Can Ginseng Help You To Lose Weight?

Ginseng is an herb that has long been associated with several different health benefits. As a result, it’s one of the most popular and recognizable herbal remedies. But could it be helpful to use ginseng for weight loss? Possibly.

Here’s some information on what exactly ginseng is, and some of the reasons why you might want to use ginseng for weight loss.

What is Ginseng?

There are two main types of ginseng.

  • The Panax quinquefolius plant is referred to as “American ginseng.”
  • The Panax ginseng plant is known as “Korean ginseng”.

Both are similar in chemical structure. Both contain ginsenosides, which give the herb its purported medicinal qualities. Korean ginseng and American ginseng are often referred to as “adaptogens,” because proponents claim it can help people deal with stress.1

Using Ginseng For Weight Loss

A substantial amount of evidence suggests ginseng can help reduce body weight. Here are a few ways that drinking ginseng tea, or taking the herb in supplement form, may help:

Hunger reduction

In one study, obese women who received Korean ginseng for weight loss saw substantial reductions in not only body weight, but also food intake and waist-to-hip ratio (meaning slimmer bodies).2

Reducing blood sugar levels

Ginseng For Weight Loss | Probiotic AmericaA combination of obesity and high levels of blood glucose can lead to major health problems.3 According to the results of one study, ginseng was shown to lower blood glucose in both people with blood sugar disorders, as well as those with no blood sugar issues.4 Ginseng root has been shown to lower glucose levels for as long as two hours after consuming a meal.5

In addition, patients suffering from disorders related to high blood sugar saw a decrease in glucose, as well as overall body weight, after using ginseng for weight loss for two months.6

Increasing insulin sensitivity

The ginsenosides in American and Korean ginseng help to reduce the accumulation of fat by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin.7 When your body is resistant to insulin, that increases the risk that the carbohydrates you consume will be converted to fat – rather than energy.8

Aiding digestion

Drinking ginseng tea could also help your body do a better job of digesting the food you eat. There are trillions of microbes in the “gut,” or gastrointestinal tract. These microbes have a major influence on not only metabolism, but also on weight.9

In one study, women who used Panax ginseng for two months saw a significant amount of weight loss, as well as favorable changes in their gut microbes.10

Increasing stamina

There is also evidence that ginseng could have a positive effect on your ability to exercise for longer periods of time.11

Research shows that ginseng may play a role in helping to improve your body’s stamina during a workout.12

Another study involved participants who took supplements containing ginseng, as well as taurine, soybean peptides, and other ingredients. According to the results, the participants showed an increase in endurance. Researchers found that the participants’ bodies also did a better job of utilizing fats.13

Other Health Benefits

Ginseng shows a great deal of promise in other areas of health, as well. For example, researchers have found it may help address erectile dysfunction. While the research is promising, researchers say more studies are needed before any definitive conclusion can be made.14

There is also research being conducted into whether ginseng could help people suffering from the flu virus.15

How to Make Ginseng Tea

Ginseng For Weight Loss | Probiotic AmericaYou can easily make a healthy, delicious tea at home using either American or Korean ginseng. You can easily purchase some ginseng root at your local health food store.

  1. Cut off about eight thin slices
  2. Coat slices with honey and let sit in a pot for about 15 minutes.
  3. Pour hot water over the slices, and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Pour the liquid into a cup. Using a strainer to keep any pieces of ginseng from getting into your cup.
  5. Relax, and enjoy.16

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are several reasons why you should consider making ginseng part of your daily dietary regimen. But don’t head to the store just yet. You should always talk with your doctor first, to make sure it’s completely safe for you to take ginseng. You’ll want to make sure that the herb won’t interact negatively with any medications you might be taking.17

 

Learn More About Weight Loss:
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Lose Weight?
12 Benefits of Lactobacillus Acidophilus (including weight loss!)
Why Psyllium Husk is a Powerful Weight Loss Helper


Sources
1.https://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/asian-ginseng
2.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659576/
3.http://www.obesity.org/content/weight-diabetes
4.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25265315
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21619921
6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8721940
7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23545455
8.https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/carbohydrates-and-blood-sugar
9.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23478685
10.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986624/
11.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15744902
12.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25665208
13.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21332400
14.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2561113/
15.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3297520/
16.https://www.thespruce.com/homemade-korean-ginseng-tea-insam-cha-recipe-2118533 17.https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm096386.htm

An Apple A Day: Why This Simple Fruit Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

The saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has been around for centuries – and it turns out, it’s more than just an old wives tale. There are many health benefits of apples – from improving the brain to the skin.

