How Food Affects How We Feel

How Food Affects How We Feel

Eating healthy food for the brain can help improve cognitive function, including memory, decision-making ability, mental response time, and mood. High-quality foods contain lots of vitamins and minerals that nourish the brain. They also provide essential fatty acids that stimulate and strengthen brain cells. On the other hand, if we fuel up with anything other than healthy food, such as heavily processed or refined foods containing artificial additives, it can surely bring harm to our brain. These foods promote inflammation and oxidative stress which can damage brain cells and can even worsen symptoms of mental disorder, such as depression and anxiety.

The link between poor mental health and nutritional deficiencies has just been established decades ago through the scientific studies conducted within the field of Nutritional Psychology. This is a growing discipline that focuses on the use of food and supplements to provide essential nutrients as part of an integrated or alternative treatment for mental health disorders. By doing thorough studies, they’ve found out that there are many correlations with what we eat, how we think, feel, and behave and the kinds of bacteria that live in our gut.

Photo by Joshua Coleman

 

“The Second Brain” produces “The Happy Chemical”

Most of us if not all have experienced “butterflies in your tummy” when nervous, or “just go with your gut feeling” when making a decision. Actually, you may be getting signals from your second brain, the Gut.

Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). Ironically, this little brain is composed of two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells or neurons lining our gastrointestinal tract where 95% of serotonin is being produced. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior. It is sometimes called “the happy chemical” because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness. As it helps relay messages from one area of the brain to another, the widespread distribution of its cells is believed to influence a variety of psychological and other body functions. Of the approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin.

Moreover, the function of these neurons and the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin are highly influenced by the billions of “good” bacteria that make up our intestinal microbiome. These bacteria play an essential role in our health. They protect the lining of our intestines and ensure they provide a strong barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria; they limit inflammation; they improve how well you absorb nutrients from your food, and they activate neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain. The gut doesn’t seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain—with profound results.

Photo by Lidya Nada

 

How food affects how we feel

Serotonin is one of our system’s neurotransmitter that has the most significant impact on our diet. Healthy foods contain vitamins and minerals that assist the activity of serotonin. Depending on our intake of these foods, serotonin may become less or more active. That makes sense that if our diet lacks such nutrients, it stimulates imbalances that can lead to mood disturbances/swings, irritability, and depression.

High levels of serotonin boost our mood, curb our cravings, increase our pain tolerance ,and help provide us a restful sleep; whereas, low levels of such can cause food cravings, insomnia, depression, increased pain sensitivity, aggressive behavior, and poor body temperature regulation.

Photo by Brooke Lark

Healthy eating prevents mental disorders

Eating healthy is rarely easy, especially if you’re trying to move away from the convenience of processed food that we get used to. But of course, if we want to live longer with better cognition and outlook in life, we have to be intentional with our eating habits. There is one popular diet that you may have already heard of and you might consider trying. Hailed as the best overall and easiest to follow, the Mediterranean diet promotes traditional healthy living practices that centered on eating large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish and olive oil—these are foods considered as ”anti-inflammatory foods”, coupled with the vital element of daily physical activity and sharing meals with friends and family—can reduce your risk of serious mental and physical health problems.

It is now recognized that many mental health conditions are primarily caused by inflammation of the brain which ultimately causes our brain cells to die– which leads to mental illnesses like depression, aneurysm, and Alzheimer’s disease. There is a major study that finds the Mediterranean diet has a positive effect on our mental health because it helps fight inflammation. This is because of the essential fats, Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), the central component of the Mediterranean diet. This healthy fat is also present in Oleia soft gel, a dietary food supplement that contains anti-inflammatory MUFA or MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acids. Taking Oleia soft gel daily is recommended by many health experts to prevent the risk of inflammation-related diseases. Oleia softgel MUFA supplement is an excellent companion on your way to healthy eating such as the Mediterranean diet– a realistic and the most sustainable way to live longer, reduce diseases and genuinely feel good inside.

Do you have the guts? Dare!

So, are you ready to live happier and longer? With a curious mind, why not try to start noticing how you feel and behave after eating certain food hours after you eat it until the next day? Then try to experiment by eating healthy (You know it when I say ‘healthy’ right? Avoid processed food –those high in sugar or high in salt foods!) Top it up with Oleia soft gel dietary supplement daily for 2-4 weeks and compare how different it can make you feel. If you feel good and more energized, then it looks like you’re on the right track. 

