Saturday, May 25, 2019

How Food Affects Your Sleep





 Author Samantha Kent

Food fuels, comforts, and entertains. It fills a need, but its effects reach beyond just nourishment. The kind of food you eat and when you eat it can either help or halt your sleep. A diet rich in sleep supportive foods helps regulate and stabilize your sleep cycle. However, you’ll need to be aware of those that help, those that don’t, and ways to enhance your sleep experience.

What You Eat

Foods that Support Healthy Sleep
Our bodies can only be as strong as the food we put in them. Luckily, there’s a long list of foods that contain sleep-enhancing nutrients. Many of them contribute to the production of melatonin, a key sleep hormone.

  • Tryptophan: You’ve probably heard of this famous amino acid because of the traditional turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. While turkey is a good source of tryptophan, it has no more tryptophan, and less in some cases, than other sources such as oats, fish, nuts, eggs, and seeds. The tryptophan in these foods is used to make serotonin, which helps your body feel calm and relaxed in preparation for sleep.
  • Magnesium: Low magnesium levels are often associated with insomnia and other sleep disorders. To stabilize your levels add almonds, spinach, tuna, and avocados to your diet.
  • Potassium: Lack of potassium can cause muscle spasms and issues with the heart that disrupt sleep. Potassium-rich foods like spinach, lentils, and bananas can give you a potassium boost before bed.
  • Calcium: Calcium deficiency can cut into your sleep time as well. Make sure you’re eating plenty of dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese to stay balanced.

Foods to Avoid at Bedtime
There are also a few foods to avoid before bedtime. These foods alter the sleep cycle by blocking or interfering with the proteins, amino acids, and hormones needed to regulate your sleep.

  • Alcohol: Alcohol can be deceptive because it does make you feel sleepy at first. However, it changes the natural course of the sleep cycle by preventing the body from spending enough time in the deep sleep stages. In the light sleep stages, the body wakens more often, reducing the overall sleep time.
  • Caffeine: This one is no secret. Caffeine blocks sleep hormones and can continue to do so for four to six hours after it’s been consumed.
  • High fat and acidic foods: Foods high in fat and those that are acidic can contribute to heartburn and indigestion. The consequent discomfort can keep you awake for hours.

When You Eat It

Your body relies on consistent patterns to correctly time repeating behaviors like sleep. Eating regular meals that are evenly spaced helps your body recognize when it’s time to start the sleep cycle. Additionally, most people sleep better when their last meal of the day is light and eaten early. But make sure it has some healthy carbs. Studies have shown that a dinner rich in carbs can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Conclusion: Sleep Support Beyond the Kitchen

You can further enhance your sleep by making the bedroom a sanctuary. A cool, dark, quiet bedroom with a supportive mattress is perfect. If street light is a problem, try blackout curtains; noisy neighbors, invest in a white noise machine; overheating, turn on your ceiling fan or try a table fan on your nightstand.

It’s worth taking the time and investing a little money to give your body a chance to be at it’s best. With a healthy diet and supportive bedroom, you’re on your way to better, more restful slumber.
  The author's bio:
Samantha Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face. 



Friday, April 5, 2019

Does fat really make you fat?






 Does Fat Really Make You Fat?
There is an age-old saying that the fat you eat is the fat you wear. With the rise of
new ketogenic diets where fat is the main nutrient, many people are starting to
question if fat really is the answer.
When it comes to weight loss or fat loss, the most simple and effective way to ensure
success is to moderate your caloric spread and maintain a consistent deficit. With
that said, that answer is not really why we're here - we want to know if consuming
more fat will make you fat.
Let's break this down and look at the details.
Fat Has More Calories Than Any Other Nutrient
This is one of the main concerns that may keep you away from eating fat. When we
look at the actual caloric energy received from carbs and protein (both 4 kcal per
gram) we see that fat has more than double the calories (9 kcal per gram) per serving.
With this in mind, it can be very easy to overeat on a diet that contains a lot of fat.
On the other hand, calories are not necessarily a clear indicator of weight gain - it's
just more complex than that. Just because fat has more calories does not mean that
by eating it you will put on weight.
Fat Is Very Nutritious
Fat is also very healthy for you - when you consume the right type.
Polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, omega fatty acids, unsaturated fats -


