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Rebalance Your Alkaline Urine’s pH with Diet

WHAT IS AN URINE PH LEVEL TEST?

A urine pH level test verifies or checks the alkalinity and acidity in a urine sample. The things that affect your urine’s basic or acidic nature solely depend on your diet, the pharmaceuticals you consume, and the sicknesses or diseases that you suffer from.

For instance, having a high or low alkaline level could mean that there is a high tendency that you could develop kidney stones. To remedy this,  you could try altering your diet to strike a balance in your urine pH level.

This shows how essential your urine pH is as it’s one such medium to check your overall health. 

FACTORS THAT CAN INCREASE URINE pH LEVELS?

As earlier mentioned, there are a number of things that affect your urine pH levels and we will be looking at them one by one.

Dieting: Your set of eating habits are one of the most essential factors in determining your urine pH level. Reaching and maintaining a neutral pH can be done by balancing your diet. While the foods such as dairy, fish, meat, and grain increase the level of acids that the kidney has to filter into the urine, the majority of veggies and fruits produce alkaline compounds in the body, which diminishes those acids.   Additionally, insufficient consumption of protein and grain sources can keep the acidic level down, but when excessively consumed, there can be a significant increase. These facts prove that a balanced diet is essential in reaching optimal urine pH levels.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): One of the common causes of increased urine pH levels is a urinary tract infection. Many of the organisms that cause this infection produce an enzyme called urease.  This enzyme is responsible for the breakdown of the urea compound, separating it into carbon dioxide and ammonia. Through this process, your urine pH level increases.

Certain medications: Many drugs affect urine pH levels, so it’s best for medications to be taken under medical supervision.

Related: Are You too Acidic? Alkaline Foods to Correct pH Imbalances 

IMPORTANCE OF REACHING OPTIMAL URINE pH LEVEL

ideal urine ph

Reaching an optimal urine pH level is quite important because it serves as a good health indicator and preventive measure against a number of diseases.

The optimal range for a urine pH level is between 6 and 7.  Preventing the development of illnesses and diseases such as kidney stones, metabolic syndrome, UTI and so many others is dependent on striking an essential balance and reaching optimal urine pH levels. 

WAYS TO REACH OPTIMAL URINE PH LEVELS

Maintaining an appropriate pH balance in your body is equivalent to optimizing your overall wellbeing and health. Attaining a pH balance is your best defense against diseases and sicknesses. It significantly improves health and vitality.

Achieving or reaching optimal urine pH levels is not difficult or as complicated as it sounds. Food’s pH effect largely depends on the mineral content the food contains as well as the ash, which remains as soon as the food gets processed within the body.  Some foods could leave acidic ash while some could leave an alkaline ash.

Simply put, alkaline foods are fresh vegetables and fruits.  Protein sources, dairy products, and grains have an acidic effect on the body.  Moreover, noise, lack of physical exercise, and stress can also increase the body’s acidification.

Subsequently, every human being is different and reacts differently to this change. While some people are more susceptible than others, your goal in your diet should be to include vegetables, fruits, seeds and legumes, and certain amounts of other food groups such as grains, nuts,  meats, and dairy products.

Aside from food, always remember to engage in regular physical exercise to aid in attaining and maintaining a balanced urine pH level.

DIET TIPS FOR REACHING OPTIMAL PH LEVEL

food for balancing urine ph

– Add a vegetable side dish or salad near your meat, poultry, or seafood dish.

– Enrich your salads with grains and nuts.

– Create healthy options such as yogurt + fruit in your snacks.

– Consume nuts in your snacks.

– Add cheese to your breakfast.

– Make an energy smoothie with fruit and milk.

– Combine your legumes with grains like brown rice.

BALANCED MENU EXAMPLES

  • Sweet potatoes with steak.
  • Legumes alongside brown rice and salad
  • Broccoli, buckwheat, and almond salad
  • Cauliflower, sautéed broccoli with chicken 

FINAL THOUGHTS

In summary, the urine pH level is one essential indicator of good health, and it is ideal if it stays within the optimal range at all times. 

How to Enrich a Vegan Diet

You may think that veganism is just a diet without eating any foods that come from animal origins. But veganism is a way of living that respects all animal’s right to life. It advocates that we do not have the right to use or consume the meat, milk, and skin of any living creature, especially when alternatives are available. Veganism also says that animals should not be used as test subjects in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. The vegan lifestyle dictates that all living creatures have the same right to live. It’s not just a diet. So how can we enrich a vegan diet?  

Imagine that you decided to become vegan. Where do you begin? Being vegan means giving up wearing leather shoes, making sure that your cosmetics and beauty products were not tested on animals, and reorganizing your eating habits. 

At this point, you will face a harsh reality: foods from animal sources hold a huge place in your diet. They are found in almost everything, from candy to salad dressing! For this reason, foods like pasta, chickpeas, and rice will become more prevalent in your diet after you make the switch. However, this kind of eating system is now sustainable as finding vegan foods is easier than it used to be. 

Vegan Lifestyle Impacts

Americans used to get 60% of their protein from animal sources. Since 2014, the number of people who have changed to a vegan lifestyle in America has increased by 500%. According to an article published in 2017, consuming meat products may contribute to premature death due to the nitrites, nitrates, and iron additives used in ready-made meat products. It is much better to choose healthier food alternatives instead of animal products.  As a result, the vegan lifestyle has increased, both in terms of lifestyle and diet.