 

About The Author

Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia user.

Depression is Treatable

Depression is Treatable

Scrolling in one of my social media accounts, I noticed unusual posts from a long time friend. We are not that close yet I’ve known her as a happy and optimistic person but this past few months she seems hopeless and lonely. She shares sad quotes, angry remarks, and at times, suicidal thoughts. I felt there’s something that is not right. I know it is none of my business however I was urged to give her a PM just to check if she’s doing fine. I asked her if how’s everything and told her I’m a bit concerned with her recent posts. She replied, ” I am okay, just feeling a bit depressed.” Depressed—the word that made me more worried. I told her if she needs someone to talk to or listen to, I’m just a message away. She appreciated the gesture and assured me she’s going to be fine.

When I hear the word depression before, it’s just a normal kind of sad emotion. But these days, it sends a different meaning. Feeling down once in a while is a normal part of life, but when you feel emotions such as hopelessness and despair and clings for a long time, it may be more than what we think as just plain sadness. It might be crossing the borderline of depression.

What is Depression

Depression is a mental illness that can change the way you think, feel and function with your everyday activities. This involves a lot of symptoms, like feeling exhausted all the time, not doing your usual enjoyable activities, or thoughts of death and suicide. The occurrence of depression last at least 2 weeks at a time. Though the causes of depression are not fully understood and may not be down to a single source, it usually results from a combination of recent events and other longer-term or personal factors, rather than one immediate issue or event. It can also be triggered by a sad event or they can seemingly come of out of nowhere.

What are the Symptoms of Depression

Depression varies per individual but there are common signs and symptoms. The good news is it can be treated with early diagnosis. Recognizing the symptoms is key. Though these symptoms may be a normal feeling when one experiences life’s lows, we should be cautious that the more symptoms one has, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that one is dealing with depression. Consulting your regular doctor is a good place to start. They can assess and help manage your symptoms such as:

  1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation. Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings.
  2. Loss of interest in things once pleasurable. You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex.
  3. Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  4. Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning or sleeping too much.
  5. Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  6. Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  7. Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  8. Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  9. Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions or remembering details.
  10. Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, stomach pain, and cramps that won’t go away.
  11. Suicidal thoughts or attempts. Talking about killing or harming one’s self. Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”

What  Can you do to Cope up with Depression

When you’re depressed you may feel that there’s no way out or nothing can change your situation. However, there are many things you can do to lift your spirit up and get going. It may take time but committing to help yourself to make positive choices can slowly —but surely make you feel better.

Here are some actions you can do to cope up with depression:

Reach out and Stay Connected. Choosing to be alone and to be cut off from other people’s lives fuels depression, so reach out to your friends and loved ones, even if you feel like being alone. Staying connected to other people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Talking to someone about how you feel face to face can be relieving. That person doesn’t have to be able to fix you. He or she just needs to be a good listener—someone who’ll listen and won’t judge you.

Join a support group for depression. Being with others dealing with depression can go a long way in reducing your sense of isolation. You can also encourage each other, give and receive advice on how to cope, and share your experiences.

Get moving. Your body might feel heavy getting out of bed but regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication in countering the symptoms of depression. Taking a short walk outside or dance around the house can be a good start. Begin with small activities and slowly build up from there.

Eat a mood-boosting diet. Reduce your intake of pro-inflammatory foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar, and refined carbs. Additionally, increase mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 & Omega-9 fatty acids.

Research shows that patients with inflammatory diseases, those who are taking more pro-inflammatory foods than anti-inflammatory foods, are more likely to show greater rates of depression. Balance out your pro-inflammatory diet by taking more anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish, olive oil, vegetables and MUFA food supplement. MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) help reduce inflammation.

Find ways to engage again with the world. Spend some time in nature, care for a pet, volunteer, pick up a hobby you used to enjoy (or take up a new one). You won’t feel like it at first, but as you participate in the world again, you will start to feel better.

It is normal to feel sad, lonely or depressed when we experience struggles in life such as loss of a loved one, failures, wounded self-esteem, etc. However, if that feeling stays for a longer period of time and already keeps you from leading a normal life, it is something you should be mindful of.

Depression is treatable. Trying the activities above can make you feel better. (Even if you’re just feeling down and don’t actually have depression). However, if these positive lifestyle choices aren’t enough, it’s time to seek professional help from a doctor who can give effective treatments available that suits you.

