Feed Your Brain in Spain

Mediterranean Diet Helps Memory photo

Researchers in Spain reveal that a Mediterranean Diet can improve brain function.

This is a study of over 400 people in Barcelona, Spain. The 55 to 80 year-old volunteers had an average age of 67. The parallel-group randomized clinical trial compares Mediterranean Diet supplemented with either nuts or olive oil, with a control group. The control group were advised to lower fat intake. Two study groups were assign a Mediterranean Diet with either 1 liter extra virgin olive oil per week (about 5 tablespoons per day) or 30 grams mixed nuts per day.

This latest research stems from earlier work that showed significant heart benefits from Mediterranean Diet. Emilio Ros, MD, PhD notes that the groups had different improvements between olive oil and nut supplementation:

The group with nuts did better, compared to the control group, in memory tests, memorizing names or words. While the olive oil group did better on tests that require speed of thought.

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Does Yogurt Help Diabetes?

Yogurt Diabetes photo

An interesting study from Harvard School of Public Health suggests yogurt may be beneficial to diabetes sufferers.

Most interesting is the indication that this benefit seems to derive from yogurt, but not other dairy products.

On Foodary, I look at ways to make standard healthy diets even healthier by tweaking them for your health problems and personal eating profile. Here is a fine opportunity for diabetes sufferers to switch some dairy products to yogurt, and try to improve their health.

Continue reading Does Yogurt Help Diabetes?

Food Combination Charts: Just Say No

Combine Food for Taste not Health Photo

I’m bringing my mini-series on food combination charts to an abrupt end.

Having looked deeper into the second combination from that chart, I strongly suspect that the widely copied article on which it is based is nothing but a gimmick.

I looked into the claims for apples combined with chocolate. I could not find the science that was attributed to Halliwell in the original article. I did find an Italian study that supported the combination of quercetin and catechin for inhibiting platelet function. However, this is pure laboratory science (in vitro). That might encourage comprehensive human nutrition investigations in real life (in vivo). As far as I can see, no such studies have been done. The likely reason for lack of further research is that it is pointless.

In real life, we all eat various combinations of food. It’s called a meal. We eat various meals with different food combinations during the day. It’s called a meal plan, or diet. Now, for most people, all that is required is a good variety of foods to provide all the nutrients required for that day. If we focus on a single combination, we might ignore other essential nutrients.

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Healthy Fat-Soluble Vitamin Combinations

Vitamins Photo

Healthy Fat-Soluble Vitamin Combinations is my first investigation of the claims made in Healthy Food Combinations Chart. The claims are repeated on many Internet sites, but there does not appear to me much justification for the claims. The original article is light on references, so I am investigating each claim to see if it is relevant to modern healthy eating best practice.

I have to say that my early investigations are not encouraging. I now question the whole idea of healthy food combinations. If you simply say that a variety of healthy food is important, then that is probably sufficient. Of course, that raises questions about what constitutes healthy food. I have some ideas that I will present later, but for now, I am going to look at the claims for fat-soluble vitamin combinations, that was exemplified by almonds and yoghurt.

First, the article claims that “many essential vitamins are activated and absorbed best when eaten with fat.” Unfortunately, there is no reference to support this assertion. The article continues to describe fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E – they forgot K. They list various foods claimed to be vitamin-rich, and lead on to suggest food combinations that will allow you to get the most fat-soluble vitamins from food.

Now, as there is no reference, we do not know whether this combination is actually valid, but that is not important. The important point about fat-soluble vitamins is that our bodies store them in the liver and fat tissue until required.

Also, these vitamins are not lost in cooking, and we only need small amounts. Most people do not need additional fat-soluble vitamins, and mega-doses can be toxic.
Vitamins Photo

Fat Soluble Vitamins and Health

Only in the poorest of poor eaters do we find fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies. They are so widely available that you should not need to worry about them. Here are the main sources of fat-soluble vitamins:

Vitamin A Food Sources

Vitamin A is available from dairy products, fish, and liver. Plant sources are mainly orange and dark green vegetables and fruits including: apricots, carrots, dark green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, and winter squash.

Vitamin D Food Sources

Vitamin D is formed in our skins under sunlight. Food sources include milk, oily fish, and cod liver oil.

Vitamin E Food Sources

Vitamin E is available from vegetable oils, and related spreads and dressings. Plant sources include fruit, vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin K Food Sources

Vitamin K is found in many plant sources including: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and other green leafy vegetables. It is also found in canola, cottonseed, olive, and sunflower oils.

Healthy Fat-Soluble Vitamin Combinations

There is no need to seek healthy fat-soluble vitamin combinations. If you have a vitamin deficiency through poor diet, a general healthy eating plan is sufficient. Food combinations are not likely to be any healthier. If you have a deficiency through ill health, there may be some advantage from switching some foods to help overcome that deficiency. However, food combinations are unlikely to help.

If you need help with specific vitamin deficiencies, please ask in the healthy eating forum.


Fat-Soluble Vitamin References

Fat soluble vitamin food source information from Fat-Soluble Vitamins: A, D, E, and K by L. Bellows and R. Moore. Colorado State University Extension

Functional Citrus Food

Healthy Citrus Infographic

Functional citrus fruits help fight common diseases.

We all know that fruit is good for us. Citrus fruits have many healthy properties.

But if citrus fruits are so healthy, why do we discard the best bits?

A food study published in Preventative Medicine journal investigates the health benefits of functional citrus food. In “Functional benefits of citrus fruits in the management of diabetes,” the authors also consider other diseases. It summarizes benefits, and potential benefits, from citrus fruits, for:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • Nutrition and wellness

Though much of the report deals with animal research, there is ample evidence of human benefits from various citrus fruits:

citrus fruit extracts represent an excellent candidate for nutraceuticals and functional foods geared towards the management of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

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Healthy Food Combinations Chart

Healthy Food Combinations Photo

In the forum recently, Joan asked if I had any healthy food combination charts. Now, that raises a bunch of questions about the state of your health. I’m wary of recommending specific food combinations in general terms, because what improves health for one person, might have little or no effect on the next.

However, when I looked for some relevant research, I found an interesting summary of several food combinations that have been shown to have real health benefits. That summarizes 13 healthy food combinations. Unfortunately, the examples are not always linked to the correct research.

I am investigating each claim in detail to find the latest science. I’ve also found some additional research pointers that indicate more potential. For today, I list the combinations from the aforementioned summary in the chart below. I will return to each combo for specific articles another day.

Continue reading Healthy Food Combinations Chart

Choosing Alkaline Foods For Your Healthy Diet

How Do You Choose Alkaline Foods photo

Foodary is full of alkaline foods information. I plan to make choosing alkaline foods easier with examples of alkaline diet plans.

Standard plans can help you get started with an alkaline diet. However, I prefer to help you find the alkaline foods that are right for you. That means working with you to choose the foods that match your health and your tastes.

I believe an alkaline diet is basically a healthy diet. But a diet that makes you alkaline might not be healthy for you. If you hate limited food options on a pre-made plan, you won’t stick to that diet. If you have a health problem that restricts your diet, a pre-made alkaline diet might not be your healthiest option.

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