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Gallbladder Diet Sheet: 6 Foods & Drinks for Gallbladder Health

Tag: wellness

Gallbladder Diet Sheet: 6 Foods & Drinks for Gallbladder Health

Most of us never really give a thought on our gallbladder health until symptoms of problems manifest.

Gallstones, particularly, affect 10 percent of the general Australian population with the majority remaining symptom-free.

However, when symptoms arise, gallstones can cause intense pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, radiating to your back and up to your shoulder blade which can be quite uncomfortable and recurring. In this case, treatment may be required such as surgery.

While your diet won’t really cure gallbladder diseases, watching what you eat will help prevent gallstones from forming and avoid the discomfort inherent with the problem.

Here are 6 foods and drinks to help your gallbladder steer clear from health problems.

 

1. Caffeinated Coffee

 

Studies reveal men who drink two to three cups of coffee a day have 4 percent lower risk of developing gallstones than those who do not drink coffee regularly. Even more impressive, men who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have 45 percent lower risk.

Nonetheless, this lowered risk is only associated in coffee with caffeine which is known to stimulate contractions in the gallbladder and lower cholesterol concentrations in bile. However, researchers note coffee is of no help if you already have gallstones disease.

 

2. Alcohol

 

If you are looking for a health-reason to drink beer, this could be your sign!

Clinical epidemiological studies revealed that moderate alcohol consumption has a preventive effect on the development of gallstones disease. In fact, it can significantly decrease your risk by up to 12 percent. Yes, alcohol!

Although the exact process is not clear, some suggest alcohol works by reducing bile cholesterol saturation and increasing good cholesterol levels to reduce your risk of gallstone conditions.

Something else to take note, nevertheless, drinking alcohol can make the problem worse if you already have existing health conditions so always remember to drink moderately.

 

3. Peanuts

 

According to a study in Harvard Medical School, curbing gallstones in women is as simple as reaching and munching peanuts at home daily.

Researchers followed 81,000 women for 20 years and found out women who ate 5 or more ounces of peanuts, peanut butter or other nuts in a week were 25 percent less likely to have their gallbladder removed through surgery than those women who rarely ate peanuts.

Peanuts are a good source of fiber, calcium, and protein. The healthy monounsaturated fats found in peanuts and other nuts also helps control blood cholesterol and prevents gallstones and the need for a gallbladder surgery.

 

4. Whole Grains

 

Whole grains are super packed with fiber which lowers your LDL or bad cholesterol levels. Fiber also speeds intestinal transit time and assists in decreasing the production of bile acids and flushing bile from your body.

Consumption of insoluble fiber, especially, is associated with up to 17 percent lowered chance of gallbladder surgery.

 

5. Fruits & Greens

 

We already know how fresh produce helps us stay healthy and protects our body from a range of diseases. For starters, load your diet with fruits and vegetables. They are rich in vitamins including C and E, both shown to help protect the body from gallbladder conditions. Most fruits and veggies are also high in water and fiber to help you stay full and maintain a healthy weight.

 

 

A change in your diet won’t get rid of gallstones that are already there but eating healthy and limiting high-fat foods may help ease the symptoms. It may also prevent more serious conditions and complications.

Even so, prevention is still better than cure so it’s important to monitor your diet and live a healthy lifestyle.

8 Foods That Could Be Causing Your Allergy Reactions

Food allergy holds back many of us from enjoying a good meal. Symptoms may vary depending on severity but most of the time, allergies are really pesty and can become quickly life-threatening.

By definition, food allergy happens when our body’s immune system reacts unusually soon after contact with a certain food. It could trigger many signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways.

In Australia, food allergy affects 2 in 10 adults. There is currently no cure for this disease and the only way to stop it is to completely avoid your food trigger.

Here are 8 of the most common allergies coming from your plate.

 

1. Peanuts

 

Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in childhood. It is very common that in Australia, it is in the law that products containing peanuts must be clearly listed in the label no matter how small the amount of content is.

Common products in commercial kitchens containing peanuts include peanut oil, peanut butter and cereals.

 

2. Wheat

 

Just like any other food allergy, wheat allergy can be life-threatening. Symptoms are likely to develop within minutes or hours and can be caused by eating wheat or in some cases, inhaling wheat flour.

Your wheat allergy can be triggered from the four classes of wheat proteins — albumin, globulin, gliadin and gluten.

