Health & Fitness

Anti-Aging Secrets Of The Simple Sicilian Diet

When many of us think of Italy, we immediately think of food. Having previously ventured to Tuscany, I can’t help but be transported back to visions and smells of beautiful tomatoes, olives, cheese and, of course, wine, whenever I think of the country. It has been said, for years, that the secret of old age and good health in Sicily is as a result of their diet. So, what is it that is so damn good for you?

How to Grow Old Healthily

There is an area of Sicily, The Sicilian Mountains, where the prevalence of centurions is twice that of any other area in Europe – 4.32 per 10,000 inhabitants. Although there are numerous reasons why this may be the case – healthy social environment, fresh air, minimal stress etc – it is strongly considered that their diet also plays a huge role.

The beauty of the centurions and pre-centurions in the Sicilian Mountains is that they also live active lives, often free of any serious disease or ailment. Studies have put this down to their diet, just as much as the aforementioned environmental factors. So what is the secret of the Sicilian diet?

Eat Conservatively

In a research conducted with two of the Sicilian Mountains’ centurions, it was discovered that they eat only 1200 calories a day. On top of this, the diet is very simple, with bread, milk, vegetables, legumes, pasta, fresh cheese, a little meat and the occasional fish. They also tend to eat seasonally with regards to both fruit and vegetables, only eating local, organic produce, and compliment their meals with water and the occasional red wine.

This diet is complimented by the oil of locally-grown olives, which is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, polyphenols, coenzyme-Q and vitamin E. These provide terrific antioxidant effects and are said to offer a great defence against disease.

One of the key factors of this low-key, organic diet is the minimal presence of carbohydrates. There is no white bread, only a small amount of pasta, no fizzy drinks or tinned food and no ‘sweet treats’. This helps to limit blood-sugar.

Recreating the Diet at Home

In reality, recreating the diet at home is more about self-restraint and effort than anything too complicated. There are many who promote the idea of eating what is locally available and this is becoming increasingly straight forward. Of course, fruit and vegetables are available in abundance and too it is possible in most areas to get fresh cheese and fish.

The real issue is avoiding the bad things, as opposed to getting hold of the good things. Growing out of the habit of snacking between meals would be a good step and, if this is not possible, then making sure you only snack on fruit an veg is the next best thing. It would also be good to avoid fizzy drinks and too much alcohol. This is not to say that you have to become teetotal overnight, but there is a big difference between the occasional glass of red and a six-pack of beer every night.

Although much of what has been said about the Sicilian diet is rather obvious, perhaps one slight surprise is Olive Oil. Although it has been advertised as being beneficial for good health for a long time, it is not as widely accepted as say fruit and veg. The results speak for themselves, however, and who is to argue with a 107-year-old Sicilian?

Why is Olive Oil good For You?

First of all, it has to be said that, like most things, the benefit you will reap from eating olive oil does hugely depend on the type you purchase. There are some simple tips to ensuring that you select the olive oil that offers the most health benefits.

Selecting the Best Olive Oil for Your Health

First of all, it is crucial that the olive oil you eat is fresh, as it’s health benefits don’t stand the test of time (unlike the Sicilians). Many experts suggest that how you select your olive oil should be similar to how you would select your wine. In this respect, you should consider – where it was bottled, when it was bottled and what olives were used.

For oil connoisseurs, a peppery tingle at the back of your throat is a clear indication of a quality olive oil. This comes from the antioxidant, oleocanthal. The greater the presence of oleocanthal in your olive oil, the greater the health benefits will be.

Unsurprisingly, Italy is at the top of the olive oil quality chain, with Sicily mentioned alongside Tuscany and Puglia as the best regions. Of course, the oil must use extra virgin olives too. Experts even suggest that you should purchase olive oil in darker containers (jars or tins), as this helps to prevent the photo-oxidisation and degrading of the oil.

Olive Oil and the Cardiovascular System

One area where olive oil carries the most benefit is in the cardiovascular system. It is a major source of Monounsaturated fatty acids (MFAs), which are seen as a healthy dietary fat. Simply, the regular consumption of olive oil reduces the chance of contracting cardiovascular diseases, such as Stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

In addition to this, the regular consumption of olive oil also helps to reduce swelling, which has a vast number of health benefits, and limits the hardening of the arteries associated with a lot of cardiovascular illness.

