Healthy food

Popular Health Food Myths

Eating pop rocks with soda can make you explode. This is perhaps the most popular and most bizarre food myths of all time. Although some may argue that the two together may be a lethal combination, it is not because of its likelihood to cause human combustion. While the fate of Mikey of Life Cereal fame may be unknown, it is safe to say he did not suffer death by Poprock. With the rate at which information about food changes , it is often hard to determine which facts from fiction. Here are some of the most commonly believed food myths that may seem all too easy to believe.

Low Fat Food is Better for You
Look at food labels to determine what kinds of fats are in foods before reaching for the low fat version. Seattle based dietitian Andy Bellatti says, “A good intake of healthful fats is beneficial for cardiovascular health. Prioritize mono saturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Many low fat diets are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates which are increasingly becoming linked to increased heart disease.” Low fat food are often low in good fats, which are necessary to cholesterol management and absorption of nutrients and also contain high levels of sugar and sodium to compensate for the blandness of the taste quality.

Dairy Is Best For Healthy Bones
According to Bellatti, too many people confuse dairy with calcium. “Dairy contains calcium, but so do dark-leafy greens. Milk is fortified with vitamin D, just like all milk alternatives. Additionally, bone health goes beyond calcium and vitamin D.” Vitamin K is important for bone health and leafy green have it while dairy products do not. Magnesium, also absent from dairy, is important for bone health as well.

Assorted dairy

If you’re concerned about the health of your bones, you’re best bet is to make sure you get enough calcium in your diet and, as the Harvard School of Public Health points out, “milk isn’t the only, or even best source of calcium.” Collard greens, kale and bok choy may be considerably better sources of both calcium and vitamin D.

Drink 8 Glasses of Water per Day
Boston based nutritionist Alannah DiBona says there is no given rule for how much water a person needs in a day. “Water’s been touted as the cure for all sins, and in some ways, it’s true – proper hydration is necessary for just about anything body and mind-related. However sixty- four ounces per day isn’t always going to be the right number for you.” Instead, try to determine your water intake by dividing your body weight in half and trying to drink that number in ounces of water daily.

Dibona also urges us to “Remember that water is available to you through all liquids, fruits, vegetables, and that the mark of proper hydration is a very light yellow-colored urine.”

Eating Eggs Raises Cholesterol
According to DiBona, “More often than not, a person diagnosed with high cholesterol will go out of his or her way to avoid eggs, which is really unnecessary. The body’s cholesterol levels are influenced by certain saturated and trans fats; eggs contain very little saturated fat and absolutely no trans fat. Depriving yourself of an egg means foregoing 13 naturally occurring vitamins and minerals and a really delicious breakfast item.”

Poached egg

High Sodium Foods Taste Salty
While there is no doubt that management of salt and sodium intake are important, especially for those with diabetes and hypertension, you should know that salty taste is not necessarily characteristic of high sodium foods. Belatti explains, “While surface salt is noticeable, stealth sodium, added during processing, is harder to taste. This is why many people don’t realize that a Dunkin’ Donuts corn muffin contains as much sodium, as 9 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.” He stresses the importance of looking up nutrition information to check the sodium content of foods at your favorite restaurants and eateries.

What other food myths do you want to debunk? Let us know!

Woman drinking a detox smoothie

Feel Better With A Weekend Detox

  Do you dream in chocolate?  Do you leave a basket of fruit on your table when the neighbors come and quickly swap it for the donut box when they go?  Do you have a secret stash of Snickers bars under your bed?  If this describes you, you may be a good candidate for a weekend detox.  Now let’s get this straight.  A weekend detox is not just for the nutritionally deprived.  It is a more like going on a two-day health bender in which your diet and health habits are regulated with the goal of cleansing your system, restoring blood pressure, and getting your digestion and blood sugar back on track.  Sound like a nutty adventure?  Let’s take a closer look.

Why the Weekend?
One thing you should keep in mind is that there is a reason for it being called a weekend detox.  Firstly,  limiting your food intake in this way is definitely not the best way to stay focused in the office and should only be done for a short time period.  Also, you need time to prepare your foods and might end up having to use the bathroom excessively because of the water, tea, and juices that constitute a good portion of most diets. Thus, a leisurely day with some degree of privacy may be best.

