WATER: SOURCE OF LIFE.

The relationship between water and life has become more and more substantiated over the centuries through the deepening of knowledge on the role of it in biological systems and in the human organism.

Depending on its peculiar chemical-physical properties, water is involved in almost all the functions of the human body; it acts in the organism as a solvent of inorganic and organic compounds, promotes the dissociation of electrolytes, works as a thermostatic liquid with thermoregulatory capacity, allows the carrying out of metabolic transformations, constitutes the reactant of innumerable transformations of cellular chemistry, such as enzymatic reactions and biological oxidation.

Water is the main constituent of the human body and represents about 60% of body weight in adult males and  50-55% in females (characterized by a higher percentage of body fat than males), and up to 75% in a newborn. The total body water content, the intracellular and extracellular hydration process and the balance between the entry and exit of water in the body are under homeostatic control and are exercised with mechanisms that mainly regulate excretion and, secondly, stimulate the intake by feeling thirsty. Feedback mechanisms that mainly act on the kidney are also able, albeit to a limited extent, to regulate the tonicity of intracellular body fluids.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has ascertained a cause-effect relationship between the daily intake of water and the maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions. The recognition considers that a body water loss of about 1% is normally compensated within 24 hours and that the absence of such compensation and the further increase in body water loss compromise physical and cognitive functions. It is also certain that water plays a particularly important role in thermoregulation. The increase in body temperature is a consequence of the reduction of sweating and cutaneous blood flow induced by dehydration.

The recognition of EFSA refers to the waters that meet the regulatory requirements for natural mineral waters and for waters intended for human consumption and is associated with information for the consumer that the indicated effect is obtained with the daily intake of at least 2.0 liters of water in any form.

 

How much to drink

The amount of water to drink is quite variable depending on the individual, taking into account the living environment, the work and activity regime, the type of diet and lifestyles.

Under normal conditions, self-regulation mechanisms and complex factors that determine the sensation of thirst assist the body to take the right water requirement necessary to compensate for water losses, which continuously take place due to sweating, breathing, excretion of urine and stool. However, some individuals, especially children and the elderly, are more subject to dehydration also because they demonstrate a reduction in perception in the feeling of thirst and in the natural stimulus to drink, with the risk of not adequately and promptly balancing water losses. For this reason, it is necessary to satisfy the sense of thirst in all cases, tending to anticipate it, or, in any case, to guarantee the body a regular and adequate quantity of water to keep the water balance constantly balanced and prevent risks of dehydration. Dehydration, caused by an intake of liquids lower than the loss of water, also has serious effects on the body’s activity and physical performance.

The persistent state of dehydration is associated with a significant increase in the risk of many pathologies, even serious ones, primarily affecting the kidney.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientific experts on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies have recently redefined the reference dietary values ​​for the intake of different nutrients including water, recommending the quantity that is needed to enjoy good health according to age and sex.

The reference values, which consider the water taken as a whole – both through direct consumption and through food and drinks of all kinds -, in conditions of moderate environmental temperatures and medium levels of physical activity, are defined as follows:

-infants up to six months of life: 100 mL / kg per day;

-children: between 6 months and one year of age: 800-1000 mL / day, between 1 and 3 years of life: 1100-1300 mL / day, between 4 and 8 years of age: 1600 mL / day;

-ages 9-13: 2100 mL / day for boys and 1900 mL / day for girls;

-adolescents, adults and the elderly: females 2 L / day and males 2,5 L / day.

These values ​​are indicative; in conditions of warm weather and intense physical activities, or other conditions that induce dehydration, the water levels to be taken can vary considerably (it can also be considered more than double the values ​​indicated). This also occurs in stressful conditions and gastro-enteric disorders that lead to vomiting and diarrhea, such as for infant diarrhea.

POTASSIUM: PROPERTIES AND FUNCTIONS IN THE BODY

Potassium is an indispensable element for the body. It is an essential mineral for the health of our body: its ions are essential for the correct nervous transmission and the effectiveness of muscle contractility. The balanced concentration of potassium in the blood also serves to ensure the correct supply of nutrients to the cells, as well as to encourage the elimination of toxic substances.

Furthermore, following a balanced diet, which requires the intake of a quantity of potassium higher than that of sodium, favors the process of eliminating the latter and keeping the pressure within the limits. This is also confirmed by the update, at the beginning of 2013, of the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines: according to official indications, adults should take less than 2g of sodium and at least 3.5g of potassium everyday . The recommended values ​​are the result of studies on the general population: these limits have proven to be effective in reducing the risk of developing hypertension and, again according to the Department of Nutrition and Health of the WHO, stroke and heart attack.