 

 

 

 

About The Author

Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia user.

Secrets of My Breastfeeding Success

Secrets of My Breastfeeding Success

August is the birth month of my eldest and second child, and this month also marks my 6th year of motherhood and breastfeeding. Yes, 6 years of “incredible” motherhood. I can still remember day one: I was in the hospital awake for more than 24 hours with the baby I longed to see and touch for nine months– this time latched on me all day (and night) long. The mixed feeling of happiness and exhaustion. Plus the frustration when she cries aloud when I try to unlatch her. I am crying out of sleeplessness and pain. Being a first-time mom, I felt not enough, aggravated by the spectators around me. I almost gave up in my few weeks of postpartum, I even questioned my decision to exclusively breastfeed, ”Can I really do it?” It’s not easy to be a breastfeeding mom. But again, it’s a decision, and I told myself I’m going to stick with it.

 

With all the challenges I experienced in my breastfeeding journey, it is so easy to resort to formulas. Let’s face it, it’s easier to mix formula than to pump precious milk out of your breast or latch your little one almost all day if you’re direct feeding.

But why did I choose to breastfeed despite of?

Aside from the economic advantage for us moms, (I can’t stress out more than enough the idea of saving money if you choose to breastfeed. You can do your own math and wow yourself) what is more amazing is how liquid gold provides the best nutrition to our babies and brings impressive health benefits both to us and them. Today, more efforts are being done to promote and normalize breastfeeding as it is really a natural, God-given gift to both the mom and the child. Oh yes, let’s include the dads; because breastfeeding is really a gift for the whole family!

 

Like the other first time breastfeeding moms, there was also a moment when I doubted myself if my baby is getting enough or am I producing enough. There were more questions than answers. But what I am certain about is I am a mother and I am made to nourish my baby. I don’t have overflowing milk but I can say that my breastfeeding powers improved every child. I have learned many things from my supportive co-breastfeeding moms that I personally applied in my breastfeeding journey (and worked!) that I would like to share with you. Here are some of them:

Eat healthy.

 What you eat, your baby eats also. So I keep in mind to eat meals heavy on fruits and vegetables. It is important that we fuel our body with healthy, nutrient-rich foods after giving birth. We need to be healthy and strong so we can take care of our kids without neglecting our own health. Include foods rich in Folic acid, iron, and calcium in your diet. The healthier we are, the more suit our body to produce milk. 

Top of my list is the nutritional powerhouse, Malunggay. I include this superfood to recipes and also take it in any form there is available like tea, juice, and supplement. In my experience, aside from its superb health benefits, it also helped boost my milk supply.

Keep yourself hydrated. 

Depending on your activities and location, nursing moms just really need 8-10 glasses of water. It really varies how much water a person needs, for instance, in my case, I drink no less than 2 liters of water (not including other healthy drinks and soups) daily to keep myself from dehydration.

Avoid Stress. 

Stress can sometimes lead to low milk supply. Nursing is both a physical and a psychological thing—if you can stay relaxed, think about the happy aspects of parenthood and your new baby and remain confident about breastfeeding, you boost your chances of success. The usual reason why newly nursing moms are stressed is because of some people criticizing their decision to breastfeed. Try not to mind them and instead, educate them with the wonderful blessings brought by breastfeeding.

Find time for relaxation.

Huh? Relaxation what?! For moms? Yes! No matter how busy our schedules can get, we moms need some time off. Seek help from your husband or family members to relieve you for a while in taking care of your newborn just for you to have some time to breathe. Don’t feel guilty about asking for support. Just think about it as giving yourself some time to rejuvenate so you can be the best mom you can be. A relaxed mind and body help increase milk production. For my relaxation, I always have Oleia Topical oil bottle in handy. It helps me de-stress and also effectively relieve my body pains from a long, tiring day.

Latch. Latch. Latch.

Breastfeeding follows the system of “Demand and Supply”. The more the baby latches and empties the breast, the more that the breast will produce milk. Added bonus: when your baby completely empties a breast, they are sure to get all the foremilk and fatty hindmilk behind it, which is great for their development. Aside from unlimited latching, I used to tandem feed my kids when one birth overlaps with a toddler. Pumping also helps increase production, though I find hand expressing more convenient and healthier for the breast tissues.

