Tag Archives: food

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Mediterranean omega-3 diet.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are some of the “good fats” your body needs in order to function optimally, but unfortunately your body doesn’t produce enough of these goodies naturally and instead gets them from certain important foods. Omega-3s have some amazing effects on health, including prevention of certain diseases and helping to regulate things like hormone production. There are three different types of Omega-3s: ALA (this one is the most important to consume, as it is an essential fat), DHA and DPA.

Omega-3s For Cardiovascular Health

Omega-3s are very heart-healthy. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “These fats appear to help the heart beat at a steady clip and not veer into a dangerous or potentially fatal erratic rhythm. Omega-3 fats also lower blood pressure and heart rate, improve blood vessel function, and, at higher doses, lower triglycerides and may ease inflammation, which plays a role in the development of atherosclerosis.” Omega-3 supplements are often recommended by doctors to patients with cardiovascular problems, or as a preventative measure for those at risk of developing heart issues.

The Many Other Benefits

The health benefits Omega-3s are vast, among them are helping to control chronic inflammation which aids with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, helping also to control airway inflammation in asthmatics. Some studies seem to show a link between omega-3s found in fish oil and the prevention and progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. These super fats have also shown a positive influence over such mental health conditions as ADHD and depression, working in tandem with antidepressants to help alleviate some of the symptoms. Because the benefits of these fats extend far beyond this list, doctors recommend everyone try to eat fish, nuts or other omega-3-containing foods 3-4 times weekly.

Good Dietary Sources

Omega-3s can be found in many healthy foods such as:

Nuts – walnuts, pine nuts, almonds and peanuts

Fish and seafood – mackerel, salmon, anchovies, herring, oysters, sardines, caviar

Some oils – sunflower oil, corn oil

Flaxseeds and chia seeds

Soybeans

Spinach

Precautions

If you don’t like many Omega-3 foods, supplements are available to take. However, people with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia should be careful with Omega-3s, as well as people on blood-thinners such as Warfarin. Omega-3s could cause bloating or diarrhea in some people. As with any medication or supplement, it is important to consult your primary care doctor or one of our qualified physicians at DocChat before beginning an Omega-3 supplement.

 

 

 

10 Healthy Alternatives to Favorite Dishes

Many of our favorite ‘guilty pleasure’ dishes can be substituted with alternatives that are much healthier but equally as delicious. Here are 10 of our favorite not-so-guilty pleasure healthy alternatives. We hope you find some new favorites here to incorporate into your meal plans!

1. Cauliflower Green Pizza

Pizza lovers, rejoice! This Food Network recipe includes a cauliflower crust topped with spinach and zucchini. It also makes a great substitution for those with gluten or egg allergies. Another healthier alternative is a veggie-based tortilla as the crust, then add your favorite toppings for a delectable, thin crust pizza.

2. Oatmeal Pancakes with Fruit

These flapjacks just require a few ingredients: eggs, oats, baking powder, salt and your choice of fruit. You can either put the fruit on top afterwards or add it to the batter (we are partial to blueberries). They wouldn’t be complete without a bit of regular maple syrup, or use an alternative such as agave syrup.

3. Black Bean Brownies

Check out these black bean brownies that actually taste like regular brownies – not only does it disguise the main ingredient from your tastebuds, but also they are gluten free and sweetened with stevia and agave syrup. What more could you ask for?

4. Lettuce wraps

For your next lunchtime wrap, try eliminating the wrap or bread altogether, and substituting it with a piece of romaine lettuce for a healthier, ready-to-eat roll. This way, you ditch the extra calories, but still get your fill and the same convenience.

5. Veggie Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Try adding different veggies, such as peas, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower or spinach to your favorite mac and cheese recipe for additional nutrients. You can even go a couple steps further and use less cheese, adding some low-fat cream cheese for texture.  Other options include using veggie noodles, brown rice or spinach-based pasta.

6. Spaghetti Squash

To make spaghetti squash, you simply poke some air holes in the exterior of the squash, heat it in the microwave for a few minutes, then cut it in half and remove the seeds. Use a fork to scrape at the squash flesh to create “pasta” texture. Then add your favorite homemade sauce and some turkey meatballs, and you have a satisfying supper.

7. Cinnamon Toast “Munch”

This is a great healthy homemade cereal substitute for your favorite sugary store-bought breakfast cereals. It includes sprouted whole grain (or puffed brown rice for a gluten free option), nuts, cinnamon and stevia to create a mouth-watering, healthful breakfast.

8. Roasted Chickpeas

A great savory alternative to chips, chickpeas are high in fiber, and much lower in fat, calories and sodium than most chips you’ll buy. You can buy roasted chickpeas, or you can make them! Simply drain a can of chickpeas, spread them out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, and bake at 400’F for about 25-30 minutes depending on how crunchy you want them. Delicious!

