Fish Consumption and Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Do They Lower Cholesterol?

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Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats found in fish, phytoplankton, and in the form of supplements. Polyunsaturated fats, especially EPA and DHA, have a reputation for being heart-friendly fats because they do not promote atherosclerosis associated with causing heart disease. Previous research has shown that individuals consuming omega-3 fatty acids have decreased risk of sudden death from heart disease. Recent research has indicated that it may also lower the risk for heart disease by improving your lipid profile. So, does it help lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels?

The Studies Look Promising…

The usual dose used in these studies ranges between 900 mg a day of EPA. In order to achieve this amount, one would need to consume a lot of fish. Therefore, supplements are typically used. The easiest and most effective suggestion is taking it in a live form, such as PhytOriginal. Ingesting 900 mg of omega-3 fatty acids each day resulted in a 4-percent decrease in triglyceride levels after six months. The average effective dose used in most studies was between 2 to 4 grams, and this resulted in an average drop in triglycerides between 25 to 45 percent. The effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids on triglycerides is dose-dependent, meaning that the more omega-3 fatty acids ingested, the lower your triglyceride levels will fall. This works best when following a healthy diet. Omega-3 fatty acids seemed to affect recently ingested triglycerides more. Additionally, individuals with extremely high triglyceride levels (greater than 500 mg/dL) seem to derive the most benefit from omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.

Although it can lower triglyceride levels, it may slightly raise low density lipoproteins (known also as LDL or the “bad” cholesterol). This change, however, is modest and ranges from 3 to 10 percent. High density lipoproteins (also known as HDL or the “good” cholesterol) do not seem to be affected by omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, if not slightly increased.

How Much Should I Take Each Day?

Omega-3 fatty acids are either available as a prescription or as a supplement at your local pharmacy or nutritional store. One gram of, or a single dropper of phytoplankton, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation a day would cause a decrease in triglycerides and would help prevent sudden death from heart disease. An average of four grams of omega-3 fatty acids are typically used to reduce triglycerides in individuals with high trigylceride levels. It is recommended that individuals taking more than 3 grams a day should be under the supervision of a health-care provider, since high doses of omega-3 fatty acids decrease the aggregation of platelets, which may cause bleeding to occur more easily.

Free Healthy Recipes: Best Tomato Soup…Gourmet Vegetarian Cuisine

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Pleasure the palate, nourish the body…

Soup’s On … Wow ‘em at the dining table with iLoveToLiveWell’s Bistro-Style, Tomato Bisque.

The eyes behold a rich fusion bursting with gloriously vivid, electric vermilion gorgeousness. Wafts of the irresistible, enchanting aroma tantalize the nasal. With each comforting, warming and cozy slurp…the lips lapse luxuriously into velvety delight. Then, the tongue swirls in a pool of sassy spiciness and seductive sweetness. The mind captivated in the romanticism of this cloud nine, cherishable dining interlude. All the while, the body flourishes with nourishment par excellence! Eat slowly to savor the ecstasy of these grand, gastronomic moments.
…the epitome of Recipes That WOW!

The Culinary Adventure
Let’s Get Homestyle Cooking

Yield is three quarts.
1} Put into a 5-quart pot:

In The Red
Tomatoes (red, low water content) = 48 ounces, leave skin and seeds intact
Weigh tomatoes…then core them.
Chop tomatoes into ½ inch by ½ inch pieces.
Sublime is the sapor of heirloom…unparalleled!

Pass The Thyme
Thyme (minced leaf), dried (thymus vulgaris) = 1 tablespoon
Measure minced, thyme leaf…then grind it to powder.

It’s About Thyme
A fresh perspective…

Splendid is 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme…instead of the 1 tablespoon, dried herb.

It’s Getting Hot In Here
Red chili pepper flakes = 1/8 teaspoon

Water, free of impurities = 4 cups

You say tomato… I say tomahto
Tomatoes, sun-dried = 3 ounces
If sun-dried tomatoes are without salt…accent this recipe with a little extra salt, up to ¼ teaspoon.

The sun-dried tomatoes will absolutely make or break this recipe. Be quite discriminating…sample a few varieties. Use sun-dried tomatoes of superior quality!

Which Direction To Go?

2} Lid pot…bring liquid to a rolling boil.
3} Simmer for 30 minutes…keep lid on pot for this entire time.

The Buzz
Run kitchen timer to count down the 30 minutes…all set, timing is everything!

Meanwhile…
4} Ready the following flavor enhancements…place them in a sauté pan:

Onion bulb, strip away its ends and peel it = 3 cups
Chop yellow onion into ¼ inch by ¼ inch pieces.

Bay leaf, dried = 1 leaf, in its whole form
A top-notch gourmet choice is…Turkish bay: laurus nobilis.
Feel free to choose 3 fresh bay leaves…in lieu of the dried leaf.

Salt, unrefined (fine grain) = ¼ teaspoon
Tingle the palate with one of this author’s most beloved salts…Andes Mountain Bolivian Rose Rock Salt!

Water, free of impurities = ½ cup, dry measure

What Happens Now?
5} Cook onion til it’s crisp-tender.