Here are just a few reasons why you should make apples a part of your regular dietary regimen — maybe not daily, due to their high sugar content, but at least weekly.

How Apples Benefit the Body

Research indicates that one of the antioxidants in apples, known as quercetin, might play a role in helping to improve neurological health. One study showed it may help to prevent the death of brain cells due to oxidation. This, in turn, could substantially reduce the risk of many kinds of neurodegenerative problems.1

Another study involving more than 9,000 people showed that those who ate apples most often had a lower risk of suffering a stroke.2 Apples may also lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol in the blood.

Researchers found that women who ate apples each day for six months saw a more than 20 percent reduction in bad cholesterol. They also saw a 4 percent increase in high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol, which can lower the chances of developing heart disease.3

Apples for Weight Loss?

Apples might also play a role in helping with weight loss, according to one study. According to the results, participants who ate apple slices consumed 200 fewer calories on average per meal than those who had apple juice, applesauce, or no apples. They also experienced greater feelings of fullness.4

In another study, a group of 50 obese women ate either apples or oatmeal cookies as part of their daily routine for 10 weeks. Both the apples and cookies were similar in fiber content and calories.

Researchers found that the women who ate apples not only lost two more pounds on average, but they also consumed fewer overall calories. The reason, they believe, is that apples provided a greater sense of fullness, or satiety, than the cookies.5

Apples: Gut Friendly?

Apples have also been shown to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the “gut,” or gastrointestinal tract. Apples contain pectin, a type of fiber that is a prebiotic. The human body can’t digest this type of fiber – but the good bacteria in our gut can. The bacteria use prebiotics as food. This gives them the energy to balance out the bad microbes in the gut, and it helps our digestive system work properly.6

Benefits of Apples | Probiotic America

The benefits of apples are stretched even further when they’re fermented.  Fermented apples can be turned into apple cider vinegar, and vinegar produces acetic acid. This helps to produce beneficial bacteria. Acetic acid also plays a role in helping keep your blood sugar under control after you eat a meal.7

Other Apple Benefits

Could the antioxidants in apples help improve breathing? A study involving nearly 70,000 women showed that those who regularly ate apples had a lower risk of developing certain breathing problems.8

The benefits of apples have also been associated with improved bone health. One of the indicators of overall bone health is increased bone density.

Research shows that the antioxidants in apples may help increase bone density. Calcium is also key to bone health, and one medium-sized apple (approximately 3-inches in diameter) contains 11 mg of this important mineral.9

One study was performed on four groups of women to determine how apple consumption affects the body’s supply of calcium. According to the results, the women who consumed apples had more calcium in their blood than those who didn’t have any kind of apple products.10

Hair Benefits of Apples

Many of the vitamins and minerals in apples help promote the health of your hair. For example, vitamin E helps blood circulate properly in the scalp – which may help hair grow.11 Vitamin B6, also found in apples, helps to produce a hormone known as melanin. This may help keep hair from aging prematurely.12 Procyanidin, a compound found in apples, may also help promote hair growth.13

Apple cider vinegar also has properties that could also boost your hair’s health. Diluted apple cider vinegar might, for instance, help reduce dandruff.14

Skin Benefits of Apples

The vitamin C in apples may also help your skin. The vitamin C in apples helps promote the development of collagen – which helps to keep the skin firm. Skin lacking enough collagen is more prone to wrinkling.1516

Benefits of Apples | Probiotic AmericaApples also contain copper, a mineral that also helps to promote healthy skin. Copper plays a key role in producing melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color. But melanin also helps to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.17

Another important vitamin for skin health found in apples is vitamin A. It helps ensure that cells reproduce the way they should. It also helps keep the skin from developing signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. Vitamin A is often used in topical form to help people suffering from severe cases of acne.18

Different Types of Apples

These are some of the most common types of apples you’ll find at most supermarkets and at farmers markets.

