Monday, January 30, 2017

Why is sugar SO addictive - & how to stop it!

We all know about the negative effects of sugar - weight gain, increased blood pressure and high cholesterol levels - plus a higher risk for diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Some dieticians recommend scaling your intake down over time, others recommend going cold - turkey. It depends on the addict, which option you choose. 

 Scientists have found that sugar is addictive and stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as cocaine or heroin. Just like those hard-core drugs, getting off sugar leads to withdrawal and cravings, requiring an actual detox process to wean off. 
It’s not uncommon to find yourself feeling a mess for a day or so into a sugar detox. Princeton researchers who fed rats sugar water discovered that they ended up bingeing on it. When the rats were deprived, their feel-good brain chemical dopamine dropped, and they suffered from anxiety and the shakes. Headaches, blah mood, anxiety, & fatigue are all symptoms that can occur during a sugar detox.

To prove that sugar effects your taste buds, Kaiser Permanente’s California facilities carried out a study on 20 people and asked them to cut out all added sugars and artificial sweeteners for two weeks. As a result, their tolerance for that sweet taste completely changed. 95% of subjects reported that the foods and drinks they used to consume now tasted “sweeter.” Over 50% reported that the intense cravings stopped after two to three days, and 87% no longer felt withdrawal effects after six days.
There are other benefits too. Not only will you require less sugar to feel satisfied,you’ll appreciate the flavors of food more.

Ways to Fight Addiction

Substitute whole fruit for sweets.
Fruit contains fructose, which is metabolized differently than the sugar in gummy bears, and it’s still  satisfying.  But be careful to restrict your intake to a few servings a day. Eating too much fruit can increase belly fat, which, in turn, increases the chance of type 2 diabetes.

Ditch artificial sweeteners.Although diet soda or sugar-free gum can help many dieters get through a rough patch, the aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, and even stevia, can make you desire sweet food.

Clean house.
Cleaning out any sugary temptations at home and work will remove temptation. Willpower doesn't have to work quite so hard when temptation isn't there!

Create a backup plan.If sugar cravings feel uncontrollable, think of distractions - what will help you overcome them. Go for a walk, eat some fruit, listen to music - whatever rocks your boat!

Manage your magnesium levels.
Craving chocolate? This may be due to a deficiency in magnesium. Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, tofu, legumes and nuts. 


Monday, October 10, 2016

Why is turmeric SO good for you?

Turmeric may be THE most effective nutritional supplement there is.
Many top quality/trusted studies show that it has major benefits for your body and brain.
Listed here are the top 10 evidence-based health benefits of taking turmeric:

1. Turmeric contains bioactive compounds with medicinal properties

It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb and is what gives curry it's yellow color.
Recently, science has started to back up what the Indians have known for a long time in that it really does contain compounds with medicinal properties. The compounds, called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. This is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is a very strong antioxidant.
However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high… it’s around 3%, by weight.
Most of the studies on this herb are using turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day. It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in your foods.
Therefore, if you want to experience the full effects, then you need to take an extract that contains significant amounts of curcumin. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream so you need to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine… a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.
Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.

2. Curcumin is a natural anti inflammatory compound.

Although inflammation is important it is now thought that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a huge role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions.
Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases.
It turns out that curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory, it is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. Curcumin actually targets multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway, at the molecular level.
In several studies, its potency compared favorably to anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs… except without the side effects.

3. Turmeric increases the antioxidant capacity of the body

Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.
Free radicals tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA.
The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial, is that they protect our bodies from free radicals.
Curcumin happens to be a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure.
Curcumin also boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. In that way, curcumin delivers a one-two punch against free radicals. It blocks them directly, then stimulates the body’s own antioxidant mechanisms.

4. Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases

It was originally believed that neurons weren’t able to divide and multiply after early childhood.
However, it is now known that this does happen. The neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain, they can also multiply and increase in number.
One of the main drivers of this process is brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of BDNF. This includes depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Interestingly, curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF. By doing this, it may be effective at delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function.
There is also the possibility that it could help improve memory and make you smarter.

