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A recent study on brain health proves that people who eat a diet rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B12, have healthy brain functioning, and are least likely to suffer from memory problems caused by aging. Here are the results of the study that focused on senior brain health in relation to diet and nutrition.
Eat this to avoid brain shrinkage…
According to a study published by Neurology, senior citizens in their 80’s who eat a combination of foods high in vitamins and nutrients have better cognitive skills and more brain volume than seniors who fail to meet the requirement. Blood tests indicated which senior citizens had the highest levels of vitamins like B12 and B6, and which elderly individuals had vitamin deficiency.
The study found that the following vitamins are conducive to good brain health:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic acid)
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
Scientists also noted that foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for optimal brain health.
…and avoid eating this
Scientists also noted decreased cognitive functioning and less brain volume in senior citizens who ate foods high in trans fats, including fried foods, pizza, margarine, and high-fat packaged goods.
Which foods are highest in vitamin B12?
Here is a list of foods that contain brain-healthy vitamins such as B12, taken from Medline Plus:
Vitamin B1, Thiamine: yeast, cereal grains, beans, nuts, and meat
Vitamin B2, Riboflavin: milk, meat, eggs, nuts, enriched flour, and green vegetables
Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine: cereals, beans, vegetables, liver, meat, and eggs
Vitamin B9, Folate: leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts
Vitamin B12, Cobalamin: meat, fish, and dairy products
Vitamin C, Ascorbic acid: fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and greens
Vitamin E: vegetable oils, margarine, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens
Vitamin D: egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver
How do I know I’m getting enough vitamin B12?
Even if you eat plenty of foods high in B12- lean beef, chicken, seafood, eggs, and cheese-, you are not immune from vitamin B12 deficiency. People who lack intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach to absorb B12 from food, cannot digest vitamin B12 and are at risk for developing pernicious anemia.
The following individuals must have their vitamin B12 levels checked regularly through blood testing:
Patients of gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease
Anybody who has had a gastric bypass, or any other surgery involving the removal of the ileum
Diabetics on metformin
Acid reflux sufferers taking medication for chronic heartburn
Vitamin B12 supplements essential as part of your weight loss program. What are the benefits of vitamin B12 for weight loss? Vitamin B12 boosts metabolism, in addition to providing energy and stabilizing your mood.
Vitamin B12 contains cobalt; together, the minerals that make up vitamin B12, cobalamin, are essential coenzymes that increase metabolism by converting food to energy in the body. In diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency, researchers often take into account changes in the metabolic rate, in addition to measuring levels of B12 and homocysteine.
“Elevated methylmalonic acid levels might be a more reliable indicator of vitamin B12 status because they indicate a metabolic change that is highly specific to vitamin B12 deficiency.” - National Institutes of Health
People with high metabolisms tend to lose weight more quickly and efficiently than others who have slower metabolic rates. In order to burn fat at an optimal rate, it is essential to maintain healthy stores of vitamin B12.
B12 boosts energy
If you have symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, then you experience symptoms such as tiredness, muscular weakness, decreased motor skills, and lack of energy.
Unfortunately, many people who suffer symptoms of low B12 don’t even know it. Often, comorbid conditions such as clinical depression, anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), or hypothyroidism (low thyroid) mask the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. So, despite taking treatments such as antidepressants, insulin, thyroid medications, or pain relievers, they continue to feel sad and tired all the time, battling with constant “brain fog” without knowing why.
Increasing your energy level provides mental focus, determination, and emotional wellness, in addition to improving your quality of life. These things together assure weight loss success by enabling you to stick to a workout routine, increase your sports performance and stamina, challenge yourself in the gym, and stay on track.
B12 boosts mood
Common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety, paranoia, and unusually aggressive behavior. When you are in a bad mood, you are more likely to make poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drug use, oversleeping, eating fattening, salty or sugary foods, and sedentary activities like television watching and playing video games.
