Tag Archives: diet

8 Foods for Healthy, Happy Skin

Just as our diet is an integral part of overall health and can help lessen the risks of serious illness, it also has a part to play when it comes to the health of the body’s largest organ: the skin. Certain foods help fight the effect of aging, protect the skin from damage as well as fight inflammation. Let’s take a look at a few great choices for good skin health:

  1. Oil up – Extra virgin olive oil can all benefit your skin by providing omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil is particularly beneficial for the skin as it also contains antioxidants and vitamin E (which helps fight the effects of aging). Flaxseed oil, canola oil and soybean oil may also provide some skin perks.
  2. Water it down – Yeah, yeah, we know water doesn’t technically classify as “food”, but it is just as important for the skin as it is for the rest of your body, so we had to include it in our list. Water helps hydrate your skin and purge toxins, so start drinking up and stocking up on foods that have high water content (like celery or watermelon).
  3. Get nuts – Nuts are mini powerhouses when it comes to skin health. Not only are they rich in beneficial omega fatty acids, but certain types (especially brazil nuts), also contain selenium, a mineral that provides front-line defence against harmful free radicals, helping protect the skin against tissue damage (and possibly even skin cancer!). Selenium also plays a part in reducing wrinkles.
  4. Berries for beauty – While all fruits will help replenish your skin with essential nutrients (like vitamin C), berries bring all kinds of awesome to the table. Berries are rich in antioxidants, which work hard to help fight oxidative damage to the body, helping protect your skin from harm.
  5. Add some spice – Many spices have medicinal properties. Some help fight inflammation, some have slight analgesic effects, and some help support good skin health. Some of which include: cinnamon, cumin, ginger and chamomile.
  6. Fish for it – Fish are great for your health in general, but can also provide some skin-specific benefits. Many types of fish (such as tuna or mackerel) contain an antioxidant called coenzyme Q10 (you probably recall seeing this as an ingredient in some skincare products). Q10 helps fight the effects aging has on the skin and helps keep your skin healthy and fresh. Fish are also great sources of good fatty acids like omega-3 that help provide beneficial oil to prevent your skin from drying out.
  7. Go for the green – Leafy green veggies are good sources of vitamin A (a key nutrient that helps prevent and decrease the appearance of skin blemishes and wrinkles). They also contain another helpful nutrient for your skin: vitamin E, which helps decrease inflammation and protect the skin. That’s not all leafy greens do for your skin, but remember, all vegetables are healthy for your body. Carrots are another great choice for healthy, glowing skin.
  8. Finish with cocoa – It turns out that even certain dessert foods can help your skin! Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) is rich in flavanols that help protect the skin against the sun and help give the skin a better, smoother texture.

So, stock up your cabinets with these goodies today, and be sure to get plenty of exercise and sleep for healthy, glowing skin! Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope you check back again soon.



Boost Your Brain With These 7 Foods

Dementia is a prevalent, devastating condition that has been on the rise in recent years. Approximately 5.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s alone, and over 47.5 million people suffer with dementia worldwide. What’s more, is that people are getting dementia earlier than ever before, even affecting people in their 40’s. So, what can you do to help protect your brain against this destructive disease? Aside from exercising regularly and avoiding smoking, you can help give your brain power by making the right food choices. In our last post, we checked out some of the worst foods for your brain, now let’s take a look at some of the best:

