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Coffee And Caffeine: Taste, Benefits And Risks

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Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, appreciated for its taste and aroma, at the center of real rituals and moments of social gathering. Rich in many different substances, especially caffeine, it has very important effects on the body, which do not end with the simple stimulating effect but which involve various organs and systems, with benefits and even some risks.

Coffee is obtained from the seed of several species belonging to the Rubiaceae family, a family that includes more than 500 genres and over 6000 species. The classification of plants of the genus Coffea is made difficult by the remarkable genetic variability of plants and seeds: the two most important species are Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora or robust.

The origin of the coffee is traced right up to the Ethiopian highlands. Legend has it that a shepherd, after observing the exciting effects that the consumption of leaves and fruits of a shrub, has made a gift to a monk who used them to prepare an infusion to be consumed to stay awake during the long nights of prayer. The infusion must have worked well because the Arabs, trading with the distant lands of Africa, immediately recognized the value and began to cultivate it and exchange it. In the early 1500s coffee was already consumed throughout the Muslim world, and soon European merchants began buying coffee in Yemen to resell it to the courts of the old continent, which were particularly infatuated.

At the beginning of the 1600s the Venetians succeeded in importing the first coffee plants in Italy and, in the course of the century, the cultivation of coffee extended to the East Indies thanks to the Dutch and the Caribbean thanks to the French. Meanwhile the Spaniards began cultivation in the Philippines and Latin America, with an ever-growing production due to the increasing popularity of the drink.

Coffee is currently one of the most traded products on the market and is often an important item for the trade balance of many developing countries. Its quotations move huge capitals, the market is complex and often prone to important speculations, the demand grows constantly and requires an increase in production that, given the volumes, poses many problems from an environmental point of view (the forests do not only cut them down to produce palm oil, it must be remembered from time to time, here detailed information and statistics on the cultivation of coffee in the world). The annual production exceeds 8 million tons, with Brazil alone contributing with 3 million, followed by Vietnam, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Honduras and Guatemala.

Making coffee for fun and profit

The two species most used for the production of coffee are Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora (robusta). Two other species are grown to a much smaller extent, Coffea liberica and Coffea dewevrei. About two-thirds of the coffee traded on the market is obtained from C. arabica, mainly grown in Latin America, Central Africa and Indonesia, while the other third comes from plantations of C. robusta, a more resistant and vigorous species, grown in West Africa , in Southeast Asia and Brazil.

The height of the plant varies from 5 meters of the arabica to 10 meters of the robust but in the plantation is maintained around the three meters to make it easier to harvest the fruit. Sowing is done using selected grains; the plant becomes productive around the fifth year, after the first flowering. The flowers are white, in groups of two or three, very fragrant, and when fully ripe they give rise to fruits, called cherries, oval shaped and dark red, 1-2 cm long. The fruit pulp contains two seeds covered with a thin silver film, wrapped in a golden film called parchment.

The flowering can take place several times during the year and on the same branch can be found both the flowers and the ripe cherries. For this reason, the collection must be done by hand and with great care. The plant, if well taken care of, can remain productive up to thirty years.

Once harvested, the fruits are freed of the mucilaginous pulp using two different techniques:

  • Dry method: it is the oldest and most simple, it does not require any particular machinery. The cherries, after careful cleaning, are left to dry and ferment in the sun until reaching a moisture content of about 12%. At this point a mechanical separation of the skins is carried out. It is the preferred method in dry and sunny areas, from Brazil to Ethiopia; all the Robusta is worked using this technique.

 

  • Wet method: requires special equipment and the availability of large quantities of water. After cleaning in running water the fruits are crushed and the pulp removed. The remaining mucilage is fermented in special tanks for 24-36 hours and then eliminated thanks to a new wash. At this stage of processing the humidity is around 50% and is brought to 12% for drying, in the sun or in special machinery. This method is the one preferred in the processing of Arabica and if well executed allows to enhance the aroma of the coffee, despite the loss of a small amount of minerals and sugars during the washings.

Fermentation takes place by bacteria naturally present on fruits and seeds and does not require any addition of colonies. Generally speaking, bacteria belonging to the genera Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc predominate, which degrade the mucilage present, freeing substances that contribute to the aroma and taste of coffee. The fermented Arabica bean has a green color and an oval shape whereas the Robusta bean is round and yellow or yellow-brown.

The processed seeds are selected, calibrated and packaged in classic 60-70 kg jute bags, shipped and exchanged all over the world, ready for the next stages of processing.

Coffee roasting

Coffee roastingRoasting is a critical phase in coffee processing during which the hard and compact seeds are toasted and then used in the preparation of beverages. During this phase many compounds present disappear or are degraded, while others are formed, through reactions that are essential for the development of the aroma and taste of the final product.

Toasting takes place at temperatures between 200 and 250 ° C. In this phase the seeds increase in volume, from 50 to 80% compared to the initial one, and darken due to the formation of compounds whose structure is still little known. The final color depends on time and roasting temperature.

In the early stages of the roasting there is denaturation of the proteins present while the still present water evaporates. Above 100 ° C the grain begins to swell, releases the remaining water and increases in volume; as the temperature increases, the reactions between the substances present are progressing faster and faster, until the reactions of Maillard responsible for the darkening and the typical aroma are triggered. After 180 ° C, the grain slits along the median furrow while hundreds of different volatile substances are formed. In the final phase, between 200 and 250 ° C, the humidity is reduced to 1% and there is caramelization and deposition of a film of fatty acids on the surface of the grain. Higher temperatures should be avoided, as the grain starts to burn, producing soot.

Roasting times vary from 2 to 50 minutes, depending on the techniques and machinery used. The temperatures reached also vary: in the USA and Northern Europe, temperatures are around 220 ° C for about ten minutes, while in Italy higher temperatures are preferred, around 240 ° C, which allows to obtain a coffee more suitable for the preparation of espresso.

The roasted beans are very fragile and can be easily reduced to powder, for the preparation of the drink. Each coffee is usually obtained by mixing different varieties, each toasted individually, to obtain the desired taste and aroma. It is still a process in which the craft component has a significant importance, even if in recent years new process control and evaluation technologies have been introduced, to allow the maintenance of a constant quality

Green coffee can be stored for a long time, even more than two years, and some varieties are specially made to age in the warehouse, to increase its quality. Instead, the roasted coffee must be used within three months, keeping it at a low temperature and in the absence of oxygen. The greatest risk is in fact the oxidation of the fats present, the rancidity and the development of unpleasant smells and tastes. The ground coffee has an even shorter life due to the considerable increase of the surface exposed to the air and to the oxidation processes: for this reason vacuum preservation techniques are used which allow to lengthen the storage time of the powders.

Coffee, Caffeine And Health

The WHO has defined coffee as a “component of the non-nutritious diet” even if in reality both the beans and the drink contain nutrients and various biologically active substances. In the bean are present proteins and carbohydrates, fibers such as cellulose and polysaccharides rich in galactose, mannose and arabinose, which are degraded during roasting and tend to react with each other, with a very reduced presence of proteins and free sugars in the powder and in the drink .

The lipids present are much more stable at roasting: free fatty acids, waxes and esters are present. Organic acids are also present, especially acetic acid and formic acid, and to a lesser extent tartaric, malic, citric and derivative lactic acids.

Abundant the presence of chlorogenic acid which during the roasting is degraded with release of its components and formation of derivatives; the presence in the drink varies considerably depending on origin, processing and preparation. In reality it is a family of compounds that in several studies has shown to be able to reduce blood pressure, contribute to a better control of glycemia and to a reduction of insulin peaks. Celebrated by enthusiastic suppliers of supplements as a fat-burning substance, it would seem to have a lipolytic action, but the studies available are few and of poor quality. It is believed that the chlorogenic acid may have a weak stimulating effect, one third compared to caffeine, accompanied by a modest laxative action, given that it could corroborate the stimulating effect that some report after the consumption of coffee.

