Tag Archives: healthy diet

Can An Apple a Day Really Keep the Doc Away?

We’ve all heard the old adage about apples keeping the doctor at bay, but what’s so special about apples versus any other fruit? The answer is: plenty! Let’s take a look at some of the many potential benefits a daily apple (when combined with an overall healthy diet) can bring you:

  1. Improve brain health – apples contain quercetin which has been associated with reducing cellular death and lowering neuron inflammation. Studies also show that routinely eating apples may even help prevent dementia!
  2. Lower cholesterol – One Florida study found that older women who ate apples daily for just 6 months showed a 23% reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as an increase in good HDL cholesterol levels.
  3. Helping prevent cancer – research suggests that the plentiful and specific antioxidants found in apples may help prevent breast (and other types of) cancer.
  4. Trims the waistline – apples may actually help you lose weight when combined with other nutritious foods. Aside from containing helpful insoluble fiber, apples are also chock-full of compounds that help good bacteria flourish in the gut, which can promote weight loss.
  5. Helping regulate the digestive system – apples are rich in fiber that can help things moving smoothly in the digestive tract. Regular consumption of apples may help aid constipation or diarrhea.
  6. Aiding ocular health – studies show that people who ate foods rich in antioxidants, like apples, regularly were up to 15% less likely to develop age-related cataracts than those who did not.
  7. Helping naturally whiten teeth – Apples won’t singlehandedly whiten your teeth, but chewing the skin of an apple can help reduce decay and promote whiter teeth by stimulating your salivary glands and lowering levels of bad bacteria in the mouth.
  8. Warding off gallstones – the pectin found in apples can help stop or prevent the formation of gall stones when eaten regularly.

Other benefits include helping lower risk of type 2 diabetes, promoting a healthy heart and helping ward off Parkinson’s disease. So, you tell us – does an apple a day sound like a good plan for your health? Thanks for visiting DocChat!


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.

These Vitamin-Rich Foods Can Replace Supplements

Most of us believe we don’t get enough of key vitamins like C or D, so we turn to dietary supplements to bolster our vitamin values, however, this isn’t always the best plan of action. Many people don’t realize that dietary supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA the same as medications are, and therefor often contain unwanted and unlisted filler ingredients, or can interfere with health conditions or medications a person is taking (check out our Dietary Supplements Under the Microscope feature for more reading on the topic). But there is a way around this!

A Safer Way to Boost Vitamin Intake

The small percentage of people who have physician-diagnosed vitamin deficiencies may have to take supplements if they have problems absorbing the vitamins organically, however for most of the population, supplements simply aren’t necessary. If you wish to avoid or discontinue taking vitamin supplements, there is a simple and healthier alternative: make sure to include certain vitamin-rich foods in your daily diet.

Recommended Vitamin Daily Values

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the respective recommended daily values (DVs) of various vitamins for healthy people (who are over 4 years of age and not pregnant) are as follows:

Vitamin C: 60 mg
Vitamin B6:
2 mg
Vitamin B12: 6 µg
Vitamin K: 80 µg
Vitamin A
: 5,000 IU
Vitamin D: 400 IU
Vitamin E: 30 IU

Eat These Foods Daily to Replace Supplements

It is easy to reach your recommended daily value (DV) by routinely including these healthy foods in your diet: 

Vitamin C
* 1 orange contains 116% of your recommended DV of vitamin C
* 1 yellow bell pepper contains over 500% of your vitamin C DV!
* 1 cup of broccoli contains over 130% of your DV of vitamin C

Vitamin B6* 3 oz of tuna contains 44% of your DV
*3 oz of turkey contains 34% of your DV
* 1 banana contains %21 of your DV

Vitamin B12
3 oz of clams contain over 1000% of your vitamin B12 DV
1 cup of fortified breakfast cereal contains 100% of your B12 DV
* 3 oz of rainbow trout contains 90% of your DV

Vitamin K
1/2 cup of kale or other leafy green veggies contains 100% of your DV
1/2 cup Brussels sprouts contain 98% of your DV
1/2 cup of prunes contain 65% of your vitamin K DV

Vitamin A
A serving of sweet potato contains over 200% of your vitamin A DV
A serving of carrots contains over %100 of your DV

Vitamin D
Salmon contains over 200% of your DV (as well as lots of omega-3 fatty acids)!
100 g of sardines contain over 120% of your DV
Shiitake mushrooms contain 39% of your DV of vitamin D 

Vitamin E
100 g of almonds contain 127% of your DV of vitamin E
100 g of sunflower seeds contain 176% of your DV

So there you have it! Plenty of foods you can eat daily to avoid taking unnecessary supplements. Simply click on the vitamin headings to see more foods that are rich in each vitamin. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any health-related questions, our exceptional board certified DocChat physicians are on standby 24/7/365!