Some sources of wheat protein are obvious. It can be found in baked goods like bread and in some processed foods like pasta, hotdogs and flavorings.

 

3. Shellfish

 

Shellfish allergy can develop from eating marine animals like shrimp, crab, lobster, squid, oysters, and scallops. While some people believe they have an allergy to all shellfish, others believe they only react to certain kinds.

 

4. Milk

 

Lactose intolerance and milk allergy are often confused as the same but they are actually different. Simply, lactose intolerance involves your digestive system while milk allergy has to do more with your immunity.

The most common cause of milk allergy is cow’s milk but milk coming from sheep, goat, buffalo and other mammals may also cause a reaction.

 

5. Soy

 

Just like peanut, soy is also a member of the legume family. It can be found in soy milk, soya oil, tofu and miso. Soy allergy is particularly common in babies and children so if you suspect allergy in your child, avoid infant formulas that are soy-based.

 

6. Eggs

 

Egg allergy is the second most common food allergy in children next to cow’s milk. When it comes to this allergen, the protein found in egg whites known as albumen is usually causing the reaction. However, it is also possible to be allergic to the protein in yolk or in both.

 

7. Tree Nuts

 

A tree nut allergy is an allergy to certain kinds of nuts and seeds that come from trees including cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and brazil nuts. You can be allergic to only one kind of nut or to several of them.

 

8. Fish

 

Fish allergy  affects as many as 7% of adults. Generally, it is described as an allergy to finned fish with salmon, tuna and halibut topping the list. Most allergic reactions to fish come from eating but sometimes, people also react from touching or breathing in vapors from cooking fish.

 

 

 

 

While all foods can cause an abnormal immune response, most allergies are caused by the list above. Discuss any reaction with your doctor to ensure utmost care and to avoid potentially life-threatening allergy symptoms.

Protecting Your Peace: 5 Strategies to Set Social Media Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is not only essential to our relationships. When it comes to our online lives, creating clear-cut borders is also a must. These margins are crucial because aside from helping us with our emotional health, they also allow us to be more focused in juggling the more important things like our jobs, studies and relationships.

This is not about spreading hate about social media platforms, however. In fact, I would say it is not scrolling through your feeds that is unhealthy but our lack of boundaries.

So whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, here are five strategies on how to set healthy boundaries.

 

1. Make Sunday screen-free.

 

Not just your smartphone. Be it your tablet, laptop, computer or TV, take a day off. It doesn’t need to be a Sunday. If you have work during weekends, do it on Thursday or Friday — whatever day of the week works for you.

We check our gadgets a ridiculous amount of time, that the flood of information overwhelms and drains us. Give up a day on social media to just read a book, spend time with family or be with nature. A single day in a week should be doable!

 

2. Ditch your phone before bed.

 

If an entire day seems impossible, try just the evening. Blue light emitted by electronic gadgets can suppress the body’s release of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel drowsy. This can affect your circadian rhythm and hurt your sleep.

Decrease the amount of light you’re taking in with your eyes and tuck away your phone at night. A good rule of thumb is an hour or two before bedtime.

 

3. Go through your following list and do a purge.

 

Maybe you started to follow certain people for fitness inspiration, OOTDs or travel aesthetics but recently it started to cross the lines and inflated your insecurity. It’s easy to fall down in a comparison spiral in social media and feel inadequate or not good enough. If you feel like this is the case, then it could be a good idea to remove certain accounts in your following list.

Remember that you don’t need to know what everyone else is doing, especially if it’s negatively affecting you or it isn’t just benefiting you.

 

4. Keep your phone on silent mode when with friends or family.

 

Phone use can hurt social interactions and kill conversations. To eliminate distractions that keep you from being present in group settings, turn your phone upside down or put it in your pocket and switch it on silent mode. If you can, you can also turn it on airplane mode to make sure you don’t hear dings and see alerts, messages and other notifications during dates, meetings and meals. .

 

5. Set daily app usage limits on your phone.

 

If you want to manage social media consumption more proactively and get your digital life under control, you can make use of certain features  on your smartphone.

The in-built “Screen Time” feature on iOS, for example, allows you to limit the time you spend on specified apps. Once the limit has been reached, a reminder notification will be sent to you. You can technically still use the app and ignore the alerts but it will help you manage your time better and be accountable with your boundaries.