The Nutritional Component
The detox menu varies depending on the plan you follow.  The most severe ones are limited to system flushing liquids and smoothies, but more of them incorporate a restricted list of foods.  Here are the general rules of detox eating.

Antioxidants
Eating brightly colored fruits and veggies, whole grains and beans get rid of harmful substances and make them water soluble, so your system can flush them more easily.  Think spinach, kale, and cranberries.

Eat foods with Glutathione
What’s that?  Glutathione is an antioxidant that is produced by your own body.  It can be found in garlic, onions, eggs and foods rich in sulfuric compounds.  It is useful in removing toxins, including mercury and arsenic, from the body.

Drink water and tea
There is no denying that elimination is one of the primary goals of detox.  Water helps you with Number 1, Number 2, and perspiration.  While detoxing, try to drink 8-12 glasses of water or decaffeinated tea.

You may also want to add some  detox teas as  a bonus. These generally contain dandelion which supports digestion and liver function, licorice which expels mucus, and ginger, which stimulates circulation and gets rid of toxins.  Licorice tea, in particular, contains a compound that is 50 times sweeter than sugar, which may help to control a sweet tooth.

Eat Clean
Remember, your goal is to eliminate food that contain the toxins you are trying to eliminate.  Avoid processed goods including fast food, fried food, caffeine, dairy, alcohol, red meat, sugar and white flour.

Parting Notes
Avoid eating after 7 PM and get eight hours of sleep.  This will kick-start your system and help develop lasting healthy habits, or at least, help you get reacquainted with your fruit basket.

Woman suffering from pain

Zap PMS With Eggs

Cravings for junk food like pizza, chips, chocolate and ice cream are completely common during PMS, but gorging on these foods only feels good in the immediate short-term. These foods actually contribute to bloating, irritation and mood swings because of all of the sugar, salts and fats contained in them. There are foods that you can eat that will help relieve symptoms of PMS and keep your body healthy, and eggs are one of these foods. Eggs are a great source of protein, are highly versatile and can reduce PMS problems. Keep reading to find out what causes PMS and how eggs can help.

What Causes PMS?
Currently, the exact cause of premenstrual syndrome is unknown, but there are several contributing factors.

  • Changes in Hormones – The fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone that occurs with your menstrual cycle is a major influence on the severity of your premenstrual symptoms.
  • Changes in Brain Chemicals – According to the Mayo Clinic, “fluctuations of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that is thought to play a crucial role in mood states, could trigger PMS symptoms. Insufficient amounts of serotonin may contribute to premenstrual depression, as well as to fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems.”
  • Depression – As stated by the Mayo Clinic, low levels of serotonin are a contributing factor to depression. Women with undiagnosed depression may notice more severe PMS symptoms, and treating the underlying cause can help lessen PMS symptoms.

Common symptoms of PMS include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Appetite Changes
  • Tension
  • Fatigue

Woman having eggs and bacon.

How do Eggs Help PMS?
Heading to the refrigerator and pulling out a carton of eggs probably isn’t the first thing you would think to do when suffering from PMS symptoms, but doing so can help to reduce and relieve PMS symptoms. Eggs are nutritional powerhouses for PMS symptoms because they contain vitamins B6, D and E. A study involving more than 116,000 nurses indicated that diets that are rich in these vitamins help to reduce the severity of PMS symptoms. Scientists believe that these vitamins help control the chemicals in your brain that cause PMS, and may actually help regulate the effects of your fluctuating hormones. Experts believe that vitamin D has some influence over the levels of estrogen in your body, while B vitamins (including B6) are good for PMS because they help create neurotransmitters, like serotonin.

The next time PMS has you feeling uncomfortable and irritable, head to your kitchen and reach for a carton of eggs. Scrambled eggs are a perfect breakfast for PMS and if you pair your eggs with chamomile tea, you also will lessen the severity of cramps because the properties in chamomile tea can reduce muscle spasms. If eggs aren’t your favorite breakfast, or you run out of time in the morning to make them, make some hard-boiled eggs the night before and take those to work with you for a PMS-busting snack or toss them in a salad for some added flavor and protein. Even though eggs may not sound as appealing as the pint of Ben & Jerry’s you’re desperately craving, they will provide you with PMS zapping benefits while also avoiding the guilt that follows a junk food splurge. Get creative with your eggs and keep them on hand so that you can fight PMS with proper nutrition.