Have a Breastfeeding Support Group.

I wouldn’t have made it where I am today without my breastfeeding support group. When I was a new nursing mom, I felt like giving up with my decision to breastfeed because of some circumstances (the idea of low milk supply, family members discouraging me) but because of my more knowledgeable and experienced co-breastfeeding mothers that supported and encouraged me, I am here, celebrating my 6th-year milestone. Having them is like a genuine treasure a nursing mom could ever find. We share ideas and challenges and support each other. This could be your husband, family members, friends, or even strangers walking the same journey of breastfeeding.

Lastly, Enjoy the journey with your little one! Breastfeeding is not permanent. One day your child will wean whether you like it or not. Your little one will no longer be a little one in a few months or years. Their clinginess will soon be gone before you know it. Overcome the challenges of breastfeeding together. Cuddling, playing, nursing day in and day out… all of these you will miss one day when they are babies no more. So enjoy and treasure every breastfeeding bonding moments you have. 

 

Oleia honors all breastfeeding moms. Your sacrifices to make your breastfeeding journey successful means pure love for your child that no one can replace. If you are pregnant and thinking of breastfeeding, I congratulate you in advance! It may be difficult in the start but rest assured you will soon get the hang of it and you are giving your best of the bests to your child. Enjoy the journey, mommy! 

About The Author

Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia user.

Mom’s Juicy Secret

Mom’s Juicy Secret

I know many moms will agree with me how tough it is to ask their kids to eat fruits and vegetables. It’s always a struggle every mealtime. (If your child loves to eat them, you’re one lucky momma!) But for some reasons, I wonder why it’s so hard to feed them fruits and vegetables when they reach a certain age. Seeing these foods on the table, you can automatically see the disapproval on their cute little faces.

Is it with the kind of food? Is it with the way you feed them? Timing? I remember my husband is teasing me about the way I feed our kids versus his way. My tonsils are already out calling them to eat yet with my husband’s one playful call to them, with matching sounds (imitating the sounds of a train, a helicopter, an airplane, a roller coaster, whatever sound there is) they are already rushing to the table. Imagine every bite should have a playful sound and action! But these “whoosh’s” and “choo-choo’s” don’t always come in handy when we’re trying to give them fruits and veggies.

So what’s the reason why my kids don’t like to eat fruits and vegetables?

You may be a parent like me who tried all ways possible to feed your kids fruits and vegetables, yet for some reason, they just really find it unappealing. This condition is known as Food neophobia, the fear or skepticism towards unknown or new foods. This peaks between two to six years of age. If your kids are within this age range, they may refuse to eat some fruits or vegetables because of their strong taste. Children have more taste buds than adults and thus they find simpler and sweeter foods more palatable in comparison to vegetables or other pungent fruits.

We know how important fruits and vegetables are in our diet. They are critical to promoting good health and protection against disease, both now and in the future. They contain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals that ensures our children’s healthy growth and development. The importance of healthy eating cannot be undermined; therefore it is very important that we include more and more fruits and vegetables in our children’s diet. In view of nutrition month, as a reminder to us parents to exhaust all possible ways to give proper nutrition to our kids, I’m sharing you some ways I researched to get our kids to eat vegetables and fruits. Here you go:

  • Make the fruits and vegetables accessible. Keep fruit washed, cut up and in plain sight in the refrigerator.
  • Serve salads more often.
  • Try out vegetarian recipes for spaghetti, lasagna, chili, or other foods using vegetables instead of meat.
  • The presentation is important; no matter what you give to your kid, it should be presented beautifully.
  • Make more fruit-based desserts
  • Try and include fruits and vegetables in all three meals.
  • Be more innovative in making various recipes and thus add more fruits and vegetables.
  • Take your kid vegetable shopping and let him pick his favorite vegetable and fruits.
  • Limit or eliminate how much fruit juice you give your child and make sure it is 100% juice, not juice “drinks.”
  • Avoid buying high-calorie foods such as chips, cookies, and candy bars. Your child may not ask for these treats if they are not in sight.
  • Switch to healthy snacking and give your child a fruit instead.
  • Make a small vegetable garden, kids would love to eat what they grow.
  • Give an array of colors on your kid’s plate.
  • Make fruit and vegetable eating a fun experience rather than buggery.
  • Involve your kids in cooking various dishes.
  • Freeze various fruits for some frozen smoothie or dessert fun.
  • Appreciate your kid for his efforts, whenever he tries to eat some new fruit or vegetable.
  • Lead by example; include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  • Eat as a family whenever possible. Research shows that kids eat more vegetables and fruits and less fried foods and sugary drinks when they eat with the entire family.