The limit in the intake of potassium and sodium will be different for those who practice a lot of sport, not necessarily at a competitive level: sweating makes you lose mineral salts, therefore it is important to think about a hydro-saline integration after physical activity.

FOOD RICH IN POTASSIUM:

The only source of potassium for our body is the diet and the major source of elimination of this microelement is the kidney: in other words, the mineral is continuously excreted in urine. Every day a healthy adult person loses about 2g of potassium.

Potassium is a mineral salt present in more or less high concentration in practically all foods and drinks, including natural water. In principle, the intake in the general diet is not usually considered so much, but rather the relationship with sodium. For this reason, it is essential not only to know which foods are rich in potassium, but also those that have a favorable relationship between the two microelements.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are foods rich in potassium and low in sodium and these are the best ones to choose:

-bananas, apricots, citrus fruits, figs, plums, grapes, kiwis;

-tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, artichokes, cabbage, spinach, endive, arugula, lettuce, potatoes;

-soybeans and legumes;

-fish;

-whole grains;

-chicken meat;

-nuts such as pistachios, almonds, peanuts, walnuts and hazelnuts.

Three servings of fruit and two of vegetables per day are sufficient to ensure the correct supply of this mineral. Regarding the cooking process, it should be noted that only boiling can reduce the amount of potassium in food.

Healthy eating is a bunch of many nuances: choosing foods rich in potassium and then consuming many prepackaged foods rich in sodium – such as sausages, olives, other pickled vegetables and chips – would be a useless paradox.

CHICKPEAS TO IMPROVE THE CIRCULATION AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Rich in iron and potassium. They are also useful for lowering cholesterol and losing weight. Very nutritious, with low calories, chickpeas strengthen bones.

BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF CHICKENS

Chickpeas are tasty, healthy legumes with a delicate flavor, very versatile in the kitchen. Chickpea is a seed of a herbaceous plant (Cicer arietinum) of the Fabaceae family originally from the East and cultivated in the ancient world by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. The Latin name “cicer” derives from the Greek kikis and means strength, energy and vigor, in reference to its energetic properties, while the term “arietinum” refers to the shape of the seed, similar to the head of a ram.

Here are the properties, benefits and contraindications of this precious legume.

PROPERTY AND BENEFITS OF THE CHICKPEAS

Rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, K, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium and zinc, chickpeas are useful for controlling the level of cholesterol and blood sugar, reducing the risk of diabetes. They are also an excellent diuretic food, promoting the elimination of salts present in excess in the body. In fact, regular consumption of chickpeas is recommended for those suffering from stones. According to recent research, these legumes also have a valuable anticancer function.

NUTRITIONAL PROPERTIES OF THE CHICKPEAS

Eating chickpeas helps people suffering from anemia to increase the iron level, which is one of the main components of the legume. Thanks to the potassium content, they improve circulation, regulate blood pressure and are particularly suitable for those suffering from hypertension, heart disease and obesity. Zinc, on the other hand, is essential for the general growth of the body, to increase the immune system and to metabolize proteins. Finally, chickpea vitamin K has been shown to stimulate better blood clotting and bone metabolism.

CALORIES OF CHICKPEAS

Chickpeas are a nutritious and medium-calorie food: 100 grams of cooked chickpeas (dried chickpeas boiled in distilled water without adding salt) bring about 120 calories to our body.

DO THE CHICKPEAS MAKE YOU FAT?

Although they contain a high number of calories, chickpeas can be safely eaten while paying attention to the seasoning. By adding oil and butter, in fact, you risk dangerously increasing the caloric intake of your meal.

COOKING OF CHICKENS

Before cooking, leave the chickpeas to soak at room temperature for about 10-12 hours. After this time, drain and rinse them well under water. Transfer them to a large pot by pouring plenty of water over the chickpeas. Do not add salt because it may harden them. Cook the chickpeas on low heat, without lid, for about 60-75 minutes, adding the salt only at the end.

CORRECT STORAGE OF CHICKPEAS

The boiled chickpeas have to be kept cooked and drained, seasoned with a drizzle of oil, in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. Instead, it is advisable to consume the pre-cooked chickpeas within one day of opening the package.

CHICKPEAS IN A JAR

Here is the procedure for storing chickpeas longer: alternatively they can be frozen. Once the package is opened, consume the chickpeas within 2-3 days.

PREPARATION

Wash the jars well and sterilize them. Then drain the legumes while keeping the cooking broth.

