Food for Thought: Can What We Eat Influence Our Mental Health?
We dug into the latest research in nutritional psychiatry to find out. The post Food for Thought: Can What We Eat Influence Our Mental Health? appeared first on Best Health.
Did you know that partially hydrogenated oil may be lurking in that microwaveable popcorn bag in your pantry? It may also be hanging out in the coffee creamer you add to your morning brew. Unfortunately, many commonly consumed foods contain this very unhealthy fat. Here's what you need to know about partially hydrogenated oil.
What is partially hydrogenated oil? © Courtesy of Shutterstock Potato chips
Partially hydrogenated oil (PHO) is a solid form of vegetable oil that has undergone hydrogenation. This process adds hydrogen molecules to the liquid vegetable oil and transforms it into a solid at room temperature. During this process, trans fat forms. Trans fat is the worst type of fat to consume because it lowers your body's "good" cholesterol and raises the "bad" kind.
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What are trans fats?
Vegetable oil chemically alters to form partially hydrogenated oil during the hydrogenation process. PHO contains trans-fatty acids (trans fat). Two types of trans fats exist. The naturally-occurring trans fats are found in trace amounts in foods such as dairy products and meats. It is unknown how these naturally occurring trans fats affect health. Then there are the artificial trans fats, which are made through the hydrogenation process that creates partially hydrogenated oil. Partially hydrogenated oils are the primary source of trans fats in fried and processed foods. Avoid these proven unhealthy trans fats. Here's what science says about The Dangerous Side Effects Of Eating Fried Foods.
Which foods contain partially hydrogenated oil (trans fats)?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed PHOs no longer "generally recognized as safe." As of June 18, 2018, manufacturers cannot add partially hydrogenated oils to foods. However, some foods may still contain PHO today. In these cases, the foods were part of a manufacturing process that began before the FDA's cut-off date. These types of foods may include:
The #1 Breakfast Food to Avoid for Belly Fat
When it comes to healthy breakfast food for weight loss, you may want to avoid things high in refined carbs and added sugar. Here's why.If you're a breakfast lover who is also trying to lose weight or stick to a similar type of health goal, finding healthy breakfast food that you can still get excited about can sometimes be a challenge.
- Microwaveable popcorn
- Vegetable oil
- Vegetable shortening
- Bakery items made with margarine or vegetable shortening
- Non-dairy coffee creamers
- Potato and corn chips
- Pre-made pizza dough
Before consuming these foods, read the labels to ensure they do not contain partially hydrogenated oil or trans fats.
What is the purpose of partially hydrogenated oil?
Gallery: 6 Incredible Effects of Eating Fruit Every Day (Eat This, Not That!)
6 Incredible Effects of Eating Fruit Every Day
With the colorful A to Z of fruits out there—from apples to Zinfandel grapes—it's probably not hard to name one of nature's candies that's your personal fave. Not only are fruits tasty, but they're also chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them the healthiest sweet treat around.
Experts recommend eating 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruits per day. And while most of us would probably say we enjoy this food group, we don't necessarily hit that target. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one in 10 Americans gets enough daily fruits or veggies. (Here are some of the unfortunate consequences of skipping your daily allotment.)
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Need a little motivation to up your intake? Check out these six incredible effects of eating fruit every day.
Read the original article on Eat This, Not That!
1. Fruit reduces inflammation.
You've probably heard the advice to "eat the rainbow." This often-touted nutrition mantra isn't just helpful for taking gorgeous Instagram photos. The nutrient compounds that give fruits their colors are typically also antioxidants—the free radical-fighting substances that reduce inflammation.
Almost all fruits contain antioxidants, but some are true powerhouses. "
Berries are high in antioxidants, which aid in reducing inflammation, so they would be my top recommendation," says Carrie Gabriel, MS, RDN. "Citrus fruits like oranges are also beneficial."
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2. Fruit wards off chronic disease.
When you dial down systemic inflammation by eating fruit every day, you'll reap other amazing benefits in the process—including reducing your risk of some chronic diseases.
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But it's not the magical elixir you might think it is.If you love an at-home remedy to fix baaasically anything (hi, it’s me), you’re probs familiar with castor oil for hair. Castor oil is a very not-new DIY hair-growth solution that has been around for literal centuries. So it would make sense to wonder whether or not castor oil for eyelash growth is also possible, right? But just like most home remedies, whether or not it’s truly effective is a little murky. While castor oil does have some benefits (think: keeping your lashes soft and hydrated), there isn’t much science to back up all of its claims.