A culinary conundrum? What’s crisp-tender?
Cook til just tender…but still somewhat crunchy.

Not confident enough?
Put a fork in it!
Is there a bit of resistance when pressed into the onion? If yes… Then, we have success!
Moving on with savoir faire…

Once onion is crisp-tender…
6} Introduce garlic to the pan.

Garlic, mince it = 2 tablespoons
Click here … Get garlicky!

7} Sauté garlic for 2 or 3 minutes.
8} Fish out the bay leaf.
Everything’s panning out wonderfully well!

***Special Attention***
Only a high-speed, blender machine will pulverize the skin…and tiny seeds…of a tomato.

9} Place the salted, aromatic trio into a high-speed blender…along with:

Honey = 1 teaspoon
Select pure honey that hasn’t been processed…heated and/or filtered.

Salt, unrefined (fine grain) = ½ teaspoon

Peppercorns, black = scant, ½ teaspoon
Relish in the exquisite bouquet and zesty bite of pepper with these fine, gourmet picks of…Madagascar, Tellicherry, Malabar, Lampong or Sarawak. For its ultimate essence…always freshly grind peppercorns just before incorporating them into a meal.

A Slick Move
Olive oil = 2 tablespoons
Consider an unfiltered…extra-virgin…olive oil made from an ancient variety of olive…tree ripened…that’s been ice pressed or hasn’t been subjected to heat.

Butter, dairy = 2 tablespoons

Right On Course
Have handy a 3-quart pot.

10} Add…to the blender…a portion of what’s in the 5-quart pot.
11} And away we go… Have at it… A few zaps of the machine… Voila, smooth as silk.
Avoid spurting… Careful pureeing hot liquids. Start out on a low speed…gradually increase speed.
12} Transfer this beautiful, fragrant puree to a 3-quart pot.
13} Pour…into the blender…the remainder of what’s in the 5-quart pot.
14} Spin about the ingredients, and break into a chorus or two of… “Hey Good Lookin’! What Ya Got Cookin’?”
15} Join the luscious silk to the 3-quart pot…stir things up.
16} Lid pot to keep bisque warm.

If desired, garnish each bowlful with a complimentary dairy cheese…or perhaps a splash of heavy cream.

For both ultimate nutrition and flavor…consume foods that are heirloom, grown organically, sustainably or biodynamically.

Bon appetit!

Benefits of Vitamin D That We Should Be Talking About

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Last week we looked at a few of the supplements that might be necessary to take if you consume a plant-based diet. One such supplement that I mentioned was vitamin D; the sunshine vitamin. This fat soluble hormone is typically known for promoting healthy bones, which it does well. But there is increasing evidence to suggest that it plays many other important roles in the body, regardless of dietary preferences.

A recent podcast interview with biomedical scientist Dr.Rhonda Patrick brought to light some of these benefits, many of which are rarely talked about. Dr. Patrick’s latest study showed that vitamin D plays a key role in the synthesis of serotonin [1], the hormone responsible for mood regulation. Low levels of serotonin are also linked to Autism, and the study concludes that vitamin D supplementation may be a practical solution to help prevent the disease and reduce the severity of symptoms.

Having optimum vitamin D levels has also been linked to a slowing down of the ageing process, and an overall lower risk of mortality [2]. A 2007 study compared the serum vitamin D levels in a large population based cohort of twins, and found that those with higher vitamin D levels also had a longer Leukocyte telomere lengths (LTL) [3]. Longer LTL is associated with slower ageing, and lower rates of inflammation. This is supported by the fact that the subjects in the study with the lowest amounts of serum vitamin D also had higher levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation.

A slowing down of the ageing process brings with it a reduced risk of developing age related disease. A 2008 study showed that a vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease [4]. A pooled analysis study in 2007 also showed that vitamin D could play a role in preventing breast cancer [5], and a paper published in 2001 showed a potential for vitamin D to reduce the risk of developing type-1 diabetes [6].

It is clear that vitamin D plays an important role in the in maintaining lasting wellness, and it will be interesting to see what future research will unveil. Vitamin D is thought to be involved in expressing over a thousand different genes throughout the body, so having the right levels in your blood is crucial. A 2009 review study concluded that blood levels of vitamin D between 35 to 40 ng/ml may be optimum for preventive health [7].

As I mentioned last week, I take a vitamin D-3 supplement as it is more bio available than vitamin D-2. The amount you need to take for optimum levels in the blood will vary however, as many factors can affect the amount of the vitamin you can absorb (such as body fat percentage). I recommend getting your blood levels checked before using any supplements, to verify what is personally right for you.

Do Refined Carbs Pack on the Pounds and Create Addiction? Brain Imaging Study Says Yes

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Eating highly processed carbohydrates can have a similar effect on brain chemistry as addictive substances according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Stimulating regions of the brain involved with reward and craving, refined carbohydrates were found to cause excess hunger and overeating, leading the researchers to suspect limiting high-glycemic foods could be an effective method for discouraging obesity.

