Category Archives: Health

Should the Government Regulate Junk Food?

No one likes to be told what they can and cannot eat. Food is one of the key personal freedoms, but should it be? As the world struggles with an increasing obesity rate and overburdened health care systems, it seems at times like we are our own worst enemy.

Governments around the world regulate the sales of alcohol, tobacco, and, increasingly, recreational marijuana. Some have also instituted “soda taxes” that increase the cost of pop in order to encourage people to choose healthier alternatives. However, there has been no concentrated effort to extend such a plan to junk food as a whole.

Given that this segment of the food industry is quite substantial, any such plan would immediately run afoul of the many lobbyists employed to represent the major companies involved.

However, groups like the World Health Organization are becomingly increasingly vocal in their attempts to get governments more involved in addressing the problem. It’s tough to argue from a financial perspective: decreasing the number of people with chronic health issues brought about by poor lifestyle choices will also dramatically decrease the amount of money countries must direct towards healthcare.

That argument for action has suggestions on how to make this economically viable, like providing financial incentives for those involved in the production of healthy foods. They also advise other measures, such as tightening the regulation of fast food advertising aimed at children, and making it less profitable for companies that focus their means of production on unhealthy, highly processed foods.

These are encouraging ideas and one hopes they will increasingly come into play around the world. In the meantime, however, education seems to be the best choice. Helping people to fully realize the risks that a bacon double cheeseburger has on their well-being might encourage more consumers to think twice.

The Joys of Drinking Green Tea

Have you noticed that the world is obsessed with coffee? You have no doubt seen how busy Starbucks always seems to be and, if you live in Canada, the line outside Tim Horton’s suggests that this is the last day coffee will be available ever again.

People love their coffee, and by definition, caffeine. However, a steady diet of caffeine consumption is not good for your blood pressure and it can compromise your sleep patterns. That means you start the workday all groggy and unable to think, so you reach for a coffee and…you can probably see where this is going, right?

Green tea does not have as much caffeine as regular coffee. In fact, you can also get decaffeinated green tea. Frankly, it is better for you to be having at the office, or anywhere else, than your regular coffee fix.

Caffeine can jump start your brain, but this effect does not last unless you keep drinking it. As mentioned, regular green tea contains some caffeine, but also offers the amino acid L-theanine, which can reduce anxiety. It also increases the production of dopamine and alpha waves, both very beneficial to brain function.

Many drinks containing caffeine also include sugar, a very good way for you to gain weight. By contrast, green tea increases your metabolic rate, which also adds to the amount of fat that you burn.

Green tea also contains anti-oxidants. These can help reduce the chances of you getting various types of cancer. The catechin compounds in green tea can also help to reduce the possibility of getting neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

It may not look as sexy or offer as many sweet and addictive flavors as you can get at the local designer coffee establishment, but green tea really should be a regular part of your daily routine.

What to Do for Dinner When the Weather Won’t Make up its Mind.

 

Summer’s finally here! ish. Ok, so there’s been more rain and less sunshine than we were all hoping for this year, making it harder to get our grill on and forcing us back to craving those carb and fat heavy winter comfort foods. Here are some ways you can combine the best of both world’s and combat this unco-operative season:

Soups:

These are a great choice because you get the comforting and restorative warmth of a soup and the option of adding some of the first fresh produce of summer. Use asparagus and peas as creamed soups without the cream, or as additions to a classic minestrone.  Bonus: if it does warm up, you can always make a classic Gazpacho (consider a white Gazpacho for an even more refreshing meal).

Sandwiches:

You can pair them with one of the soups from above, or on their own for a tasty and portable meal. Consider radish and avocado for something both rich and crisp, or add a big handful of fresh herbs or greens to mix it up with your favourite classic: a BLT with arugula or a bunch of basil with a tuna melt can revamp the old standby for the new season. Bonus: there’s no need to turn on the stove!

Pastas:

For comfort food, almost nothing beats a big bowl of noodles, but how to convert the winter fav into something that’s not too heavy for a mild, sunny day? Instead of a rich, slow cooked sauce like Bolognese, toss the cooked pasta with a bit of fresh tomatoes, pesto, and parmesan. Or add basil, bocconcini, and balsamic to the tomatoes and pasta for a caprese style meal. You’ll still get the carbs and cheese that make a cold day bearable, but the pops of freshness will remind you that spring (and summer) is on the way! Bonus: pasta salads make great additions to picnics and bbqs, just be sure to stay away from mayo based dressings, not only do they add unnecessary calories: they can also go bad if left out in the sun too long

 

Jam it Up!

