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Archive for January, 2015

nuts and seedsI really do like nuts and seeds. I eat a variety of them every day. They are satisfying, taste great, provide texture to other foods, are a great source of heart healthy fats, protein, fiber, B Vitamins, Vitamin E, many minerals and many antioxidants. What is there to not like about nuts and seeds? I often add them to my smoothies at the end and just blend them a little. I like having the crunchy texture this adds.

A study of more than 34,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, showed that those who consumed nuts at least five times a week had half the rate of heart attack as those who had seldom ate nuts, and those who ate nuts only once a week still had a 25 percent lower risk of heart disease than those that ate few nuts and seeds.  Similarly, the Nurses’ Health Study, involving over 86,000 women, reported a lower rate of heart disease among frequent nut eaters.

Most nuts and seeds contain more than 60% monounsaturated fats which are they same fats found in olive oil. Monounsaturated fats are heart healthy. Some nuts and seeds are also great providers of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s from nuts and seeds are our focus today.

Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and are protective of our joints, blood vessels and brain. However the American diet is full of unhealthy inflammatory fats.  Most of these come from processed foods that are rich in omega 6 fatty acids and hydrogenated fats (also know as trans fats). One of natures answer to this problem are nuts and seeds. We need to include in our daily diet the nuts and seeds providing the highest levels of omega 3 fatty acids.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18751910

This link provides a list of 61 health benefits from omega 3 fatty acids!

Lets get one nut out of the way that really is not a nut at all; and that is the most famous peanut. Peanuts along with other nuts and seeds were included in the studies mention above. The peanut is actually a legume which includes, beans, peas and lintels. Like nuts and seeds peanuts have many health benefits and are rich in heart healthy monounsaturated oils, B Vitamins, Vitamin E, resveratrol, and many minerals. However, be careful when buying peanut butter or peanuts.  The commercial processing of peanut butter can taint them with molds and other unhealthy ingredients. Many peanut butters have added sugars and other ingredients that make it less healthy. Most peanuts are roasted and salted and may also contain MSG. Just be careful when buying any nut, seed or peanuts. Choose organic if possible.

I suggest you consume all nuts and seeds raw. Some people are sensitive to the phytic acid and enzyme coating that protects raw nuts and seeds from being digested. If you have problems digesting raw nuts (you get bloating, cramping, gas) then you should soak them overnight and then rinse them well. This will remove the phytic acid coating.  Instructions for soaking are at the end of this article. The one downside to soaking is that they will not retain as much of their natural crunchiness. They are going to be a little softer than they would raw but still very healthy!

Seeds tend to have less calories per ounce than nuts because of less fat content but they can contain more protein than found in some nuts.

This is my go to list of nuts and seeds for highest health and Omega 3 intake.

  • Ground flax seeds (very high in omega 3’s and rich in many nutrients and soluble fiber)
  • Sacha Inchi seeds (very high in omega 3’s and protein)
  • Chia seeds (very high in omega 3’s loaded with many nutrients)
  • Black seeds  (has over 1600 healing compounds, may help with many adverse health conditions)
  • Pumpkin seeds (great source of zinc and magnesium which helps us relax and many other nutrients, is great for men’s health)
  • Walnuts (good source of omega 3’s, has the ability to reduce c-reactive protein making it very heart protective) http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/news/20101006/walnuts-reduce-stress
  • Pecans (pecans have the highest antioxidant power of all nuts and rich in many nutrients)
  • Cashews  (helps improve our mood from its magnesium and tryptophan content)
  • Almonds   (protects our brain from dementia and help with neuron activity)

Nuts and seeds may potentially improve;

  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Osteoporosis

This is a great chart you can refer to comparing nutrition facts with foods traditionally known for their Omega 3 content including seeds, nuts and fish. As you can see these seeds tend to be higher in Omega 3’s than nuts.

Seeds Nuts Fish
1 ounce of… Sacha Inchi Chia Flax Hemp Almonds Walnuts Pecans Salmon Herring Mackerel
Calories 190 137 150 160 161 173 193 40 45 57
Fat (g) 15 9 12 13 14 17 20 2 3 4
Protein (g) 8 4 5 10 6 7 3 6 5 5
Omega 3 (mg) 7000 4915 6388 2400 2 2542 276 565 488 748

 

Nuts are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and fat; while seeds are rich in protein, vitamin B, minerals, fat and dietary fibers.

If you want to maximize the nutrients you get from nuts, soak them in distilled or purified water overnight. This helps neutralize enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid both of which may affect digestion and absorption of the nutrients in seeds and nuts. It can also help reduce the amount of pesticides on them if they are not organically grown.

Simple Soaking Directions: Place 4 cups of nuts in a bowl with enough distilled water to cover the nuts completely.  Add a tablespoon of Himalayan sea salt.  The salt helps neutralize enzyme inhibitors. Soaking times can vary so the easiest rule of thumb to remember is to let them soak 7 hours (overnight).  You many or may not like the taste of soggy nuts, so you’ll need to let them dry naturally or dehydrate them in a dehydrator.  And because this is essentially a 24 hour process it makes sense to do several big batches at a time. Afterward compare the flavor of the soaked and dried nuts versus the non-soaked nuts. You might be surprised to find you like them better, depending on the nut and your taste.

One exception: Cashews should soak 6 hours or less and need to dry out quickly at 200-250 degrees or they can get funky.

Go Nuts for health!

Healthy Wishes!

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

WebND

The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.

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It Isn't a DietThe truth is, most of us make losing weight too complicated. It doesn’t need to be. Let’s remove the walls and get you on your way to success. Listed below are the pitfalls most people make when trying to lose weight.

Doing anything temporally will give you temporary results! You have to get this, dieting is a temporary act and therefore it doesn’t provide long-term weight loss.

