Foods, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How To Make Your Thanksgiving Menu Healthier with Recipes

How To Make Your Thanksgiving Menu Healthier with Recipes

 

 

Preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that’s lower in fat and calories but still thrills the crowd isn’t hard. All it takes is a few ingredient substitutions and some clever fat-busting techniques. Let’s take a look at how to make a delicious, healthier Thanksgiving meal.

The Turkey

If you’re hosting a small gathering, buy a turkey breast rather than the whole bird, as breast meat is lower in calories than dark meat.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

“This is simple and delicious, and certainly not rocket science,”  “No need to really add anything or change anything other than the cooking time — mine was done perfectly at 5-1/2 hours. The meat is tender, juicy, and delicately seasoned.”

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Photo by Lori

 

 

Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breasts

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
  2. With a sharp knife, butterfly breasts open to lay flat. Place each breast between two sheets of waxed paper, and flatten with a mallet. Spread the prepared stuffing to within 1/4 inch of the edge of each breast. Sprinkle each one with chopped pecans and dried cranberries, reserving some of the cranberries for garnish. Roll up tightly in a jellyroll style, starting with the long end. Tuck in ends, and tie in sections with string, about 4 sections around the middle and one running the length of the roll to secure the ends.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully brown rolls on all sides.
  4. Place skillet in oven, uncovered. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature is at 170 degrees F (78 degrees C) when taken with a meat thermometer. Do not let these get overly dry.
  5. Allow rolls to set for 15 minutes before removing string, and slicing into 1/2 to 3/4 inch circles. Leave one roll whole, and slice the other for presentation. Stuffing will be spiraled into meat. Present on your prettiest platter on a bed of curly lettuce, and garnish by sprinkling with the remaining 1/2 cup pecan halves and the reserved dried cranberries.

“This one is a keeper,” “I make it every thanksgiving instead of the whole turkey — it turns out beautifully every time! Very pretty presentation, too!”

Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breasts
Photo by lutzflcat

 

If you do buy a whole turkey, avoid “self-basting” turkeys, as they often contain added fat. And, it goes without saying, stay away from the deep fryer this year, and roast or smoke the turkey. Stuff the turkey cavity with whole or halved onions, halved lemons or apples, and sprigs of fresh herbs such as sage, marjoram, thyme, and/or rosemary. Rather than rubbing the skin with butter or oil, spray it with an oil spray and season it with salt and pepper.

Guilt-Free Gravy

Gravy is one of the biggest calorie culprits on the table. Use vegetable oil rather than turkey drippings when making the gravy — it’s still fat, but vegetable oil is lower in saturated fat and is cholesterol-free.

If you use turkey drippings to add flavor, use a gravy separator. Pour the gravy into a separator and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Some of the fat in the gravy will rise to the top of the glass where you can skim it off easily. Better yet, make a low-fat broth-based gravy or a vegetarian gravy instead.

Lightning Gravy

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a microwave safe dish heat water and bouillon on high, stirring occasionally until just boiling.
  2. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and cold water and mix together; stir into the hot broth and cook on medium for about 1 minute, or until thick, stirring at 30 second intervals.

“This is awesome because it’s low fat, low cal, (for gravy!) and quick,” “I added a black pepper and a small pinch of ground sage.”

Lightning Gravy
Photo by Marianne

 

Slimmed-Down Sides

Instead of loading up your mashed potatoes with lots of butter and cream, add some of the starchy water you used to boil the potatoes. The starchy water will give your mashers a low-cal creamy texture and help cut back on fat.

You can also add turkey or chicken broth, evaporated skim milk, or fat-free sour cream to your mashed potatoes. For extra flavor, stir in roasted garlic and herbs. For added nutrition, add pureed cooked cauliflower, parsnips, or turnips — or replace the potatoes entirely with Mashed Parsnips or Mashed Turnips.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine potatoes and chicken broth in a slow cooker.
  2. Cook potatoes on Low for 3 hours. Add cauliflower and continue cooking on Low another 3 hours.
  3. Stir milk, butter, sour cream, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and salt into the potato mixture. Mash with a potato masher or blend with an immersion blender to desired consistency.
  4. Continue cooking until hot, about 10 minutes more.

 

“This was good and a great way of adding extra veggies into a meal,”  I had mine along side some corn and stuffing. It was the perfect accompaniment and easy to make.”

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower
Photo by bd.weld

Cndied sweet potato casseroles in favor of a low-fat, naturally-sweetened sweet potatoes. Try a cranberry relish or cut down on the amount of sugar in your cranberry sauce by adding fruit juices or apple sauce.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese

 

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool until potatoes can be handled, about 20 minutes.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large baking sheet.
  3. Meanwhile, place olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook and stir until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell. Set shells aside. Place pulp into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, ginger, and sugar to the blender; blend until smooth.
  5. Return potato mixture to a bowl; stir in shallots, Parmesan cheese, and sage. Spoon mixture back into potato skins. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.

