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Diet

How does eating fish benefit the brain?

The dry weight of the human brain is 60% “fat” that is full of critical polyunsaturated fatty acids that include those found in certain fish called Omega-3 EPA/DHA! Even the retina, the very rear part of the eye (that is really a “stem” from the brain) is rich with Omega-3 DHA.
There are actually two classes of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential to healthy human brain function: Omega-3s and Omega-6s. Today, there is a tremendous overabundance of Omega-6s in our diet, yet this is not the case for Omega-3s. The ideal ratio of dietary Omega-6 to Omega-3 is said to be anywhere from 1:1 or 5:1 but our current diet is 25:1 or worse. The most critical Omega-3s are EPA and DHA found in certain oily fish and fish oil supplements (WARNING: not all fish oil supplements, or fish, are high in EPA/DHA so be sure to read the facts label, not just the front “fish oil” label on supplements).
Omega-3s are particularly critical to the developing brain of the young and are a consistent component of human breast milk but not cow’s milk.The work of Dr Joseph Hibbeln at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has shown that mother’s who eat more seafood (greater than the recommended 340 grams per week) while pregnant actually have children with better neuro-developmental outcomes, including higher IQs and better social behaviour, communication, and fine motor skills! This far outweighed the risk from harm from any of the trace contaminants sometimes found in certain fish. Other research shows that people who eat more fish have lower rates of depression. A new study, just released, shows the benefit of these Omega-3s to improve memory in adults suffering from memory loss or impairment. Fish rich in Omega-3 EPA/DHA seem to combat mood disorders such as depression, possibly stress/anxiety, as well as cognitive problems (memory and IQ) from the young to the very old. This is the reason for my interest in them in the US military—a population who is very deficient in them and who needs these added benefits for mission effectiveness and resilience.
Omega-3 EPA/DHA seems to have what I call a long and intimate “health relationship” with human civilization whether from a biblical or evolutionary perspective. Maybe subconsciously this explains some of the joys we experience from beautiful ocean and coastal vistas.

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What effect do fish and fish oil have on blood pressure?

Bottom Line Up Front: Taking fish oils orally seems to produce modest and significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (the top and bottom numbers) in patients with mild hypertension (high blood pressure).
Why is this important? Reducing your blood pressure is important because studies show that high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke later in life. It is never too early to start treating your blood pressure and remember, high blood pressure is a “silent killer” because most people have no symptoms of hypertension (high blood pressure). Also, just because your young and active doesn’t mean your blood pressure isn’t high. This is just one of many benefits that “oiling” your body with fish oil provides.
How does it work?
Fish Oil seems to lower blood pressure in a few different ways. First, it lowers the viscosity of the blood (the “thickness”) which means the blood flows through the vessels with more freedom and ease and lowers the pressure needed to produce the flow. Also, fish oil reduces the constriction of blood vessels and promotes “relaxed” blood vessels which also reduces the pressure in the “pipes” (your circulatory system). Fish oil seems to reduce heart rate a little too which reduces the work load of the heart and one reason it might help your “pump” last longer.
What do others day?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD has said: “There is evidence from multiple studies (that the) intake of Omega-3 EPA/DHA in the form of dietary fish or fish oil supplements lowers triglycerides, reduces risk of death, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes in people with known cardiovascular disease, slows the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques and lowers blood pressure slightly.”
Action Point: Quality and Quantity is Everything
When using fish oil supplements, always check the fish oil supplement “nutritional label” on the back of the bottle and look at the Omega-3 EPA and DHA content. Be sure to read the serving size so you know what is in each capsule. You want to get a high level of Omega-3 EPA/DHA content (the active ingredients) while balancing the cost of the product. Always look for high quality and high quantity.

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What are the benefits to consuming fish and fish oil?

