Weight Loss: 7 Best Foods For Weight Loss According To Research.

Research by scientists has revealed that some foods may have an impact on appetite. These could be beneficial for weight loss when incorporated into a healthful diet and lifestyle. Read on to learn more about seven foods that may be helpful for weight loss.

People should buy nutrient-dense foods if they are trying to lose weight. Foods that provide protein and fiber could be especially helpful for weight management.

One study found that some foods — including fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and yogurt — were connected with weight loss.

In the same study, potato chips, sugary beverages, red meats, and processed meats were associated with weight gain.

Based on these findings, it may be best to limit fried foods, foods with added sugar, high-fat meats, and processed foods when trying to shift the pounds.

Though the right foods may help, physical activity is essential for losing weight and keeping the pounds off. It is important to check with a doctor before starting any physical activity program.

1. Eggs

bowl of oatmeal with nuts and fruit

Foods that provide both protein and fiber may help with weight loss.

Eggs are a popular food, particularly for breakfasts, that may help promote weight loss.

In a small study of 21 men, researchers compared the effects of eating eggs or eating a bagel for breakfast on food intake, hunger, and satisfaction.

They also looked at levels of blood sugar, insulin, and ghrelin, which is also known as the hunger hormone.

They found that men who had eaten the egg breakfast ate significantly less at their next meal, and in the following 24 hours, than those who had eaten the bagel breakfast.

Those who had eaten the eggs also reported feeling less hungry and more satisfied 3 hours after breakfast than those who had eaten the bagel.

After breakfast, the egg group also had less of a change in their blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as lower ghrelin levels than the bagel group.

2. Oatmeal

Starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal could also result in a lower number of the scales.

study involving 47 adults looked at differences in appetite, fullness, and next meal intake after participants ate oatmeal, as opposed to an oat-based ready-to-eat breakfast cereal.

After eating oatmeal, participants felt significantly fuller and less hungry than after eating the cereal. Also, their calorie intake at lunch was lower after eating oatmeal than after eating breakfast cereal.

While both breakfasts contained the same amount of calories, the oatmeal provided more protein, more fiber, and less sugar than the cereal.

The authors concluded that the difference in fiber, specifically a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, was probably responsible for the results.

3. Beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas

As a group, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas are known as pulses. They may influence weight loss due to their effect on fullness, as well as their protein and fiber content.

Similarly to oatmeal, pulses contain soluble fiber that may slow down digestion and absorption. Eating protein leads to the release of hormones that signal fullness.

Researchers analyzed studies that had looked at the effect of the consumption of pulses on weight loss.

Weight loss diets that included pulses resulted in significantly greater weight loss than those that did not. Weight maintenance diets that included pulses also resulted in weight loss compared with those that did not.

4. Nuts

study involving overweight and obese women compared a weight loss diet supplemented with 50 grams (g) of almonds a day with a weight loss diet that did not include nuts. After 3 months, women in the almond group lost significantly more weight than women in the nut-free group.

Women in the almond group also had much greater reductions in their waist size, body mass index (BMI), total cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar.

Nuts contain protein and fiber, which may help explain their influence on body weight. They also contain heart-healthy fats and other beneficial nutrients. While nuts can be included as part of a healthful diet, moderation is still essential since they are an energy-dense food.

Weight regain is often a concern for individuals after they have lost weight.

In a large study in Europe, researchers found that people who consumed the most nuts gained less weight during a 5-year period than people who did not eat nuts. They also had less risk of becoming overweight or obese.

5. Avocados

Avocados are a fruit that provides fiber and beneficial fats, as well as many other nutrients. They may also help promote weight management.

study of American adults found that people who consumed avocado weighed significantly less and had a lower BMI than those who did not. People who ate avocado tended to eat more fruits, vegetables, and fiber than people who did not, as well.

The people who ate avocado had an overall healthier diet and consumed significantly less added sugar than those who did not. Similarly, their risk for metabolic syndrome was lower than for those who did not consume avocado.

6. Berries

Fiber has been linked with weight management, and berries tend to be some of the highest-fiber fruits.

One cup of raspberries or blackberries provides 8 g of fiber. Berries can be added to many foods, such as oatmeal, yogurt, or salads.

7. Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts also contain fiber that may be helpful for weight loss.

One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts provides 6 g of fiber, which is 24 percent of the daily value of fiber.

Things to look for when choosing foods for weight loss

Instead of fried foods, people should choose foods that have been baked, broiled, or grilled. Lean proteins, including beans, chicken, eggs, fish, and turkey are good alternatives to high-fat meats.

When choosing foods for weight loss, it is also important to be mindful of portion sizes, even for healthful foods.

Sugar-sweetened beverages can provide a significant amount of calories but do not result in the same sense of fullness as solid foods. Choose calorie-free beverages instead of juice and soda, such as water or unsweetened tea.

Other useful weight loss tips

young woman trying to choose between fruit and cakes<!--mce:protected %0A-->

Branding some foods as “bad” can lead to cravings and guilt.

 

  • Exercise is a key part of weight loss. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, which equals 30 minutes 5 days a week. People should speak with a doctor before starting a new workout routine.
  • Concentrate on making healthful changes instead of concentrating only on the number of the scales. Mini goals may feel less overwhelming than one large goal.
  • Avoid labeling foods as “good” and “bad.” Forbidden foods can lead to cravings and then guilt when those foods are eaten. Choose nutritious foods most of the time and enjoy treats in moderation.
  • Avoid getting overly hungry. Waiting to eat until starving can make it harder to be mindful of healthful choices.
  • Planning meals ahead of time can help ensure healthful choices are available, especially since many restaurant meals tend to be higher in calories, fat, and salt.
  • Enlist friends and family members to help support health goals and behavior changes.
  • Consult a registered dietitian who is a food and nutrition expert and can provide individualized information to help with weight loss.
  • Work on getting adequate sleep and managing stress levels in addition to choosing healthful foods and staying active, as sleep and stress affect health.
Advertisements

The Benefits of Plant-Based Iron

Iron is an essential mineral that your body requires to maintain optimal health. There is a common misconception that iron is only obtained by eating meat and that iron deficiency is more prevalent amongst vegans and vegetarians. Natural, plant-based iron supplements and food can provide the iron your body needs and in some cases may even help prevent iron toxicity. If you need to shore up your iron levels, then consider the benefits of plant-based iron.

Optimal Absorption

There are two primary sources of dietary iron—plant and animal foods. The technical terms for these are heme iron and nonheme iron, respectively. There has been a lot of investigation into the absorption differences between these two types of iron. Although animal, or heme, iron is absorbed faster, it can actually overwhelm your body and even lead to a serious iron imbalance known as iron toxicity. In contrast, the body absorbs plant, or nonheme, iron at a more controlled rate. Slow, regulated absorption helps keep your body’s iron levels optimal and in balance.

Fewer Health Risks

Low iron levels can lead to fatigue, chills, brain fog, or worse: iron deficiency anemia. Too much iron can lead to vomiting, intense abdominal pain, and even organ failure. Plant-based iron is absorbed more slowly and that helps maintain normal iron balance, which translates to fewer health concerns. In contrast, heme iron from animal sources (blood and tissue) has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer. One study reported that increasing your heme iron intake by just one milligram per day could increase your risk of heart disease by 27 percent.

Cofactors and Co-nutrients

Your body has a complex set of mechanisms that work together to absorb, store, utilize, and monitor iron. Vitamin C, for example, supports your body’s ability to absorb iron. Likewise, gut health significantly influences iron uptake. By obtaining your iron from dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, you will also get the added benefit of vitamins, trace minerals, probiotics, and antioxidants. A healthy and consistent intake of fruit and vegetables ensures you don’t miss out on these vital nutrients.

Environmental Impact

There are reasons that extend beyond health concerns why someone may prefer a plant-based diet or lifestyle. Many people prefer to minimize their environmental impact. A diet that includes meat requires more energy, land, and water resources to support. Sticking with plant-based supplements and food for your nutritional needs reduces your environmental impact.

Best Sources of Plant-Based Iron

There are several options when it comes to plant-based sources of iron. Spinach, kidney beans, and pumpkin seeds are just a few that are good sources of iron and other vital micronutrients. However, when it comes to iron supplements, there are fewer plant-based choices. Global Healing Center is trying to change that. We’re in the final stages of development of a new vegan supplement that provides an ideal serving of plant-based iron from organic curry tree leaves.