“These were absolutely fabulous,” says “We aren’t fond of sweet potato dishes that have a lot of added sugar, so this was really to our taste.”

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese

y, where it absorbs fat from the turkey as it bakes. It’s hard to slim down a stuffing recipe, so take a small serving if it’s your Thanksgiving favorite. If you can avoid recipes using too much sausage or bacon; wild rice and grains are more nutritious than bread stuffings.

Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Cook and stir sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, crumbling coarsely, for about 10 minutes. Remove sausage to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Empty pan of grease.
  2. Into the same pan melt the butter. Add the leeks or onions, apples, celery and poultry seasoning; cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rosemary, dried cranberries and cooked sausage. Mix all with the dried bread cubes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Moisten with the chicken stock.
  3. Stuff turkey with about 5 cups for a 14 pound turkey. Add additional chicken stock to moisten stuffing if needed. Remaining stuffing can be baked in a covered buttered casserole at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes to brown top.

 

LivinOurLuvSong. “I left out the sausage and used veggie broth. I baked it in a pan and it was perfect.”

Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing
Photo by alexandra5

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Most of the fat in a pie comes from the crust. Try a crust-free pumpkin pie recipe or a reduced-fat graham cracker crust.

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in flour. Fold in oats. Press into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, until set.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs with white sugar. Beat in pumpkin and evaporated milk. Mix in salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Pour over baked crust.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, until set. Let cool before cutting into squares.

 

“This is a great recipe,” raves LAURA J JOHNSON. “It makes homemade pumpkin pie much easier and it tastes great.”

Pumpkin Pie Squares
Photo by CC
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Health and Wellness Associates
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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

10 Toxic Habits That You Should Get Rid Of Immediately

10 Toxic Habits That You Should Get Rid Of Immediately

 

Bad habits are behaviors that we’ve internalized and carry out almost without noticing. We might not realize some of these habits right away, but they usually make themselves apparent in the long-term. This is why it is so important to be conscious of these toxic habits and do what we can to erase them. By recognizing and erasing our toxic habits from our lives, we’ll improve well-being and quality of life.

 

1. Not recognizing mistakes

We’ve all make some mistakes, but admitting them is probably the hardest part. Mistakes can affect our self-esteem negatively, but learning to accept and take responsibility for our mistakes is a big part of learning and growth. If we let ourselves believe that we never make mistakes and are never responsible for things going wrong, we don’t leave ourselves any room to grow.

What to do: Admit to yourself when you’ve make a little mistake, like putting too much salt on your food. You can say something like “I made a mistake and I used too much salt. Next time I’ll be more careful”. Start off with small mistakes, and work your way up to more important ones. By doing this, it’ll be easier for you to take responsibility for mistakes and ask for forgiveness when it affects others.

Thinking negatively quote

 

2. Thinking negatively

Negative thoughts are a threat to our self-esteem and mood. If we constantly tell ourselves that we’re not good enough or that we’re stupid, we’ll start to really believe and internalize it. Berating yourself continuously can lead to more serious disorders, like depression and anxiety.

What to do: Sometimes we have these thoughts without realizing it and without doing it on purpose. Learning how to realize when we’re having these thoughts is important for being able to stop! Write down your negative thoughts on some paper and try to figure out some alternative thoughts.
good-vs-bad-posture-infographic

3. Poor posture

Our body language and posture can say a lot about us, but it can also affect our mood. According to a study, sitting with your back straight makes you feel more confident than slouching, and other research shows that it can help us feel more powerful and relieves stress.

What to do: The first step is to feel more confident in your own body. Practicing yoga or mindfulness techniques can help us understand our body better, and it can help improve posture. Try to keep your spine straight when you’re sitting, standing or walking. Imagine that you’re a marionette puppet and that you have a strong thread coming from the top of your head. Your head guides the rest of your body- if you look down, your spine will bend. Look with your head up, focused on the world in front of you.
Sleep Loss Infographic

4. Poor sleeping habits

Sleep is one of the most important things for our bodies and our brains. Our bodies use sleep time to restore itself and integrate all of the new information that it learned. Lack of sleep has been shown to produce impairments equivalent to those of alcohol intoxication, and can lead to various problems, like irritability, slower processing speed, poor decision making, low cognitive performance, increased risk of depression, obesity, and cardiovascular problems.

What to do: Most people need about 7-8 hours of sleep, but some people only need 6, and others can’t perform well if they don’t get 10. Try to get in bed an hour early and meditate, listen to relaxing music, or read. This time should be for relaxing, so turn your phone on airplane mode and put it on the other side of the room. This is also a good way to help become a morning person!
procrastination-infographic

5. Procrastination

Procrastination seems to be a modern epidemic. Continuously postponing things that we have to do actually impacts our motivation and self-esteem negatively. Procrastination can lead to stress and keeps us from completing projects, assignments, etc.[5] It also prevents us from starting those tasks and goals that we’ve given ourselves, which can result in feelings of worthlessness.