As we mentioned above, the variety of food decreases after moving from a diet including animal products to one where foods from animal sources are not consumed. It is possible, and necessary, to enrich a vegan diet so that you get all the nutrients that your body needs. That requires some inspiration from nature and plenty of plants. Here are our best tips for making sure that a vegan diet meets all of your daily nutritional requirements.

Use Sprouts!

Sprouts in a bowl on the table

Sprouting is an easy method that you can use at home to increase the nutritional value of plants. You can grow these antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory microgreens from legumes, seeds, grains, and beans. Sprouts contain significant amounts of protein as compared to their mature forms and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Sprouts are also rich in digestive enzymes. And they are also unbelievably delicious.

  • Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that is naturally found only in broccoli sprouts.

  • Mung Bean Sprouts

Mung beans have a detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effect. They are an important source of bioavailable potassium and contain isoflavones, which could help lower bad cholesterol levels.

  • Lentil Sprouts

Lentil sprouts are rich in the nutrient thiamine. They contain two essential amino acids, cysteine, and methionine, that are not found in unsprouted lentils.

You can consume sprouts as a snack or add them to your salads. This will increase both the flavor and nutritional value, enriching your vegan diet.

Use Spices!

We use spices in many dishes, but it’s often just a habit. Spices have many nutritional benefits, too, and can be used to enhance a vegan diet. All spices are plant-based and have some benefits, but some are more significant than others.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric  Coated in PowderTurmeric is a new spice in Western cuisine. However, it has been used in the East for thousands of years and is an incredibly useful and healthy spice. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties, and you can easily add it to every meal. Using turmeric with black pepper or oil increases its absorption.

2. Asafoetida

asafoetida to enrich a vegan diet
 Asafoetida is a spice that tastes and smells like an onion when used in cooking. This spice used extensively in Asia and India regulates the digestive system and has a sedative effect. Just be sure to saute it lightly in oil before adding in other ingredients instead of sprinkling it on at the end.

3. Cumin

cumin seeds to enrich a vegan diet

Cumin is one of the best-known spices and is used in many cuisines. It has several medicinal benefits, including improving digestion and reducing flatulence. It can be especially useful when paired with legumes as they naturally release gas when digested, resulting in bloating.

4. Saffron

saffron to enrich a vegan diet

Saffron is used extensively in Middle Eastern cuisine. Thought to have cancer-fighting properties, it can be added to pilaf or used to brew as a tea.

A vegan diet is not just another trendy diet that you give up after losing weight. It is a complete change in lifestyle. Although becoming vegan can be challenging nutritionally, there are many small changes that you can make to help enrich your diet. Remember, all living creatures have equal rights!

Related: Vegetarianism: Why Are Plant-Based Diets on the Rise?

Celebrating the National Mediterranean Diet Month

National Mediterranean Diet Month is important so the public can learn the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Moreover, National Mediterranean Diet Month is an event that was launched in 2009 by Oldways Mediterranean Foods Alliance to promote the Mediterranean diet. Additionally, it is remarkable to note that UNESCO accepted the Mediterranean diet as the cultural heritage of humanity in 2013.

The first study that questioned the effect of diet on health was published in 1986. However, in this study which called the Seven Countries Study, eleven thousand people were followed since 1960. It was first explained in this study that dietary healthy fat consumption reduced the risk of heart disease, leading to many scientific studies on the Mediterranean diet were conducted.

1. What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet that includes food products grown in the Mediterranean region. Moreover, there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet. According to most authorities, the components of the Mediterranean diet are extra virgin olive oil, green leafy vegetables, fruits, cereals, oilseeds, fish, and red wine.

Above all, the food pyramid representing the Mediterranean diet has been updated several times. Let’s look at the components of the Mediterranean diet through the last food pyramid:

 

Recommended Daily Nutrition Groups and Portions in the Mediterranean Diet

Non-Starchy Vegetables

 The recommended daily intake is 4-8 servings. One serving is ½ cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup raw vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables are artichoke, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, carrot, tomato, eggplant, cucumber, onion, zucchini, turnip, pepper, salad greens and mushrooms.

Fruits

The recommended daily intake is 2-4 servings. One serving of fruit is fresh fruit (an apple, orange, banana, etc), or ½ cup of juice or ¼ cup of dried fruit. Fresh fruits should be preferred because they contain fiber.

Legumes and Nuts

The recommended total daily intake is 2-4 servings. One serving of legumes is ½ cups mexico, black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, soybeans, peas, lentils, or ¼ cup of baked beans. One serving of nuts is 2 tablespoons of sunflower or sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 7-8 walnuts, 20 peanuts, or 12-15 almonds. Additionally, it is recommended to take 1-2 servings of oilseeds and legumes every day. In addition, legumes contain high fiber, protein, and minerals. Also, nuts contain high levels of unsaturated fats and can raise HDL cholesterol without raising LDL cholesterol.

Low-Fat Dairy Products

The recommended total daily intake is 1-3 servings. One serving of low-fat dairy products is 1 cup of skim milk or yogurt or 1 oz thin slices of cheese.

