Tag Archives: Nutritious Ingredients

Is Farmed Fish Beneficial or Harmful to Health?

December 7th, 2018
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Is Farmed Fish Beneficial or Harmful to Health?

The debate of farm-raised fish vs. wild-caught fish has persisted since the dawn of the aquaculture industry. Many fish farms have appeared in recent years to meet the world’s increasing demand for fish, but there are distinct differences in the nutritional value of fresh-caught fish and farm-raised fish.

There are valid arguments on both sides of this debate. On one side, farmed fish helps meet the demand for fish at a lower cost than fresh-caught fish, while also preventing the destruction caused by commercial fishing. Wild-caught fish typically offer better nutritional value, but commercial fishing has already damaged the world’s ocean ecosystems to staggering levels.

Benefits of Farm-Raised Fish

Farmed fish generally subsist on a cheap diet of corn and soy. While this offers little in nutritional value, it does help keep prices manageable. Unfortunately, the drawbacks of farmed fish far outweigh the perceived benefits.

Potential Drawbacks of Farmed Fish

Supporters of fish farming primarily claim that fish farms reduce the need for commercial fishing operations that damage different fishes’ natural habitats and wild fish populations. However, fish farms have the potential to cause serious ecological damage. Fish kept in farms typically spend their lives in very tightly packed pens, making it easy for sickness, diseases, and parasites to spread in farm populations.

Sickness and parasites from farmed fish can also affect the surrounding wild fish populations. For example, a sea lice infestation recently wiped out roughly 80% of the pink salmon population off the coast of Western Canada*. This contamination could easily affect local wild fish populations which will then harm the predatory species that depend on those fish as food sources, such as birds, bears, and killer whales.

Some predatory farmed fish like salmon also require enormous amounts of feeder fish like mackerel and anchovies. For example, it can take as much as two pounds of feeder fish for every pound of farm-raised salmon. This puts incredible strain on the anchovy and other feeder fish populations, which have faced overfishing nearly to the brink of extinction. Ultimately, fish farming is one of the least sustainable forms of fishing and poses significant risks to the environment and consumer health.

Imported Fish Risks

Another serious risk of eating farmed fish arises with foreign-sourced fish. For example, there are no health and safety inspectors overseeing the fishing industry in China, and some Chinese fish farm workers have reported appalling conditions at many Chinese fish farms**. Some workers have reported sewage in fish pens, rampant disease, filthy working conditions, and dyes used to conceal contaminated fish.

Why Go for Fresh-Caught?

Unless you buy fish directly from a fish farm and have confidence they use safe and healthy practices, there is simply no way to tell where the farmed fish in your grocery store came from. Many farmed fish can be some of the most toxic food in the average store, depending on its source. It’s ultimately better to choose wild-caught fish whenever possible. It may be more expensive, but it is healthier than farmed fish and discourages the fish farming industry from persisting.

Better, Natural Nutrition

Wild-caught fish survive on a natural diet, which can include smaller prey fish, ocean-based plants, algae, and other natural foods. This leads to healthier development, and fish in the wild may roam and move as they please rather than contending with the hyper-confinement of a pen at a fish farm. Penned fish generally experience severe stress during their entire lives, increasing the chances of infections and other health issues and diminishing their nutritional value.

Devastating Struggling Ecosystems

Fish is a highly sought-after food due to its perceived nutritional value, but wild-caught fish offer significant nutritional benefits over farmed fish. For example, one of the most commonly farmed fishes in the world is tilapia, one of the most farmed fish in the world. Many people avoid tilapia due to its generally unsavory reputation and potential health risks, but choosing wild-caught salmon puts strain on the wild salmon population.

Tilapia nutrition is a far cry from the dietary value of wild-caught salmon, and wild-caught salmon is harder to procure. Naturally, the salmon will cost much more. This creates incentive for commercial fishing operations to capitalize on fish in high demand, but they in turn devastate existing wild fish populations. This approach may not be as harmful as fish farming, but it isn’t sustainable either.

