Tag Archives: nutrition

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.



Go Green or Go Home – 10 Benefits of Dark Green Veggies

Dark and leafy green veggies are some of the healthiest fuel you can put into your body. They contain a myriad of healthful goodies and help the body in countless ways. Let’s take a look at some of the many, many health benefits of stockpiling your green veggies:

  1. They help prevent glaucoma – A long-term study that was recently published in JAMA Ophthalmology has discovered a link between eating moderate to larger amounts of leafy greens and a 20-30% lower risk of developing glaucoma.
  2. They contribute to healthier blood – Leafy greens are a major source or vitamin K, which is responsible for helping blood clot correctly.
  3. Greens strengthen bones – Dark green veggies can really help the bones as well. Both calcium and vitamin K help prevent age-related problems such as osteoporosis. Many green veggies are rich in both calcium and vitamin K.
  4. They help your heart – More specifically, steamed kale can help nix bad cholesterol by emitting substances that bind bile acids, effectively decreasing the level of cholesterol in the body which will be good for your heart in the long run.
  5. Help reduce inflammation – Many dark greens have natural anti-inflammatory properties to help with chronic inflammation some diseases can cause, or counteract inflammation caused by other foods.
  6. Help fight cancer – as with many fruits and vegetables, green veggies contain a plethora of antioxidants (helpful substances that protect the body against oxidative stress and diseases). In particular, dark green veggies contain lutein, a carotenoid that has been proven to help fight color cancer.
  7. Add nutritional goodies – Dark green veggies contain countless nutritional goodies including: vitamins B, K, C and D, fiber, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, helpful phytochemicals and beta-carotene.
  8. Add essential fiber to your life – Dark green veggies are a rich source of dietary fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. Getting enough fiber can also aid in weight loss and maintenance.
  9. Fight obesity – Green veggies are low in calories and fat. By adding more veggies and less saturated fats or animal fats to your plate, you’ll be helping your waistline as well as the rest of your body.
  10. Protect your gut from the bad guysImmunology research has identified a gene, T-bet, that produce beneficial immune cells in the gut and help lower bad bacteria. It is activated by certain types of food (most namely, green veggies).

So, give the body what it needs – fill your grocery cart with green veggies! Thanks for visiting DocChat.

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!




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!


12 High-Protein Foods to Stock Up On

Protein is an essential building block to good nutrition and keeping your body fit and healthy. It is composed of amino acids that help build and maintain, muscles, hair and collagen. It is also important for those who are trying to reach a healthy weight to consume protein-rich foods. However, because of high calories or other attributes, some protein choices are better than others. Let’s take a look at some of the best sources of protein:

  1. Chicken or Turkey breast – 1 chicken breast contains over 50 grams of protein!
  2. Pumpkin seeds – all seeds are rich in protein, but in a 100-gram serving of pumpkin seeds there is approximately 30 grams of protein! Seeds are high in fat and calories, but contain so many healthful goodies that it more than balances out.
  3. Tuna – one serving of Bluefin tuna contains approximately 30 grams of protein!
  4. Salmon – Salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Along with plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, there is over 20 grams of protein in a 100 gram serving of Atlantic salmon.
  5. Greek yogurt – most dairy products are rich in protein but greek yogurt has more than most (10 grams per serving). The low-fat version has less sugar, calories and fat than most dairy products as well.
  6. Tofu – clocking in at nearly 20 grams of protein in half a cup, tofu is one of the best meatless sources of protein.
  7. Black beans – beans are very rich in protein. They are another good source of protein for those who do not eat meat. A serving of beans contains between 10 and 25 grams of protein depending on the type.
  8. Oats ­– oats are jam-packed with healthful goodies such as fiber. A bowel contains over 13 grams of protein.
  9. Eggs – Boil 2 large eggs for breakfast and you’ll have yourself 12 grams of protein, adding only about 160 calories.
  10. Nuts – peanuts or almonds are both great choices with 6-7 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving.

