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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Ideas For Eating All Week

 As another begrudged Sunday activity (perhaps somewhere between folding laundry and balancing your checkbook), we get it. The idea of braving a populous grocery store and spending hours in the kitchen doesn’t quite fit in with your Netflix-and-chill agenda. However, spending a little extra time to prepare healthy food for the week is worth the effort. Not only can it curb the urge to call in your favorite takeout on a nightly basis, it also takes the guess work out of meals, giving you more time to dominate other facets of your week.

We asked some of the top health food bloggers to share their best meal prep tips to ensure your weekend prep—and weekday meals—are as efficient as they are delicious. A busy week has nothing on you.

Take out the trash, empty the dishwasher, and put away stuff on the counter or in the sink. This makes it easier to work efficiently. Also, using a “garbage” bowl (thank you, Rachel Ray) can help you keep tidier counters and floors, and move more quickly, avoiding constant trips to the garbage can.

Invest in quality meal storage containers

Use glass containers to store prepped fruit and vegetables in the fridge. Place them front and center so your eye catches them when opening the fridge doors. It makes the produce more appetizing and research has shown using glass containers and proper placement leads to healthier diet quality.

Cook batch grains

Cook a few batches of whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, cool it in the fridge, and then divide the grains into meal-size portions to freeze. When ready to reheat, you have your own healthy “minute” rice! As an added bonus, when rice is cooked, cooled, and reheated, some of the starch is converted to resistant starch, which acts as a prebiotic to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut.

Repurpose leftovers

Consider foods that make a great vehicle for leftovers for the nights later in the week that you might be sick of looking at the same stuff you’ve been eating since Monday. For example, a frittata makes a great vehicle for leftover vegetables when you’re trying to use up odds and ends in the fridge. Serve with a simple side salad and you’ve got a delicious, fuss-free mea

Prepare ingredients that add variety

Cook or prepare several ingredients that could be thrown together in a variety of ways, depending on what you crave later in the week. For example, a large batch of grilled or roasted veggies, a grain (such as brown rice, quinoa, or pasta), and protein (such as meat, beans, or tofu). This gives you the flexibility to easily throw together a variety of dishes (i.e. salads, stir-fries, sandwiches, and even pizza) throughout the week and create quick, satisfying meals that honor your body’s cravings.

Prepare multi-purpose foods

Any sort of soup or chili can be lunch and/or dinner served with a robust salad side, bean dip can fill a wrap, be smeared on an English Muffin, or be scooped up by fresh veggies, and salad dressing can be tossed with greens, used as a dip, or drizzled over roasted veg

Stock up on essentials

Focus on keeping key ingredients stocked in order to be able to put together a balanced meal at a moment’s notice. Do a mental checklist when you grocery shop and aim to have the following in your grocery cart (or already in your kitchen):

  • 2-3 Protein Sources
  • 2-3 Types of Fruit
  • 1 Bag Leafy Greens
  • 2-3 Pre-Cut Veggies
  • Quick-Cook Whole Grain
  • 1 Cheese

And if you’re short on time or prepping for multiple people, take shortcuts when needed

Plan a weekly menu

Even if it’s just 3 ideas for dinner, a weekly menu helps organize your shopping which can save money and time at the store and reduce food waste at the end of the week. Jot it down and post it in the kitchen

Tall Affects Your Health

Some of these health risks have to do with the physiology of being an especially small or large person, and what that means for the body’s organs. Here are a few ways height has recently been linked to health.

 More blood clots
 In a September study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, researchers investigated the link between height and venous thromboembolism, the third leading cause of heart attack and stroke. They found that, in a group of more than 2 million Swedish siblings, men shorter than 5’3” had a 65% lower risk of developing a venous thromboembolism, a type of blood clot that starts in a vein, than men taller than 6’2”. They also analyzed a group of pregnant women, since pregnancy can be a trigger for these types of blood clots. Those shorter than 5’1” had a 69% lower risk compared to those 6’ and taller.

Why? Gravity may be influencing the link. “It could just be that because taller individuals have longer leg veins there is more surface area where problems can occur,” said lead researcher Dr. Bengt Zöller, associate professor at Lund University and Malmö University Hospital in Sweden, in a news release. Increased gravitational pressure in the veins of taller legs can also increase the risk of blood flow slowing or stopping temporarily.

The CDC estimates that thromboembolisms affect up to 600,000 Americans every year, and that number is increasing—possibly because average height is also increasing, says Zöl

Higher risk of dying from cancer

The risk of dying from cancer increases by 4% for every two and a half inches of height a person has, according to a 2016 review paper published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. Being tall may be a marker of over-nutrition—specifically, eating too many high-calorie animal proteins—during different stages of growth and development, either throughout life or before birth. That could activate growth processes that leave cells vulnerable to mutations, the report states.

There are other theories, as well. “Height may also be an indicator of organ size,” wrote review co-author Matthias Schulze of the German Institute of Human Nutrition in an email to TIME. “The larger the organ, the more cells are at risk of malignant transformation.”

Other studies have also found that tall (and obese) men are at increased risk of developing aggressive forms of prostate cancer, and that tall women are more likely to develop melanoma, as well as breast, ovarian, endometrial and colon cancer.

