Tag Archives: blood sugar

Why you should add raw cacao to your diet

I must confess I am late to the party in terms of raw cacao. That is strange as I love chocolate and don’t need much of an excuse to eat some. But, I actually came across raw cacao in one of the recent infographics on super foods that I ran right here on the blog. Turns out raw cacao is one of them. I bought mine from Terrasoul Superfoods on Amazon.

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Secrets of Longevity
says, “It turns out that all the bad things commonly attributed to non-raw chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and others fillers added to the dark chocolate. Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao beans, butter, nibs and/or the powder include; weight loss (because of its high chromium and coumarin content), prevention of cavities (theobromine actually kills streptococci mutans one of the strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay) and regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes (chromium can naturally regulate blood sugar). Also raw cacao benefits the heart and the entire cardiovascular system as a whole.

“Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system. The dark chocolate antioxidants have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in reversing heart disease and causes naturally lower blood pressure. Also, various other vitamins and minerals in raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular system.”

Now that you appetite has been whetted, how do you get this bitter, if wonderful, substance into your system? Here is a brief list: Continue reading

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Filed under chocolate, dark chocolate, raw organic cacao

Drinking 100 percent fruit juice does not affect blood sugar levels – Study

I know that a lot of people have strong feelings about juices – both positive and negative. I am kind of agnostic. I like pineapple-orange juice and drink it regularly. Otherwise, I am not much into fruit juice.

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Juice found to have no association with major diabetes risk factors

One hundred percent juice does not have a significant effect on fasting blood glucose, fasting blood insulin, or insulin resistance according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science. The findings are consistent with previous research indicating that 100% fruit juice is not associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and support a growing body of evidence that 100% fruit juice has no significant effect on glycemic control.

A comprehensive data analysis quantitatively assessed the relationship between drinking 100% juice and blood glucose control. Using fasting blood glucose and fasting blood insulin levels as biomarkers for diabetes risk, the systematic review and meta-analysis included 18 randomized controlled trials (RCT) to evaluate the impact of 100% juice from fruits, such as apple, berry, citrus, grape, and pomegranate.

According to The American Diabetes Association, about 90% of the 29 million cases of diabetes in adults and children in the United States are considered Type 2. Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body is unable to respond to insulin. The first line of defense for preventing and treating Type 2 Diabetes is following a healthy lifestyle. Eating right, exercising regularly and staying at a healthy weight are encouraged. U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend consumption of a healthy eating pattern which includes fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and a variety of protein foods. A 4-oz. glass of 100 percent juice counts as one serving (1/2 cup) of fruit, and can complement whole fruit to help individuals add more produce to their diets. (my emphasis)

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The study entitled “100% Fruit juice and measures of glycemic control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” is available online. It was conducted by Exponent, Inc. on behalf of the Juice Products Association. The authors are Mary Murphy, MS, RD, Erin Barrett, PhD, Kara Bresnahan, PhD, MPH, and Leila Barraj, ScD of Exponent, Inc. For more information on the nutritional benefits of 100 percent fruit juice, please visit http://www.juicecentral.org.

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Filed under blood sugar, diabetes, fruit drinks, fruit juice, Type 2 diabetes

Saturated fat could be good for you

A Norwegian study challenges the long-held idea that saturated fats are unhealthy

Regular readers know that I am a big supporter of coconut oil – a saturated fat. You can check out my Page – Coconut oil – Why you should include it in your diet for more details.

A new Norwegian diet intervention study (FATFUNC), performed by researchers at the KG Jebsen center for diabetes research at the University of Bergen, raises questions regarding the validity of a diet hypothesis that has dominated for more than half a century: that dietary fat and particularly saturated fat is unhealthy for most people.

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The researchers found strikingly similar health effects of diets based on either lowly processed carbohydrates or fats. In the randomized controlled trial, 38 men with abdominal obesity followed a dietary pattern high in either carbohydrates or fat, of which about half was saturated. Fat mass in the abdominal region, liver and heart was measured with accurate analyses, along with a number of key risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

“The very high intake of total and saturated fat did not increase the calculated risk of cardiovascular diseases,” says professor and cardiologist Ottar Nygård who contributed to the study. Continue reading

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Filed under Fats, HDL Cholesterol, healthy fats, LDL Cholesterol, saturated fat, saturated fats

10 Health benefits of coconut water

The coconut tree must be one of the healthiest plants on the earth. I am such a believer in coconut oil that I have a Page – Coconut oil – Why you should include it in your diet devoted to it. Seems that coconut water also conveys health benefits. I use some of this every morning in my breakfast smoothie.