5. Curcumin can lower the risk of heart disease

It turns out that heart disease is incredibly complicated and there are various things that contribute to it. Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease, is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. It is well known that endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and other factors. Several studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function. One study shows that is as effective as exercise, another shows that it works as well as the drug Atorvastatin. But curcumin also reduces inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which are also important in heart disease.

6. Turmeric can help prevent cancer

There are many different forms of cancer, but they do have several common factors.
Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. It can affect cancer growth, development and spread.
Studies have shown that it can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis (spread of cancer), as well as contributing to the death of cancer cells.
Multiple studies have shown that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumors in test animals.
Whether high-dose curcumin (preferably with an absorption enhancer like pepper) can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be tested fully. However, there is some evidence that it may help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system by reducing inflammation.

7. Curcumin maybe useful in preventing and treating Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia. Unfortunately, there really isn't a good drug available to treat it yet.
Therefore, preventing it from showing up in the first place is of utmost importance.
Curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. It is known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. As we know, curcumin has beneficial effects on both. But one key feature of Alzheimer's is a buildup of protein tangles called Amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques. Research is still needed.

8. Arthritis responds will to turmeric treatment

There are several types of arthritis, but all involve inflammation in the joints.
Given that curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that it could help with arthritis. Several studies show this to be true. In a study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug. Many other studies have looked at the effects of curcumin on arthritis and noted improvements in symptoms.

9. Studies show benefits of curcumin against depression

Curcumin has shown promise in treating depression. In a controlled trial, 60 patients were randomized into three groups. One group took prozac, another group took a gram of curcumin and the third group took both prozac and curcumin.
After 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements that were similar to prozac. The group that took both prozac and curcumin fared best.
According to this (small) study, curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant. There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.

10. Curcumin may help delay aging and fight age related chronic diseases

If curcumin can really help prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s… then this would have obvious benefits for living longer. For this reason, curcumin has become very popular as an anti-aging supplement. But given that oxidation and inflammation are believed to play a role in aging, curcumin may have effects that go way beyond just prevention of disease.

Whether you juice the root, cook with the powdered spice or take supplements, this powerful yellow herb is worth having!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

It's been a while since our last blog.
Many things have changed, most importantly that Scott's Food Products are becoming Non GMO!!!!!!
All of our seasonings are now verified Non GMO products and the marinades are well on their way too, and will carry the Non GMO butterfly logo very soon!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Anti oxidants & Free radicals - what are they and do we really need them?

Antioxidants are involved in the prevention of cellular damage. This is the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a many of diseases. Recently some of the mysteries surrounding this topic have been unveiled and athletes have an ever keen interest in this subject because of health concerns and the prospect of improved performance and quicker recovery from exercise.

Free radicals are the 'baddies'! They are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons in their configuration. They can be formed when oxygen reacts with certain molecules. Once formed these very reactive radicals can start chain reactions. They can react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane resulting in the cells performing badly or even dying. Antioxidants are the bodies defense system against these free radicals.

Antioxidants have the ability to safely react with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before cells are damaged. There are several enzyme systems within the body that mop up free radicals. The primary antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Also, selenium (a trace metal). The body cannot manufacture these antioxidants so they must be supplied in the diet.

Vitamin E : A fat soluble vitamin found in nuts, seeds, vegetable and fish oils, whole grains,  fortified cereals, and apricots.
Vitamin C : A water soluble vitamin present in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries.
Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A (retinol) and is present in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, and grains.

Can anti oxidants help in preventing serious disease such as cancer and coronary disease?
Studies have shown lower cancer rates in people whose diets are rich in fruits and vegetables. This has lead to the theory that these diets contain substances (antioxidants) which protect against the development of cancer. So far, none of the large studies have shown that dietary supplementation with extra antioxidants reduces the risk of developing cancer.
Antioxidants are also thought to have a role in slowing the aging process and preventing heart disease and strokes. So far the data is still inconclusive. Studies are on going.

