Category: Healthy Food

Breakfast For Runners

Oatmeal or porridge

Oatmeal is a truly timeless breakfast dish for runners. It has all the right proportions of complex and simple carbohydrates, fat and protein. It also tastes delicious. Not everyone, however, can eat oats. If you are one of these people, then you can try rice congee, which is very easy to digest, or quinoa porridge, millet porridge and buckwheat porridge.

Granola

Granola is basically baked oatmeal with some oil added. It is a recipe founded in 1951 by Willie Pelzer, who wanted to discover a better way of eating rolled oats. It reached popularity in the 1960s among the hippies and has since considered as one of the better health foods available.

Toast

Toast is very easy and fast to make. This is a great option for runners who feel that they do not have enough time to prepare their breakfast meals. We recommend you to look for bread which has short and sweet ingredient list. If it has sugar or wheat gluten or anything else you cannot comprehend, then do not buy it. Serve your toast with 100 percent all natural almond butter and sliced banana.

Hot chocolate

You should not consume the sugary type of chocolate you often find on the high street but a simple mix of warm milk and top-notch cooking chocolate, which generally consists of around 70 percent cocoa solids. You need around 30 grams of chocolate for each cup of milk. Add a little sugar to provide that initial boost. You will have the fat and protein in the milk to fuel the energy and to help you recover a couple of hours after your run as well.

Keeping Heart And Brain Healthy

What Causes High Homocysteine

Most adults do not know that they have elevated homocysteine as there may not be any symptoms. A simple blood test can determine your status. However, doctors do not routinely order the test unless patients have a family history of heart disease. Hence, you may want to ask your doctor about it.

  • Optimal level is below 8 umo/L.
  • A reading above 10 umo/L is considered high and is associated with increased heart attack risk.
  • Above 15 umo/L, it is a medical condition called hyperhomocysteinemia. At these levels, the prevalence of dementia, along with cognitive and functional impairment is almost double.

High homocysteine may be caused by a number of factors –

  • Vitamin deficiencies
    To maintain normal levels of homocysteine, the body requires folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 obtained from the diet. Deficiencies in these vitamins may lead to increased levels.
  • Genetics
    People born with the MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) gene mutation produce less of the enzymes that are normally used for metabolizing homocysteine. This metabolic disorder is like an enzyme defect and is passed from parents to children. It is estimated that up to 30-50 percent of the population may carry a mutation in this MTHFR gene. The severity and type of symptoms vary from person to person depending on how much fewer enzymes a person produces as a result of the MTHFR mutation. The reduction may range from 10-30 percent to as much as 70-90 percent. Individuals with the MTHFR mutation are likely to have higher homocysteine levels, increased inflammation and risk of heart disease, diabetes, birth defects, difficult pregnancies, anxiety and depression, fatigue, and an impaired ability to detoxify. How to find out if you have the MTHFR mutation? These days, genetic testing can be easily done with a saliva test kit ordered from www.23andme.com. It is inexpensive and non-invasive. You collect the saliva sample at home and mail it back to the lab.
  • Stress
    Stress-induced neurotransmitters – epinephrine and norepinephrine – are metabolized in the liver via a process that also uses folate. As a result, chronic high stress may result in a depletion of this critical B vitamin that is key to maintaining normal levels of homocysteine.
  • Too much animal protein
    High consumption of animal protein, especially unhealthy processed red meats like cold cuts, bacon, and canned meats from factory-farmed animals, may lead to high homocysteine levels.
  • Excess caffeine
    Drinking too much coffee and energy drinks may deplete the body of vital B vitamins, which are essential for normal homocysteine metabolism.

How To Keep Homocysteine Levels In Check

Improve Your Diet

High homocysteine not only increases inflammation, but also makes it harder for the body to detoxify the accumulated chemicals, heavy metals, and toxins. Therefore, by eating healthier foods, you can lessen the burden a bad diet imposes on your body.

  • Reduce intake of inflammatory foods such as sugar, deep-fried foods, processed meats, meats from factory-farmed animals, conventional dairy, vegetable oils, trans fats, and preservatives. Eat mostly organic, unprocessed foods.
  • Get plenty of antioxidants to combat the inflammation by having more vegetables of different colors or drinking vegetable juice daily.
  • Cut back on caffeine and alcohol. Too much caffeine increases homocysteine levels and alcohol is inflammatory.
  • Focus on healthy fats such as coconut oil and milk, olive oil, grass-fed butter and meats, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, avocado, nuts and seeds.
  • Increase consumption of fermented foods as the supply of good bacteria can help reduce inflammation in the body. Examples include fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles, unsweetened yogurt and kefir, kombucha, and tempeh.

Get Enough Folate

Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is naturally found in foods such as beans, legumes, liver, spinach, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, and beets.