 

 

 

 

In this digital era, it can be difficult to create new habits for social media-free breaks and pauses. Nonetheless, if you are truly committed to setting healthy boundaries and making positive changes in your wellbeing, take a chance and try these strategies!

6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Approved by Science

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is widely known for its long history as a natural home remedy. From treatment of infections to weight management, apple cider vinegar has long reigned as a health royalty.

In recent years, more and more researchers are intrigued into the potential benefits of ACV and its mechanism to the body. Some suggest that the “mother” or the cloud of yeast and bacteria you might see in the bottle is what makes ACV healthy.

Here are 6 impressive benefits of ACV claimed and backed by research.

 

1. It may aid weight loss.

 

Perhaps one of the  top selling benefits of ACV is its ability to help people lose weight.

Acetic acid, the main active component of ACV, is said to increase levels of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) which boosts fat burning and decreases fat and sugar production in the liver, thus, improving your metabolism.

Moreover, it also suppresses centers of the brain that regulate appetite, resulting in reduced food intake.

 

 

2. It may support skin health.

 

ACV is naturally acidic. According to studies, using it topically could help rebalance the natural pH in your skin and improve your protective skin barrier. It also has antimicrobial properties which, in theory, could help prevent skin infection and reduce inflammation.

Anyhow, if not diluted in water and used the “wrong way”, it may cause burns and irritation to your skin.

 

 

3. It may help manage diabetes.

 

Another compelling benefit of ACV is its ability to help treat type 2 diabetes.

A 2004 study suggests adding ACV into your diet, particularly during a high carb meal, may improve your insulin sensitivity by 19-34% and significantly lower blood sugar levels. Nonetheless, if you are currently on diabetes medication, consider talking to your doctor as certain drugs may interact with ACV when combined.

 

4. It may soothe a sore throat.

 

Many people swore by the wonders of ACV in their sore throat.

Anecdotally, ACV has antibacterial properties which could help kill off bacteria that may be causing your problem. It may also loosen phlegm that may be irritating your throat. Before using it as a natural remedy, always use water to dilute the acidity of ACV.

 

5. It may boost digestion.

 

People have been using ACV to treat digestive problems for years. For people with low stomach acidity, ACV may help increase stomach acid levels to aid digestion. As it is antimicrobial in nature, ACV may also help kill bacteria buildup in the stomach and intestines. In addition, it also helps ease inflammation by supporting the digestion of problematic foods.

 

6. It may promote heart health.

 

ACV is high in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that has been found to reduce risk of heart disease in women. On top of that, ACV also helps reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride which in high levels could increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

 

 

 

 

Most likely, this is just the beginning in the rising popularity of ACV as more research is still ongoing to debunk and support more of its incredible health benefits, as well as its risks. Before going all in, talk to a physician you trust especially if you are diagnosed with a health condition or if you are currently under medication.

5 of the Worst Foods & Drinks for Anxiety

Coping with anxiety often requires us to make changes in our diet. And while there is no form of diet that can cure anxiety, watching what you eat and drink can make a difference.

Here are 5 foods and drinks you should steer clear or eat only in small portions if you struggle with anxiety.

 

1. Sugar

 

Sugar is everywhere in our diet. We all love indulging our sweet tooth with sugary treats. But just as much as we love it, our anxiety does too.

A 2019 study has found out that added sugars are associated with higher levels of anxiety in adults over 60 years of age. Added sugar can cause our blood sugar to spike and crash which can lead to our energy to also go on a rollercoaster ride of up and down.

Consequently, when our blood sugar crashes, our body tries to bring it up by pumping out epinephrine (adrenaline) which can leave you feeling cranky and anxious afterwards.

 

2. Alcohol

 

Many people try to self-medicate with alcohol in hopes of relieving symptoms of anxiety

Interestingly, mild amounts of alcohol can stimulate the neurotransmitter GABA in our body and cause a feeling of relaxation. However, heavy drinking can deplete GABA, leading to feelings of panic and increased tension.

If you are familiar with the term “hangxiety” or feelings of anxiety during a hangover, you may also realize that when your body recovers from a night of drinking, hangover takes over and creates a state of physiological distress. This can lead to an increase in cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate in our body — symptoms that also happen during anxiety.