What Are Micronutrients?

Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals required by your body. Unlike macronutrients, you only need minuscule amounts of micronutrients to maintain good health. Micronutrients are essential to the production of enzymes, hormones, proteins, and other products created by your body. Some micronutrients have a specialized role, while others fulfill a broad range of functions.

Micronutrients are incredibly important for health and wellness. Mineral deficiencies can have lasting, detrimental health consequences in children and adults of all ages. Unborn children and older adults are especially susceptible to micronutrient deficiencies, which is why many nutritional supplements are optimized for specific age groups and many staple foods, like flour, are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

However, you might be surprised to learn that food fortification can be misleading as it’s often accomplished with synthetic vitamin variants. These manufactured vitamin forms often lack the cofactors and nutrients required for proper absorption in the body. As always, it’s best to obtain naturally occurring vitamins and minerals from quality, whole-food dietary sources to ensure your body can properly utilize these essential nutrients.

What Are Vitamins?

Vitamins are organic compounds primarily derived from food that the body needs in small amounts. With the exception of vitamin D, vitamins cannot be produced by the organism that requires them. Vitamins serve a variety of purposes. Some, like vitamins A, C, and E, are antioxidants. Others, like the B vitamins, are vital for fetal brain development and healthy brain aging. There are two categories of vitamins—fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins. Your body stores fat-soluble vitamins in fatty tissues for reserves in case you don’t meet your daily recommended intake. These vitamins are best consumed with healthy fats to ensure absorption.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential for eye and brain health. It also regulates growth and keeps the immune system healthy. Plant sources are the safest method of meeting your daily vitamin A requirement. Consumption of vitamin A from animal sources could lead to vitamin A toxicity.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is both a hormone and a micronutrient. Though it’s famous for its role in preserving and promoting bone health, it also helps keep your respiratory system healthy, enhances your mental and emotional well-being, and keeps your immune system functioning at peak efficiency.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerhouse antioxidant. The various forms of the vitamin all have similar antioxidant properties, but one in particular, alpha-tocopherol, is what the body prefers most. Vitamin E protects delicate lipids from oxidation and, in the case of food, rancidity. Its actions protect your DNA by stopping free radicals from damaging the fragile structure of your chromosomes.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is named after the German spelling of coagulation (coagulation) because it activates the proteins in the blood that are responsible for clotting.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

In humans, the water-soluble vitamins are limited to the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. These vitamins need to be replaced on a daily basis because they are not easily stored in the body. Rather, the body excretes excess water-soluble vitamins in urine.

B-Complex Vitamins

The B-complex vitamins include thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B-12). These vitamins regulate the release of energy in cells (metabolism), serve as cofactors, and affect mood and immune health. Additionally, a healthy microbiome is essential because some probiotics actually generate B-vitamins in the gut.

Vitamin B-12 and B9 are vitally important to brain health. Research into the role of vitamin B-12 suggests it’s a powerful force in preserving memory and cognitive function as you age.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C’s role as an antioxidant is well known (and highly marketed), but it has other roles, too. Vitamin C is incredibly important for growth and healing. The strength of connective tissue and bones and skin elasticity all depend on sufficient levels of vitamin C. It also enhances the absorption of iron from food in the small intestine.

What Are Minerals?

In general, minerals are inorganic, naturally occurring substances. In your diet, they are important nutrients that enable your cells to carry out essential functions. Minerals are divided into macrominerals and trace minerals, also known as microminerals. Predictably, your body requires macrominerals in much larger amounts than the trace minerals.

Macrominerals

The macrominerals include magnesium, sulfur, and the electrolytes: potassium, calcium, sodium, chlorine, and phosphorous. Most people get much more sodium chloride (table salt) than they need—to the detriment of their health. While some salt is essential, you don’t need nearly as much as most Americans consume. Try to limit your salt intake whenever possible.

Magnesium

Magnesium is not one of the celebrity micronutrients, but it is essential to many vital processes. It plays an important role in metabolism, acting as a cofactor in hundreds of chemical reactions in the body. Magnesium is also vital to the proper bone formation and the synthesis of genetic material.