A public health crisis

Astoundingly, the rate of obesity in the U.S. has more than doubled since the 1970s. Food and Research Action Center states:

“Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese (Flegal et al., 2012). In general, rates of overweight and obesity are higher for African-American and Hispanic women than Caucasian women, higher for Hispanic men than Caucasian and African-American men, higher in the South and Midwest, and tend to increase with age (Flegal et al., 2012; Gregg et al., 2009; Sherry et al., 2010). Research also shows that the heaviest Americans have become even heavier the past decade (Beydoun & Wang, 2009).”

If these figures are not alarming enough, 31.8 percent of children and adolescents are considered overweight or obese. Likewise, 30.4 percent of low-income preschoolers are overweight or obese. Since obesity is linked with diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and a variety of other degenerative diseases, many experts are convinced this is the single most pressing public health crisis today. Fortunately, a research team at Boston Children’s Hospital may have discovered part of the solution: restricting processed carbs.

Curbing the trend

The team, lead by David Ludwig, MD, Phd, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center, investigated how food consumption is regulated by the pleasure centers in the brain. “Beyond reward and craving, this part of the brain is also linked to substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive,” said Ludwig in Science Daily.

To explore the connection, researchers documented hunger and blood glucose as well as information from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to determine brain activity during the four hour time frame following a meal – an important period as it influences eating behavior for subsequent meals.

Twelve overweight or obese men were given test meals in the form of milkshakes, each with the same calories, taste and sweetness. The only variance was that one contained carbohydrates that digested rapidly (high-glycemic) and the other slow digesting carbohydrates (low-glycemic). Participants who consumed the high-glycemic milkshake experienced a spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a severe drop within four hours. This crash in blood glucose triggered excessive hunger and activated the nucleus accumbens region of the brain – which is associated with addictive behaviors.

According to Science Daily, Ludwig believes “these findings suggest that limiting high-glycemic index carbohydrates like white bread and potatoes could help obese individuals reduce cravings and control the urge to overeat.”

Sources for this article include:

  • http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/obesity-in-the-us/
  • http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626153922.htm
  • http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/06/26/ajcn.113.064113
  • http://science.naturalnews.com/pubmed/15692080.html

6 Things That Can Hurt Your Willpower When Dieting

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It’s a place we’ve all been. You are working hard to lose weight and you feel like you have been doing pretty well, but sooner or later your will power fades and you start to plateau or even gain weight. This is pretty common and the truth is that living a healthy, lean life is tough.

But as luck would have it, there are a few particular things that most people do which can make life unnecessarily hard.

See if you’re doing any of these things, and if you are, try to stop:

Habitual Snacking Times

You probably have some times of day or routines which inevitably lead to eating bad foods in spite of your will power not to. These little eating patterns can be tough to break because they can be almost subconscious. I’m talking about things like:

Eating a biscuit or two in the break room
Stealing some of the kids potato chips
Having a chocolate bar after a workout
Whatever your routine you need to spot these vices and either break them or break the routine. For example, don’t take any more cash to the gym than you need. Don’t go in the break room when you’re hungry or feeling weak willed. Those little calories add up, but they’re easy to forget about.

A False Sense of Calories

If you exercise regularly (and you should) then it is all too easy to trick yourself into overeating. The truth is that although exercise does burn calories, it is very easy to over compensate by eating too much.

This is why many people who start going to the gym actually gain weight. The effect is still positive of course, because some of that weight is muscle – but even so, you need to be realistic about how many calories you are burning.

Boredom Eating

There are certain times of day when naughty foods seem to become more tempting and any occasion when you are bored or not doing very much is likely to be such a time.

This is why many people find that they eat more during the evenings when they are not busy at work…

If this seems like you then you need to break the cycle:

  • Go out in the evenings
  • Get into the habit of being more active
  • Do something that engages your brain so that you don’t think about food
  • You don’t have to do exercise every evening, just avoid too much time watching the TV or otherwise being mentally inactive

Thinking That You Have To Eat

The myth that you have to eat regularly in order to keep your metabolism going is a big one and a damaging one. The truth is that you would have to stop eating for many days before your metabolism actually slowed down.

So from now on, realize that you don’t HAVE TO eat as soon as you feel hungry…

Hunger is mostly habitual anyway

If there is no healthy food available, don’t eat. Skip a meal if you need to and wait until it is practical to eat something more suitable.

Focusing On The Scales

Weight loss is a long term game and it is entirely normal to occasionally plateau. In fact, you may lose no weight for 2 weeks and then lose several pounds in a few days.

For this reason, focusing on the scales can be dangerous for your motivation

Instead, try to focus on the things which happen sooner:

  • You will feel healthier
  • You will have more energy
  • Your clothes will start to look better
  • You will look better in the mirror
  • If you measure your progress by these criteria instead of the amount of force that you exert on the ground you will find that you stay motivated more easily

Dehydration

Don’t get dehydrated – it’s that easy. Being dehydrated can make you feel hungry, which is obviously not going to be good for your will power or your judgement.

But aside from that, when you are hungry, a big drink of water (or cordial) will make you feel less hungry, which can either help you to abstain a little longer – particularly helpful when there is no healthy food available.