Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

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Posts Tagged ‘phytochemicals’

Drink Smart and in Moderation

Posted by terrepruitt on February 20, 2014

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaThe various surprising health benefits of wine

For centuries, people have derived pleasure from drinking many different varieties of wine. Whether it’s a sensuously versatile Pinot Noir or a divine Chardonnay, drinking wine in moderate amounts has proven to be one of the more effective ways to unwind, relax and allow the stresses of the day to just slowly fade away into the ether. Various studies have emerged throughout the years espousing the health benefits of drinking a glass or two of high-quality wine.

Experts from the world-renowned Mayo Clinic have stated that there are certain substances in red wine called phytochemicals (specifically, flavonoids and resveratrol) that may help prevent heart disease and failure by performing two critical functions: increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (also known as the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage. It is worth noting that both resveratrol and flavonoids are also recognized as antioxidants (not all phytochemicals are antioxidants, though).

Resveratrol, in particular, is markedly more prevalent in red wine than in white wine; after all, red wine is fermented with grape skins for a longer period of time compared to white wine. Additionally, resveratrol has gotten a lot of attention due to possibly playing an important part in maintaining healthy cardiovascular function. Some of the existing research has linked resveratrol to reduced blood vessel damage, prevention of blood clots, and a decreased amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Dr. Eric Crampton, a highly respected University of Canterbury academic, has also opined that based on his interpretation of the current studies available, moderate drinking reduces mortality risk. Furthermore, according to Paul Jaminet of the Perfect Health Diet, animal studies have shown that the harmful effects of alcohol on the liver – fatty liver disease that inevitably leads to a scarred and damaged liver (cirrhosis) – occur only when it is combined with excessive intake of polyunsaturated fats.

Clearly, judicious consumption of red wine not only calms the senses; it’s also a healthful habit in moderation.

Image courtesy of M&S
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This post is a guest post.  The conclusion reached is that of the guest author.  My approach would be more from a “COULD be” healthful.  Many things we eat, drink, and do have the appearance of being healthful, but it always boils down to moderation AND the individual, so to me it is not so clear.

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Flax Seeds – Big Things In A Tiny Seed

Posted by terrepruitt on April 10, 2012

For a long time now, I have been hearing about the nutritional benefits of flax seeds. I know one of my Nia friends said she uses them. They have probably been in the spot light a bit more lately as more and more information becomes known and available about inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the body’s response to things in it that shouldn’t be in it—as in, a very large part of the average Western Diet. With the over processing of food comes a huge amount of chemicals and chemically altered compounds. These types of things are not meant to be in our bodies and used as “nutrition”. In addition, the average Western Diet contains too much omega-6 fats. Omega 6 fats are linked to health issues and inflammation. Flax seeds contain omega-3 which is an anti-inflammatory agent, among other things. There is a ratio of the fats that is thought to be the optimal. I’ve heard that it is 3 to 1. Wiki states: “Modern Western diets typically have ratios of n−6 to n−3 in excess of 10 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1.” 

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,Flax seeds can be eaten whole, but they are difficult to digest so the common thought is to grind them so that their nutrition is readily available. I didn’t know that when I bought them otherwise I probably would not have bought such a HUGE quantity. I just remember see information that said to put them in things. I thought I could just toss them into — whatever. Well, it seems like I can, but I might not be getting all the nutrition out of them eaten that way then if I grind them.

Omega 3 is thought to do many wonderful things. It is thought to help protect against heart disease, cancer (both prostrate and breast cancer), and diabetes. And help with high blood pressure through both control and prevention. Also studies are showing that flax seeds can help lower cholesterol. Some studies show that flax seeds may help in reducing hot flashes. As little as “40 grams (1.4 ounces) of crushed flaxseed each day” (per WH Foods) cut the flashes in half.

Web MD says: “Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its healthy reputation primarily to three ingredients:

Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
Lignans which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75-800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
Fiber
. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.”

Remember lignans are phytochemicals!

Flax seeds are best stored whole in the fridge. Once ground they tend to go rancid quickly, they should be used within a week. I guess I could grind some once a week and just make sure that I use it all. As with many foods that deliver great health benefits, they are still meant to be a part of a healthy diet. None of the amazing foods are meant to make up for an unhealthy diet, they are to ADD to a healthy diet.

As I first mentioned I know one of you uses them. But I don’t think she said how.  I could use some ideas as I now have four HUGE bags!

What about you, do you use flax seeds as a supplement? How do you use them? Do you grind them?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The World’s Healthiest Foods Description of Oats

Posted by terrepruitt on March 27, 2012

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, SF Bay Nia, San Francisco Bay Area Nia, NiaNow.com,Oats are easy to grow because they can grow in soil that other crops cannot grow.  Oats have a lot of health benefits including fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.  Because of the fiber and the nutrients a breakfast of oatmeal is often recommended as great way to start the day.  I do not like oatmeal and realized in writing this oat series that I haven’t bee that found of oats at all.  Since it has been a while since I have not liked them I forgot that I just didn’t like them.  They are really chewy.  But I do believe in the nutritional value and I am happy that I like them now.  I still do not believe that I like oatmeal, but I really don’t need to since there are really so many ways you can eat oats and get the benefit of all the great things they contain.

I love the website The World’s Healthiest Foods.  Here is what they say about the different types of oats:

“Oats gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and their germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients. Different types of processing are then used to produce the various types of oat products, which are generally used to make breakfast cereals, baked goods and stuffings:
                   
                    • Oat groats: unflattened kernels that are good for using as a breakfast cereal or for stuffing 
                    • Steel-cut oats: featuring a dense and chewy texture, they are produced by running the grain through steel
                       blades that thinly slices them.
                    • Old-fashioned oats: have a flatter shape that is the result of their being steamed and then rolled.
                    • Quick-cooking oats: processed like old-fashioned oats, except they are cut finely before rolling
                    • Instant oatmeal: produced by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin.      
                        Oftentimes,  sugar, salt and other ingredients are added to make the finished product. 
                    • Oat bran: the outer layer of the grain that resides under the hull. While oat bran is found in rolled oats and 
                        steel-cut oats, it may also be purchased as a separate product that can be added to recipes or cooked to     
                        make a hot cereal.
                    • Oat flour: used in baking, it is oftentimes combined with wheat or other gluten-containing flours
                        when making leavened bread.”

I think that fact that oats do remain “whole” even after being processed (harvested and cleaned) is a great testament to the hardiness of this grain.  While I imagine that the least healthy of the oats described above would be the “Instant oatmeal” kind because they might already come with other ingredients added, but since oats sound “superfood”y to me, I would think you would still gain some benefit from them.

So seeing this description of oats might allow you to see how many different ways you can get oats.  It seems with them available in so many different forms it would be easy to add them to your diet even if you don’t like oatmeal.

Posted in Food, Oats | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »