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    Natracure Blog — eating habits

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    The Hottest New Diet Isn’t a Diet at All

    Meet the dietary pattern, a style of eating with a proven record of success. Diets are out; dietary patterns are in – at least, that's what the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans seems to say. That's big news for those of us who like to incorporate the report's nutrition advice into our personal eating habits when it comes out every five years. This time, the government suggests we abandon diets that glorify or shun single foods and nutrients (think butter, eggs, fat and fiber – past years' targets) and shift our attention to overall eating patterns, or the sum total of what, how often and how much we eat, as well as what we eat it with. Why the move away from "good food/bad food" diets? For one, nutrition science is continually evolving and we are learning from our mistakes. Back in the 1980s, for instance, the guidelines told us to cut back on "bad fats" to lower our risk of heart disease – the No. 1 cause of death for Americans. But people who followed that recommendation filled the void on their plates with simple carbohydrates, such as pasta, bagels and fat-free cookies. In time, we learned those foods weren't any better for our hearts (or waistlines) than the high-fat fare they replaced. So in 2000, we tried again. The guidelines issued that year redeemed fats – as long as they were "good fats." This recommendation was based on newer research linking populations that regularly ate olive oil, avocados and almonds with a lower incidence of heart disease. We followed suit, dipping our bread in olive oil, adding sliced avocado to our burgers and making almonds our go-to snack. But so far, the only thing that has improved is sales of those foods. Our single-minded pursuit of the perfect food (or fat) to fight heart disease has kept us from seeing everything else that contributes to its lower rates in people with different dietary patterns. Now, after spending more than two decades rationing just three eggs into our weekly menus, we're being told cholesterol isn't as bad for us as we once thought. Does that mean it's time to order the broiled lobster tail with drawn butter to celebrate? Not so fast. What it means is precisely what the latest Dietary Guidelines concluded: When it comes to diet, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Put another way, when you eat foods together, their health benefits are greater than a single food could produce on its own. For example, eating eggs every day can lower your risk of heart disease if you are also eating plenty of vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, whole grains, fish and olive oil. On the other hand, eating eggs every day along with regular servings of fatty meats, refined grains and excess sodium from highly-processed foods can increase that risk. That's because the connection to heart disease isn't just about the eggs – it's also about everything else we consume with them. Another advantage of adopting a healthy dietary pattern is that the benefits are cumulative, like compounded interest. So, people who have been eating a Mediterranean-style pattern all their lives, for instance, get an immediate return on investment by meeting their nutritional needs early in life to support optimal growth and development. Later, they receive a long-term dividend by preventing, or greatly reducing, their risk of suffering from the noncommunicable diseases of adulthood, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, macular degeneration and the ubiquitous heart disease. But this payoff requires making consistent contributions to your healthy eating plan, just like building retirement wealth depends on making consistent contributions to your 401K. Both are more effective the sooner you get started. Choosing a healthy dietary pattern over a diet also leaves more room for the occasional holiday food exemption. (Sorry, but weekends don't count as "occasional.") That approach is different from the can-eat-can't-eat diet style, in which we're open to every loophole that might give us a free pass. Have you ever rushed off to work without eating breakfast so you feel entitled to partake in the office pastries? How about arriving home from work too tired to chop vegetables, so you eat pizza (without a salad) for dinner? What about the Sunday you finally get the whole family together for brunch and end up eating eggs benedict and a Belgian waffle to celebrate? You get the picture: Food choices can change with the seasons, but a dietary pattern remains the same. Convinced yet? If so, the highly-regarded Mediterranean and DASH plans are a great place to start. Those patterns offer the best of what is known about the food-health connection when put together right, so you won't have to upgrade to something new in another five years. You also won't have to worry about getting caught up in the next fad diet that promises to solve all your health and weight issues because history has shown us they don't work in the long term. Think gluten-free, low-glycemic index, high-protein, low-carb, antioxidant-rich, paleo and probiotic diets, to name a few. It's time to move on something more sustainable. You can start transitioning to a healthier pattern by following some of these simple tips. The goal is to make the right choice a habit so it becomes your default option. Eat at least one piece of whole fruit daily. Order “whole wheat” as your bread choice for sandwiches, toast and pizza crust. Choose fish over meat or poultry for an entree at least once a week. Drink one full glass of water with each meal. Add a layer of fresh or grilled vegetables to every sandwich. Use nuts or seeds instead of croutons on salad. Make chili with more beans and less (or no) meat. Have brown rice with all Chinese takeout. Include some vegetables whenever you grill. Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in cooking and baking. Make your meat portions no larger than the palm of your hand. Choose vegetables to top pizza, fill an omelet, stuff a potato or stretch a soup. Keep hummus, salsa and sliced vegetables on hand as your go-to snack. Be more inclusive of fruits and vegetables by including fresh, frozen, canned and dried varieties in your repertoire. Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

