27 October 2013

What is the best source of Calcium for you bones?

There is a big debate about whether milk consumption helps prevent fractures and osteoporosis or not. On one side are those who think that high calcium intake in the form of three glasses of milk a day, would help prevent osteoporosis and fractures. Yet, each year osteoporosis causes about 1.5 million fractures in the U.S. alone.

On the other side are those who believe that consuming lots of milk does not affect the risk of fractures and could also contribute to other problems such as heart disease or prostate cancer.

Who is right? The answer is not known for sure. However, there are some undeniable properties of calcium and its effects on the body. Let's talk about them.

What is Calcium and how we get it?

Calcium (Ca) is a mineral that the body needs for numerous functions including the creation and maintenance of bones and teeth, blood clotting, transmission of nerve impulses and heart rate regulation. The 99% of the calcium in the human body is concentrated in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1% is found in blood and other tissues.

The body gets the calcium in two ways. The first by consuming foods or supplements containing calcium. Good sources include dairy products, which contain the highest concentration of calcium highly absorbable by the body per serving. Leafy green vegetables and grains are also good sources of calcium.

Calcium supplements are also a good source and often contain vitamin D. Taking calcium with this vitamin appears to be more beneficial for bone health than taking calcium alone. Look for those supplements that are Calcium Citrate, and do not buy the Calcium Carbonate ones, as these last ones may cause kidney stones.

The other way that the body gets calcium is removing it from the bone, which happens when blood calcium level is very low. Ideally calcium taken from the bones is replaced, but this does not always happen.

Is milk the best source of calcium?

When thinking calcium, the first thing that crosses your mind is MILK. But should be milk our only source of this mineral? Milk is only one of many sources of calcium that can be found in nature. Leafy vegetables, specially leafy green vegetables like spinach and some legumes such as soybeans and chickpeas are other important sources. Also high amounts of calcium found in: algae such as kelp, mustard greens, bok choy (Chinese cabbage), bean sprouts, sardines and mackerel with bones, sesame, almonds and chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and tofu.

There are some reasons why milk is not the best source of calcium for many people:
1.     Lactose intolerance: Many people suffer some degree of intolerance to lactose (milk sugar). For them drinking or eating dairy products can cause problems like stomach swelling, stomach cramps, flatulency and diarrhea. Alternatives to those who want to enjoy the consumption of dairy products are taking digestive enzymes that digest lactose or drinking lactose-free milk.
2.    Saturated fat: many dairy products contain high amounts of saturated fats and these fats increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. If you want to enjoy dairy choose those with the lowest fat percentage.
3.    Possible ovarian cancer risk increase: High levels of galactose (sugar that is released to digest lactose) can lead to ovary damages and consequently ovarian cancer. However, this association has not been fully demonstrated. It is necessary to conduct more research in this regard.
4.    Possible prostate cancer risk increase: a high in calcium diet has been flagged as a possible risk factor for prostate cancer. In a Harvard University study, men who drank two or more glasses of milk per day had almost twice the risk of developing prostate cancer than those who did not drink milk.

What are the recommendations for calcium intake and bone health?

Adequate calcium intake during our lives is necessary to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The intake of calcium and vitamin D, and regular resistance training are very important to create the maximum possible bone strength and density. After age 30, the risk factors increase and these actions can help reduce the bone density loss, even though they do not completely prevent bone loss due to aging.

Milk and dairy products are a convenient source of calcium for many. These are also a good source of protein and are fortified with vitamin D and A. However, the optimal dose of calcium is not very clear. The recommended daily intake of calcium for people between 15 and 50 years is 1000 mg calcium per day and 1200 mg of calcium daily for those older than 50. However, these doses are the result of short-term studies and may be higher levels than many people actual needs.

There is currently no good evidence that consumption of more than one glass of milk a day, within a balanced diet (diet that can provide 300 mg of calcium per day) may reduce the risk of fractures. Also, even though the results of studies about milk consumption increasing the risk of ovarian and prostate cancer are not conclusive, it is at least prudent to avoid high consumption of dairy products.

On the other hand, a moderate intake of calcium and dairy products has benefits beyond bone health. These include reducing the risk of high blood pressure and colon cancer. These benefits come from consuming one or two glasses of milk a day, and including in the diet consumption of other foods containing calcium.