Braeburn

This apple has red and pink coloring and a sweet, tart taste. It is great for making a cobbler or apple pie.

Honeycrisp

The honeycrisp usually has a bit of green mixed in with red. This type of apple will usually have a longer shelf life than most of its counterparts.19 It also works very well in an apple pie.

Fuji

Fuji apples are typically larger and are usually more yellowish in color than other varieties. They are especially hearty, with a shelf life of as long as six months when refrigerated.20 Fuji apples are especially good for sprinkling into a salad. They’re also very juicy, making them a good choice for making apple cider.

Gala

The gala apple is typically yellow in color and has red stripes. It’s not as sweet as other varieties, but it does feature a hint of vanilla taste.

Granny Smith

The granny smith apple is known for its green coloring and tart taste. It’s another good choice for a salad, since it doesn’t brown as fast as other types once you cut it.21

Benefits of Apples | Probiotic America

A Final Word

As you can see, apples not only taste great – they also help deliver substantial health benefits, including for your hair and skin. They’re loaded with fiber and antioxidants, and they contain other beneficial minerals and vitamins that can help keep your body strong. The apple is a mighty nutritional powerhouse – the benefits of apples should not be overlooked!

Want more dietary tips, keep reading here:
How To Make Low-Sugar Apple Crisps
9 Gut Friendly Foods That Supercharge Your Health
Sapodilla: The Strange Fruit With Incredible Health Benefits


Sources
1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17929310
2.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10822289
3.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412131923.htm
4.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664987
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18439712
6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355
7.https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/2017-01-18/the-health-benefits-of-vinegar
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16396945
9.https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2122
10.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15105040
11.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819075
12.http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B6
13.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11406858
14.http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/18/health/apple-cider-vinegar-uses/index.html
15.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1720597
16.https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen#section2
17.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4556990
18.http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-a-retinol
19.http://www.tctimes.com/news/honeycrisp-apples-so-good-but-so-expensive/article_8e3d35ec-35d3-11e4-8f05-0019bb2963f4.html
20.https://www.gardenguides.com/124226-honey-crisp-vs-fuji-apples.html
21.https://www.finechoicefoods.com/2013/10/apples-to-apples-a-comparison-taste-test

Sapodilla: The Strange Fruit With Incredible Health Benefits

If you haven’t heard of the sapodilla, or sapota fruit, you’re definitely not alone.

If you’re like most people, you’re familiar with fruits that you see at your local grocery store: apples, oranges, bananas, etc. The end.

But if you enjoy trying new foods that are beneficial to your health, then this is one Central American fruit that you may want to investigate.

Here’s some information on where the sapodilla comes from and some of the health benefits that it might provide.

Sapodilla 101

Sapodilla | Probiotic America

The sapodilla tree is native to the northern parts of Central America and the southern portion of Mexico. It’s also known as the Manilkara Zapota tree.1 The tree belongs to the Sapotaceae family, which also includes the Mamey Sapote and Green Sapote.2

The fruit that comes from the tree is also known as the Sapota fruit or the Chikoo fruit.3

A ripe sapodilla has a sweet flavor, comparable to a mango, with a yellowish-brown hue. It’s also very juicy.

During immaturity, the flesh of the fruit contains a latex substance used to make chicle – an ingredient that was historically used in the making of chewing gum.4

Potential Health Benefits

Sapodilla, also known as Chikoo fruit, is rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and protein.5,Here are just some of the health benefits associated with the fruit.

