Sunday, 29 June 2014

Canola oil-enriched diet may benefit people with diabetes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Switching to a diet low in simple sugars and high in healthy fats, like the types found in canola oil, could help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar, according to a new study.

People with type 2 diabetes who were advised to follow a diet with a low glycemic index supplemented with extra canola oil had lower blood glucose levels and greater reductions in heart risk than those who ate a diet high in whole grains, researchers found.

We know that olive oil has a good pedigree among clinicians but canola oil has a good pedigree too," lead author Dr. David Jenkins, from the University of Toronto, told Reuters Health.

Canola oil is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid also found in walnuts, as well as monounsaturated fatty acids, which are also in avocados and olives.

A food's glycemic index refers to how quickly it causes blood sugar to rise. Starchy foods like white bread and potatoes are considered to be high glycemic index foods because they can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Low glycemic index foods, such as lentils, soybeans, yogurt and many high-fiber grains, create a more gradual increase in blood sugar.

Sugar builds up in the blood of people with type 2 diabetes because it can't be absorbed by cells, ultimately increasing the risk of other health problems such as heart disease.

"We thought using canola oil might be a good way to hit the heart disease and the high glucose problem," said Jenkins.

The researchers recruited 141 people with diabetes, all of whom were taking medication to help lower their blood sugar levels. None of the participants reported smoking, drinking excessively or having other illnesses such as heart disease, liver disease or cancer.

Jenkins and his colleagues randomly assigned the participants to one of two groups.

People in the test group were asked to supplement their diet with four and a half slices of canola oil-enriched whole wheat bread each day and were told to focus on eating foods with a low glycemic index.

Those in the comparison group were instructed to eat seven and a half slices of whole wheat bread without the added canola oil each day - providing an equivalent number of calories - and to avoid products made with white flour.

Over the next three months, blood glucose levels dropped in both groups, but the drop was about one and a half times larger among those on the canola oil-enriched diet. Improvements in other measures of heart disease risk generally favored the test diet as well.

"The thing that really surprised us is that those who seemed to be most in need benefited the most," Jenkins said.

He said the participants who had more weight in their mid-region and those with high blood pressure had the strongest blood sugar response to the test diet.

While getting extra canola oil allowed people with type 2 diabetes to improve their glycemic control, whole grains seemed to benefit blood flow, the team reports in Diabetes Care.

"This is an important incremental finding that supports previous studies which show that diet may have an effect on cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Hertzel Gerstein, an endocrinologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, who was not involved in the new study.

He said that even though the difference was only slight, the research supports the idea that diet could be an important way of treating people with diabetes.

"The one message I always tell patients is changing your diet can help - it won't be a waste of your time," Gerstein said.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, online June 14, 2014

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Exercising outside may be beneficial to your health

Its summer time once again and its time to go outside and do our daily exercise. If your trying to increase the volume and intensity of your workout ,it will help improve your muscles,blood heart, lungs and all parts of your body.

I find that getting outside to exercise is so much better than going to the gym. I go to the gym and I like it, but I really love running on trails. Think about running on the treadmill for an hour or going out and running trails for an hour.

Exercising in nature has benefits that go above and beyond the benefits you gain by exercising indoors. Research has shown improvements in mental well-being, self-esteem and can even help with depression. This might be especially important for that moody teenager in your life, and it also explains why my wife kicks me out of the house to go on a trail run when I’m stressed out from a crazy day at work. I’ve found that trail-running seems to help me decompress much better than running on a treadmill or even on city streets, and the research backs this up as well. Being exposed to plants decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, decreases resting heart rate and also decreases blood pressure.

These studies are really interesting because we often think of exercise as only being good for our bodies. It turns out that exercise can be just as good for our brains and our minds, and that getting outside and exercising in nature might amplify the benefits.

One of the challenges that we are faced with is staying motivated to exercise. About half of people who join a gym don’t stick with it beyond the first year. But people who exercise outside tend to stick with their exercise programs more consistently than those who train indoors, according to a study done in 2004. So if you’re having trouble being consistent, consider adding an outdoor workout to your routine.