these are all really good sources of fat that you can find in many fat-rich foods like
nuts, fish, seeds and beans.
Consuming this type of food should not cause excessive weight gain.
So, Where's The Downside?
Yes, a diet that is high in fat can work, but it is really dependent on the actual person.
There’s a rule called the “equator rule” which roughly states that the closer your
blood relatives, historically, were to the equator the higher your nutrient demand for
carbohydrates would be.
Those from Caribbean countries, Mediterranean backgrounds, and anything close to
the equator will have a very good ability to metabolize (in general) carbohydrates. If
this population of people were to go on a high-fat diet, they may not experience the
same benefits that other blood relatives, like those of Scandinavian heritage, would.
Whenever you look at what food you should be eating, it’s always good to make an
objective assessment of where you came from.
Good food is good food, and this won't really change, but eating a diet that is as close
as possible to what your blood relatives would have eaten is going to allow your body
to function at the most effective rate possible.
Does Fat Really Make You Fat?
The consensus, then, is yes and no. The research will show that pretty much any
nutrient consumed in excess can lead to weight gain. The reality is we just don't have
enough human trials to definitively say that it will.
Your best bet is to always strive for moderation.
In most cases, the most effective macronutrient split is 50% carbs, 30% protein, and
20% fat.
Try sticking to those ratios for a while and then adjust as needed for your own body.
You’ll be able to tell if eating a higher percentage of fat works for you or if it makes
you gain unwanted pounds

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Pork Rigatoni Recipe





Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried whole grain rigatoni use gluten-free
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • chopped parsley
  • shredded parmesan cheese
Instructions 
 
1
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
2
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, mushrooms and onions just until onions and mushrooms have softened and started to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour red wine over the top to deglaze the pan. Be sure to scrape up any of the brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
3
Pour in crushed tomatoes. Mix in cumin, salt and pepper. Add in pulled pork. Mix well. Continue cooking for 5 - 10 more minutes or until sauce is warmed through. Stir in cooked rigatoni. Mix well. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese. Serve.
 

The Complete Mediterranean Diet Food List




Is there a diet that’s both health-promoting and absolutely delicious? Yes, and its name is the Mediterranean diet. This way of eating is loaded with major health benefits and a Mediterranean diet food list that will leave your mouth watering. It’s a diet that can appeal to people of all different ages and backgrounds, it’s not too expensive to follow and calorie quality is way more important than calorie quantity.
What’s a typical Mediterranean diet breakfast look like? It varies by region, but in Lebanon, for an example, a classic breakfast may include leftover grains such as barley or bulgur wheat combined with a touch of honey, fruit, cinnamon and a splash of high-quality milk. Sounds pretty tasty, right?
There are so many healthy foods incorporated into the Mediterranean diet pyramid, including lots of fresh produce along with healthy fats like olive oil and high-quality protein like wild-caught fish. Resveratrol-rich red wine even commonly makes an appearance. What foods are not allowed on the Mediterranean diet? We’ll discuss that too, and the list probably won’t surprise you at all.

 

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

As with any food pyramid, the Mediterranean version starts with the foods you’ll consume in the smallest quantity at the top and works its way down to the items you’ll be eating most often.
So, what’s at the top? Lean, high-quality red meats and sweets (think desserts made with whole yet sweet ingredients like raw honey) are in the highest yet smallest bracket of the pyramid. Next up is poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt. You could also include kefir in this section.
The second to largest category in the pyramid houses seafood. While it’s a good idea to avoid shellfish, you can load up (at least two times per week) on healthy wild-caught fish rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and sardines.
The base of the pyramid, which will be the main focus of your Mediterranean diet food list, includes fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices. In various combinations, you will be seeing these items at each of your meals.
In general, wine (specifically red) is drank in moderation, and drinking plenty of water is a must. This diet plan also encourages enjoying healthy meals in good company and staying physically active on a regular basis.