 

3. Coffee

 

Can coffee cause anxiety? According to experts, not really. But caffeine in coffee can worsen symptoms in people already prone to anxiety.

Caffeine has been shown to increase alertness by blocking adenosine, a brain chemical that makes you feel tired, while simultaneously triggering the release of adrenaline, a hormone known to increase energy. In high doses, this process can induce anxiety symptoms and people with panic disorder or anxiety are especially sensitive.

 

4. Fried Foods

 

Fried chicken, fries, and chips, in the first place, have little nutritional value. In addition, they are also difficult for the body to digest. And when our body is unable to digest fried foods, gastrointestinal complaints like gas, stomach pain, and diarrhea follow which produce symptoms that may trigger anxiety.

On the other hand, fried foods also disturb the balance of bacteria in the gut which can lead to inflammation in the body and changes in your mental state.

 

5. Processed Foods

 

Most processed foods are cheap. However, their true cost often comes later in your health.

Excessive salt intake used as preservatives and stabilizers in some canned soups, cured meats and frozen foods can raise your blood pressure and increase your heart’s workload which can trigger the body to produce adrenaline in the bloodstream. Not surprisingly, this increased release of adrenaline can result in anxiety.

 

 

 

 

Eliminating or reducing your intake of specific foods or drinks is an essential step in managing your symptoms of anxiety. Further, if you suspect food sensitivities that may be contributing to your distress, talk to your doctor so you get professional advice for your diet.

 

8 Kitchen-Essential Spices Every Home Cook Should Have

Spice collection has been one of the kitchen trends in today’s mainstream.

It’s fair to be overwhelmed with this new culinary craze as spices are not only crucial elements in many recipes but are also aesthetically pleasing to have in the pantry.

You can store them in cute jars with pretty labels and the good news is they can last a while when stowed correctly.

Here’s a list of spices you should have in the pantry.

 

1. Turmeric

 

Turmeric is a bright yellow powder that is used to color or flavor curry powders, mustards, butters and cheeses. Despite its warm, bitter taste, it is a popular ingredient in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.

Loved for its versatility and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can be a healthy addition to your average soup, fried rice, salad dressing or tea.

 

2. Cinnamon

 

Cinnamon is most commonly known as a spice and aromatic condiment sprinkled to toast or lattes. But cinnamon isn’t just for dessert! It is also a staple ingredient in many savory dishes like vegetable soup, Moroccan stew and curry. It’s distinctive spicy-sweet taste also mixes well with many other beverages.

Not to mention, its active ingredient cinnamaldehyde helps with obesity, digestive discomfort and diabetes. It’s basically a medicine found in your kitchen.

 

3. Oregano

 

Oregano is a kitchen game changer in Italian cuisines. From meat marinades to stuffings, you simply can’t go wrong with its bold sweet and spicy taste. It’s also an ideal seasoning for pasta and pizza for its strong flavor, often overpowering the delicate taste of cheese.

 

4. Smoked Paprika

 

If you are a vegetarian looking to simulate the smokiness that meat can bring to a dish, smoked paprika can do the assignment.

Smoked paprika are made from peppers that are smoked and dried over oak fires. This process is responsible for its signature rich, smoky flavor with a hint of fruitiness.

Ultimately, smoked paprika is perfect for anything barbeque as it enriches further the flavor of any meat. You ought not to miss this spice from your kitchen rack, whether you are a vegetarian or a meat lover.

 

5. Granulated Garlic

 

Garlic is a major flavoring ingredient to many recipes. While fresh garlic cloves are not subject to rival, it is always good to have an accessible version in a jar.

Granulated garlic are made from dehydrated garlic that are coarser in texture than garlic powder. It is the preferred substitute to fresh garlic as it is less likely to clump in soups compared to powder.

 

6. Bay Leaves

 

Bay leaves have more noticeable fragrance than taste which makes it a popular spice for marinating, pickling and stuffing. It has a floral, herbaceous aroma similar to oregano and thyme and a bitter, minty flavor which goes well in soups, stews and sauces.

 

7. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

 

Crushed red pepper flakes are most often produced from dried and pulverized cayenne-type peppers. They’re nearly in every pizza parlor and are used by food manufacturers as a star add-on in pickling blends, spaghetti sauces, chowders and sausages.

