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Here’s how you can get the most out of spinach

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High levels of lutein are found in dark green vegetables, and researchers have compared different ways of preparing fresh spinach in order to maximise the levels of lutein in finished food.

Researchers found that reheating the food in a microwave to some extent compensated for the loss of lutein in cooked food. More lutein is released from the spinach as the plant structure is broken down further by the microwave.(Unsplash)

If you are wondering how to best reap the health benefits of spinach, consume it in the form of a smoothie or juice. According to a research from Linkoping University, Sweden – the findings of which are published in the journal Food Chemistry – this is the best way to obtain the antioxidant lutein.

 

High levels of lutein are found in dark green vegetables, and researchers at the university have compared different ways of preparing fresh spinach in order to maximise the levels of lutein in finished food.

Many people with atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) have low-grade, chronic inflammation that can be measured in the blood. This inflammation is linked to an increased risk of myocardial infarction.

A research group at Linkoping University previously studied the role of the antioxidant lutein. This is a natural fat-soluble pigment found in plants, particularly in dark green vegetables. The researchers showed in their last study that lutein can dampen inflammation in immune cells from patients with coronary artery disease.

They also showed that lutein can be stored in immune cells, which means it is possible to build up a reserve of lutein within your body. This led the researchers to wonder whether it is possible to influence the level of lutein in the blood by increasing lutein dietary intake.

In the new study, the researchers have investigated which method of preparation is the best way of obtaining lutein. They chose to study spinach, which contains comparatively high levels of lutein and is eaten by many people. Just as many other nutrients, lutein is degraded by heat.

“What is unique about this study is that we have used preparation methods that are often used when cooking food at home, and we have compared several temperatures and heating times. We have also investigated methods of preparation in which the spinach is eaten cold, such as in salads and smoothies”, said Lena Jonasson.

In order to simulate methods of preparation that are often used in everyday life, the researchers purchased baby spinach at a supermarket. They subjected the spinach to, for example, frying, steaming, or boiling for up to 90 minutes, and measured the lutein content at different times.

Spinach cooked in a soup or stew is not heated to as high a temperature or for as long as spinach in a lasagne, for example. This is why the researchers compared different heating times. It turned out that the heating time is important when spinach is boiled. The longer it is boiled, the less lutein the spinach retains.The cooking method is also important: when spinach is fried at high temperature a large fraction of the lutein is degraded after only two minutes.

Reheating lunch boxes in a microwave oven is a very common practice in modern life. The researchers found that reheating the food in a microwave to some extent compensated for the loss of lutein in cooked food. More lutein is released from the spinach as the plant structure is broken down further by the microwave.

“Best is not to heat the spinach at all. And even better is to make a smoothie and add fat from dairy products, such as cream, milk or yoghurt. When the spinach is chopped into small pieces, more lutein is released from the leaves, and the fat increases the solubility of the lutein in the fluid”, said Rosanna Chung, principal author of the article.


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Health

4 Simple Tips To Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals And A Healthy Living

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Health is wealth! But in the today’s world where everyone is so occupied with work do we actually pay attention to our lifestyle. Well! Not really. After all, what does it actually take to lead a healthy lifestyle? A healthy lifestyle is extremely important as it helps to improve your health and well-being. There are a lot many different things that you can do to live a healthy lifestyle. These include eating healthy and nutritious foods, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, adequate sleep and managing your stress. A healthy lifestyle is not just about eating wholesome meals and regular physical exercise. There is much more to that. It is also about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Health expert Luke Coutinho in his recent Instagram post talks about keeping life simple and healthy.

Top 4 simple and effective tips for better overall health:

1. Clean balanced meals

 

Eating balanced and healthy meals is extremely essential for a healthy lifestyle. Your meals should include healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, dairy products, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, you should avoid unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, high-calorie foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and excessive sodium. A healthy diet will be beneficial for your overall health and keep you away from chronic diseases.

2. Some movement

Movement is a key to a healthy life. Some sort of physical activity is very necessary. Not just few times a week but everyday. Exercising daily can boost your overall health in many ways. It can help increase your life span, lower the risk of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, help you develop strong bones, and manage your weight. For this, you can simply especially for close distances, choose walking or cycling over driving or taking transportation. You can climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator. You can pick up simple exercises that are easy to do at home or outside that you enjoy. For instance, Zumba, aerobics, running, swimming or may be playing your favourite sport.