Vitamin C –

You’ll get nearly 15 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C in a 100-gram serving of sapota fruit (the sapota fruit typically weighs about 150g).7 Research indicates that the vitamin C found in fruits and other foods, as well as supplements, could reduce the risk of heart problems.8

Fiber content –

The sapodilla fruit is also a great source of dietary fiber. You’ll get about 5g of fiber per 100g-serving.9

Of course, fiber is very important to the digestive process. It helps keep stools firm so they move at the correct pace through the intestines. Fiber can also reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels and help you maintain a healthy weight.10

Calcium –

The sapodilla fruit provides 21mg of calcium in a 100g-serving.11 This mineral is important not just for building strong bones but also in terms of keeping them strong as we get older. Calcium also plays a role in keeping our blood circulating properly and helping us control our muscles.12

Potassium –

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just 100g of this fruit provides a whopping 193 mg of potassium.13 Potassium is also very important to maintaining bone health, especially in older women.14 Potassium is also associated with improved cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk of developing digestive problems such as inflammatory bowel disease.15

Magnesium –

You’ll get about 12mg of magnesium per 100g of sapodilla fruit.16 Magnesium plays a role in helping make bones stronger. A lack of this mineral has been associated with an increased risk of migraine headaches.17

How to Buy Sapodilla

You might be able to find sapodillas in your local farmer’s market. And there’s great news – the plant is evergreen, meaning it grow year round.18 As a result, it shouldn’t matter what time of the year it is when you look for it.

Sapodilla | Probiotic AmericaAlso, you’ll want the freshest fruit you can find. So make sure the fruit you buy doesn’t have any bruising, cracking, wrinkling, or cuts on the skin. If you buy an unripe sapodilla, you’ll need to keep it at room temperature for about 7-10 days until it ripens. The ripened fruit will usually last about six weeks in your refrigerator.19

A Final Word

The sapodilla fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential to your health. Plus, it tastes great. It would be worth it for you to give it a try. Before you do, however, have a talk with your doctor to make sure it will be safe to do so.

Learn More:
9 Gut Friendly Foods That Supercharge Your Health
Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)
Eat Your Way to 100: 4 Longevity-Boosting Superfoods to Try Now


Sources
1.https://www.britannica.com/plant/sapodilla
2.http://rfcarchives.org.au/Next/Fruits/MameySapote/MameyGreenSapote1-89.htm
3.https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/sapodilla.html
4.https://www.britannica.com/plant/sapodilla
5.https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2382
6.https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2382
7.https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2382
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12875759
9.https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2382
10.https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983
11.https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2382
12.https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/calcium-nutrition-and-bone-health
13.https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2382
14.http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/potassium
15.http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/potassium
16.https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2382
17.https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
18.https://www.britannica.com/plant/sapodilla
19.http://www.foodofy.com/sapodilla.html

Why You Need Zinc In Your Diet (And The Best Food Sources!)

You already know that minerals like calcium and potassium are vital to your health. But did you know that zinc is just as important?

If you have a zinc deficiency, you could be at risk of a whole host of health problems. Here’s some information on just why you need to make foods high in zinc a staple of your everyday diet.

An Incredibly Important Mineral

One of the many reasons you need to find good sources of zinc is that the mineral helps fight infections.1 It also provides protection against the damage that oxidation can cause.

For example, oxidation creates free radicals, which are very dangerous molecules. They’re missing an electron and will move through your body looking for a replacement. Free radicals don’t really care where they get that extra electron. So, they usually steal it from other cells. When this happens, that can lead to significant damage to tissues and muscles.

In addition, a deficiency makes it hard for people to be able to effectively fight off respiratory illnesses like colds. And zinc-deficient patients may also find it hard to recuperate from surgical procedures or other injuries.2

You see, when you have a deficiency, it can put your immune system at risk.

These are just a few of the other problems that can occur:

zinc protects colds

  • Appetite loss
  • Concentration problems
  • Depression
  • Lack of nail and hair growth
  • Night blindness
  • Overall growth problems
  • Smell and taste impairments
  • Wound healing delays3

Do You Have a Zinc Deficiency?

Your body’s actually the most reliable tool when it comes to figuring out if you have a deficiency.

One sign is that you get an upset stomach on a regular basis.4 This is because zinc helps your body to digest food.