Are cells damaged due to exercise?
Endurance exercise can increase the oxygen usage 10 to 20 times more than at rest. This greatly increases the production of free radicals, causing concern of increased damage to muscles and other tissues. Athletes need to defend themselves against this free radical onslaught.
Experimental studies have taken place to look at free radical reactions and anti oxidant benefits due to exercise.
An important finding was that regular physical exercise enhances the antioxidant defense system and protects against exercise induced free radical damage. This shows that the body protects itself to a certain degree! This happens over time and with training.
Intense exercise in untrained individuals overwhelms defenses resulting in increased free radical damage. Thus, 'binge' exercising may be doing more harm than good.

Although it is well known that vitamin deficiencies can create difficulties in training and recovery, the role of antioxidant supplementation in a well nourished athlete is controversial. Most of the data suggests that increased intake of vitamin E is protective against exercise induced oxidative damage and aids in the recovery process after exercise.
In general, antioxidant supplements have not been proven to enhance performance. The one exception to this is vitamin E which has been shown to be helpful in athletes exercising at high altitudes.

Supplements or not?
Looking at all the studies on exercise and nutrition it can be deduced that if a balanced exercise regime and a diet of 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day is followed, there should be no need for supplements.
'Bing' exercisers or 'weekend warriors' should develop a more balanced approach to exercise. If this isn't possible due work commitments, then supplements should be considered.
For extremely demanding races (endurance events) or adaptation to high altitude, a Vitamin E supplement should be considered up to and several weeks after the race.       

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Here's to a healthier 2014!

I'm sure I'm not the only one to make a new year's resolution to eat healthier, do more exercise and lose weight?! Let's try and stick to it this year - here's some helpful tips to be successful:

1. Set yourself up to succeed

This year I tried to de-stress the resolution issue by not being 'too' strict and simplify.
Make lots of small changes not one big one. Focus on freshness, variety and color. Concentrate on foods you like and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. This way you will be making good food choices without trying too hard.

Make the changes over time. Don't change everything all at once - this is sure to fail. Add a salad to your diet each day. Switching from butter to olive oil. These are both healthy switches that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. As these changes become habit you can make additional healthy changes.

Every change you make is a step in the right direction to feeling good, having more energy and preventing disease.

Don't forget water and exercise. Water will help flush out toxins and waste products. Being dehydrated causes tiredness, headaches.
Find something active you like doing and add it to your day. Exercise has lifelong benefits and will help you make healthy choices.

2. Moderation is key

Despite what certain fad diets would have you believe, we all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body. The goal of healthy eating is to develop a diet that you can maintain for life, not just a few weeks or months Try to think of moderation in terms of balance.
For most of us, moderation means eating less than we do now of the bad stuff (sugar, processed foods, saturated fats) and more  fresh fruit & vegetables. Eliminating all the foods you love will only mean you will crave them more and are more likely to fail. Having bacon for breakfast once a week is OK if you follow with a healthy lunch and dinner.
If you crave sugary things, just eat less of it and less frequently. Think smaller portions. This way you won't constantly crave the bad stuff.

3. How you eat

This may sound odd, but this does make a difference.
- Chew your food and savor every mouthful
- Eat with others. Having company helps you to enjoy your food and not overeat
- Listen to your body. If you aren't hungry don't eat or just eat a small snack
- Eat breakfast followed by 4+ small meals throughout the day. This will keep your metabolism going
- Avoid eating at night.

4. Fill up on color

Eat a 'rainbow' diet. Not just greens - kale, lettuce, broccoli. Try sweet peppers, radish, beets, squash to name but a few. Fruits and vegetables are packed full of NATURAL vitamins, minerals & phytochemicals that you cannot get from manmade vitamin pills. These naturally occurring vitamins etc work together synergistically.

5. Healthy carbs

Swap white rice for brown. Swap regular pasta for spinach pasta. Include couscous, quinoa beans and pulses. All these are great sources are carbohydrates that are a healthy choice.

6. Healthy fats

Eliminate or reduce  unhealthy saturated fats from animal products (red meats and dairy) and  shortenings, candies, cookies and snacks.
Replace with good, healthy unsaturated fats from canola and olive oils, nuts, avocado's and seeds.
Also, include omega fatty acids found in fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines)

7. Protein plus

All proteins are broken down into 20 amino acids and they are the body's basic building blocks for growth and energy. A lack of protein can slow growth, reduce muscle mass, lower immunity and weaken the heart and respiratory system.
We tend to focus too much on protein in each meal. Try to eat equal portions of protein, whole grains and vegetables.
Good sources of protein are chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, beans & nuts.

