Looking for a protein source?

beansLima Beans – Often referred to as the “butter bean” due to its creamy texture and delicate flavor, these beans are exceptional for encouraging good health at any age. They come in a variety of different colors and are a great vegetable protein that can be complimented with a grain to provide a complete protein source. Not to mention beans are budget-friendly and significantly healthier than animal protein sources.

Read the whole article here.

Source: Article written by Ashley Kim, Life&Health.org

 

ANTI-NUTRIENTS – WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE ALL THE FACTS

When you don’t have all the Facts

ANTINUTRIENTS – WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE ALL THE FACTS

by Risë Rafferty

Recently, my husband shared an article with me discussing the nutritional advantages that white rice has over brown rice. It presented the case that minerals are better absorbed from fortified white rice than brown rice. The culprit for binding mineral bioavailability in the brown rice was identified as phytate.

Articles sourced from those who promote “ancestral” forms of eating have expressed their concern that phytic acid found in grains, nuts, seeds and beans represents a serious problem in our diets. Calcium, iron and zinc deficiencies are attributed to this anti-nutrient. Some have even labeled it a toxin.

There are those who have witnessed the deficits in calcium, iron and zinc along with key vitamins in developing countries where the major staples of the diet are plant foods, namely grains. Associated with diets based on unrefined cereals and legumes, the nutrient deficiencies are considered to be partially due to poor bioavailability as a result of phytate content. Bioavailability is referring to the actual absorption and utilization of the nutrient. It is influenced by dietary and physiological factors. The emphasis in this arena is what can be done to increase bioavailability.

Interestingly enough, phytic acid is not the only ingredient in plant foods that is classified as an anti-nutrient. Oxalic acid, found in spinach, inhibits calcium absorption. Enzyme inhibitors, found in soybeans, prevent protein absorption. Why would anti-nutrients be found in foods that we have thought to be nutrient rich; which we believe were designed to provide optimal nutrition?

Phytate is found in the bran and germ of grains, in legumes, nuts and seeds. It prevents premature germination and stores the phosphorous that plants need to grow. We wouldn’t be able to store these food items through the winter if it weren’t for phytates. When seed germination begins, for example, after a good soaking in the ground, “phytate is hydrolysed, and phosphorous along with minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron are liberated, becoming available for germination and development of the seedlings.”1

PHYTIC ACID IS A PHYTOCHEMICAL WITH SIGNIFICANT ANTI-CANCER AND OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS

Phytate’s molecular structure is attracted to minerals and binds with them, plain and simple. Phytate sounds fine and dandy for the seed’s sake, but what about its impact on us?

Lab analysis and experiments have demonstrated that when phytic acid is added to refined flour magnesium absorption is decreased. “Consuming 5-10 mg of phytic acid can reduce iron absorption by 50%.”2 While in the intestines, phytic acid can bind the minerals iron, zinc, and manganese. Once bound, they are then excreted. All that good nutrition is whisked away.

Interestingly enough, however, there are others who have found a bright side to the apparently bleak phytate saga. They call phytate a phytochemical, an antioxidant, a blood sugar lowering agent, and an anti-cancer compound. Another term for phytate is inositol hexaphosphate (IP6). I will cite some conclusions of researchers who approached phytate from the other side of the mountain.

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Calcium in a Vegan Diet

Calcium-in-a-Vegan-Diet-960x960

Most people equate calcium with milk. While milk does contain calcium, there are many people who wish to avoid milk products for other health reasons. Are there any sources of calcium for those of us who do not drink milk?

Clarifying questions such as

  • Why is Calcium Important for the Body?
  • What Inhibits Calcium Absorption?
  • Medical Issues Related to Calcium Deficiency

 

… will help you to better understand and implement the intake of calcium in a vegan diet.

Read the whole article.

Source: Life&Health.org

Bad Fat May Hurt Brain Function Over Time…

... But researchers report that ‘good’ fat may help preserve thinking and memoryobesity

This study supports others that have found an association between saturated fats, the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and an increased decline in brain function, Samantha Heller, a dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, said.

“… it appears that the effects of eating a lot of saturated fat and the foods associated with it, such as red and processed meats, cheese and butter, over time creates a cascade effect of ill health.” Read the whole article

Source: HealthDay.com / Picture Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Avocados Help Lower Cholesterol

According to this new study eating one avocado per day can help lower LDL cholesterol significantly.

Link to original paper:  http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/4/1/e001355.full.pdf 

In a recent study, researchers randomly assigned 45 overweight or obese people with high LDL cholesterol levels to one of three diets, including one lower fat diet and two moderate-fat diets. One moderate fat diet included one avocado daily and the other moderate fat diet was matched for macronutrients and fatty acids, mainly using oleic acid oils. Each diet was maintained for five weeks. After a 2 week wash-out period, participants then switched diets until all 3 diets were completed.

The researchers found that all three study diets resulted in lower LDL and total cholesterol levels when compared to cholesterol levels at the beginning of the study. However, the moderate fat diet including avocado resulted in significantly greater LDL and total cholesterol reductions than the other two diets. Furthermore, LDL/HDL ratios decreased significantly more on the avocado diet.

The authors concluded that eating one avocado per day decreases LDL cholesterol levels. Furthermore, the beneficial effects of eating avocados go beyond their fatty acid content and may provide additional cardiovascular benefits.