And if your eyes have a hard time adjusting when you go from a light place to a dark one, you might be surprised to know a deficiency could be the culprit.5 Weight gain and fatigue are other signs you need more of this vital mineral. A deficiency can affect the way the body metabolizes protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

zinc soreness

One sign of a zinc deficiency you might not have thought of concerns exercise. If it’s been a few days since your last workout but your muscles are still sore, you might need more zinc.6 The same holds true if you suffer a bruise and it lasts longer than it should.7

The Health Benefits of Zinc

Now, there are several health benefits associated with increasing your intake. And research indicates that zinc plays an important role in helping brain neurons communicate. This, in turn, has an effect on how we learn as well as how we form memories.8

Furthermore, zinc helps maintain the integrity and structure of your skin. When people have a deficiency, they’ll usually be at higher risk for problems such as chronic wounds or skin ulcers. One study showed that zinc could stimulate the healing of leg ulcers by decreasing the growth of harmful bacteria.9 There are even indications that it can help slow the progression of vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration.10

So, now that you know all about the health benefits, you may be wondering…

Where Can I Find a Good Source of Zinc?

sources of zinc

The amount of the mineral you need each day varies according to gender and age. Children need from 2-8 milligrams a day while men need about 11 mg. Women need about 8 mg, but pregnant women should strive to get around 11 mg each day.11

There are a lot of different foods that are high in zinc. Many of them are on the shelves of your local grocery store. Here are just a few:

Cereal – A staple of breakfast tables across the country, cereal is high in zinc, especially whole grain and multi-grain cereals. But cereals that have a lot of sugar can counteract any benefits you might receive. So, make sure you opt for low sugar cereals.

Dark Chocolate – Wait – something that tastes as fantastic as chocolate can also be good for you? It’s true. Dark chocolate is a great source.

Fruits – A cup of blackberries contains nearly 1 mg of zinc. Dates and raspberries also contain the mineral.

Meat – Just 100 grams of lean beef will provide you with 12.3 mg of zinc. Lean pork is another good source with 100 grams proving about 5 mg. Eating 100 grams of chicken will deliver 2 mg. Meat can also help with zinc absorption, but most types are also high in cholesterol. So don’t go overboard eating meat. Get your meat in moderation.

Mushrooms – A cup of white mushrooms will provide slightly more than 1 mg of the mineral.

nuts high in zinc

Nuts – Almonds, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, and hazelnuts are all great choices. Especially the cashew which has 6mg per 100-gram serving.

 

Pumpkin seeds – If you eat as little as 100 grams of raw pumpkin seeds you’ll get a whopping 10.3 mg. But you have to eat them raw.

Shellfish
– Crabs, lobsters, and clams are all really high in zinc. The oyster is also a good source of the mineral. Eating a plate of six oysters will deliver an astounding 80 mg. Be careful, however. As you’ll see in the following section, too much can be just as harmful as a deficiency.

Vegetables – Many vegetables are high in zinc, including peas, lima beans, and soybeans. Just a cup of soybeans will provide 9 mg, while the same amount of peas and lima beans provide 2 mg each. Spinach, Brussels sprouts, and green beans are some of the other vegetables that contain healthy amounts of the mineral.

Can You Have Too Much in Your System?

The answer, yes. While there are a lot of benefits associated with getting enough zinc, there are also quite a few problems associated with getting too much. If you get more than 40 mg each day, you could be at risk for some potentially severe side effects.

For example, an overabundance of zinc in the body could lead to serious digestive issues and can also reduce the amount of “good” cholesterol in your blood. It could also weaken the immune system.12

So it’s best to stay on the safe side and talk to your doctor before making major changes to your diet. This should also be the case if you’re thinking of taking a supplement. Play it smart and get medical advice first.

Learn More:

What is the Metabolome? (And Why It’s Essential to Health)

Got Stomach Pain? Maybe Your Diet is to Blame


Sources
1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207131344.htm
2. http://www.dummies.com/health/nutrition/zinc-the-immune-system-nutrient/
3. https://www.healthline.com/health/zinc-deficiency
4. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/signs-youre-not-getting-zinc
5. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition/zinc
6. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/signs-youre-not-getting-zinc
7. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/signs-youre-not-getting-zinc
8. http://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(11)00646-5
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2275309
10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11594942?dopt=Abstract
11. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/
12. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/#h8

What is the Healthiest Bread to Eat? (recipe inside)

Few things in this world are as delicious and inviting as a warm, freshly-baked loaf of bread. You know the type: a baguette from your favorite bakery or a crusty round loaf filled with piping hot chili. Cue the hunger pangs! But with endless choices available, how do you know the best bread for you?