Psychological Impact

There is also a lot of research that suggests that eating olive oil, as opposed to trans-fats, can help to reduce numerous psychological conditions. These include both depression and Alzheimer’s. Indeed trans fat consumers have close to a 50% greater chance of suffering from depression than those who regular eat olive oil.

Don’t Splash it Everywhere

One thing to remember is that olive oil only carries health benefits in a small amount – DON’T DRENCH EVERYTHING YOU EAT IN IT!

James Harris is a chef who has spent a lot of time in Italy over the last decade. He is the author of a book on the importance of eating olive oil and supports companies like http://www.distinctive-tastes.com who promote its consumption in the US. he believes that not only can eating healthily extend your life, but too it can improve it exponentially.

Trying to quit smoking? Try these foods to help you

‘Kicking the butt!’ is a very common statement, which most people are trying to completely apply into their lives. You too must be among the many who are trying to give up smoking. You’ve tried all the alternatives and still nothing has worked? You’ve put in all your desire and dedication and still find yourself smoking the butt? Nicotine always ends up playing a temptress?

If ‘yes’ is your response to all these questions, don’t fret. What if you learnt that one way to quit is to eat? No kidding.

E-cigarette can work wonders if you truly want to quit smoking or try some of the non-addictive foods that help you truly kick the butt of the butts.

Image source: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2608/4170136164_b650ccca9a.jpg

Milk: Milky tales

A calcium rich drink, milk plays as an accomplice for aspiring-quitters. A study was carried out by Dukes University, which showed that smokers who drank milk before smoking detested the taste of their cigarettes.

If you are one of those people who detest drinking milk at all, try this: dip the butt into milk and let it dry. Then try smoking it. You will fling away the cigarette due to the horrid taste it leaves in your mouth. Do this every time before you smoke, so that you develop a negative association with cigarettes.

Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C is a beneficial vitamin to help you cut down on your nicotine cravings. Include oranges, sweet limes, raspberries and blueberries into your diet. These also help in repairing the skin damage caused due to smoking.

Salty foods

When you feel like smoking, what you should focus on is to kill this urge. When something salty touches the tip of your tongue, it mitigates the urge to smoke. Try eating on salty bites before you decide to smoke.

If eating salty foods isn’t your cup of tea, then carry a small box of salt. Lick a little of it using only the tip of your tongue.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Studies have shown as to how omega helps reduce smoking-induced vascular damage, which might even be acute. Arterial stiffness caused due to smoking is also improved through its intake.

Foods such as salmon, flax, soybeans are high in omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 also is good for clear skin and healthy hair.

Veggies

Veggies can help you reduce your nicotine-dependency. But this dependency can only be reduced when you eat veggies on a regular basis. Veggies like celery, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant and bitter gourd help you leave a bitter taste in your mouth if you smoke after eating them. But beware of sweet veggies like corn and peas as these increase your cravings for the butt.

The sugar content in these veggies sends stimulating messages to the brain, which in turn cause the cravings. The bets pick is to nibble on carrots throughout the day- of course while not ignoring your meals.

A study has proved that consuming fruits and vegetables has not only helped cut down on smoking, but also has helped people remain smoke-free. So after all, it’s truly said nothing is impossible, especially when you got healthy food around you.

About The Author: Vani Chugh is a professional blogger with a special interest in the technology and health niche. She currently writes blogs and guest posts for http://ecigarettereviewed.com

Reference Links:

http://www.rediff.com/getahead/slide-show/slide-show-1-health-six-foods-that-help-you-kick-the-butt/20110531.htm#7

http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/foods-to-help-you-quit-smoking

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-144840/How-right-food-help-smoking.html

Digestion Trouble? Four Ideas For Helping Restore Natural Digestion

 Digestive discomfort is a nearly universal experience at some point in life. That doesn’t mean, however, that it needs to be ongoing. Here are a few tips and tricks from the healthcare experts, sure to settle most tummy troubles for good.

Drink plenty of water

Did you know that your gut depends on a good hydration status in order to keep everything in working order? Most of us, however, fall short of drinking nearly enough water on a daily basis. In some cases, simply starting the day with a tall glass of water improves fluid levels sufficiently to prevent the bloating or discomfort that can accompany sluggish digestion.