Another substance present in appreciable quantities is the trigonelline, a betaine that in several studies on animal model has shown an appreciable hypoglycaemic effect. Trigonelline can also help reduce the incidence of caries, in fact it prevents the adhesion to the surface of the teeth of Streptococcus mutans, one of the bacteria responsible for the problem.

Also present minerals such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium and a whole series of compounds deriving from the reactions of Maillard between sugars and proteins, melanoidins, whose chemical structure is still under study, responsible for the bitter taste of coffee and the smell of cocoa present in some varieties.

Obviously the most known and studied substance, among those present in coffee, is caffeine, a purine alkaloid that in the Arabica is between 1 and 2.5% of the dry weight, while in Robusta it can be up to 4% . The presence of caffeine in the drink varies considerably depending on how it is prepared: it is very high in the espresso, which is however consumed in small quantities, while it is lower in the American coffee, which is however consumed in massive doses. It is estimated that the per capita consumption of caffeine ranges between 150 and 300 mg / day; obviously not all the caffeine we take every day comes from coffee: in fact, they give a significant contribution to tea, chocolate, some carbonated drinks and energy drinks.

We call it caffeine but the official name is – trimethylxanthine, a very bitter compound, even used in the research field as a standard for bitter taste. It is a very powerful stimulant, it is used by athletes to improve strength and endurance, able to improve alertness and attention, with a strong mental stimulation. The usual consumption of caffeine causes addiction, the effects just mentioned tend to fade to disappear – remains a weak action against sleep – and any increase in the dose consumed does not improve the response, which can be restored only by reducing the consumption of coffee for at least a month.

The effect of caffeine is due to its action of antagonist of adenosine, a substance that modulates the response of neurons to neurotransmitters and that at the level of the Central Nervous System has an inhibitory effect. When caffeine binds to adenosine receptors it actually reduces the inhibitory action giving rise to the well known stimulatory effects.

In the stomach, caffeine can favor the emptying of the gastric contents in the small intestine, thus inducing the gastrocolic reflex, one of the possible mechanisms, together with the action of chlorogenic acid, which could explain the weak laxative effect linked to coffee consumption.

Gastrointestinal absorption is very rapid and complete; the peak plasma concentration is reached within 20-60 minutes from the consumption of the drink. Caffeine is metabolized by cytochrome P450, in particular by CYP1A enzymes, and by a series of other enzymes, with a half-life of 3 to 9 hours. The different rate of elimination of caffeine found in different subjects seems to be due to genetic variations, especially at the level of CYP1A, with several studies that showed different values ​​also between the sexes and between different ethnic groups.

Caffeine is a molecule able to cross many of the barriers present at the level of the human body and therefore tends to distribute itself homogeneously in the various tissues, including the brain.

Caffeine, as well as with adenosine, also interferes with the activity of several other neurotransmitters, elevates serotonin, in acute increases adrenaline and noradrenaline – while a chronic consumption reduces the two substances – stimulates the release of acetylcholine and promotes the action of dopamine, a phenomenon that seems to be reduced with chronic intake. This last effect could be the basis of the weak protective effect that the consumption of coffee and products containing caffeine presents beautiful comparisons of Parkinson’s disease, higher in men than in women, negligible in menopausal women who follow an estrogen therapy. Also interesting are the results of some studies in which caffeine has been used, in addition to targeted therapies, for the treatment of motor disorders related to Parkinson’s.

The consumption of coffee is related to a reduction in the risk for type II diabetes, appreciable reduction with a consumption of two cups a day. These are generally observational studies, although some intervention works seem to confirm what is observed on the population. The effect seems to be mainly attributable to the hypoglycemic effect of chlorogenic acid and trigonelline, while caffeine seems to induce a transient insulin resistance, probably mediated by adrenaline, an effect that tends to shrink to disappear with consumption usual. The consumption of coffee can reduce the concentration of C-reactive protein and oxidative stress and furthermore, by modulating the levels of serotonin and ghrelin, it can help reduce appetite. The effect of increased metabolic activity and lipolysis, essentially due to caffeine, is appreciable even if weak, phenomena in which it is observed a progressive addiction.

A good number of studies show that habitual consumption of coffee can have a protective effect on the liver with a reduction in the risk of cirrhosis and other diseases. The protective effect also extends to hepatic carcinomas and seems linked to the extent of consumption and sex, resulting in greater human activity.

The protective effect linked to coffee consumption also affects several forms of cancer: in addition to the liver, there seems to be also an appreciable risk reduction for cancers of the esophagus, the colon, the prostate and for various forms of melanoma. The results, although positive, are however prone to many confounding factors concerning the methods of preparing the drink, the concomitant consumption of alcohol, smoking and even even particular genetic polymorphisms.

Interesting effects of coffee and caffeine in sports activity. Some studies show an increase in maximal strength with caffeine doses of 6mg / kg body weight. A similar dose seems to improve the ability of repeated sprints in well-trained athletes. Significant effects are achieved on aerobic performance, with an increase in the time necessary for complete exhaustion, an effect that is relevant in non-addicted subjects and becomes negligible in habitual consumers. Increases in sports performance are greater in subjects deprived of sleep, probably due to the stimulating action of caffeine.

Does drinking coffee hurt?

Besides the potential positive effects that we have listed, it is also necessary to detect a series of side effects and contraindications related to coffee consumption.

Most of the studies available show an increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with coffee consumption. Part of the problem seems to be related to the modest hypertensive action found in some works, part of the problem could be attributed to the increased level of homocysteine ​​in the serum, observed also in clinical studies, for high coffee consumption and finally a significant contribution could be due to hyperlipidemizing action of coffee, with small but appreciable increases of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, probabilcies due to the action of cafestol and kahweol, two diterpene present in coffee, especially espresso. The results of prospective and intervention studies for pathologies such as myocardial infarction and stroke have however given confusing results, with some works showing weak risk reduction, other small increases: in many cases a protective effect is observed with consumption moderate while the increase is sensitive with high consumption or without any consumption of coffee.

There is also a small increase in risk, related to coffee consumption, with regard to lung cancer, an increase that remains even when the study data have been corrected to compensate for behaviors that may alter the results, such as smoking habits .

Much discussed is the possibility of an increase in the risk of spontaneous abortion in women with high consumption of coffee / caffeine. The results of the studies are mixed, however many authoritative scientific societies suggest that during pregnancy it is better to limit the dose of caffeine taken to a maximum of 200 mg / day (corresponding to about three cups of espresso coffee).

A further restriction of caffeine consumption in pregnancy at doses below 100 mg / day is recommended to avoid a reduction in intrauterine growth of the fetus with a reduced birth weight. Many observational studies indicate a possible correlation between coffee consumption and reduced fetal growth, an effect that seems to be dose dependent, the more pronounced the greater the consumption of caffeine. However, randomized double-blind clinical trials have not produced data to support this hypothesis.

There are data indicating that a high consumption of caffeine during breastfeeding may cause irritability and sleep difficulties for the newborn, however a moderate consumption, less than 200 mg / day would seem to present no particular problems.

Coffee and caffeine reduce the absorption of calcium to the intestinal level, however the effect does not seem to be so significant as to contribute significantly to problems of bone fragility or osteoporosis, particularly when the subject has a good supply of calcium and vitamin D and coffee consumption is not particularly exaggerated.

The phenolic compounds of coffee can reduce the absorption of non-heme iron, the one present in plants for example, therefore subjects with iron deficiency should consume coffee away from main meals.

