Who says we have to suffer...to live a healthy happy vibrant life?

Red wine and dark chocolate... might seem decadent...but these guilty pleasures also might help us live longer...and healthier lives. Red wine and dark chocolate definitely improve an evening..but they also contain resveratrol..which lowers blood sugar. Red wine is a great source of catechins..which boost protective HDL cholesterol. Green tea? Protects your brain..helps you live longer..and soothes your spirit.

Red Wine, Green Tea and Dark Chocolate, the blog, is about living the good life...a life we create with our thoughts and our choices...and having fun the whole while!

I say lets make the thoughts good ones..and let the choices be healthy...exciting...and delicious! Bon Appetit!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Super Healthy Convenience Foods

Fast food has a reputation for being unhealthy and high in calories, salt and fat.
Thankfully, there are exceptions. Although many fast foods have been processed, refined or deep-fried, some fast food restaurants now offer healthy options.
To make a healthier selection, look for items that include vegetables, lean sources of protein or whole grains. Additionally, opting for foods that are grilled or baked rather than fried can significantly reduce the calories and fat in your meal. Here are a few of my favorite examples.

Panera: Strawberry Poppyseed Salad With Chicken
This salad is low in calories, sodium and fat, but high in protein and fiber.
It also contains a variety of fruits and vegetables, which provides vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.Panera offers this salad in a whole or half serving. A half serving makes a perfect side dish when paired with a soup or sandwich, while a whole serving can be a filling meal on its own.
This is the nutrient content for a whole serving of Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with chicken.
Calories: 340 Fat: 12 grams Protein: 30 grams Carbs: 32 grams Fiber: 6 grams

Pret A Manger: Coconut Chicken & Miso Sweet Potato Balance Box
ingredients in this nutrient-packed meal include chargrilled chicken, maple miso sweet potatoes, avocado, pomegranates and a seed mix over spinach, brown rice, chickpeas and red quinoa.
This meal meets the criteria for a healthy fast food, as it’s high in protein and fiber, low in calories and includes a good mix of whole grains, vegetables and healthy fats.
The coconut chicken, chickpeas and quinoa bump the protein up to 30 grams per serving. Meanwhile, avocado delivers some heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Calories: 500
Fat: 26 grams Protein: 30 grams Carbs: 58 grams Fiber: 13 grams
McDonald’s: Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad

Though you might not associate McDonald’s with healthy food, they do have a few healthy options on the menu.
The Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad stands out, in particular, because it delivers 37 grams of protein per serving, which can keep you feeling fuller for longer .
In addition to being high in protein, it also contains a few
ingredients that make it especially nutritious, including grilled chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, poblano peppers, kale, spinach and red leaf lettuce.

Drizzle it with just a small amount of your favorite dressing to prevent loading up on calories, and opt for some fresh fruit on the side rather than fries.
This is the nutrient content for one order of Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad, topped with Italian dressing:Calories: 400 Fat: 13.5 grams Protein: 37 grams Carbs: 35 grams Fiber: 7 grams

Chipotle: Burrito Bowl With Chicken, Brown Rice, Black Beans and Veggies. Chipotle has a highly customizable menu, which makes it a great restaurant option for healthy eating.
By selecting the burrito bowl instead of the burrito, you eliminate the calories
and refined carbs from the flour tortilla.
Choosing chicken adds protein with less added fat, sodium and calories than some other types of meat, such as chorizo.
Fajita vegetables, brown rice and black beans all help enhance the fiber content to make it a well-rounded, filling meal.
Keep in mind that adding sauces and dressings to your burrito bowl can rack up the calories pretty quickly, so use them sparingly. This is the nutrient content for one Burrito Bowl with chicken, brown rice, black beans, lettuce, fajita veggies and pico de gallo:
Calories: 570 Fat: 14.5 grams Protein: 45 grams Carbs: 65 grams Fiber: 12 grams 

Wendy’s: Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad
Grilled chicken, feta, hummus and a sun-dried tomato quinoa blend sit atop a bed of lettuce in this healthy salad.
This nutritious dish contains quinoa, a seed that is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. It’s especially high in the antioxidants quercetin and kaempferol (16).
Some animal studies have found these antioxidants may have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects in the body (17, 18, 19).
In addition to its impressive antioxidant content, this salad is also high in protein and fiber, making it an excellent fast-food choice.
page8image13504 page8image13664 page8image13824 page8image13984 page8image14144
This salad is available in both full-size and half-size servings. Order a full-size and make it a meal, or get a smaller portion as a nutritious side dish.
This is the nutrient content for one full-size serving of Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad with dressing. Calories: 480 Fat: 16 grams Protein: 43 grams Carbs: 42 grams Fiber: 8 grams