Get enough fiber

Dietary fiber, the indigestible part of carbohydrates, is an essential element for overall and digestive health. Unfortunately, most people only get about half as much fiber as they actually need. This can be overcome by simply adding a natural fiber supplement like those offered by www.naturessunshine.com.

Adequate dietary fiber provides a number of health benefits. Notably, adjusting fiber levels can abate both diarrhea and constipation. As an additional benefit, fiber enhances the body’s natural detoxification capacity by absorbing toxins from the digestive track and carrying them out of the body. As a result, when you supplement your diet with fiber, your abdominal discomfort quickly diminishes and your long-term health improves.

Give it time

The digestive system does much of its work while we sleep, making the morning time essential for managing intestinal health. Unfortunately, mornings are all too often rushed and leave little time for the peace and quite the belly needs to finish its job. Instead, slow down a bit and include even an extra ten minutes and watch how digestive discomfort is soon diminished.

Stay active

It seems every bit of health advice always includes a mention of exercise and digestive health is no exception. Although a gassy, bloated belly seems like the least appealing of fitness companions, getting active ensures it won’t stick around for long. In response to the body’s own reflexes, even a long walk can do wonders to stimulate healthy digestion.

For best results, try combining all four. Set the alarm early enough to take a fiber supplement with a tall glass of water first thing in the morning and then set out for a brisk walk. Don’t worry about going to fast or too far, just get going. Before you know it, you’ll be on a path to great digestive health.

Foods That Cause Bad Breath

When it comes to food that causes bad breath, not all food is created equal. Certain foods are prone to cause a foul smell to develop on people’s breath more quickly than others. Here is a list of types of food that leave a not so pleasant odor on your breath:

Foods That Contain Sugar

If you’re concerned about foods that cause bad breath, foods that contain sugar are probably the number one type of food to avoid. Sugary food creates harmful bacteria. This bacteria causes plaque build up on your teeth and gums. Avoid sugary drinks as well, such as soda and coffee.

Foods That Are Acidic

Foods with lower than a pH of 7 are considered acidic. Acidic food heightens the pH level in your mouth. Bacteria in your mouth thrive on this acidity. Some acidic foods include:

  • Lemons
  • Grapefruits
  • Oranges
  • Vinegar
  • Tomatoes
  • Beef
  • Peppers

Foods That Cause Dry Mouth

A dry mouth helps the bacteria that causes bad breath because these bacteria are killed when exposed to oxygen which is found in saliva. So, when your mouth is dry, it doesn’t have enough oxygen to kill this bad breath causing bacteria. Drinking alcohol and smoking are two habits that cause dry mouth.

Food That Easily Gets Stuck In Teeth

Saliva is a natural way for your mouth to break down food and rinse it off your teeth, but some foods are fibrous or sticky and easily get stuck in between teeth. These left behind particles fuel odor causing bacteria that lead to bad breath. Some foods that easily get stuck in or stain teeth include:

  • Meat
  • Popcorn
  • Caramel
  • Chewy Candy
  • Spinach
  • Banana
  • Coffee

Foods With A Strong Odor

Foods such as garlic, salsa, and onions are notorious for leaving a strong smell on your breath. The reason foods like garlic leave behind strong odor is because they contain sulfur compounds. These sulfur compounds are what bacteria produce that cause bad breath.

How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath

Now that you know the types of food that cause bad breath, here are a few tips on how to get rid of bad breath.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

The easiest way to avoid bad breath is to practice good oral care. Brush and floss twice a day to remove the bacteria and plaque that cause bad breath. Also make sure to visit your dentist twice a year for a checkup and professional cleaning.

Clean Your Tongue

Your tongue is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and is usually the reason for bad breath. Most people don’t clean their tongue as a part of their oral care routine. Try to brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. You can also invest in a tongue scraper for a more effective cleaning.

Chew Sugar-free Gum

You might reach for a mint or a piece of gum to mask your bad breath, but if the mint or gum isn’t sugar-free, you are actually adding to the problem. Bacteria in your mouth ferment sugar, which lead to bad breath. So, next time you reach for a piece of gum, make sure it’s sugar free.

Stay Hydrated

Your saliva contains protective enzymes that kill bacteria, and when you have a dry mouth, you are contributing to your bad breath. Stay hydrated to help stimulate salivary glands. If you’re drinking tons of water but are still experiencing dry mouth, you should see your dentist.