Fill each jar with the chickpeas by pouring over the broth and close them tightly with clean lids.

Put the jars in a large pot filled with cold water and let it boil for 30 minutes.

Turn off and wait for the water to cool down.

CONTRAINDICATIONS OF CHICKPEAS

If you are not used to eating legumes, you may find  difficult to digest chickpeas. On the other hand, if you suffer from intestinal problems, legumes can cause abdominal bloating.

LUNCH BREAK AWAY: WHAT TO DO?

The lunch break outside the house often leads to making nutritional errors, which sooner or later are paid dearly. Let’s see how to avoid them.

A few healthy suggestions not to lose your fitness while eating something good, and especially by changing as soon as you can. The hectic life of today does not allow us very long lunch breaks, generally it is just half an hour, especially if you want not to return too late in the evening.

So especially those who work away from home are forced to have lunch in the canteen or at the bar, restaurant or pizzeria.

A good step forward could be to get used to always having a nutritious and varied breakfast, nothing too heavy, but not too scarce either.

In practice: a hot drink to taste (tea, black coffee or coffee and milk, preferably if milk is partially skimmed) plus a low-fat yogurt with cereals, a fresh fruit and even a couple of rusks.

This kind of breakfast is useful not to suffer too much from the stomach ache during the morning and to improve concentration during work.

But, since most people drink coffee standing before getting in the car and then they have to wait for 13.00 to catapult to the bar downstairs from the office for the usual sandwich, here are some tips to avoid nutritional errors that sooner or later you pay dearly.

Big salads: a real deception

Anyone who is convinced of staying fit, or even losing weight, eating only a salad for lunch and a rich and abundant meal in the evening, is wrong.

Salads have become fashionable, especially among adults who, for work needs, eat at least five meals a week at the bar.

Salad, for its nutritional value and fiber content, should be only vegetable (and no more than 100 grams), dressed with a tablespoon of oil, a little salt and a few drops of vinegar or lemon.

Instead the mixed salads that are the most popular today, are usually too dressed, with a non-extra virgin olive oil and are rich in cheese, tuna, boiled eggs and egg-based sauces. A real dietary deception if you think that a salad of this type is equivalent to a meal of 500-600 kcalories (kcal), but unbalanced and too rich in animal fats and proteins.

Optimal: a first and vegetables

Much better a good first for lunch, for example pasta (80 grams) with tomato and basil which is equivalent to 295 kcal. Maybe preceded by a boiled vegetable (100 grams -dressed with a little oil and lemon juice).

In the evening, at home, you can eat a not too demanding second to digest (fish 200 grams and raw vegetables, a tablespoon of oil, a pinch of salt and pepper), a sandwich (50 grams) and later a fresh fruit (apple 150 grams).

In this way, the total of the day would be around 1,200-1,300 kcal which is also fine for those who have to keep himself/herself in shape.

Instead, those who have no weight problems can add a small glass of red wine and even a small portion of homemade dessert (about 300 kcal) without the risk of being wrong.

Sandwich or pizza?

Who is forced to eat a sandwich or a pizza can choose between the following alternatives.

Sandwich with roast beef and salad plus a tablespoon of oil and lemon juice 390 kcal, once a week.

Sandwich with mozzarella and tomato with a little oil and a pinch of oregano 300 kcal, once a week.

Sandwich with cooked or raw ham without fat (40 grams) 240 to 270 kcal, once a week.

Sandwich with grilled vegetables, a drop of oil, a pinch of aromatic herbs and a tablespoon of low-fat quark 200 Kcal, twice a week.

And for pizza lovers: a margherita pizza (total about 280 grams) can get to 600 – 700 kcal. It can be fine for a meal only a week. It is not forbidden, even in slimming diets, as long as the other meal of the day is judiciously restricted (a portion of puréed vegetables soup and a slice of grilled turkey breast, no bread and no condiments).

WALNUTS AND PEANUTS PROTECT THE HEART.

A large study on two hundred thousand people of different ethnic backgrounds would demonstrate the effectiveness of dried fruit in reducing cardiovascular risks but for confirmation, we need a large clinical trial.

Walnuts and peanuts, consumed naturally, regularly and in the right proportions, would help reduce the risk of mortality, also from cardiac causes. This is confirmed by an observational study of a large population of different ethnic backgrounds, conducted by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VICC), a US university in Tennessee, published in the Jama Internal Medicine journal.

WALNUTS AND LONGEVITY

They would remove the risk of mortality for any cause in a percentage ranging between 17 and 21%, and especially for a cardiovascular event, such as stroke and heart attack, with a probability in this case even decreased by 23-38%.