"Fruit is filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that work together in the body to boost your immune system," says Dani Lebovitz, MS, RDN, author of A to Z With Fruits and Veggies. "Eating fruit every day provides your body with the protective effects of these nutrients, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce blood pressure, and even prevent some types of cancer."
3. Fruit supports a healthy gut.
These days, there's plenty of buzz around maintaining a healthy gut. (Don't miss our Best Eating Habits For Your Gut Health!) Having a thriving gut microbiome has been associated with everything from reduced risk of type 2 diabetes to better mental health. Fruit could play an important role in keeping your GI tract happy and healthy.
"Fruit is a great source of dietary fiber, which helps us maintain a healthy gut and prevents digestive problems like constipation," says Gabriel. "The fiber in fruit also helps us feel fuller longer, makes digestion more efficient, and helps contribute to good bacteria in our intestines, which is essential for proper digestion."
Some people may feel like too much fruit upsets their stomach, rather than soothes it. For these folks, Gabriel recommends a simple trick.
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"Cooking fruit can break down the fiber and make it easier to digest," she says.
5. Fruit helps you stay hydrated.
Drinking plenty of water is a solid part of a healthy lifestyle, but not all your fluids have to come from beverages. Some can come from foods. Fruits are a total treasure trove for hydration!
"Many fruits contain large amounts of water that can aid in hydration," says Gabriel."Watermelon is one of the most hydrating fruits, with a 1-cup serving containing about a 1/2 cup of water, in addition to fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Strawberries and cantaloupe don't fall far behind in water content, either."
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So what's the big deal about hydration? The benefits of getting enough daily fluid are endless, Gabriel says.
"Not only does it aid in digestion, [but it also] helps cushion the joints, carries nutrients to cells and helps normalize our blood pressure and heartbeat."
6. Fruit supports weight loss.
If you're on a weight loss diet (especially the low-carb variety), you may have shied away from fruits for fear that they pack too many sugars and carbs. But fruit isn't necessarily an enemy to your waistline. In fact, compelling research shows the opposite. One study on over 26,000 adults found that the more fruits (and veggies) people ate, the less body fat they had. And a systematic review from 2019 concluded that fruit could have a place in the prevention and management of obesity and excess body fat.
"Eating fruit every day can support weight loss because most are relatively low in calories and high in fiber, which means they will help you feel full longer," says Lebovitz. "Try high-fiber, low-sugar fruits like passion fruit, raspberries, blackberries, and pomegranate."
Manufacturers initially used partially hydrogenated oil to increase the shelf life of foods, add flavor, and save money. It was an inexpensive substitute for lard and butter because it improved food texture.
What are the health risks of partially hydrogenated oil?
Partially hydrogenated oil is high in trans fat and, when consumed, may contribute to cardiovascular disease, raise cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase the inflammatory response in the body. Trans fats increase a person's risk of a stroke and heart attack by raising the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the body and lowering the high-density (HDL) levels. LDL cholesterol causes buildup on the arterial walls, while HDL cholesterol gathers excess cholesterol and carries it to the liver for metabolizing.
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Higher levels of trans fat consumption have been linked to worsened memory function, according to a study conducted in 2015. This study found that for every additional gram of trans fat a person consumed, their memory recall performance on tests fell by 0.76 words on average. These are startling findings.
How to limit trans fat in your diet
Foods that don't contain trans fats aren't necessarily healthy. Many manufacturers replace trans fats with other unhealthy substitutes such as palm kernel oil and palm oil. When possible, replace trans fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Read the nutrition labels and avoid foods that include partially hydrogenated oils. According to the FDA, companies can label foods as free of PHO (trans fat) if they contain .5 grams or less per serving of trans fat.
According to the American Heart Association, people who need to lower their LDL cholesterol should reduce trans fat and saturated fat intake to 5–6% of daily calories.
A healthier option includes monounsaturated fats like:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Safflower oil
- Avocado oil
- Canola oil
- Peanut oil
Further limit unhealthy fats in your diet by:
- Broiling and baking your foods instead of frying them.
- Limiting the consumption of packaged and processed foods.
- Noshing on healthy snacks such as carrot sticks, bananas, plain yogurt, and nuts.
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