 

8. Black Peppercorns

 

If you are a home cook, you probably know how annoying it is to run out of black peppercorns while cooking.

Black peppercorns are used in many cuisines and are one of the most well-loved spices on the planet. Its characteristic spicy heat taste adds flavor to almost every recipe, surprisingly even on desserts like fudge brownies, chocolate truffles, tarts and ice cream.

 

 

 

Collecting spices can be a fun way to spice up your kitchen. Just be sure to use them as moisture and light can reduce their flavor and aroma over time. If you are not sure how to incorporate them into your cooking, experiment and you’ll find how versatile spices are in almost every cuisine.

10 of the Most Disease-Fighting Foods to Back Your Immune System

What we eat impacts our health.

In one way or another, the food we consume may benefit or harm our body directly or in the long run.

Thankfully, many nutritious foods wealthy in disease-fighting substances are accessible in groceries and markets.

To help you make your grocery list, here are 10 foods you should not miss in your kitchen if you want to boost your immune system.

 

1. Whole grains

 

Despite the universal acceptance of whole-grain foods as part of a healthy diet, studies indicate that consumption of whole grains is still far less than the recommended intake of 3 servings a day.

Whole grains are a rich source of nutrients lacking in our diet culture today, including dietary fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium, copper, magnesium and zinc.

Ultimately, whole-grain foods also contain phenolic compounds that play a vital role in disease prevention when combined with other vitamins and minerals.

 

2. Berries

 

Berries have been around for centuries for their striking colors, delicate taste and strong antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants prevent or reduce cell damage caused by free radicals that contribute to the onset or development of heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other health conditions. Antioxidants include vitamin C, carotenoids and phenolic compounds — all found in berries with blueberries having the highest amount.

 

3. Tomatoes

 

Tomatoes are considered the richest source of the antioxidant lycopene.

Lycopene is the pigment that gives red and pink fruits their characteristic color. This antioxidant takes a considerable interest in disease prevention due to its ability to help balance free radical levels.

In addition, some studies also support the role of lycopene in protecting the body against damage caused by pesticides, herbicides, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and certain types of fungi

 

4. Eggs

 

Eggs have been demonized due to their cholesterol content. Recently, however, a few scientific claims suggest that the benefits of eggs exceeds its downside on your health.

Eggs are one of the best dietary sources of choline — an essential nutrient that helps battle your risk of fatty liver disease. They are also loaded with high-quality protein, lutein and zeaxanthin which help fend off age-related macular degeneration in older people.

 

5. Beans

 

Beans are known as protein-rich nutrient powerhouses. According to studies, replacing higher fat animal proteins with beans is a good step towards better liver and cardiovascular health.

Along with its protein content are its antioxidant properties and fiber-packed nutrients linked to the prevention of intestinal cancer and type 2 diabetes, accordingly.

 

6. Sweet Potatoes

 

Consuming sweet potatoes is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep a wide range of diseases at bay. These sweet tubers are bursting with vitamin C and E, folate, calcium, potassium and beta-carotene.

The fiber and antioxidants in sweet potatoes are also your health ally in warding off heart diseases, digestive problems and cancer.

 

7. Kale

 

Considered as one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet, Kale boasts a powerful content list of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, A and K. It is also high in the antioxidants lutein and beta-carotene, which both lowers your risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress.

 

8. Fatty fish

 

Fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, are abundant with omega-3 fatty acids. Marine omega-3s help lower blood fats and prevent blood clots linked to heart diseases. Studies also support omega-3 fats in managing certain conditions like eczema, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and may play a protective role against certain types of cancer.

 

9. Yogurt

 

Yogurt is a fermented type of dairy product rich in protein, calcium and probiotics. Minus the added sugar and processing, yogurt can be a healthy addition to your diet.

The probiotics in yogurt promotes gut-health which boosts your immune system, prevents digestive problems and lowers your likelihood of developing multiple chronic diseases including cancer, high serum cholesterol-associated diseases, and HIV diseases.

 

10. Nuts

 

From almonds, walnuts, and pistachios to the classic peanuts,  it’s hard not to think of nuts if you want a satisfying snack that is accessible, delectable and nutritious.

Nuts help regulate blood sugar, lower blood cholesterol and aid in weight loss. It is also low in carbs and high in fiber, protein and healthy fats — making it a hearty and diabetes-friendly food item.

