MYTH: SKIM MILK IS THE HEALTHIEST OPTION Is skim milk the healthiest choice? Will dairy make you congested? This might just change your mind. Truth: The health benefits of fat-free dairy may be overstated. Recent research has found that people who eat full-fat dairy aren’t any likelier to develop heart disease or diabetes than people who eat low-fat dairy. Other data has linked full-fat dairy to lower odds of obesity. The reason: Certain fatty acids in dairy may be linked to fullness; when you eat fat-free versions of milk, yogurt, and cheese, you may feel less satisfied (and eat more later). Low-fat milk helps your body absorb key nutrients from milk, such as vitamins A and D, as well as important fatty acids, says Katherine Tucker, PhD, nutritional epidemiology professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. MYTH: MILK CAUSES CONGESTION Truth: Dairy won’t make your cold any worse. Any uptick in congestion you feel after drinking dairy is probably in your head. Milk drinkers with the common cold didn’t experience more coughing or runnier noses than those who didn’t drink dairy, according to a Swiss report. The only people who reported increased respiratory problems after drinking milk were those who believed dairy produces more mucus, the report found. Try these home remedies to relieve a stuffy nose. MYTH: MORE MILK MEANS STRONGER BONES Truth: Study results are mixed when it comes to the skeleton-strengthening benefits of calcium. A BMJ study published in 2015 found that middle-aged adults who took calcium supplements or who got high levels of calcium from their diet were as likely to experience fractures as people who consumed less calcium. 'Dietary calcium intake is not associated with risk of fracture, and there is no clinical trial evidence that increasing calcium intake from dietary sources prevents fractures,' the study authors concluded. 'Evidence that calcium supplements prevent fractures is weak and inconsistent.' More research is needed to determine the best ways for adults to maintain strong bone health—and prevent fractures—into old age. Weight-bearing exercise (walking, running, dancing), as well as exercise that emphasizes balance (yoga, tai chi), appears to be critical. MYTH: MOST PEOPLE CAN’T DIGEST LACTOSE WELL Truth: The body can adapt to tolerate more milk. Even people who have a hard time digesting lactose rarely show symptoms with a small serving, especially when the dairy is paired with a meal, says Dennis Savaino, PhD, a nutrition science professor at Purdue University who has been studying lactose digestion for more than 30 years. 'Every poison—or food—has a dose,' Savaiano says. 'With lactose or milk, there’s a dose that gives symptoms, and that’s usually more than a cup.' Drinking milk regularly can make your body more used to digesting lactose, even if you’ve shown signs of intolerance before, he says. If you’re a dairy lover with lactose intolerance, talk to your doctor about ways to safely dabble in dairy without causing stomach upset or other symptoms. MYTH: MILK IS THE BEST BEVERAGE SOURCE OF CALCIUM Truth: Other drinks have comparable amounts. With 30 percent of your daily value of calcium in one cup, milk is by no means a shabby source of the mineral. But it’s not your only option for calcium, which helps bones, muscles, the heart and nerves. A cup of calcium-enriched orange juice has 35 percent of your daily need, and enriched soy milk can serve a whopping 45 percent. Check out these other calcium-rich foods. MYTH: ALL DAIRY PRODUCTS HAVE THE SAME VITAMINS AND MINERALS Truth: Milk and yogurt are more nutrient-rich than cheese and cream, Tucker says. Cheese is a middle ground between cream and milk; it has more nutrients than cream, but is not fortified with vitamin D the way milk often is. 'Cheese is still a good source of calcium and a reasonable source of protein,' she says, 'but there’s not as much vitamin D or magnesium because it’s diluted by fat.' By Marissa Laliberte via MSN.com
What you eat can drastically affect how you sleep, so in order to get a good night's rest, it is essential to choose foods that calm your mind and body rather than those that stimulate you. Certain types of foods will naturally promote rest and relaxation, particularly those that contain tryptophan, the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that slows nerve activity within your brain. Tryptophan Since tryptophan is a precursor of other neurotransmitters in your brain, including serotonin and melatonin, eating foods that are rich in tryptophan will help you feel relaxed and sleepy. Foods such as turkey, hummus, lentils, and kelp are naturally high in tryptophan and also contain nutrients that provide a host of other health benefits. In addition, bananas not only contain tryptophan, but also potassium and magnesium, which are natural muscle relaxants. Fresh and dried cherries are also one of the only natural food sources of melatonin. Read more of my healthy diet recommendations by visiting www.dreliaz.org. Carbohydrates Foods that are rich in starchy, high-glycemic carbohydrates may also promote better sleep, as they help to stimulate the release of insulin and tryptophan and cause these sleep-inducing substances to enter the brain. According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, carbohydrates that are on the high end of the glycemic index scale, meaning they increase the body's sugar levels rapidly, encourage sleep when eaten at least four hours before bedtime. Foods such as Jasmine rice, potatoes, carrots, corn, puffed cereal, and honey are some of the healthiest choices of simple carbohydrates. Calcium Calcium helps the brain use the tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. Certain combinations, such as whole-grain cereal with milk, a peanut butter sandwich, or crackers with cheese contain both carbohydrates and calcium that work together to relax the mind and body. Calcium itself is so beneficial in helping you sleep, as it is a natural muscle relaxant that can also help you manage stress levels. Timing Eating these various foods calms your nervous system and triggers a sleep-inducing hormonal response, helping you rest better at night. However, timing is everything, as eating a large meal too late or eating right before bed time can actually have the opposite effect and keep you up at night. It is best to eat these foods later in the day or at least one hour before bed time since it takes about one hour for tryptophan from food sources to reach the brain. Above all else, it is important to avoid rich, heavy and high-fat foods within two hours of bed time, as they require a lot of work to digest, and may cause stomach trouble and heartburn. It is also wise to avoid drinking too many liquids, including water, juice, tea or other fluids, as this may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. Caffeinated drinks, such as soda, coffee or caffeinated teas not only act as diuretics, but will also keep you stimulated and make falling asleep that much more difficult. For more recommendations on relaxation-promoting diet and supplementation tips, visitwww.dreliaz.org. By Dr. Isaac Eliaz via articlecity.com About The Author Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator, and clinical practitioner. He has been a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980s. Dr. Eliaz is a frequent guest lecturer on integrative medical approaches to health, immune enhancement, and cancer prevention and treatment.