The consumption of coffee increases the secretion of gastric juices by the stomach and should therefore be avoided or reduced in subjects suffering from gastroesophageal reflux or gastric ulcer.

As we have seen, caffeine is metabolized thanks to the action of cytochrome P450, which is also responsible for the elimination of drugs and other potentially toxic substances. Some antibiotics and drugs can interfere with the processes that lead to the elimination of caffeine, enhancing its adverse effects. In turn, caffeine can interfere with the metabolism of certain drugs such as clozapine, paracetamol and aspirin, enhancing its effects. Caffeine also interferes with the absorption of levothyroxine (Eutirox) which should therefore be taken at a safe distance from the consumption of beverages containing it. It would always be good to check with your doctor whether or not to consume coffee in case of drug therapy, which can give rise to important interactions with the caffeine present in the drink.

The usual consumption of caffeine induces addiction, both to the stimulating action and to some of the effects on biological parameters described above. When a habitual consumer eliminates caffeine intake it can produce withdrawal symptoms, with headaches, fatigue and nervousness, problems that usually resolve within 2-6 days.

Excessive consumption of coffee and caffeine can lead to unpleasant side effects, especially hypertension and palpitations. The toxic dose for humans is about 20-40mg / kg body weight equal to about 1.4 / 2.8g for a subject of 70 kg: the equivalent of about 20-30 cups of espresso, all drunk in one shot. Do not do it at home, it could be dangerous!

A thousand ways to drink coffee

Far be it from me to want to make suggestions on how to prepare a good coffee, a theme which could cause serious conflicts between opposing factions, but I would like to underline some important steps and the main methods of preparation.

The grinding of the roasted beans is a crucial moment because it allows to obtain powders with particles whose dimensions influence the extraction of the substances present. Very thin powders with small particles, offer a high surface and make extraction very fast, while large particles require a prolonged infusion. Ideally the grains should be ground at the time of use, to prevent oxidative processes from occurring that alter their organoleptic characteristics.

The infusion allows the extraction of the substances present in the coffee: from the substances that determine taste and aroma, to pigments, to the carbohydrates that give body to the drink together with the lipids, which participate in the formation of the cream. The amount of powder used and the amount of extracted matter determine the overall quality of the drink. Powders with large particles give an acidic and poor coffee while an excessive extraction, with fine powders, high temperatures and long times, gives an excessively bitter and aggressive drink.

Extraction can take place by prolonged maceration, with coffee in direct contact with water, by percolation, with water passing through the coffee by gravity or pressure, by filtration, as occurs in many of the machines that use enclosed powders in paper or pressure filters, with the typical two-compartment coffee makers.

The water used should have a temperature of 85-95 ° C and should not be chlorinated, calcareous or sulphurous, flavors that could alter that of coffee. Depending on the extraction method, the percentage of coffee solids that we find in the beverage ranges from 1.5% of American coffee to 5% of Italian espresso.

Percolating percolators, typical of Americans, work with long times and temperatures that can reach the boiling point and can give an excessively bitter coffee. Even our moka works at high temperatures, around 110 ° C with a similar principle, even if the relationship between water and powders varies, and a coffee that is sometimes excessively aggressive.

The espresso machine works much faster. Water at 93 ° C is pushed by pressure through very fine powders, used in very high quantities, three or four times those typical of a moka. The extraction time is short, about 30 seconds, and the concentration of extracted materials is very high with the formation of a cream, a dispersion of gas in the liquid, which traps many of the substances present in the coffee, allowing a gradual release in the mouth, with a real explosion of taste.

The aroma and taste of coffee are due to a mixture of at least 500 different compounds: caffeine and phenols are responsible for the bitter taste and astringency of the drink, while the other substances present are responsible for the myriad of different characteristics of the different mixtures and of the different methods of preparation. Adding milk or cream to coffee reduces its astringency – milk proteins bind tannins – but it also binds many of the molecules responsible for taste, significantly reducing its impact.

The typical espresso cup has a caffeine content that is between 30 and 80 mg, while the typical cup of coffee, much more abundant, can reach around 90-160 mg. The dose of caffeine considered safe for an adult is about 300 mg / day, although it is recommended to keep around 200 mg, amount present in three cups of espresso. Remember that caffeine is not only present in coffee but also in tea, chocolate and in carbonated drinks and energy drinks: it is not so difficult to get an overdose of stimulants.

We close the review taking into consideration decaffeinated coffee and instant coffee. Decaffeinated is obtained by eliminating caffeine with two different methods: one involves the use of solvents – dichloromethane and ethyl acetate – while the other uses only water and carbon filters. The caffeine content can be reduced by up to 2-3% of the initial content.

The instant coffee is obtained with successive infusions, at temperatures of 100 and then 170 ° C. The obtained solution is dehydrated or lyophilized, until a powder is obtained which is then agglomerated into larger particles, the form in which the coffee is commercialized. The drink is prepared simply by adding hot water to taste. The taste is not that of espresso, but the speed of preparation makes it a very popular product.

Superfluous that you speak of the thousand and more ways in which coffee is served: it would seem that the creative energies of the human race have concentrated in the conception of the most imaginative methods of preparation. Whether you like it short or long, glass or cream, Irish, Scottish, Arabic or American, remember that coffee is a long-standing beverage, the world market leader, full of substances with marked effects on our body: seize the sides positive, avoiding problems that may come from excessive consumption.

Paleo Diet: Return To The Past

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Paleo Diet is a very special diet that has gained considerable popularity, especially in certain environments, in recent years. The basic objective is to return to a style of feeding similar to that of our predecessors hunter-gatherers, a style for which our body would be better adapted and that should allow to eliminate many of the problems related to modernity.

The first to talk about paleo diet was S. Boyd Eaton in a 1985 article titled Paleolithic Nutrition. In this work it was pointed out how the genus Homo, to which we belong, has evolved essentially as a hunter-gatherer, feeding on meat, that of the prey that could catch, fish, vegetables, fruit seeds, tubers. No legumes, no cereals, no milk, products that have become part of the human diet since just over 10,000 years ago and for which our organism would not yet be adapted. And the transition to a diet based on agricultural products, according to Eaton, would have caused the appearance of a series of problems related to the consumption of foods for which we are fundamentally maladapted. Eaton also examined the diet of the few surviving groups of hunter-gatherers, vague tribes that survive mostly in inhospitable and marginal environments, from the Kung of the Kalahari to the Hadza of Tanzania, to the Australian aborigines, more or less rich in meat and fish. but deprived of typical products of sedentary agriculture, to our current diet, for the truth to the tremendous diet of American friends, rich in refined cereals, fats and sodium, underlining how it could be the consumption of “modern” foods at the root of pathologies constantly growing like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer.

A few years later, Staffan Lindeberg, a Swedish doctor, in his Food and Western Disease increased the dose: based his studies on the inhabitants of Kitava Island in New Guinea, whose diet is based on tubers, fruit, coconut and fish, and whose health appears decidedly superior to that of the western average, Lindeberg pointed out that the foods we currently consume in large quantities are foods for which our body is poorly adapted, while the consumption of “ancestral” food would be the basis of the health of iron of the Kitavani. Lindeberg carefully weighed the data, which was in truth, related to the diet of our ancestors and then proceeded to examine the diseases of “modernity” in the light of the data collected, highlighting the important role that, in his opinion, the foods brought to the table from the passage to agriculture they would have played. Lindeberg then suggested a diet based on food of plant origin, meat, fish, seeds and tubers with the elimination of cereals, legumes and milk, without forgetting to underline also the potential problems related to paleolithic diet.