  1. Leafy green veggies are known for all kinds of health wonders, one of which is protecting the brain and promoting cognitive function as the brain ages. Lutein, a natural dark green pigment is one of the key veggie components responsible for boosting brain health.
  2. Red wine – While we know that drinking too much alcohol can lead to a myriad of diseases, according to the Memory Foundation, drinking small to moderate amounts of alcohol (specifically red wine) may reduce the risk of developing dementia by nearly 40%. Red wine is rich in antioxidants, specifically resveratrol, which is responsible for maintaining and protecting the health of your hippocampus, as well as helping to prevent blood vessel damage.
  3. Whole grains – help release a steady stream glucose (your body’s energy source) into the bloodstream and directly to the brain, which can help keep you alert and stave off mental fogginess for the long run.
  4. Fish, nuts and seeds are all rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids, namely DHA and EPA. Low levels of both of these forms of fatty acids have been linked to Alzheimer’s, as well as other conditions such as certain types of heart disease. So aim to get a couple servings of fish weekly, and plenty of nuts and seeds for snacks in between.
  5. Berries and certain fruits contain anthocyanins, the natural pigment of purple, dark red and dark blue fruits and veggies. Anthocyanins also happen to be powerful and protective antioxidant compounds that linked with brain (and body) health. They work to combat oxidative stress, in turn protecting the brain against degenerative disease.
  6. Coffee – While you may have heard some conflicting health-based arguments about coffee over the years, it certainly has its pros when it comes to health. Coffee is rich in helpful antioxidants that help protect the brain. Another pro to coffee is that caffeine plays with your neurotransmitters in an oddly beneficial way. It works to suppress adenosine in the brain, which leaves you more energetic and less lethargic, while simultaneously triggering the release of serotonin to boost your mood. Studies have shown that coffee can help promote better brain functioning.
  7. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)– While margarine isn’t so hot for the brain, polyunsaturated fatty oils like EVOO are just what the doctor ordered for brain health. Olive oil also contains natural anti-inflammatory properties that help combat disease.

There you have it! Some of the best and worst foods for your brain. So, what are you waiting for? Hit the grocery store! Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Decrease Your Risk of Dementia by Avoiding These 7 Foods

Dementia, one of the most devastating conditions to hit families, is on the rise in recent years. The number of people affected by the condition worldwide has spiked to 47.5 million people, according to the World Health Organization. What’s more, is that people are getting dementia earlier than ever before. Decades ago, ‘early onset dementia’ meant those in their 60’s were beginning to develop dementia. Now it could mean people as young as their 40’s are seeing signs of the disease. So, what can be done to help lower your risk? There are many factors such as genetic predisposition that you cannot control, but one that is in your power to change is your diet. Certain foods have been linked to increased dementia risk, while others have shown promise in helping to stave off the disease. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at 6 of the worst foods for your brain:

  1. Processed cheese – Highly processed foods are never fabulous for your body, but some are worse than others (especially when it comes to your brain). While real cheese may help raise helpful gluthathione levels which can be beneficial for the brain, processed cheese, on the other hand may have the opposite effect. Products such as cheese whiz appear to raise levels of certain proteins to the body that have been linked with Alzheimer’s.
  2. Processed meat – Similarly, processed meats have long been linked to many illnesses such as colorectal cancer, and dementia is no exception. Processed, smoked, and cured meats contain high levels of nitrosamines which can lead to a fatty liver and too many toxins in the brain. Try to consume your meat as close to organic as possible to steer clear of the risks associated with the processed variety. Beer also contains high levels of nitrates and should be consumed in moderation.
  3. Microwave popcorn and margarine both contain diacetyl, a toxic chemical compound used in simulated butter that can cause chronic lung problems and has been linked to other conditions such as cancer and dementia.
  4. White foods – White breads, sugar and pastas are responsible for spiking insulin levels in the body which in turn, sends toxins to the brain. Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s are highly linked, so it makes sense that the same foods negatively impact both conditions.
  5. Eating too much beef raises the iron levels in your brain, which can increase your risk of developing dementia disorders. Even though iron is essential, too little or too much can be bad news. Excess iron contributes to oxidative stress, which can be especially hard on the brain. Aside from that, red meat promotes inflammation within the body (and brain) which can also contribute to dementia.
  6. Fructose – For the same reason as white foods, fructose is also bad for the brain as it throws the body’s insulin levels out of whack.Stay tuned next, for 5 of the best foods for your brain! Thanks for visiting DocChat!