Scientists have proven a high correlation between depression and weight gain. If you feel sluggish, depressed, or more fatigued than usual, then you are statistically less likely to follow an exercise regimen or commit yourself to a new weight loss diet.
Only by taking vitamin B12 supplements can you begin to recover from symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and achieve an overall sense of well-being.
In recent health news, a medical journals report claims that overuse of dietary supplements and multivitamins can cause premature death in women. PubMed and the Archives of Internal Medicine have published the women’s health study, which critics argue is seriously flawed.
Multivitamins that kill?
Last year, newsrooms were abuzz about the increasing usage of vitamin supplements among Americans. Now, apparently, an Iowa Women’s Health Study claims that in some incidences, overusing vitamins and dietary supplements- multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, and copper- can actually kill you, especially if you happen to be an elderly female.
Health experts are up in arm over this latest study, and for good reason- on closer inspection, the scientific study, published by PubMedand the Archives of Internal Medicine, has some disturbing holes…
Bad science just doesn’t add up
One of the first things that you learn in science lab is, “Correlation doesn’t prove causation.” Put simply, just because two things happen at the same time, doesn’t mean that one causes the other. For example, there’s a high correlation between B12 deficiency and fibromyalgia, but that doesn’t mean that vitamin B12 deficiency causes fibromyalgia, just that the two share a statistical relationship. (In fact, it’s more likely that fibromyalgia causes vitamin B12 deficiency, but for scientific purposes, we cannot assume a causal relationship.)
The fact that a high correlation of vitamin-taking test participants had a high mortality rate does not prove that the vitamins killed them. Many of the women studies took toxic amounts of iron supplements- a known cause of cardiovascular disease. In addition, no care was taken to insure randomness, so it is quite possible that there was underlying chronic illness that the Iowa scientists failed to uncover.
Are researchers actually suggesting that women stop taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid, which countless studies prove greatly reduces the risk of birth defects?
The ABCs of the Best Vitamins for Energy: Learn which vitamins and minerals are best for keeping fit, building muscle, boosting energy, maintaining your immune system, and improving athletic performance.
#1: Vitamin A
Orange veggies (carrots, yams, etc.) that are high in vitamin A are excellent for maintaining good eyesight, but that’s not all. Vitamin A also helps your body build protein, which is essential for strong, healthy muscles. Vitamin A also helps your body store energy by aiding in the production of glycogen.
#2: Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Thiamine is one of the most important vitamins for generating muscle growth and boosting stamina during a workout. That is because vitamin B1 helps your body to digest protein and deliver oxygen to your muscles through hemoglobin.
#3: Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin’s impact on athletic performance is threefold:
Riboflavin aids in extracting oxygen from fatty acids.
Riboflavin moves hydrogen ions through the Krebs cycle, which is essential for protein synthesis from amino acids and reproducing DNA.
#4: Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Of all the B complex vitamins, niacin is perhaps the most crucial for converting the calories from foods we eat into energy. Niacin aids in metabolizing protein, carbohydrates, and fats, in addition to supporting your nervous system, supporting healthy hormones, and maintaining cholesterol in already healthy cholesterol levels.
#5: Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Pyridoxine helps your body digest proteins and carbohydrates. The amount of B6 you need correlates with the amount of protein foods in your diet.
#6: Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is crucial for maintaining a healthynervous system, sustaining cognitive functioning, and increasing stamina. Cobalamin benefits your body by aiding in the following biochemical functions:
Nervous system health: By protecting the myelin sheathe of your nervous system, vitamin B12 helps you maintain normal body coordination and movement.
Cognitive health: by assisting in red blood cell metabolism, vitamin B12 supports delivery of oxygen to the brain.
DNA synthesis: Vitamin B12 helps to protect cellular and tissue health.
Stamina: Vitamin B12 helps your body convert fatty acids into energy.
#7: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that supports your immune system. Because vitamin C dissolves rapidly in water and muscular tissue, athletes with the most muscle require more vitamin C than non-body builders, and must supplement their vitamin C intake accordingly.