Calcium

Of all the minerals, you may be most familiar with calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body. Far beyond bone strength, calcium is responsible for muscle and blood vessel relaxation and contraction, nerve firing, and communication between cells.

Potassium

Most Americans, an astounding 98 percent, fall woefully short on potassium intake. Potassium is responsible for muscle and nerve function, a steady heartbeat, and cell detoxification. It acts as the inverse of sodium, which is why it’s vital to balance your sodium and potassium intake.

Trace Minerals

The body requires significantly fewer essential trace minerals (microminerals) than macrominerals. Macrominerals are measured in grams, while trace minerals are measured in milligrams and micrograms. The top microminerals you need are chromium, iron, iodine, selenium, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, and copper. You also need exceptionally small amounts of nickel, silicon, vanadium, and cobalt.

Though you need less of these micronutrients, they are extremely important to your health. Many of the most pernicious health conditions are related to deficiencies in trace minerals like iodine and iron. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.6 billion people worldwide have a reduced ability to work due to iron deficiency anemia. Annually, nearly 20 million children are born to mothers with insufficient iodine levels—a condition that leads to severe cognitive impairment.

Micronutrients and Nutrition

There are only a few ways to meet your micronutrient needs: a nutrient-rich diet, quality supplementation, and, to a lesser degree, eating some types of clay or cooking in cast iron. Vitamins and minerals are easily synthesized in labs and pressed into tablets, but it’s always best to obtain your nutrition naturally from plant sources like fruits and vegetables.

At Global Healing Center, we focus on isolating the best micronutrients from natural, organic, and wildcrafted plant sources. Some of our favorite micronutrient supplements include:

  • Our Selenium supplement is sourced from organic mustard seeds. It provides the selenium that is essential to the thyroid and overall health.
  • Detoxadine® is an essential nascent iodine supplement produced from natural salt deposits. It’s nutritional support for immune health and the thyroid, and it promotes the detoxification of halogens such as fluoride and bromine.
  • Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is sourced from the sesbania plant; it supports healthy hair and nails at the cellular level.
  • Suntrex D3™ is a vegan, lichen-derived vitamin D3 that supports the nervous system, calcium absorption, and a healthy mood.

What Are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are the largest class of nutrients the body requires and include protein, carbohydrates, and fats. If you’ve heard anyone talking about “macros,” they’re referring to these major nutrients. The amounts and ratio of macronutrients a person needs every day vary by age, lifestyle (sedentary, active, or very active), gender, health status, and health goals.

The USDA provides general recommendations for how Americans should allocate calories per macronutrient.The nutrition facts label included on food packaging echoes these ratios and is based on a 2,000 calorie diet for the average American, including children and adults. Many diets try to optimize macronutrient ratios to produce certain results, like consuming protein (along with weight training) to gain muscle mass, or consuming fewer carbohydrates to help lose weight.

What Are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates include starches, sugars, and fiber. Carbohydrates contain four calories (kcal) per gram. Your body uses carbohydrates to fuel your body. Carbohydrates come in two forms: complex and simple. Simple carbohydrates include sugars like table sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Technically, honey and maple syrup also fall into this category. Complex carbohydrates are usually only described as starches that contain fiber, but this simplistic definition includes foods like whole wheat pasta and white potatoes.

How Many Carbohydrates Do You Need?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans should get between 45-65% of their daily calories from carbohydrates.

Humans don’t produce the necessary enzymes to digest fiber, but it’s nonetheless required by the body. Your microbiota breaks down fiber by fermenting it and using it as their energy source. Your health relies on a balanced, well-nourished microbial gut community for many different functions, so make sure you get plenty of fiber-rich foods in your diet every day.

Sources of Carbohydrates

The best carbohydrates are micronutrient-dense whole foods that contain sugars or starches along with fiber. This definition leaves no room for confusion about whole fruit, which is considered a simple carbohydrate under some definitions. Fruit is an essential part of a healthy diet and 76% of Americans don’t eat enough. Other excellent sources of carbohydrates include winter squash, beans, and ancient grains like quinoa.

What Is Protein?

Protein is the building block responsible for the growth and maintenance of your eyes, skin, hair, nails, organs, and muscle tissue. During digestion, protein is broken down into smaller chains called peptides and individual units called amino acids for absorption. Of the 22 amino acids, nine are essential to humans. These include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Histidine is unique in that it’s only required during infancy.