7 Foods That Are Rich in Selenium

Selenium is a little-known but essential mineral that has many important jobs in the body. Among its many functions is thyroid regulation, DNA synthesis and helping the immune system. Selenium may also help prevent certain types of cancer. It is a key antioxidant and helps protect the body against harmful oxidative damage (which can contribute to cancer if left unchecked). So how much selenium does the body need, and where can we find it?

How Much Selenium Do You Need?

Recommended daily values of selenium are broken down into the following age groups:

  • Babies should have no more than 15 micrograms (mcg) daily
  • Toddlers up to 3 years old should have 20 mcg
  • Children 4-8 years old should consume 30mcg
  • Older children 9-13 are recommended to have 40mcg
  • Adolescents aged 14-18 should consume 55mcg
  • Adults 19+ should also consume 55mcg
  • Pregnant women require a little more (60mcg through the pregnancy to 70mcg during lactation)

Best Dietary Sources of Selenium

Foods that are rich in selenium include:

  1. Brazil nuts contain nearly 500% of the recommended intake for adults in only a 1/2oz serving. * According to the NIH Brazil nuts shouldn’t be consumed too regularly as they can be too high in selenium when too many are consumed).
  2. Fish – while most fish and seafood is rich in selenium, yellow fin tuna tops the list at 92mcg per 3oz serving.
  3. Wheat germ contains 35mcg of selenium per quarter cup serving.
  4. Boneless turkey contains 31mcg of selenium per 3oz serving.
  5. Eggs – 2 large eggs contain approximately 30mcg of selenium.
  6. Spinach (per 1 cup serving) delivers 11mcg of selenium.
  7. Dates – 1 cup of dates provides you with 4mcg of selenium, which is high for fruits.

So, there you have our list of selenium-rich foods! Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope you’ll return again soon.

40 Healthy New Year’s Resolution Ideas

With the new year quickly approaching, we decided to compile a list of potential New Year’s resolutions to give you some inspiration for your own goals for 2017:

  1. Lose those extra Lbs (if you have them) for your health
  2. Take the stairs all year
  3. Try to pass on unhealthy snacks
  4. Do 50 daily squats, push-ups or sit-ups
  5. Cut out chips for a year
  6. Floss every day
  7. Eat more omega-3 fatty acids (in fish, nuts and seeds)
  8. Have a salad lunch 3 times every week
  9. Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones
  10. Stop complaining and take action
  11. Reduce take-out meals to once monthly
  12. Spend more time with your family
  13. Spend less time looking at screens
  14. Spend more time outdoors
  15. Limit (non-work) screen time to 1 or 2 hours daily
  16. Cook with and snack on produce as much as possible
  17. Try to nix snap judgements
  18. Take at least 45 minutes out for yourself each day
  19. Bring that stress level down
  20. Organize your whole house one room at a time
  21. Find ways to laugh more
  22. Get out for a short daily walk with your partner or friend
  23. Eat more fiber
  24. Drink more water (try it with lemon for a zing)
  25. Keep alcoholic beverages down to 1 daily
  26. Quit smoking if you do it – your whole body will thank you
  27. Try something new that challenges you
  28. Try to better manage your time
  29. Learn deep breathing exercises and do them
  30. Start doing Kegels (they are good for men too)
  31. Carve out a designated exercise space in your home
  32. Take up a new hobby or learn a new skill
  33. Try to stop procrastinating
  34. Quit biting your nails (if you do)
  35. Take better care of your skin (moisturize!)
  36. Take initiative of your healthcare and do what needs to be done
  37. Smile more
  38. Try to eat healthy 6 days a week (cheat days will be even sweeter then)
  39. Try a new fitness activity or class every week or month
  40. Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly

Have more ideas? Feel free to let us know on twitter! Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll be back again soon.

