be forgotten.

Focusing on the Fluids

Many drinks have their pros and cons—so what's the lesson when it comes to fluid intake and health? Moderation is the key. Juice can add important nutrients and vitamins to your daily regimen. First, you need to make sure it's 100% fruit juice. Then it's important to limit your juice intake to about 6 ounces per day, due to its high calorie content. Milk should also be taken in moderation. Despite providing much-needed calcium to support bone and muscle health, it is also high in calories. And, depending on what kind of milk you drink (skim, 2%, etc) you could be adding unwanted fat to your daily intake. If weight management and nutrition are your goal, artificially sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, and—maybe worst of all—energy drinks should be avoided or taken very rarely as these beverages can have negative effects on long-term health.

Supplementing with Natural Choices

Sticking to what's natural and supplementing your food and fluid intake with proper vitamins and minerals can help you achieve a proper daily balance in nutrition. Ultimately, there are many drink choices out there, but choosing the healthy, natural one can be the important catalyst needed to get you on the track to good health.

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Fresh Vs. Frozen Produce and Does It Really Matter?

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Fresh Vs. Frozen Produce and Does It Really Matter?When it comes to buying produce and other foods, you probably think that "fresh" is the best way to go. But sometimes, what's labeled fresh isn't always the best choice, and what is frozen can sometimes contain more nutrients for a healthy and balanced diet. With many variables pertaining to fresh vs. frozen fruits and vegetables, it can often be difficult to know what the definitive healthy choice can be.

Frozen Fresh or Freshly Frozen?

Depending on where you live and the consistency of the climate, the notion of buying fresh produce can vary. Fresh produce shipped in from other areas can lose its nutrition while some frozen produce is picked fresh in peak season and immediately frozen; therefore, it is able to retain almost all of the healthy nutrients you are looking for in the first place.

The loss of nutrients can also depend on the type of produce, according to professors and researchers at Tufts University. Leafy green vegetables are the most susceptible to nutrition loss. Fresh spinach can lose over half its nutrients in eight days. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables with skins or shells, like oranges, grapes, and squash, retain their nutrients for a much longer period of time. Overall, experts report that the important thing is to get your recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables, no matter if they are fresh or frozen. When it comes to frozen vegetables, here are a few things to look for:

  • Avoid vegetables with added salt
  • Stay away from fruits with added sugars
  • Buy "whole" fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid chopped, peeled, and crushed frozen produce

Other Areas of Consideration

In some cases, even if you make healthy choices you can still end up losing out on the benefits of fruits and vegetables due to preparation methods. When it comes to preparing vegetables, lightly steamed or raw is the way to go in order to retain most of a food's nutritional value. Boiling spinach can cause more loss of folate in comparison to letting it sit in the fridge for a few days. Frozen food is often considered cheaper as well, but some frozen foods just don't have the right flavor or texture after being thawed. If you are not getting the full nutritional value out of your produce and you are not enjoying taste and texture, you are losing on both ends.

The End Game

Understanding the nuances of how to get the best nutritional value from the good choices you make can help you further refine your diet to support your health. Supporting your dietary choices with the right supplements can also help promote overall good health. Choosing the right foods and adding a daily multivitamin can be the one-two punch that sets you on the right path for attaining that healthy overall lifestyle you're aiming for.

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Vitamin B12 Linked to Cognitive Health in Aging Adults

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Vitamin B12 Linked to Cognitive Health in Aging AdultsVitamin B12 plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Found in foods like fish, meat, and dairy, it is an important part of a balanced nutritional diet. However due to our modern methods of processing foods, we may not be getting the right amount of B12 through our daily food intake. This is cause for concern as a recent observational study, conducted at Tufts University, has linked B12 levels to cognitive health in older adults.

Effects of Low B12

Researchers analyzed and tested data from 549 men and women who took part in a separate study concerning heart health, the average age of the participants was said to be 75. The subjects were divided into five groups based on their blood levels of B12. Focusing on cognitive test scores from the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) over an eight-year period, the study revealed that the two lowest B12 groups were more prone to cognitive health concerns. The study showed that cognitive effects of even mild vitamin B12 deficiency may affect a larger proportion of seniors than was previously thought. A majority of the test subjects were Caucasian women with at least a high-school level education. While a link has been established there is still the question of causation. Researchers hope to expand tests to more diverse subject groups as well as investigate whether vitamin B12 deficiencies affect any particular cognitive skills.

Keeping Up Brain and Body Health

With more and more of these types of studies being released, the need for supplementing our daily diet has never been more essential. Getting the right amount of nutrients on a daily basis through food intake alone can be difficult, which is why supplementing meals with a multivitamin can provide the optimal amount of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and other nutrients needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Balance is always the key. Eating right, exercising at least 30 minutes a day, and supplementing our diet to fulfill the body’s nutritional needs can help us all make strides in the quest for good health.

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