The Argument for Health

From the start, it is important to understand the right bread may provide several health benefits. For starters, bread can be a great source of natural whole grains. By definition, whole grains are unrefined and still contain everything in the original kernel, including bran, germ, and endosperm, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.1

So, what is a whole grain, then? According to the Whole Grain Council, whole grains “include grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, and rye.2

Even popcorn is considered a whole grain!

With so many options, getting the daily recommended amount of whole grains is easy. Depending on your age, the recommended serving size of whole grains is different, but for adults, between 9 and 11 daily servings is great, and between 6 and 9 servings for children.3 To put this in perspective, one slice of whole grain bread equals one serving of whole grains.4

Remember the Food Pyramid? Well, it’s still being used today, and the health benefits provided by the “Grains” section (yes, still the base of the Pyramid!) are just as powerful today as you may remember from your school days. When you get your whole grains through items such as whole-wheat bread, you’re giving your body loads of fiber. Fiber is one of those super-nutrients that helps with everything from lowering your cholesterol to controlling blood sugar levels, and it aids in balancing a healthy weight.5

The Best & Healthiest Bread for You

healthiest bread

If you’re like most people, you don’t just like bread, you love bread. Sandwiches, breadsticks, as an appetizer, or with your soup, bread is the perfect companion for snacks and meals. But, all bread is not created equal, especially when it comes to your health. While white bread may be light and fluffy, it isn’t exactly packed with nutrients, so take a look at the great breads below and give one of them a shot.

Whole Grain Bread

Unless you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, whole grain bread is a great option when it comes to breads that many consider healthy. Don’t be fooled by other breads that look like whole grain bread. Just because a bread is brown doesn’t mean it packs the same nutrients and punch that whole grain bread does. Many breads are actually dyed brown using sugars or molasses to get that “healthy brown” look. That’s why it is always important to look at the ingredients list or ask your baker what is in the bread. Whole grain bread should list “whole grains” as one of the first three ingredients.

Rye Bread

Rye bread is bread that is made with flour produced from rye grain (as opposed to flour produced from wheat, for example). Commonly used as sandwich bread, and famously on Reuben sandwiches, rye bread has been linked to lower blood sugar levels.6

Another benefit of rye bread is that it contains resistant starch. This resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that functions like fiber, leaving you feeling fuller and more satisfied after eating than other breads.

Sourdough Bread

If a loaf of sourdough bread makes you dream of Paris nights and the Eiffel Tower, you’re in good company! Just because sourdough bread is white doesn’t put it in the same league as white bread. A quality sourdough bread is packed with qualities that, like rye bread, may help lower blood sugar in the body.7

Not only that, but sourdough uses active wild yeast strains, lactic acid, and bacterias when it is baked. These factors give sourdough its unique, tangy flavor, and the wild yeast actually makes sourdough bread a probiotic. Pair sourdough’s probiotic benefits with the crunchy-crusty outside and the chewy delicious inside, and you’ve got a recipe for one healthy bread!

Irish Soda Bread (aka Irish Brown Bread)

irish soda bread recipe

A classic staple on the breakfast table in Ireland, Irish Soda bread, also called brown bread, is ripe with nutrition and healthy qualities. The secret to Irish soda bread’s health appeal is its use of whole wheat flour and low-fat buttermilk. The buttermilk gives it density, which leaves you feeling full. And one serving of Irish soda bread contains only 70 calories and 0 grams of saturated fat.8

Another great benefit of Irish soda bread is that anyone can make it. If you follow this easy recipe, you’ll be munching on this healthy loaf in no time.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups low fat buttermilk

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400 F and line or lightly grease a nonstick baking sheet.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Gently the whisk dry ingredients together.
  • Add in the buttermilk. With a rubber spatula, gently fold (don’t stir) the ingredients together until everything is just moistened.
  • Fold the dough onto your baking sheet and form it into a round loaf. Dust a bit of all-purpose flour on the top of the loaf (optional) and cut a large “X” about four inches across and ½ inch deep into the top of the loaf.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the bread is firm and golden brown.

Slice and enjoy!