Foods To Add to Your Weekly Menu

We recently listed off our favorite 15 healthiest foods to eat daily, but we had a few honorable mentions left over that almost made the cut. So, let’s take a look at some foods you should try to add to your plate several times weekly:

Spice Up Your Meals!

There are countless spices that can contribute to good health by helping control things like inflammation, skin problems, disease risk and so on. There are too many great ones to name, but you can read more about some of our favorite choices in our article on healthy seasonings.

Make Breakfast Egg-celent! (I know, I know, we’re terrible…)

Eggs are only recently recovering from an unfairly garnered bad rap. For decades, articles, nutritionists and the media were discouraging people from eating eggs because of their high cholesterol content (nearly 190mg). However, luckily in recent years, medical research has chalked this advice up to overzealous caution. While eggs may raise blood cholesterol levels slightly, the body compensates by releasing less of its own. Furthermore, according to Harvard University medical researchers the folate, vitamin D, protein and riboflavin in eggs make their heart-healthy benefits win over the potential for a slight increase in cholesterol. So, eggs 3-4 times a week should be perfectly healthy for anyone!

Hey, What About Fish?

We can’t forget this nutritional goldmine. We wholeheartedly give fish an honorable mention for best foods to eat plenty of. As we illustrated in a previous post, fish are one of the healthiest foods you can eat (especially for your heart), but some of them contain mercury and aren’t meant for excess human consumption. However, it is recommended that you try to eat fatty fish like salmon 2-3 times weekly to gather the many healthful benefits they have to offer.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberries are very high in antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients, but they can be pretty hard to eat in their natural form as they are quite bitter. So, many have turned to cranberry juice to gain the benefits (100% pure is best to mix with water in order to get the full effects). Medical studies have illustrated a link between consuming cranberries and a lowered risk of heart disease. Moreover, as many of us have already heard, cranberries appear to have a hand in preventing urinary tract infections as well (although empirical research is still a little shaky on this).

A Few Last Words

Really, any fruits and veggies will benefit your health. It is always better to try for food in its most natural form as opposed to highly processed foods. Try to avoid red meat as much as possible, substituting it with leaner meats or fish instead. Also, teas are also great to drink if you want a break from water. Thanks for visiting DocChat! Stay tuned for more wellness information!

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.



10 Quick and Nutritious Snack Ideas

It can be hard to know what to get for snacks for your children or yourself, especially when it comes to saving time and keeping things healthy. We’ve compiled a list of healthy, quick snack ideas that are perfect for summer (or any other time of year).