    By Robyn Flipse via msn health

    These 5 Superfoods Will Make a Difference

    What makes a food super you ask? The answer is simple. When incredible nutritional value meets deliciousness and simplicity, you have a superfood. Super foods are just too good for you not to have them in your diet. The health benefits are significant. And the foods can easily be incorporated into daily recipes and regimens. Read on to learn how these 7 foods can benefit you in ways you never imagined. Let’s get super!   1. Kale Yes, kale. Doesn’t sound too appetizing does it? What if I told you that kale can help combat asthma, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and even arthritis? As one of the most nutrient rich foods on the planet, it make no sense to avoid it. Kale boasts the ideal combo of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and flavonoids that your body craves. Still not convinced? Kale has even shown the ability to preserve the elasticity of skin, which helps hold off premature aging. Try tossing kale into your salad or cooking it up as a side dish at dinner.   2. Blueberries

    This sweet and tart fruit has been popular for centuries for its delicious taste and versatility. Yet there are so many more reasons to love blueberries.  In addition to being a proven cholesterol reducer, this superfood can help fight cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Blueberries are easy to mix into your breakfast with hot or cold cereals, yogurts, oatmeal, and more!
      3. Chocolate Did I just tell you that chocolate is a superfood? Yes, yes I did. I’m not saying you should begin funneling Hershey’s Kisses into your body. However, dark chocolates are actually very beneficial for your body. The key here is to indulge in non-dairy dark chocolates with at least 70% cocoa. A small, bite-sized piece is ideal because it won’t cause you to exceed your daily fat intake while offering your body a delicious and nutritious treat. Dark chocolates provide your body with essential antioxidants and flavonols that keep blood pressure down and promote heart health.
      4. Avocados Avocados have gotten a bad rap for being high in fats. The problem there is the false belief that all fats are bad. In fact, avocados have healthy mono-saturated fats that benefit you in two ways. These fats will satisfy hunger quickly and help to control portions while also benefiting your cholesterol. Avocados contain essential B and K vitamins and also of cancer-reducing phytosterols and carotenoids. Sneak avocado into your diet by using it in spreads or dips!
      5. Sweet Potatoes All carbs aren’t the enemy. I suggest you make sweet potatoes one of your new best friends. Why? Sweet potatoes are one of the best foods on the planet at raising vitamin A levels in your blood. Not to mention that one sweet potato contains half of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C. Also, they contain proteins that work to fight off cell damage and increase healing in the body. Perhaps this superfood’s greatest benefit is its ability to replace French fries. Cut up sweet potatoes and toss them into the oven. Sprinkle them with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and salt, and you have an amazingly nutritious and delicious side dish or snack that you can eat with pride!
        There are certainly more foods that are super, but this list will get you started. Feel free to research more! You can never have enough superfoods in your diet to help ensure a healthy diet.   By Pat DeRiso   Sources: tips.life, wemd, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, easacademy.org, oregonstate.edu,whfoods.com