Finding Out Which Fish Is Right For You

If your main concern is nutritional value then avoiding farmed fish is your best option. This may be more expensive, but take the time to shop around your area to see the types of fresh fish available. This will be more difficult in some areas than others due to distance from the ocean and shipping issues.

Some fish provide more health benefits than others, and some people may benefit from different types of fish. For example, some wild fish have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids while others have higher protein content.

Schedule Your Nutritional Assessment Today

If you are unsure about your fish options, the Dietary Rehab team can help. The best way to approach nutrition is with an individualized breakdown of your unique nutritional needs. Preexisting medical conditions, allergies, and food sensitivities are important considerations when developing a diet plan.

A nutritional assessment can help you with your dietary and weight loss goals. If you’re looking for ways to improve your overall health or boost your immune system, an assessment can help with this, too. Visit Dietary Rehab online and learn more about our dietary counseling services and how they can help you.

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How Diet and Exercise Promote Health Microbiome Inside Our Bodies

March 5th, 2018
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Diet and Exercise Promote Microbiome Health Celiac Disease Foods to Avoid - Dietary Rehab

Good-for-You Bacteria

Bacteria isn’t always something to be avoided. While it’s good to fight bacteria on surfaces and protect yourself from potential sources of infection, some microorganisms are actually good for you.

Inside the body, millions of bacteria create a microbiome that enables digestion, keeps your gut healthy and supports immunity. Recent studies suggest healthy bacteria could be a major factor in developing celiac disease.

Celiac sufferers are often frustrated when a gluten-free diet alone doesn’t control their symptoms. An issue with the balance of their internal bacteria may be at root of the problem.

What Is a Microbiome?

Micro means small and biome means a community of living organisms. Within every human is a collection of between 10 and 100 trillion bacteria, most of which live in the digestive system. From the salivary glands in your mouth through your intestines, microorganisms work to break down food and perform a host of other functions.

Each person’s microbiome is like a genetic footprint, because it impacts the diseases they are predisposed to, their body weight, heredity and more. The same bacteria also exist on surfaces and throughout the environment.

Gut bacteria help:

  • Extract nutrients from food
  • Process vitamin K
  • Digest cellulose
  • Support nerve function.

Some researchers say up to 90 percent of diseases relate to the strength or weakness in a person’s microbiome. What you eat, how many hours a night you sleep and the bacteria in your surroundings all influence the health of your microbiome.

Poor gut health creates chronic inflammation in the intestinal walls and can cause:

  • Food sensitivity
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • A range of other conditions

Microbiome and Diet

What you eat affects your microbiome. In studies that analyzed humans and 59 other types of mammals, what each organism ate drastically affected their internal bacteria.

Diet can hurt or help healthy bacteria, and bacteria affect how the body digests food. When gut bacteria are in balance, people are more likely to maintain a healthy body weight. As a mice with a healthy body weight receive gut bacteria from obese mice, they gain weight quickly without eating additional calories because of how their new microbiota process food.

Foods That Cause Inflammation

When the gut microbiome undergoes changes due to antibiotics, sickness, stress, lifestyle factors or poor diet, tissue becomes damaged and the intestines become inflamed. Thus, the intestines become permeable and can leak antigens that lead to chronic disorders.

Lowering inflammation helps support gut health. There are several food groups to avoid:

  • Refined vegetable oils like corn or canola oil contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, known to cause inflammation.
  • Pasteurized dairy products irritate allergies and threaten healthy bacteria.
  • Refined carbohydrates like sugar, white bread and white rice are produced by stripping away the beneficial fiber. They cause blood sugar spikes and increased intestinal permeability.
  • Packaged granola or boxed cereal might seem like a healthy choice, but it’s often packed with refined sugar.
  • Trans and hydrogenated fats used in fried food and packaged snacks also create inflammation.