One more thing I’ve learned as a parent these past six years is that we have to be creative in terms of how we serve them fruits and vegetables. My kids love it when they see playful colors and patterns so I try to incorporate it when I prepare their foods. I cut and shape fruits of different colors. Sometimes I also disguise veggies inside their meal by chopping veggies into really small pieces or mashing them so they won’t notice it’s in their meal yet still gets the benefit of it.

 

The Juicy Secret

Last weekend, we spent time at my in laws’ place. My mother in law, a healthy food advocate, bought different kinds of fruits and vegetables for the kids. I am like, “Wait mom, they don’t know what kind of fruit and veggies are that, and they may not eat them.” Of course, I didn’t say that aloud. Just in my mind. It seems like there would be one frustrated grandma on the dinner table later, I thought to myself.

As we went home with loads of these healthy, colorful, unknown-to-my-kids kinds of stuff, I’m still contemplating how to encourage my kids to eat them and don’t make

their grandmother disappointed. Suddenly my mother-in-law called me at the kitchen and showed me two special machines that miraculously turn fruits and vegetables into juice in seconds– a juicer and an osterizer! It’s her special way to encourage the kids to consume more fruits and vegetables, to serve them in liquid form or as a juice. The process itself can be made into a fun and interactive activity; allowing the kids to get involved in the creation of their juice is more likely to give them a reason to enjoy it. Juicing is healthier because it is fresh, unpasteurized and it doesn’t contain any added sugars. In short, it is all-natural and when you drink it, your body will benefit from the live enzymes and nutrients.

She let me and the kids marveled on how these powerful machines turned the colorful fruits and veggies into liquid form. The kids were amazed (and also am). After the blending and juicing, it’s time to drink. Now, this is the challenging part: will the kids drink it? I tell you, when my 2-year old sip it, she suddenly stopped and with her mouth full, she was about to blow. I’m in a panic looking for a container where she can spit it, but then after a few seconds, she took it all in! We were all clapping and cheering, thus she even asked for more. (oh what a relief! Perfect scenario: healthy kids, proud mommy, happy mother-in-law 🙂 ) My 4 and 6 years old also enjoyed their share of the juice.

Blending spinach, carrots, beets and other veggies into fruit smoothies can be a great way for picky eaters to get the nutrients they need. But at the same time, we should never ever give up on serving them whole produce. Juicing (using a juicer) and smoothies (using an osterizer) are both essential to a healthy diet. The big difference between the two is,  juicing extracts the juice from the fiber. While smoothies blend whole fruits and vegetables, leaving the fiber intact–which is also beneficial to our system in many aspects.

Here are two simple and healthy recipes to start with:

Yummy Three Juice

3 apples

3 carrots

3 beetroot (small)

Gluten-Free Strawberry Juice

9 strawberries

A handful of spinach

3 celery sticks

2 apples

1 large carrot

Red Veggie Juice

1 beetroot (small)

2 Fuji apples

1/4 pineapple

2 celery sticks

A handful of spinach

Half a cucumber

 

Introduce fruits and vegetables as soon as your baby is ready to eat solid foods, however, consult your doctor before giving any fruit or vegetable to your baby. As healthy as it is, we should also be cautious with the amount of juice that we give our kids. It’s worth bearing in mind that they generally require far smaller doses than adults. It is recommended daily to take 1/2 cup for 6years olds and below and 1cup for over 6years of age. Upon knowing my mother-in-law’s juicy secret, I think I will be able to include more fruits and vegetables in my children’s diet. (By the way, she also gifted me an osterizer! Thanks, mom! 🙂 )

 

 

About The Author

Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia user.

Mediterranean Diet: What to Eat to Live to 100

Mediterranean Diet: What to Eat to Live to 100

Ever wonder what the food diet of the ancient Greek gods and goddesses was?