Trisha Banks is a blogger for Lakeway Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Lakeway, Texas. Trisha wants to know what types of food cause bad breath and how to get rid of bad breath.

Cabernet Sauvignons Perfect For November

In November, a lot of wine enthusiasts will put aside the summer bliss and dig into something heartier and more muscular. We can hope that’s because wine drinking is actually healthy and good for you, but the truth is that wine tastes great, it’s reassuring and it enriches all of our lives beyond measure. Especially the red stuff.

While lighter, whiter, colder wines go well at the height of the year, come the cold of November, you’re going to be sipping something more memorable and Cabernet Sauvignon should be a part of that memory. Colder weather is going to call for heavier wines, but also cheerier, more full-bodied and fun to drink. For that the level of tannins comes into play.

Cabernet Sauvignon was, for most of the twentieth century, the most popular wine grape in the world. Merlot has surpassed it in acres cultivated, but Cabernet still wears the crown of being one of the oldest, and best loved wines of France’s Bordeaux region where the grape was first cross bred in the 17th century, it’s still big and it’s still grown everywhere where grapes are grown. Though American producers will blend it a little more, up to 25% other grapes are allowed, that’s in part because it’s an expensive grape to grow.

Merlot lovers might beg to differ, but this is a very standard red wine, and a good choice for all kinds of November celebrating. While tannins and acidity are generally medium, the varieties of oak barrels in which most Cabernets are aged will give you a whole variety of flavors in addition to the strong cherry, currant and berry flavors that are nearly omnipresent. Tobacco, licorice, and vanilla are not unheard of and some of these are very sophisticated wines grown in a wide range of climates and soil types. Bell pepper and black pepper tastes are some of the most celebrated.

The 2005 Chateau Cos D’estournel Grand Cru Classe, St Estephe, for example, is a well-blended and magnificent Old World Bordeaux wine. Finally drinkable, (after seven long years) it’s not quite mature but still inky and purple in color, with a nose of sweet red and black fruits, camphor, cedar, and pain grille. It is extraordinarily well-defined, powerful, with high tannin and magnificent texture and richness. But you don’t have to go all out to still enjoy it. This one is for the true connoisseur.

Nearly all the Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux tends to be more herbal and floral. Yet 2005, 2008, and 2009 were all hailed as very good years across the region.

Still from France, but from a very new winery, the 2009 Chateau Domeyne Saint-Estephe Bordeaux is widely regarded as the best wine yet from the vineyard. At 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, the concentration is outstanding and it’s heavy on black currant, with hints of cedar and tobacco.

Similarly, the 2009 Chateau Faugeres Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux is fresh, a bit more acidic and a rich dense purple. Don’t be surprised by the notes of graphite, blueberry, black currants, and occasional charcoal. Full-bodied and intense, in some sense, this is what you thought wine would be like. This is an 85% Merlot blend, with just a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon, but it’s going to good with almost anything you serve.

If you want to stay with something more domestic, expect a slightly less tannic and less acidic grape. Though they tend to produce slightly more alcohol that tends to provide a warm, smooth finish to the American varieties of Cabernet, some of which are truly outstanding.

Try the 2006 Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards for example. Slightly peppery on pouring it will develop quickly with upon catching some air. The nose can include tobacco, blackberry and a little leather. Tannins are light and this is a bottle worth keeping as it will get better for some years.

Likewise, and equally outstanding, the 2005 Corison – Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley has been widely hailed as a total success, refined and with terrific structure. Harvested a good 30 days later than in warmer years, the 2005 ended up with a full range of Cabernet specific flavors including red and blue fruits that dip into purple and black notes and a slightly higher natural acidity. Warm and engaging, there’s a little allspice and nutmeg and cardamom, but overall, this is an excellent glass for get-togethers, planning parties and old friends.

There’s nothing like toasting November, and with a good Cabernet Sauvignon, you really can’t go wrong.

Featured images:

This article was written by James T, a writer and wine enthusiast in Mexico City.

Five Tips For Keeping Healthy Over The Winter

The cold winter months are traditionally known as cold and flu season. Despite this preconception, it is possible to keep healthy and get through the winter in good health. Taking the proper precautions and adhering to the following tips will help boost the immune system and ensure good health over the winter.

