brain health

Lets Hear it for Real Fat!

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

Fats are hydrophobic. In other words, fats repel water. Even oil-based emulsions like mayonnaise rely on a third party to hold each tiny droplet of oil in suspension—egg yolk, mustard, or certain starches are common choices. Despite what some folks tell you, food fried at higher temperatures actually absorb more oil than those fried at cooler temperatures.  Natural oils and fats are traditional cooking mediums.  Today’s best options are cold pressed, extra virgin oils, and organic humanely raised animal fats.  The more filtered an oil, the lower the mineral and polyphenol content. Always buy oils that are solvent-free.

Fats conduct heat and can do so at higher temperatures than water. When you baste a roast in fatty pan drippings, that coating functions as a temperature buffer, allowing your food to heat evenly and preventing the exterior from drying out before the interior is fully cooked. Under normal conditions, water cannot be heated past its boiling point of 212° F at sea level, whereas fats can reach temperatures of 400-500° F.

Fats lubricate food preventing sticking to cookware surfaces.

Fats add or enhance flavor and enhance textural nuances of foods. This is vital for “mouth feel.” Many of the flavor compounds that make herbs and aromatics such compelling seasonings are what we call fat-soluble, meaning they will actually spread and coat your tongue better when they are immersed in lipids. Using fat in anything from marinades to braises helps coax out, layer, and evenly distribute flavors.

Monounsaturated oils, specifically olive oil increase the nutrients available through digestion. The tradition of tomatoes and olive oil is well supported by research; the antioxidant content of the tomatoes increases when combined with olive oil.

Traditionally, oils are extracted from nuts and seeds through mechanical crushing and pressing. If bottled immediately, the oil is a cold-pressed “raw” or “virgin” oil, which tends to retain its natural flavor and color. Virgin in the case of olive oil also signifies only the perfect fruits were used. Unrefined oils have higher levels of minerals, enzymes, and other compounds highly sensitive to heat and tend to be susceptible to rancidity; these are the oils best-suited to drizzling, dressings, and lower temperature cooking.

To produce oil with a high smoke point, manufacturers use industrial-level refinement; bleaching, filtering, and high-temperature heating to extract and eliminate extraneous compounds. This produces a neutral-flavored oil with a long shelf life and a higher smoke point.

Clarified butter and ghee follow the same basic concept: a process designed to extract more heat-sensitive components; milk solids—from fat to raise its smoke point.    When heated past its smoke point, fat starts to break down, releasing free radicals.

 

Health Benefits of Traditional Fats

Fats speak to the integral health of our whole body. Without healthy fats, we would not exist. [1]

 

Olive Oil is not only one of the oldest oils still in use for cooking, but it also has some impressive science to support its use for health. The unrefined olive oil contains minerals, vitamins and compounds that serve as anti-inflammatories. This is especially important when it comes to brain health. [2], [3], [4]  The antioxidants in olive oil are essential for aiding the digestive system in absorbing nutrients found in vegetables. Especially those high in carotenoids; winter squash, carrots, tomatoes, lycopene: tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, kale and xanthine; dark greens, cruciferous vegetables, chard.

For a maximum flavor reach for extra virgin olive oil, you may want several types on hand providing a delicate fruity or strong peppery flavor.  For times when you don’t want a lot a pronounced flavor, you can use “Classic” olive oil or “Pure.”

How you plan to use each type of olive oil matters because the flavor is affected by cooking. Olive oils, especially extra-virgin, have a varying range of smoke points, this depends on the type of olive, where it was grown, and how it was produced.

The International Olive Council (IOC) in Madrid, Spain, sets the grades and standards for world olive oil trade, which members of the North American Olive Oil Association agree to follow. [5]

To Traditional Foods made with Care and Intention, Flavored with Love.

 

Our Journey With Food Cookery BookExcerpt from Our Journey with Food Cookery Book

[1] https://www.eufic.org/en/whats-in-food/article/facts-on-fats-dietary-fats-and-health

[2] Extra-virgin olive oil preserves memory, protects brain against Alzheimer’s;  June 21, 2017,  Temple University Health System: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170621103123.htm

[3] Extra‐virgin olive oil ameliorates cognition and neuropathology of the 3xTg mice: role of autophagy; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553230/

[4] Mediterranean-type diet and brain structural change from 73 to 76 years in a Scottish cohort; http://n.neurology.org/content/early/2017/01/04/WNL.0000000000003559.short?sid=f6a60041-6b89-41fe-827d-49a0f92359fa

[5] Grades of Olive Oil; https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/grades-of-olive-oil-video?utm_campaign=olive%20oil%20videos&utm_content=77894857&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

 

CLEANING HOUSE – BY REGULARLY DETOXIFYING

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

An effective detoxification program will not ask you to make any dramatic lifestyle and dietary changes. Healthier food and lifestyle choices are generally made on a subconscious level. Once the body begins to eliminate toxins, it will naturally start craving foods that will nourish it at an optimum level. That said, there are undoubtedly many things you can do to maximize the benefits of the cleanse you’re on from day one, and certain foods will help maintain the benefits of the detox for much longer.