Another surprise benefit of getting outside and into nature is that exposure to plants like trees can improve your immune system. Scientists think that airborne chemicals that plants emit to protect themselves from fungus, bacteria and insects (these chemicals are called phytoncides) may also benefit humans. In a study published in 2007, people who took two-hour walks in a forest had a 50-per-cent increase in the levels of their natural killer cells. They sound scary, but they’re your cells that circulate through your body and kill bacteria, viruses, fungus and other invaders.

It also turns out that, if you prefer walking and light activity to running or more intense activities, you’re in luck. Walking in nature improves measures of revitalization, self-esteem, energy and pleasure, and decreases frustration, worry, confusion, depression, tension and tiredness far more than light activity indoors does, according to the latest evidence. Running outdoors, however, does not seem to have a greater impact on emotions or mood than running inside, maybe because running and more intense activities cause the release of endorphins that can cause feelings of elation and exhilaration, regardless of where you run.

So if you want to feel better, just get outside: Try gardening, heading to the beach or a lake on the weekend or going for a bike ride, and don’t worry about whether or not you walk or run.

Full story here:

Friday, 20 June 2014

Are You Eating Enough to Lose Weight?

Having weight problems?

Are you overweight or just want to lose those excess calories you have?

 If so, then you are on the right track to a healthier life. Starving yourself and dieting might seem to be a quicker way out of it but exercise and a balanced diet is surely the best choice.

 One remedy you can also do is going green by juicing and detoxifying yourself. It’s a quick fix but not that sustainable as well. The tendency is that you might rely more on this and lose yourself in all the dieting sacrificing healthy living. 

From founder of Healthy Energy Sarah Leung states, "Healthy eating really is mind over matter. Eating is a conscious decision and creating healthy eating habits and a good relationship with food is far more effective then counting calories, binge eating and the guilt associated with yo-yo dieting."

Therefore, what exactly is the right way to lose up those excess fats? 

Friday, 6 June 2014

A good reason to drink your coffee before working out

As a country who consumes 70 million cups of coffee daily, drinking a cup of cappuccino, flat white or espresso  before going to the gym can help  lift your workout.

Many of us for that mug of coffee in the morning to help us feel more alert and awake. But new research by The British Coffee Association claims caffeine can help us exercise harder and for 30% longer.

Caffeine, which naturally occurs in coffee, improves alertness and the ability to sustain motor skills to make exercise feel easier, positively impacting our persistence, vigour and output levels.

Consuming the equivalent of 3-4mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight one hour prior to exercise improves endurance and performance in cycling, high-intensity running, repeated sprinting and sports such as football and rugby.

An average mug of instant coffee contains approximately 100mg of caffeine.

Some athletes consume caffeine to enhance their endurance, alertness and motor skills.

These benefits result from the actions of caffeine in the brain, where it reduces the chemical messages that normally induce fatigue and stimulates energy production and fat oxidation.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Healthy meals that fit your budget from USDA

Providing healthy meals for your family should not be expensive. The United States Department of Agriculture has develop “Healthy Eating on Budget” as a guide for the public. This site  will assist families looking for deals while in the grocery, suggest time saving tips and maximizing food by using leftovers.

“Most of us need to increase our intake of whole fruit, dark-green and orange vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy,” according to the USDA’s website.

According to the USDA Healthy Eating Index, many Americans are struggling to meet the recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines and often substitute our hunger or lack of resources for less healthy and nutritionally satisfying meals.

“Cost is often considered a barrier to eating healthier and the new resource will help consumers overcome this perception,” said the site.

The USDA has also produced a “Healthy Eating on a Budget” cookbook along with easy-to-read tip sheets. The cookbook’s recipes are featured in a two-week sample menu based on a 2,000-calorie diet. There is also an additional grocery and pantry list to help households plan their purchases as effectively as possible in order to optimize their budget.