These are the results that emerged from a large US study that assessed the relationship between consumption of these foods and survival in a group of over 200,000 people from various continents; in particular of 70 thousand Americans, with low economic income, descendants of Africans and Europeans, included in the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS) and more than 130 thousand Chinese who are part of two studies, the Shanghai Women’s Health Study (SWHS) and the Shanghai Men’s Health Study (SMHS).

In all three groups, the reduction in mortality was evident in people more used to consuming nuts and peanuts than those who were thriftier in including these foods in their diet. “A trend – explains Hung Luu, first author of the study – observable in the different ethnic groups and not related to the metabolic state, smoking, alcohol consumption and body mass index”.

In addition, the study also identified a positive relationship between peanut consumption and lower risk of diabetes mellitus or death by cancer.

HOW MANY NUTS TO CONSUME?

The benefits on longevity and on the heart would be attributable both to the properties of nuts and hazelnuts for nutrients, such as unsaturated fatty acids, fibers, vitamins, phenolic antioxidants, arginine and phytochemicals, and to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that would help also to preserve the heart muscle in a better state of well-being, and to maintain endothelial function for longer.

As in everything, however, there is the right means: because nuts and peanuts must not be consumed either in excess or in defect. The American Heart Association recommends four servings of walnuts per week, without salt and without oil, considering that one serving is equal to about 42.5 grams of whole walnuts.

However, it must be taken into account that dried fruit has a high caloric content and is not always suitable for a low-calorie diet and if you are overweight, and should be avoided if you have a predisposition to allergic reactions.

WE NEED NEW CONFIRMATIONS

The preliminary results of the study are encouraging, as they would seem to provide a low-cost preventive strategy against cardiovascular events: it would require the inclusion of dried fruit in the diet, therefore a ‘therapy’ accessible even for the poorest categories of patients. However, since we are dealing with observational epidemiological studies and not randomized clinical trials, we cannot yet draw firm conclusions: “It is not possible to say with certainty – concluded William Blot, Associate Director of Population-based Cancer Prevention and Control Research at VICC and co-author of the study – if peanuts alone are responsible for reducing observed mortality.” We will need further research to attest to its effectiveness, but the premises at the moment are hopeful.

PROTEINS AND VITAMINS TO WARD OFF THE COLD.

Legumes, white meat, seasonal fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits. Here are some ingredients of the anti-cold diet suggested by nutritionists

To better defend against the bitter cold and the seasonal ailments, in addition to heavy clothing, good food is also an effective ally. Legumes, meat, seasonal fruits and vegetables, dried fruit are some anti-cold foods: in fact they provide the body with an adequate caloric intake and give an energy boost to the metabolism, invited through the diet to produce more heat. Here some tips for the colder weeks.

 

Why you feel cold

The biological thermometer is regulated by skin thermoreceptors, microscopic sensors capable of detecting heat and cold. They perceive the changes in the heat of the environment and trigger the response at an organic level, thanks to the thermosensitive neurons that are found in the hypothalamus.

In other words, they help keeping body degrees as constant as possible through a thermoregulation mechanism that disperses heat (if it is hot) or promotes its production (if it is cold).

If the effect is known, however, the mechanisms by which, at the same temperature, some people feel a comfortable feeling and others are cold remain to be clarified. The ‘cure’ for this seasonal discomfort is natural and consists mainly in choosing ‘hot’ foods, which does not mean boiling and just removed from the heat, but capable of producing more energy that translates into more heat and a rise in internal body temperature.

What are proteins for?

BASIC TIPS

There are at least three rules to remember when it is cold:

Eat more – Increasing your daily calorie intake, opting for large portions of protein foods which, with few calories, nourish the muscles and help burn the accumulated fat. Among these, the most suitable are white meats, fish, legumes, eggs, ricotta, low-fat cheeses and yogurt. But foods that promote the elimination of toxins and help to keep cholesterol levels are also indicated, in particular:

-garlic and onions, which carry out an antibacterial action;

-legumes, such as beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils that improve intestinal activity thanks to the presence of fiber and bring iron that helps fight anemia and tiredness;

-fresh seasonal fruit (especially citrus fruits and kiwis), for the supply of good quantities of vitamin C;

-seasonal vegetables (spinach, chicory, pumpkin, turnips, carrots, broccoli) that provide minerals and antioxidant vitamins that help fight physical stress related to the cold.

No to excessive diets. Very restrictive diets with very few calories and few fats, are not recommended in cold periods as they slow down the ability to regulate body temperature.