9. Mashed “No-tatoes”

Mashed cauliflower has a texture similar to potatoes. Take a whole head of cauliflower, cut it up and boil or steam it, then mash it with your favorite ingredients like chives, light mayo or a bit of butter, and any other seasonings you enjoy in traditional mashed potatoes. You can even use it in place of potatoes in another recipe such a Shepherd’s Pie!

10. Smoothie Popsicles

This last one is so simple, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it first! Blend up a smoothie with berries, bananas,  protein powder, flax, or whatever you prefer, then pour it into popsicle mold and freeze for a sweet and icy treat.

Health Risks Associated With Red Meat

medium roast rib-eye steak on wooden plate with pepper and salt

Is there a correlation between eating red meat and being diagnosed with cancer or heart disease? This is a question that has puzzled many people for decades. In recent research, new evidence was found that eating red meat regularly can decrease your lifespan. Read on to know how health risks are associated with red meat.

Red Meat Can Harden Or Block Arteries

Red meat contains carnitine, an element that can trigger atherosclerosis. Carnitine can harden or block your arteries, increasing the risk for heart attack, heart failure and stroke, according to a recent study. Under the study, researchers examined vegetarian and omnivore cardiac patients. It concluded that carnitine transforms to a material called trimethylamine-N-oxide, which is extremely detrimental to your heart. It was further found that the more the level of carnitine in your body, the more you are at risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Decrease In Lifespan

A research conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health uncovered a correlation between eating red meat and decrease in lifespan. It also found that consuming proteins in the form of nuts, fish, and poultry involve lower risk of early death than eating red meat. Experts particularly single out processed red meat like salami and hot dogs as “the worst.” Even though further evidence and investigation is required to unearth the actual cause, yet medical practitioners are adamant that it is in the meat preparation. Cooking meat for extended time or burning can lift the toxin level, which can cause stomach cancer.

Leftovers Joined Together

Proponents of red meat often argue that the meat additive they call “lean finely textured beef” is completely safe to eat. Popular among the public as pink slime, this additive comprises of fatty morsels of waste meat that is heated, processed to take out the fat, and then preserved with ammonia gas. The meat is then sold to shops that add slime to the beef, which has been found to be dangerous for health. Moreover, the ammonia may introduce pathogens into the meat. There are also chances that the bacteria will spread in your kitchen during preparation and cooking.

Takeaway

Regular consumption of red meat has been associated with heart diseases, stomach cancer, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. The risk is especially higher in case of processed red meat. Moreover, raw red meat has the potential to spread bacteria in your kitchen and home. It is highly recommended that you wash your hands and other cooking tools after handling raw red meat.

In a nutshell, red meat is delicious and can be consumed but in moderation. However, the quantity consumed should be decreased if you suffer from certain medical conditions. To know more, get in touch with us today as our telemedicine experts can help you stay healthy by recommending what you should and should not consume.

Foods That Can Be Toxic

Roasted slices of potato in rustic clay pot

Not to scare you away or ruin the joys of eating, but there are certain ‘healthy’ natural foods – not just the canned and processed foods – that contain some chemical elements that can be poisonous to your body and hazardous to your health. Since forever, it has been constantly ingrained in our minds by many healthy lifestyle magazines as well as our parents, that eating fruits and vegetables is good for the body. While they are indeed a part of a well-balanced diet, too much consumption of certain foods can be very dangerous and toxic to your health and body.

This article will mention some of the toxic foods that can be potentially harmful to the human body in order to forewarn you:

Red Kidney Beans

If consumed without boiling, red kidney beans can cause severe nausea and vomiting. Before integrating red kidney beans in your cooking, make sure that you soak them in water for a couple of hours and then boil them for at least 10 minutes.

Potatoes and Tomatoes

Both, potatoes and tomatoes stem from the plant that contains glycoalkaloid poison in its leaves. This type of poison can trigger extreme nervousness as well as upset the stomach. While, potato and tomato poisoning is rare, it can even lead to death from a coma. Make sure that you steer clear from green potatoes and remove any attached leaves before consuming.

Bitter Almonds

Almonds are known to stimulate brain activity and further boost your memory. However, you need to know that there are two varieties of almonds, one is sweet and the other one bitter. While sweet almonds are good for the memory, bitter raw almonds contain harmful substances like cyanide which has the potential to kill you.

Wild Mushrooms

It comes as no surprise that mushrooms are also one of the most toxic foods out there. There are certain mushroom types like toadstools that can kill you. Since it is difficult to distinguish a poisonous mushroom from a non-poisonous mushroom, you need to ensure that you get mushrooms of a reliable brand and from a credible grocery store.