In 2002 the book The PaleoDiet of the American physiologist Loren Cordain came out, based on his many studies on the subject, he went back to underlining how the current diet is essentially “wrong” from the evolutionary point of view, being too recent: the human organism it would not have had materially the time necessary to adapt to the foods fruit of agriculture, foods to avoid in favor of meat and vegetables in quantity.

In these works we try to reason in the field of evolutionary biology, with the aim of finding a rational able to explain the progressive increase of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, degenerative and autoimmune diseases, so common in industrialized countries. Both authors point out that for most of the evolutionary history of mankind the diet was based on a few products, available through hunting and gathering. For the distant frugivorous ancestors, the foods of choice were mainly fruits and seeds, but over the course of two million years the various species of the genus Homo have adapted to the consumption of new foods, especially meat, fish in coastal areas, fruit, vegetables , seeds and tubers. The domestication of cereals, legumes and the first animals, which allowed the transition to an agricultural society, was, for our experts, a real disgrace: too recent, from 20,000 to 10,000 years ago, and too rapid for allow the species to adapt adequately. This resulted in catastrophic consequences: reduced average height, skeletal and dental problems, almost endemic spread of diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. A suggestive hypothesis that, however, as we shall see, presents several weak points.

The problem with the paleodieta is what happened after: on the wave of the carbohydrate phobia that grew up in the United States in the last decade, on the paleo wagon skids of all kinds are skipped, especially those related to particular sports environments, proposing variations in which there were industrial quantities of meat, fat at will and above all the inevitable bacon – a kind of bacon that clearly in the Paleolithic era was to be the main food of our hunting friends. All accompanied by the strict exclusion exclusion of cereals, legumes, milk and a plethora of other foods chosen based on tastes and idiosyncrasies of the subject who proposed his personal interpretation of the diet. A sarabanda that has unfortunately distorted and made grotesque a proposal that was not to be neglected, a confusion that eventually led to brandishing the Paleo as a fad diet, a trendy diet without scientific foundations. Fortunately, in recent years there have been many studies that have examined the effects of the paleo diet on various diseases with very interesting results.

Paleo diet: what do you eat?

Understanding what and how to eat in a paleo diet is not easy: our ancestors who hunted in the savannah unfortunately did not leave us books of recipes and the data we have are based on the collection and examination of the waste of ancient settlements, on relative deductions to the anatomical characteristics modified during the evolution, on the analysis of the diet of the few hunter-gatherer populations left in some remote corner of the planet.

The current consensus provides that a paleo diet is based on the consumption of these foods:

Meat:
Evolutionary biology studies agree that the consumption of meat, a very dense nutritional food, has been crucial for the evolution of mankind. Obviously our ancestors certainly did not eat hamburgers or breaded chicken medallions. The meat consumed was that of wild animals, lean and with a composition of fatty acids decidedly different from that of today’s breeding specimens, with a high presence of stearic acid – which does not cause an increase in cholesterol – high presence of high-quality omega 3 and reduced presence of omega 6, potentially pro-inflammatory if in excess. So we suggest the consumption of meat from animals raised outdoors, with fodder -grass feed is the term for the most performing among you- and not with grains or worse feeds, game and wild animals. Let’s say that this is an approach that not everyone can afford and that certainly could not guarantee adequate consumption for the growing world population. Of course we do not talk about bacon, cold meats or preserved meat. Consumption should be about fresh meat, with frequent use of offal such as liver, heart and bone marrow. Eggs are obviously included, in quantities that certainly would make those doctors who forbid them due to cholesterol fall out: we speak 6-12 eggs a week, strictly from hens raised outdoors.

Fish

Along with the meat on the tables of the devout Paleo should not miss good fish, strictly wild, preferably cold or blue water. Alaskan salmon is the holy Grail but the list includes virtually all fish, shellfish and molluscs you can get your hands on. Obviously these are foods with an excellent nutritional profile, source as well as excellent proteins, also of good quality fats.

Vegetable

From the leafy vegetables to the common vegetables all the vegetables are well received on the paleotavola, abundant, raw or cooked, as long as they are in season and possibly at zero kilometers, or so.

Fruit

Even for fruit there are no particular restrictions; with vegetables it is the main source of sugars in the diet.

Oil seeds and nuts
Nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds and oil seeds are generally considered excellent sources of protein and are rich in the right fatty acids. Obviously, moderate use is recommended, given the rich caloric intake.

Oils and fats
Among the recommended oils, the olive oil – which is so paleo is not – and the coconut one, between the fatty lard and butter: obviously in controlled quantities and not in buckets, as recommended in some adventurous interpretations of the Paleolithic diet.

In most cases there is no mention of percentages related to the various nutrients: the experience suggests that the income of meat and fish can range from 20 to 40-60% in different populations. Surely most of the dish should be planted, with a good supply of fruit and fat. Very different from the coals of grilled bison lined with bacon that often pretend to paleo while they are simple attempts to suicide overweight Americans.

In the end the idea is to have a good supply of high quality proteins, around 1.2-1.5 grams per kg of body weight against 0.8 g / kg weight of the guidelines, a good supply of carbohydrates – from 25 to 50% – coming mainly from fruit and vegetables, and from a fat intake between 30 and 40%, with a ratio between omega6 and omega 3 moved towards the latter.

Paleo diet: foods to avoid

The foods to avoid are those that have appeared on our table with the passage to agriculture, foods consumed in a very occasional manner in the Paleolithic, domesticated and become the cornerstones of the Neolithic diet.

Cereals

Practically the source of all evil, the cereals must be eliminated in full: too rich in sugar, their consumption causes dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar, creates hormonal storms, sets the conditions for the accumulation of fat and the development is a pro-inflammatory state . In addition, cereals are rich in antinutrients such as phytates that inhibit the absorption of fats and vitamins, and obviously, at least some, contain gluten that can trigger severe immune problems.
Also included in the heap pseudocereal as amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat, also guilty, despite the significant and valuable protein intake, to be excessively rich in sugar.

Legumes

The legumes would have the same dramatic effects as cereals, with an even greater antinutrient load: how to forget the lectins, certain oligosaccarians and some protease inhibitors. For the more fervent paleosostenitori consume a plate of beans is more or less equivalent to a death sentence, ultimately.

Tubers

The situation here is more nuanced: Cordain condemns them without appeal, like bombs of sugar waiting to explode in the jars of the unfortunate consumer, while Lindeberg, strong of his studies on Kitavani, very large consumers of tubers, with an iron health, admits consumption. Maybe you should avoid potatoes, preferring more exotic products from sweet potatoes, to tapioca, to taro.

Obviously, in the original formulation, all kinds of preserved meat – including bacon, a blow to the paleo-enthusiasts of America – meat, industrial products of all kinds, sweets, with the exception of modest quantities, must be avoided like the plague. of honey, excess salt, vegetable oils and margarines.

Some of the closest observers also propose the elimination of some vegetables such as tomatoes and aubergines, rich in solanine, toxic substances that however are reduced with aging and are eliminated by cooking. Many are the tribes and many are the food taboo, with some concession to taste and palate related to “comfort” such as tea, coffee, chocolate – strictly melting – which are allowed in small quantities, as well as wine and spirits , which for some can be consumed, albeit with great measure.

Paleo diet: solid foundations or pious illusions?

The theses on which the Paleo diet is based are undoubtedly suggestive, but not very solid and based on little precise and often questionable assumptions. First of all, the affirmations concerning the diet of our ancestors are difficult to verify, they are at best well circumstantiated hypotheses, while the few surviving tribes of hunter-gatherers present food regimes very different from each other and strictly dependent on the nature of the territory.