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Tony

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10 Reasons to Include Buckwheat In Your Diet Plans

I am as new to buckwheat as you are. I always thought it was the stuff they put into airplane neck pillows. This post shows how wrong I can be.

Tony

Buckwheat for your health

bowl of buckwheat seeds

  1. Buckwheat is high in fiber; good for those with constipation.
  2. The protein in buckwheat has all 9 essential amino acids (that the body cannot manufacture), making it closer to being a “complete” protein.
  3. Buckwheat is high in the amino acid lysine, which is used for tissue growth and repair.
  4. Buckwheat is gluten-free so this makes it suitable for those with wheat allergies.
  5. Buckwheat is rich in calcium, iron, vitamin E, and B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper.
  6. The magnesium in buckwheat, helps relaxes blood vessels; helps improve circulation, decrease blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
  7. Buckwheat helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Due to the slower breakdown and absorption of the carbohydrates in buckwheat, this helps to raise our blood sugar levels more evenly. This especially good for those suffering with diabetes by helping to control their blood sugar levels.
  8. Buckwheat is low in calories

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Why (and How) You Should Add Raw Cacao to Your Diet

I must confess I am late to the party in terms of raw cacao. That is strange as I love chocolate and don’t need much of an excuse to eat some. But, I actually came across raw cacao in one of the recent infographics on super foods that I ran right here on the blog. Turns out raw cacao is one of them. I bought mine from Terrasoul Superfoods on Amazon.


Secrets of Longevity
says, “It turns out that all the bad things commonly attributed to non-raw chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and others fillers added to the dark chocolate. Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao beans, butter, nibs and/or the powder include; weight loss (because of its high chromium and coumarin content), prevention of cavities (theobromine actually kills streptococci mutans one of the strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay) and regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes (chromium can naturally regulate blood sugar). Also raw cacao benefits the heart and the entire cardiovascular system as a whole.

“Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system. The dark chocolate antioxidants have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in reversing heart disease and causes naturally lower blood pressure. Also, various other vitamins and minerals in raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular system.”

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Now that you appetite has been whetted, how do you get this bitter, if wonderful, substance into your system? Here is a brief list: Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under chocolate, raw organic cacao

Why Should I Eat More Dark Chocolate?

With Valentine’s Day a week away, it seemed timely to talk about chocolate. Dark chocolate.

Before starting, let me clarify that the word ‘more’ in the header assumes you are eating little or no dark chocolate at present because here in the U.S. we primarily eat milk chocolate. How much? Good question. Some 71 percent of the chocolate we eat is milk chocolate. And, how much total?

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The World Atlas of Chocolate puts the U.S. in 11th place worldwide in per capita chocolate consumption with a paltry 11.5 pounds per year. Switzerland is in first place with more than double that total.

As far as a definition of dark chocolate goes, the U.S. has no fixed percentage of cocoa content to define dark chocolate. In practice, however, it seems that 70 percent cocoa solids qualifies as dark chocolate.

But why eat more dark chocolate? Experience L!fe says, “Sure, chocolate’s exquisitely decadent. But its primary ingredient, cocoa, has triple the antioxidants of green tea, helps reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and improves insulin sensitivity.”

They quote Alice Medrich on it. “Alice Medrich, who is credited with bringing the chocolate truffle to the United States in the 1970s, says that when you taste chocolate without all the sugar, you become aware of its deep, earthy, nutty, and fruity flavors. She compares chocolate to wine and says that, like grapes, chocolate has a terroir that reflects the taste of the soil and climate where it’s grown.

“’Sometimes you’ll get some tropical fruit flavors or citrus flavors or cherry or even little hints of orange or coconut,’ says Medrich, author of the cookbook Seriously Bitter Sweet. ‘There are hundreds of flavor components in chocolate, and they can go to the sweet or the savory really easily.'”

FITDAY offers several benefits of dark chocolate, including:
Good for your heart. “Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis.

Good for your brain. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke.

Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

Dark chocolate contains caffeine, a mild stimulant. However, dark chocolate contains much less caffeine than coffee. A standard 1.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate contains 27 mg of caffeine, compared to the 200 mg found in an eight ounce cup of coffee.

