Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Probiotics For Depression

In our country depression is the most prevalent mental health condition. 80% of people do not receive treatment, and those that do face major side effects with medications. Could a change in diet alleviate symptoms for millions of sufferers? Scientists are optimistic it can happen with probiotics.

Scientists at the University of Virginia School of Medicine found a direct link between mental health and gut microbiome when they fed mice Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria found in yogurt resulting in a reversal of depression symptoms.

Scientists found when mice were stressed their gut microbiome changed and they lost Lactobacillus bacteria which then was  followed by depression symptoms. Feeding mice Lactobacillus bacteria with their food reversed their depression symptoms.

Lactobacillus bacteria in the gut also impacted the level of a  metabolite called kynurenine in the blood, which other studies have shown impact depression. 

The team of scientists plan to apply their findings on humans to study how the microbiome and probiotics could alter depression.  People with depression should not stop taking medications  without consulting their physicians, but including yogurt daily could be beneficial.

Yogurt begins with Lactobacillus cultures, but some products are heat treated which kills the good bacteria. The National Yogurt Association has a Active Cultures Seal on products that contain at least 100 million live and active cultures per gram. Look for the seal to ensure sufficient quantities of probiotics are in the yogurt you are eating.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Red Meat Risk

New research published in the BMJ looked at the association  between different types of meat intake and disease risk. Over the course of 16 years the diet and health of 536,000 men and women aged 50-71 was tracked.

The study compared total meat intake of processed red meat (bacon, sausage, etc.), unprocessed red meat (beef, pork, lamb), white meat (poultry, fish, seafood), heme iron (type of iron found in animal protein), and nitrate/nitrite consumption (additive in processed meats such as bacon and sausage.)
Results showed 26% increased risk of death from 9 different diseases (heart disease, stroke, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes, infections, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, and liver disease) in the group who ate the most red meat and processed red meat.
High intake of heme iron and nitrate/nitrites from processed meat was also associated with an increased risk in death, although researchers found a stronger tie with nitrate/nitrite consumption than from heme iron consumption.
Interestingly higher white meat intake resulted in a 25% reduced risk of death from diseases.
Many organizations such as the American Heart Association recommend limiting intake of red meat, especially processed red meat, to promote greater health. The Mediterranean Diet which as been associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer recommend limiting red meat to about once or twice per month.
If you are a red meat lover consider eating it less often, reducing your portion size, and selecting leaner cuts such as  bison, lean pork loin, 95% ground beef, eye round roast, and top sirloin steak.

Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Serves: 4

295 calories per serving



4 Portobello mushroom caps                         

2 tbs balsamic vinegar                       

1 tbs low sodium soy sauce              

1 tbs olive oil                                  

1 tbs chopped rosemary                                   

1 1/2 tsp steak seasoning                

4 red onion slices  

4 thin slices of reduce fat Swiss cheese

 4 tomato slices

1/2 avocado, sliced thin
2 handfuls of baby spinach
4 whole wheat low calorie buns

Directions: Whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, oil, rosemary, and steak seasoning. Toss with mushroom caps and let stand 30 minutes to marinate. Grill mushroom caps over medium heat for 5-7 minutes each side until tender; brush with marinade frequently. Grill onions for 1 minute each side and grill buns until toasted if desired. Top each mushroom cap with cheese during the last minute of cooking. To assemble place one mushroom cap on each bun and top with onion, tomato, spinach, and sliced avocado.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Beat the Common Cold with Zinc Lozenges

A new study from the University of Helsinki in Finland found promising benefits of zinc lozenges reducing length of colds.

A meta-analysis of three randomized controlled   trials on zinc acetate lozenges found 70% of patients had recovered from colds by the fifth day; three times faster than control groups.

The recommended daily intake of zinc is 11mg/day for men and 8mg/day for women. In the three studies 80-92mg/day of zinc was given, and while long-term zinc supplementation is not recommended none of the three analyzed studies observed negative side effects. Authors concluded it seems highly unlikely that 80-92mg/day of zinc for one to two weeks starting at the onset of cold symptoms might lead to long-term adverse effects.

Many zinc lozenges on the market have little zinc contents or they contain citric acid or other substances that bind to zinc and prevent absorption. It is best to compare labels to find the best options available.

Foods naturally rich in zinc include oysters, pumpkin seeds, lentils, sesame seeds, garbanzo beans, plain nonfat Greek yogurt, cashews, quinoa, turkey, and shrimp.