 

Increase Vegetable Intake

Increasing the amount of vegetable consumed daily plays a large role in boosting one’s health. Vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked, and should be eaten multiple times every day. Green, leafy vegetables contain the greatest amount of nutrients, so they should grace winter plates at least once a day.

 

Sleep at Least 8 Hours a Day

Most Americans are not getting the recommended amount of sleep needed. Lack of sleep leads to a weakened immune system and greater susceptibility to picking up a cold or flu virus. Making it a point to get enough sleep will do wonders as far as remaining healthy throughout the winter.

 

Take Natural Immune Boosters

One of the most potent, natural immune booster on the market is elderberry syrup. The concentrated syrup has been proven to be an anti-viral and it is incredibly effective at keeping the immune system strong and shortening the duration of any illness.

 

Keep Your Home Germ Free

Maintaining a germ free home is a great way to maintain your family’s health during the winter. The best way to keep germs out is to have family members and guests remove their shoes before entering the home. Everyone should also wash their hands as soon as they get home to eliminate any germs that they may have picked up at work, school or the store.

 

Stay Active

Physical activity is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy during the winter months. Exercising outdoors has the added benefits of getting fresh air into the lungs and an emotional boost thanks to the sunshine exposure. Some of the best outdoor activities for winter exercise are skiing and snow boarding. Having the best quality Rossignol gear for your snow based sports will let you perform your best thanks to having the proper equipment.

 

Following these five tips will ensure that you and your family will remain healthy over the winter. Practicing these tips will over time become habit and you will enjoy good health throughout the year.

Spinach Recalled Over Listeria Risk

Spinach Recalled Over Listeria Risk

Food recalls happen more often than you may think. There are a variety of reasons food will be recalled, but most of them have to do with health concerns. A lot of times foods are recalled for pre-emptive measures, instead of the food being completely contaminated. At times, it’s easier for the company to issue a recall, if there’s a potential that an illness can be traced back to the food, than it is to deal with the consequences if a full-blown contamination was in effect.

In this article we’re going to highlight a recent food recall from a BI-LO store in Georgia. The Spinach Antipasti salad was recalled due to a risk over the bacteria contaminant Listeria. This was a localized re-call, although sometimes larger scale recalls do go into effect.

Why do food recalls occur?

Food recalls generally occur when there is a warranted enough reason that the food might be contributing to the illness of consumers. On smaller scale recalls the distributor or the food manufacturer will put the recall into effect. However, if it’s a large enough recall then the FDA or USDA will issue a more widespread recall. The main health reasons recalls occur are due to: allergens being present in the food, discovering an illness carrying organism, and mislabeling food.

What company produced the contaminated product?

The Spinach Antipasta Salad was produced by Taylor Farms, and was sold in the deli case. This spinach is said to have been contaminated with Listeria. Recently, there was a much larger recall associated with Reser’s Fine Foods, which was also due to Listeria contamination. This more widespread contamination gave BI-LO foods enough reason to issue the recall.

Was anyone harmed before the recall went into effect?

According to this specific incident there was no direct reports associated with this salad’s consumption. However, it’s hard to trace back the timing of an incident and the point at which someone gets sick. Often it’s hard to tell if the recalled food is directly responsible, unless there has been multiple accounts of illness.

BI-LO, the company who sold the spinach is asking anyone who purchased the spinach to immediately discard it and get a refund.

Spinach and salad greens are commonly recalled products as they are grown close to the ground and run a higher risk of contamination than other fruits and vegetables. There are usually several recalls a year concerning spinach and other related products.

What are the effects of Listeria?

There are a ton of physical effects that may point towards Listeriosis, including: muscle aches, fever, stiff joints, confusion, gastrointestinal problems, and loss of balance. Anyone who is experiencing any of these symptoms should see their doctor as soon as possible.

I hope this article has been valuable and you have a better understanding of how food recalls work, and why they occur. It’s important to keep up on the latest food recalls, as you wouldn’t want to put the health of yourself or your family at risk.

Sources:

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/10/bi-lo-store-in-ga-recalls-spinach-antipasti-salad-over-listeria-risk/#.UnmaJ5RgZjY

Zane Schwarzlose writes for The Law Offices of WT Johnson, a food poisoning lawyer in Dallas, Texas. Zane thinks that listeria doesn’t sound very fun.