What to do: Have a list of things you need to do and divide the tasks into smaller, easier tasks. Avoid distraction and visualize yourself reaching that goal.

poor diet

6. Poor diet

Our diet affects our brain, which is why it’s so important to eat well. Poor nutrition weakens mental functions and causes us to under-perform. A healthy diet doesn’t only help our brains work better, but it also improves our physical health and our self-esteem.

What to do: To make sure that our bodies and brains are getting all of the nutrients it needs, you don’t necessarily need to only eat those “miracle” foods that everyone is talking about. Eat more fruits and vegetables and cut down on processed meat (like hamburgers, hotdogs, and cold-cuts). Also try to reduce your intake of sugars and salt, especially in pre-packaged foods. Drink water when you’re thirsty and stay away from sugary drinks (even if they’re diet).
multitasking-infographic

7. Multitasking

Our society is constantly asking more of us- we want instant feedback and automatic updates. We want to do everything as quickly as possible, which causes us to multitask. There are some things we can do without thinking, like walking or eating, which hardly use any mental resources and is why we can walk and talk, or eat and read. The problem comes when we want to do two things that require more attention, like study with the TV on, or talk to someone and surf the web. In these cases, one (or both) of the activities will be affected.

What to do: Practicing mindfulness can aslo help us here. Do one thing at a time. First study, then watch TV. First cook, then help your kids with their homework. This way, we’ll be able to put all of our cognitive resources towards one activity and the outcome will be much better.
blaming quote

8. Blaming others

It can be easy to fall into the habit of blaming other people. “People don’t listen to me”, “I was late because they wouldn’t let me leave”…if you do this, you’re not taking responsibility for what is your fault.

What to do: Are other people in charge of your life? No. Take responsibility for things in your life. Obviously a vase falling on your head while you’re walking down the street isn’t your fault- accidents happen and you shouldn’t blame yourself for them. However, there are many other things that you are responsible for, like what you do when you’re faced with a problem and how you handle when things don’t go your way. If there is something in your life that you’re not happy with, change it. Don’t blame other people for your situation.
Taking things personally

9. Taking things personally

You’re not the center of the world. We often think that other people’s actions are related to us, but they usually don’t. Taking it personally when someone is rude or mean to us without any reason will just make us feel badly about ourselves and hurt our self-esteem. People have bad days and may just be taking it out on you without any reason.

What to do: When you think that you have something to do with that’s going on, determine if you really have proof. Think about possible alternative explanations. Ask the person directly if their reaction had anything to do with you. You’ll realize that most of the time, it’s not related to you at all.

10. Haste

Going everywhere in a hurry isn’t good for us. It’s true, just like with multitasking, society generally expects us to do things quickly and hurriedly, but some things need to be taken slowly. Cooking for example, will take time, and you should let it. If we do everything quickly, we don’t have time to enjoy life! Besides, it can also cause stress and anxiety, which can cause serious problems.

What to do: Practice some relaxation techniques or exercise. Physical exercise can help reduce stress and help you stay in the present moment. Take your time when doing your daily tasks. Leave your house earlier in the morning so that you’re not running to get to work. Start your project earlier so you’re not stressing at the last minute. Take the time to read a book or cook a great meal- you’ll be more relaxed and have time to enjoy life!

 Are Your Daily Habits Toxic To Your Brain Health Infographic

Remember, we are in this together!
-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Nutrition Plays An Important Role In Brain Shrinkage

Nutrition Plays An Important Role In Brain Shrinkage

 

Those with diets high in a number of vitamins as well as omega 3 fatty acids are not as likely to get the brain shrinkage linked to Alzheimer’s disease than those whose diets aren’t high in these nutrients. According to the research, elderly people with higher amounts of a number of vitamins as well as omega 3 fatty acids within their blood had much better results on mental acuity tests and also less of the brain shrinkage found in Alzheimer’s disease – whereas “junk food” diets resulted in exactly the opposite.

These omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamin D are found mainly in fish. The B vitamins as well as antioxidants C and E are found mainly in vegetables and fruit. The research also revealed that those that had diets that were high in trans fats were more prone to have brain shrinkage as well as lower scores with the memory and thinking tests than those that had diets that were low in trans fats. Baked goods, prepackaged food, fast food, fried food and also margarine spreads are the main foods that trans fats are found in.

The research involved 104 individuals with an average age of 87 with very few memory and thinking problem risk factors. Blood tests had been made use of to ascertain the amounts of various nutrients within the blood of each person. Each of the participants also took memory and thinking skill tests. Forty two of the people had MRI scans to determine their brain volume.

On the whole, they had good nutritional status, but 7 % were vitamin B12 deficient and 25 % were vitamin D deficient .

The nutrient levels within the blood accounted for a lot of the variation in both brain volume as well as memory and thinking scores. The levels of nutrients accounted for 17% of the score variations for the memory and thinking tests. Other factors like age, amount of years of education as well as hypertension accounted for 46 % of the variation. The levels of nutrients accounted for 37% of the variation for brain volume. The potential to help stop brain shrinkage just by adjusting diet is exciting.

Everything You Need to Know About Fast Food Infographic

 

Remember we are in this together!

