Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mediterranean Diet Basics and Research

Mediterranean Diet Basics

Do you know the Mediterranean diet basics and what research supports the Mediterranean lifestyle? More and more people are adopting the Mediterranean diet.

When nutrition expert, Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN asked her Twitter followers and Facebook friends, "what they thought was the best diet - not just for weight loss, but for overall health - the 'Mediterranean diet' was the winner, followed by a similar so-called 'plant-based' diet.

Mediterranean Diet Basics

I hadn't thought of the Mediterranean diet as "plant-based", but technically that's what it is.

The base level of the Mediterranean food pyramid is largely comprised of fruits, vegetables and grains and also includes olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes and seeds, herbs and spices.

Level two is what I usually think of when I hear "Mediterranean diet": fish and seafood at least two times a week. I happen to love salmon and many other of the seafood Mediterranean diet basics:

  • Oily fish: salmon, fresh tuna, trout, mackerel, herring ;
  • White fish and shellfish: sole, cod, haddock, hake, halibut, sea bass, turbot, whiting, canned tuna, squid, mussels, prawns, crab, lobster; and
  • Whole fish: sardines, anchovies.

Pyramid level three of Mediterranean diet basics contains poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt. The pyramid stresses moderate portions since these foods, while high in protein, can be high in unhealthy saturated fats or cholesterol. So don't eat the skin of poultry and consider substituting egg whites for at least some of the eggs in your diet.

Pyramid level four allows for infrequent consumption of meats and sweets. The small allowance for red meat and sweets is undoubtedly the most difficult of Mediterranean diet basics for westerners to adhere to.

Goods question to ask yourself are:

  1. Over the last seven days, how many ounces of red meat like beef, pork and lamb did I eat? ____
  2. How many servings of sweets did I have? ____ [Examples of servings are 1 tablespoom sugar, jelly or jam, 1/2 cup sorbet or ice and 1 cup lemonade.]

The recommended allowance for red meats is five or fewer servings a week. That's a maximum of 15 ounces a week. I don't know about you but, for me, that's good incentive to be careful what I order at our favorite steak house restaurant. The steaks come as large as 22 ounces!

For sweets, the recommended allowance is also five or fewer servings a week (see examples above). That's precious little sugar and a good reason to avoid added sugar in processed foods.

The Mediterranean diet also includes wine with meals in low to moderate amounts. It encourages physical exercise and enjoying meals as social occasions. It's as much a lifestyle as it is an eating plan.

Mediterranean Diet: Research

No matter what the cohort group studied, research consistently finds that the Mediterranean diet correlates positively with better health and a longer healthspan.

Italian researchers found that following a Mediterranean diet was inversely associated with prediabetes and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure or large waist size), which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. (Miguel Angel Matinez-Gonzalel et al., Journal of Diabetes Care, June, 2008)

Spanish researchers reported a significantly reduced risk of dying over a 6.8 year average follow-up period with greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet by healthy middle aged adults at low risk of mortality. (Almudena Sanchez-Villegas et al., Journal of Nutrition, July, 2012)

In a cohort of young and active U.S. firefighters, greater adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet had significant inverse associations with metabolic syndrome, LDL-cholesterol and reported weight gain, and was significantly associated with higher HDL (good) cholesterol. (Stefanos Kales et al., published online in PLOS ONE, February, 2014)

Researchers in Spain found that, among those at high risk for cardiovascular disease, eating a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of heart attack, stroke or death from cardiovascular causes. (Ramon Estruch et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, April, 2013)

For some of our favorites, see Mediterranean Style Recipes.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fashion Friday: Educating Consumers on Facts and Research Will Convince More People to Buy Skin Care Devices

Skin Anti-Aging LED ApplianceIf you follow Ageless Beauty, you're among the cogniscenti. You probably already own one or more skin care appliances.

The Kline Group recently published results of a survey they conducted about the market penetration of at-home beauty devices.

Almost 83% of the respondents surveyed indicate that the most important factors, which contribute to the overall credibility of a device are: clinical trials, a brand's reputation, and FDA approval.

The vast majority of consumers who don't use devices said that they didn't even know about them. At the same time, most people in the survey said that they have anti-aging skin care concerns.

FDA Approved Tria Hair Removal LaserAccording to the Kline report, appliances to watch are:
  • Illuminage Beauty's just introduced Skin Smoothing Laser;
  • TRIA Beauty's Age-Defying Laser; and
  • NuSkin Galvanic Spa.
Speaking about skin care product claims in general, Ameann DeJohn of Cosmetics Design wrote, "Consumers place a great deal of credence into these claims and good website reviews which are often indicators of best-selling products."

So stay tuned to Ageless Beauty and be in-the-know.

How many skin care appliances do you own? Share your favorites and why you like them in the comments.

For the facts on efficacy and research, as we've reported them, read:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits: Chia Seed Benefits and Recipes

Chia Seed Benefits and RecipesI've used chia seeds sprinkled on salads for a while, but since I don't eat salads every day, I went looking for chia seed recipes I could incorporate into my daily routine. Do you know about the health benefits of chia seeds?