Mood Enhancing Foods To Get You Through The Day

It’s strange how certain foods can make us feel better when we eat them. For many it is going to be things such as chocolate and ice cream while for others it will be comfort food. The meals we had as children would often be filling and stodgy and when having them as an adult there is the same feeling of security and being cared for that we had back then.

Why Chocolate Makes Us Feel Good

Mainly it will be the taste and the melt in the mouth texture that makes us enjoy it. No other sweets or candy have quite the same effect. Research shows that there are opioids in chocolate and as it is also found in opium it is clear that there is going to be a good feeling given. The brain recognises them and enjoys the feeling. It is also stuffed with sugar and caffeine so there will be that sense of excitement when it is being eaten.  As well as the physical effects, chocolate is given as a romantic offering and this will make women feel looked after when they eat it – even if they have bought it themselves. There are links to chocolate improving the sex life as the brain has released chemicals that make people feel good and this will lead to a desire for sex. Knowing that a small amount of dark chocolate can also be good for your overall health makes it even more enticing.

How to Get That Sunny Day Feeling

Most people feel better on a sunny day and the trick is to know how to get that feeling even when there are clouds in the sky and strong threats of rain. It may not seem to be something that will make us feel good, especially when you consider the smell, but oily fish will work. Very few foodstuffs contain vitamin D but here is one that does. Thanks to this, there is serotonin produced in the body and hey presto, we are feeling better than we did. Another product that will have the same effect is the banana. Here it can be a combination of the bright colour and the make-up of the fruit, and it has been synonymous with health and well being for a long time. Again serotonin is produced but here thanks to the tryptophan found in the banana. They also helps to reduce stress as they are full of potassium, and then to complete the hat trick, blood sugars can be regulated thanks to the existence of Vitamin B6.

Greens Really Are Good For You

It may be hard to get children to eat their greens, but as an adult it is a food group that is going to boost your mental wellbeing. Depression can creep up very quickly and there is a lot of folic acid included in many greens and while it has long been know that folic acid is good for pregnant women it is now known to help fight the blues.

While not a food, coffee is also effective and is the ideal drink to have at the start of the day. It makes you feel more alert and also works on the pleasure part of the brain in the same way that amphetamines do.

Author Bio –

This article is submitted by Kate Shaw, a certified fitness trainer and yoga instructor. She shares health and fitness tips through her articles. She recommends the Garcinia Cambogia to people who want to lose their weight quickly.

Making Healthy Cheesecake.

Cheesecake is a delicious, irresistible dessert that is usually loaded with fat, sugar and calories. Fortunately, there are many ways to make this decadent treat healthier while still tasting like the real thing. From incorporating nuts and seeds into the crust to light and fresh toppings and smart ingredient swaps for the filling, you can easily transform cheesecake into a luscious and nutritious dessert the whole family can enjoy without feeling guilty.

Transform the Filling

Most of the fat and calories in a traditional cheesecake are contained in the rich filling. There are many low-fat alternatives available. If you still want to use cream cheese, use a low-fat version. Try using tofu, which offers a silky texture. Cottage cheese that is finely blended makes for a rich and creamy filling alternative. Greek yogurt is another ideal substitute because it is rich in protein but lower in calories than cream cheese. Experiment by using half dairy, half fruit filling, such as canned pumpkin or steamed and mashed butternut squash.

Add Fresh Fruit Topping

Any fruit can make a healthy topping for cheesecake, but berries in particular are an ideal pairing. Berries are rich in antioxidants and fiber. Eating berry-topped cheesecake will leave you feeling full quicker, cutting down on your consumption. Cherries are a traditional cheesecake topping that are a good match because of their sweet and distinct flavor. Try tropical fruit like kiwi and mango for a refreshing summertime treat.

Crust Makeover

The traditional cheesecake has a crust made of graham cracker crumbles. There are many ingredients that can easily be added to a cheesecake crust to give it a nutritious boost. Grind or chop up nuts—almonds, pecans, walnuts and macadamia nuts are particularly good, especially when spiced with cinnamon. Nut crusts have a tendency to burn quickly so follow the recipe instructions closely. If you can’t resist that graham cracker flavor, mix in a handful of crushed high-fiber cereal or flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds with the graham cracker crumbles for a healthy compromise.