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

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Foods, Uncategorized

Enjoy the Fall Apple Harvest

Enjoy the Fall Apple Harvest

appleharvest

Crisp, juicy apples are a fall tradition. Take advantage of the bountiful selection of apples available this time of year. There are hundreds of varieties to sample. They range from red to yellow to green, crunchy to tender, sweet to tart and simple to complex.

Apples contain a wide variety of phytochemicals, many of which have been found to have strong antioxidant activity. They are particularly high in quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant.1 Epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes and obesity.2-7 Not only can eating an apple a day help keep the doctor away, an apple a day might keep the pounds away too; adding apples to the diet has been shown to enhance weight loss.8-9 To optimize phytochemical content, it is important to eat the pigment-rich apple skin. Choose whole, organic apples over applesauce or apple juice.

Apples are also a rich source of pectin, a type of soluble fiber that is found in plant cell walls and tissues. This soluble fiber works to lower cholesterol by reducing the amount that is absorbed in the intestines. Studies have shown that the pectin in apples interacts with other apple phytonutrients to achieve an even greater reduction in cholesterol.10 Researchers have also discovered that apples can boost intestinal health by increasing the numbers of good gut bacteria which feed on apple pectin.11

Portable and easy to pack, apples are great to include in your on-the-go meals. For an easy dessert, enjoy them baked with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. I like to dice an apple, toss it with baby greens, some chickpeas, maybe a handful of walnuts or pumpkin seeds and then top it off with one of my flavored vinegars or perhaps my Almond Balsamic Dressing.

Experiment with the many different varieties of apples to discover which ones are your favorites. Have fun seeking out your local organic apple growers, farm stands and farmers markets and look for different types of interesting apples. They do not have to look perfect. The smaller and more imperfect they look, the better they taste. If you go apple picking and get lots of them, don’t worry, you can store them for several months. Just wrap each apple in a paper towel to prevent them from touching each other and store in a closed cardboard box in a cool place such as the basement or garage.

We are in this together!

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth
Dr Furhman

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Health Benefits of Cherries

Health Benefits of Cherries

 

Cherries for gout

100g of cherries has 50 caloriesCherries are especially useful for treating gout.  Gout is a kind of arthritis linked to an unusually high amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is made in the liver and sometimes too much uric acid is made. Needle-like crystals form as uric acid levels increase, and these crystals build up in the joints over time, resulting in the pain and inflammation typical of gout.

Bing cherries have antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties, in particular a compound known as cyanidin, which has been found to inhibit the activity of the enzyme involved in the making of uric acid. Research has revealed that eating the equivalent of a pound of fresh cherries each day is highly effective for lowering uric acid levels.

One study demonstrated that healthy people who ate Bing cherries for 28 days had reduced inflammation markers and they stayed low for days despite discontinuation of cherry consumption.

Another study has also shown that eating cherries may lower risk of gout attacks. Gout sufferers consuming cherries for a 2 day period had a 35 % reduced risk of gout attacks when compared with those not eating cherries. The risk of gout flare continued decreasing with the increase of cherry intake, up to 3 servings over 2 days. It was found that additional cherry intake did not provide any extra benefit.[3]

Nutritional value of cherries (red) per 100g:

  •     How many calories in cherries – 50
  •     How much protein in cherries – 1g
  •     How many carbs in cherries – 12g
  •     What is the fat content of cherries – 0.3g

Nutrients in cherries

Cherries are a very good source of vitamins C and A. They are a good source of copper, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese.

 

Cherries and blood pressure

Cherries and blood pressure

Montmorency tart cherry juice lowers blood pressure

Consuming tart cherry juice is as effective for reducing high blood pressure as blood pressure lowering medications. Participants of a 2016 study who had early signs of hypertension experienced a blood pressure reduction of 7% three hours after consuming a Montmorency tart cherry concentrate and water mixture.[4]

The blood pressure readings of the 15 participants was least 130/90 mmHg, which means they had a higher risk of having cardiovascular related problems. They consumed either 60ml of tart cherry juice concentrate or 60ml of a commercial fruit-flavored drink.

Blood pressure was taken before consuming the Montmorency cherry concentrate and was measured thereafter on an hourly basis. The participants consuming the Montmorency cherry concentrate experienced a blood pressure reduction of 7 mmHg in the 3 hours after consumption.

The greatest systolic blood pressure improvement occurred when vanillic and protocatechuic, the cherry concentrate’s phenolic acids, reached peak plasma levels. The reduction in blood pressure from the consumption of the Montmorency cherry concentrate was comparable to the reduction achieved by blood pressure lowering medication.

A 2018 study found that consuming Montmorency tart cherry juice reduced systolic blood pressure in individuals between the ages of 65 and 80. The 34 study participants in this 12-week randomized controlled trial were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups.[5]

The 1st group drank 240ml of Montmorency tart cherry juice in the morning and 240ml in the evening every day for the 12 weeks. The 2nd group drank the equivalent amount of a cherry flavored placebo drink devoid of tart cherries. Blood pressure as well as blood sugar, insulin, weight and cholesterol were measured when the study began and again when it ended.