Fish and Seafood

The recommended intake is 2-3 servings per week. One serving is about 3 oz. Cook fish by baking, sautéing, broiling, roasting, grilling, or poaching. Choose fatty fishes like salmon, herring, sardines, or mackerel often. Moreover, the fat in fish is high in omega-3 fats, so it has healthy effects on triglycerides and blood cells.

Poultry

We can say optional consumption for this group. The recommended intake is 2-3 servings per week. One serving is about 3 oz. Bake, sauté, stir fry, roast, or grill the poultry you eat and eat it without the skin.

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

Whole Grains and Starchy Vegetables

The recommended intake is 4-5 servings a day. One serving is 1 oz for each group:

  • 1 slice of whole-wheat bread
  • ½ cup of potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • 1 small whole-grain roll
  • 6-inch whole wheat pita
  • 6 whole-grain crackers
  • ½ cup cooked whole-grain cereal (oatmeal, quinoa)
  • ½ cup cooked whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, or barley

Olive Oil

The recommended amount is 4-6 servings per day. One serving of olive oil is 1 tablespoon.

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

Eggs

The recommended amount is 4 times a week for egg yolk. And, there is no limitation for egg whites.

Sweets

Eat dessert rarely. Eat fruit instead of dessert.

Red Meat

Lean red meats (beef, pork, lamb, and beef) can be eaten 4 times a month.

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

2. Health Effects of the Mediterranean Diet

Numerous studies on the Mediterranean diet have shown how beneficial it is to health. In addition, the diet has many benefits to health, as it contains healthy fats, high fiber content, and antioxidant content. Moreover, it contains healthy fats, high fiber content, and antioxidant content.

Mediterranean Diet and Heart Diseases

Heart disease (cardiovascular disease) is a high-risk condition and can cause stroke and high blood pressure. According to data in 2010, 35% of the American population was affected by this disease.

Monounsaturated fatty acids found in extra virgin olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have a protective effect on heart vessels. In addition, a study of about 26,000 women found that those who follow the Mediterranean diet for 12 years have a 25% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Related: National Women’s Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

Mediterranean Diet and Diabetes

The Mediterranean diet is high fiber due to fruits such as vegetables, and legumes. Moreover, adequate fiber intake helps the blood sugar to rise gradually is a factor that reduces the risk of diabetes.

Above all, in a comprehensive study, it was revealed that the Mediterranean diet reduced the probability of developing type 2 diabetes by 72%.

Mediterranean Diet and Cancer

The Mediterranean diet contains high amounts of antioxidants due to fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, cancer is the result of cell damage, and antioxidants prevent it. Moreover, preventing this damage is especially important in terms of protection against breast cancer and colon cancer.

A study that observed the effect of diet on factors like aging and the development of diseases. For example, cancer found that women who follow a Mediterranean-type diet have a 46% higher chance of healthy aging.

hummus recipe

3. A Mediterranean Recipe: Hummus

Ingredients for 2 servings

  •   15 oz (one can) chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  •   ¼ teaspoon salt
  •   1 clove garlic
  •   ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  •   ½ cup basil pesto (110 g)
  •   1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •   2 tablespoons water

Preparation

Add chickpeas, garlic, basil pesto, lemon juice, and seasonings to the bowl of a 2-quart food processor. Blend until smooth. While blending, slowly add in the olive oil and water until hummus is creamy and smooth. 

Optional Ingredients

Garnish with additional red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil. 

 

Enjoy!

 

Keto Diet for Beginners

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that helps you to burn fat more effectively without feeling hunger. It is similar to many other low carb diets like Atkins, Paleo, and Dukan. But a ketogenic diet aims to put you in ketosis by reducing carb intake. Although a keto diet has many benefits, there are side effects, too. If you are planning to start a ketogenic diet keep on reading. We have made a list of what to eat while on a ketogenic diet and a one-day meal plan for you.

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic process that happens when the body does not have enough glucose for energy. When the body completely uses its primary source of energy, glucose, fat stores are broken down to produce energy. To go into ketosis, you need to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day. This requires removing certain foods like grains, milk and milk products, some fruits and vegetables, legumes, and all products containing sugar. Protein intake should be moderate and fat intake should be high. Be careful, though. Too much protein can interfere with ketosis.

 

Related: Track Your Ketone Level with Vivoo Urine Sticks

 

ketogenic diet

Foods to Eat

Here is the list of foods you can eat on a ketogenic diet:

  • Meat: beef, chicken, turkey, unprocessed meat, pork, ham, bacon

  • Fish and Seafood: salmon, shrimp, sardines, tuna

  • Eggs

  • Healthy fats: avocado, olives, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, 

  • Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, macadamia nuts

  • Low carb vegetables: green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, asparagus, and kale, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, green peppers…

  • Milk and products: sugar-free soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut yogurt

  • Berries: raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries (in moderation)

Foods to Avoid

  • Grains: rice, pasta, cereal, oatmeal, 

  • Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, quinoa

  • Fruits: all fruits except berries

  • Milk and milk products: cow’s milk, cheese, yogurt

  • Root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, parnships

  • Honey, jam

  • All products containing sugar: soda, chocolate, gum, ice cream

  • Alcohol

One-day Keto Diet Meal Plan

 

BREAKFAST

Omelet with olive oil

Sautéed mushrooms and spinach

Avocado or olives

Mixed greens


LUNCH

Smoked salmon

Zucchini noodles


SNACK

100 grams of coconut yogurt (7-8 grams of carbs)

3 strawberries (7 grams of carb)

Almonds


DINNER

Grilled beef with asparagus

Mixed green salad

 

Advantages of a Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet helps you to lose weight by increasing fat during ketosis. This diet helps to break insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity. In addition, a keto diet increases the feeling of satiety due to protein and fat content. Also, the keto diet also makes you feel less bloated and may decrease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. 

