Focus on learning with healthy fats!

Besides water, our brains are composed of mostly fat.  They need both to properly transmit signals.  When these signals are weak, it becomes more difficult to concentrate, remember things, and to control moods.

Omega-3 fats play an important role in allowing brain cells to transmit signals.  They also help the body to release serotonin, which can improve moods and relieve depression.

Children’s brains need omega-3 fats to help them stay calm and focused in the classroom.

Wild-caught fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are excellent sources of healthy fats.  Avoid farm-raised fish.  If you choose to take a fish oil supplement, buy one that’s certified mercury free.  I buy Sunshine Heroes Omega-3 with DHA to give to my grandkids.

Avocados contain omega-3 fats.  Serve slices with eggs for breakfast, or send some guacamole in your child’s lunch.  By the way, omega-3s are in the yolks of eggs, so if you’re just eating egg whites, you are throwing away “brain food”.

Nuts and seeds are easy and convenient sources of omega-3 fats, especially walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds.  Create your own trail mixes for school lunch boxes.  I fill a shaker bottle with raw hemp seeds to sprinkle on waffles, pancakes, peanut butter toast, oatmeal, etc.  My grandkids love them and call them “sprinkles”.

Flax Pancake (one serving):

1 egg (from pasture-raised chickens)

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

1 tablespoon unsweetened full-fat yogurt (with live probiotics)

1/2 teaspoon unsweetened almond extract (or vanilla)

a dash of mineral-rich salt (optional)

Whisk ingredients together and cook in a little unsalted organic butter, ghee, or coconut oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side.  Top with some pure maple syrup, hemp seeds, walnuts, berries, yogurt, applesauce, almond butter, cinnamon, etc.

Note:  You can substitute the yogurt with applesauce or plant milk (hemp, oat, almond, etc.).  It can be a little tricky to flip, so check for doneness on one side before you turn it.  Also, slide the spatula fully under the pancake and turn it quickly.

Variation:  Use 2 eggs and an additional tablespoon each of ground flax seed and yogurt.

Everyone needs omega-3 essential fatty acids, not just kids!  I often take a flax oil supplement, which is an incredibly rich source of omega-3s and has also been shown to help balance hormones.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–                                                                                                               “Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

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Fish for breakfast?

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and eat breakfast.’ . . . .Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.”  John 21:12a, 13

Jesus and His disciples started the day with a power breakfast to sustain their busy ministry.  Fresh fish is a healthy source of protein, potassium, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Whole-grain bread provides energy and fiber.

People who eat lots of fish seem to have thinner blood.  Norwegian scientists discovered that eating three ounces of mackerel daily could thin the blood within six weeks and reduce the risk of clogged arteries, heart attacks, and strokes.  Mackerel has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help lower blood pressure.

One study in Great Britain, involving hundreds of participants, showed that those who ate a diet heavy in fish developed higher levels of the good HDL cholesterol, even higher than those of vegetarians.

A study in The Netherlands compared those who ate one ounce of fish a week to those who ate none.  The risk of heart disease was 50% less among those who ate just one ounce of fish weekly!

Fish oils also seem to help reduce the risk of many cancers, including breast, lung, pancreatic, prostate, and colon.

A study at the University of Cincinnati of people with chronic migraines reported that 60% of those who took fish oil capsules had a reduction in both severity and frequency of headaches over a six-week period.  The average number of migraines dropped from two a week to two every two weeks.

Fish is often called ‘brain food’ for good reason!

Fish and its oils contain tyrosine, an amino acid that stimulates the brain to produce neurotransmitters that help us feel more alert.

DHA is a type of omega-3 fat that helps enhance brain health, including learning and memory.  It helps keep the lining of the brain cells flexible so memory messages can pass easily between cells.  The brain and retina of the eye contain the highest amounts of DHA of any tissues in the body.

Studies also indicate that taking fish oils can have positive anti-inflammatory benefits for skin and respiratory conditions, kidney disease, and menstrual cramps.

Tips for consuming fish and fish oil:

Choose wild-caught over farm-raised fish.

Mercury levels can be higher in larger fish like orange roughy (sea perch), blue fin tuna, yellow fin tuna, albacore tuna, bigeye tuna, ahi tuna, swordfish, shark, marlin, king mackerel, grouper, and catfish.

Lower levels of mercury are found in salmon, flounder, freshwater trout, mackerel, haddock, herring, mahi mahi, tilapia, whitefish, whiting, sole, pollock, and sardines.  Canned chunk light and skipjack have lower levels of mercury than other tunas.

Eat cilantro with your fish to help remove mercury.

Choose fish oils that are certified mercury free.

Eat fish with fins and scales, as they protect the fish from mercury, worms, parasites, and disease.

