Meat or Fish?

Meat and fish are excellent sources of protein. In this regard, both can be considered to contain all the essential amino acids required by humans. However, meat and fish differ in a number of ways and these differences can significantly alter health outcomes over the long term. Generally studies show a number of health benefits for fish eaters over meat eaters. This is often considered to be due to the high concentrations of essential fatty acids in cold water oily fish. However, this assertion is not correct as those who consume non-oily fish also share these health benefits. One suggestion is that fish may contain other nutrients that are beneficial to health, but no particular nutrient has been identified. Therefore it may simply be that while fish is a great source of protein and is relatively neutral in its health effects, meat is a great source of protein and may in some cases have negative health effects associated with its consumption. For example, meat is more likely to contain drug and pesticide residues due to modern farming methods. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, protect Yourself

RdB

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Convolvulus Pluricaulis as a Nootropic

Convolvulus pluricaulis is a plant used in the Ayurvedic traditional medicine system of India. It is used as a general tonic. Evidence also suggests that Convolvulus pluricaulis has adaptogenic and anti-stress properties, and these may explain its ability to favourably affect the brain. Studies have investigated the anxiolytic effects of Convolvulus pluricaulis on rats and shown that significant beneficial effects were seen that could be described as anti-anxiety in nature. The effects seen were comparable to that of the anxiolytic drug piracetam. The same researchers also investigated the effects of Convolvulus pluricaulis on tests of mental function in rats. In this regard Convolvulus pluricaulis showed significant nootropic effects but these effects were less than seen for the herb Ayurvedic herb Evolvulus alsinoides. Therefore Convolvulus pluricaulis may have significant anxiolytic effects comparable to pharmaceutical drugs, and these are perhaps more defined than its memory enhancing properties. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

Rawat, M. S. M. and Kothiyal, P. 2011. Comparative nootropic effect of Evolvulus alsinoides and Convolvulus pluricaulis. International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences. 2(1): 616-621
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L-Theanine, Melissa officinalis, Magnolia officinalis

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Cocoa as a Mood Enhancer

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Moringa oleifera: Anti-Anxiety Herb?

Moringa oleifera is a flowering plant that belongs to the Moringaceae family. Common names for the plant include the drumstick tree, moringa, the horseradish tree or Shevga. The plant is fast growing and drought resistant and is native to India. Moringa oleifera is widely cultivated as a vegetable for eating and as a traditional medicine. With regard to the latter it is thought that Moringa oleifera has beneficial mood elevating effects. For example, in one study researchers administered Moringa oleifera leaves to mice and observed their behaviour. Administration of the extracts significantly reduced the anxious behaviour displayed by the mice. Therefore extracts of Moringa oleifera may have significant anxiolytic effects in animal models of mood disorders, however it is unclear if these effects would translate into similar effects in humans. The researchers suggested that as Moringa oleifera potentiated the GABA drug baclofen, Moringa oleifera may work through the same neurotransmitter system. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

Ingale, S. P. and Gandhi, F. P. 2016. Effect of aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera leaves on pharmacological models of epilepsy and anxiety in mice. International Journal of Epilepsy. 3(1): 12-19
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How Easy Is It To Overeat Healthy Food?

Evidence suggests that it is relatively easy to overeat processed foods that are high in sugar and fat because they act as drugs in the brain. Such food, which includes most junk and fast foods, are able to activate similar neuronal responses to addictive drugs, and this is one reason they are relatively easy to overeat and therefore cause weight gain. As weight gain and insulin resistance develop from eating these foods, changes to the appetite regulatory mechanisms occur, and this results in a situation where the consumer does not register that they have eaten sufficient energy for metabolic needs. In contrast, high quality food does not have drug like effects in the brain, and this means that it is not addictive like junk food. Following consumption of high quality food, the normal appetite regulatory systems activate, and as energy intake increases, the desire to eat food diminishes. This prevents overeating and means that weight gain from consuming high quality food is very unlikely, even if it is tasty and desirable. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

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How To Limit Damage Caused By Processed Meat

Processed meat has been shown to be associated with certain detrimental health outcomes, including an increased risk of gastrointestinal cancer. The reason for this is understood to be due to the presence of preservatives in the meat, which can include sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. In the acid environment of the stomach, these compounds can result in the formation of nitrosamines, and it is known that nitrosamines are carcinogenic. Regular consumption of processed meat therefore increases the concentration of nitrosamines that come into contact with intestinal cells, and this can be a cause of cancer. Antioxidants are able to prevent the formation of nitrosamines in the stomach, and in particular vitamin C may be effective in this role. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may also prevent the formation of nitrosamines. Consuming antioxidants whenever processed meat is consumed, may therefore negate some of the detrimental effects, and may protect from the formation of gastrointestinal cancer. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

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Tomatoes: The Good and The Bad

Although most people consider them vegetables, tomatoes are actually the fruiting body of a plant belonging to the nightshade family. Tomatoes have been extensively researched for their health effects and found to be significantly beneficial. In particular, tomatoes have been shown to contain the carotenoid lycopene. Like all carotenoids, lycopene is a pigment and gives the fruit a characteristic colour, in this case red. The lycopene is contained within the cells of the tomato fruit and so it is necessary to crush the cells open by chewing or macerating, or by cooking to soften the cellulose. This increases the bioavailability of lycopene and can increase the health effects from eating tomatoes. The beneficial effects of lycopene include a reduction in the rate of certain cancers, and a general antioxidant effect that may protect from a number of lifestyle diseases including cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance. One downside of tomatoes is that intolerance is common, so care needs to be taken if they result in gastrointestinal issues.  

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

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The Upside and Downside of Smoothies

Smoothies have become popular in recent times, largely because of the increased interest in nutrition. Smoothies are a colloquial name for a blended drink that can contain various ingredients, particularly fruit, milk, protein powder, cacao or other foods that suit being liquidised. Smoothies can have a place in a high quality diet, but care must be taken when considering ingredients. Fruit can be problematic in smoothies as fruit tends to contain high amounts of sugar, and when it is liquidised, that sugar can enter solution, and this increases its rate of absorption. Too much fruit can increase the sugar intake of the individual considerably, and this can have detrimental effects on health. However, if the fruit and sugar content are kept low, and ingredients chosen that are nutrient dense, smoothies can provide an excellent way to increase essential nutrients and phytochemical antioxidants. They are also highly convenient to take where there is limited access to healthy foods.   

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

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Gut Health and Mood

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