The Montmorency tart cherry juice group had a significant reduction (4.1 mmHg) in systolic blood pressure in comparison to the drink placebo drink group.

How much tart cherry juice should you drink a day to lower blood pressure?

The participants in the 2016 study drank 60ml of tart cherry juice concentrate, which is estimated to be equivalent to about 500g of whole tart cherries.

The participants in the 2018 study drank 480 ml tart cherry juice, which was prepared from 68ml Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate diluted with 412ml water.

Health Benefits of Cherries

Tart cherry juice for sleep
Melatonin in cherries

Montmorency tart cherries have been found to contain substantial amounts of the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Although some other foods also have melatonin, the quantity is too low to be effective, but, according to research, Montmorency cherries have 0.1 to 0.3 milligram of melatonin a serving,[6] and contain about 6 times more melatonin compared to Balaton cherries. At this dosage melatonin has been proven to be an efficient sleep inducer.

 

A 2014 study concluded that Montmorency tart cherry juice helps in improving the quality and duration of sleep, as well as help in reducing insomnia severity.[7] The 7 study participants who suffered from insomnia that consumed the cherry juice in the morning as well as at night slept over an hour longer each night.

Besides Montmorency tart cherries being a good source of melatonin, tart cherry juice also helps in increasing the availability of the essential amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin which helps with sleep.  The tart cherry juice inhibits a tryptophan degrading enzyme and degradation of tryptophan is a predictor of insomnia. The researchers suggest the melatonin and tryptophan combination in Montmorency tart cherries is likely contributing to the benefits of tart cherries for sleep.

Cherries for weight loss

The Chemistry of Cherries

A 2008 animal study has suggested that tart cherries have significant potential for reducing belly fat. Obese rats that were given tart cherry powder combined with a high-fat diet gained less weight than rats that were not given cherries. After 12 weeks, the rats that were given the tart cherry powder had 54% body fat in comparison to 63% for rats that were fed a “Western diet”. The difference in weight gain was particularly pronounced in fat around the waist area, the rats that were given the cherry powder gained less belly fat.

The rats were given either a high fat and moderate carbohydrate diet,  or a low fat and high carbohydrate diet, both of which came either with or without tart cherry powder. The cherry enriched diet rats experienced a total cholesterol level reduction of approximately 11%.The TNF-alpha inflammation marker was reduced by 40% and interleukin 6 (IL-6) was reduced by 31%.

Health Benefits of Cherries

Cherries and cancer

Cherries have quite high levels of anthocyanins (the flavonoids giving cherries their intense red color), which give them anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and chemopreventative properties. Tart cherries contain the natural compound perillyl alcohol, which seems to be very effective in reducing the incidence of all kinds of cancer.  Perillyl alcohol has tested well for treating advanced prostate, breast and ovary cancers.[9] Research suggests that substances in tart cherries can reduce the formation of the carcinogenic chemicals (HCAAs) that develop from the charring of meat.

Cherries for colon cancer

Two of the anthocyanidins present in cherries, quercetin and isoquerxitrin, have been found to prevent the growth of colon cancer.

Cherries for breast cancer

Cyandin-3-glucoside, another anthocyanin found in cherries and other fruits, has antioxidative and anti‐inflammatory properties and also induces the death of  breast cancer cells. Cyandin-3-glucoside inhibits the cytokine VEGF, which plays a key role in tumor angiogenesis. Angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation) plays a major role in breast cancer progression by providing cancer cells with nutrients, oxygen, and blood vessels for cancer cells to spread.

Delphinidin is another  anthocyanin found in cherries and other brightly colored fruits and veggies, and is also found in certain dietary supplements used as complementary cancer treatment. Delphinidin induces cell death in HER2+ breast cancer cells. Delphinidin also inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in breast cancer cells.

Cherries and muscle soreness

Tart cherry juice benefits for exercise

Tart cherry juice improves exercise recovery

Cherries help to alleviate muscle soreness after exercising. A cup of tart cherry juice can help in reducing the soreness and inflammation of the muscles that is experienced after strenuous exercise. Marathon runners consuming tart cherry juice twice a day for 7 days before a race experienced less post race pain compared to runners not consuming cherry juice.

A 2011 study revealed that men who had tart cherry juice after weight training exercises experienced less muscle pain as well as less strength loss.

A 2019 study found that active women consuming tart cherry concentrate twice a day for eight days experienced reduced muscle soreness after exercising.

Tart cherry juice improves exercise performance

A 2019 study concluded that Montmorency cherry supplementation improves cycling performance. Eight trained cyclists supplementing Montmorency tart cherry for 7 days improved cycling time-trial performance. The exercise performance improvement was accompanied by muscle oxygenation enhancement which suggests that the cherry polyphenols’ vasoactive properties could be supporting the performance improvement effects.