Apple and Cherry Seeds

While an apple a day does keep the doctor away, eating apple seeds will have the opposite effect. This is because apple seeds are poisonous and contains components of amygdalin. If you consume enough quantity of apple seeds, it can cause a toxic effect in your body. Similarly, cherry seeds contain poisonous components of hydrogen cyanide. However, accidentally ingesting a few seeds is not harmful.

This does not mean you should stop consuming the above mentioned foods. What’s important is that you consume them in the prescribed manner and in case you see any health issues, get in touch with a telemedicine expert.

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4 Innovative Food Hacks That Will Simplify Your Life

When we think about “food hacks,” a couple of approaches come to mind: on one hand, we think about little tips and tricks for preparing food, for reducing messes, for keeping things fresh, etc. – on the other, we may think of special foods that have incredible health benefits, out of the ordinary dishes that are supposed to work wonders…

Today, however, we’re looking at some “hacks” somewhere in the middle. Instead of showcasing some superfood that your local grocer might not have, or rehashing the tips for chopping or storage that are scattered across the internet, we’re talking about a simple way to change your diet for the better – and make the foods you eat really work for you. These “food hacks” are all about replacement.

By simply replacing some of the foods you already eat with healthier alternatives, you can make positive changes to your diet without disrupting too much of your normal routine:

1. Veggie Pasta

Photo by Robert

It’s pretty common knowledge that most pasta is carbohydrate-laden and not particularly healthy. It’s also a staple food that is a part of many dishes, pleases many palates, and ties together tons of meals.

With a simple replacement, though, pasta can take on whole new health benefits. Instead of regular old noodles, try noodles made from vegetables like zucchini, squash, cucumber, eggplant, or carrots!

There are some fancy pieces of kitchen equipment (like “spiralizers”) that can help you make your own, you can find veggie noodles at the store, or you can simply cut fine slices with a peeler! You can eat veggie noodles raw, lightly fried, or in a variety of other ways. Search for some veggie noodle recipes, and you’ll find no shortage of ideas.

2. Natural Sweetener

Honey

When it comes to eating sweets, it can be tough to avoid refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup. Most of the processed candies and treats out there are going to contain these teeth-damaging, not-so-healthy sweeteners, and for many people, refined sugars are also a staple of cooking – or they have a habit of adding a spoonful to coffee, tea, cereal, etc.

A much, much healthier alternative, however, comes in the form of naturally sweet substances like raw honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and plenty of others! By simply using one of these natural alternatives, you can shave off calories, reduce the negative impact of refined sugars, and even gain some other nutritional value from the natural sweetener of your choice. Honey is known for its antioxidants, maple syrup can promote heart health, and agave extract can help bolster the immune system!

These added benefits make natural sweeteners a no brainer. The alternative, refined and processed sugars, just don’t do anything for you!

3. Better Fats

NUTS

Fat is actually an important part of a healthy diet. Far too many people simply think of fat as “bad” – and try to cut it out of their daily intake without realizing the health impact of different types of fats.

Generally speaking, saturated fats are bad, and monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fats are good. If you’re making an effort to cut out those saturated fats out of your diet, it’s a good idea to find other sources of healthy fat to keep your body healthy. If you’re avoiding red meat, consider adding more nuts, fish, or beans to your diet. Removing the skin from poultry can also drastically reduce the amount of saturated fats in a given meal.

Cutting fat out of your diet entirely isn’t the healthiest choice. Know the difference between the fats you consume, and replace the bad with the good!

4. Better Snacks

fruit compote lunch
Photo by heyjojomojo

Snacks are great! Having a little something to hold you over between meals helps keep your metabolism moving, can be a nice little break in the day, and can help you regulate portion control.

The problem, though, is that so many of the readily available snacks are terrible for you! It might be easier to grab a candy bar or a bag of chips, or just snag something out of a vending machine – but the vast majority of the time, those snacks are going to be terribly unhealthy.

With some preparation, however, you can make snack time just as healthy as mealtime. Snacks like hard boiled eggs, unsalted nuts, fresh fruit, or even vegetables like snap peas or baby carrots are much, much better alternatives to processed snacks. Not only do they meet the same requirements for a midday break between meals, they’ll also help you feel more energetic, promote better overall health, and stave off hunger much better than the processed junk in the vending machine!

Consider taking the extra time to pack these kinds of snacks at the beginning of your day.

As you can see, not all improvements to your diet have to be major overhauls or totally new concepts. By simply replacing a few key ingredients or changing a single habit, you can make great strides toward a healthier lifestyle, a better diet, and above all, feeling better!