Dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation: human trials examining the impact of dark chocolate consumption on cognition and other brain functions

Findings from two new studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation, while improving memory, immunity and mood.

Source: Dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation: Data represent first human trials examining the impact of dark chocolate consumption on cognition and other brain functions — ScienceDaily

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School lunch decisions made by the child and not the parent

While school lunches in the UK are subject to food standards, the contents of packed lunches are not as closely scrutinized, and studies have raised concern regarding the nutritional quality of packed lunches. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that children, not their parents, are often the primary decision maker of whether they will eat a school lunch or what is packed for their lunch.

Source: School lunch decisions made by the child and not the parent | EurekAlert! Science News

Is Grass-Fed Really Necessary?

When buying beef, there are many different labels these days. Grass fed, organic, grass finished. What does it all mean? What are the differences? Which is best?

 

Terminology

First, let’s clear up the different terms and what they mean.

  • Grass-fed: Unregulated claim. Any animal that was fed grass at any point.
  • Grass-finished: Regulated. For animals that were fed only grass and plants for their entire lives. Usually grass-finished animals are pasture raised, not kept in pens.
  • Grain-fed: Animals fed grains, usually corn and soy, but also distiller grains. Almost always kept in pens throughout their lives. Remaining stationary speeds up the weight gain process.
  • Organic: Doesn’t refer to the diet of the animal, only that no hormones or antibiotics were used.
grass grain fed organic
Cows in pens

 

Nutrition

Now that you know which is which, let’s cover what the benefits are. Beef, in general, is a staple of a healthy diet. Full of vitamins and minerals, protein, and saturated fat, beef is good for you. The different types of beef have very different health benefits. Grain-fed animals, will more often than not, need antibiotics and/or hormones at some point. These are not good for your health. So organic is a remedy for that. To take it a step further though, grass fed and finished beef is your best bet.

Grass fed and finished beef contains more:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamins E, D, B (several B vitamins), K
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Niacin
  • Zinc
  • Folate
  • CLA: Up to 5x more than grain-fed. Conjugated linoleic acid. A naturally occurring fatty acid that improves brain function, weight, and reduces cancer risk
  • Better fatty acid profile: 2x-4x more omega-3  and less omega-6, which are inflammatory
  • Yellow fat: easier for the body to metabolize, due to the higher levels of beta-carotene

 

grass grain fed organic
Cow in a field

 

While organic and grass fed/finished meat does cost more, it is an investment in your health and longevity. If your health and well being isn’t worth extra money, I don’t know what is.

 

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting for Beginners

Intermittent fasting — when you restrict eating to a certain time period — carries enormous benefits for the body, including weight loss, protection against chronic disease, cellular repair and improvement in memory. Find out how intermittent fasting can help you, and how to do it.

Source: The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting for Beginners

Studies: Huntington, Crohn’s, Eggs, and Aging

Vol. 10

Eating Schedule and Huntington Disease

Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited progressive disease that can cause involuntary movements and psychological problems. Symptoms of HD appear in adulthood and worsen over time. Children with at least one parent with HD have a 50% chance of developing HD. As of now, HD is thought to be caused by the buildup of mutant huntingtin protein (mHTT) and there is no known cure. HD is linked to a problem with autophagy (cell death). The University of British Columbia (UBC) published research involving a mouse model of HD. Mice were restricted to a 6 hour eating windown, which prompted autophagy in the mice. There are practical applications for humans utilizing intermittent fasting, or a fasting mimetic diet.

https://goo.gl/wZNs8x

 

Eggs and Infants

Eggs. They are good for you, this much is made more and more obvious every day. Recently though, the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, published research stating that eggs are beneficial for infants as well.

Starting at 6 months of age, infants were fed eggs (whole eggs) as part of their diet. The infants, aged 6-9 months, were fed 1 egg per day. Eggs, being high in choline precursors, DHA, vitamins A, B12, selenium and other fatty acids, are vital for brain development.

https://goo.gl/QoNTZd

 

Artificial Sweeteners and Crohn’s

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University found artificial sweeteners (splenda, maltodextrin, and sucralose) worsened the symptoms of people with Crohn’s disease. Accorfding to the research, the artificial sweeteners increased the presence of proteobacteria and myeloperoxidase. Both of these are involved in inflammatory and autoimmune responses in people with Crohn’s. Researchers did not find the same reaction in people that do not suffer from Crohn’s.

https://goo.gl/HMuTPs

 

Exercise Slows Aging

Yet another reason to regularly exercise. The University of Birmingham and Kings College, London conducted research regarding exercise and aging. The study consisted of 125 participants, aged 55-79, 84 males and 41 females. Excluded from the study were smokers, heavy drinkers, and those who had high blood pressure. A control group of 75 non-exercisers was measured as well. The treatment group, the exercisers, had no loss of muscle mass or strength, no increase in body fat or cholesterol and their testosterone levels remained stable. The immune systems of the exercisers was also comparable to a younger person. One reason for this, according to the researchers, was that exercise prevented the shrinking of the thymus, which normally begins around age 20.

https://goo.gl/AfRLa5

 

Pregnant moms and their offspring should limit added sugars in their diets to protect childhood cognition

A new study has determined that poorer childhood cognition occurred, particularly in memory and learning, when pregnant women or their offspring consumed greater quantities of sugar. Substituting diet soda for sugar-sweetened versions during pregnancy also appeared to have negative effects. However, children’s fruit consumption had beneficial effects and was associated with higher cognitive scores.

Source: Pregnant moms and their offspring should limit added sugars in their diets to protect childhood cognition — ScienceDaily

Vitamin B12 breakthrough for more complete Vegetarian and Vegan diets

Scientists have made a significant discovery about how the vitamin content of some plants can be improved to make vegetarian and vegan diets more complete. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is an essential dietary component but vegetarians are more prone to B12 deficiency as plants neither make nor require this nutrient. But now a team, led by Professor Martin Warren, has proved that common garden cress can take up cobalamin.

Source: Vitamin B12 breakthrough for more complete Vegetarian and Vegan diets — ScienceDaily