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  • Fall Comfort Foods: Add Beans for a Fiber Boost

    Monday, September 20, 2021
    Fall Comfort Foods: Add Beans for a Fiber Boost

    Cold weather brings on cravings for warming comfort foods—which can often be calorie-laden. However, beans, a superstar in cold-weather favorites like chili and soup, can help you feed those cravings without ruining your diet. In addition to being a source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, beans are full of fiber. That’s great news for your waistline, since research shows that upping your fiber intake can lead to bolstered weight loss. For example, one recent study found that people who focused solely on increasing their dietary fiber intake to 30 grams or more per day lost almost as much weight after one year as people who followed a more complicated set of guidelines that emphasized certain foods and limited others. So if you're ready to add some beans to your next meal, read on, Health.com has reported on ways to sneak this humble fruit into your diet:

    • Mock meat. Beans are quicker to prepare and less expensive than meat. Use black, white, or pinto beans in taco salads or “meatloaf.” Or mash them up and use in anything from burgers to lasagna. If you don’t want to totally cut meat out, just replace half of it with beans to give your meal a fiber boost.
    • Starch swap. Beans can be a terrific substitute for traditional starches like rice, corn, or potatoes. Add to soups instead of potatoes, or to salads instead of pasta. If you’re feeling adventurous, a stir-fry served over beans instead of rice can mix things up for a weeknight dinner.
    • Moo-ve over dairy. Replace cream and milk in sauces and soups with pureed beans or bean flours. They make good bases and thickeners and also help reduce extra calories. Mashed beans can also stand in for cheese: for example, mashed white beans, seasoned with garlic and Italian herbs, are a tasty substitute for ricotta in lasagna.
    • Quick bean bites. When it comes to snacks, bean dip and hummus are old favorites. But you can also roast beans on a baking sheet for a crunchy snack; black beans with chipotle seasoning or white beans with curry powder are just two yummy combinations. A salad made with beans and chopped veggies, marinated in balsamic vinaigrette, also makes a nutritious and quick bite.
    • Sweet treats. It may be hard to believe, but pureed beans can be added to puddings, smoothies, and popsicles. They add a nice, thick texture and their flavor is undetectable. You can also replace other flours with bean flours to make your treats gluten-free and fiber-filled. Now that’s an indulgence you can take comfort in!

    Source: Health.com

  • Aged Garlic Extract May Reduce Plaque Buildup in the Arteries

    Wednesday, September 15, 2021
    New Science
    Aged Garlic Extract May Reduce Plaque Buildup in the Arteries

    A 2016 study found that aged garlic extract changed the nature of plaque formation and accumulation in the arteries of people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including obesity, hypertension, and insulin resistance, that contribute to heart disease risk. Published in the Journal of Nutrition, the study included 55 middle-aged patients with metabolic syndrome who were assigned to take either 2,400 grams per day of aged garlic extract or a placebo. Researchers measured the patients’ total coronary plaque, calcified (hardened) coronary plaque, and low-attenuation (soft) coronary plaque at the beginning of the study and after about a year of treatment. After adjusting for age, gender, history of coronary artery disease, and other risk factors, researchers found:

    • Patients taking the aged garlic extract experienced a 1.5% reduction in low-attenuation plaque compared with a 0.2% reduction in patients taking the placebo.
    • Changes in total plaque volume and calcified plaque over the course of the study were no different in the garlic group than in the placebo group.

    Low-attenuation coronary plaque has previously been viewed as a close predictor of acute coronary syndrome—a sudden loss of blood flow to the heart that can result in a heart attack. A drop in the percentage of this type of plaque is thought to be a positive change that might protect the heart. At the time of this study’s findings, researchers were calling for further investigation into aged garlic’s effects on cardiovascular events. Until we know more, there are still other good reasons to try aged garlic—past research has linked it to better blood pressure medication performance and lower cholesterol. Of course, talk with your healthcare practitioner before adding aged garlic extract, or any other new supplement, to your health regimen.