Cherries and osteoarthritis

Tart cherry juice for arthritis

Commonly used pain medication for osteoarthritis doesn’t actually reduce inflammation and has  unwanted side effects such as kidney or liver damage. The pain relieving properties of tart cherries have been show to be effective for the relief of pain associated with osteoarthritis without the side effects of conventional treatments.

A 2007 study revealed that pain and function improved significantly in osteoarthritis of the knee patients when they were given tart cherries in supplement form for 8 weeks.

Cherry juice for inflammation

In a 2012 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 20 patients suffering from inflammatory osteoarthritis had significant reductions in inflammation markers after consuming tart cherry juice twice daily for 3 weeks.

The study participants included twenty  40 to 70 year old women experiencing at least moderate osteoarthritis pain. They consumed 10.5-ounces of tart cherry juice or a placebo cherry drink twice daily for 3 weeks. There was a statistically significant reduction in inflammation among those individuals who consumed the tart cherry juice, which was indicated by reduced C-reactive protein levels. The reduction in inflammation was greatest for individuals who had shown the highest levels of inflammation at the beginning of the study.

Cherry juice for pain relief

Cherries are a natural pain reliever. Researchers have found that anthocyanidins from cherries have the ability to block both COX-1 and COX-2, enzymes considered to cause pain. Of all the fruits which were tested, cherries had the highest amounts of key anthocyanidins. The COX-inhibitory activities of the anthocyanidins in cherries were even found to be comparable to those of naproxen and ibuprofen.

Cherries and heart health

Tart cherries and cholesterol

Elevated LDL cholesterol levels are a risk factor for atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. The standard medical approach to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels to a safer range is to prescribe statins to reduce blood lipid levels. However, some patients encounter Statins are however not without side effects such as muscle pain to liver dysfunction.

A 2011 study reported a 26% reduction in cholesterol levels in mice fed tart cherry powder. A  reduction in early death of 65% was also reported, which was believed to be as a result of an improvement in cardiovascular health.

Another 2011 study in humans reported a reduction in of triglycerides levels of more than 17% on average after consuming 8-ounces of tart cherry juice daily for 4 weeks.[21]

A 2018 study reported a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol levels after participants drank Montmorency tart cherry juice made from concentrate. Study participants drinking 480ml of Montmorency tart cherry juice daily for 12 weeks experienced a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels as well as lower levels of total cholesterol.

How to Freeze Cherries

Benefits of cherries for skin

What is oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress when the body has an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals. Free radicals are produced by the cells of the body during normal metabolic processes, and free radical neutralizing antioxidants are also produced by the cells. The body usually maintains a balance between free radicals and antioxidants.

Oxidative stress plays an important part in the aging process, especially in the skin. Aging results in the thinning of the epidermal (outer) as well as dermal (under) layers of the skin. This leads to fine wrinkles as a result of reduction of elastic fibers, collagen, and hyaluronic acid.

What are antioxidants?

Free radicals are unstable molecules which can cause damage in the body, and antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving the free radical an electron. Antioxidants are produced naturally by the body and can also come from food such as fruit and veggies.

Several human studies have shown that sweet as well as tart cherries reduce oxidative stress. Melatonin, carotenoids, anthocyanins, polyphenols,  and vitamins C and E are all contributors to the antioxidant properties of cherries.

Cherries are an excellent source of anthocyanins, the flavonoid pigment that gives the cherry it’s color, and which has the greatest antioxidant capacity of any of the flavonoids. Tart cherries have more anthocyanins in comparison to sweet cherries. Scientific evidence has suggested that anthocyanins could possibly delay the appearance of signs of skin aging.

Health Benefits of Cherry Juice

Cherry juice and diabetes

There is some evidence to suggest that consumption of cherries could help in promoting healthy glucose regulation and reducing diabetes risk.

The enzymes dipeptidyl peptidase-4 and α glucosidase which are involved in the promotion of diabetes are inhibited by chlorogenic acid, one the main polyphenols of tart cherry juice.

Study results suggest that blood glucose could be reduced from anthocyanins by slowing the production of glucose from complex carbohydrates. The production of glucagon by pancreatic α cells could also be reduced, and hepatic glucose uptake and production of insulin by pancreatic β cells increased.

A 2008 study revealed a significant decrease in hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) after diabetic women supplemented 40 mL of concentrated tart cherry juice day for 6 weeks. Fasting blood glucose was also decreased by 8%.

History of cherries

Cherries were named after the ancient Turkish town of Cerasus and go as far back to at least 300 B.C.

Cherries were among the first fruits the early settlers brought to America. The first cherry orchard was planted in northern Michigan in the 1600s. The 1st commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893.

The ultimate celebration of cherries is the National Cherry Festival, which is held each year in July in Traverse City, Michigan.

Cherry trees have played a part in American folklore since George Washington chopped down his father’s cherry tree, then couldn’t tell a lie and told his father what he’d done.

Sweet cherries are cultivated throughout North America and Europe. France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Russia are big producers in Europe. Sour cherries are cultivated in Eastern Europe, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Germany tops the world in cherry production, followed by the United States.

