Can Following a Mediterranean Diet Reduce the Risk of Developing Dementia?

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Scientists have conducted many studies into whether there is a link between the diet you eat and the likelihood of you developing dementia. Some have even found that following specific diets may reduce the risk of suffering from this debilitating condition later in life. According to the Alzheimer’s society, the best diet to follow if you want to reduce the risk of suffering from dementia is a Mediterranean diet and evidence also shows that this diet also helps with reducing the risk of developing memory and thinking problems.

What is a Mediterranean Diet?

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Mediterranean diet is now a term used to describe a diet that is influenced by the ingredients traditionally used in the region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It is typically high in fruits and vegetables. Other food groups that are largely used in this type of diet are cereals and legumes. The diet includes a moderate consumption of dairy and oily fish, while it is low in meat content. Other foods that are rarely used are those that are high in sugar and saturated fat.

Studies into Mediterranean Diet and Dementia

There have been many studies into the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. One of the earlier studies was conducted in the 1960s and this showed that there were lower rates of heart attacks amongst men living in Mediterranean regions. Further studies have also shown links between following this diet and reduced rates of type 2 diabetes. In terms of dementia, studies began into links between this diet and a decreased risk of dementia when scientists learned that those who followed this diet experienced fewer problems with memory and thinking. Recently, more research was conducted to pull all the previous findings together to learn more about the potential link between following a Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of dementia development.

How Does a Mediterranean Diet Reduce the Risk of Dementia?

One reason it is believed that this diet can impact on the chances of developing dementia is that many of the foods eaten are high in antioxidants. These can help to protect brain cells against the damage caused by conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. The diet can also reduce the signs of inflammation and lower cholesterol levels. Both factors are proven to have an impact on memory and thinking. It is important to note that there have been some inconsistencies amongst the studies and it is possible that the reason people eating a Mediterranean diet have lower rates of dementia is simply as a result of this group of people living a generally healthier life.

Is Diet the Only Factor?

Of course, eating a Mediterranean diet alone will not reduce the risk of developing dementia as there are many other factors that are believed to contribute to the development of this condition. Some people are genetically predisposed to develop dementia and there is some evidence to suggest that you are more likely to develop dementia if someone else in your family has suffered from this condition. Lifestyle factors also play a part, so reducing alcohol intake, not smoking, and exercising regularly are all important steps to take to reduce the risk of developing dementia in the future.

To learn more about working with people with dementia, visit  https://www.createcare.co.uk/ and check out the range of courses available.

Source: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20010/risk_factors_and_prevention/149/mediterranean_diet

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The Unusual Diet of The Inuit People Living in the Frigid Zone

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The Frigid Zone is the area including and surrounding the Arctic, that encompasses Alaska, Greenland and the most northern parts of Canada. This part of the world has a very low population and is only inhabited by the Inuit people. Due to the cold climate and the sparse environment, the Inuit have a very unusual diet.

Traditionally, the Inuit are hunters and fishers who eat only what they can catch themselves. They have no access to grocery stores and eat only what is naturally available. This results in a somewhat limited diet of seal, whale, reindeer, birds, and seafood. Their diet is almost carbohydrate-free and fruit and vegetables are generally limited to seaweed, tubers, and berries that are gathered during the season and then preserved. 

With all the hype about eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, this lack of carbohydrates and fresh fruit and vegetables may seem concerning. It makes sense to believe that a diet that is so protein-rich would potentially cause health problems.

However, studies have shown that this is not the case. Despite what most would consider a very poor diet, the Inuit enjoy extremely good health and research shows that they are accessing all the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain good health. 

Written in response to the Daily Prompt ‘Frigid’ on The Daily Post.

7 Foods to Include in Your Diet for Radiant Skin

Anyone who is interested in health and beauty will know the importance of taking good care of their skin. There are plenty of products available on the market, each of which has a different role to play in good skin health. However, diet can play just as an important role in the health and appearance of your skin. A healthy balanced diet can have a significant impact on the health of your skin and whether or not it looks radiant. It is vital to make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need in your diet to maintain good skin health. If you want to make your skin healthier and appear more radiant, you should try including the following seven foods in your diet.

Leafy Greens

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Foods such as spinach and Brussel sprouts are high in alpha lipoic acid. This helps to protect against premature aging and keeps the skin tight and wrinkle-free.

Oily Fish

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Examples of oily fish include anchovies, sardines, and salmon. This fish contains dimethylaminoethanol which protects the skin, reduces the risk of premature aging, and strengthens cell membranes.

Eggs

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Eggs contain choline and lutein. These are both important nutrients in terms of skin health. Choline plays a role in keeping skin smooth and also regulates vitamin B levels. Vitamin is needed to keep skin smooth and firm. Lutein is an antioxidant that prevents skin damage and protects skin elasticity.

Blueberries

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Blueberries are full of antioxidants that will protect you against many diseases. An additional bonus is that the antioxidants will also make your skin more radiant.

Red Grapefruit

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Eating just one red grapefruit a day will give you your daily recommended dose of vitamin C, which is essential for good skin health.

Walnuts

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Your body needs omega-3 fatty acids but can’t produce it itself. Walnuts are a great source of these and it will keep your skin cell membranes strong and help them to retain moisture.

Tomatoes

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Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. It can help to protect skin from the damage of UV rays and the effects of premature aging.

Written in response to the Daily Prompt ‘Radiant’ on The Daily Post.

5 Foods You Didn’t Know Are Toxic

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While most foods in your kitchen are perfectly safe to eat and will probably contribute to a healthy and balanced diet, there are some foods that it may surprise you to learn are toxic. Before you panic, this usually refers to a specific part of an ingredient or requires a huge consumption before it will do you any harm at all. Here are five foods that you may not know are toxic.