  1. Homemade trail mix – using separate and fresh ingredients will circumvent some of the high-sodium, added sugar and highly processed ones in many store-bought varieties of trail mix. You can make the trail mix more to your taste if you make it from scratch too. Throw in some oats, flaxseed, fresh or home-dried fruit, nuts or seeds – the sky is the limit!
  2. Spicy yogurt hummus dipThis fun recipe combines two of the healthiest things out there: chickpeas and Greek yogurt! Add in a hearty heap of spice and some veggies on the side and you have a delicious, nutritious snack.
  3. Chocolate-Banana soymilk smoothie – This simple but delicious smoothie takes under a minute and only requires a few ingredients. Just blend a banana, 4-5 ice cubes, a cup of chocolate soymilk and you can even add in a teaspoon of flaxseed to make it extra nutritious!
  4. Homemade sweet potato chips and tzatziki dip – sweet potatoes are among the healthiest foods you can eat. They are packed with vitamin A, C, calcium, potassium and iron. Baking them is a healthy way to get a delicious, crunchy new snack food. Tzatziki sauce is a nice cucumber flavored yogurt-based side for health dipping as well as healthy crunching.
  5. Brown rice cake with peanut butter and berries – you can’t get much healthier than brown rice cakes (you can buy them in the specialty section of your local grocery store), berries of your choice (packed with antioxidants) and peanut or other nut butter! Yumm.
  6. Cherry tomatoes with goat cheesethis combination sounds simple, but it is delightful and very nutritious.
  1. Popcorn BallsThese yummy little treats are a perfect healthy snack for kids (or just for yourself). They contain popcorn, cereal and peanuts with mini marshmallows for taste (you can modify it to make it even healthier).
  2. Orange Hazelnut Muffins – with hazelnut flour, low-fat milk and fresh oranges, these little guys are about as healthy as you can get when it comes to muffins. So whip them up and enjoy a guilt-free muffin today!
  1. Blueberry-peach ice pops – first, puree a few handfuls of blueberries, and pick up some low-fat peach flavored yogurt. Pour a layer of blended blueberries into a popsicle mould, then add a tablespoon of peach yogurt and another layer of blueberries and freeze for a delicious, refreshing and very nutritious popsicle treat this summer!
  1. Homemade triple berry granola barsno sugar added, low sodium and packed with nature’s goodies, these granola bars are quick and nutritious. They would make the perfect energy-boosting snack for yourself or the little ones!


Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’re having a healthy, happy summer!






Why Your Plate Should Resemble A Rainbow

We all know it is important to eat a plethora of fruits and veggies in order to sustain a healthy diet, but ensuring you include produce of all colors in your diet has other merits as well as the obvious. Different colored fruits and veggies harbour helpful phytochemical colorings, each with its own unique benefits. Fruits and veggies fit into color categories: red, green, white/brown, purple/blue yellow/orange and green.

Ruby Red

Red fruits and veggies are more than just a pretty color. That eye-catching pigment is actually called lycopene and it is a heart-healthy antioxidant. It has been extracted and used to treat various ailments such as certain cancers, the human papilloma virus (HPV) and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). However, when taken in concentrated supplement form only (fruit is fine) it can be potentially dangerous for pregnant women or men who already have prostate cancer. These risks aren’t fully established, but it is best to be safe than sorry. Some fruits and veggies of the red variety are rhubarb, radishes, tomatoes, apples, cherries and certain berries, among many others.

The Cooler Colors

The blue-purple colored fruits contain a pigment called anthocyanin, which, according to registered dietitian/Dr. Densie Webb of Today’s Dietitian, “Studies in animals and humans suggest that anthocyanins may play important roles in helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and cancer. The role of anthocyanins in the prevention of these diseases has been linked to their antioxidant properties, but research now suggests that anthocyanins’ health benefits likely result from unidentified chemical properties beyond their antioxidant capacity.”

Sun Kissed and Colored

Did anyone ever tell you that eating carrots are good for your eyes? Well they were right! Yellow and orange fruit and veggies such as lemons, sweet potato, corn, oranges and grapefruit contain the phytochemical coloring agents, carotenoids. Among these are the infamous beta-carotene which the body converts to Vitamin A. Beta-carotene and similar coloring agents help protect against diseases of the eyes and help maintain good general eye health.

White, Tan and Brown Produce

What do potatoes, coconuts and cauliflower have in common? While they might not find a spot on a real rainbow, they all fit into the white/brown category of the fruit and veggie rainbow. Many of these foods contain goodies like potassium. When it comes to coloring, these foods contain their own phytochemicals such as allicin, which is known to have natural antibacterial and antiviral properties. Now does ginger and garlic as common cold remedies make sense?

Lean Green

While green fruits such as apples and kiwi are great for the system, arguably the best group of the whole rainbow is the green veggie variety. They contain chlorophyll which has anti-inflammatory properties and can help strengthen the immune system and lower cholesterol levels. It has also shown promise in reducing the risks of certain cancers such as breast and colorectal cancer. Coloring aside, leafy greens also contain vitamin K, folic acid and plenty of fibre. If these veggies take up a little more of your plate, there’s nothing wrong with that!

So there you have it, a veritable nutritional kaleidoscope! From us here at DocChat, thanks for visiting, and go eat a rainbow!