Reduce the Sugar

By adding fruit, you can reduce the sugar in your favorite cheesecake recipe because fruit imparts a natural sweetness. Fruit can be blended with the filling ingredients as well as scooped on top of the cheesecake. Use alternative sweeteners instead of sugar in the filling and crust. Try natural sweeteners like honey, coconut nectar, maple syrup and agave nectar which tend to have a richer flavor than sugar so you can use less than the recipe calls for.

Shrink the Size

Consider creating a healthier cheesecake in individual portions by baking them in a muffin tin. This limits your serving size and discourages you from cutting an extra generous slice from a traditional-sized cheesecake. Miniature cheesecakes are also easier to transport so they make the perfect after-lunch treat at work. Better yet, bring the rest of the batch to work and share with your co-workers so you are not tempted to binge.

There are many creative ways to transform cheesecake from a naughty dessert to a healthier indulgence. Of course, moderation is key so stick to one small serving to maximize the health benefits. Whenever possible, use fruit versus unhealthy cheesecake toppings such as chocolate chips and caramel sauce. Skip the cookie crumbs and whip up your own cheesecake crust by using a combination of nuts or healthy cereal. Experiment with low-fat dairy options for the cheesecake filling. Try swapping one healthier ingredient each time you make your favorite cheesecake recipe until you completely transform your favorite dessert into a guilt-free treat.

Hannah Jameson is a professional blogger that shares advice on healthy cooking. She writes for RecipeChart.com, where you can find all kinds of healthy and delicious recipes.

Vegetarianism And Risk Of Tooth Decay

Whether becoming vegetarian is a personal choice or a medical choice, keeping a balanced diet is pertinent to reducing risk of tooth decay and other oral diseases. Eating a nutritious diet is not just for reducing heart disease!

Are vegetarians at risk?

While a vegetarian diet can provide health benefits, when eliminating certain food groups (like protein and calcium), it is important to supplement that diet with vegetables and alternatives that fulfill those food group requirements. If you’re an adult on a prolonged vegetarian diet, you should be aware that not fulfilling your protein and calcium food group can increase your risk of periodontal (gum) disease.

What Does Calcium and Protein Do For Teeth?

Calcium contributes to bone development, bone strengthening, and healthy tooth enamel. It is important to increase calcium intake when we get older because calcium absorption does not work as well, making us more prone to getting osteoporosis. Proteins are typically rich in Vitamin D and phosphorous, promoting healthy teeth and reducing tooth decay.

Vegetarian Teeth-Healthy Diet Suggestions:

  1. Kale. This vegetable ranks among one of the highest in the amount of calcium it has per serving (1 cup). Not only is kale in season during the winter, but there are multiple ways you can eat and prepare kale: steamed, raw in a salad, featured in a soup, or baked as kale chips! If you don’t like kale, consider eating arugula, turnip greens, or broccoli rabe. These vegetables are packed with calcium.
  2. Fish. To supplement your Vitamin D requirement, certain types of fish such as Mackerel, Atlantic Herring, Salmon, or sardines pack loads of Vitamin D. Baked, fried, grilled, or eaten raw, incorporating fish into your diet will boost your Vitamin D, reducing your risk of soft teeth. If you do not eat fish, some alternative options are tofu or white button mushrooms.
  3. Almonds, dried soybeans, or wheat bran. Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 contribute to healthy cellular growth and maintain the supply of your other B vitamins. Although it is arguable that there is nothing that is plant-based to supplement any B vitamins, if you are a strict vegetarian, you can eat almonds, dried soybeans, or wheat bran as supplement. While this does not directly relate toward healthy bone and teeth growth, eating foods with B vitamins are pertinent to a healthy diet.
  4. Tempeh, miso, nutritional yeast. On the note of B vitamins, Vitamin B12 is essential in cell growth and blood formation. This vitamin also contributes in assisting your body in protein metabolization.

If you’re a seasoned vegetarian and have incorporated these foods in your diet, keep on doing so – your teeth will thank you later. If you’re a new vegetarian, this can act as a starter’s guide.

It is also important that you tell your dental professional about your dietary restrictions, they may have more helpful tips and suggestions to keep those pearly whites healthy!

Are any of your readers vegetarians? Let me know in the comments below about any dental problems you’ve had due to your diet. I’d love to hear about them.

Thu Nguyen is writing on behalf of Austin Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, an Austin-based oral surgery practice. Thu isn’t a vegetarian but finds the possible dental implications to be quite interesting.