Proteins do a lot of work throughout the body. They embed themselves in your cells to regulate what goes in and out. They even envelop and transport some molecules to other locations in the body. Enzymes that catalyze the various chemical reactions in your body are made of folded chains of amino acids. The body creates hormones like leptin, immune proteins like interferon, and antibodies using amino acids.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The USDA recommends that Americans get 5-35% of their calories from protein. This range is set to cover 97-98% of the population, and your needs may vary based on age and health status. Protein, like carbohydrates, provides four calories (kcal) of energy per gram.

Sources of Protein

Whole, nutrient-dense foods are the best sources of protein. Notice I did not say they are the most concentrated sources of protein. So-called “high-quality” sources are very concentrated sources of peptides that share similar amino acid ratios with humans. Essentially, the more a source of protein resembles human tissue in amino acid composition, the better its “quality.” Regularly eating meat, just like regularly consuming concentrated sources of sugar, leads to several serious, and completely preventable health consequences. If you think eating organic, free-range, grass-fed meat is significantly better than factory farmed meat, then wouldn’t it also follow that soda with 100% organic high-fructose corn syrup is equally healthy when compared to regular soda? That’s clearly not the case. It’s important to understand that some foods have few redeeming qualities, organic or not. Just because something is less bad for you than the standard option doesn’t mean that it’s good for you. Many people believe that plants only supply “incomplete proteins.” The need for protein complementation is a myth perpetuated in poorly researched literature. To be clear, all plant foods contain the nine essential amino acids. You won’t develop a protein deficiency on a plant-based diet. In fact, protein deficiencies only occur in those who have gone long periods without eating anything at all.

What Is Fat?

Weighing in at nine calories (kcal) per gram, fat is the densest source of energy in the diet. In the body, fats make up cell membranes, steroids, cholesterol, and 60% of your brain. Fats support the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, cushion your organs, and act as your largest form of energy storage.

Dietary fats include saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats tend to come from animal sources, while most plant fats are unsaturated. There are also important essential fatty acids, namely omega-3 and omega-6.

There’s another type of fat, an unnatural type, known as trans fats. Trans fats are a product of food manufacturing and are created by hydrogenating less stable unsaturated fats to be more shelf stable. This process prolongs the life of processed food products. Trans fats are often described as poison, and it’s a description that’s fairly accurate. Trans fats raise your “bad” LDL cholesterol and have no place in a healthy diet.

How Much Fat Do You Need?

Like carbohydrates, the popularity of fat waxes and wanes with public opinion and even medical opinion as new diets and research emerge. Currently, according to the USDA, fats should account for 20-40% of your daily calories. Essential fats are undoubtedly a necessary component of a healthy diet. Some of the best sources of healthy fats are nuts, seeds, coconuts, avocados, and olives. Like the most healthy sources of proteins and carbohydrates, the fats in nuts and fatty fruits contain fiber, beneficial micronutrients, and phytonutrients that keep you healthy.

Sources of Fat

Just like with carbohydrates and protein, the best sources of fat are plant-based and nutrient dense. Nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, coconut, and unsweetened dark chocolate are all excellent sources of fat that come with a healthy serving of phytonutrients and fiber. As always, I recommend whole foods over processed.

However, if you’re looking for healthy oils you have quite a few options: flaxseed, hemp seed, avocado, grapeseed, sunflower, walnut, sesame, and coconut oils. I highly recommend flaxseed oil for room temperature or colder dishes like salad dressings or hummus. For cooking, use oils that have a higher smoke point like grapeseed, coconut, avocado and sesame oil. When purchasing oils, always make sure the label says “expeller-pressed” and “unrefined.” Otherwise, the oil may have been extracted using chemicals and subjected to extensive processing, which disturbs the delicate essential fatty acids in the oil.

The Problem With Focusing on Macros

When you focus on optimizing the ratios or percentages of your macronutrients, you might forget to concentrate on the quality of the food itself. Make sure to eat a balanced combination of whole, plant-based foods that contribute to your health. Your macros may vary from one day to the next, but your body’s needs may differ based on your activity level, health status, schedule, or other factors. If you’re trying to make a big change in your diet and lifestyle, consider working with a certified dietician or nutrition counselor that can evaluate your needs, help you set achievable goals, and create a personalized diet plan for you.