 

Mediterranean Diet Food List

What is the Mediterranean diet food list? Here is a rundown of what’s typically allowed versus not allowed while following this diet plan:

Allowed:

  • Fresh vegetables and fruits: No fruits or vegetables are off limits on the Mediterranean diet menu. Some popular options commonly consumed in the Mediterranean region include tomatoes, eggplant, leafy greens, artichokes, broccoli, etc.
  • Healthy fats, especially olive oil: Healthy fats top the Mediterranean diet food list. The most popular one by far on this diet is extra virgin olive oil. Healthy fats like olive oil are an excellent energy source and also help to keep you feeling fuller longer. Another healthy fat option popular with the Mediterranean diet is olives.
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are another great source of healthy fats as well as protein. Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. are all healthy options. Look for ones that don’t have added salt or sugar. Can you eat peanut butter on the Mediterranean diet? You can in moderation, but you may want to check out these peanut butter nutrition facts first and only consume organic peanut butter. Tahini (made from sesame seeds) has a similar consistency and is a more popular item on the Mediterranean diet food list.
  • Herbs and spices: Antioxidant-rich herbs and spices like oregano, rosemary, mint and cinnamon are common inclusions that make meals a lot of more flavorful, and healthy too.
  • Seafood: Wild-caught fish like salmon are a primary protein source on this diet to consume at least a couple of times per week.
  • Legumes: Beans, peas and lentils are a healthy source of protein as well as fiber on the Mediterranean diet.
  • Whole grains: Grains are not off limits on this diet, but they should be of highest quality and definitely whole grain. If you’re looking to stick with a low-carb mediterranean diet food list, then whole grains will be a very small part of your diet. If you follow a gluten-free diet, you can incorporate gluten-free grains.
  • Plenty of fresh water and limited amounts of caffeine sources like tea and organic coffee.

Allowed in Moderation:

  • High-quality dairy: Is milk allowed on the Mediterranean diet? In moderation, high-quality dairy like goat milk, healthy cheese and probiotic-rich kefir or yogurt are included.
  • Poultry and eggs: Opt for organic and pasture-raised poultry and eggs as healthy protein sources.
  • Red meat: Red meat is consumed on special occasions in small amounts. Options include grass-fed lean cuts of red meat like lamb, which is a popular Mediterranean food, and beef, but high-fat meats like bacon and sausage should be avoided.
  • Alcohol: One type of alcohol commonly consumed in moderation on this diet is red wine. This is an alcohol source with well-known red wine health benefits, but it’s certainly not a must or a reason to start drinking if you currently refrain from alcohol. One glass of red wine with dinner is common if approved by your doctor. Drinking purple grape juice in small amounts is sometimes consumed as an alternative to wine.

Not Allowed:

  • High fat and/or processed meats (like pork sausage and bacon)
  • Refined sugar
  • Refined grains
  • Refined oils
  • Trans fatty acids
  • Highly processed foods (including fast foods)
If you’re ready to start food shopping using your Mediterranean diet food list, check out this incredible list of 24 Mediterranean diet recipes. which includes Mediterranean diet snacks and meal ideas. Some people are also taking this diet plan for a test drive by following the Mediterranean diet 30 day meal plan.

Mediterranean Diet Food List Conclusion

  • Before making a Mediterranean diet shopping list, don’t forget to familiarize yourself with what’s an approved or healthy choice on this diet as well as what should be avoided.
  • Popular healthy options you’ll see on a Mediterranean diet food pyramid include fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats like olive oil, wild-caught fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats and high-quality dairy like goats milk and yogurt.
  • The acceptable food options can easily fit your personal needs (gluten-free, for example) with some tweaking.
  • Mediterranean diet foods to avoid include high fat/processed meats, refined sugars, refined grains, refined oils, processed/fast foods and trans fats.
  • Following a Mediterranean way of eating is truly an enjoyable experience that encourages whole, fresh, healthy foods that are delicious and satisfying, making it a diet that is easy to stick with and has been scientifically shown to have incredible health benefits when done right.