Side Effects of a Ketogenic Diet

One of the most common side effects of a ketogenic diet is a reduction in the intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The limitation of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains can also decrease the amount of fiber consumed, which causes constipation. Another side effect of a keto diet is that the increased amount of protein can cause the liver and kidneys to work harder. It also increases uric acid and blood lipids. During the diet, blood pressure may fluctuate. In addition, following a strict diet can be very difficult: that’s why it is not sustainable. To avoid the side effects, you shouldn’t be on the diet for more than 10-15 days.

 

A ketogenic diet is not recommended for people with Type 1 diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, liver and renal dysfunctions, hypoglycemia, or pregnant or lactating women. 

Practical Tips for Keto Flu


Keto flu is a common side effect of a ketogenic diet. It is usually seen when people start the diet. The symptoms are very similar to the flu and are caused by the body adapting to a diet that consists of very few carbohydrates. They include headache, dry mouth, increased thirst and urination, bad breath, nausea, lack of energy, and dizziness. These symptoms generally start on days 3-7 of the diet and last for a few days. If you don’t have a chronic disease, there should be no need to worry.

To avoid the keto flu:

  • Drink plenty of water during the day.

  • Increase sodium intake by consuming more salt.

  • Drink mineral water every day.

  • Increase your intake of green leafy vegetables.

  • Avoid heavy exercise during the first week.

     

Related: 4 Ketogenic Dessert Recipes

 

12 Tips for a Sustainable and Healthy Diet

Healthy Eating can Save the World!

Have you ever thought that every dish you put on your plate is a choice? And, just maybe, your choice can change the world? Well, this article can help you save the world. We know that our food choices are affecting our health, but not just that, they have a huge effect on our planet, too.

Our diets place huge pressure on our planet. Every step of the food provision chain, from farm to fork (including agriculture, storage, processing, transportation, distribution, etc), uses our natural resources, such as land, freshwater, and even fossil fuels that cause greenhouse gas emissions. For example, agriculture that provides us food uses 70% of freshwater.

12 Tips for a Sustainable and Healthy Diet

Moreover, our food system is responsible for up to 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than all emissions from transport, heating, lighting, and air conditioning combined. Even worse, these greenhouse gas emissions are contributors to climate change, and climate change poses risks to our future of food.

Meat is the most significant emission-intensive food we consume.

A FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) report tells us that “the livestock sector is one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale from local to global.’’ If you are going to quote the report, a more specific citation is needed… Which FAO report? What is FAO? When was it released?

greenhouse gas emissions
Researchers found that the livestock sector on its own accounted for about half of that 30% of greenhouse gas emissions total, or 14.5%. That’s a huge number. You may wonder why. The answer is that livestock animals are pretty gassy creatures (frankly, cow farts and sheep burps contribute to climate change), but they also require large amounts of land, water, and feed. Over 61 gallons of water are used for 5 ¼ oz of steak. Also, today 1/3 of Earth’s land is used to produce meat.

Well, now you know that the food on your plate contributes to climate change, but you can do something about it.

Food is the solution.

We can each help save the planet just by eating more plants and less meat.
For example, research says (what research? Citation needed here, or it is just a claim) you can reduce your carbon footprint (The Carbon Footprint is the calculation of the impact – expressed in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (kg CO2 eq) – associated with the production of a commodity or a service throughout its entire life cycle) by half just by limiting your meat consumption to twice a week.

sustainable and healthy diet

In short, for a healthier you, and for a better planet, you need to eat sustainably! Our diets should immediately become sustainable!

If you are curious about what sustainable diets look like, FAO describes it as follows:

‘’Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security, and to a healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable, nutritionally adequate, and safe and healthy while optimizing natural and human resources.’’

As you can see, it’s a very inclusive concept. You can find some tips that are easy to follow so you can start now. Let’s start!

sustainable and organic food

1- Eat more plant-based

Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are good for your health and also lower your carbon footprint. Plant-based diets contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Also, plant-based foods are really emission-efficient. For example, it takes about 50 onions to produce a kilogram of greenhouse gas, but only 44 grams of beef to produce the same amount. It’s a win-win approach.

2- When you eat, think about the variety

Every food group is unique and has a different effect on your health and the health of the planet. The interaction brings out the best in these food groups. For example, legumes and whole grains are more beneficial together, because when they are combined, their protein quality becomes higher. Also, legumes and vegetables are a good combination, you can absorb iron more efficiently in this way. The easiest way to be sure about your food variety is by looking at the colors on your plate. Colorful plates are the best!

sustainable eating - eat 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day

3- Make sure you eat 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day

Fruits and vegetables are the most delicious and healthiest gifts of nature to us. They contain lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which are essential to our body. Fruits and vegetables are protective against chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. You can eat fruits as snacks or as your side dish. Also, don’t forget to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Lastly, you know every fruit and vegetable grows in a different season, so try to buy fruits and vegetables while they are in season. You can also freeze your veggies so you can eat them out of season, too.

