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Healthy Protein Suggestions For A More Satisfying Salad, Part 2

Continuing on from our recent tip on adding healthy fats and grains to your salads, here are some suggestions for incorporating healthy protein into your salads to keep you satisfied longer. 


  • Beans: Beans are rich in folic acidmagnesiumpotassium, B vitamins, and soluble fiber.  And at 20-25 percent protein by weight, they are an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans or those who prefer to minimize their meat consumption. They are low-glycemic-index foods and an important part of my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. Good examples are chickpeas (garbanzo beans), adzuki beans, and black beans. You can also use hummus (made from chickpeas) as a creamy, high-protein dressing!
  • Lentils: As the quickest legume to cook, lentils offer a good source of fiber, magnesium, protein, and iron. Just one cup of cooked lentils contains over 15 grams of dietary fiber and provides 37 percent of the Daily Value for iron. 

Animal Proteins: 

  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Egg whites are a great source of protein, and the yolks contain an astonishing array of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, D, E and K, plus iron. Choose cage-free eggs that are fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Salmon: Like other oily fish (herring, sardines, mackerel), salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation, protect against heart attacks, and possibly reduce one's chance of developing cancer. Choose wild-caught Alaskan salmon to avoid the contaminants in farm-raised fish.

Simple Steps To Making Your Salad More Satisfying, Part 1

Ever eaten a salad only to be hungry again an hour later? The key is to incorporate healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates such as whole grains and legumes into your salad, making it both filling and delicious. Try adding these fats and grains: 

Healthy Fats: 

  • Avocados: The fat avocados contain is monounsaturated, which is heart healthy and does not raise cholesterol. Avocados also are a good source of fiber. They provide glutathione (an antioxidant), folate, and more potassium than bananas.
  • Nuts: In addition to their healthy fat profile, nuts provide you with vitamin E, trace minerals, fiber, and in the case of walnuts, vital omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts are relatively high in calories, so enjoy just a few on your next salad.

Healthy Grains: 

  • Quinoa: This grain has the highest protein content of any grain, containing all nine essential amino acids - a rarity in the plant kingdom. Quinoa is also a good source of manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, vitamin B2 and other essential minerals.
  • Wild Rice: Although not technically a grain, wild rice is quite the nutritional powerhouse. It contains almost twice the protein and fiber as brown rice, and is also high in B vitamins, manganese, zinc, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium, while being relatively low in calories.

Don't miss our next blog post, when we cover what healthy proteins to add to a salad!


What's The Best Way To Really Get Your Hands Clean?

Many people - especially children - can be careless about washing their hands, which can lead to the spread of infection. Washing your hands is not only quick and cost-effective, but the best way to protect yourself and others from spreading germs. Wash your hands: 

  • Before you pick up anything to eat
  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • After using the toilet, changing a baby's diaper, or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After you blow your nose or sneeze
  • After touching garbage.

In addition, be sure to wash your hands before and after caring for someone who is sick and after touching animal food or waste.

So what's the best way to wash your hands? Good old soap and water: work up a lather and scrub well, cleaning the backs of the hands, between the fingers and under the nails. Doing this should take about 20 seconds; afterwards rinse and dry on a clean towel or under an air dryer.

If soap and water aren't available, try an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol - but note that these products don't eliminate all types of germs, and aren't effective when hands are visibly dirty.

And skip the antibacterial soaps and gels for home use - in healthcare settings there is a need, but at home, there is no proven purpose for them, and they may be counterproductive by accelerating the development of resistance to antibiotics.


Take Notice Men: Strength Training for Better Bones 

Men, as well as women, are prone to lose bone mass as they age, and it’s a widespread concern: studies have shown that 2 million men in the U.S. have osteoporosis and 16 million more have low bone mass. That can change with targeted exercise, report researchers at the University of Missouri. They assigned 38 physically active middle age men who had decreased bone mass in the hip and spine to a yearlong program of either jumping or strength training for 60 to 120 minutes per week. Results showed that bone mass of the lumbar spine and throughout the body significantly increased after six months on either program, although bone density in the hip increased only among the men who completed the weight-lifting program. Lead researcher Pam Hinton explained that “only the bone experiencing the mechanical load is going to get stronger, so we specifically chose exercises that would load the hip and the spine, which is why we had participants do squats, deadlifts, lunges and the overhead press.” The increases in bone strength seen after six months of the exercise program were maintained at the one-year mark, the researchers reported. Dr. Hinton noted that the exercises can be done at home and require minimal equipment. Throughout the study the men also took calcium and vitamin D supplements.