Once upon a time, before Facebook and hipsters, the humble mason jar was an important tool used to preserve the bountiful summer harvest; partly for it’s general deliciousness, but mainly because it was cost effect. Since most people in rural areas didn’t have the money or access to large grocery stores, preserving was very necessary. We’ve already covered the art of pickling here, now it’s time to go over the basics of jamming!

  • Get all your tools ready: you will need to process the jars as you would with making pickles, so follow the instructions from that post. Any cutting boards, a ladle for filling the jars, knives and ingredients should be at the ready before you get started
  • Prep your fruit. This means any peeling, pitting or chopping. Depending on the texture you’re looking for, you can do anything from a fine mince to a rough chop to leaving the fruit whole and just smashing them a bit with a potato masher once the start to soften in the pot
  • Most jam recipes need a 1:1 ration of fruit to sugar to succeed. While this may seem excessive, remember that you’ll be consuming the jam in moderation, and that sugar plays a key role in both preserving and setting the jam to the right consistency
  • While you shouldn’t play around with the amount of sugar, feel free to experiment with things like spices, citrus zest, herbs or other flavour enhancers to make the jam your own. You can even play around with different combinations of fruits (peach raspberry? Cherry-blueberry? the options are endless)

Since making jams and jellies tends to be more of a science than an art, it’s important to research difference recipes and follow the instructions accurately to ensure proper consistency (though how you choose to influence the flavour shouldn’t affect that). Jamming is also a fantastic way to feel truly connected to your food and if you have children, a nice way to get them involved and teach them to appreciate the amount of labour that goes into crafting something that they would otherwise think takes no more work than plucking it off a store shelf.

How to Bring Some Healthy Choices to Your Next Picnic or BBQ

Summer’s finally in full swing, and with it comes backyard bbqs and picnic potlucks galore.  As much as well all love great food, it can get pretty tricky to keep things healthy when those tables are loaded down with heavy sides and sugary sauces. Here are a few recipes ideas to make sure that there are some healthy and tasty options, so you don’t feel too guily about those ribs and icecream sandwiches!

Beans and Rice:

Rice and legumes together make a complete protein, so any vegetarians will be very happy to see this option. Bonus points for this dish: you can up the fibre with brown rice, the flavour by using a wide variety of spices (which also make s the dish infinitly costumizable), and the nutrients by adding as many diced fruits veggies as you can handle.

Watermelon and Cucumer Salad:

Easy and breezy, this is a great cool down option, and more grown up than sitting on a stoop and seeing how far you can spit the seeds. Start with chunks of watermelon  and cucumber, and than add salt and pepper (trust me on this!) as well as your favourit herbs (basil, cilantro and mint all work well. Don’t forget a hit of acid (metaphorically of course) lime juice and balsamic vinegar are great choices, just make sure the acid you choose pairs well with the herb you picked (lime goes with cilantro and mint, but keep the balsamic with the basil). Finish with a qulaity olive oil and you’re all set!

Sweet Potato Salad

A long time favourit at bbqs and picnics, traditional potato salad tends to be loaded down with heavy mayo dressing, with aside from being less than ideal health-wise, also contains eggs, which when left at the wrong tempurature for too long, could cause serious illness! Avoid these pitfalls by replacing the starchy white pototoes with roasted sweet potatoes or yams and dressing them with a punchy mustard based vinegrette and some thinly sliced red onions.

 

Lunch For a Week: My Easy Guide and Tips to Tasty and Time Saving Meal Prep

Stuck in a rut with your work lunches? Maybe the same old ham and cheese everyday is getting stale, or your pocket book is getting stretched by eating out too much (not to mention your waistline). Not to worry, with just a little bit of planning (and I mean little!) and what’s probably already in your pantry, you can make a week’s worth of healthy, cheap, and easy lunches.

First let’s start with what you (should) already have: mustard, honey or maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper, pasta, peanut butter, hot sauce such as sriracha, balsamic vinegar

Know what you’ll need: 4-5 chicken breasts, a cucumber, pint of cherry tomatoes, two bell peppers, your favourite herbs (I used basil, but cilantro and parsley would work just as well), a nice loaf of bread, or a baguette, hummus

On Sunday night, simple poach the chicken, leave it to cool and shred either by hand or with two forks. Now you have the base for all your meals this week. the night before, or the morning of if that’s your thing, you can choose what kind of sandwich or salad to make, from this list and voila! Rut over!