As for cereals, some findings show that the cultivation and consumption of wheat are not as recent as hypothesized but could date back to over 100,000 years ago, with the use of flour of various types already widespread in Europe over 30,000 years ago . Legumes have also been part of the human diet for much longer than it was supposed to be.
Many studies show a positive contribution of cereals, whole species and legumes to a good state of health. On the other hand, the deficiencies due to phytates and other antinutrients present are rare, which can become significant only in very limited diets with reduced consumption or complete absence of food of animal origin. And it makes little sense to say that consumption of cereals and legumes by itself causes inflammation and therefore is at the root of all evil. Inflammation in general is a symptom not a disease, and numerous studies have shown that while exaggerated consumption of refined grains may contribute to a systemic inflammation state adequate consumption of whole grains seems to have protective effect.

It should be noted that the much feared and demonized gluten causes real problems, and well diagnosed, to a very small percentage of the population, probably less than 1%, while it is still unclear whether or not gluten hypersensitivity exists which in any case would affect at most 10%. And it seems useless to point out that there are cereals and pseudo-cereals that are completely devoid of gluten, from rice to quinoa.

Regarding lectins and saponins, the fearsome poisons of legumes, which in the opinion of detractors would reduce to a sieve the wall of the intestine, causing leaky gut syndrome, these are statements that have not been extensively investigated with appropriate studies , and it is therefore difficult to support correctness.

The other great accused in the paleo-supporter’s court is milk, with all its derivatives. Let’s start from the basic observation, the classic “only man consumes adult milk, and moreover of other species”: evidently these gentlemen have never seen dogs or cats in the presence of milk and especially, in nature, different species work to recover milk from other animals.
Equally unfounded are the claims that milk is an “acidifier”, milk and dairy products do not in fact produce acidic or metabolic acidosis, or cause osteoporosis, as proven by a large number of controlled studies. Among other things, the fact that a large part of the Western population, from 50 to 95% in Europe and North America, maintains the activity of lactase, an enzyme essential for the digestion of milk even in adulthood rather than losing it in childhood, as is still the case for most of the African and Asian populations, it is a very evident proof of how evolution and selection operate extremely rapidly in the human population, much more quickly than supposed by the paleo diet theorists who would like our genome frozen in some point of the remote past, 100 or 200,000 years ago. The domestication of dairy animals and the use of milk and its derivatives have led to such an obvious advantage in the populations in which they occurred, to determine an effective selection of those individuals who retained the ability to digest these foods as adults. Individuals who then transmitted this character to their numerous offspring, determining a notable diffusion of these traits in the human population, relevant among those peoples for whom the consumption of milk was essential for survival in decidedly hostile environments: ask the Scandinavian friends.

For what concerns the fatty acids, certainly the research shows the importance of a good consumption of omega 3, but there are no specific ratios or doses. Indeed, many of the warmly recommended foods in the Paleo diet, such as coconut oil or almonds, have an omega 6 content – so dangerous for Paleo theorists – dramatically elevated compared to omega 3. Even here consumption is more important attentive and varied, rather than a strenuous search for values ​​that are little more than hypotheses.

And finally no, gentlemen, sugar is not a deadly white poison, refined and lethal ready to disintegrate the wall of your vessels. As always is the dose that makes the poison and if you like a teaspoon of refined sugar in the coffee, which of course is not paleo since there were no espresso machines in the savannah during the Paleolithic, use it. If you consume industrial quantities of desserts, make an examination of conscience, but not because you eat non-pale foods: simply because you eat too much and badly.

These observations have the sole purpose of highlighting how some “theoretical” bases of the paleo diet are not correct and derive from non-demonstrated axioms or even in contrast with the available data. This does not deny that some assumptions are interesting and that indeed the modern Western diet is unsuitable for our lifestyle, but more for reasons related to excess and poor quality of food than to the specific type of food consumed. Certainly we are not well adapted to our current lifestyle, as the biologist Daniel Lieberman writes in his The History of the Human Body, but the situation is much more nuanced and complex than painted with rather imprecise brushes by the supporters of the paleo diet.

And I do not want to talk about the grotesque market of paleo supplements based on milk proteins or maltodextrins that should perhaps replace fresh but very forbidding foods, a veritable fair of bad faith. Always be wary of diets that require you to permanently renounce whole food groups, tracing a clear line between good and bad foods. Man is an omnivorous and much of his evolutionary success is due precisely to his ability to adapt to diets and deeply different foods. Except the hemlock, which hurts even if it is natural.

Organic eating: the advantages endorsed by scientific research

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Organic Eating
Organic Eating

Many people approach the organic for environmental reasons, ethical or to improve their well-being. But what are the health benefits of eating bio?

The organic food industry tends to grow a little around the world and many people are approaching what is considered a more natural food as it is produced without using chemicals and respecting the cycles of the earth. Even organic farms, for those who eat meat or dairy products, undoubtedly offer better products. This obviously has advantages for our health as well, irrespective of the nutritional values in organic products we are sure (frauds permitting) to have products without GMOs, without pesticides or hormones. Let’s try to list, scientific research in hand, the advantages of choosing organic.

We avoid (at least in part) exposure to pesticides and heavy metals

Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or artificial fertilizers. These chemicals have been considered “safe” in the quantities used for conventional agriculture, but health experts warn about the potential damage they can actually do if exposure is constant and especially on certain categories of people such as children and pregnant women. . An example that we all know is Roundup, the well-known herbicide commonly used but classified as “probable carcinogen” but also the Clorpirifos, neurotoxic insecticide associated with delays in the development of newborns. Some studies have also suggested that pesticide residues, at levels commonly present in the urine of children in the United States, can contribute to the increase of attention disorders and hyperactivity as well as reduce sperm quality in men.

A 2014 meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organic crops were not only less likely to contain pesticides but, due to differences in fertilization techniques, they were also less likely to be positive to cadmium, toxic heavy metal which accumulates in the liver and kidneys.

More healthy fats

As for meat and milk, produced according to the dictates of organic, these can have about 50% more of precious Omega-3 fatty acids compared to conventional products. To say a 2016 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The organic milk tested in the study also found a lower presence of saturated fats compared to standard products.

These differences, according to the researchers, can derive from the way cattle are bred, mainly thanks to a grass based diet and the possibility for the animals to spend more time outdoors. It is also argued that switching from conventional products to organic products would increase the consumption of Omega-3 by consumers without increasing overall calories or saturated fats.

No antibiotic or synthetic hormone

Always talking about biological farms, it should be noted that it is forbidden to use antibiotics in the preventive phase to protect animals from any diseases. This trick, among other things, is precisely what allows traditional breeding to keep the animals very close to each other, in a situation of overcrowding and consequently in precarious health conditions (if you do not use the antibiotics that make safe from real and their epidemics). Among other things, this practice of using antibiotics indiscriminately is contributing to a very serious phenomenon that of resistance and mutation of some bacteria that become precisely “resistant” to drugs that previously contributed to eradicate them.

Conventionally bred animals can also undergo increased growth thanks to synthetic hormones that make them gain weight faster or produce more milk. Traces of these substances can obviously be found in products of animal origin that we consume if they are not organic.

More antioxidants (in some cases)

In a study a few years ago appeared in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that organic onions had about 20% more antioxidant content than traditional onions. They also theorized that previous analyzes, many of which did not find differences in conventional levels compared to biological antioxidants, may have been hindered by too short evaluation periods or by confusing variables such as time.

But the reasons for choosing biological are also others and do not concern only our health. In fact, the benefits go well beyond the nutritional discourse. It is a mainly ethical choice, both for environmental factors (biological crops are not intensive, do not use pesticides harmful to the earth and safeguard biodiversity) and for animal welfare (organic farms, at least on paper, are a bit ‘more sustainable as the animals in addition to receiving a bio food also have more vital spaces).