So if you want to get the benefits of calcium and enjoy dairy, it is advisable to consume one or maximum two glasses of milk a day, preferably low-fat or skim milk. Also include in your diet leafy green vegetables, kale, legumes and some nuts such as almonds and walnuts. As named above, another important source is sardines and mackerel, especially their spines, which are so thin that we can chew and eat. Calcium is also found in spinach and chard, however these vegetables contain oxalic acid which makes calcium less available to the body. You can also consume a variety of calcium-fortified products that are on the market, such as Shakeology®. This is a nutritional supplement that can help you increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D without adding calories, helping you control your weight.

Now that you know a little more about this important mineral, select the best options for you and your bones.

Remember, nutrition is Wellness!

16 August 2013

My Fitness and Nutrition Challenge Group is Waiting for You to Join!

Have you been trying to lose weight for some time without getting the results you expect? Do you feel tired during the day, and you can't avoid junk food anxiety? Then consider joining the My Fitness and Nutrition Challenge Group.

It has been shown that most people get better results of weight loss when they get direct support from a coach or guide who will motivate them and specify the steps involved in each step of the process. That is why I invite you to join this group and I'll personally lead you in every step of the program to get the results you have struggled to achieve.

This challenge is a program of 30/60/90 days according to your selection including:

  • Workout Program from Beachbody ® to do in the comfort of your home. Each program comes with an specific schedule for each day telling you which exercises to do and the materials you need. You can choose between several programs with different intensity levels. 
  • Our state of the art nutritional supplement Shakeology ®, to drink daily. This will help you get all he nutrients you need in a day with few calories, helping you lose weight, increase your energy levels, curb craving and many other health benefits.
  • You will also get connected to my private Facebook group where you will get all the support, motivation, tips, advice and more to help you achieve your goals (this part is free, I don't charge you for motivate you, pretty awesome right?

Besides when you finish your program you'll get a free shirt of the program you have chosen, and the chance to win cash prizes, only for posting the pictures of your transformation.

Unquestionably this is the ideal equation that allows you to accomplish your weight loss goals:

Exercise + Nutrition + Support + Rewards = Success and Recognition

Come and join me and I promise you will not be alone in this process, and if you follow the steps you'll accomplish your goals! Leave me a comment below with your email address and I'll send you all the information you need to start live a healthier life!!.

I invite you to watch this short video to get opinions from people who have participated:

Remember, Nutrition is Wellness!

14 July 2013

My Super Foods Guide: Part II

In this second post of Super Foods I will continue listing the foods you should always have in your kitchen, ready to prepare delicious and nutritious meals:

1. Nuts:

Walnuts are the best sources of vegetable protein. They are rich in Fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Nuts are also high in plant sterols which help block cholesterol absorption in the intestine. They are also full of omega-3 fats we know are our favorites. Nuts have a high fat content of these compared with other nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc.. Of course, we should  always eat them in moderation as they can easily add many calories to your meal. A handful is enough of daily portion.

2. Oats:

A cup of oatmeal contains:

  • 147 Kcal
  • 2.3 g of fat
  • 25.3 g of carbohydrates
  • 6 g Protein
  • 3.98 g Fiber
A cup of oatmeal in the morning not only satisfy you for a good part of the day, but also gives you many benefits. They are rich in vegetable protein, Vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium and Manganese. They are also packed with Fiber. That if you remember to choose the whole grain kind. It has been concluded in many studies that eating a bowl of oatmeal daily decreases by 29% the risk of cardiovascular events.

Include oats in your breakfast, mix in recipes of biscuits, cakes, pies, breads, etc. to enhance their flavor and nutrients.

3. Olive Oil:

In the last post we talked about the benefits of Olive Oil. We have seen that monounsaturated fats help reduce bad cholesterol, the same fat is present in olive oil. That is why now I recommend to change the cooking oil you are using now for olive oil. This oil has been more studied and proven to help prevent cardiovascular disease through its effect on cholesterol. Always look for the Extra Virgin Olive Oil because it contains polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that protects our bodies from free radicals. The more virgin is more oil contains polyphenols.

4. Quinoa:

Quinoa is another grain, besides oats, you should include in your diet. It contains lots of protein for a cereal, about 8 g per cup. This helps to keep you full longer, stabilizing blood sugar levels. This cereal is also rich in Vitamin B12, Iron, crucial for metabolism. Many of the grains we eat are fortified but Quinoa contains Vitamins B in high amounts naturally.

