Joy Bauer Life is hard, food should be easy Mon, 12 Jun 2017 02:28:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Even Out Your Mood With Food Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:43:54 +0000 It's possible to beat the blues and avoid mood swings by watching what (and when!) you eat.

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It’s possible to beat back the blues — or an attack of the grumpies — by watching what (and when!) you eat.

If you sometimes find yourself short-tempered and irritable — quick to snap at your friends, family members, and co-workers — you may be in need of a better eating plan. One of the biggest contributors to either a sudden or a chronic low mood is a drop in blood sugar, or glucose.

Snacking on concentrated sweets is not an effective solution for the long term, however, because the spike in sugar they induce is usually followed by a mood-destroying drop, which can leave you feeling fatigued, agitated, and depleted. You can go a long way toward maintaining an even blood sugar level by heeding the following tips:

Eat every four to five hours.
Eating consistently throughout the day — every four to five hours — provides your brain and body with a constant source of fuel and can prevent dips in your blood sugar levels. Some people with diagnosed hypoglycemia may need to eat even more frequently (every two to three hours).

Limit refined carbohydrates.
Concentrated sources of sugar, like soda, candy, fruit juice, jam, and syrups, can cause radical spikes (and drops) in your blood sugar, which ultimately leave you feeling grumpy and tired. Refined starches, such as white bread, crackers, bagels, and rice, often produce the same effect because they break down quickly in your digestive system to form blood sugar. Stick with whole-grain versions of these foods, which are digested more slowly because of their higher fiber content and which therefore keep your blood sugar stable.

Combine high-quality carbohydrates with lean protein.
Protein combined with high-fiber carbohydrates (specifically those rich in soluble fiber, like oats, barley, and certain fruits and veggies) has the ability to slow the absorption of sugar in your blood and lessen mood swings. Try an egg-white omelet loaded with veggies for breakfast, grilled chicken and peppers in a whole-grain tortilla for lunch, shrimp-broccoli stir-fry for dinner, and celery sticks with peanut butter or nonfat yogurt with berries as snacks.

In addition to the role food can play in regulating your blood sugar, studies have shown that certain nutrients in food can positively affect mood. Indeed, some nutrients influence the function of specific neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain.

Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid.
Omega-3 fatty acids are present in the brain at higher levels than any other part of the body, and of particular interest is the ability of omega-3 fats to help alleviate depression. Omega-3 fats can be found in fatty fish like wild salmon, sardines, and Atlantic mackerel, and to a lesser extent in ground flaxseeds, walnuts, and omega-3-fortified eggs. If you’d like to try fish oil supplements, consult your physician.

Folic acid, also called folate, also seems to be important in regulating mood, and some studies have shown that low levels of this B vitamin in the blood are related to depression. If you’re experiencing the blues on a regular basis, you should report this to your doctor. But if you’re having some transitory moodiness, try to include leafy greens, fortified breakfast cereal, sunflower seeds, soybeans, beets, and oranges — all of which are rich in folic acid — into your diet. Also, consider a multivitamin that provides 100 percent of the daily value for folic acid.


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Foods Can Help You Boost Your Memory Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:27:10 +0000 Eating certain foods can help make life's little details unforgettable.

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Eating certain foods can help make life’s little details unforgettable.

Age, stress, quality and length of sleep, medications, and of course, nutrition can all influence how well your memory functions. Physiologically, good memory depends on your total number of brain cells (neurons), the smooth flow of communication between the cells and the health of the cells.

In many ways, overall health can strongly affect memory. For example, the health of the body’s cardiovascular system can affect the performance of brain cells. Every cell in the body needs a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to stay alive and work properly. Because oxygen and nutrients are carried in the bloodstream, anything that impedes blood flow can negatively affect brain cell function. Simply put, a healthy heart makes for a healthy brain. So it’s important to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check and to exercise regularly and not smoke.

A heart-healthy diet is therefore crucial to general health as well as to the health of memory, and compelling research has linked specific foods and their nutrients to the enhancement or preservation of memory. These “brain” foods contain flavonoids, which are chemical compounds that give fruits and leafy green vegetables their color. Two important flavonoids that appear to support memory function are anthocyanins and quercetin (both are found in apples, blueberries, and red onions, to name just a few sources).

Other nutrients that have been found to improve memory are folate and omega-3 fatty acids. Take a look at the following list for a rundown of the best foods for boosting brainpower.