No to alcohol. Avoid wine and alcoholic beverages in general because after an initial vasodilatation which determines a sensation of heat, then they leave room for a vasoconstriction that induces very cold.

 

Anti-cold food for excellence

Considering that the diet must always remain varied and balanced, on the winter table there should never miss some foods consumed in alternate phases:

Legumes – They are among the richest iron foods; a mineral particularly useful in cold because it helps to create a sort of shield against this external atmospheric agent. In addition to legumes, the iron assimilable by the body is found above all in meat and fish.

Kiwis – They help the skin to defend itself from the cold. In fact, they contain 85 milligrams of vitamin C for every 100 grams of fruit (compared to the average 50 milligrams of citrus fruits), which favors the production of collagen, a support structure for connective tissues in general and the dermis in particular.

Broccoli and cruciferous – They are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, precursors of vitamin A, which stimulate the immune defenses, which are more fragile in winter. Valuable substitutes for broccoli are also carrots, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, artichokes, red beets, cauliflowers and peppers, all vegetables in which carotenoids are found in abundance.

Meat – It is good to introduce protein foods in the diet, especially in winter, including meat (better white), albeit in moderation (better not to exceed 200 grams per week), since an excess of proteins could weigh down the liver and kidney work.

Dried fruit – In particular walnuts, which provide the body with a good supply of zinc which helps to combat cooling states. This mineral is also found in beef, egg yolk, oysters, crustaceans, cereals, legumes, vegetables, wheat germ, beer yeast and soy lecithin. We also recommend the consumption of almonds and hazelnuts that contain tocopherol (vitamin E). Among the seasonings, extra virgin olive oil is rich in vitamin E.

Orange (and citrus) juices – Speed ​​up the metabolism that produces more heat. In addition, thanks to vitamin C and anthocyanidins, they help to fight seasonal ailments, carrying out a protective action on cells and the immune system.

Yogurt – Constant consumption of probiotics reduces cases of infection and makes the flu forms less aggressive.

Cereals – They are an excellent source of fiber that helps the body warm up without weighing it down.

Water and tea – Hydration is also important. In winter the advice is to provide liquids to the body through water, tea, herbal teas and soups.

Sweets in moderation – Cakes, biscuits and candies, are not useful for body warming, they only weigh it down. In fact, sugars have a low thermogenic power and fats. Once in a while, among the delicacies you can indulge yourself  in dark chocolate, because the intake of magnesium helps fight fatigue, and caffeine to stimulate the nervous system.

Spices and more – A pinch of ginger in the dishes increases the flow of blood circulation and thus performs a warming action for the body. While chili pepper, which also contains a good dose of vitamin C, is a vasodilator and as such it can help to decongest.

 

Winter dishes

-Cereal and legume soups: pasta and beans, lentil pasta, pasta and chickpeas, rice and peas and so on;

-Vegetable soup with pasta or rice.

They are dishes that can be enriched with proteins of animal origin, with the addition of grated cheese for example, and with vitamin E and antioxidants thanks to the use of extra virgin olive oil.

VEGETABLES: BETTER RAW OR COOKED?

Raw or cooked vegetables.

It is a well-known fact that vegetables are good and it is important to consume them, but it is not always done correctly: in fact, there are vegetables that are more suitable to be eaten raw, other cooked, and even cooking standards have a fundamental value.

Since we were kids, we have heard that we must eat vegetables and as adults, we became aware of the preciousness of vitamins, minerals, fibers and antioxidants that are contained in them.

Consuming vegetables is an obligatory step to have a healthy and correct nutrition, but this is not enough, since it is essential to do it in the right way.

To make the difference there are two fundamental points: the first one is if a type of vegetable is eaten raw or cooked; the second one is the choice of the type of cooking. Why is it necessary to make this distinction? Aren’t vegetables always good regardless? Well, if we want to take as many present nutrients as we possibly can…not really. Let’s find out why.

 

Vegetables: why some raw and others cooked?

Vegetables contain different vitamins and various classes of antioxidants that react differently with cooking, increasing or decreasing their bioaccessibility, that is the quantity available for intestinal absorption after being released from the food, and it depends above all on how much and how the food is cooked.

For example, lycopene and beta-carotene are two compounds that we find respectively in tomatoes and carrots or in pumpkin and which increase their availability with cooking, while some vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin C degrade easily with heat.

There is therefore an important distinction between bioavailability and quantity of a certain nutrient present: to say that 100 g of peppers have 166 mg of vitamin C, for example, does not mean that eating a hectogram of this vegetable effectively you assimilate the total amount of vitamin C, because it depends on the way we cook them.