5. Salmon:

Salmon is the perfect food to replace red meat in your diet. It is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fats. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week, particularly fatty fish such as salmon. Choose wild salmon instead of farmed.

6. Dark Chocolate:

Woo! I love chocolate for dessert! One square is enough and it should contain 70% cocoa or more, not chocolate bars full of fat!. Studies have shown that dark chocolate helps lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and also helps decrease LDL cholesterol (the bad guy), it is also rich in antioxidants and magnesium. Remember, the idea is to eat more chocolate, just include it in your diet in moderation.

In subsequent parts I will continue talking about essential foods that you must keep in your fridge to keep  you healthy!!

Remember, Nutrition is Wellness!!

03 July 2013

Olive Oil - The Best in Your Kitchen

With the increasing popularity of the Mediterranean Diet, which includes olive oil consumption, this oil has become one of the most studied cooking oils.

Researchers have proven the high level of benefits to our health. Many studies have been conducted on olive oil and it has been identified as a key food in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, which are responsible for the benefits of this oil. Besides olive oil contain polyphenols, which are that antioxidants which protect the body form the free radicals.

Several studies show that the olive oil reduces glucose levels because it enables a more efficient use of it on the cells, and also decrease the insulin requirements. Those diabetics who consume a diet rich in monounsaturated fat has been shown to improve their blood fat profile, with a decrease in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, compared with a diet rich in carbohydrates.

However, not all olive oils are created equal. When choosing the type of oil you should select the "Extra Virgin" kind as it is much less processed than the non-virgins. The more virgin the oil the more polyphenols it contains.

In the kitchen olive oil very multipurpose. It can be eaten raw in salads as dressing and also use it for cooking and frying. This oil has a high smoke point, 210 ° C which is higher than most other oils. It is important not to heat the oil, without added food, until there is smoke. This is a sign that it is exceeding the optimum temperature.

Now you know a little more about the benefits of this oil. I hope you make the change!

Remember, Nutrition is Wellness!!

22 June 2013

My Super Foods Guide: Part I

This is the first part of My Super Foods Guide. In this and future articles I will list some of my favorite foods to always have in your kitchen. They are definitely healthy foods to include regularly in your diet to help you improve your overall health:

1. Dark Greens:

Green vegetables such as kale, chard, collard greens, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, etc. are full of Vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and Phyto-nutrients. They also contain large amounts of fiber and few calories which makes them the perfect foods to keep your heart healthy and slim your figure. The recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines recommend both American and Canadian varied at least 7 servings of these vegetables a day.

2. Legumes:

The legumes provide us with large amounts of fiber in just one serving. Most beans contain 15 grams of fiber per cup. Fiber plays an important role in maintaining our health. If you have not started to eat more fiber, I recommend you to start right now! The benefits are numerous!.

Studies shows that legumes help regulate cholesterol levels because of the high amount of soluble fiber containing and low glycemic index. These two components work together helping sugar levels after a meal to rise more slowly compared to other foods with high glycemic index. This is great news for diabetics! And for those who want to control your weight as well as the low glycemic index helps keep hunger controlled as fiber fills you up longer. Besides this, the grains also contain antioxidants which are linked to prevent some types of cancer.

30 December 2012

Reach Wellness with Healthy Habits

Today, millions of people around the world seek a "magic" formula or "diet" that will effectively help them lose that extra weight once and for all. However, after finding the "ideal diet" and achieving the desired weight, in most cases, people return to their previous diet, which results in the recovery of the weight lost. Has this ever happened to you?

This time I'm going to list a few tips that can help you achieve your goal this coming year: lose weight in a healthy and permanent way.

First, you must become aware that there is evidence that obesity predisposes individuals to many degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc. Therefore you must be aware of all that is at risk and prioritize your health rather than your appearance. Your goal should not be to look slim, or to look like models in magazines. Those pictures almost never show reality. The most important thing is to aim to achieve a healthy ideal weight, according to your height, build and age, and not wanting to look like top models. We are all different and each one of us requires a certain diet in order to stay in good shape and healthy.

Now, what I recommend you is to slow and gradually start changing your eating habits, one by one. Hence, establishing healthier eating habits for life. These could be some of them:

1. Eat breakfast early, between the first hour after awakening. It is important never omit breakfast. Breakfast helps restore blood glucose values ​​after the hours you starved during the night. There is evidence that people who eat breakfast tend to choose healthier foods during the day, helping to maintain ideal weight.

2. Program your three main meals and two snacks, (that can be a mid-morning and afternoon). Examples of snacks include: low-fat yogurt with berries and nuts or a piece of fruit and almonds.

3. At breakfast remember including fruits, you can take a piece of fruit just before your regular 
breakfast. Also add sources of high biological value proteins like egg whites, cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt and also complex carbohydrates such as oats, barley or wheat bread. Remember also to include healthy fats like nuts, peanut butter or olives.

4. Limit or avoid drinking and eating beverages and food with regular sugar, such as soft drinks, candies, gum, cookies and cakes. If you wished something sweet during the day, fruits are a good choice, including dried fruits like raisins or dried cranberries. Another good choice is chocolate with high cocoa content (70-85% tastes good without being too strong). Prefer drinks such as water, tea, and freshly squeezed juices.

5. Reduce or completely avoid fried and puff pastry. Instead, prefer baked, roasted, boiled or grilled food.

6. Replace mayonnaise, butter and margarine with light cream cheese, ricotta cheese or hummus dip (chickpea cream).

7. Drink a glass of water or tea before each meal and between meals.

8. Increase your intake of fiber: fruits and vegetables, whole foods (bread, crackers, rice, pasta, oats) and legumes. I would recommend you to do this gradually.

9. Try to eat different kind of food, always including healthy carbohydrates. Visualize your plate: half the plate with salad or cooked vegetables, a quarter of a healthy companion as brown rice, and the other quarter with a source of high biological value proteins like fish, skinless poultry, lean meat.

10. Do more exercise. Walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, etc. Join a gym with a friend and you'll have company and it will be less likely you will quit. If you have never done exercise in a gym, consult first with your doctor and start slowly.

11. Well, not everything has to be restrictions. It is not bad "to let one´s hair down" once in a while, as they say. Once or twice a week you can have a food that you really like, such as: a sweet, candy, pastry, fried, etc. preferably during the morning. If you do physical activities and eat healthy at least 5 days a week, the balance will be in your favor.

12. Sleep between 7 to 8 hours a day, at least 5 days a week. Sleep deficit can hinder control of obesity, and boost abdominal fat gain and muscle loss.

I would suggest you to include these healthy habits in your daily life gradually. It is usually not healthy try changing our current habits overnight, and each body reacts differently to changes. It is best to gradually adopt these changes, in order to really get used to these healthy habits and keep them for the rest of your life.

Keep in mind that every journey begins with one small step.

Remember, Nutrition is Wellness!

23 September 2012

Why do we need five servings of vegetables a day?

Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day will bring you lots of water (between 75% and 95% of its weight is water), vitamins, water-soluble like vitamin C, folic acid and small amounts of other B vitamins (B1, B2, B3 and B6) and soluble compounds such as carotenoids (mainly ß-carotene) with activity of pro-vitamin A and vitamins K and E. 

Vegetables also provide minerals like potassium, magnesium and small amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus and phytochemicals (organic compounds present in plant foods that are not nutrients but have beneficial effects on health) among which we can highlight carotenoids, phenolics, glucosinolates and phytosterols, and fiber.

The regular intake of fruits and vegetables helps prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, some cancers and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as overweight and obesity.

Vegetable provide fewer calories (less than 70 kcal per 100 grams of edible portion) and saturated fat (less than 1% by weight, with exceptions such as the avocado with a 12% weight), and help us to reduce the intake of other foods because keep you full. They are also easy to cook and very easy to find in stores.

Consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day helps maintain a balanced diet which is the key to have a healthy life. Vegetables are are well accepted by the elderly, during adulthood provide basic nutrients and during childhood and adolescence are essential to forming good eating habits.
So, how could you introduce them in your daily menu?

The key is to include fruits and vegetables in each of your daily meals. It's that easy!

Here I give you several ideas to choose one of them five times a day:

Breakfast: 1 fruit or 1 Natural juice

Mid-morning Snack: 1 fruit or 1 Natural juice

1 Salad
1 bowl of vegetables or vegetables
The vegetable garnish and vegetable main courses
1 Fruit Dessert

Mid-afternoon Snack:
1 Fruit
1 Fruit Salad
1 natural fruit juice

Vegetable dish
1 Salad
The garrison of the main courses
1 fruit for dessert

Remember, Nutrition is Wellness!