 

 

 

 

For an optimal disease-fighting scheme, make it a lifestyle to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Avoid processed foods high in added sugar, salt, fats and other artificial ingredients. Make the food you eat your ally to better health.

Different Varieties of Sweet Potatoes & Why You Should Be Eating Them

Sweet potatoes are food staples that we all love not just for its mellow, starchy and naturally sweet flavor but also for its incredible nutritional profile.

They are highly nutritious, tasty, affordable and can generally last for a couple weeks.

Packed with fiber, potassium and vitamins, sweet potatoes provide a sweet addition of essential nutrients to your diet.

Sweet potatoes are indeed an easy choice for a healthful snack but with all its different striking colors, how will you know which one is best for you?

Here’s a quick guide to picking the right sweet potato variant according to your health needs and goals.

 

1. Orange-fleshed sweet potato

 

Of the many varieties of sweet potatoes, orange-fleshed sweet potato has the highest levels of beta-carotene.

Beta-carotene gives vegetables a vivid yellow, orange and red coloring. It is converted into the body as vitamin A (retinol) which plays a vital role for our vision, cell growth, skin health and immune function.

What’s more, vitamin A is also good for fetal development and helps reduce mortality in pregnant women.

 

2. Okinawan sweet potato

 

Okinawan sweet potato, also known as Hawaiian sweet potato, is a variant with beige outer skin and deep, blue-purple flesh.

They tend to be drier and starchier than other traditional sweet potatoes and its natural purple color comes from the antioxidant called anthocyanin, a chemical compound responsible for the colors red, purple and blue in fruits and vegetables.

Anthocyanins contain anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity effects. It boosts your cancer defenses and helps protect your heart health.

Aside from being a good source of antioxidants and just like other regular sweet potatoes, Okinawan sweet potatoes are also low in glycemic index making them a good inclusion for a diabetic diet.

 

3. White sweet potatoes

 

If you prefer less sweet flavor in sweet potatoes, we highly suggest you try the white variant. White sweet potatoes can be used with more versatility in many recipes as it has a milder taste.

Although it complements more recipes and dishes, white sweet potatoes, however, have the lowest amount of the antioxidant anthocyanin.

Nonetheless, you can still count on white sweet potatoes as a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and dietary fiber.

 

 

 

Sweet potatoes stand a good reputation in preventing a wide range of diseases and supporting overall health. Regardless of the variant, sweet potatoes are a healthy source of complex carbohydrates along with protein, manganese, magnesium and copper.

If you are looking to power up your health, make sweet potatoes a sweet addition to your diet!

Healthy & Kid-Friendly Snacks to Give to Your Little Ones

Kids love snacking in between meals.

For the most part, this is not a bad thing. It keeps their hunger at bay, allows them to stay focused at school and  energizes them for playtime.

For many kids, however, a snack is a bag of chips or cookies which are commonly loaded with added sugar, salt, refined flour and other artificial ingredients.

To make snacking your ally to smart parenting, here are 8 snacks for your kids that are not only tasty but also healthy.

 

1. Popcorn

 

Popcorn is one of the most healthful snack foods revered for its nutritional value.

Although often mislabeled as junk food, it is actually a whole grain food packed with vitamins and nutrients essential for your kids’ brain health, digestion and  immune function.

When air-popped and slightly seasoned, popcorn is minimally processed, has low calorie, and has more fiber content than most fruits and vegetables.

Nonetheless, popcorn can be a choking hazard so use with caution when offering to younger children.

 

2. Apple and peanut butter combo

 

You simply can’t go wrong in pairing apple slices with peanut butter. It’s a delicious combination loved by many picky eaters.

Not only is it tasty. When served together, it also offers a healthy balance of protein, good fats and fiber.

Research suggests that consuming fruits and nuts, like apples and peanut butter, can reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels, promotes healthy weight and supports heart and digestive health.

 

3. Yogurt

 

Yogurt is one of the few snack items children eat without putting up a fight.

Thankfully, according to experts, eating yogurt everyday is nothing to worry about as long as there is no milk allergy or lactose intolerance issue involved.

Getting a daily serving of dairy is important for children and yogurt can help meet this daily quota, plus all the extra nutrients including probiotics, protein and calcium.