40 Foods That Are Rich in Insoluble Fiber

Fiber is an integral part of healthy digestion, particularly insoluble fiber. While soluble fiber dissolves in water, helping slow and relax the digestion process, insoluble fiber passes straight through the digestive tract, pushing things along. It helps combats constipation by getting the digestive system moving. Insoluble fiber is responsible for lowering the risk for such digestive complications as hemorrhoids or inflammation. The recommended daily intake of fiber for a healthy adult is about 25-30 grams, three-quarters of which should be the insoluble kind.

The Best Sources of Insoluble Fiber

  1. Artichoke
  2. Dried figs
  3. Psyllium seed husks
  4. Lentils
  5. Kidney beans
  6. Blueberries
  7. Strawberries
  8. Almonds
  9. Walnuts
  10. Split peas
  11. Sunflower seeds
  12. Applesauce
  13. Turnip
  14. Sweet potato
  15. Brussels sprouts
  16. Wheat bran
  17. Whole grains
  18. Popcorn
  19. Prunes
  20. Spinach
  21. Bell peppers
  22. Cabbage
  23. Lettuce
  24. Kale
  25. Collards
  26. Scallions
  27. Peas
  28. Green beans
  29. Black, white and red beans
  30. Flaxseeds
  31. Kernel corn
  32. Eggplants
  33. Potatoes (with skin)
  34. Sesame seeds
  35. Quinoa
  36. Celery
  37. Onions
  38. Apples
  39. Oat bran
  40. Oatmeal

Not Everyone Should Overdo Insoluble Fiber

Increasing insoluble fiber is a great idea for those who are constipated or have trouble with regular bowel movements. While it can be pretty hard to ‘overdo’ fiber, people with certain stomach conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should be careful not to consume too much of it as it may further aggravate their digestive symptoms. Talk to your doctor about your diet if you have IBS or another stomach problem before making changes to your diet.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Keep an eye out for other helpful food lists!



7 Reasons To Chow Down on Thanksgiving Turkey

While research has linked excess meat consumption with adverse health issues like cardiovascular disease, some types of meat are more healthful choices than others. Red meat is most highly associated with health issues, whereas lean meats like turkey can actually provide many health benefits.

7 Reasons to Gobble Down Some Turkey

  1. Turkey is rich in potassium, valuable B vitamins, zinc and iron.
  2. Skinless turkey breast is less fatty than most other types of meat.
  3. Turkey contains selenium, a mineral that has shown promise in reducing risk of certain types of cancer such as prostate and colorectal.
  4. Turkey is a top-notch source of protein. A mere 4-ounce serving has over 20 grams of protein (nearly a day’s worth)!
  5. Pasture-raised turkey is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  6. Turkey is rich in the amino acid tryptophan which has many important functions in the body such as regulating hormones like serotonin, regulating sleep and aiding the production of helpful B vitamin, niacin.
  7. Dark turkey meat in particular may play a part in helping lower cholesterol levels due to its taurine.

Considerations to Heed

Regular turkey consumption can be quite beneficial to your health but remember, everything in moderation! Turkey is healthier when its fatty skin has been removed. Also, please note that these benefits are in reference to real turkey meat, not processed sandwich meats. Many processed meats tend to be high in sodium and unhealthy nitrates.

We hope you enjoy your holiday turkey! Thanks for visiting DocChat!

This or That? – Better Diabetic Food Choices

While there are clear front-runner foods when it comes to metabolic disorders such as diabetes, remember that even when it comes to the less healthy options, the occasional indulgence is perfectly fine. However, for the best shot at better health, try to stick within these suggested guidelines:

  1. VeggiesMost veggies are good choices for diabetes. In fact, be sure to fit as many different types and colors of veggies into your diet as possible. However, be careful how you dress your veggies – avoid butters, creams, or other high sodium, fat or sugar dressings.
    Try to cut down on: Veggies that come in cans packed with excess sugar or sodium, as well as potatoes and corn which both fit under the metabolic ‘carb’ category.
  2. Starches – Some starches are better than others. Stick with whole grains and sweet potatoes that can be properly metabolized.
    Try to cut down on: White rice, breads or pastas, or too much potato.
  3. Dairy – While dairy can be an important part of a balanced diet, it is important to try and stick to low-fat options such as skim or soy milk and low-fat cheeses (such as cottage cheese). Low-fat Greek is one of the best yogurt choices because of its high protein count and low in calories and fat.
    Try to cut down on: The many dairy products that contain ample fat, calories and added sugar such as full-fat cheeses, rich creams, ice cream, whole or half milk and full-fat, highly sweetened yogurts.
  4. Protein – Beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are great sources of plant-based protein, delivering the goods without added sugar or bad fats. Eggs, lean, skinless meats like turkey and chicken, as well as fish are other great protein choices for diabetics.
    Try to cut down on: Bacon, red meat, fried or deep-fried meats or fish, beans prepared with too much maple syrup, molasses, pork or lard.
  5. Fruit – While nature’s candy offers a surplus of nutrients, vitamins, fiber and minerals, most fruit are high in carbs and sugar. It is best to go for fresh fruit such as berries (loaded with antioxidants), kiwi, oranges, apricots or tart cherries, which can help lower systemic inflammation. No-sugar-added applesauce is also a good choice. If you’re craving some jam for your whole-grain toast, go for a low-sugar option.
    Try to cut down on: canned, sweetened fruit, fruit juice (unless it is no-sugar added concentrate) or sweetened jam. Some fresh fruits are also higher in carbs and sugar than others such as grapes, but all fresh fruit should be okay in moderation.
  6. Cooking fats – go for polyunsaturated fats such as canola, flaxseed, sunflower oil, as well as super-healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil has also shown promise for diabetics. When it comes to mayonnaise, go for a lower fat variety. Nut butters are good fat choices as well.
    Try to cut down on: trans fats such as French fries or processed snacks such as chips and cookies, and saturated fats such as lard, butter, coconut oil, cream or gravy.
  7. Drinks – Water is clearly the beverage superstar, not only for diabetics, but anyone. What other choices are good for diabetics? Coffee, unsweetened teas, skin milk, and diet soda (in moderation).
    Try to cut down on: high-sugar juices or drinks or regular sodas. You should also try to avoid alcoholic beverages as they can interfere with diabetes medications or insulin levels. However, if you’re really feeling like an adult beverage, try a light beer or a glass of wine.

For more information about optimal diabetic diet choices, visit the American Diabetes Association. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about diabetes management, feel free to sign up today for a video consultation with one of our highly qualified, board certified DocChat physicians.



Can Diet Help Ease Symptoms of Depression?

Can diet cure depression? Certainly not, clinical depression is a complex and serious health condition that is most often treated with a combination of medication, therapy and lifestyle changes. However, as with many chronic or intermittent health conditions, diet does play a big part in worsening or bettering illness. Certain ‘mood-boosting’ foods have shown promise in helping ease some of the symptoms of mild depressive disorder.

So, How Does Diet Come In To the Picture?

Lifestyle can play a big part when it comes to any illness, particularly exercise and diet. While exercise can be just as influential in helping ease depression by releasing mood-boosting endorphins, we will focus on diet for now. As we mentioned, depression is a complex health issue that is activated by a myriad of different factors, one of those factors being the brain’s release of abnormal levels of certain neurochemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Depression can also be heavily influenced by hormones like cortisol, a stress hormone. While there is no one “super depression food” that can singlehandedly combat the illness, eating certain healthy foods together can help by replenishing depleted nutrient levels (which can also affect mood), boosting energy and activating the release of ‘happy chemicals’ in the brain which can help combat the effects of excess cortisol. Some of these foods include:

  1. Antioxidant-rich eats: antioxidants help combat free radicals, which are part of normal bodily processes but can lead to disease and disorder within the body (especially the brain) when they over replicate. Foods rich in antioxidants include: blueberries, leafy greens, orange fruits and veggies (thanks to beta carotene), and green tea, just to name a few.
  2. Complex carbs for a complex condition: when your body metabolizes complex or “smart” carbs (not simple carbs like cookies), the brain releases the mood-boosting neurochemical serotonin which can help naturally, albeit temporarily, elevate a low mood.
  3. Protein is your pal: protein notoriously boosts energy, giving your body (brain included!) the pick-up it needs to avoid the debilitating fatigue and lethargy commonly associated with depression, as well as better regulate chemicals and hormonal processes in the body. Moreover, amino acids (which are found in many protein-rich foods such as meat and fish) like tryptophan also boost your serotonin levels.