Key Benefits to fish/fish oil: a “miracle” ingredient to healthy living!
*Lowers triglycerides (part of total cholesterol) by 20-50%!
*Lowers risk of death from heart attack by 15-25%!
*If you have had heart surgery for a clogged vessel, it will help to prevent re-clogging
*Lowers death and hospitalizations if you have heart failure
*Lowers blood pressure
*Decrease risk of stroke from clogged vessels (“brain attack”)
*Improves weight loss
*Lowers blood pressure
*Improves symptoms of asthma
*Decreases blood glucose and insulin in overweight patients
*Decrease inflammation in the body which helps conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
*Helps treat and prevent depression. Suicide and depression is less likely in populations with higher intake of seafood. Seafood during pregnancy decreases post-partum depression.
*If eaten regularly in pregnancy, improves IQ and overall motor control and behavior/communication in offspring
*Possibly decreases memory loss in adults suffering from cognitive decline.
*Fish oil might help improve bone mass/decrease osteoporosis
*Fish Oil prevents age related visual loss and prevents dry eyes
*Improves symptoms of ADHD
*Might prevent breast, colon, and prostate cancer
*Decreases the pain from menstruation
Background:
Biblical, scientific and evolutionary history speaks volumes about life’s relationship with fish/fish oil. In the military pilots and professional athletes I work with, I use high quality fish oil to enhance overall “resiliency”. Considerable benefits on the playing field or in a demanding, military operational setting have been observed in my experience. Soon, myself and others will be conducting research to also examine the benefits of fish oil in astronauts while in space.
If water is the molecule of life, Omega-3 EPA/DHA sustain and allow life to thrive yet most of us are grossly deficient. The “long chain” Omega-3s are called EPA and DHA found in fish and fish oil (not ALA another Omega-3 in flax). EPA is a powerful anti-inflammatory and seems to be the most mood-promoting ingredient in fish oil. DHA is an important part of cell membranes throughout the body but highest in the brain, retina, and sperm. DHA is crucial for optimal neuro-development and optimal visual and cognitive functioning.
I am not convinced yet that we have unlocked all the secrets in fish. For now, the Omega-3s, EPA/DHA seem to be critical.

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What foods and nutrients will benefit my sex life?

Libido, or sex drive, varies with each person and is supported by the production of testosterone, both in males and females. Libido tends to naturally decreases with age. Lifestyle and diet play a role in how active a person’s libido is. Unhealthy lifestyle habits and foods consumed decrease testosterone production, depressing libido, whereas healthy habits and foods can increase testosterone production, improving libido.

Being overweight or obese, high amounts of stress, not getting enough sleep, taking anti-depressants, and for those with diabetes, having uncontrolled blood glucose levels all decrease testosterone production and negatively affect libido. Consuming large amounts of unhealthy items like high saturated fat foods, caffeine, and alcohol can decrease testosterone production.

But improving your sex life is also about improving blood flow to key organs and tissues so foods good for your heart are good for sex.

Consuming foods high in Zinc and B Vitamins, and in general foods found in the Mediterranean Diet can aid in the production of testosterone. Omega-3 EPA/DHA fish oil and the amino acid L-arginine are good for healthy blood flow; a critical requirement of important sex organs such as the penis and clitoris in males and females, respectively.

Below is a checklist of foods for both men and women to consume regularly to help support testosterone production, healthy blood flow and an overall healthy sex life:

Salmon (wild not farmed), and mackerel – high in Omega-3 EPA/DHA, B vitamins, B5, B6 and B12
Avocados – high in vitamin B6 and potassium
Bananas – high in potassium and B vitamins, especially riboflavin
Almonds, pine nuts and other nuts – high in zinc and essential fatty acids
Oysters – high in zinc
Asparagus – contain B vitamins
Eggs – good source of B vitamins
Brown rice, cheese, turkey – all great sources of zinc
Almonds, granola, oatmeal, peanuts, pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, soybeans—these are high in L-arginine which studies show improve blood flow and sexual function in men.

Exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours) each night, managing stress levels, and being at a healthy body weight all help support testosterone production, and a healthy libido.

Remember, just eating the right foods is only part of the solution–Be sure to exercise, get plenty of sleep, stress less and consume “heart healthy” foods to reinvigorate your sex life!

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Are there certain foods that could really help boost libido?

Libido, or sex drive, varies with each person and is supported by the production of testosterone, both in males and females. Libido tends to naturally decreases with age. Lifestyle and diet play a role in how active a person’s libido is. Unhealthy lifestyle habits and foods consumed decrease testosterone production, depressing libido, whereas healthy habits and foods can increase testosterone production, improving libido.
Being overweight or obese, high amounts of stress, not getting enough sleep, taking anti-depressants, and for those with diabetes, having uncontrolled blood glucose levels all decrease testosterone production and negatively affect libido. Consuming large amounts of unhealthy items like high saturated fat foods, caffeine, and alcohol can decrease testosterone production.
Consuming foods high in Zinc and B Vitamins, and in general foods found in the Mediterranean Diet can aid in the production of testosterone. Below is my “better health and better sex” list of great foods:
Salmon (wild not farmed), and mackerel – high in Omega-3 EPA/DHA, B vitamins, B5, B6 and B12
Avocados – high in vitamin B6 and potassium
Bananas – high in potassium and B vitamins, especially riboflavin
Almonds, pine nuts and other nuts – high in zinc and essential fatty acids
Oysters – high in zinc
Asparagus – contain B vitamins
Eggs – good source of B vitamins
Brown rice, cheese, turkey – all great sources of zinc
Almonds, granola, oatmeal, peanuts, pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, soybeans—these are high in L-arginine which studies show improve blood flow and sexual function in men (but remember that women have an erectile response as well).