Starbucks: Hearty Veggie & Brown Rice Salad Bowl
This nutritious salad bowl includes kale, beets, red cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes and butternut squash served on a bed of brown rice. Besides fulfilling a hearty chunk of your protein and fiber needs, this dish is also high in many vitamins and minerals.
Each serving provides 180% of your daily required vitamin A, 130% of your daily vitamin C and 25% of your daily iron.
Drizzle on some lemon tahini dressing and enjoy this super satisfying salad. This is the nutrient content for one 11-ounce (315-gram) serving of Hearty
Veggie & Brown Rice Salad Bowl with dressing: Calories: 430 Fat: 22 grams Protein: 10 grams Carbs: 50 grams Fiber: 8 grams

Vegetarian Chili
Pinto and kidney beans make up the base of this soup, so it’s no surprise that it’s loaded with fiber and protein.
Even just a small cup of soup contains a whopping 16 grams of fiber.
You can also order it in a large size to knock out your entire daily fiber needs, with 32 grams of fiber per serving.
Because beans are rich in fiber and protein, they have been associated with health benefits like better blood sugar control and weight loss (29, 30).
Order a large size for a filling meal, or get a small cup of this chili and enjoy it as a delicious side dish. This is the nutrient content for 16 ounces (480 ml) of Vegetarian Chili from Au Bon Pain:
Calories: 340 Fat: 2.5 grams Protein: 19 grams Carbs: 61 grams Fiber: 32 grams 

Chick-fil-A: Grilled Market Salad
With grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, blue cheese, apples, strawberries and blueberries, this salad is a great example of how fast food really can be healthy.
It contains 25 grams of protein, plus 4 grams of fiber to help ward off hunger and keep you satisfied.
You can add your choice of vinaigrette to enhance the flavor of this salad. Apple cider vinaigrette adds just the right amount of zing.
This is the nutrient content for one order of Grilled Market Salad with Zesty Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
Calories: 430 Fat: 25 grams Protein: 25 grams Carbs: 31 grams Fiber: 4 grams 

The Bottom Line
Though it’s ideal to eat a diet with minimal amounts of processed, refined and fast foods, there are times when you might not be able to avoid eating fast food. In these instances, you can choose healthy healthy options.

While it may take a bit of extra effort, finding healthy items at many popular fast food restaurants is entirely possible.
Look for foods that include a good source of protein, heart-healthy fats, whole grains and vegetables to ensure that you’re getting a well-rounded and nutritious meal.
You’ll enjoy your meal guilt-free, and your body will thank you. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Extra Virgin Olive Oil May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease.

Italian researchers from the University of Florence have found that extra virgin olive oil polyphenols may prevent or delay the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease.

Mice with Alzheimer’s disease were given oleuropein aglycone, the main polyphenol found in extra virgin olive oil for 8 weeks. The results showed that dietary supplementation of oleuropein aglycone strongly improved the cognitive performance of the mice compared to the group that did not receive the olive oil polyphenol.
The scientists also conducted memory performance tests and noted that in the mouse model, cognitive impairment was completely prevented by oleuropein aglycone administration to the mice.
While it is not the first time that olive oil and the Mediterranean diet appear to protect from Alzheimer’s, this research adds more evidence that, at least in part, these benefits can be traced back to the intake of extra virgin olive oil and its main polyphenol, oleuropein aglycone.
The researchers concluded that their results support the possibility that dietary supplementation with extra virgin olive oil may prevent or delay the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and reduce the severity of its symptoms.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Natural Approaches for Healthy Blood Pressure

 Are you on hypertension medications? If so you might want to try complimenting them with natural nutritional support. You may even with your doctor’s blessing, be able to reduce your doses. Here are some nutrients and or foods that support the effects of common classes of antihypertensive medications.