It is also important to remember that the concept of organic is diametrically opposite to that of GMOs and that therefore choosing to eat bio we take a very precise position regarding genetically modified foods.

Cheeses without animal rennet: the list updated to 2018

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What are the cheeses without animal rennet and therefore also suitable for vegetarians? Here is the complete list of cheeses with vegetable or microbiotic rennet on the market, updated to 2018.

There are cheeses with and without animal rennet. For vegetarians it is very important to know the difference as well as the list of those that are made without using this ingredient or preferring the plant or microbial variant. Here then are the cheeses without animal rennet updated to 2018.

The cheeses, in order to reach their characteristic consistency, different from type to type, must be processed with the use of rennet. But what exactly is it?

What is rennet?

Rennet is an acidic substance that serves to ensure that milk proteins are coagulated, this is essential to condense various types of cheese and there are very few types that do not contain this ingredient.

Practically the use of rennet makes sure that the milk proteins are no longer soluble, precipitino on the bottom creating precisely the “curd” which is then collected and re-worked to make the different cheeses. A substance therefore of fundamental importance but which hides little “green” implications, at least for those who have chosen to respect the animals by not eating meat.

Animal, vegetable and microbial rennet

There are different types of rennet, specifically:

  • Animal rennet: also known as the rennet is composed of an enzyme extracted from the stomach of calves or lambs. It is still considered the best type of rennet and is used for example to produce PDO cheeses.
  • Vegetable rennet: there are different types of rennet, there is for example that which is extracted from the fig tree (it is latex) or those that are obtained from flowers and plants such as the common thistle (Cynara cardunculus).
  • Microbial rennet: this type is extracted from a mold (Mucor miehei) and is considered a less valuable and economical rennet variant.

There is also a coagulant obtained from genetically modified fungal organisms such as Aspergillus niger var. awamori or bacterial like Escherichia coli.

The rennet on the label

There are some types of cheese that are always without animal rennet, two known examples are ricotta and mascarpone. This is true because they are subjected to a type of processing that, at the base, does not require the use of this ingredient (even in the vegetable variant).

For almost all types of cheese, however, it is advisable to check with the manufacturer or carefully read the label on the type of rennet present. In some cases there may be the simple word “rennet” even if more often there is the indication “animal rennet”, “vegetable rennet” or “microbial rennet” also to give way to vegetarians to orient themselves in choosing the cheese to buy .

To make informed choices, as always it is essential to carefully read the list of ingredients of what we want to bring to the table.

Cheeses without animal rennet: the updated 2018 list

Given the increased demand for cheese without animal rennet, several companies have marketed products made with vegetable rennet or microbial rennet, even where traditionally that product was curdled instead with the solution of animal origin.

There are therefore stracchino, mozzarella and also some caciotta made with vegetable rennet or microbial rennet. Easier yet to find fresh cheeses and first salt without animal rennet, while decidedly more difficult for a vegetarian to eat mature cheeses.

List of Vegetarian cheeses

According to the following cheese companies, these cheeses do not contain rennet or any other nonvegetarian enzymes:

Kraft

  • Kraft Natural Swiss
  • Kraft Cream Cheeses
  • Grated Parmesan

Stella

(phone 1-800-558-7315)

  • Mozzarella
  • Provolone
  • Parmesan
  • Ricotta
  • String cheese

Frigo

  • Mozzarella

Giant

  • Cheese made by Pauly
  • County Line: Old World Swiss, Colby, Monterey Jack
  • Giant Cream Cheese
  • Giant Natural Swiss slices
  • Giant Natural Muenster slices
  • Biery cheese
  • Giant Chunk Cheese: New York Sharp, Wisconsin Cheddar, Longhorn, Swiss, Danish Havarti, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack

Sargento

  • Pepper
  • Muenster
  • Cheddar

Mid American Farms

  • Parmesan
  • Mozzarella
  • Cheddar

Cabot

 

All cheeses

If you want to live 10 more years, follow these 5 habits

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Maintaining five healthy habits could not only make us live better and healthier but extend our life expectancy by ten years. For the first time, a team of researchers from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health calculated it.

Follow a healthy diet, exercise daily, maintain adequate body weight, do not consume too much alcohol and do not smoke. These are the 5 keys to living for a long time. Things that we already knew, but now for the first time their presence or absence has been related to the duration of our lives.

It is in fact the first complete analysis of the impact of adopting factors based on a healthy lifestyle on life expectancy in the United States.

Americans have a shorter average life than almost all other high-income countries. Globally, the United States is in 43rd place, with an average of 80 years, according to data from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook 2017.

The three countries in first place for life expectancy at birth are Monaco, with 89.4 years, Japan, with 85.3 years and Singapore, with 85.2 years. Italy is in 15th place with 82.3 years.

The study aimed to quantify the impact of factors linked to a healthy lifestyle with a view to increasing longevity in the country. To do so, Harvard researchers examined 34 years of data from 78,865 women and 27 years of data from 44,354 men who participated in two studies.

The researchers looked at the five low-risk lifestyle factors that could impact mortality:

  1. Absence of cigarette smoke
  2. Low body mass index (18.5-24.9 kg / m2)
  3. At least 30 minutes or more per day of physical activity
  4. Moderate consumption of alcohol (up to about a glass of wine of 150 ml per day forWomen, or up to 2 glasses for men)
  5. Healthy diet.

They found that those who did not follow any of these habits had a lower life expectancy than those who followed them. In particular, life expectancy at the age of 50 was another 29 years for women and 25.5 years for men. Instead, those who had followed these five good habits presented a life expectancy of 43.1 years for women and 37.6 years for men after the age of 50.

In other words, women earned on average, 14 years of life and men 12 years, compared to peers who did not follow the same correct habits.

“This study underscores the importance of following healthy living habits to improve longevity in the US population,” said Frank Hu, president of the Harvard Chan School Nutrition Department and lead author of the study.

The research, even if applied to the American context, certainly offers interesting indications even outside the US borders.

There is no doubt that proper nutrition, accompanied by physical exercise, a correct weight, low consumption of alcohol and the absence of the cigarette is beneficial and promotes a healthier and longer life.

The research was published in Circulation.

10 zero-impact ways to reduce stress

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“I suffer from stress, I suffer from stress, I’m tired and out of shape …” Velvet sang a few years ago but stress still speaks a lot and often in common language: takes the sense of anxiety, tension, widespread malaise and worry, but perhaps not everyone knows that even primitive men suffered … and how! The stress of our ancestors, however, meant that they survived fierce beasts, inhospitable environments, attacks by rival gangs and major climatic changes.

In fact, without a strong anxiety, prehistoric men would not have been able to defend themselves and save themselves from the attacks of the fearsome saber-toothed tigers, and would not have been able to defend their families. The emotions, in short, are functional to the survival of the species. Modern man, on the other hand, must face different forms of stress, but the physiological response is more or less the same.

A chronic stress condition can lead to increased blood pressure, heart disease, colitis, asthma, and even cancer. But how can a stressed but earth-friendly person find inner peace without substantially changing his or her ecological footprint?

Here are the 10 steps to decrease your stress level in a strictly “green” way:

1. WITH MEDITATION

Obviously there would need a lot of space to explain the concept of meditation but, in general, it is that practice of concentration of the mind which aims to improve one’s psychophysical conditions. This practice is fundamentally green both because it does not require physical travel (to meditate is fine anywhere) and because it does not need expensive equipment. Some people choose to focus their mind on an object or a thought that can give relaxation while others opt for repeating an internal mantra as a means of maintaining one’s concentration. A more Buddhist approach is that of mindfulness which consists in paying attention to what happens “here and now” to obtain a deep awareness of one’s actions and thoughts.