The ultimate goal of any good diet is to fuel your day-to-day activities while keeping yourself properly nourished. Make sure the foods you chose are micronutrient dense. These nutrients are required in significantly smaller amounts, but they have a much larger impact on your health.

Mediterranean Diet: Facts and Health Benefits

Traditionally, Western Europe has two broad nutritional approaches – the Northern European and Southern European. The Mediterranean Diet is Southern European, and more specifically focuses on the eating habits of the people of Crete, much of Greece, and southern Italy.

Today, Spain, southern France, and Portugal are also included; even though Portugal does not have a Mediterranean coast.

The Mediterranean diet includes

  • Lots of plant foods
  • Fresh fruit as dessert
  • High consumption of beans, nuts, cereals (in the form of wheat, oats, barley, corn or brown rice) and seeds
  • Olive oil as the main source of dietary fat
  • Cheese and yogurt as the main dairy foods
  • Moderate amounts of fish and poultry
  • No more than about four eggs each week
  • Small amounts of red meat each week (compared to northern Europe)
  • Low to moderate amounts of wine
  • 25% to 35% of calorie intake consists of fat
  • Saturated fat makes up no more than 8% of calorie intake
Olive oil
Olive oil is one of the main sources of dietary fat.

Fats – the Mediterranean diet is known to be low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat, and high in dietary fiber.

Legumes – the Mediterranean diet includes plenty of legumes. Legumes are plants in the pea family that produce pods which slit open naturally along a seam, revealing a row of seeds.

Examples of legumes include peas, chick peas, lentils, alfalfa, and beans.

Scientists from the University of Toronto reported in Archives of Internal Medicine, October 2012 issue, that eating more legumes helps improve glycemic control in people with diabetes type 2, as well as lessening the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet – worldwide recognition

The Mediterranean diet became popular in the 1990s – even though the American Scientist Dr. Ancel Keys (1904-2004) publicized the Mediterranean diet while he was stationed in Italy, it was not until about the 1990s that it was widely recognized and followed elsewhere by nutritionally conscious people.

An enigma

Compared to other Western diets, the Mediterranean diet was seen by others as a bit of an enigma. Although fat consumption is high, the prevalence of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes has always been significantly lower in Mediterranean countries than northern European countries and the USA. The American diet is more similar to the northern European diet – with high red meat consumption, greater consumption of butter and animal fats, and a lower intake of fruit and vegetables, compared to the eating habits of Italy, Greece, southern France, and Spain.

Mediterranean diet more popular in non-English speaking nations

The non-English speaking countries of northern Europe, such as Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria have adopted the Mediterranean diet to a much greater degree than English-speaking nations, such as the UK, Ireland, the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Dietary habits in Canada vary; with the French-speaking Quebec areas tending more towards a Mediterranean diet, compared to the rest of the country. Many experts believe that is why developed English-speaking nations have a lower life expectancy than the other developed nations.

Mediterranean countries consume higher quantities of red wine, while northern European countries and the USA consume more beer. Red wine contains flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants, according to a study in the Journal of Natural Products.

The Mediterranean diet, compared to the Anglo-Saxon diet, contains much higher quantities of unprocessed foods.

Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Studies have been carried out which compare the health risks of developing certain diseases, depending on people’s diets. People who adopted the Mediterranean diet have been compared with those who have an American or Northern European diet.

An article published in Food Technology in October 2012 explained that plant-based diets either considerably reduce or totally eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Mediterranean diet helps prevent a genetic risk of stroke – a variant (mutation) in the Transcription Factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) gene, which is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, is also linked to higher stroke risk, especially if a person carries two copies (homozygous carriers).

Scientists from Tufts University, USA, and the CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutriciόn, Spain, found that the Mediterranean diet may protect homozygous carriers of the mutated gene.

The researchers wrote in the journal Diabetes Care “Being on the Mediterranean diet reduced the number of strokes in people with two copies of the variant. The food they ate appeared to eliminate any increased stroke susceptibility, putting them on an even playing field with people with one or no copies of the variant.”