  1. Change your diet gradually. Many people jump right in and totally change their diet to the extreme. They go from the typical American diet rich in processed foods to a very restrictive diet. Any time you make sudden change in your diet and lifestyle you highly increase your risk of failure. Make the change slowly. Instead of taking foods away try adding healthy foods to your diet. You will begin to crowd out the harmful foods with healthy foods.  You can do this by adding an additional vegetable to your daily diet for 1 week.  The next week, add another one and then on week 3 add an extra fruit. On week 4 add another vegetable to your daily diet. By week 4 you have increased your vegetable intake by 3 servings per day and fruit intake by 1 serving per day. Can you see, we haven’t asked you to remove any foods, only to add healthy foods? This really works if you apply it. The aim is to slowly replace processed and refined foods with healthy vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds and a small amount of whole grains daily.
  2. Stop Stressing about life and losing the weight.  Because we make it so complicated we get overly stressed. Chronic stress causes our bodies to release higher amounts of cortisol everyday, which is a fat building hormone. There is an association between stress and the appetite increasing hormone ghrelin. If you have stress from work or home you need to manage it or remove the source. Stress will make it almost impossible to lose much weight. In addition stress kills by increasing the risk of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, hormonal imbalances and gastric diseases.
  3. Eat enough calories. Many people begin by drastically cutting food intake thus calories too much. If you go below 1200 calories for more than a few days your body senses a famine has arrived, it lowers your metabolic rate to conserve energy. You can even gain weight if you cut calories too much. If you stay in a severe calorie reduction under (800 calories or less, like anorexia) you body shifts to the catabolic effect of starvation and your body will begin to consume muscle and organs for its nutrition needs. The fact is, if you eat a mostly plant-based diet you would never need to worry about eating to many calories.
  4. Do Not Skip Meals! You need to eat at least 5 times per day. It keeps blood sugar balanced and energy available. It also keeps the metabolism boosted. A healthy meal replacement shake is an option and can serve your body well. I recommend Vive, it was created for weight loss and energy and is packed with an abundance of nutrition!
  5. Keep a Food Journal. Studies show us that people keeping a food journal for at least 3 months tend to lose weight and keep it off. It keeps you aware of what you are eating, when and how much. It’s easy to do and there are several online resources with good free food journal systems. Try these, www.myfitnesspal.com  www.fatsecret.com and http://www.myfooddiary.com
  6. Drink plenty of water. Many people will not drink enough water. It takes water to release and burn fat for energy. Water is so important for your health! You need at least 1/2 your body weight in fluid ounces daily. If you sweat a lot you need even more.
  7. Exercise. If you are overweight or obese you can lose weight for a short time by just cutting calories, however that will eventually slow and then stop. You must move more. Exercise does many wonderful things for our body. One benefit is that it speeds up our metabolic rate causing us to burn more calories through out the day! It builds muscles, improves balance, and improves immune function and much more. Just walking is a great exercise. Increase your speed and time as your fitness and health improves. I am an advocate of exercising multiple times per day. As an example; I would walk for 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the afternoon and 30 minutes before or after dinner. You can split it up however you wish, just do it. To loss weight most of your exercise should be a form of cardio exercise like walking or cycling. You should also do weight bearing exercises to build more muscle. Muscles burn more fat. For good results you need to exercise at least 1 hour per day, 5 days per week. Before beginning any exercise program please consult with your doctor for their approval. Walk twice per day to speed up the weight loss!
  8. Stop weighing everyday! Your weight can change, up or down five or more pounds in any given day. You will set your self up for disappointment by weighing everyday. Weigh your self every two weeks. Do it first thing in the morning immediately after waking up and after your first pee.
  9. Stop beating your self up! No body is perfect. Treats are allowed, even unscheduled ones. If you have a treat, the next time you eat make a healthy choice. Bashing yourself will make you eat more.
  10. DO NOT DIET!  It is our mindset to use the word diet and when we do we automatically set up in our mind that we will change our diet and lifestyle for a period of time and then come back home to that addictive food that got us fat to begin with. Plus, because you have starved your body (both calories and nutrients) in the past, your body senses this and begins to subconsciously increase your desire for fatty and sugary foods. Sure, you can lose 30 pounds and then you gain 50 back. Dieting will only make you fatter one diet at a time! Think lifestyle change!
  11. Sleep is Critical! If you are like most Americans you get less than 7 hours of sleep nightly. This can disrupt hormonal balances, reduce immune function, and reduce your energy levels, lower mental concentration and much more. When you sleep, your body is busy repairing tissues, making hormones, enzymes, red blood cells, white blood cells, antibodies, cellular antioxidants like Coenzyme -Q10 which is very important for energy production in the cell and heart health, Glutathione peroxidase and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) which are your cells most powerful defenders from internal and foreign invaders and other neurotransmitters necessary for good mental and emotional health.
  12. Nutrition Nutrition Nutrition!!!!  When your body is getting loads of nutrients it begins to clean and detox the body at the cellular level getting rid of toxic materials you have stored for years. Your body does not like to let go of stored fat unless it can detox adequately because your body stores many toxins in your fat. When depleted nutrient stores in your body get filled up and topped off by a nutrient rich diet, the bodies systems begin to come back into harmony with one another. Blood sugar begins to balance, cravings begin to disappear, energy improves, thinking improves, your hair and skin begins to glow and you sleep better. With great nutrition your body starts regenerating itself cell by cell into a new healthy and vibrant body.

The bottom line is that weight loss and health do not come from a “diet” they come from living a healthy lifestyle. That’s it. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and watch your body change!

Healthy Wishes.

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

www.wellnesswithwally.com

The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.

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