The health benefits of the antioxidant vitamin C are numerous; they include:
Fighting against free radicals
Metabolizing amino acids, particularly collagen, a protein that is responsible for “gluing” muscular tissue with bone
Increasing oxygen intake by absorbing iron
Producing and releasing vital hormones, including testosterone
#8: Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body extract calcium from foods such as dairy products, salmon, and dark leafy greens. Calcium helps your body produce strong bones, muscular tissue, and aids in muscular contraction. Vitamin D also helps you digest phosphorus, which is also essential for proper muscular functioning, in addition to the synthesis of the energy molecule, ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).
#9: Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in wheat germ, healthy vegetable cooking oils, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, and many breakfast cereals. Vitamin E benefits muscular health by reducing free radicals.
Biotin is instrumental in digesting amino acids and increasing stamina. Bodybuilders who consume raw eggwhites may become deficient in biotin because of avidin, a naturally occurring protein in eggs. In addition to developing biotin deficiency, athletes who eat uncooked eggs expose themselves to the risks of salmonella food poisoning.
#11: Electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, and chloride)
Electrolytes are essential for hydrating the body during excessive perspiring from exercise or exposure to extremely hot, dry weather. Electrolytes include minerals such as sodium, magnesium, and chloride, the loss of which lead to dehydration symptoms such as muscular cramps, heatstroke, and mentaldisorientation. Athletes should opt for drinking water fortified with electrolytes, as your body is unable to produce these minerals naturally.
Creatine is an amino acid that occurs predominantly in fish and poultry. Creatine supplements help your body convert energy from phosphorus, and are popular among athletes who favor sports that require quick, intense bursts of energy, such as bodybuilding, sparring, kickboxing, or sprinting.
Pre-Workout Foods that boost athletic performance:Discover which healthy, nutritious foods boost energy, protect your immune system, and increase stamina.
Following an exercise regimen is crucial for optimal health. Not only is it necessary for maintaining or losing weight, but it is also essential for managing conditions like depression, chronic pain/fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and even diabetes.
Post-bariatric surgery patient must also follow a physical fitness program.
To get the most out of your daily workout, make sure to eat the right foods. Eating healthy, nutritious pre-workout snacks will help to boost energy, prevent exhaustion, and minimize sports injuries.
Here are four foods that health experts recommend for athletic performance:
1) PB & J
For optimal energy before a sports meet, munch on something with lots of complex carbohydrates and protein. Old School peanut butter and jelly sandwiches get a nutritious update when you substitute whole-grain bread in place of pasty white sliced bread, organic all-natural peanut butter for the sugary processed kind, and 100% fruit spread instead of syrupy-sweet jam.
Yogurt contains active live cultures that are beneficial for breeding healthy “good” bacteria in your gut. Opt for low-fat plain yogurt, and flavor it with fresh fruit and granola. In a hurry? Toss it in the blender, whir it around for a minute, and pour yourself a refreshing fruit smoothie. Some delicious yogurt concoctions to try are berries ‘n mint, cinnamon apple “a la mode,” and date-nut shake.
We kid you not. According to research from Wayne State University, dark chocolate contains ingredients that help boost sports performance. Small doses of chocolate, combined with daily exercise, enhance muscle tone by 50 percent.
Carbohydrates such as glucose provide energy. Before going on a long bike ride or running a marathon, you need an extra dose of healthy sugars to give you the stamina you need to get the most out of your workout. Honey is whole, all-natural blend of healthy sugars that delivers pure energy. Also read: Marathon Runner to eat only McDonalds Food- her 31 Day Menu
Unhealthy food cravings are your body’s way of warning you of vitamin deficiency. Learn how to identify food cravings in your diet for better nutritional health.