Less heart disease and diabetes

On the other hand, tall people may have have lower rates of heart disease and diabetes. In the recent Lancet study, for every 2.5 inches of height, a person’s risk of dying from heart disease decreased by 6%. Taller people tend to naturally have bigger lungs and stronger hearts, says Schulze, which may partially explain these effects. Plus, the same over-nutrition phenomenon associated with increased cancer risk may be protective in other ways: It could trigger an increased production of a hormone that helps the body control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Higher risk of a-fib

There may be another exception to the taller-is-heart-healthier rule. Preliminary research presented at a cardiology conference in April found that taller and bigger women are nearly three times as likely to develop atrial fibrillation, a dangerous heart rhythm disorder.

The larger a woman’s body size as a young adult, the more likely she was to develop the irregularity during the 16-year study. Larger cells in a woman’s heart could interrupt its electrical pathways, the authors suspect, and extra pressure against the lungs (due to a woman’s large size) could cause the heart to distend

Health Psychologi

That was about 10 years ago, when society at large was only beginning to catch up to the idea that the teen brain was not a fully developed adult brain, just with less mileage. For generations, the overarching thinking was that the brain had reached its full growth by the time a child reached puberty. But thanks to the research of people like Jensen and many others, beginning in the 1990s, it’s become clear that the teenage brain is some- thing much more complex—and special.

Doctors, parents and teachers have long held preconceived notions about why teenagers act so reckless and emotional, and many of these explanations have turned out to be incorrect. It was once believed that teens were impulsive due to raging hormones and that they were difficult because they hated authority. But advances in brain imaging, which gathered force in the 2000s, told a much more complicated story. It turns out the teenage brain is nowhere near fully baked and that the brain’s structure and its effects on development continue into a person’s 20s.

Advanced brain imaging has revealed that the teenage brain has lots of plasticity, which means it can change, adapt and respond to its environment. The brain does not grow by getting substantially larger during the teenage years but rather through increased connectivity between brain regions. This growth in connectivity presents itself as white matter in the brain, which comes from a fatty substance called myelin. As the brain develops, myelin wraps itself around nerve cells’ axons—long, thin tendrils that extend from the cell and transmit information—like insulation on an electrical wire. Myelination, the scientific name for this process, strengthens and accelerates the communication between brain regions and underlies a person’s basic learning abilities.

The myelination process starts from the back of the brain and works its way to the front. That means the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain involved in decision-making, planning and self-control, is the last part to mature. It’s not that teens don’t have frontal- lobe capabilities but rather that their signals are not getting to the back of the brain fast enough to regulate their emotions. It’s why risk-taking and impulsive behavior are more common among teens and young adults. “This is why peer pressure rules at this time of life,” says Jensen. “It’s why my teenage boys would come home without their textbook and realize at 8 p.m. that they have a test the next day. They don’t have the fully developed capacity to think ahead at this time.”

Although the development of the prefrontal cortex is the last step on the development checklist, teenagers undergo major changes in their limbic system—the area of the brain that controls emotions—at the onset of puberty, which is typically around the ages of 10 to 12. Doctors now believe that this mismatch in development of the impulse-control part of the brain and the hormone- and emotion-fueled part of the brain is what causes the risk-taking behaviors that are so common among teenagers. “The prefrontal cortex communicates with the brain’s emotional centers through intricate connections,” says B.J. Casey, the director of the Fundamentals of the Adolescent Brain Lab at Yale University. “In adults, these connections have been strengthening with experience and maturation, but during adolescence, the connections are not fully developed, so it’s more difficult for a teenager to shut off these emotional systems.”

Colonics Provide Health Benefits

There is no scientific support for a colonic, a popular “cleansing” procedure that holistic healers claim detoxifies the colon, rectum — except when an enema is used to prepare for a medical procedure.

A colonic “has never been shown to have any clinical benefit,” said David Greenwald, director of clinical gastroenterology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “The colon doesn’t need to be cleaned.”

Colons naturally reabsorb water and carry waste out of the body; there’s a barrier between the colon and the rest of the body that prevents toxic material from reaching the rest of the body, he said.

There are also risks to colonics, including the possibility of transmitting infection, depending on how the cleansing is done, as well as the risk of perforating the bowel and throwing off the balance of microbes in the gut, he said.

“I don’t have any data on how common they are, but to me it’s an unnecessary risk,” said Dr. Greenwald, who discourages his own patients from getting colonics, which have been popularized by endorsements from celebrities, including the actress Gwyneth Paltrow. “I’d rather have people spending their money on things with proven benefit, like exercise, high-fiber diets and good nutrition.”

There is an intuitive appeal to colonics, admitted Timothy Caulfied, a health law and policy expert at the University of Alberta in Canada, and author of the 2015 book “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash.”

But just because it makes sense to clean our hands doesn’t mean it makes sense to cleanse our colons, Mr. Caulfield noted. “You probably do feel lighter,” after a colonic, he said, but it is a psychological effect, not a physical benefit. “It’s not unlike having a bowel movement.”