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Article reviewed by Dr Patricia Carrothers, Regenerative and Preventative Medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Brain Games for Seniors

Brain Games for Seniors

 

Games for People with Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

Many doctors encourage seniors to use brain fitness games as a means to help deal with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases, says SeniorLiving.org.

 

While research remains inconclusive, there appears to be a correlation between brain games and brain health.

The website says brain games that may help seniors include:

  • Memory games, such as Match and Simon.
  • Word games, such as word searches and Scrabble.
  • Electronic games, such as Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud.
  • Board games, such as Chess and Checkers.
  • Interactive Wii and X-Box games.
  • Trivia games, such as Trivial Pursuit.

 

If you need help determining which supplements you should take to prevent dementia, please contact us.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Your Noisy Knees May Be Trying to Tell You Something

Your Noisy Knees May Be Trying to Tell You Something

News Picture: Your Noisy Knees May Be Trying to Tell You Something

Ever hear your joints clicking, creaking or crunching? Now, researchers say a new technique that listens closely to knees may help doctors diagnose and monitor osteoarthritis.

In the new study, researchers attached small microphones to participants’ knees, which allowed them to listen for high-frequency sounds as the person repeatedly stood up and sat down again.

Computer analysis of the sounds then provided information about the health of the knee, the study authors explained.

This study is the first to assess this technique in a large number of people with knee osteoarthritis. It was found to distinguish between healthy knees and those afflicted by this “wear-and-tear” form of arthritis.

The findings move the technique a step closer to use by doctors and in research, according to the report published Oct. 16 in the journal PLOS ONE.

“This work is very exciting because it involves scientists and clinicians working together as a team to develop an entirely new approach,” said project leader John Goodacre. He’s an emeritus professor at Lancaster University, in the United Kingdom.

“Potentially, this could transform ways in which knee osteoarthritis is managed. It will enable better diagnosis, and will enable treatments to be tailored more precisely according to individual knee condition. It will also enable faster, bigger and better clinical trials of new treatments,” Goodacre said in a university news release.

The next step for researchers is to develop a non-invasive portable device that health care providers could use to assess whether patients’ knees are changing or are responding to treatment for osteoarthritis.

This technique could provide a quicker, cheaper, more convenient and more accurate assessment than current methods, the study authors said.

 

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Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to ‘Flesh-Eating’ Genital Infection

Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to ‘Flesh-Eating’ Genital Infection

News Picture: Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to 'Flesh-Eating' Genital Infection

Say you have type 2 diabetes and you are taking a newer class of medications to treat your disease — but one day you notice pain, redness and a foul odor in your genital area.

If this happens, new research suggests you need to see your doctor immediately, because you may be suffering from Fournier gangrene. Also known as a “flesh-eating” disease, this infection attacks your genital or anal region and can quickly kill tissue as it spreads rapidly.

Unfortunately, it has become a rare but still possible safety concern for people taking diabetes medications known as SGLT2 inhibitors, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists.

SGLT2 inhibitors are a newer class of diabetes medications, introduced in 2013. Drugs in this class include canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and empagliflozin (Jardiance).

Fournier gangrene occurred in 55 people taking these drugs between March 2013 and January 2019. For comparison, the researchers looked for cases of Fournier gangrene in people taking other diabetes medications from 1984 to 2019. They found only 19 such cases.

Still, the risk for Fournier gangrene remains very low, the researchers stressed.

“In 2017, an estimated 1.7 million patients received a dispensed prescription for an SGLT2 inhibitor,” said study author Dr. Susan Bersoff-Matcha, a medical officer in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. So, “Fournier gangrene is a rare event,” she said. “While our study shows an association between treatment with SGLT2 inhibitors and Fournier gangrene, we don’t know exactly what the risk is, or if Fournier gangrene can be predicted.”

Broad-spectrum antibiotics and surgery to remove the dead tissue are treatment options, the researchers said.

SGLT2 inhibitors work in the kidneys, allowing excess blood sugar to be removed in the urine, they said.

In addition to lowering blood sugar levels, the drugs may also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in some people with type 2 diabetes.

But possible side effects include urinary tract infections and genital infections, such as yeast infections. Kidney problems can also be a concern with this class of medications.

All of the patients with Fournier gangrene identified in this study needed to be hospitalized. Some had several surgeries. Three of the 55 people died from Fournier gangrene.

The average age of the people with Fournier gangrene was 56. Thirty-nine were men. Forty-one cases occurred in the United States. Thirty-one of the 55 cases identified were also taking an additional diabetes medication.

Of those with Fournier gangrene, 21 were using canagliflozin, 16 were using dapagliflozin and 18 were taking empagliflozin, the study said.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said that while the study was well-done, it cannot prove a cause-and-effect link between the drugs and the disease.

“Infections of the pubic and rectal area are quite common in people with diabetes, they don’t have Fournier’s. Fournier’s is a very aggressive, but extremely rare, disease,” said Zonszein, who wasn’t involved with the study.