8. Calcium

Calcium is needed for strong bones and as we get older we need more of it. Good sources are dairy (milk, yoghurt and cheese) leafy green veg and beans.

9. Limit sugar and salt

If you concentrate on eating more fruits and vegetables you'll most likely find yourself consuming less sugar and salt.
Sugar - Cut out sugary drinks. Sweeten foods yourself. eat naturally sweet foods (fruits, sweet peppers etc)
Salt - Avoid processed foods. Choose frozen instead of canned veg. Cut back on salty snacks. Read labels for hidden salt.

All these points may seem a lot to absorb all at once but you will be surprised how quickly they become 'habit' and you find yourself eating healthier. The key is to keep at it! make it a way of life. You will benefit in the long run.

Good luck and Happy New Year!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How to handle raw chicken safely

With all the news about Salmonella in chicken in the news in recent days it prompts the question - how should you safely handle raw chicken in the kitchen?

Although the Foster Farms outbreak has come to the publics attention, raw chicken can often carry the salmonella bacteria, which is responsible for more cases of food poisoning than any other pathogen.

Fresh chicken is kept cold during distribution in order to extend its shelf life as well as to prevent bacterial growth. Packages of chicken should feel cold to the touch when you select them, and should be among the last items you put in your cart before checking out.

Packages of chicken should be wrapped in plastic bags to prevent leakage onto other items in your grocery cart. Most grocery stores have plastic bags near the poultry sections for you to use.
Once you're home, you should immediately place your chicken in your refrigerator  and use it within 2 days. Otherwise, it should be frozen.

Thawing Frozen Chicken & Poultry Safely

NEVER defrost chicken on the counter or the microwave!
The correct way to thaw frozen poultry is in the refrigerator. This will take planning ahead of time. Whole chickens may take up to 2 days to fully thaw in this way, while boneless breasts should thaw overnight. Once the product thaws, it should be kept in the refrigerator no more than a day before cooking it.

Safe Handling of Chicken & Poultry

Just like meat, fish or any animal-based food product, raw or undercooked chicken carry certain bacteria. These bacteria can cause illness in large numbers.
Therefore, to avoid illness we need to limit bacteria's ability to multiply, or kill them altogether. Limiting their ability to multiply requires making sure that food products are not left at room temperature for more than an hour. The only way to kill food-borne pathogens is by thoroughly cooking the food.

Another concern is cross contamination between raw product and other foods, especially ones that are already cooked or ones that will be eaten raw, such as salad vegetables or greens.
An example of how this can happen is if a cook were to cut raw chicken on a cutting board and then later slice fresh tomatoes on the same board without washing it first. Different cutting boards and knives should be used for raw poultry and other products. All utensils should be adequately cleaned with hot water and detergent.

Chicken Cooking Times

A rule of thumb is 20 minutes per lb plus an additional 20 minutes.

Although raw chicken and under cooked chicken is the most common cause of food poisoning, many cases could be avoided by more diligent handling in the kitchen.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why Omega 3s?

We've all read about how fish and seafood is good for us, and we've all heard about 'Omega 3s'

But what is Omega 3 and why is it good for us?

Several studies have indicated that these fatty acids can prevent a range of medical issues. It's been shown that they can reduce inflammation in the body, can prevent thickening of arteries and can help ward off cancer cell growth, and may other benefits as well.

The top three sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are ground flaxseed, walnuts and salmon.

By introducing 2 servings (yes, ONLY 2) of baked or boiled fish (especially salmon or halibut) into your diet every week, can significantly increase your levels of Omega 3s in your blood.

Salmon, as well as being a great source for Omega 3s, also contains bioactive peptides (support joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness and can control inflammation in the digestive tract). Salmon also has high levels of Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.

Shrimp is another good source of Omega 3s, Vitamins D, & B3 and zinc. It's also low in calories - an added bonus!

Another bonus - salmon and shrimp taste FANTASTIC!!!!!

                                  Salmon fillet sprinkled with Scott's Java Chili Rub and grilled!