You only think you want a chocolate milkshake…
Are you a slave to your food cravings? When you get this indescribable urge to run to the nearest Starbucks and order a Grande Brownie Frappuccino with whipped cream and an extra shot of java juice, do you ever think to yourself,
“Wait a minute…do I really want to drink a sweet, cold, frothy caffeinated beverage right now, or is my brain just trying to tell me that I need to include more phosphorous and chromium in my diet?”
Of course, you don’t.
Before today, you had no idea that there was any connection between your craving for sweet iced coffee and phosphorous deficiency.
Now, you know.
What your body really wants…
When you don’t follow a healthy diet, replete with vitamins and essential minerals, then your body will find a way to tell you to change your diet. Food cravings are your body’s way of asking for more of what it needs:
Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E
Learning how to decode your body’s messages…
Fortunately, all you need is a good “owner’s manual” to figure out which foods you need to add to your diet.
Below are 6 typical unhealthy cravings, and which healthy foods and nutritional supplements you should substitute:
1- If you crave sugary sweets like candies, cookies, cakes, and donuts, then you really need:
Chromium- sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes, beets, whole grains, and meat and fish
If you read Part 1, Five Reasons to Go Bento on Gluten Free, then you already know that bento boxes are God’s gift to gluten-free dieting. Now, what are you going to do with that information? To start you off on the road to happy bento boxing, here are some tips from the experts:
Bento Lunchbox Tips
1- Make it gluten-free! Fortunately, bento box lunches marry well with gluten-free dieting. That’s because staple bento lunch ingredients include gluten-free foods like rice, eggs, and fish, in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables. Your only challenge- finding gluten-free soy sauce.
2- Make it fun!Buy a bento box that matches your child’s personality. Bento box themes range from Pokemon, space robots, and sports to panda bears, puppy dogs, and everybody’s favorite, Hello Kitty.
3- Make it hot or cold! Cold bento lunches are a snap to put together, but don’t forget those chilly winter school days! Many bento boxes come with insulation to keep your cold salads crisp, and your warm chowders steamy.
4- Make it personal!Let your kids help you put together their lunch ingredients. You supply the fixins, like carrot sticks, rice balls, tuna salad, boiled eggs, and cut fruit. Your kids can assemble the whole kit and caboodle.
5- Make it awesome!You don’t need to be a master at food artistry to concoct some cool-looking sides with real “wow!” appeal. Use common tools like cookie cutters, egg slicers, ice cube trays, and ice cream sandwich molds to whip up some unique, whimsical snack creations. Add sliced nori for “eyes,” or design healthy edible decorations out of egg sheets. Let your imagination run wild!
6- Make it economical! Bento lunch meals are cheap because they utilize inexpensive, basic staples like rice, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Bento lunches are also practical, in that they use up leftovers and other single-serving snacks.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the intestinal linings, specifically in the presence of gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, corn, rye, spelt, Kamut and triticale. For that reason, people who suffer from celiac disease are required to follow a gluten-free celiac disease restrictive diet.
Gluten can lurk in many baked goods, packaged food items, and condiments. Although many food items carry “gluten-free” labeling, the best way to avoid accidentally consuming gluten is by checking ingredient labels carefully, checking also for gluten cross-contamination warnings.
Other people who follow gluten-free dieting are individuals who are allergic to gluten, and others who suffer from gluten intolerance. Also, many parents of autistic children find that gluten-free foods agree better with their children’s digestive system. Increasingly, more sufferers of fibromyalgiaclaim that switching to a gluten-free diet has alleviated many of their pain symptoms.
Why Go Bento?
Bento is the Japanese version of a brown-bagged lunch, only much healthier…not to mention, better for the environment. Bento boxes are easy to find, but if you don’t feel like ordering a Hello Kitty bento box for your celiac kiddo, don’t worry. In a pinch, you can utilize standard Rubbermaid or Ziploc brand containers for your bento boxing needs.
The many benefits of bento boxing are too numerous to count, but let’s try:
1- Perfect pair. Bento boxing and gluten-free dieting is a match made in heaven. Traditional Japanese cuisine already contains foods that are compatible with celiac disease dieting.
