Wednesday, March 7, 2018

5 High Fiber Foods that Don't Taste like Cardboard

Dietary fiber is one of the most lacking components of the Standard American Diet (SAD). It is generally recommended that men consume at least 38 grams of fiber per day and 25 grams for women. On average, men consume about 18 grams and women about 15 grams. Lack of dietary fiber is strongly linked to a variety of serious health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and high blood cholesterol levels.

Unsurprisingly, the paucity of fiber in the SAD is a result of the consumption of large amounts of highly processed foods and small amounts of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. So what is someone to do if they are not huge fans of oatmeal or beans?

Here are 5 foods that taste great and add significant amounts of fiber to your diet.

1. Avocados. 9g per medium fruit.

2. Raspberries. 8g per 1 cup serving.

3. Almonds. 6g per 1/2 cup serving. (Go for unsalted ones.)

4. Sweet Potatoes. These nutritional powerhouses give you 6 g of fiber per
    medium size potato. Cook and use them the same way you would use white

5. Popcorn. 1g per cup, popped. (Go easy on the salt, but who eats popcorn with
    no salt, right?)

Try adding a few of these foods to your everyday diet. You will be doing yourself a big favor.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Mac & Cheese Burger? Really?

With 70% of adults and 33% of children now classified as either overweight or obese, it would seem to me that the last thing the USA needs is a new 1,710 calorie burger. TGI Fridays' disagrees.

"Casual dining, " says CEO Aslam Khan, "needs to be more imaginative... especially around product innovation." Fridays' latest innovation? The Mac & Cheese Burger!

How did they manage to innovate a burger with 1,710 calories, 38 grams of saturated fat and 4,580mg of sodium? By imagining a 14oz (nearly a pound) burger covered with beer-cheese sauce, bacon and, yes, a hockey puck size slab of deep-fried mac and cheese. That is the equivalent of two McDonald's Big Macs covered with a half pound of melted Velveeta.

Its true enough that they are not forcing anyone to eat this heart attack on a plate. But most people have no idea what they are consuming. And it isn't fair to single out only Fridays'. Applebee's, Ruby Tuesday, Red Robbin and the rest all have their own versions of such absurdly excessive fare.

In the end, its up to you to know what you are eating and make good choices. After all, the chain restaurants will still be imagining and innovating long after you are dead.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Opiod Detox Supplement Scams

As sure as the sun rises in the east, every time there is some new public health issue, the supplement peddling charlatans crawl out from under their rocks to take advantage of people's misery. As if the millions of Americans  struggling with opioid drug addition did not have enough problems to contend with, now they are beset with, at best, unproven and ineffective supplements claiming to ease their transition off the drugs. At worst, these products may cause people to fail to seek help and even cost them their lives.

"There is no credible evidence that dietary supplements can help with the prevention of opiate addiction, detoxification, relapse prevention or recovery," says Bachaar Arnaout, addiction psychologist and assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine. "These supplement companies are giving false hope to people who desperately need to get better."

The makers of Mitadone Anti Opiate Aid Plus ($40 for a one month supply) claim their product "helps ease withdrawal symptoms" and "helps you quit". The basis for their claims? According to the company, "We don't really have any scientific studies as it currently takes years and millions of dollar to do that."

The manufacturer of Opiate Detox Pro agrees. "Scientific studies are very costly, so no, there is no study."

"It is appalling that companies are profiting from the opioid epidemic by offering untested products whose use does not even correspond to the biology of opioid addiction," said Arnaout. "The heartbreaking thing is that we do have FDA approved medications that do work for treating opioid addiction."

But, hey, which is really more important? A few more dead opioid addicts or a second home for a supplement company CEO?

Full disclosure: My business is helping people improve their lives though lifestyle enhancements, including the use of sensible supplements. So these sort of low lifes really piss me off.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Good Health is the Best Insurance

According to the 2017 Kaiser Family Foundation's annual Employer Health Benefits Survey, over the last 5 years, the number of employers offering health insurance as an employee benefit has declined from 61% to 53%. Why? Because of relentlessly rising costs. The average cost of the employer's share (not counting what the employee may contribute) of a family health insurance plan was $18,764. That's per employee.

Suppose that was your business? Could you as the owner afford to carry that sort of expense? And each year it goes up, with no sign of moderating increases. With more and more Americans chronically ill, there seems no end in sight.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of all US healthcare spending goes to treating preventable chronic diseases, most of which are diet and lifestyle related. This should hardly come as a surprise.

In the US, 34% of us are obese. Not overweight, obese. Despite its many proven benefits, 79% of Americans do not meet the recommended level of physical exercise and 86% do not meet recommended dietary guidelines.

So when your employer announces increased employee contributions, benefit cutbacks or even the elimination of health insurance, reflect for a moment that the very best health insurance is living a wellness lifestyle. And that is really your responsibility. You haven't the time to live healthy? Then how will you afford to live sickly?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Six Foods for Healthier Skin

We sometimes forget that, like the heart, lungs and liver, our skin is an organ. In fact it is the largest organ we have.  A living, breathing barrier between the more delicate organs inside and the harsh environment outside. Changes in our skin are among the first and most obvious signs of aging and of course it is subject to any number of conditions from annoying to deadly - rashes, psoriasis, eczema and cancer, to name a few.

Tory Armul, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, author and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests eating more of these 6 foods to enjoy healthier skin and reduce the risk of skin problems:

1. Yellow Bell Peppers

With nearly twice the vitamin C of an orange, yellow peppers support the body's production of collagen, which declines as we age. Collagen is a protein that  provides strength and elasticity to the skin, as well as assisting in cell repair and regrowth. They are best eaten raw, as cooking causes the vitamin C to leach out of the pepper. (Red and green peppers have less vitamin C than yellow ones, but are still good sources.)

2. Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato's bright color comes from carotenoids, antioxidants that help keep the skin healthy. They are fat soluble, so go ahead and have a little butter, or, better yet, olive oil on your sweet potato. As a bonus, they are cheap and easy to prepare.

3. Salmon

The amino acids produced when the protein in salmon is broken down are reassembled into different proteins in your body. Some amino acids are called "essential" meaning that they are not produced by your body and must be obtained from your food. Salmon provides all the essential amino acids, which can help the skin to repair sun damage. Salmon is also an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats.

4. Walnuts

Walnuts  are rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats which can help reduce inflammation and reduce symptoms of inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis and acne. Like essential amino acids, omega-3 fats are not synthesized by the body so you must obtain them from your diet.

5. Raspberries

A good source if the antioxidant ellagic acid, raspberries reduce collagen breakdown due to exposure to UV light and reduce wrinkles and other skin damage. Other good sources are blueberries, cranberries and strawberries.

6. Chickpeas

Zinc supports the regeneration of new skin cells. As such it is an aid to wound healing as well as other skin problems such as rashes, eczema and acne. Chickpeas are an excellent source of zinc, as are other beans, tofu and oatmeal.

Of course none of these foods prevent or cure skin conditions, diseases or aging. But by routinely incorporating them into your diet you provide your skin with the raw material it needs to maintain its good health. Any why not give your skin every advantage?