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors:

       Omega-3 fats EPA/DHA
       Hawthorne berry
       Foods: egg yolk, fish (sardines, tuna), fish sauce, garlic, gelatin, kelp, wakame

Angiotensin receptor blockers:

       Co Q 10
       Oleic acid
       Vit C
       Foods: celery, fiber, garlic, Olive oil

Beta Blockers
       Hawthorne Berry

Calcium Channel Blockers

       Alpha Lipoic Acid
       Oleic acid
       Omega-3s EPA DHA
       Vit C, Vit E, Hawthorne Berry
       Foods: celery, garlic, Olive oil

Central Alpha Agonists (reduce sympathetic NS activity)

       Potassium ( restrict sodium)
       Vit C
       Foods: celery, fiber, garlic, protein

All of this will be much more effective if you also walk and exercise regularly. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure.
Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries.
In fact, 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, per week can help lower blood pressure and improve your heart health.

You’ll also want to watch your sodium intake. And focus on eating more potassium rich foods which include fresh fruits and vegetables. Limiting alcohol is important. Drinking alcohol in any quantity may raise your blood pressure. Limit your drinking to no more than one drink a day for women, two for men. Also get a handle on stress. Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Finding ways to manage stress can help.

Get to a healthy weight. Losing weight can significantly lower high blood pressure. This effect is even greater when you exercise.

Cut out sugar and refined carbs. Refined carbs, especially sugar, may raise blood pressure. Some studies have shown that low-carb diets may help reduce your levels.

Take Co-Q-10 and Magnesium. Co-Q-10 is important for normal blood pressure. Take at least 100 mg daily. Magnesium is an important mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Take a supplement at dinner and another at bedtime for a great nights sleep. Find magnesium in whole foods, such as legumes and whole grains.

And take EPA+DHA Omega-3s. 1000 to 1500 mg daily is the best level to ensure you have ideal blood levels.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Do you know your omega-3 blood levels?

Although regular intake of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA is believed to have several health benefits, some questions remain unanswered. Do we all need more omega-3 or just some of us? Is eating fish sufficient or do we need to take supplements? Is there a way to tell if the cells in our body are getting enough omega-3 or if we are deficient? Yes. The Omega-3 Index may provide answers to some of these questions.

The Omega-3 Index reflects the relative amount of omega-3 fatty acids within red blood cell membranes. The index can be measured using a simple blood sample. Your doctor can order this test for you. Measurements of fatty acids in red blood cell membranes can provide important information about fatty acid intake. Recently, the relative amount of omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cells has attracted interest as it
may provide information about the future risk of heart disease.
Studies show that a low Omega-3 Index is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and it has been proposed that raising the index may help to reduce risk.
The Omega-3 Index reflects the relative amount of EPA + DHA in red blood cells. It is expressed as the percentage of the total amount of fatty acids present. In fact it’s quite simple; if 8% of all the fatty acids present in red cell membranes is EPA+DHA, the Omega-3 Index is 8%.
The Omega-3 Index and Cardiovascular Risk
It has been hypothesized that the Omega-3 Index may predict the risk of future cardiovascular events such as coronary heart disease and cardiac arrest. If that’s correct, a low Omega-3 Index may be regarded as a risk factor, similar to smoking, high blood pressure and high blood levels of LDL cholesterol.
The average Omega-3 Index in the United States is believed to be between 4-5 %. In Japan, where coronary artery disease is less common and life
span longer, the average Omega-3 Index is 9-10%. This is because the population in Japan eats more fish than the population in the US.
Data from epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials demonstrate that the Omega-3 Index was inversely associated with the risk for mortality from coronary heart disease. An Omega-3 Index of ≥8% was associated with the greatest protection, whereas an index of ≤4% was associated with the least.

Another study, published 2008 showed that the Omega-3 Index as independently associated with the risk of developing acute coronary syndrome.
An Omega-3 Index >8% is optimal while an index of <4% may be regarded as deficient.
The simplest way to improve the Omega-3 Index is to increase the intake of EPA and DHA by eating marine products rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Recommendations For the Intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
For people without cardiovascular disease, most experts recommend eating a variety of fish (preferably oily) at least twice a week to maintain a mean intake of 4-500 mg of EPA+DHA daily.
For those with documented coronary heart disease, a daily dose of EPA+DHA of 1.000 mg per day is recommended.
For someone wanting to achieve the suggested ideal Omega-3 Index of 8% 1500 mg of EPA + DHA is suggested.
Finally for individuals with elevated serum triglycerides a daily dose of EPA + DHA of 2000 mg to 4000 mg per day is what doctors suggest. Since fish may be contaminated with mercury and other pollutants, be sure the fish oil supplement you choose is purified and has been third party tested.
IFOS, The InternationalFish Oil Standards program offers consumers a way to compare the highest quality fish oil brands. Carlson offers a wide array of potent pure fish oil supplements that have been tested by IFOS.