Whole Grain, Stone Ground, Organic Bread: It’s Good For You!

 If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know that I’m a big proponent of including grains in our daily diet. Not just any grains, though. Grains that are healthful for us are organic, whole grains, enjoyed either in their whole form or as freshly milled flour.

Despite the current dietary fad of shunning all grains, a growing body of evidence shows that increased intake of less-refined, whole-grain foods has numerous positive health benefits. People who consume greater amounts of whole grains are consistently shown to have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2-diabetes, and many cancers. People who eat whole grains also appear to have better digestive health and are likely to have a lower BMI and gain less weight over time. The bulk of the evidence for the advantages of whole-grains comes from observational studies, but researchers are discovering the same benefits in intervention studies, and are identifying the mechanisms behind the protective properties of whole grains.1

 Whole Grains Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease

 Here’s an example of the health protective benefits of whole grains: A meta-analysis of seven major studies showed that cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, or the need for a procedure to bypass or open a clogged artery) was 21% less likely in people who ate 2.5 or more servings of whole-grain foods per day compared with those who ate less than 2 servings per week.2


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I’m often asked what I consider to be the healthiest diet. Through decades of nutritional research and experimentation, I’m convinced that a diet of primarily organic, plant-based Mediterranean foods—including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, eggs, dairy products (cow, goat and sheep milk derived) and healthy fats (mostly olive oil), with fish and seafood playing a key role as a main protein source—is by far the best diet for long term health. The term “pesca-flexa-vegetarian” comes closest to describing the diet that my family and I eat.

salmon-salad

 

 

 


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Once referred to as “the staff of life,” wheat has become a controversial food. Although people have been consuming wheat in various forms for thousands of years, increasing numbers of health conscious individuals are turning their backs on what was once regarded as a satisfying, nourishing staple.

In some cases, avoiding wheat is essential for health. Those with celiac disease—a serious inflammatory condition caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten—should never eat wheat or any other gluten containing grains. But while only 1% of people have celiac disease, millions more have adopted a gluten free diet—in particular, shunning wheat.


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In my two previous posts on thyroid health, I discussed the potential problems associated with diagnosing and treating thyroid issues. As I stated in my first post, thyroid problems are frequently under diagnosed, primarily because of inadequate testing and incomplete understanding of the complexities of thyroid function. At the same time, thyroid problems are often treated in ways that further compromise function.


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 In my last post, I addressed the lifestyle changes that help to gently shift metabolism to a healthier state, which naturally results in achieving optimal weight. Excess weight is often a multi-faceted issue—not surprisingly, the best results are gained with a comprehensive approach. As I stated in my last post, I am not an advocate of a restrictive diet. Instead, I’ve found that providing the body with the nutrients it needs (including botanicals that enhance healthy metabolic function), in conjunction with a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle, results in almost effortless loss of surplus pounds.


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If you struggle with weight loss, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an astonishing 70 percent of Americans are overweight, while only 25 percent of adult Americans are at their proper weight (about 5 percent are underweight). Although most people who are overweight have tried at least one diet, a restrictive diet is the least effective way to lose weight, and may even make you fatter.

A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that on average, the more people diet, the more it leads to increased weight gain. Researchers evaluated 2,000 sets of twins, aged 16 to 25 years old.  They found those who embarked on just one intentional weight loss episode were two to three times more likely to become overweight, compared to their non-dieting twin counterpart. Furthermore, the risk of becoming overweight increased with each dieting episode.1


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