Let’s see which are the vegetables to be eaten raw or cooked, which in both ways and the reason for these choices, in order to absorb as much nutrients as possible.

 

Vegetables that should be eaten raw.

Below we see vegetables that should be eaten raw to maximize the absorption of the nutrients present. This does not mean that if cooked they hurt, we simply risk losing a good part of the nutrients present.

Lettuce, including all the various types. Digestive and refreshing, lettuce is rich in important mineral salts such as potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium. It is better to be eaten raw for its vitamin C and chlorophyll, powerful antioxidants and antianemics sensitive to cooking, in fact they would be lost with it. Vitamin C, specifically, belongs to the family of thermolabile vitamins, not heat resistant. Boiling in water can result in an average loss of 50% of vitamin C compared to the total content in a common raw vegetable. In the same way, mineral salts are also dispersed if cooked in plenty of water.

Cucumber. With its richness of water and the low intake of calories and fats, cucumber has a strong draining power. It is preferred to consume it raw due to the presence of folate, vitamins C and group B, all thermolabile elements, and for the high presence of potassium and phosphorus. Boiling in water has a highly negative effect on the folate present in common vegetables, causing average losses of 68%.

Rocket has many properties: it is diuretic and antioxidant, antithrombotic, improves intestinal motility and gastric emptying, strengthens the immune system. It is rich of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, calcium, but also vitamin C, K and folate. The consumption of raw rocket ensures all the benefits to the organism.

 

Vegetables that should be eaten cooked

After seeing which vegetables should be eaten raw, we see below those that should be cooked to improve the bioavailability of nutrients and make them more digestible. In fact, these vegetables, if not cooked, in addition to having a low intake of nutrients, would be very difficult to digest.

Pumpkin. It is a friend of the cardiovascular system, which is also edible by diabetics and a great ally in case of constipation and water retention. The typical orange of the pumpkin is due to the presence of beta-carotene, a carotenoid with pro-vitamin activity since it is a precursor of vitamin A. Beta-carotene increases its bio-accessibility through cooking, especially if steaming or, even better, through boiling. For seasoning, do not forget to add a little oil, since beta-carotene is a fat-soluble vitamin.

Cabbages. Broccoli, black cabbage or cap, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and watercress, they are all vegetables belonging to the cruciferous family and rich in glucosinates, molecules that plants use to protect themselves from any parasites and in humans they perform strong protective and anti-cancer functions. In order not to lose too many glucosinates, we recommend a light pan or steam cooking, using a little water and reducing the cooking time to a few minutes. Some studies have in fact shown how boiling these vegetables can cause a loss of even more than 90% of glucosinolates.

Zucchini. They are highly appreciated for their low calorie content and the numerous fibers that stimulate intestinal regularity. Zucchini are also rich in potassium, vitamins A and group B. They are a good source of carotenoids, especially in the variety with the yellow skin. We recommend steaming for a few minutes to make them more digestible.

Eggplants. They are an excellent concentrate of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A, and have high percentages of water, which make them excellent for facilitating diuresis and having a purifying effect. Like all purple-colored plants, eggplants contain anthocyanins with a strong protective and antioxidant action. A study has shown how grilling these vegetables increases the amount of antioxidants.

 

Vegetables that can be eaten cooked or raw.

Finally, let’s see those vegetables that should be included in the diet both raw and cooked. This is because they have different characteristics if they are eaten raw or cooked and, therefore, we recommend using them alternately in your diet to optimize the intake of all the nutrients present.

Carrots. They have an excellent content of fiber, minerals (potassium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium) and vitamins (groups B and C) and, above all, they are the main sources of beta-carotene, hence the name chosen for the vegetable. They are diuretic, purifying, with antioxidant properties that help to lower blood cholesterol levels. It is a good practice to vary and alternate recipes using raw or cooked carrots, always adding oil for the dressing, for their important content of vitamin C, thermolabile, and beta-carotene which, on the contrary, is assimilated more after cooking, even prolonged.

Tomatoes. They are rich in water and low in calories and fats, with a discrete vitamin intake given by group B, vitamin C, D and E. They are mineralizing, diuretic, digestive, suitable for diabetics and those who follow a low-calorie diet. Tomatoes contain high concentrations of lycopene, a carotenoid without pro vitamin activity but with a broad antioxidant power. Its bioavailability improves after cooking because the vegetable undergoes tissue shredding and the heat treatment changes the isomeric structure of the molecule, going from a trans to a cis form, more available for absorption. To all this must be added a fat-based dressing such as olive oil, given the liposolubility of lycopene. It is better to choose the alternation between raw tomatoes and cooked tomato sauces in order to be able to extract all the nutrients, as for the carrots.