Tip: As the Interdependence Project suggests during meditation it is necessary to:

  • be aware of their choices.
  • Pay attention to their actions.
  • Examine your lifestyle from a creative point of view.
  • Examine how you eat, how you dress, why, where, what you buy, how you move, how you work, your interests, who and what you really care about, your goals.

In short, the multitude of choices you take every single day.

An eco-friendly solution to maintain the correct posture during meditation where it is essential to keep the spine straight is represented by the rechargeable and easy to carry bamboo stool, sold online for around £ 30.

2. WITH THE YOGA

The practice of yoga began long before Madonna and Sting launched the fashion of contortionist positions!
Green tip: you can make your yoga sessions eco-friendly with the ecological mat proposed by Yoga Mad made with non-toxic, recyclable and biodegradable materials.

3. WITH TAI CHI.

Tai Chi can be described as meditation that meets movement. It consists mainly in the execution of a series of slow and circular movements that resemble dance but actually mimic a struggle. This ancient practice makes the body agile and harmonious, improves posture and also has a beneficial effect on the nervous system with a consequent decrease in stress.

Tip: why not look for clothing to practice Tai Chi, which usually consists of baggy pants and a black jacket, participating in a Swap Party, a party where you can buy clothes, accessories and various items?

4. WITH MUSIC.

Remember when you were in a bad mood and suddenly heard on the radio “that” song and you immediately felt better? This, dear friends, is a little taste of the power of music. Music can motivate, inspire and above all reduce stress.
suonare_chitarra

Tip: to get rid of stress, in addition to listening to music try to do it. But to be green, choose unplugged, or prefer acoustic versions without using electrical tools.

5. WITH A GOOD SLEEP.

Much research has shown that sleep has the power to pay more attention, improve cognitive functioning and reduce stress.

Tip: before taking a nap, make sure your bedroom is free of toxins. In this regard, refer to the article on the 5 ways to purify the air and reduce domestic pollution.

6. WITH A LITTLE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.

Exercise reduces the production of hormones that cause stress, such as cortisol, and increases that of endorphins that make us feel good.
piantare_alberi Green suggestion: physical activity does not mean just attending courses in the gym. Running outdoors can be a good solution to relax, but you can also train yourself to plant some saplings. It will also gain the environment.

7. WITH A LAUGH.

Laughter is a real therapy that has no contraindication.

Tip: one of the occasions in which laughter is not lacking is a party with friends. To organize an eco-friendly party instead of using the usual plastic plates and glasses, choose the fully biodegradable tableware kit proposed by Branch Home: plates, glasses and cups are made of sugar fibers, cutlery with potato starch and napkins with paper recycled.

8. WITH DARK CHOCOLATE.

You read right! According to some research, as we have seen, it takes about 40 grams of dark chocolate a day for two weeks to reduce stress hormone levels.

Tip: choosing the dark chocolate of fair trade you will have the certainty of consuming a high quality product that does not contain other vegetable oils other than cocoa butter, but that above all has not used resources to produce it.

9. WITH A LIST OF PRIORITIES.

Keeping a simple “list of priorities” you will be able to understand what things need your immediate attention and which ones can be postponed to a second moment.
It goes without saying that the end result is an increase in productivity and a reduction in stress

Tip: To make your personal priority list use a recycled paper notebook.

10. WITH A RIDE.

Think about how much time you spend in the traffic or how difficult it is to find a place to park your car. For modern man, the car is one of the main sources of stress and then, whenever you can, choose the bicycle, an ecological and economical vehicle that allows you to travel with zero impact and which, as research has shown, has a beneficial effect on mood and physical form.

Tip: if you do not want to get to work sweat, you can always opt for electric or pedal assisted bikes. Moreover, as we have seen, the hydrogen-powered bicycle will soon arrive on the Italian market, a very clean means of transport with a range of 150 km and very low charging times.

Do you keep getting fat and can not figure out why? It can be allergy to nickel!

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In recent years there has been a considerable increase in cases of intolerance and nickel allergy and, beyond contact allergy (which is the best known situation), foods have an importance in determining the onset of such problems. . Nickel, as sulphate, is present in many foods including lentils, beans, cocoa, hazelnuts and liquorice to mention those that contain a good amount; then there are many vegetables and fruits like asparagus, spinach, onions, mushrooms, kiwi, tomato, which however contain significant quantities. This metal is actually present everywhere, even in tap water, in industrial food such as snacks and breads of various kinds, in cigarette smoke. In the case of a true overt allergy, complete abstention from the metal may be necessary; however, in the presence of intolerance, a marked improvement of symptoms is often achieved with an elimination diet, which avoids all foods with a higher nickel content, and to follow with a food rotation diet. Follow us …

How nickel allergy manifests itself
The most common symptoms are: dermatitis and itching, even by contact; canker sores or inflammation of the mouth and gums; abdominal bloating; general malaise; fatigue; nausea; headache; overweight. The symptoms, which can develop over time, are also determined by the amount of nickel that the body ingests or with which it comes into contact.

What is due
It can appear when you touch an object that contains nickel: zippers and buttons, jewelry, watches, keys, lighters, glasses, coins, plates, umbrella handles, kitchen utensils, sinks, needles, scissors and thimbles, paperweights, metal chairs door handles, hair dyes and liquids for the permanent; cosmetics containing oats. However, many commonly used foods should be added to the list which, including small amounts of nickel (nickel sulphate), can trigger or aggravate the symptoms. Among the foods under accusation there are cocoa, licorice, lentils, hazelnuts and beans that provide more doses than other foods where nickel is only found in traces.

Do you want to know if you are allergic to nickel? Do this …
Take a one-euro coin and place it between the arm and the forearm, on the inside, holding it in place with an anallergic plaster. After 48 hours, remove the patch and coin: if you have formed a pomfo, there is a good chance that you are allergic to nickel. Then contact your doctor to take the appropriate examinations.

FOOD NO
Tomato; cocoa powder, dark and milk chocolate; walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds and oily fruits in general; licorice; tender; corn in beans (produced from cornmeal in moderation), oats, buckwheat, whole wheat bread, millet; blonde beer; beef liver; smoked herring, mussels, oysters and all crustaceans; kiwis, pears, prunes, grapes and raisins; soy and derivatives; peas, lentils, lettuce, beans, string beans, onions, asparagus, spinach; mushrooms; foods of industrial origin, especially if they contain “hydrogenated vegetable oils” and canned foods.

FOODS Yes
In moderation, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, pumpkin, zucchini are permitted; carrots; mustard; polished rice, 00 flour, rice cakes; fruit (except kiwis, pears, plums, grapes and raisins); jam (as long as homemade and cooked in aluminum pots); coffee; green tea; olive oil; eggs. They are allowed in free quantities: meat; fish (except for smoked herrings, mussels, oysters and crustaceans); milk and derivatives (butter, cheese, yogurt); potatoes. To cook the food, the pans of cast iron, anodised aluminum or stainless steel without nickel are indicated.

A useful supplement: perilla oil, which acts as an anti-allergic and has no side effects.
La Perilla (Perilla frutescens) is a plant of the Chinese and Japanese phytotherapeutic tradition, used for years in folk medicine throughout Southeast Asia. It has a very strong natural activity as an adjuvant in preventing and normalizing allergic reactions, probably thanks to the presence of components (flavonoids) in a particular form. 2 pearls are taken, 2-3 times a day.

Weight Loss with the cyclic ketogenic diet

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The Cycling Ketogenic Diet is a diet that allows you to eat carbohydrates for one or two days, or following an interval of 36 hours of carbohydrates or breaking the diet with one day of carbohydrates every three.