  4. Nuts, seeds and legumes: Think Mediterranean and your brain will thank you. Medical research has drawn a link between lower levels of both B12 and folate in depressed individuals, so it stands to reason that increasing these nutrients may help fight or stave off depression symptoms (but before you reach for any supplements, talk to your doctor). High concentrations of both can be found in many Mediterranean-esque foods such as beans, legumes, fish and leafy greens.

These are just a few of the diet tweaks that may give your body the goodies it needs to help gently ease some of the symptoms of depression. Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to depression, and increasing omega-3 fatty acids and chromium have shown promise in helping alleviate at least some of the weight of depression. Aside from a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, it is important to take any prescribed medications and attend necessary therapy sessions to help combat the troublesome affliction. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you return again soon!



15 of the Best Foods to Eat Daily (Part 2)

Last time we looked at the first 7 of our top 15 best foods to consume daily, and now let’s  check out the last 8:

  1. Celery – if you think celery is just a low-calorie, water based food with little to offer aside from being a good weight-loss snack food, you’ve been misled. Celery is rich in various antioxidants, as well as polysaccharides which can help with inflammation. Celery also contains its fair share of vitamin C and K as well as folate. So how’s that for incentive to add celery to a daily veggie platter?
  2. Bell Peppers – A serving of these versatile veggies contains well over 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, as well as many other vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals. All kinds of peppers also contain capsaicin , which appears to help reduce the risk of prostate cancer and also has natural analgesic properties which can benefit chronic pain sufferers.
  • Citrus fruit – Citrus fruits are excellent sources of potassium, calcium, thiamin, B and C vitamins, potassium and fiber. They also contain less sugar than some other fruit choices, however, choices like grapefruits can interact with certain heart medications so it is important to check with your doctor first if you take daily medications.
  • Carrots – The old adage that a rabbit’s favorite food is good for your eyesight is true. This is largely due to their high beta carotene levels. Beta carotene converts vitamin A into retinol, a key ingredient in maintaining good eye health (as well as aiding the immune system and bones). Carrots are also high in multiple vitamins and antioxidants, as well as iron and manganese.
  1. Blueberries these berries have been gaining some serious good-health spotlight in the last few years, and there are plenty of reasons for that. They are one of the richest sources of antioxidants around, high in fiber, as well as many other vitamins and nutrients and are lower in sugar than most other fruit – not to mention delicious! So, take any chance you get to chow down on these vibrant berries.
  2. Tomatoes – Tomatoes are nutritional powerhouses; they contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and carotenoids. Research also suggests they aid the immune system and may help lower the risk of certain cancers such as pancreatic.
  3. Coffee – Coffee?! Yes, you heard us correctly. Believe it or not, despite the somewhat tarnished reputation coffee has earned over the years, a morning cup of joe may actually improve your health. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, coffee may play a role in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, gallstones, Parkinson’s and may even have some cardiovascular benefits. It has also shown promise in helping asthma.
  4. Dark chocolate –This list just keeps getting better! Quality 70% (or higher) dark chocolate offers up a bouquet of healthful substances including: iron, zinc, fiber, magnesium, potassium, selenium and flavonoids. Research suggests dark chocolate consumption may help with lowering blood pressure, easing PMS symptoms, easing an overactive digestive tract, and more.

That concludes our 15 favorite healthy foods to eat daily, but stay tuned for some honorable mentions that you should also add to the menu frequently in a future post. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll start making some of these nutritious winners part of your daily diet.