Cilantro Pesto

Process in blender until smooth:

1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves (preferably organic)

1/2 cup raw almonds

3 large garlic cloves (peeled)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon mineral-rich salt (more or less to taste)

1/4 cup organic parmesan cheese (optional)

To make it spicy and add a circulatory boost, add a few dashes of cayenne pepper.

Serve with fish, pasta, or fresh veggies.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–                                                                                                                               “Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com                                                                                                     Download your free 10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Two Brazil nuts a day may help keep the doctor away!

Brazil nuts contain selenium, a trace mineral essential to health.  Some of selenium’s impressive benefits include:

*Acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage.

*Helps maintain elasticity of the skin and other tissues.

*Aids function of the pancreas.

*Helps prevent hardening of the arteries and has anti-clotting effects in the blood.

*Helps convert thyroid hormone T4 to T3 (important for energy and metabolism).

*Reduces heavy metal toxicity.

*Enhances the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells.

*Helps improve male fertility, and important for the normal development of a baby during pregnancy.

*Helps prevent cataracts.

*Helps with dandruff and seborrhea.

Consider the following research:

Studies have shown that low levels of selenium are associated with heart disease, skin problems, cataracts, muscular dystrophy, various infections, growth retardation, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, eczema, and psoriasis.

There is a strong link between low levels of selenium and cancer, especially of the colon, prostate, ovary, breast, skin, bladder, and lungs, as well as leukemia.

Studies have shown reduced fertility due to selenium deficiency.

In Australia, studies show that there may be a relationship between crib death (SIDS) and selenium deficiency.

Research in the 1970s demonstrated the following benefits of selenium:

*Helps protect against radiation.

*Helps detoxify heavy metals such as mercury by preventing their absorption and aiding in excretion.

*In animal studies, selenium detoxified the cancer-fighting drug Adriamycin without interfering with its actions.

Selenium is best obtained from whole foods like Brazil nuts (by far, the top source), 100% whole grains, fish, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, sesame seeds, and butter and beef from grass-fed animals.  Brazil nuts are also a good source of vitamin E, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron.  Eat them whole or add them to your salads or smoothies.

The amount of selenium found in foods depends upon several factors:

*The condition of the soil–higher levels of selenium are generally found in western parts of The United States.  In areas where selenium levels are high, males show significantly lower overall cancer death rates.

*Fertilizers that contain sulfur can prevent the absorption of selenium from the soil by the plant.

*The benefits of selenium are reduced by heat, processing, and cooking.  Refining grains (enriched wheat, white rice, quick oats, etc.) can reduce selenium content up to 75%.  Selenium is in the bran of wheat and the polishings of rice.  Steel-cut oats are more nutritious than quick oats.

Supplementing with selenium can be tricky.  The safest and best absorbed forms are selenium yeast and selenomethionine.  The inorganic forms that are not well absorbed are sodium selenite and sodium selenate.  Sodium selenite may also inhibit absorption of vitamin C.  If you are taking a multi-vitamin/mineral or another supplement that contains selenium, check the label to find out which form it is.  The inorganic forms of selenium are often added to processed foods.

Have a cup of hibiscus or milk thistle tea for some added selenium!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–                                                                                                                      “Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

Get your free download–10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Spring Cleaning–Think “Green”!

Genesis 1:30b–“I have given you every green plant for food.”  The lifeblood of plants is in the chlorophyll that makes them green.  It helps to build our red blood cells and fight anemia.  Deep green vegetables contain folic acid, which helps to build blood and destroy toxins in the bloodstream.  Green leafy vegetables (kale, Swiss chard, spinach, etc.) contain lutein and zeaxanthan, substances that help to combat age-related vision problems.  Eat your green “medicine”!

Toxins in our air, food, water, household cleaners, and products we put on our bodies, are absorbed through the skin and, over time, these poisons can accumulate and  overwhelm the immune system.  This can lead to chronic conditions like autoimmune disorders.  When cells become congested with toxins, less nutrients and oxygen are able to enter them, affecting our vitality and ability to fight off disease.

Phytonutrients in green plant foods help to combat toxins and to repair damage caused by them.  Some benefits of “cleaning house” may include weight loss, improved digestion and energy, decreased pain levels, and a better functioning immune system.

Eat green vegetables with meat dishes to help digest fats and reduce inflammation.  Eat cilantro with fish to help protect against absorbing any mercury.  Try to eat a large green, leafy salad with an assortment of raw, colorful vegetables every day.  Keep an assortment of frozen and fresh seasonal vegetables on hand.  Add good fats like extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, organic unsalted butter, avocado, or a handful of raw nuts or seeds, to help absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.  Eat a variety!

You can download the Dirty Dozen app to get the latest lists of produce that contains the most and least amounts of pesticide residues.  I like to keep Ultimate Green Zone (whole green-food concentrate powder) on hand to take on days when I don’t eat enough vegetables.  You can order it at www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist

www.learningtobehealthy.com

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”