4- Choose seasonal, local, and sustainable local products

Foods on our plate travel over many miles to reach us. Make sure your meals are locally produced so you can lower your carbon footprint. In addition, when you prefer local products in local shops, you support the local farmers. When you buy your products in season, you buy the tastiest and the freshest food at lower prices.

global greenhouse emissions

5- Respect your food and don’t waste

Did you know that globally 1/3 of all food produced goes to waste? That equals 1.3 million tonnes of food. Food waste alone accounts for around 6.7% of global greenhouse emissions.
You can do something about it. A great recommendation is creating a weekly meal plan, so you can shop according to your plan. Also, love your leftovers. For example, you can consider your leftover dinner at your lunch meal.

6- Cook from scratch, choose fresh ingredients

Fresh and unprocessed foods do not contain extra ingredients or preservatives for longer shelf life. Also, processed foods are being served to us in plastic packages. So, if you cook from scratch, that means you cook healthy and lower your plastic waste.

Avoid ultra-processed foods

7- Avoid ultra-processed foods

Packaged, ultra-processed foods like chips, chocolate, and cookies are especially high in sugar, sodium, and trans fat. They are a big cause of obesity and chronic diseases. Moreover, these packages are plastic, and that means plastic waste. Avoid these foods and cook your own meals as much as possible.

8- Increase your intake of whole wheat grains

Worldwide, there’s just not enough consumption of whole wheat grains. Whole wheat grains are great sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, the carbon footprint of grains is lower compared to other food groups.

9- Avoid sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices

To reduce your sugar intake, you should consider your entire day’s routines, like how you take your coffee and tea. Do you add extra sauces or cream in your meal? Which snacks do you prefer? Do you read the sugar content on labels during grocery shopping? I know it’s hard to avoid all sugars at all times, but do your best!

Increase your intake of legumes and beans

10- Increase your intake of legumes and beans

Legumes and beans are “superfoods” because of their nutritional profile and low carbon footprint. Beans and legumes are the most important sources of plant protein and amino acid. Vegetarians and vegans especially can get the adequate protein, vitamins, and minerals they need. Legumes are mostly known for their protein content, but they also contain high fiber, phytochemicals, calcium, iron, folate, and have a low glycemic index and low saturated fat. Also, they are gluten-free, so gluten intolerant people can consume them easily. In addition, legumes are so versatile that you can use them in every meal.

Reduce your red meat consumption and avoid processed meat

11- Reduce your red meat consumption and avoid processed meat

Did you know that if the world reduced meat consumption by 15% (by doing Meatless Monday, for example), it would have the same impact on greenhouse gas emissions as taking 240 million cars off the road each year? As I mentioned above, meat is the most greenhouse-intensive food we eat. We should limit our meat intake, it’s clear. You don’t need to be a vegetarian, but you can choose to be a weekday vegetarian, or you can plan some days as meatless days. You can try vegetarian options, like a bean burger.

12- Buy sustainable and eco-friendly products

Don’t forget consumer choices are meaningful and have an effect on our ecosystem.

So, next time look for sustainable, eco-friendly, fair trade products.

 

 

Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101

Have you heard about the anti-inflammatory diet that has become very popular these days?

How can you use this diet?

What should you eat, and what should you avoid?

Let’s talk about it.

An anti-inflammatory diet consists of foods that reduce inflammatory responses. In other words, this diet involves replacing refined foods, sugar, trans fats, and many processed foods with whole, nutrient-rich foods.

This diet also contains increased amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to reduce the number of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules in the body that damage cells and increase the risk of certain diseases. That’s why an anti-inflammatory diet is considered to be healthy. Even if the anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t help with your condition. It can lower your chances of having other problems.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101

What is Inflammation?

Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognizes anything that is foreign. For example, an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical etc. This often triggers a process called inflammation. If the inflammation becomes chronic, meaning if it lasts for weeks, months, or even years, it can lead to illnesses like cancer, diabetes, obesity and many more.

Certain dietary habits can promote inflammation. Besides, high amounts of sugar, refined carbs like white bread and white rice, fried foods and many unhealthy foods may contribute to inflammation.

What Conditions Can an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Help?

When you have chronic inflammation, your body’s inflammatory response can eventually start damaging healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, this can lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring. An anti-inflammatory diet can help to reduce or even prevent inflammation. This type of anti-inflammatory diet involves eating certain foods and avoiding foods that cause inflammation in order to minimize the symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases. In the long term, an anti-inflammatory diet can help many major diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart diseases, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and Hashimoto’s disease. Additionally, it can help reduce the risk of certain cancers.

According to a study, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet may also be an effective intervention or preventative means of reducing the risks and symptoms of depression.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101

Foods to Eat

An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
  • Fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
  • Whole grains like brown rice and bulgur wheat
  • Spices like turmeric, ginger, and curry

Particular fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and leafy greens, are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols. Studies have associated nuts with reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Foods to Avoid

Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:

  • Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and white pasta
  • Fried foods like French fries and, fried chicken
  • Soda and sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Red meat and processed meat
  • Excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Processed snack foods and desserts

Eating processed and packaged foods that contain trans fats have been shown to promote inflammation. They also damage the endothelial cells that line your arteries.