A detox diet is a short-term diet, often 3- to 21 days, focused on removing toxins from the body. Although detoxification is ongoing in the body, toxins and stress prevent us from doing it optimally, which eventually affects our health. A detox diet allows our bodies to focus on self-healing, with the goal being to raise energy levels, stimulate digestive health, clear headaches, remove bloating, improve concentration and mood, avoid getting allergies, regain our natural ability to ward off colds and flu and prevent premature aging and disease.

In natural health writings from the 1900’s, it was common to see articles on digestive cleansing with tonics, enemas, fasting, and herbs. Detoxification has been practiced for centuries by many cultures around the world — including Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

The sad but undeniable truth is many are living in an environment toxic to their bodies, take a look at the following information:

How does detoxification work?

Basically, detoxification means cleaning the blood. It does this by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph, and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered, and every cell in the body is adversely affected.

Many health ailments–headaches, exhaustion, and muscle cramps–are coming from toxicity. Toxins have been implicated in everything from increased risk of Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease to mental retardation and cancer.

A detox program can help the body’s natural cleaning process by:

  1. Resting organs through fasting;
  2. Stimulating the liver to eliminate toxins;
  3. Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys, and skin;
  4. Improving circulation;
  5. Refuel the body.

10 ways to detoxify

  1. Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed.
  2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking dandelion root, burdock, milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
  3. Vitamin C helps produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
  4. Drink at least two quarts of filtered water daily.
  5. Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
  6. Think positive thoughts.
  7. Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
  8. Sweat in a sauna to eliminate wastes through perspiration.
  9. Dry-brush your skin or try detox foot spas/foot baths to remove toxins through your pores.
  10. Exercise, yoga, qigong, mini-tramps or jump-roping are good. One hour every day.

Don’t forget

Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined and artificial sugars, fake fats found in margarine, and unfiltered tap water all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to detoxifying. Also, minimize use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants, and toothpastes), and substitute natural alternatives.

Stress triggers your body to release stress hormones into your body affecting every metabolic pathway necessary for detoxification. While these hormones can provide the “adrenaline rush” to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts, they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. Consider cutting out the news at dinner and bedtime add music that is around 60 beats per minute to calm the central nervous system throughout the day, all these are simple and effective ways to relieve stress.

People who are exhausted with low blood pressure may have adrenal weakness or fatigue. A detox diet is usually done after the adrenal glands have been replenished.

 

Eat Your Nuts

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

One of my favorite nuts is pecans for baking and cooking. They are softer and do not cause canker sores in the mouth like walnuts can. The buttery rich flavor of pecans makes them one of the most popular nuts native to American. They are rich in nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for health.

For over a millennia, pecans have been an important staple in the Native American food supply. Indigenous Americans are who taught early European colonists how to harvest, utilize, and store pecans as a vital source of nourishment through harsh winters.

Health Benefits of Pecans

Pecans offer unique benefits to the human diet; pecans are the top 15 foods known for their antioxidant activity, according to the USDA. Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.

A 2012 study reported eating a handful of pecans every day can help protect your nervous system by delaying age-related motor neuron degeneration, including ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

According to a study released in 2010 – “Epidemiologic studies have associated nut consumption with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease and gallstones in both genders and diabetes in women. Limited evidence also suggests beneficial effects on hypertension, cancer, and inflammation. Interventional studies consistently show that nut intake has a cholesterol-lowering effect, even in the context of healthy diets, and there is emerging evidence of beneficial effects on oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity. Blood pressure, visceral adiposity and the metabolic syndrome also appear to be positively influenced by nut consumption.”

Pecans are very rich sources of important B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. Together, these vitamins work as co-factors for the enzyme metabolism inside the human body.

Another phytochemical contributing to its antioxidant activity found in pecans is ellagic acid, which keep several carcinogenic properties from proliferating. Beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin in pecans contribute to reducing the effects of free radicals, protecting from disease, cancer, and infection. These American nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants. Regular addition of pecan nuts in the diet helps to decrease total as well as LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Pecans are rich sources of minerals. Manganese is excellent for your heart. Pecans contain copper, critical for energy production in your cells, magnesium (helping to maintain a healthy immune system, nerve function, heart rhythm, and muscle and bone strength) and zinc (for optimal immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, cell division, and wound healing). The phosphorus, iron, calcium, and selenium content in pecans hold their own as nutritional assets.

Candied Maple Pecans

4 cups raw pecans

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon filtered water

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground clove

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pinch of Celtic sea salt

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast the pecans for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly crispy and fragrant.

In a skillet over medium heat, warm the maple syrup and spices for about 5 minutes, until warm and slightly bubbling.

Stir in the warm roasted pecans and filtered water. Fold through for 3 to 4 minutes constantly stirring until the nuts caramelize.

Spread the pecans back on the lined baking tray, and allow to cool and harden for about 20 minutes.

Store in a sealed container.

 

Happy Holiday Season filled with real food, laughter, and love.

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/pecans.html#_edn1

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-nuts-linked-to-healthier-longer-life-201311206893

http://www.alz.org/research/science/alzheimers_prevention_and_risk.asp

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