The ketogenic diet consists of eating a very low dose of carbohydrates (not more than 20/30 grams of carbohydrates per day, usually the equivalent of a lot of vegetables, a few walnuts and a portion of blueberries), a normal amount of protein and a other share of fats. One of the disadvantages of this diet is that you can never eat carbohydrates so as not to interrupt the process of ketosis, that for which the body uses fats instead of sugars, including our fat reserves, to live.

A diet that ensures in almost 90 percent of the results a weight loss, with the inconvenience not just that it is not sustainable in the long term to avoid health problems, and that we can not theoretically make a day off in which we enjoy some biscuits, a dessert or a plate of pasta.

A solution, however, exists, and is called Cycling Ketogenic Diet: adopted by many athletes and many athletes who want to go in definition (or must have a lean but muscular body, and to do this they must lose only fat mass), the Cycling Ketogenic Diet is a diet that allows you to eat carbohydrates for one or two days, or following an interval of 36 hours of carbohydrates (from Friday night to Saturday night, for example) or breaking the diet with one day of carbohydrates every three.

The rest of the days is keto type, that is, without carbohydrates. In the days when you eat carbohydrates you should:

  • Avoid physical activity
  • However, prefer low-glycemic carbohydrates or moderate glycemic meals: legumes and vegetables, pasta and legumes, wholemeal pasta or brown rice and vegetables, balanced meals with whole grains or potatoes, fish or eggs and vegetables.
  • Eat too much fruit.

This allows anyone not to get tired doing a ketogenic diet and to give the body a reserve of sugar that does not affect weight loss but makes the ketogenic diet more sustainable in terms of health and more suitable for the sportsman. Obviously you lose a lot of weight, the metabolism remains high but there is a but: how many carbohydrates eat in the day or in the days of carbohydrates?

The idea is not to eat too much sugar, but maybe to indulge in just one dessert. The carbohydrate dose is high, and on the days of carbohydrates it is good to keep the fats under control, but there is no precise index. And not even a precise calorie roof. Here is a diagram of the CKD diet, with the choice of 36 hours of high carb diet once a week:

From Sunday to Friday afternoon

  • Breakfast with scrambled eggs and a whole yoghurt with a spoon of dehydrated coconut and leaf almonds, coffee or tea without sugar.
  • Snack with blueberries with sugar-free cream.
  • Lunch with red or white meat or fish, vegetables, free condiments based on oil or butter, no to beets, potatoes or carrots.
  • Snack with half avocado.
  • Dinner with grilled cheese and vegetables or red meat or fish and vegetables, free condiments based on oil or butter.
  • Snack with a handful of almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts (no peanuts).

 

On Friday evening you can eat a plate of vegetables for dinner, with a fruit after meal.

On Saturday we can eat toasted wholemeal bread or even a croissant, coffee or tea.

Snacks made with fruit, lunch with pasta, rice or cereals and vegetables, dinner with potatoes, vegetables and legumes, for example, and a chocolate dessert, or dinner with a pizza.

It would also be appropriate to have a vegetarian meal on Fridays and vegan on Saturdays, so as to give a break to the intestine from animal proteins. It is better to eat carbohydrates and not exercise at all, leaving physical activity on the days when you do not eat carbohydrates. On the other days of the week, three physical activity sessions can be held.

Discover the new natural anti-wrinkles

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They come from far away Peru: extracts of macao, alchechengi, amaranth and cacao return compactness to the skin off …

When Pizarro conquered the Inca empire he concentrated on the gold deposits to offer to the queen of Spain, but if he had deepened his exploration he would discover the true treasures of Peru: its natural products, powerful remedies for healthy, compact and resistant skin. One of the prerequisites of ancient Peruvian medicine is the maintenance of an organism full of energy and resistant to the passing of years: at Andean altitudes, where the Inca lived, it was very important to have food and herbs that would provide protection against aggression. of the cold. Unfortunately, it is not the case with most of the foods we consume today, such as refined carbohydrates, sugars and yeasts that, instead of bringing energy, unfortunately they subtract it. And less energy also means less defenses against free radicals and polluting factors that age the organism ahead of time. Let’s see how the Peruvian extracts can restore energy to the skin and to the whole organism.

 

In the morning, drink an Anti-oxidant shake

To start the day well, especially if you are over 40 years old and approach menopause, entrust yourself to physalis and maca powder: at breakfast or as a snack in the middle of the morning, drink a milkshake prepared with a cup of almond milk, half a banana , 5-6 berries of physalis and two teaspoons of maca powder. The yellow berry of alchechengi, similar to tomato and full of vitamin A and C and the famous enzyme “superoxydismutase”, fights the damage of free radicals, helps prevent cell degeneration and tone the skin from within, promoting the production of collagen . Maca powder is obtained from the root of an adaptogenic plant similar to ginseng grown over 4000 meters. It has an extraordinary content of essential amino acids, B vitamins and vitamin C which, acting in synergy, raise a shield against smog and free radicals.

 

Then apply the mask maca and cacao

If you want to use an external treatment because the skin is off and “slammed”, try this method: mix in a bowl half a tablespoon of white clay, half a tablespoon of maca powder and half a tablespoon of cacao powder in organic bitter powder. Emulsify with a little organic whole milk, moisturizing and nourishing, to form a thick and homogeneous cream. Apply to dry and clean face and leave for about 20 minutes. Then rinse with warm water and you will see the most radiant and toned skin. Maca acts on the loss of epidermal tone due to hormonal imbalances. Pure cacao, rich in antioxidant flavonoids, reduces the fine lines of the face and thanks to the theobromine improves the superficial cutaneous microcirculation.

 

Trust the amaranth, the invigorating cereal

After the maca and cocoa mask, deeply nourish the skin with amaranth oil. Amaranth – a cereal cultivated by the Inca for eight thousand years and now widespread throughout the planet – consume seeds that are similar to cereals, which is why it falls into the category without actually being part of it. Gluten-free and with a light walnut aftertaste, the amaranth brings minerals and proteins. If you suffer from high cholesterol or, more simply, if you want to nourish your skin from the inside, add the amaranth seeds to your soups or boil them and use them as a “base” for the cous cous.

4 Solutions To Increase Energy

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Are you always tired? Do you close your eyes as soon as you sit down? And you probably do not have time to rest because you have too much to do. We all felt that way. Here are some ways that can help give you an extra boost.

Early morning stunning. Whether it’s caused by a blank night with friends or if you’re having trouble sleeping, getting up in the morning can be difficult.

Solution: Drink a full glass of water and spray cold water on your face as soon as you wake up. This helps stimulate the senses faster. Solutions to increase energy

Stress negatively affects energy. When under stress, the body releases cortisol, which can cause fatigue and tiredness.

Solution: Take a cup of green tea. While coffee can give a boost, often large amounts of caffeine can cause nervousness and anxiety. Green tea is rich in antioxidants, does not contain too much caffeine and provides EGCG, a flavonoid that improves focus and reduces stress.

The lack of sleep can have negative effects on the rest of the day. Sleep allows the body to rebuild and create new cells it needs to function at an optimal level. It has been proven that if you do not sleep for at least eight hours, your mood, work, and motivation during the day may be affected.

Solution: If you feel tired but do not have time for a nap, go out and visit a friend. The act of moving and chatting with someone can help to stimulate the mind and body, giving you the energy you need for the rest of the day

Did not you have breakfast? You will miss it. Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day as it provides the strength for the rest of the day: natural glucose to the brain and muscles to promote energy and vigilance.

Solution: If you can not have a breakfast full of complex carbohydrates and vitamins, eat a quick snack like a couple of hard-boiled eggs. The natural protein in the egg whites promotes lasting energy, while the B vitamins in the yolk contribute to converting food into usable energy.