    Source: Journal of Nutrition

  • Beet Root Juice May Also Be Good for the Brain

    Monday, September 13, 2021
    New Science
    Beet Root Juice May Also Be Good for the Brain

    Beet root juice has been racking up merits as a performance booster for everyone, from professional athletes to mountain climbers. And now, researchers have found that, as usual, what's good for the body may also be good for the mind: a study published in the Journals of Gerontology has demonstrated that, in older adults, beet root juice before exercise may boost brain performance. The six-week randomized trial included 26 older adults with an average age of 65 who didn’t exercise and had high blood pressure. Researchers divided the participants into a beet root juice group, who received a high-nitrate beet root juice containing 560 mg of nitrates, and a placebo group, who received the same drink with almost all of the nitrates removed. Three times a week for six weeks, both groups took a moderately intense, 50-minute treadmill walk after drinking their respective drinks. When researchers measured the participants’ brain activity, they found that:

    • Compared with the placebo group, the beet root juice group had increased nerve connections within the somatomotor cortex—an area of the brain that processes sensory information from the muscles—and fewer connections between the somatomotor cortex and another region of the brain called the insular cortex, which participates in a wide array of functions including motor control and mobility.
    • Compared with the placebo group, this pattern of nerve connections in the high-nitrate beet root juice group looked more like that of younger adults.

    So, why do beets aid the brain? The researchers believe that, while exercise alone should strengthen brain networks in the somatomotor cortex, the nitrates in beet root juice increase the benefits by really getting juices flowing—that is, blood and oxygen—to the brain.

    Source: Journals of Gerontology

  • Glucosamine Found to Boost Longevity in Mice

    Wednesday, September 08, 2021
    New Science
    Glucosamine Found to Boost Longevity in Mice

    Glucosamine, a popular supplement for managing arthritis symptoms, has been found to extend the lifespan of aging mice, suggesting a possible application in humans. Published in the journal Nature Communications, the study investigated the effects of feeding 10 g/kg of D-glucosamine to mice that were 100 weeks old (equivalent to 65 human years). Here’s what the researchers discovered:

    • Glucosamine extended the lifespan of the mice by nearly 10% compared to the control group—equal to about 8 additional years of human life.
    • Glucosamine appeared to extend the lifespan of these mice by mimicking the effects of a low-carb diet, even though the mice receiving glucosamine ate the same diet and the same amount of carbs as the control group.

    These findings are consistent with two other recent epidemiological studies that tracked more than 77,000 people and found an association between glucosamine and reduced mortality in humans. However, people with glaucoma or diabetes should be sure to consult their healthcare practitioner before supplementing with glucosamine, as it may raise eye pressure, and there is also some theoretical evidence that glucosamine might contribute to insulin resistance (although this has not yet been confirmed in humans).

    Source: Nature Communications

  • Cocoa Powder Benefits Cholesterol and Inflammation in People with Type 2 Diabetes

    Tuesday, September 07, 2021
    New Science
    Cocoa Powder Benefits Cholesterol and Inflammation in People with Type 2 Diabetes

    Research found that cocoa powder—derived from fat extracted from cacao beans (the same beans used for chocolate)—benefits cholesterol and inflammation levels in people with diabetes. Published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, the six-week trial included 100 people with type 2 diabetes. The study was divided into two groups: in the cocoa group, each person consumed 10 grams of cocoa powder in milk twice daily; in the control group, each person consumed just milk. Those consuming cocoa saw a significant reduction in total cholesterol (-16.5%), triglyceride levels (-13.3%), and several inflammatory markers. In contrast, the control group experienced more modest changes in total cholesterol (-5.08%) and triglyceride levels (-3.99%). Cocoa consumption did lead to a reduction in “good” HDL cholesterol (-7.58%), although other research has shown cocoa positively benefits HDL levels. Otherwise, the findings support previous research done on cocoa’s cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects.

    Source: Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders

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Copyright © 2021 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2021.