  • Bahn mi: spread bread with peanut butter and hot sauce, layer on chicken, cucumber, basil and strips of bell pepper
  • almost a shawarma sandwich: spread hummus on bread, layer with chicken (toss it with balsamic first for a nice hit of acid), cucumber, tomatoes, and basil
  • Honey mustard salad: mix chicken with salt, pepper, mustard, and honey (about a tablespoon or each). Layer in your favourite Tupperware with diced veggies from the list.
  • Sweet and spicy sandwich: mix honey and hot sauce (about a table of honey, hot sauce to taste) and toss with chicken, layer on bread with cucumber and sliced bell peppers
  • Italian salad: toss chicken with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic, add diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil.

And there you go, a world of flavours for about 10 minutes of work a day. Keep in mind that you can make the salads sandwiches and vice versa if you have dietary needs or preferences. Include easy healthy snacks like nuts, apples or other fruits, and yogurt to keep you full all day. Happy lunching!

A Hundred Percent Beneficial Recipe

Here is a health recipe that I would like to share with you all. But hold on! Don’t assume it to be like other health recipes, those which are either tasteless or too much bitter, so much so that you have to shut your eyes tight and clip your nose when gulping it down your food pipe.
Instead, this recipe is the one you’d love to eat.
Well, I don’t go for complex and twisted names for food. Hence, I will name it rather simple.
I would like to call it ‘Ginger garlic soup’, too simple, isn’t it?
All you have to do is, take a cup of chicken stock, drop in a teaspoon of garlic paste, and that of some ginger paste, boil it for three to four minutes. And Valla, your soup is ready.
Was that too difficult? Of course not
And it does not taste awful either. You may think that garlic and ginger would yield some dreadful aroma, but that is all handled well by the chicken stock which you took as the base.
For more taste enhancing effects, you can add some oats and black pepper to your soup while it is being boiled. But then you will have to cook it until the oat softens.
So as you see, the ingredients that make up this food are all health enhancers.
Need not to mention the blessings of garlic and ginger.
Moreover, black pepper imparts your food some antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It promotes the health of your gut and also improves digestion.

Home remedies using Black seed

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Black seeds are being used since thousands of years and their health benefits are pretty surprising. There is no any illness that cannot be improved by the use of black seeds. If you get to know its health benefits, you will definitely want to add it in your diet.

Health benefits of black seeds:

Following are only some of the health benefits and remedies by which one can get healthy:

For a person who is suffering from cough and respiratory diseases such as asthma, apply Black seed oil on the chest and on the back. He/she can also add a teaspoon black seed oil in warm water and take steam two times a day.

For a patient who has cystic fibrosis, apply black seed oil on chest. Drink a mixture of with a teaspoon of honey and black seed oil three times that is in the morning, in the  afternoon and also in the evening.

For patients who are diabetic, black seeds are very beneficial. All you have to do is mix one cup of Water Cress Seeds or you can also use, Mustard seed, 1/2 cup of pomegranate peel and 1/2  cup of fumitory with one cup of whole black seeds. Now what you need to do is blend this mixture and make powder of it. Now take 1/2 teaspoon of this created  mixture along with one teaspoon of black seed oil every day in the morning before you eat your  breakfast. You need to do this for a month.

All these home remedies using black seeds are very beneficial for health.

Should you let your child spend time playing video games?

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Many parents are very much concerned about their children, who are addicted to video games. It is not their fault at all. Every parent want their child to be physically active, go outside and play like they used to when they were young. Unlike them, a twenty first century child is more attached to video games than to any physical sport. You must’ve heard how bad it is for a growing child to sit back for ours in front of the television playing those action video games and how badly it may affect their growth and their long term health.

It is interesting to note that after a lot of research, it has been proved that playing various video games can actually improve and polish the creativity in you and can also help you think outside the box. It is also seen that if children who had certain brain illness played video games, they showed remarkable fighting spirit.

When research was done on what kind of video games improve cognitive flexibility of a person, it was seen that people who played strategic games did well in the test. They showed amazing problem solving ability and it was seen that they were good in dealing with multiple tasks at a time.

It is also proved through research that playing video games can relief pain. Not only this, when a study was taken place on people of old age, it was found that those elder people who played video games were happier and were in better health than those who didn’t.