Other Helpful Tips

  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep
  • Drink green tea, which is high in antioxidants
  • Drink more water

Sample Menu

Here is a one-day sample menu of an anti-inflammatory diet to get you started.

anti-inflammatory diet

Photo by David Stewart

Breakfast

2 egg omelet with spinach, cooked with olive oil

1/4 avocado

1 cup of strawberries or raspberries

Green tea or water

Lunch

Grilled salmon

Green salad with olive oil and lemon

Snack

1 cup of blueberries or cherries

1 cup of yogurt

10-15 almonds

Dinner

Turmeric chicken, cooked in the oven

Boiled broccoli and cauliflower

Note: The amounts on the sample menu vary from person to person. based on sex, age, weight, height, and other factors. Moreover, don’t forget that each diet must be personalized.

 

Related: 12 Tips for a Sustainable and Healthy Diet

Intermittent Fasting: A Fast and Feast Diet

Many people think about the term “intermittent fasting (IF)” as a different eating pattern. Yes, intermittent fasting (IF) is different, but it is not new. In fact, it’s been practiced in different ways by people for millennia.

Intermittent fasting is a briefly varied diet that is related to avoiding consuming foods or beverages that contain calories while in the fasting process, though it has different variations that need further study. There are 3 different types of intermittent fasting that are hypothesized to influence health outcomes in humans in general: alternate-day fasting, modified fasting, and time-restricted feeding.

If you are curious about the details, here they are!

Switch the Days: Alternate-Day Fasting

Alternate-day fasting is defined as one fasting day (full energy restriction, zero calories, or sometimes a maximum allowance of 25% of your daily caloric intake on your fasting day) and one feeding day (ad libitum food consumption) and its continuous periods. Ideally, it allows you to eat at least one meal a day. For instance, your daily caloric intake requirement is 1200 calories; on fasting days, it is only 300 calories, maximum, you can consume! 

 Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Let’s check out what you can eat with that many calories on fasting days:

On Mondays, you finish eating at 8 pm and begin fasting for 24 hours until the next day’s (Tuesday’s) dinner at 8 pm. In this fasting period (including sleeping), you can eat a maximum of 300 calories all fasting day:

–  1 egg + 1 slice (1 ounce) of cheese + 2 thin slices of bread
OR
– 1 portion of fresh fruit (eg: 1/2 banana, 2 slices of pineapple, etc) + 2/3 milk + 2-3 tbs of rolled oats + 5-6 raw almonds or hazelnuts
OR
– 1 thin slice of bread + omelet with 1 egg, 1 slice (1 ounce) of cheese + 3 thin slices (1 ounce) smoked turkey, 1/4 cup milk

Studies with normal-weight adults show overall mean weight loss, improvement in glucoregulatory markers (such as fasting insulin levels), and improvements in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which is basically good for human health and triglyceride levels, but increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is basically bad for human health. A full fasting day may not be proper for beginners because alternate-day fasting is extreme and probably unsustainable in the long-term.

 Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Make a Difference: Modified Fasting 

Modified fasting is based on restricted daily caloric intake (20 to 25% energy on fasting days). It’s best-known method is the “5:2 method”, which involves standard eating for 5 days and energy restriction for 2 non-sequential days of the week.

For example, you fast on Tuesdays and Fridays but eat on the rest of the days of the week. According to a daily 1200 calorie need, you are allowed to eat 240-300 calories in your fasting period. Let’s see some different options:

– 1+1/4 cup of lentil soup + 1 thin slice of bread
– 3 portions of fruit + 2/3 cup of yogurt + cinnamon (if desired)
– Coffee with 2/3 cup milk + 10-12 hazelnuts or almonds + 1 portion of fruit

Results from a modified fasting diet with some groups of overweight or obese people show significant weight loss, decreases in fasting insulin (but not in fasting glucose), and improvements in some inflammatory markers. However, it also reported negative effects on some people, like feeling cold, hunger, irritability, etc. So, if compared with standard energy restriction diets, it has little evidence to suggest that type of feeding pattern concluded better weight loss or metabolic changes. The “5:2 method” is more suitable if we compare it with the alternate-day fasting. 

Body Clock: Time-Restricted Feeding

According to time-restricted feeding, daily fasting intervals range from 12 to 20 hours. The most popular one is the “16:8 method.” It involves fasting for 16 hours and eating during an 8 hour period. Two or three meals can fit in this 8 hour period. The simplest way is this: you eat your first meal at noon and finish at 8 pm. During the rest of the day, including sleeping, you fast! Basically, it looks like skipping breakfast, but having lunch, dinner and mid-meals, if you desire.

Regular fasting and eating intervals may be important for maintaining optimal metabolic functions in accordance to normal daily circadian rhythms. So, the 16:8 method is much better and easier to apply if you want to explore intermittent fasting (IF) diet types.

 

Intermittent Fasting: A Fast and Feast Diet

What Are the Pros and Cons with Intermittent Fasting?

It’s time to see it clearer!

Pros: 

In total, the studies showed that results between IF and restricted energy diets provide weight loss or prevent weight gain in those who are obese and overweight, but it should be remembered that there were no major differences among these two diet types.