Just ensure to opt for plain, full-fat Greek yogurt to avoid higher amounts of artificial sweeteners, fructose corn syrup sugar and other unhealthy additives.

 

4. Nuts

 

Nuts including almonds, cashews and macadamias are very rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats that are essential for children’s growth and development.

You can serve nuts as a standalone snack or use it to add crunch to other snack recipes.

 

5. Cottage cheese

 

Cottage cheese is a curd cheese with a fresh, creamy flavor and soft texture which is safe even for infants to eat.

It is a good source of calcium, vital for tooth and bone health in your children. In addition, it also has decent content of folate, vitamin B12, zinc and selenium.

Top it with chopped fruits or add a dash of cinnamon to take your cottage cheese to a more savory route.

 

 

 

 

Snacking helps kids fuel their body throughout the day and is also a great way to sneak in extra nutrients in their diet. A good rule of a thumb is to serve your kids with snacks that are  low in sugar and to avoid food items that are highly processed.

Spirulina 101: What Is It & What Makes It A Superfood

Spirulina is one of the most popular and well-regarded dietary supplements to ever exist in the market.

For a good reason, it is highly saleable and sought-after. Historically, it was used as an endurance-booster. Today, however, spirulina’s selling point focused on its wholesome ability to promote overall health.

Here’s everything you should know about this nutrient-dense superfood.

 

What is Spirulina?

 

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria. It is believed to be one of the oldest life forms on Earth, first appearing on Earth’s surface 3.5 billion years ago and first consumed by the Aztecs during the 16th century.

As it exclusively grows in the water environment, spirulina has an odd taste and smell. Many people find it savory like seaweed or fresh spinach, yet its intense earthiness can also make it taste like the ocean.

Spirulina boasts many nutritional values. It has high protein and vitamin content but beyond its nutritional value, spirulina is also used in complementary and alternative medicine to treat a number of health conditions.

 

Why is it hailed as a superfood?

 

Spirulina is among the most documented microalgae used as food. As it continues to flood the market in powder and supplement form, more and more people are starting to grow curious on why it is dubbed as a superfood. Here’s basically why.

 

1. Excellent nutritional profile

 

This tiny alga is extremely high in nutrients. In fact, a 7-gram powder contains:

  • 20 calories
  • 02 g of protein
  • 67 g of carbohydrate
  • 54 g of fat
  • 8 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 2 mg of iron
  • 14 mg of magnesium
  • 8 mg of phosphorus
  • 95 mg of potassium
  • 73 mg of sodium
  • 7 mg of vitamin C

Plus, it has no notable side effects and can be used effectively up to 10 grams per day.

 

2. Management of diabetes

 

High blood glucose is associated with many health complications. One of which is diabetes, a disease that affects about 422 million people and is among the leading causes of mortality worldwide.

Though more research is needed, spirulina has shown promising potential in managing symptoms of diabetes.

In a 2017 animal study, researchers gave mice with type 1 diabetes spirulina extract orally. The study revealed that the mice showed lower blood sugars, higher insulin levels, and improved liver enzyme markers.

A 2013 Indian study also supported the benefits of spirulina in type 2 diabetes. 25 patients with type 2 diabetes were given 2 grams of spirulina each day for two months in which improved blood sugar and lipid profiles were noted over the period of the research.

 

3. Prevention of heart disease

 

High blood pressure and cholesterol levels are both markers of cardiovascular problems. Spirulina has been proven to reduce both of these risk factors.

Spirulina contains active compounds that lower levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides significantly. It can also reduce inflammation and protect the body against oxidative stress. This led to a rapidly growing interest in its supplement form as an alternative to conventional drugs for cardiovascular problems.

 

4. Supports gut health

 

We all know how our gut affects almost every function of our body. And if you are health-conscious, let me give you a reason why this wonder algae deserves a spot on your diet.

Spirulina has prebiotic properties. A 2017 study on older mice showed it helped preserve gut function during aging and may help maintain a healthy gastrointestinal microbial community.

As you may have guessed already, a healthy gut is a healthy immune system. This makes spirulina also an ultimate immune system boosting food.

More studies are needed but current literature supports spirulina’s superior benefits to both human and animal gut health.

 

 

Spirulina is indeed a healthful superfood worthy of its title. In light of its long history as a food, experts are considering it generally safe yet still not recommended as a replacement to prescription drugs in treating certain diseases.