An Italian study published in BMJ Open reported that people who stick to a Mediterranean diet tend to have better HRQL (health-related quality of life). They added that the link is stronger with mental than physical health. “Dietary total antioxidant and fiber content independently explain this relationship,” they added.

Heart benefits

Researchers at McMaster University found an association between good heart health and certain food groups or dietary patterns including vegetables, nuts, monounsaturated fatty acids, and overall ‘healthy’ dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet. The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A later study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, suggested that people who adopt a whole diet approach – such as a Mediterranean diet – have a lower risk of heart attack and cardiovascular-related death than those who follow a strictly low-fat diet

Diabetes

A study published in the BMJ in 2008 revealed that the traditional Mediterranean diet can help protect people from type 2 diabetes.

Foods Loaded with Manganese

Manganese is an essential trace mineral found in very small quantities in our body. This mineral performs several vital biological functions within the body such as the proper functioning of enzymes, healing wounds, assimilation of nutrients and development of bones. Moreover, superoxide dismutase (SOD), an antioxidant enzyme that aids in combating the harmful free radicals, also contains this mineral.

The University of Maryland Medical Center has stated that as high as 37 percent people in America do not receive their manganese RDI (recommended daily intake), which is 2.5 mg for adult men and 1.8 mg for adult women. If one continues to suffer from manganese deficiency it may result in several symptoms like infertility problems, joint pain and other problems related to bone health. Hence, consuming more foods rich in manganese content is necessary for maintaining optimum health.

Best natural sources of manganese

Nuts: These are an excellent natural source of manganese, especially for vegans and vegetarians. For example, consuming one serving of 28 grams hazelnut provides us with about 78 percent of recommended daily intake of this trace mineral. In addition, 28 grams of walnuts, macadamia, and pecans also supply us with more than 48 per cent of our manganese RDI. Even almonds, pistachios and cashews contain reasonably high levels of manganese.

Apart from enclosing high concentrations of manganese, nuts are also an excellent natural source of vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, plant sterols (effective in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol), and a semi-essential amino acid called L-arginine, which promotes the functioning of our cardiovascular system. There are some who prefer consuming nuts soaked in water, because, as in nature, soaking the nuts in water stimulates them to germinate and thereby facilitates in countering anti-nutrients and also trigger specific enzymes.

Seafood: While we are aware that seafood is rich in zinc content, the fact is that it also has high concentrations of manganese. Mussels contain the maximum manganese. For instance, 85 grams of mussels provide us with 5.8 mg or 340 percent of our required daily intake for manganese. Clams are second on the list, while crawfish is next. About 85 grams of clams and crawfish provide us with 43 percent and 22 percent of our RDI, respectively. In addition, 85 grams of common fish like trout, bass, perch, and pike are also excellent natural manganese sources, each supplying us with anything between 38 percent and 48 percent of our RDI. However, it is important to stay away from contaminated seafood. You can ensure this by using seafood farmed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Seeds: Often, the nutritional profiles of various seeds are similar to that of nuts. Hence, they also contain high levels of manganese. In fact, pumpkin seeds are the best source of manganese, as a serving of 28 grams of these seeds encloses 1.3 mg of this trace mineral or 64 percent of our RDI. In addition, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds are also excellent natural sources of manganese. A serving of 28 grams of these seeds each supplies us a minimum of 30 percent of our RDI.

Seeds also contain high levels of other nutrients like zinc, magnesium, and phytosterols (beneficial plant compounds). Similar to nuts, seeds, particularly chia seeds, are more beneficial when consumed after soaking in water.

Beans: As a cultivation crop, beans have a long history and it has been a vital protein source all through the Old as well as the New World. Beans also enclose high levels of manganese. For instance, 85 grams (half a cup) of lima beans and winged beans provide use with a little over 50 percent of our RDI of this mineral. In addition, adzuki beans, chickpeas, and white beans are also loaded with manganese.

Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and even dried herbs as well as spices (particularly cloves), garlic, rice bran, sun-dried tomatoes, and blackstrap molasses are also great natural sources of manganese. Besides, the majority of the whole foods also enclose trivial amounts of manganese. This is the reason people consuming more of organic foods seldom suffer from manganese deficiency.