Farmers feed livestock corn and other inexpensive ingredients to fatten them up quickly, so meat, eggs and poultry from many sources are high in omega-6s.

Celiac Disease Foods to Avoid

For those with gluten intolerance, food can cause intense reactions. Celiac disease foods to avoid include:

  • All types of white or graham flour
  • Anything that contains the word “wheat,” like wheat bran or wheat germ
  • Pasta
  • Malt beverages
  • Barley

Gut-Healthy Foods

While some foods cause inflammation, others support healthy gut bacteria and reduce intestinal irritation. Celiac disease and a gluten-free diet follow the same rules that are beneficial for everyone.

Carbohydrates should come from fresh fruits and vegetables. Vegetables reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other illnesses. The best choices are dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli; and squash.

If you eat fruit, consume it in its whole, raw form. Juices and fruit that is canned or processed contain added sugar and often have the healthy fiber removed. Instead of soda or energy drinks, choose organic coffee and green tea.

Consume high-quality meat like fish caught in the wild, poultry that is allowed to wander and find its own food, and grass-fed beef. When animals have the chance to find and ingest a range of nutrients, they have healthy microbiomes of their own and provide protein, healthy fat and nutrients without excessive omega-6s.

Choose beneficial fats like those found in nuts and seeds, coconut oil and butter from grass-fed cows. Beans and legumes are extremely healthy, as are grains like quinoa and amaranth.

Other Ways to Support Microbiome Health

What you eat every day either nourishes or destroys a healthy microbiome, but there are other activities that impact gut health. Doctors have been prescribing antibiotics for more than 80 years, and they have saved countless lives.

However, antibiotics don’t just kill harmful bacteria, they destroy entire microbiomes. While individuals recover from the infection for which a doctor prescribed antibiotics, their system tends to develop a higher risk of infection. Avoid taking antibiotics except when they are the only way to fight infection.

People sensed the connection between brain and gut long before science backed it up. When you’re nervous, you feel butterflies in your stomach. When something catastrophic happens, you feel like you’ve received a physical blow to your torso. Seeing something traumatic can make you feel nauseated.

Stress causes biochemical changes, disrupting the digestive system’s internal stability. When people are under prolonged stress, they suffer in the following areas:

  • Gastric secretions
  • Intestinal motility
  • Permeability of mucous membranes
  • Intestinal blood flow

Constant stress exposure in mice, for example, encourages some bacteria to grow rapidly, reducing diversity and wiping out the intestinal balance. Even small amounts of chronic stress slow down normal functions.

Exercise for Better Microbiome Helath, Gut Bacteria

Prioritize stress reduction to support microbiome health. Exercise is a natural way to reduce stress, and a new study finds it can encourage healthy bacteria growth. The study followed sedentary men and women, half of whom were obese. Researchers asked all participants to engage in progressively more intense sessions of walking and jogging three times a week.

As a result, exercise changed the gut bacteria in all participants. While individual results varied, almost everyone showed an increase in the microbes that create short-chain fatty acids. (Short-chain fatty acids boost metabolism and fight inflammation.) Lean volunteers showed the greatest benefit. The volunteers’ microbiomes returned to their original levels six weeks after they stopped exercising.

Your Microbiome and Disease

Chronic inflammation causes disease. An autoimmune disease develops when the body’s immune system becomes confused and attacks body systems. Researchers have linked inflammation with a person’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Gut health protects the body from free radicals, which weaken systems to make them more susceptible to many types of cancer. Harmful bacteria break down joints and supportive tissue, causing inflamed joints and arthritis. Nutrition also affects hormonal balances and brain chemistry, so a suffering microbiome can lead to depression.

The health of your body’s microbiome impacts every internal system. To reduce your risk of chronic disease and support a healthy microbiome, avoid antibiotics and foods that cause inflammation. Instead, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein from quality sources. And finally, cut down on stress and get regular exercise to reduce inflammation and fight disease.