2- Portion controlled.The number one strategy for any diet is controlling the amount you eat. Bento boxes contain sectioned food trays, allowing for perfect food group rationing, for you portion control freaks out there.
3- Pleasing to the eye.Tasty food alone doesn’t suffice for your fussy eaters; it should look good, too. Studies prove that people “taste with their eyes” before they take that first bite. Popular bento treats include rice balls (onigiri) and molded eggs, formed with fun animal-shaped molds, and veggies or fruit in appealing cookie-cutter figures.
4- Planet-friendly. By using a bento box, you cut out a substantial amount of waste, including brown bags, sandwich bags, plastic forks, and paper packaging
5- Pocket-friendly.Let’s not forget, you save a ton of money when you go bento. Where a typical lunch may cost upwards of $20.00, a prepackaged bento boxed lunch will only run you a couple bucks, especially if you utilize last night’s dinner leftovers.
About 93 percent of women and teenagers engage in “fat talk.” Are you one of them? Learn how to fix your body image while losing weight and living healthy. Don’t wait to love your weight!
Is there even such thing as a fat ankle?
You ever hear teenage girls “talk fat?” You know, when they pick up a copy of Glamour magazine, breezily flip though the glossy pages, muttering, “I’m soooo fat. Look how skinny she is. I hate my ankles.”
Well, scientists actually bothered to do research on “fat talk,” and guess what they discovered…
Ready? Hold on to your Spanx girdle…
Predominantly, only skinny girls talk fat.
Yep, perfectly healthy, lean, young chicks. According to researchers, when the fat talk starts, the ones who know that they need to lose weight (for their own health) tend to keep to themselves, anxious not to draw attention to themselves.
And don’t think that fat talk is primarily a teen problem. No, sirree. According to high-profile dressing room attendants, middle-aged department store shoppers suffer from unhealthy body image, as well.
Here are some tips from health experts on improving your body image:
1) Love the one you’re with.
That’s you, by the way. Make a list of 10 things you love about yourself that have nothing, whatsoever to do with your looks- exclude anything about your body structure, weight, or complexion. You get the point. Now that you’ve made your list, keep it around. Put it up on your bathroom mirror or locker. Stick it inside your weight loss journal. Remind yourself every day that you are (to paraphrase Stuart Smally) “good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
2) It’s all about perspective.
People want what they don’t have. A bald businessman looks into a boardroom and sees nothing but perfectly coifed, lush hairstyles. A woman who is obsessed with getting a nose job is haunted each day by visions of perfectly pointy, petite noses, certain that everybody else around her is secretly gawking at her bulbous nose. The truth is that you are your worst critic. Go easy on yourself, and accept that there is more to life than having a trim, hard six-pack, a perky nose, or thick, lustrous hair.
Okay, so maybe you’ve fallen off the wagon more times than you care to remember. It happens to everybody. Resist the temptation to lament, grumble, or whine about how difficult it is to lose weight. It’s hard for everybody. You’ll do yourself, and your friends, a better service if you give a little pep talk whenever you feel down, instead of a “woe is me” party.
4) Learn from your mistakes.
Don’t focus on past failures. Leave the past where it belongs- in history. So you broke your diet. Determine what went wrong, and commit yourself to make better choices in the future. A good tip is to keep a food diary- it will help you figure out what “triggers” unhealthy eating.
5) Learn how to feel comfortable in your own skin.
Do you avoid looking in the mirror because you don’t like what you see? That kind of behavior only reinforces negative body image. Don’t put off self-esteem for the day you finally reach goal weight. Love your body now, while you’re on the road to permanent weight loss. Pamper yourself with a pedicure, eyebrow waxing, fresh haircut, or a bottle of scented body lotion. Buy yourself a new outfit. Yes! You don’t have to be thin in order to appreciate your own body.
Did you find any of these tips helpful?
Do you also battle with negative body image?
Share your thoughts, and let us know what weight loss challenges you currently face.