New Treatment for Insomnia

Researchers at Britain’s Northumbria University have reported that nearly three-quarters of patients treated with a single hour-long session of cognitive behavioral therapy recovered from acute insomnia within three months. In fact, most participants – 60 percent of those treated –reported improvements in sleep quality within one month. Over time, acute insomnia can lead to chronic insomnia, which increases the risk of depression. The study participants included 40 adults who had been dealing with insomnia for less than three months and were not taking medication to help them sleep. The participants were divided into two groups, each made up of 9 men and 11 women. They recorded the quality and duration of their sleep for the week before treatment, and all members completed the Insomnia Severity Index, a clinical survey by which the nature, severity and impact of insomnia can be evaluated. Then, each of the participants in one group received an hour of cognitive behavior therapy and was provided a self-help pamphlet to read at home. Those in the other received no treatment. After a month, only 15 percent of those in the non-treated group reported improvement in their sleep. During the therapy session, individuals were urged to spend only the time in bed needed for sleep and, on the basis of their sleep diaries, were prescribed a specific time to go to bed and get up. This was the first time the effectiveness of using cognitive behavior therapy to treat acute insomnia has been formally studied.


Why Late Night Eating is a Bad Idea

Eating late at night when you can’t sleep can lead to problems beyond weight gain - it may compromise your concentration and alertness. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania report that adults consume about 500 extra calories late at night when their sleep is limited. To investigate the effects of those excess calories, the researchers gave 44 adults ages 21 to 50 unrestricted access to food and drink but allowed them to sleep for only four hours a night for three nights. On the fourth night, 20 of the participants could eat and drink all they wanted, while 24 were prevented from snacking - they were allowed to drink only water from 10 p.m. until their 4 a.m. bedtime. Each night at 2 a.m. during the study all the participants took tests to evaluate their working memory, cognitive skills, sleepiness, stress levels and mood. On the fourth night, participants who drank only water after 10 p.m. performed better on tests of reaction time and attention than those who had eaten, even though both groups had the same sleep restrictions. 


Sugary Drinks and Your Liver

Drinking just one sweetened beverage a day may be all it takes to increase the risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). As the name suggests, this disorder, marked by an accumulation of fat in liver cells, has nothing to do with alcohol consumption, and many people with NAFLD have no symptoms. However, it affects approximately 25 percent of Americans and puts them at greater risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.  Researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University reported the risks of developing liver disease posed by sweetened beverages after analyzing 2,634 questionnaires from middle-aged men and women enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study’s Offspring and Third Generation cohorts. The beverages at issue include both caffeinated-and caffeine-free colas, other carbonated drinks containing sugar, fruit punches, and lemonade or other non-carbonated fruit drinks.  All of these beverages are significant dietary sources of fructose, a compound that may increase the risk of NAFLD because of the way it is processed in our bodies, the researchers said. The study participants underwent CT scans to assess the amount of fat in their livers. The link to sweetened beverages remained after the researchers accounted for age, gender, body mass index, calorie intake, alcohol consumption and smoking.

My take: This isn’t the first study to find a link between NAFLD and sugar-sweetened beverages. In 2010 researchers at Duke University Medical Center linked foods and beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup to NAFLD and scarring of the liver. Researchers there looked at dietary questionnaires completed by 427 adults with NAFLD. Only 19 percent of these patients reported no consumption of fructose containing beverages. The more of these drinks study participants consumed, the more liver scarring was seen. There's no treatment for NAFLD - all you can do is lose weight and lower your triglycerides if they're elevated. These beverages have no place in a healthy diet.


Seniors’ Fitness Age v. Chronological Age

You could be over 60 and have a “fitness age” decades younger. It all depends on the shape you’re in and how hard you’re working to stay fit. This news comes from a study of participants in this year’s Senior Olympics for athletes over 50 showing that their fitness age is typically 25 years younger than their chronological age. More than 4,200 of the nearly 10,000 men and women who qualified for the games entered information about themselves on an online calculator designed to assess fitness age. Results showed that their average chronological age was 68, but their fitness age averaged 43. According to a New York Times’ interview with Dr. Pamela Peeke, M.D., a Senior Olympics board member and a competitor in the games, few of the athletes who qualified had begun to exercise and train seriously until they were middle-aged or older. The calculator was developed using health and fitness data gathered from more than 5,000 Norwegian adults, and was designed to quickly calculate aerobic capacity and relative fitness age based on gender, resting heart rate, waist size and exercise routine.

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