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What Is Coffee Flour: The Newest Paleo Grain?

September 15th, 2017
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What Is Coffee Flour The Newest Paleo Grain - Dietary RehabIf you bake, you probably know there are many different types of flour. Nut flours like almond and hazelnut offer many of the nutritional benefits found in whole nuts. Oat flour has extra fiber and is gluten-free. Coconut flour is often substituted for white flour in paleo recipes.

Coffee flour is new on the scene, and it offers amazing health benefits.

Coffee Flour Improves Health and the Environment

With coffee four being touted as not only good for you, but also good for the environment, we had to dive deeper into this mysterious new ingredient. We wanted to find out for ourselves what the benefits and potential uses for coffee flour are all about.

What Is Coffee Flour?

The coffee you drink every morning comes from the Coffea plant. Coffee growers raise the plants for their fruit – little red cherries that each contain one or two seeds. These farmers harvest, dry and grind the seeds to make America’s favorite morning beverage.

Until now, growers had no use for the rest of the plant; they threw away the cherry pulp. Recently, a former coffee house employee invented a process to dry discarded cherry pulp and grind it into flour.

What Makes Coffee Flour Unique?

Coffee flour doesn’t taste like coffee. It has a smooth flavor that’s more like tea or molasses. Some blends contain light citrus notes, and others are slightly bitter.

Coffee flour works well in:

  • Muffins
  • Granola bars
  • Other baked goods

But you don’t have to worry about the afternoon jitters if you use coffee flour in your favorite recipes: There’s only around 62 milligrams of caffeine per one tablespoon serving – about the same amount contained in a serving of dark chocolate.

Health Benefits of Coffee Flour

Health Benefits of Coffee Flour Gluten-Free Kosher Paleo Vegan - Dietary RehabCoffee flour only has 34 calories per serving, but it packs a powerful nutritional punch. Here are some of its health benefits:

It contains 1.8 grams of soluble fiber and 3.4 grams of insoluble fiber per serving, making it a high-fiber flour.

Fiber helps your body digest food, absorb nutrients and balance blood sugar. It also helps you stay full longer. It’s low fat, too: While almond flour contains 3.5 grams of fat per tablespoon and coconut flour has 1 gram for the same amount, coffee flour only has 0.056 grams.

It’s also an excellent source of potassium, which reduces blood pressure and preserves both bone mass and lean muscle. It contains 310 milligrams of potassium per serving, almost as much as a whole banana.

Coffee Flour Uses

Coffee flour can be incorporated into most recipes. Just use it in place of 30 percent of the flour your recipe calls for. If you are worried about a different taste in your favorite food, try mixing coffee flours with other kinds of flours. Coffee flour also thickens smoothies, soups and sauces.

Coffee Flour’s Role in the Environment and Jobs

While we are all concerned with healthy eating, we also want to ensure our farming is done with the health of the planet in mind. Therefore, it’s comforting to know coffee flour has socioeconomic and environmental benefits. Instead of dumping waste in rivers or rotting in landfills, farmers turn this coffee byproduct into a sustainable source of income.

Since the plant pulp that is used was once thrown away or used for fertilizer, this new use is much better for the environment. It’s also a boon to many poor economies, too.

Coffee is grown in some of the world’s poorest countries. This new industry creates jobs, as workers are needed to harvest, dry, mill and package the pulp. A whole new industry from coffee flour is currently improving agricultural communities on three continents.

Coffee Flour in Paleo Recipes

Coffee flour is non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free. It’s the perfect ingredient in many sweet and savory paleo recipes. Try it as part of your favorite paleo recipes to boost both flavor and nutrition.

Dietary Rehab helps people understand nutrition to overcome obesity and chronic disease. We help people enjoy healthy eating and feel good while doing it.

Browse through our recipes and feel free to substitute coffee flour for an extra-healthy boost to an already nutritious and tasty recipe.

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