Helps control blood sugar. “The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

Dark chocolate contains theobromine which helps to harden tooth enamel, so unlike most sweets it lowers your risk of cavities. Theobromine also can help to suppress coughing.

The final positive from FITDAY is dark chocolate’s vitamin and mineral content. “The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.”

Authority Nutrition
offers the following: “If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious.

It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals.
A 100 gram (about 4 ounces) bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:
• 11 grams of fiber.
• 67% of the RDA for Iron.
• 58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
• 89% of the RDA for Copper.
• 98% of the RDA for Manganese.
• It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

Aren’t we all ready for some good news on cholesterol? Well, Authority Nutrition says, “Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.”

In case you don’t remember, HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL is the bad. You want higher HDL numbers and lower LDL ones.

Lastly, Authority Nutrition says that “Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.”

I must confess that I had never heard dark chocolate could protect your skin from the sun, but as a skin cancer victim, I am very happy to learn it.

While I would like you to include dark chocolate in your diet, I hope that you know we are talking about reasonable amounts here. You don’t need to eat more than a couple of ounces a day to get the benefits mentioned above.

Tony

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Filed under antioxidants, blood pressure, chocolate, cholesterol, dark chocolate, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Why Skipping Meals Will Not Help You Lose Weight

To achieve a healthy weight through weight control or weight loss you need to eat regularly throughout the day.

Medical journalist Michael Mosley demonstrated the effect of skipping breakfast in his show 10 Things You Need to Know to Lose Weight on PBS. He had two MRI brain scans across two days. On the first day he had a full breakfast, on the second, he had no breakfast at all. When he wasn’t hungry, Michael’s brain did not respond much to pictures of either low calorie food like veggies or salads or high calorie foods like sugar caes and fatty chips. However, on the morning he skipped breakfast, his brain buzzed with activity when shown high calorie sugary donuts. Yet he showed far less response to a salad. images

So skipping breakfast caused his brain to try to compensate by desiring high calorie foods – clearly a dieting disaster.

When our stomachs empty out, we get a signal to our brain that says, “Feed me!” There is a powerful urge to eat high calorie foods to compensate.

Clearly, this puts unyielding pressure on one’s will power to avoid high calorie foods since your brain is screaming for exactly that. Continue reading

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Lower Blood Sugars May Be Good for the Brain

“These results suggest that even for people within the normal range of blood sugar, lowering their blood sugar levels could be a promising strategy for preventing memory problems and cognitive decline as they age,” said study author Agnes Flöel, MD, of Charité University Medicine in Berlin, Germany. “Strategies such as lowering calorie intake and increasing physical activity should be tested.”

For more on the brain check out my page Important facts about your brain – and exercise.
Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Even for people who don’t have diabetes or high blood sugar, those with higher blood sugar levels are more likely to have memory problems, according to a new study published in the online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 141 people with an average age of 63 who did not have diabetes or pre-diabetes, which is also called impaired glucose tolerance. People who were overweight, drank more than three-and-a-half servings of alcohol per day, and those who had memory and thinking impairment were not included in the study.

The participants’ memory skills were tested, along with their blood glucose, or sugar, levels. Participants also had brain scans to measure the size of the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important role in memory.

People with lower blood sugar levels were more likely to have better scores on the…

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How to Make a Lunch Salad Fill You Up

As a retired guy, I am usually home at lunch and have no problems getting heatlhy foods into me, but I know that a lot of you are still out in the workforce and have limited lunchtime resources especially when it comes to healthy reasonable calorie foods.

Here is a suggestion I ran across on the web somewhere that made a lot of sense to me. It may help you the next time you find yourself at the salad bar.
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First of all, many folks who choose a salad bar for lunch try to limit their calories by using little or no salad dressing. The problem with this is that the greens alone are not enough to keep your blood sugar up for the rest of the afternoon. You haven’t helped yourself if you are starving by mid afternoon and having food fantasies instead of being able to concentrate on your work.

If you use some light salad dressing you can add fat, and yes, calories, but the fat is a source of energy that can help to get you through the afternoon. Also, put some protein on that salad, too. Does the salad bar offer chicken, eggs or fish? You can add some very important protein that will benefit you throughout the day as well keep you away from the vending machine in the afternoon.

With these simple additions you can make a visit to the salad bar a success instead of a source of frustration.

Tony

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