Happy Eating

Different breads all have their own time and place: Some are better for sandwiches, and others are begging to be toasted and topped with tomato and mozzarella. Whatever the reason, be sure to check the ingredients list before digging into that next loaf.

For more health news and tips, keep reading here:

Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics (a complete guide)


Sources
1. https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/WholeGrainResource.pdf
2. https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101
3. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2000/document/build.htm
4. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2000/document/build.htm
5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983
6. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-8-42
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18317680
8. http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/recipes/2013-03-whole-wheat-irish-soda-bread.html

Watermelon Tea Recipe – The Ultimate Healthy Summer Drink

Want to know my number one favorite part of summer? It’s going to the beach in August… hands down.

I like everything about the beach… the warm sand, the gently crashing waves, the salty air…

But most of all, I love the food!

Growing up, going to the beach meant days and days of amazingly fresh, delicious food.

First, we’d get together for a big barbecue one night… then a couple of days later, we’d buy a bunch of fresh tilapia fillets and grill out, watching as the sun set over the water.

Oh boy, it was heaven… And just thinking back on it now makes me hungry!

Even now, when I’m heading to the beach I like to load up the cooler with good things to eat… Things like homemade sandwiches, ice-cold bottled water, and fresh cut fruit.

But there’s one thing I don’t ever bring… I’m talking about soft drinks.

I know it’s tempting to load the cooler with soft drinks — they’re cheap, convenient, and kids LOVE them.

But soft drinks are absolutely packed with addictive sugar. And even if you’re on vacation, all that sugar’s just as bad for you as ever.

Now, skipping the soda doesn’t mean you’re stuck with just drinking water. If you want to sip something refreshing AND sweet, I’ve got just the thing!

Dr. Nelson’s Watermelon Tea Refresher

This is one of my favorite finds… and it’s totally delicious!

This drink is naturally sweetened, refreshing, and perfect for summer — with no unhealthy added sugar or artificial sweeteners in sight.

Here’s all you need to make it yourself –– and if you want to make a full pitcher, just triple the recipe:

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 cup green tea, brewed and cooled.
  • 1 cup diced watermelon, seeds removed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 sprig fresh mint
  • 1 cup club soda

Instructions:
1. Add watermelon and tea to a blender, and blend until smooth.
2. Add lime and mint and pulse in blender, until mint is chopped.
3. Add club soda and taste — adjust sweetness as suggested above, then enjoy!

Note: If the Refresher isn’t quite sweet enough for you, try adding a teaspoon of honey (which has some big health benefits of its own) or a splash of 100% apple juice to the mix.

Just make sure to taste it BEFORE adding anything sweet… after all, a ripe watermelon is pretty sweet on its own!

Summer Drink | Probiotic america

So there you go. Pretty simple, right?

I’m really loving this drink… In fact, I’ve started calling it my “Official Drink of Summer!”

And I think you’ll like it, too. So try it out and …

Cheers!

Dr. Cary Nelson 

P.S. If you’re having a cocktail party, I’ve heard my Refresher is amazing when mixed with a touch of vodka or white wine. I haven’t tried it that way myself, but I’ve heard some rave reviews. If you do try it out, remember to always drink responsibly!

For more health tips and delicious recipes, keep reading:

5 Simple Ways to Restore Gut Health After Antibiotics

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The Dangers of Hidden Sugar in Breakfast Foods (6 ‘healthy’ foods to avoid)

Breakfast. Some say it’s the most important meal of the day. Indeed, it can jump start our day. A healthy breakfast that’s high in fiber, protein and healthy fats can boost your mood and give you energy all day long.

Continue reading “The Dangers of Hidden Sugar in Breakfast Foods (6 ‘healthy’ foods to avoid)”

Do Sweet Potatoes Upset Your Stomach (The Surprising Reasons Why)

You’ve heard that sweet potatoes are part of the “good carb” group, so you enjoy a warm, sweet orange potato with lots of melted butter and cinnamon sugar for dinner. But later, your stomach feels funny. And you have gut problems the rest of the night. Maybe you should try the potato prepared in a different way? Was it the butter? The sugar?

Continue reading “Do Sweet Potatoes Upset Your Stomach (The Surprising Reasons Why)”