Berries have some of the highest concentrations of antioxidants among fruit, and all berries are rich in healthy anthocyanins and flavonols(a subgroup of flavonoids),which may help protect against the breakdown of brain cells. Some encouraging animal studies have suggested that diets rich in flavonoids may help reverse memory loss in humans.

Blueberries in particular have received a lot of attention because they are one of the best food sources of flavonoids. In fact, a British study revealed that eating plenty of blueberries can enhance spatial memory and learning.

Fresh berries are available at farmers’ markets, local supermarkets, and health food stores. During off-season months, frozen berries are a good substitute and just as nutritious.

Leafy greens
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens are loaded with folate (folic acid is the synthetic form of this nutrient that’s found in supplements and fortified foods) — which seems to have a direct effect on memory. In a study done at Tufts University in Boston, researchers followed 320 men for three years and tracked their blood levels of homocysteine — an amino acid that has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. The participants who had high levels of homocysteine showed memory decline; those who ate foods rich in folic acid, however, which directly lowers homocysteine levels, demonstrated a protective effect against memory decline.

An Australian study also found that a diet featuring plenty of foods rich in folic acid was associated with faster information processing and memory recall. After just five weeks of consuming adequate amounts of folic acid, women in the study showed overall improvements in memory.

Fatty Fish
Healthy fats are important for a healthy mind. Research suggests that when it comes to food and memory, fish should be the star of the show — specifically, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel and the generous amounts of omega-3 fats they provide. In fact, a study published in the Archives of Neurology in November 2006 found that subjects with the highest levels of omega-3s were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than subjects with the lowest levels.

Another, earlier study, conducted by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, followed more than 3,000 men and women for six years to see how diet affected their memory. Those who ate fish at least once a week had a 10 percent slower memory decline than those who did not eat fish, a difference that gave them the memory and thinking ability of a person three years younger.

Strive to eat three 4-ounce servings of fatty fish per week. If that’s not realistic, consider using fish oil supplements.

There’s good news for coffee lovers: About two years ago, researchers from the University of Innsbruck in Austria found that caffeinated coffee can temporarily sharpen a person’s focus and memory. After giving volunteers the caffeine equivalent of about two cups of coffee, they used magnetic resonance imaging to observe that the volunteers’ brain activity was increased in two locations, one of which is involved in memory. Volunteers given no caffeine showed no increase in brain activity.

Another study, published in a leading neurology journal, found that the effects of caffeine may be longer lasting in women. This four-year-long study involved about 7,000 participants who all went through baseline evaluations for cognitive function and blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other vascular issues.

The researchers reevaluated the participants at the end of two years and again at the end of four years; they found that women 65 and older who drank more than three cups of coffee per day (or the caffeine equivalent in tea) had about a third less decline in memory over that time than the women who drank one cup or less of coffee (or the caffeine equivalent in tea) per day.

The results held up even after the researchers adjusted them to take into account other factors that could affect memory function, such as age, education, baseline cognitive function, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, medications, and chronic illnesses. The researchers speculated that this caffeine-memory association was not observed in men because it’s possible that the sexes metabolize caffeine differently.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that unfiltered coffee (such as espresso, as well as coffee made in a French press) contains compounds that can raise cholesterol levels, especially in people who are already battling high cholesterol. To be safe, stick with filtered coffee, and of course, be moderate when adding milk and sugar!

Learn more about Food Cures for Healthy Living.

Discover more Food Cures for your health.

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Afternoon Brain Drain? Sustain Mental Performance Through Strategic Snacking Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:18:07 +0000 Want to know how strategic snacking can improve your performance during work and play? Read about how to sustain mental performance and rock your day!

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From 2007 to 2011, Novak Djokovic ranked a distant third to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Despite his elite skills, he was prone to cramping and low stamina, making him vulnerable during long, five-set matches.

In 2011, a nutritionist completely revamped Djokovic’s diet – adding some things, removing others, and focusing on eating strategically to optimize his performance. Soon he began to win the five-set matches (which he had previously lost) while looking fresher at the finish. On July 6, 2014 Djokovic won his second Wimbledon title and is currently world champion.

But why is Djokovic’s story important to someone whose sport is working 10- to 12-hour days in an intensive job? While elite athletes rely on strategic eating to fuel their bodies, we desk jockeys should consider doing the same by intelligently fueling our brains.