Eating the foods above and exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours) each night, managing stress levels, and being at a healthy body weight all help support testosterone production, and a healthy libido. So if just being healthy wasn’t a strong enough motivator to eat right and exercise, maybe sex is!

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What are some foods that are important for healthy skin?

There are many nutrients that play an important role in skin health and thus should be part of your nutritional armor. One of the top nutrients is antioxidants, which are critical in order to maintain the integrity and strength of cells, including skin cells. The primary antioxidants are Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and powerful Bioflavonoids such as quercetin. Omega-3 EPA/DHA (from fish and fish oil supplements) is also important to help decrease inflammation that often manifests in the skin as “dermatitis.”
Food sources of Beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme. Food sources of Lutein include eggs, kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn, garden peas and brussels sprouts. Foods highest in lycopene include tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, and guava. Other foods containing small amounts of lycopene include persimmon and apricots. Those foods high in selenium include button mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, cod, shrimp, snapper, tuna, halibut, calf’s liver, and salmon. Food sources rich in Vitamin A include carrots, calf’s liver, spinach, sweet potato, kale, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, swiss chard, and red bell peppers. Vitamin C is abundant in parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice, cauliflower, papaya, kale, mustard greens, and Brussel sprouts. Mustard greens, chard, sunflower seeds, turnip greens, almonds and spinach are all excellent sources of Vitamin E. Quercetin is found in black and green tea, onions, tomatoes, apples, elderberries, and citrus fruit.
Other foods that may help with internal defense as nutritional armor against skin damage and aging are brazil nuts (good source of selenium), berries (good source of Vitamin C and E), Avocados (good source of Vitamin C and E), dairy products (excellent source of Vitamin A), and Green tea (contains Vitamin C and E). So, for healthy skin adopt a Mediterranean diet, eat lots of “oily” fish and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

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What is the best way for me to lose weight?

A good weight loss plan should focus on three primary concepts – total calorie intake, food choices and meal timing.
When it comes to weight loss, total calories consumed must be less than what is needed by the body. The total amount of calories that equals one pound of body fat is 3500 calories. In order to lose one pound of fat, a 3500 calorie deficit must be created. That is very difficult to do in one day but over a period of time (i.e. a week) that is very feasible. As long as calories consumed stays consistently less than calories burned, weight loss can be achieved. A healthy weight loss goal would be 1-2 pounds per week. That is a calorie deficit of 500-1000 calories per day. Generally, most females should consume 1200-1800 calories per day and males 1800-2500 calories for weight loss.
Even if your calorie intake is less than what you are burning, if you continually choose unhealthy sources of calories, weight loss may be slowed or not seen at all. Calories count and the types of calories most certainly count. A majority of calories need to come from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein (fish) and dairy, and healthy fats. Only a small amount of calories should come from things like fried foods, sodas, potato chips, desserts, candy, or other high calorie, low-nutrient dense foods.
Most people do not realize the importance of meal timing. Our bodies are very good at preserving themselves, especially during times of starvation, and when our bodies go long periods of time without eating, the metabolism begins to slow down in order to preserve the tissue. Additionally, going long periods of time without eating will trigger overeating when food is finally eaten. When food is consumed, regardless of how long it has been since the last meal or snack was eaten, only a certain amount of calories are utilized and the rest are stored as fat. When going long periods of time without eating, even more calories have the potential to be stored as fat as metabolism slows. Eating regular meals, about every 3-4 hours, keeps the metabolism elevated. This is important when you are trying to lose weight. Each day should always start with breakfast to increase metabolism and then meals and/or snacks should occur about every 3-4 hours after that. Consistent meals and snacks eaten about 3-4 hours apart will ensure a healthy metabolism and successful weight loss. Fish oil (Omega-3 EPA/DHA) supplementation also maintains a healthy body weight.

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