Folate primarily helps the body make new cells, specifically by playing a role in copying and synthesizing DNA. It also helps the body utilize vitamin B12 and amino acids. If you do not have the habit of eating vegetables everyday, you may run the risk of a folate deficiency. Symptoms include –

  • elevated homocysteine levels
  • anemia
  • poor immune function
  • poor digestion
  • ulcers on the tongue
  • changes in hair or skin pigmentation
  • birth defects

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate found in lower quality supplements and “fortified foods” such as orange juice and refined grains.

For those individuals with the MTHFR mutation, your bodies will not be able to convert folic acid into folate. If you have been taking folic acid supplements and your homocysteine levels are still high, this may be the reason. Therefore, you should either get more folate from the diet or take the active form of folate supplements instead. Look for 5-MTHF (5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate) on the label. Avoid products that say “folic acid”.

Have Adequate Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. Best food sources are turkey breast, chicken breast, grass-fed beef, pinto beans, chickpeas, avocado, pistachio, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and amaranth grain.

Vitamin B6 is needed to –

  • regulate homocysteine levels within the blood
  • maintain healthy blood vessels
  • manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • support brain function and mood
  • help treat anemia
  • protect eye and skin health
  • prevent or reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

For people living in the western world, it is rather rare to have a vitamin B6 deficiency as most people consume enough calories and are not experiencing malnourishment.

Get Enough Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also called cyanocobalamin, is found mostly in animal foods such as beef and chicken liver, seafood, and meats.

  • For this reason, vegans and plant-based eaters are more likely to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. Unfortunately, algae foods, such as blue-green algae, which are popular among vegans are not a very absorbable source of vitamin B12.
  • Elderly people who have impaired digestion are also more susceptible for deficiency because they tend to produce less stomach acid that is needed to convert vitamin B12 properly.
  • Other high risk groups include smokers, alcoholics, those with anemia, and digestive disorders like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, gastritis, or other stomach and small intestinal disorders.

Vitamin B12 benefits your mood, energy level, memory, heart, skin, hair, digestion, hormonal balance and more. Therefore, a deficiency can show up in many different symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, mood changes, poor memory, joint pain, muscle aches, heart problems like palpitations, or feeling run down.

As a supplement, vitamin B12 can be taken in tablet form, in drops that you place under the tongue, or in oral spray form. Sometimes, seniors do better with drops and oral sprays as they have trouble absorbing the vitamin from the stomach.

All B vitamins are water-soluble, that means the body has the ability to flush out any excess through the urine. Hence, B vitamins are considered safe and non-toxic.

Maintain A High Omega-3 Status

Studies have shown that homocysteine-lowering B vitamins require healthy omega-3 blood levels to derive the cognitive benefits. When omega-3 levels are low, the B vitamins have no effect.

Therefore, to protect your brain from premature aging, make sure you have enough B vitamins and omega-3s. Eat several servings of mercury-free fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and herrings every week, or take a high quality omega-3 supplement daily.

Phytochemicals Found in Food

BETA CAROTENE is found in orange-colored and dark green leafy vegetables. Beta-carotene is critical for eye health and also plays a key role in maintaining a healthy and strong immune system.

LYCOPENE is the red pigment found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, raspberries, and strawberries. It’s a powerful antioxidant and is linked to reduced prostate cancer risk. Lycopene is better absorbed after it’s been cooked, such as in tomato sauce.

LUTEIN is found in green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, as well as in cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussel sprouts and broccoli. Like beta-carotene, lutein is critical for eye health and may help prevent macular degeneration.

RESVERATROL has been making the news with its antioxidant properties for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and decreasing overall systemic inflammation. Have you heard how dark chocolate and red wine are healthy? That’s because they’re good sources of resveratrol.

ISOFLAVONES block estrogen from entering cells, possibly lowering the risk of ovarian and breast cancer, as well as protecting against heart disease by reducing blood clotting and cholesterol levels. Soy foods are high in isoflavones, but they’re also found in other legumes.

ANTHOCYANIDINS are the deep red and blue-purple pigments in blueberries, blackberries, red onions, and radishes, to name just a few. Anthocyanidins help maintain a healthy circulatory system.

Foods for People With Kidney Problems

Sea Bass

Adding a serving of sea bass to your diet is a great way to introduce a high-quality protein. It is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are useful for reducing inflammation. Plus, it has the potential to help people who suffer with anxiety and depression. A further benefit of this type of fish is the low amount of phosphorus content compared to many others like salmon and shellfish.

Garlic

A special diet for people with kidney disease should be relatively low in sodium. So, a great alternative to adding salt to a dish for flavor is to use a substitute like garlic. Garlic is not only able to improve the taste, but can also provide several nutritional benefits. It is rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and sulfur compounds that are known to help with inflammation.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is one of the few whole grains that aren’t high in phosphorus. It is rich in nutrients like fiber, iron, magnesium and B vitamins. Plus, it is naturally gluten-free which makes a practical choice for those people who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. Buckwheat is available throughout the year and easy to use in a variety of dishes. It can even be used as a very acceptable substitute for porridge or rice.