If you are healthy, and within normal weight standards, and want to lose a bit of fat, you can try these diets. When you fast for an extended period, the body starts to use its own deposits, first glycogen (of course, if you are not a ketogenic-eating person), then excess fat mass.

Intermittent fasting may also help people who have mindless snacking habits, especially at night. It can help with discipline and may help you to reduce and drop this behavior.

Cons:

Do you think that social media influences you? Decide this first. Intermittent fasting (IF) is trendy lately, but it’s also hard to sustain. Focus, job performance, daily activity, helping with your food cravings, etc, are way too important. 

Medical concerns? Well, if you are diabetic, you need to think twice and consult your doctor! Many studies showed no change in fasting glucose levels, though some of them reported a decrease in fasting circulating insulin concentrations in people who don’t have diabetes. But, generally, long-term fasting affects people who have diabetes by reducing fasting blood glucose, in addition to post-prandial blood glucose. So, in short, if you have frequent hypoglycemic attacks, IF is not your thing. 

Plus, a study showed that LDL cholesterol had increased significantly after 12 months among the alternate-day fasting group. It might be a red flag for your heart health.

Finally, people may lead themselves to eat unhealthily, processed, or high-calorie food on the feeding days. You may lose weight by restricting your total caloric intake, but you will not take good care of your body.

 Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Who Should Avoid Applying Intermittent Fasting?

Let’s be honest! Each nutritional plan is specific for every single person. IF is getting trendier day by day, however, it still needs to be examined its results in detail. In general, people who have eating disorders, children and adolescents, pregnant or breastfeeding women, post-op patients who are in their healing period, people who cannot regulate their blood sugar, etc, need to apply their own specific diets. Or people who crave sugar/dessert, people who cannot control their appetite, or if IF leads them to eat more, IF is not suitable for them! For more details about food cravings, read this

So?

As mentioned above, IF has no advantaged ‘weight loss’ difference if compared with normally restricted calorie diets, therefore don’t expect a miracle. 

Briefly, if you want to experience this type of diet, you need to see and consult your doctor and registered dietitian. If they both decide that you can ‘give it a go’, and, of course, if the IF rules fit for you, it can be tried!

 

Why Do Specific Diets Fail?

Everybody wants to look good and thin, but we are eating more than we need. As the obesity rate in the world increases, the weight loss market develops new products every day, like diet books, frozen meals, pills, powders, and many more. Despite all of these, a large number of people who try to lose weight gain it back. Why are many of us still dieting? Why do specific diets fail? Every year a diet becomes popular. There are books that are published and there are products that are made for these specific diets.

For instance, the ketogenic diet, which is the original Atkins diet, claims that cutting carbohydrates will help you lose weight. But when you stop eating fruits, milk and milk products, grains, and some vegetables and legumes, you start to consume less fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

The results of low carb diets are not sustainable.

Cutting a specific type of food from your diet is unhealthy and will make you crave that food after a certain time, and you end up eating more than you need. The Paleo diet is a type of diet that embraces what our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic era. But as you all know, we are living in a different kind of period, the modern world, which is way more different than our ancestors. So this diet does not suit our genes, our requirements, or our habits.

diet plan

Another specific diet is the blood type diet, which is a diet dictated according to your blood type. However, there is no scientific evidence of this. Science has rejected the concept of detoxing as well because detoxes help you lose water weight, which is easily gained back in a day. Also, they shouldn’t be done for more than 2-3 days. Pills, supplements, and powers are barely regulated and they are also not a miracle for weight loss and maintenance.

And then there are low-fat diets and low-fat products. Just because the product is a low-fat label does not mean it is healthy. It may be high in sugar and calories. Finally, the most common diets are very-low-calorie diets. These diets will help you lose weight, but after losing a large amount of weight in an unhealthy way, many people tend to gain some weight back. As a result, your metabolism slows down. That’s why very low-calorie diets are not healthy or sustainable.

Colorful veggies and fruits for your diet

Eating healthy should last a lifetime.

These types of diets may help you lose weight in a short time, but if you want to maintain the weight you lost, you have to change your habits. There are no miracle diets that will help you lose all the extra weight and help maintain the weight you lost.

Secondly, don’t forget that one size doesn’t fit all! Perhaps you have tried a diet that your friend lost 5 pounds with, but it didn’t quite work on you. The reason is we are not the same. We all have different genetics, bodies, metabolisms, and habits. Diets can work, but there is no one magic diet that helps everybody to lose weight. You just have to know your body and listen to what it wants. The key is to eat every kind of healthy food, but be careful with the portions. In addition, try to increase physical activity.

Related: What to Do After Cheating on Your Diet

Vegetarianism: Why Are Plant Based Diets on the Rise?

Vegetarianism is one of the most popular diet trends recently and generally describes a diet in which one eliminates meat and meat-derived foods. Vegan and vegetarian products, even whole sections of products, are increasingly easy to find in supermarkets. So what’s the appeal? In fact, there are many reasons people choose to become vegetarians, including personal preferences, ecological problems, religious beliefs, and various diseases (especially cardiovascular diseases).

With any diet, the main goal should be nutritional adequacy.

When compared to nutritionally, vegetarians consume more carbohydrates, omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, carotenoids, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and magnesium. However, they consume less protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, zinc, and calcium than non-vegetarians. Therefore, vegetarian diets may offer a few advantages, including lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol caused by animal-based foods.