We all strive to be sharp during the workday—to stay energized, maintain focus, and make good decisions. However, in the early afternoon it’s natural for blood sugar levels to drop and for energy and mental performance to suffer. Our response is to snack, but when we don’t do so thoughtfully, we crash and our performance suffers even further.  A study in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience highlighted how specific nutrients affect brain performance. For example, omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish, walnuts and chia seeds) improve cognition, while trans fats (found in certain baked items and processed snack foods) impair it. Antioxidants, particularly those found in berries and cherries, provide protection from free radical damage. And flavanols, like those in cacao (think cocoa powder, cacao nibs and dark chocolate), can improve memory. Whether our workplace is the tennis court or an office building, it is clear that nutrition impacts performance.

With that in mind, strategic snacking is key to winning the five-set match we play each and every day. These between-meal munchies should contain combinations of high-quality carbs, protein, fats and micronutrients to help level out blood sugar, sustain energy and keep us feeling sharp and focused. By choosing nutrient-rich snacks like Greek yogurt, nuts and fruit instead of sugar-filled candy bars and donuts, we can actually improve the way our brains work. Planning snack times and having strong options readily available make the difference between sustaining mental performance and crashing during long and intense sessions at the office, or on the court.

Below is a list of brain-enhancing ingredients. Of course, making sure these vital picks are easily accessible during the day is entirely up to you!

  • High-quality carbs: quickest source of energy for the body; brain’s preferred fuel. Your best bets are fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains (oats, quinoa, etc.)
  • Healthy fats: decrease inflammation; improve circulation to brain; maintain cell membrane integrity and function. Your best bets are olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chia), coconut, fish
  • Protein: regulates blood sugar levels; revs metabolism; keeps you feeling full and satisfied. Your best bets are beans, nuts, seeds, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy
  • Fiber: regulates blood sugar levels; promotes regularity; keeps you feeling full and satisfied. Your best bets are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains
  • Antioxidants: decrease inflammation; improve circulation to the brain. Your best bets are fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, dark chocolate, cocoa powder.
  • Caffeine: improves focus, concentration and alertness. Your best bets are coffee, tea, dark chocolate, cocoa powder

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How to Boost Sex Drive with Food Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:11:53 +0000 Yup, I'm going there - I'm sharing Food Cures that can spice things up in the kitchen AND the bedroom. Find out what you should be eating for your next special night IN!

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Today I’m sharing three put-you-in-the-mood foods that can make a great night even better. Next time you plan a special dinner at home for your sweetie – or “breakfast in bed” (ahem!) – you might want to work these ingredients into the menu.

Pump up your libido with pumpkin. This veggie provides a healthy dose of potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure and improve circulation. And, a study found that the scent of pumpkin pie increased blood flow “south of the border” in men. When it comes to libido, scent can actually offer a greater boost than consuming the food. This makes sense because most of what we perceive as taste is actually smell. Plus, the scent of certain foods can calm anxiety, which may help reduce inhibitions – giving you a boost in the bedroom. There are so many yummy ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet. You can mix canned 100% pumpin puree into my yummy Pumpkie Pie Oatmeal at breakfast OR add a big scoop to tomato-based dishes like turkey chili and turkey meat sauce for whole-grain pasta.

Spice things up with ginger. Ginger has been used as a natural aphrodisiac for centuries becaues it boosts blood flow. It also has a strong, unique aroma, so the scent itself can be arousing. Ginger also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help to alleviate aches and pains, so it leaves you feeling more comortable in your skin…and sexier! To take advantage of ginger’s “stimulating” powers, share these Ginger-Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with your partner, or end a romantic dinner for two with a pot of this Ginger Green Tea.

Dark chocolate-covered strawberries can be a turn on, too. They’re decadent and luxurious, sure, but these sexy treats offer benefits beyond their romantic aura. Both the chocolate and berries are loaded with compounds called flavonoids that may actually help enhance sexual peformance. Flavonoids help your blood vessels relax and widen, which increases blood flow to ALL of your extremities, if you get my drift. Pick up a box of chocolate-covered strawberries at your favorite chocolate store, or go the homemade route with my warm Dark Chocolate Fondue. (Pairing dessert with a glass of champagne or wine never hurts!)


Down in the dumps? Here’s how you can feel better now.

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