Chia Seed Health Benefits

An ounce of chia seeds has 11 grams of fiber (about half the daily recommended intake), 4.6 grams of protein, 8.6 grams of fat and 11.8 grams of carbohydrates. Only 0.9 grams of the fat consists of unhealthy saturated fat; the rest is unsaturated fat, including 5 grams of heart-healthy omega-3 fats.

[Note: The recipes below contain 1.25 and 2.5 grams of omega-3s respectively per serving. Some experts recommend no more than 3 grams of omega-3s a day. Some research indicates that excess consumption can disrupt the immune system, making one more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections and may also thin the blood enough to increase the risk of bleeding.]

Chia seeds also provide significant amounts of micronutrients. According to Livestrong.com, a one ounce serving has "more than 10 percent of the daily value for thiamin, niacin, iron, copper and calcium and more than 20 percent of the DV for selenium, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium."

An ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) contains 136 calories. The recipes below call for one-half and one tablespoon respectively per serving and are full of other healthy ingredients as well.

I found these nutritious breakfast dishes that include chia seeds at My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal is a treasure trove of healthy recipes.

I've adjusted the recipes a bit to suit my taste. Feel free to do the same!

Recipes Containing Healthy Amounts of Chia Seeds

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast in a Bowl
Makes 1 cup - two servings

  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup uncooked instant oats
  • 1/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. pecans, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar

Mash half of the banana in a cereal bowl. Add the oats, yogurt, milk, chia seeds, cinnamon and stir to combine. Let sit a few minutes if you want the oats softer and chewier. Divide into two servings. Top with pecans and the remaining 1/2 banana. This is scrumptious! That's high praise coming from someone who has always disliked oatmeal! Keeps in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information Serves: 1 | Serving Size: 1 bowl Per serving: Calories: 369; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 4mg; Sodium: 119mg; Total Carbohydrate: 57g; Dietary Fiber: 13g; Sugars: 20g; Protein: 12g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 689mg; Vitamin A: 8%; Vitamin C: 2%; Calcium: 61%; Iron: 20%

Banana Chia Cashew Pudding
Makes two 1/2 cup servings.

  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk - separated (2 oz. + 2 oz.)
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp. raw cashews (approx. 20g)
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

Soak chia seeds for 20 minutes in 2 ounces of almond milk. Set aside to gel.

Soak cashews in water for 20 minutes to soften. Discard water.

In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine all ingredients until smooth.

Chill for 20 minutes. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 179; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 143mg; Carbohydrate: 23g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 10g; Protein: 5g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 309mg; Vitamin A: 1%; Vitamin C: 9%; Iron: 11%; Calcium: 15%

Other Recipe Ideas Using Chia Seeds

Chia seeds turn gelatinous when mixed into a liquid and given a little time to set.

Use Chia Seeds Instead of Eggs

Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let mixture sit for about 10 minutes. Use in place of one egg in baking.

Use Chia Seeds to Make Quick Jams

Make this with any fruit you like. Use berries with seeds, like strawberries or raspberries and no one would even guess you made it so simply with healthy chia seeds.

In food processor, combine 1 cup fresh fruit, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon warm water and 1/4 teaspoon Stevia powder (or 1 tablespoon sugar or honey) and process to desired consistency - less for jam texture, more for jelly. Pour into glass jar and refrigerate 1 hour. Keeps in refrigerator for 2 weeks. Or you can freeze it for up to 6 months.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45 Review

Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45The Jan Marini company says it latest sunscreen, "Marini Physical Protectant utilizes purely physical filters for broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection to decrease the risk of premature skin aging ... Enhanced by Green Tea extract, Alpha-Bisabolol and CoEnzyme Q10, Marini Physical Protectant provides additional free radical protection."

Marini Physical Protectant SPF 45 uses the broad spectrum physical sunblocks zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, making it an excellent chose for sensitive skin, people who are allergic to chemical sunscreens and even those with rosacea skin. It's suitable for dry to slightly oily skin.

Marini Physical Protectant is a very lightweight, fragrance-free, mattifying cream that leaves a satiny smooth finish. It glides on and is easy to blend in because of the light yellow tint added to offset the usual chalky look of mineral sunscreens. If you have skin with cool (pink) undertones, this may appear too yellow on your skin.

Green Tea and CoEnxyme Q10 fight free radical damage. Bisabolol soothes irritation.

Marini Physical Protectant is water resistant up to 80 minutes. After swimming or sweating, towel dry and reapply sunblock.

This is another excellent product from the Jan Marini team. Jan Marini Peptide Extreme Facial Serum is our pick for best cell communicating anti-aging product. Jan Marini Age Intervention Retinol was selected Best Retinol Product in the 2013 NewBeauty Choice Awards and appears on our Top Ten Affordable Anti-Aging Product List.

[Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 6%, Zinc Oxide 8% Inactive Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Dimethicone Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Isododecane, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Poly Methyl Methacrylate/EDMA, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Bisabolol, Ubiquinone, Glycerin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol Iron Oxides.]

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