When Fournier gangrene does occur, it’s hard to know if it is caused by a medication. He pointed out that a number of clinical trials have been done on SGLT2 inhibitors that have included tens of thousands of people, and there haven’t been any reports of Fournier gangrene.

“I counsel my patients about infections in the genitalia. The main concern is to be aware that they can occur. And, providers need to be more aware of Fournier’s. They have to immediately try to establish the cause of infection and aggressively treat it if they suspect Fournier gangrene,” Zonszein said.

He said a far bigger concern is uncontrolled diabetes and the risk of complications when blood sugar levels aren’t controlled. “The benefits of these medications outweigh the risks,” he said.

In a statement, Boehringer Ingelheim, the company that makes Jardiance (empagliflozin), said the company actively monitors for side effects related to their medications.

“We remain confident in the positive benefit-risk profile of empagliflozin, and empagliflozin-containing products, as outlined in the prescribing information,” the statement from Boehringer Ingelheim said.

The prescribing information of all SGLT2’s was recently changed to reflect the possible risk of Fournier gangrene, as directed by the FDA.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, maker of Invokana (canagliflozin), and AstraZeneca, maker of Farxiga (dapagliflozin), did not respond to requests for comment.

The findings were published May 6 2019 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Sleep Apnea Linked to Diabetic Eye Disease

Sleep Apnea Linked to Diabetic Eye Disease

News Picture: Sleep Apnea Linked to Diabetic Eye Disease

Severe sleep apnea is a risk factor for diabetic eye disease that can lead to vision loss and blindness, researchers report.

Poor control of diabetes can result in damage to tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye, a condition called diabetic retinopathy. It’s a leading cause of blindness in the United States.

In some cases, tiny bulges protrude from the blood vessels and leak fluid and blood into the retina. This fluid can cause swelling (edema) in an area of the retina that enables clear vision and is called macular edema.

In this study, researchers in Taiwan examined data from 51 patients over eight years at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei.

They found that patients with diabetic macular edema had a much higher rate (80.6%) of severe sleep apnea than those without the eye condition (45.5%).

The worse the sleep apnea, the more severe the macular edema, according to the study.

The researchers also found that severe sleep apnea was more common patients who required more treatment to control their macular edema. These patients needed at least three medical or laser therapy treatments, according to the study. It was to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), in San Francisco.

“Based on these results, we hope that more medical professionals will approach sleep apnea as a risk factor for diabetic macular edema,” lead researcher Dr. Juifan Chiang said in an AAO news release.

“This could allow for earlier medical intervention so patients can keep more of their vision and preserve their overall health as much as possible,” Chiang added.

People with sleep apnea repeatedly stop and start breathing through the night, disrupting their sleep and causing blood oxygen levels to fall.

This decline in blood oxygen levels may trigger changes in the body that result in blood vessel damage, putting people with sleep apnea at risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Findings presented at scientific meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

 

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Fat Collects in Lungs, Raising Asthma Risk

Fat Collects in Lungs, Raising Asthma Risk

News Picture: Fat Collects in Lungs, Raising Asthma Risk

Excess weight is hard on the heart, but new research shows it may also harm your lungs.

The study found that higher amounts of fat collect in the airways of overweight and obese people, which may help explain why they’re more likely to have wheezing and asthma.

This is quite important to investigate whether or not the patient was overweight as an infant or young child.  Those same fat cells will always remain in your lungs.

Also, you remember from other articles that Asthma is a fourth stage allergen.  This means that at the time you were first diagnosed with Asthma, you had already gone through 3 other stages that no one detected what you had.

In the study, the investigators analyzed lung samples donated by 52 people for research after their death. Of those, 16 died of asthma, 21 had asthma but died of other causes, and 15 had no asthma.

The findings showed, for the first time, that fatty tissue accumulates in the walls of airways and that the amount of fat in airways increases with body mass index (an estimate of body fat based on weight and height).

The researchers also found that higher levels of fat change the normal structure of airways, resulting in lung inflammation, according to the report published Oct. 17 in the European Respiratory Journal.

“Being overweight or obese has already been linked to having asthma or having worse asthma symptoms. Researchers have suggested that the link might be explained by the direct pressure of excess weight on the lungs or by a general increase in inflammation created by excess weight,” explained study co-author Peter Noble. He’s an associate professor at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

“This study suggests that another mechanism is also at play. We’ve found that excess fat accumulates in the airway walls where it takes up space and seems to increase inflammation within the lungs,” Noble said in a journal news release.

“We think this is causing a thickening of the airways that limits the flow of air in and out of the lungs, and that could at least partly explain an increase in asthma symptoms,” Noble added.

Thierry Troosters, president of the European Respiratory Society, said, “This is an important finding on the relationship between body weight and respiratory disease because it shows how being overweight or obese might be making symptoms worse for people with asthma.”

Troosters, who was not involved in the study, added, “We need to investigate this finding in more detail and particularly whether this phenomenon can be reversed with weight loss. In the meantime, we should support asthma patients to help them achieve or maintain a healthy weight.”

Asthma can be cured and maintained with food intake, and environmental conditions,

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