The people of Greece, particularly in the island of Ikaria, is known to be one of the regions of the world where people tend to live unusually long and healthy lives in which it is normal for them to make it to 100 years or more. Even before it is known to be a ”Blue Zone” –the places where the world’s healthiest and longest-living people reside, Ikaria has received considerable attention from nutrition experts and authors  who want to unfold the mysteries of its long-living residents and the secret of low incidence of chronic health problems like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

So, what’s their secret to a very long and healthy life? 

Featuring whole grains, legumes, nuts, cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, a glass of red wine, fish and dairy, and olive oil as the main source of fat, the Mediterranean diet, well-known as the number one of the  world’s healthiest diets, makes the people of Ikaria and other Blue Zone areas enjoy life, literally, to the fullest. 

The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries like Greece and Italy, and other areas surrounding the Mediterranean sea thousand of years ago. Because of the geography and climate of this area, people here have enjoyed a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, lots of fresh seafood and plenty of olives. Other important elements of the Mediterranean diet are sharing meals with family and friends, enjoying a glass of red wine and being physically active.

 

Aside from this diet is a delicious way to eat, drink and live, it’s also a realistic and sustainable way to reduce disease and inflammation, improve one’s mood, and a perfect way of maintaining a healthy weight range. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean Diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, metabolic complications, depression, type-2 diabetes, obesity, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and many forms of cancer.

MUFA Diet

Healthy fats, particularly the Monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, constitute the cornerstone of this heart-healthy diet. Although there is no single way of preparing Mediterranean diet, all of them are based on whole, healthy foods with an emphasis on monounsaturated-rich fats. Olive oil, the primary source of fat in this diet, provides MUFA fats. It is associated with lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol). Moreover, many MUFA-rich fats are also high in antioxidants which help to reduce inflammation and prevent chronic diseases. 

 

In addition to Olive oil, nuts, and seeds that contain MUFAs, fish are also important in the Mediterranean diet. Fatty fish — such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon and lake trout — are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that may reduce inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids also help decrease triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, and decrease the risk of stroke and heart failure.

Another influencing factor is that this diet is not just a diet or even a way of eating, it is actually a lifestyle! It encourages people to spend a lot of time outdoors in nature, get good sleep and enjoy family bonding with a home-cooked healthy meal (rather than alone or on-the-go) which are great ways to relieve stress and, therefore, help prevent inflammation. 

Besides being hailed as the healthiest diet in the world, the Mediterranean diet is also ranked as the number 1 of the world’s easiest diets to follow. Here are some tips on how you can make the best of the Mediterranean diet:

  • Eat primarily plant-based foods. Aim for 7 to 10 servings a day of fresh fruit and vegetables. 
  • Opt for whole grains. Switch to whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta, rice (brown or red), oats, barley, and potatoes (red or purple) Experiment with other whole grains, such as bulgur and farro.
  • Use healthy fats. Use extra virgin olive oil as your primary source of fat. Use it as a replacement for butter when cooking. Instead of putting butter or margarine on bread, try dipping it in flavored olive oil.
  • Eat more seafood. Eat fish twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring are healthy choices. Grilled fish tastes good and requires little cleanup. Avoid deep-fried fish.
  • Cut back on red meat. Substitute fish, poultry or beans for meat. If you eat meat, make sure it’s lean and keep portions small.
  • Enjoy some dairy. Eat low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and small amounts of a variety of cheeses.
  • Snack on Healthy. Enjoy a moderate amount of nuts, seeds, fresh or dried fruit daily. 
  • Spice it up. Herbs and spices boost flavor and lessen the need for salt.
  • Sip red wine in moderation. Have one small glass of red wine per day, with a meal.
  • Skip the sugar. Eat sweets on special occasions only.

 

Here is a guide of healthy and unprocessed Mediterranean foods and drinks where you can base your diet: 

What to Eat

  • Vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
  • Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, acadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
  • Tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, etc.
  • Whole grains: whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole-grain bread and pasta.
  • Fish and seafood: salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels, etc.
  • Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey, etc.
  • Eggs: chicken, quail and duck eggs.
  • Dairy: cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, etc.
  • Herbs and spices: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
  • Healthy Fats: extra virgin olive oil, olive, avocados and avocado oil.

Whole, single-ingredient foods are the key to good health.

What to Drink

  • Water: should be your constant beverage on a Mediterranean diet.
  • Red wine: This is optional; limit to 1 glass per day.
  • Coffee and tea: completely acceptable, but you should avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices. 

The Mediterranean diet is not only healthy, but also a delicious way to eat!