1. Cashew Nuts

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When you buy raw cashew nuts, they are not actually raw as they have gone through a steaming process. This is to remove a chemical called urushiol that is also found in poison ivy. At high levels, this can prove fatal.

2. Bitter Almonds

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It is usually the sweet almond variety of almonds that you can buy in the shops. The other variety, bitter almonds, are potentially dangerous as they contain hydrogen cyanide. Eating as few as ten of these can cause significant health problems or even death.

3. Some Fruit Seeds and Pits

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Some fruit seeds contain hydrogen cyanide. Apple seeds and cherry pits are just two examples of fruits containing this toxin. Others include apricots and peaches. It is highly unlikely that you would be able to eat the pits of some of these fruits, but some are available in ground forms and you should avoid eating large quantities of these.

4. Nutmeg

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Nutmeg is a delicious spice that many people keep in their kitchen to flavour their foods. When it is eaten in small quantities, it will do you no harm at all. However, nutmeg contains a substance that acts as a hallucinogenic. If eaten in large quantities, it can cause hallucinations and convulsions. People who have eaten a whole nutmeg have experienced a condition called nutmeg psychosis. One of the symptoms of which is a sense of impending doom.

5. Rhubarb

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The main red stem of the rhubarb is fine to eat, so there is no need to panic if rhubarb crumble is one of your favourite dishes. It is the leaves that are potentially dangerous as they contain a substance called oxalic acid. This can cause kidney stones and eating extreme quantities can prove to be fatal.

Written in response to the Daily Prompt ‘TOXIC’ on The Daily Post

RECIPE: Wholemeal Flatbreads

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Flatbreads are an accompaniment many cuisines from around the world and are given a variety of names, such as tortillas and chapatis. If you make the soft variety, they are fantastic for wiping up dishes with sauce, such as curries. When made crisp and cut into pieces, they are ideal for serving with dips, such as guacamole, baba ganoush, or houmous. They are also budget-friendly and quick to make. Many people prefer to make the wholemeal varieties of flatbreads for the additional health benefits. Here is how to make flatbreads for six people.

Ingredients for Wholemeal Flatbreads

  • 7 oz/ 200g wholemeal flour
  • 3 1/2 fl oz/ 100 ml warm water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2tbsp olive oil (plus additional oil for cooking)

How to Make Wholemeal Flatbreads

  1. Put the flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Slowly add the water while stirring in with your hand to create a dough.
  3. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and put the dough on the flour.
  4. Add the olive oil to the dough and knead for five minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into six balls.
  6. Roll each dough ball into a round, flat shape.
  7. Heat a little oil in a small frying pan and spread around the pan using kitchen paper.
  8. Cook each flatbread for two minutes on each side until it puffs up a little and has some brown patches from contact with the pan.
  9. If you want soft flatbreads, you can now serve.
  10. For crisp flatbreads, brush each flatbread with a little oil before baking for five minutes in the oven.
  11. Cut into pieces and serve.

Why You Should Consider Using Micro Greens in Your Cooking

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Many people are unaware of what micro greens are let alone why they should use them in their cooking. Also known as microgreens or micro herbs, these are simply the early versions of herbs and vegetables. You may have seen them being used in television cooking shows or garnishing plates in fine dining restaurants. However, these are not just an ingredient for the use of celebrity chefs as there are plenty of reasons why you should consider using them at home. Here are just a few of the benefits of using micro herbs in your cooking.

You Can Grow Your Own

Even those who are not green-fingered and do not have a large garden can grow microgreens. You can grow them at home in small pots on your windowsill and snip off the leaves to use in your cooking.

Micro Greens are Packed with Nutrients

Research has shown that younger plants are packed with more nutrients and antioxidants. They are especially rich in beta-carotene, vitamin K, and vitamin C. If you are looking for a health boost, it is well-worth considering adding these into your meals.

They Have an Intense Flavour

The flavours in younger shoots are more intense than the flavours of older leaves. For example, the micro greens of arugula or radish have an intense peppery flavour, while young pea shoots have a strong flavour of fresh peas.

Visual Appeal

Many people believe that you eat with your eyes before your mouth and that the presentation of a dish has a big impact on a person’s experience of eating the food. Microgreens look pretty on a plate and add to the overall visual appeal.

Written in response to the Daily Prompt ‘Micro’ on The Daily Post.

Food News: The Growing Trend Towards Veganism

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More people than ever are deciding to follow a vegan diet. While for some, this is for ethical reasons, others are choosing to follow a plant-based diet as they believe it is beneficial to their health. There are also others who follow a temporary vegan diet as a way of cleansing their systems and those who continue to eat meat but are including more vegan dishes in their diet. This trend is also being followed by the food industry with vegan eating establishments popping up all over the world. 

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One such example of this is plant-based chef Matthew Kenney (pictured left) who has recently opened a vegan restaurant called ‘Alibi’ in the Ovolo Hotel in Sydney. Although many traditional Australian dishes are based on steak or seafood, the chef believes that his food can compete with these dishes and has described it as sexier. In fact, the famous chef believes that vegan lifestyles will become even more the norm in the future.

‘Alibi’ has a diverse menu that serves dishes including tacos, burgers, pizza, and lasagne. These dishes would usually contain meat and cheese, but Matthew Kenney has redesigned these meals so they are completely plant-based. He has even found a way to recreate cheese using ingredients including cashew nuts and sunflower seeds.

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The trend towards plant-based diets is also obvious in the number of celebrities who have now become vegan. Will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas (pictured right) announced in January that he had made the transition to veganism. He has credited following a vegan diet with his dramatic weight loss and improved health. 

 

Sources: 

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/future-of-food-is-vegan-says-leading-chef

https://www.livekindly.co/will-i-am-credits-vegan-diet-improved-health-weight-loss/