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Category Archives: Nutrition
Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collaborate to publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The publication essentially serves as the U.S. government’s official food and beverage recommendations for Americans, based on the most recent health research and evidence. The guidelines aim to help people maintain a healthy weight and prevent chronic disease, while also providing educational institutions and healthcare providers with reliable dietary strategies and recommendations. They also help inform national health promotion programs, school lunches, food labels and various policies in many different industries and organizations. So, these Dietary Guidelines are extremely important for shaping what Americans eat and what they deem is healthy. The latest version, published last week, has some interesting surprises – and many health experts aren’t happy.
There’s no doubt that coffee is one of America’s favorite beverages. According to the National Coffee Association, 59 percent of Americans currently drink a cup of coffee every day. Some sources indicate that American workers who buy coffee regularly throughout the week spend an average of $1,092 on coffee every year. Despite it’s popularity, however, the effects of coffee on health are somewhat nebulous. Many studies have shown that coffee can provide all sorts of health advantages, such as skin cancer prevention and mental benefits. On the other hand, coffee is thought to present problems for those with cholesterol issues or sleep problems – especially if it’s loaded with sugar. The latest study is another win for coffee lovers, but despite the study’s massive coverage in the media, the results actually aren’t universally positive.
The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids have been widely discussed in the past decade. Consuming foods high in Omega-3, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, walnuts, flaxseed and soybeans, is though to help prevent many different health conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, eczema, depression, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Omega-3 has even been shown to reduce breast cancer risk. But perhaps the most common belief about Omega-3 is that it’s good for the brain, helping to prevent Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline in general. This has caused fish oil supplements to become some of the widely used supplements in the country. Unfortunately, most studies have only shown a correlation between taking fish oil supplements and having better health – not a cause and effect. Now, an actual clinical trial throws the benefits of these supplements into question altogether.
It’s a situation almost everybody has found themselves in at one time or another: you have a stressful day at work, you go home, collapse on the couch, and reach for the ice cream. Or potato chips. Or cookies. You end up eating most – if not all – of the pint/bag/box. If you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet, you’ve just obliterated any chance of meeting your daily goal. This phenomenon, commonly referred to as “stress eating,” “emotional eating” or, more colloquially, “eating your feelings,” is a real issue that’s been fairly widely studied. Most studies have shown that the stress hormone cortisol is responsible for stress eating. However, a new study published in the journal Neuron suggests that the problem is actually quite a bit more complicated. It also suggests that stress can lead to an overall reduction in self-regulatory behavior, which can affect more than just food choices.
A varied diet consisting of nutritious food is key for living a long, healthy life. Some foods in particular are well-known for promoting longevity due to their ability to help the body prevent disease, maintain a healthy weight, and improve overall health. For example, eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and other fish have has been widely associated with a longer lifespan. Other foods such as blueberries and green tea have been known to promote a longer life due to the antioxidants they contain. The probiotics in yogurt could also help a person live longer, as could just about any food that’s been known to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
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