Although we are living far away from Greece, we can still integrate some of the eating patterns and dietary traditions practiced in Ikaria. This is also the best diet to fight chronic stress. We all know that chronic stress can kill your quality of life along with your weight and health. It is always best to go fresh and natural.

However, if these food choices are not always available, take Oleia Softgels MUFA Supplement daily to ensure you’re getting excellent nutritive value from this diet.

Oleia Softgel contains olive oil, the healthy and primary fat that makes up the Mediterranean diet. It has strong anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties that amazingly benefits the heart, brain, and protects the cells from damage and inflammation-causing diseases.

Enjoy this smart choice of healthy eating and living of Mediterranean diet— the secret to strong, healthy and very long life!

 

About The Author

Andrea Daguno is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia user.

Staying Healthy while it’s Rainy

Staying Healthy while it’s Rainy

It’s so nice to sleep nowadays while cuddling your loved ones with the cool weather, not to mention me as a mom minimizing the use of electricity. (We’re not using the aircon for days now.) Here in the Philippines, starting the month of June, the rainy season has already set off. Once my kids hear the sound of the rainfall outside, they will start singing in chorus, “rain, rain go away.. come again another day. We little kids want to play, rain, rain go away!” This is also an opportunity for us to enjoy time together because classes of my grade-schooler usually are being suspended due to the threat of monsoon force.

While the downpour of rain brings a cool, relaxing feeling and cuddle moments, this season also brings along with it a host of infections, especially water-borne and mosquito-borne diseases. In addition, high humidity can adversely affect your health.

Heavy rains can trigger certain health risks, and children, in particular, are susceptible. Hence, we really need to be extra intentional in ensuring that our family and loved ones are protected, whether they are inside or outside of our homes. We have to do some precautions for them to avoid getting sick and stay in peak health condition during the rainy season. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Prepare rain gear

Always make sure you are prepared with your umbrella, hooded raincoat and waterproof shoes or boots (especially when you are traveling by foot). You never know when it may start pouring. If caught unprepared, step into your nearest supermarket or mini-mart – they are usually stocked with basic rain equipment.

 

Take a warm shower after getting wet in the rain

Taking a short, warm bath after being soaked in the rain helps drive many infections away. It can also help stabilize the cold temperature brought by the rains, helping the body return to a normal temperature after drying off and getting dressed.

Avoid eating street food

Cool weathers can often trigger the craving for hot and spicy street food. However, it’s best to avoid eating from roadside vendors because of the high chances of contamination. During the rainy season, bacteria breeds insanely, thereby increasing your risk of having unhygienic foods that may cause stomach infections. 

Drink Plenty of Water

With the cool temperature, we tend to drink less water naturally. Drinking plenty of water helps in draining toxins from the body. Avoid consuming water outside when you’re unsure if the source is clean and safe. Make sure you drink boiled or purified water to reduce the chances of waterborne diseases, diarrhea or stomach infection.

 

Increase your immunity

Eating healthy foods is the cheapest way to protect you from sickness. Eat fresh and if possible, home-cooked meals only. Eat fruits rich in Vitamin C for protection against free radical damage, chemicals, and pollutants that may harm our body’s cells. Vitamins C can reduce cold and flu symptoms by 23%.  For additional protection, also take daily supplements like Oleia Softgels, it comes with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to boost your over all immunity. Oleia Softgels are also helpful in relieving aching joints especially this cold weather!

 

Wash your hand regularly

Micro-organisms tend to grow in the rainy season which can leave you with cold. 

Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water to avoid you from getting colds, cough, influenza, and other infections. It is the best way to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Wash your hands properly by lathering soap between your fingers, under your nails and the top of your hands. Then rinse and dry your hands thoroughly too.

 

Keep your surroundings clean

Dengue, a fatal disease caused by mosquitoes, is the most rampant disease during the rainy season. Don’t leave any water stagnant for it can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Keep your area clean, ensuring that drains and sewage lines are not clogged. To prevent mosquito bites and stay safe from other insect bites it is advisable to use mild insect repellents.  Besides dengue, leptospirosis is also rampant because of floods that may contain animal urine causes bacterial infection. Avoid wading in floodwaters to protect yourself from this disease.

Staying healthy is important all the time, not just this rainy season. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy while enjoying the refreshing weather!

 

About The Author

Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia user.