Peppers. They are satiating, diuretics, antioxidants thanks to the high concentration of water, potassium, phosphorus, fibers, vitamin C, of ​​group B, beta-carotene, and lutein. For many people, raw peppers are indigestible, but it is the best way to stock up on ascorbic acid. As well as for carrots and tomatoes, the option to alternate their consumption from raw or cooked is valid.

Spinach. It is rich in minerals, carotenoids, vitamin C and iron. The presence of ascorbic acid increases the absorption of iron, bypassing the stop given by the chemical form. Cooking spinach increases the availability of carotenoids, while if eaten raw, they will have a higher content of vitamins. If you prefer to eat them after cooking, choose the steamed one, with the addition of a few drops of fresh lemon.

Fennel. It has very few calories (9kcal / 100g), practically zero fat and are abundant in water. Allies of the line for the draining, satiating and carminative action thanks to the fibers and essential oils, fennel can enrich a simple salad thanks to their crunchiness or be enjoyed as a hunger-breaking snack. The high content of vitamin C and potassium means that they are preferable if eaten raw, in terms of nutrients, even if the culinary custom of taking them cooked is very common. In this case, to avoid the dispersion of too many important elements, it is preferable to choose steam or oven cooking, that are more conservative methods.

Asparagus. White, green or violet. Beyond the chromatic difference, asparagus retain all their nutritional characteristics. They are strongly diuretics and purifying, they help to dispose of the tissue stagnation of liquids and to improve kidney activity. They are rich in vitamin C and group B, carotenoids, folic acid, mineral salts such as potassium, phosphorus and calcium. It is advisable to consume them raw to ensure a good supply of folate and ascorbic acid but, on the other hand, not too prolonged steam cooking allows to improve the availability of carotenoids and digestibility. Let’s alternate the consumption between raw and cooked.

 

How to combine raw and cooked vegetables within meals.

In addition to choose the right way to consume a vegetable, it is important to consider how these side dishes are included in meals and in combination with which foods.

It is a good rule, for example, to start the meal with a portion of raw vegetables: the fibers present in them, in fact, give more satiety, promote digestion and slow down the glycemic peaks by decreasing the absorption of sugars from carbohydrates. Let’s see specifically the best combinations:

Pasta: do we eat a plate of pasta? Let’s avoid a side dish made of cooked starchy vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or fennel: if raw vegetables have diuretic power, cooked ones have a higher glycemic index. We therefore have to prefer a portion of raw vegetables, preferably green leafy;

Meat: raw vegetables are associated with red meat. Salad, fennel, spinach, carrots, radicchio and peppers for example, buffer the acidifying action given by the digestion of proteins and increase the absorption of iron thanks to vitamin C. If you opt for white meat, you can also combine it with cooked vegetables;

Dairy products: dairy products, on the other hand, must be accompanied with cooked vegetables to facilitate intestinal transit and avoid a surplus of minerals that would favor water retention (the classic “caprese” with tomato and mozzarella is so tasty but not optimal nutritionally);

Fish: finally, fish should be better accompanied by raw, uncooked green leafy vegetables.

 

Cooking vegetables: which one to prefer.

The vegetables cooking has the purpose of softening the cellulose present in them, thus making it more easily digestible. There are several ways to cook vegetables, especially if we want to preserve as much nutrients as possible.

Boiling is, in general, “enemy” of vegetables because it involves a massive loss of mineral salts and thermolabile vitamins, except for carrots whose beta-carotene content is made more bioaccessible by cooking, even prolonged, and for the lycopene of tomatoes. The loss is proportional to the size of the pieces (the smaller they are, the greater the dispersion), the amount of water used and the times chosen. The greatest nutrient losses occur with some proteins, certain water-soluble vitamins, especially C and B1, and mineral salts. It is preferable, in general, to choose short boiling times, use a little water or recover the cooking water to drink it later.

Steam cooking is a valid choice, both by using a pressure cooker or by placing a veil of water on the bottom of a normal pot, then keeping the vegetables on a perforated basket, away from the bottom: in this way, you can completely avoids contact with water and the dispersion of vitamins and nutrients. Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower require 6-7 minutes of cooking; asparagus 6/8 minutes; zucchini 5-6 minutes; spinach 3-4 minutes; peppers 2-4 minutes; carrots 4-5 minutes; eggplants 5-6 minutes.