 

Mung Beans and its health benefits

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Do you know that if you boil 100 grams of Mung Beans without adding any salt, what would you get? Well you would get:

Calories 105

Protein 7.02 grams

Fiber 7.6 grams

Minerals in Mung Beans:

Following is a list of minerals that are found in Mung Beans while some are present in very low amount:

Potassium – 266 mg

Phosphorus – 99 mg

Calcium – 27 mg

Magnesium – 48 mg

Iron – 1.4 mg

Sodium – 2 mg

Manganese – 0.298 mg

Zinc – 0.84 mg

Copper – 0.156 mg

Selenium – 2.5 mcg

Vitamins in Mung Beans:

Following is a list of vitamins that are found in Mung Beans while some are present in very low amount:

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – 0.164 mg

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 0.061 mg

Niacin – 0.577 mg

Pantothenic Acid – 0.41 mg

Vitamin B6 – 0.067 mg

Folate – 159 mcg

Vitamin A – 24 IU

Vitamin E – 0.15 mg

Vitamin K – 2.7 mcg

Health Benefits of Mung Beans:

These are great for liver due to the presence of lecithin which helps reduce liver fat and increase efficiency of liver function.

These are great for hypertensive patients for they help maintain not only blood pressure but also reduce bad cholesterol.

They act as detoxifying agents.

These are good for diabetics for they have a low glycemic index.

A good choice for those looking to lose weight

Mung Beans are healthy for your heart and eyes.

These can help you prevent breast tumors.

These are good for your hair.

These are a great source of both fibers and proteins as well as minerals and vitamins.

Mung beans are good for your skin and also contain anti-oxidants that help you fight off the phenomenon of aging.

 

What Artichoke has for you

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You might be blown away by the amazing health benefits that artichoke and its leaves have to offer to you. Let me tell you that a medium sized artichoke when cooked without any salt gives you:

Calories 64

Protein 3.47 gm

Fiber 10.3 gm

Minerals in a artichoke:

Following is a list of minerals that are found of artichoke while some are present in very low amount:

Potassium – 343 mg

Phosphorus – 88 mg

Magnesium – 50 mg

Calcium – 25 mg

Iron – 0.73 mg

Zinc – 0.48 mg

Copper – 0.152 mg

Manganese – 0.27 mg

Selenium – 0.2 mcg

Sodium – 72 mg

Vitamins in artichoke:

Following is a list of vitamins that are found in artichoke while some are present in very low amount:

Vitamin C – 8.9 mg

Niacin – 1.332 mg

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – 0.06 mg

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 0.107 mg

Vitamin B6 – 0.097 mg

Pantothenic Acid – 0.288 mg

Folate – 107 mcg

Vitamin A – 16 IU

Vitamin K – 17.8 mcg

Vitamin E – 0.23 mg

Health benefits of artichoke:

It has a great many powerfully amazing antioxidants that help you fight off oxidative stress and keep you young.

It contains flavinoids which have rich anti-cancer properties.

It contains those phytochemicals that have the property to increase the flow of bile. Bile is important for digestion of fat.

It is great for liver and gallbladder health.

It is good for your GIT.

It has diuretic property.

It is rich in fiber content.

Tips for cutting off sugar from your diet

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The following tricks may come in handy in eliminating sugar from your daily diet:

Keep yourself well hydrated. This is because dehydration has the potential to leave you crave for sugar and sweets.

Cut off caffeine gradually. What caffeine is capable of doing is swing blood sugar and leaving you feel dehydrated. Both of these may make you crave for sugar.

Consume more protein and more omega 3 fatty acids which are also known as good fats. Keep a balance between your protein intakes for it may lead to sugar craving when taken more or when taken less than normal amount. Proper good fat and proteins help maintain blood sugar levels and also satiety.

A strong urge for sugar may arise when you skip a meal or two. So don’t miss a meal.

Take in natural sweet that is fruits and veggies for they not only nurture your craving for sweet but are also rich in phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins, and micronutrients.

Stay away from those artificial sweeteners and chemical which claim to taste sweet. These are harmful for health. You should rather use little quantity of gentle sweeteners such as barley malt, rice syrup, honey, and dried fruit etc.

Get proper sleep. Being sleepless would call for extra energy and hence extra urge for sugar and sweets.

Be physically active and smart.

These tips may look small but these can bring a big change in your life. Remember that you can only enjoy life at the fullest if you take care of yourself.