3. Adequate sleep

You might ignore this one but sleep is very important. It helps your body to heal and rest, so you must not ignore on your sleep. Lack of sleep may lead to poor health outcomes like obesity, diabetes, and even certain heart diseases. Continued lack of sleep can lead to a weak immune system and make you more prone to cold and the flu.

You can do some simple things to ensure that you sleep better at night. You can avoid caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. Also, avoid eating heavy meals before bedtime. Physical exercise can also help you sleep better at night. But avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime.

4. Stress

Though it is difficult to avoid stress in today’s world. But simple measures can always be taken to reduce stress. As stress again could lead to high blood sugar levels, hypertension and can even affect your heart. So practice some deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga to manage stress. Also, try reaching out to friends, family and relatives quite often. This will help you remain positive and happy all the time.

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Health

Facing Digestion Issues? This Quick After-Meal Mix Can Help You!

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Has it been long since digestive issues have been interfering with your health? Poor digestion is undoubtedly a sign of poor health and there is something that you must do about it . We have previously spoken about different kinds of foods that can help improve digestion. In this article, we will talk about an after-meal digestive mix suggested by lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho. This digestive mix consists of simple ingredients which can be easily found in Indian households. This after-meal digestive needs 5 ingredients, namely fennel seeds, sesame seeds, chopped almonds, flax, and ajwain. All these foods are popular for their benefits on digestive health.

Here are some benefits of Luke Coutinho’s after-meal digestive mix:

1. Fennel seeds: Fennel seeds are commonly consumed after meals. Many restaurants provide fennel seeds after food. Fennel seeds are highly popular for their digestive benefits. They can also help in getting relief from flatulence, painful periods, boosting metabolism, regulating blood sugar and improving hydration.

 

2. Sesame seeds: Dietary fibre in sesame seeds help in improving digestion. They provide your body with the required fibre which is needed for improving digestion. Fibre helps in improving gut bacteria. 100 gm of sesame seeds contain around 12 g of fibre. This amount, when combined with other fibre-rich foods, can restore digestive system in the body.

3. Almonds: Almonds too are rich in fibre. When consumed in the appropriate quantities, almonds can help in improving digestive health. Almonds can provide beneficial gut bacteria. Vitamin -E rich almonds are great for heart health and eye health.

4. Flax: Flax seeds are loaded with nutrients like protein, carbs, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins and much more. Content of dietary fibre in flax seeds can be beneficial for your digestive health. Including flax seeds in your diet can assure regular bowel movements.

5. Ajwain: Chewing ajwain or carom seeds can help in easing gas and flatulence. Carom seeds are full of thymol which helps in secreting gastric juices that aid digestion. For years, ajwain has been used a home remedy for curing indigestion. You can consume it in small quantities as it tastes slightly spicy.

For preparing Luke Coutinho’s after-meal digestive mix, you simply need to mix all of the above ingredients in a glass jar. A teaspoon of this mix after your meals every day can bring significant improvement to your digestion.

(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative Medicine)

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Know how to counter ill effects of long-time sitting

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These are the findings of a recent study which appear in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The results highlight the importance of movement — regardless of its intensity or amount of time spent moving — for better health.

“Our findings underscore an important public health message that physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits,” said lead author Keith Diaz of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

About one in four adults spends more than eight hours a day sitting, according to a recent study.

 

In a previous paper, Diaz and his team discovered that adults who sat for long stretches at a time — an hour or more without interruption — had a greater risk of early death than those who were sedentary for the same total amount of time but got up and moved around more often.

They also found that people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death, suggesting that taking movement breaks every half-hour could lower your risk of death.

But just how intense, and for how long, does the physical activity need to be to counter the ill effects of sitting?

The study found that replacing just 30 minutes of sitting with low-intensity physical activity would lower the risk of early death by 17 per cent, a statistically significant decrease. Swapping the same amount of sitting for moderate to vigorous activity would be twice as effective, cutting the risk of early death by 35 per cent. The researchers also found that short bursts of activity — of just a minute or two — provided a health benefit.

“If you have a job or lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting, you can lower your risk of early death by moving more often, for as long as you want and as your ability allows — whether that means taking an hour-long high-intensity spin class or choosing lower-intensity activities, like walking,” Diaz said.

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