The grill is also a good alternative for preparing vegetables. In particular, a study has shown that grilling eggplants increases the amount of antioxidants.

The Diet of Longevity How to cure with food

The Diet of Longevity: How to cure with food?

Valter Longo has dedicated his career to anti-aging therapies research and experimentation. In his first book “The Diet of Longevity“, which benefits have been donated to research, the scientist explains gradually the studies that led him to the creation of what we know now as the Diet of Longevity and the Fasting Mimicking Diet.

In the light of the discoveries that encourage a proper nutritional education, we get ProLon, the clinically tested kit for cellular regeneration and longevity!

The diet of longevity

The intention was to find a method that could be an integration strategy for standard cures and, as a result, open up new perspectives for improving existing therapies.

The Diet of Longevity, research:

Therefore, Pr. Valter Longo, the Director of the USC’s Longevity Institute in Los Angeles and the Institute of oncology at IFOM in Milan, has made food an advantageous and alternative tool that could make the difference for patients.

The Diet of Longevity is based on 5 disciplines that support the scientific evidence of the program. The use of these five areas of research has led to identify the positive and negative elements for our health.

Therefore, it is proposed as a real lifestyle, to adopt 365 days a year.

We can define it a modern version of the classical Mediterranean diet of our grandparents. A “poor” diet that favours the consumption of mainly plant-based food and low in animal proteins.

Epidemiological studies clearly showed how following the food tradition of our centenarians, made of simplicity, it is possible to heal our own body.

Let’s discover some aspects!

It sounds like a vegan diet, but actually, it is not!

Indeed, the diet of longevity includes fish 2/3 times a week and some eggs to ensure the contribution of all the amino acids we need.

According to the scientist, a fully vegan diet does not ensure to our body all the nutrients it needs, and does not always lead to positive effects. The concern is, in the long term this can lead to malnutrition.

The animal proteins, red meat ones, are totally excluded because they cause the growth of the hormone IGF-1, which promotes aging and, consequently, the various diseases related to aging.

Diet is like a set of molecules made to accelerate or reduce cellular aging. Eating well is important and even so the choice of what to put in your plate, the choice that must be seen as a mission whose goal is reaching the longevity.

The importance of physical activity!

Much of what we eat has a determining influence on our appearance and our psychophysical well-being, but at the same time, a sedentary lifestyle is considered to be one of the key factors in abdominal fat growth and development of cardiovascular diseases.

Physical activity is another mean of prevention. Longo explains that, if it is regular, it can promote the regenerative processes of our body.

In collaboration with the University of Verona, he adds, a study on muscle strength is starting with non-professional athletes. The main idea is muscular strength can increase independently of the increase of muscular mass.

A recipe for living up to 110 years old therefore exists. Do you know what the most surprising thing is? That you can live long and healthy!

Try now ProLon®

 

The Five Pillars of Longevity and the Fasting Mimicking Diet

The Five Pillars of Longevity and the Fasting Mimicking Diet

Longevity, everyone wants it, but how do you get it?

Professor Valter Longo has led one of the most important studies on longevity based on nutrition. This is how he has identified the five pillars that enable the foundation of the bases for a long life, and from which were issued the studies that led to that the fasting mimicking diet®.

Professor. Valter Longo and his team’s studies are at the origin of the meal program of the that the fasting mimicking diet, the result of more than 10 years of scientific research, conducted at the University of Southern California’s  Longevity Institute and School of Medicine, one of the world’s leading centres for studies on aging and longevity.

The research results above mentioned have been published in the world’s most influential scientific journals.

Let’s discover the origins:

First pillar:

Understanding the interaction between cells and different nutrients, how some of them affect cell functioning.

Second pillar:

Through epidemiology, a discipline studying the cause of disease in populations, the diet turns out to be a factor having a significant impact on the functioning of metabolism.

Third pillar:

The demonstration that dietary style may subsequently have an impact on health has been shown by randomized clinical trials.

Fourth pillar:

Based on the study of the centenarians, always relatively to an eating behaviour adopted by the most long-lived people in the world, with a link between genetics and lifestyle.

Fifth pillar:

It consists in the study of complex systems allowing the analysis and understanding of the human organism complexity by simplifying it through models that are more intuitive. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that the prevention of a chronic pathology through food and diet has become possible.

Article written by: Francesca Florenzo

 

Follow us on Facebook and be informed about food, nutrition and health, latest news and customer testimonials.

 

Eat less, live longer: the diet that holds the key to staying young – The Times

“After 30 years of research, Professor Valter Longo believes he has created a diet that could help you live to 100.”

Read Full Story