There you have our favorite 10 protein-rich foods! Thanks for visiting DocChat, stay healthy and happy.


6 Foods That Have More Vitamin C Than Oranges

Vitamin C, medically known as ascorbic acid, is an essential water-soluble nutrient found in various different food sources. Vitamin C has many important jobs within the body such as developing and maintaining blood vessels, cartilage and even scar tissue when your body is injured. It also helps combat free radical damage (oxidation) as well as produce dopamine, tyrosine and other essential hormones. For most healthy adults, the recommended vitamin C intake is about 65 mg daily.

ORANGE You Glad There Are Other Vitamin C Rich Foods?

Many people turn to supplements to get their recommended daily value (DV), but it is often healthier to obtain vitamin and nutrient DVs naturally. So, are oranges your only option? Well, even though the term ‘vitamin C’, makes most people think of oranges as the ultimate be-all-end-all, there are actually many other foods out there that are even higher in vitamin C. This is great news for those who aren’t citrus fanatics. Let’s take a look at some of the front runners in the vitamin C race:

* For reference, a medium orange contains almost 70mg of vitamin C.

  1. 1 cup of Guava: a whopping 377mg per cup (over 3 oranges worth of vitamin C)!
  2. 100g of Yellow bell peppers: over 300% of your vitamin C DV.
  3. 1 cup of Kale: more than 80mg.
  4. 1 cup of Broccoli: over 135% of your vitamin C DV!
  5. 1 Kiwi: 107% of your vitamin C DV.
  6. 1 cup Strawberries: over 160% of your DV.

Papaya, Brussels Sprouts, pineapple and cauliflower are also rich in vitamin C! So you have many choices aside from oranges to help reach your recommended intake!

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Check out our post: Vitamin Rich Foods That Can Replace Supplements next!



Do You Know The Scary Nutritional Facts of These Common Snacks?

We all love our comfort snacks like chips, donuts and soda, but did you ever stop to think about what is really in your favorite fatty snack? These items are nicknamed ‘junk food’ for a reason! To test your knowledge, try these questions before scrolling down to see the answers. No peeking!

  1. One can of coke contains:
    a) 5.5 teaspoons of sugar
    b) 22 teaspoons of sugar
    c) 9.5 teaspoons of sugar
  2. One regular beer contains:
    a) 120 calories
    b) 150 calories
    c) 97 calories
  3. One medium bowl of potato chips contains:
    a) 14 grams of fat
    b) 30 grams of fat
    c) 20 grams of fat
  4. A breakfast muffin contains:
    a) Over 400 calories
    b) 135 calories
    c) 315 calories
  5. One regular milk chocolate bar contains:
    a) 38 grams of sugar
    b) 22 grams of sugar
    c) 12 grams of sugar
  6. A medium fast food fries contain:
    a) Over 400 calories
    b) Under 260 calories
    c) 320 calories
  7. How much fat is in one chocolate dip donut?
    a) 25 grams
    b) 50 grams
    c) 10 grams
  8. How much sodium is in one medium plate of nachos with cheese?
    a) 450 mg
    b) 600 mg
    c) 800 mg




Scroll down for answers…




Keep Scrolling…






  1. C. 1 can of coke 9.5 teaspoons of sugar (22 grams). According to the American Heart Society, that is nearly woman’s whole daily sugar allowance (25 grams)!
  2. B. 1 regular beer contains over 150 calories.
  3. C. Nearly 20 grams of fat in a regular-sized bowl of potato chips.
  4. A. Over 400 calories in breakfast muffin.
  5. B. There is over 22 grams of sugar in a regular milk chocolate bar.
  6. A. 340-400 calories in medium fast food fries.
  7. A. There is 25 grams of fat in 1 chocolate covered donut.
  8. C. Nearly 800 grams of sodium in medium sized plate of nachos with cheese! That is more than a third of your daily allowance!

There you go! Enough incentive to reach for a peach instead of a donut? Check out some our healthier snacks ideas! Thanks for visiting DocChat! Stay healthy and happy!

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!