Vegetarianism: Why Are Plant Based Diets on the Rise?

Vegetarianism to Veganism

It’s not a big jump. A vegan diet involves cutting out all animal-based foods such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey, etc. Because of its similarity to vegetarianism, veganism is like a subclassification of vegetarianism. People choose to be vegan for many of the same reasons they might choose to be vegetarian. Sometimes certain allergies (such as an allergy to egg whites) can also motivate people to go from vegetarianism to veganism. The vegetarian and vegan portion of the world is estimated at 2%. But do they get what they need? Let’s figure it out! Protein is an essential micronutrient for the body’s building, maintenance, and repairing of tissues. Vegetarians can meet their protein needs through a well planned plant-based diet which includes a variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables.

Omega-3 fatty acids are good for cardiovascular health, eye health, and brain development.

Vegetarians and vegans can find omega-3 in several plants. Especially those which contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), such as walnuts, flaxseed oil, hemp seed, and soybeans. Vitamin B12 intake is often low for vegans because it is mainly acquired through animal-based foods. Very low B12 levels can cause anemia or nervous system damage. Unfortunately, deficiency symptoms usually take years to manifest, making this a major problem which is also hard to detect. 

Although plant-based diets have low levels of iodine, it is possible to maintain a healthy level of iodine. Table salt is often fortified with iodine, and vegetables that grow in deep ocean water (such as seaweeds) are high in iodine. In order to maintain a healthy level of iron, vegetarians and vegans should stay away from phytates, calcium, tea, coffee, and cacao, which all decrease iron absorption. Rich plant sources of iron include dark green vegetables, soy products, legumes, whole grains, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and unrefined molasses. Consuming these foods is key, and adding food high in vitamin C will enhance absorption.

Zinc is important for the immune system and plant foods do not contain large amounts of Zinc.

However, the richest plant sources are legumes, nuts, seeds, and oatmeal. Calcium can be found in dark green vegetables, beans, tofu, tahini, sesame seeds, almonds, figs, seaweeds, unrefined molasses, and fortified soy milk. Keep in mind that phytates and oxalates, especially plant foods contain, can inhibit calcium absorption.

Low vitamin D blood levels and bone density may be major problems for vegetarians and vegans. This is because vitamin D is necessary for regularizing calcium metabolism. Nutritional requirements are different for every single person. If any person, whether vegetarian or vegan or omnivorous, has a nutritional deficiency, they should seek the advice of a dietitian and/or doctor in order to meet their dietary needs.

Related: 12 Tips for a Sustainable and Healthy Diet

What to Do After Cheating on Your Diet

This has happened to all of us… you have been dieting for a while and going to the gym 2-3 times a week, and one night, you ate chocolate, or you drank alcohol at a party, or you ate a hamburger on the weekend and cheated on your diet. You felt guilty, and you don’t know what to do. First of all, this is a common experience that all dieters have. It doesn’t mean everything you have done is wasted about your diet. That’s why we shouldn’t regret that indulgence.

One chocolate, ice cream, or cookie won’t ruin your day. You shouldn’t give yourself permission to erase the whole day. “That’s it, I ate chocolate, I give up.” Can you imagine doing this in any other situation? “That’s it, I snoozed my alarm and slept 10 minutes more, I won’t go to work at all.” Of course not. When you make a little mistake, you just have to deal as best as you can. That’s exactly how it should be with your diet. You can have a fresh start the next day!

So here are some tips for after a cheat meal or cheat day.

What to Do After Cheating on Your Diet

Increase Your Water Consumption

Drink at least 2.5-3 liters of water a day. This step is one of the most important things to do after a cheat on your diet. Drinking water will help you lose the water weight you gained.

Drink Herbal Teas

Green tea, rosemary tea, fennel tea, and cherry stem tea will also help you lose water weight. Drink 2-3 cups of herbal teas a day.

Drinking herbal teas to after cheating on your diet

Reduce Sodium Intake

Excess amounts of sodium will also result in edema (fluid retention). That’s why you should try to decrease your sodium intake. Stay away from processed foods, pickles, and broths that are high in sodium.

Cut off Carbs

Excessive intake of carbohydrates and sugar will increase water retention. This is one of the main reasons why you weigh more than another day after a cheat meal. That’s why you should reduce white sugar, white rice, white bread, and white pasta. Instead of carbohydrate-rich foods, eat more protein and fat. For example, breakfast with eggs and a lunch with chicken salad will be better.

Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake

Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake

Foods like cherries, pineapple, zucchini, apricot, cucumber, and parsley that are high in water will help you lose weight easily.

Exercise But Do Not Exaggerate

Exercise is a great idea. After a cheat day, exercising will help you recover easily. Try not to over-exercise and burn all the excessive calories you just ate. Stick to your normal exercise routine.

Exercise But Do Not Exaggerate

Skip The Scale

After a cheat meal, you may weigh more than usual. It’s not because you have gained fat, but rather because you’ve gained water weight after you ate foods that are higher in carbs and salt. Don’t forget that this weight is temporary.

The most important thing to remember in this is that there is no one who is unsuccessful, there is only the one who gives up. There can be some bumps on the road to your goal. Only you can achieve your goal if you don’t give up on yourself. So stay positive and focused! Don’t create excuses!

Related: 4 Steps For a Healthier Diet