Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Multivitamins may boost our memory

Its exam time again! According to a randomized controlled trial data, multivitamins may boost your memory. A daily multivitamin and mineral supplement with herbal ingredients added to it was found to boost the memory of older women. However, there were no effects seen for other mental processes in this study conducted from Australia. Older women were given supplements for sixteen weeks and they had significant improvement in spatial working memory. This is great because our cognitive performance naturally declines with age. The supplements also had no adverse effects (so it can be taken daily), levels of vitamin B6 and B12 increased, and there was a decrease in the amino acid homocysteine (associated with dementia). Even though this study involved older women, I think it can apply to us and improve our spatial working memory. So I’ll keep taking my multivitamins to boost my memory and help me study during exam time

Check out this article at:

From Jessica P

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

5 ways Green Tea is good for your oral health!

1. It fights cavities! Who knew? Green tea helps control bacteria and therefore tooth decay and can help prevent cavities
2.Healthy gums! Green tea's antioxidant effects can help prevent gum disease
3.Keep your teeth! Green tea helps prevent tooth loss because of numbers 1 and 2. Healthy teeth (i.e. no cavities and healthy gums) are not likely to fall out. 
4.Cancer! Green tea helps control oral cancers by slowing the progression
5. Better breath! Unlike coffee, green tea can improve your breath because of the anti-microbial properties

Check out this link for further informtion and tips on drinking green tea to reap these benefits.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Yogurt: Health Food or Dessert?

I’ve recently read a few chapters out of “What to Eat” by Marion Nestle, and one chapter in particular kept my attention simply because I can admit to falling victim to the assumption that all yogurts make a healthy snack.  The author makes her opinion clear, saying “Yogurt, it seems, has performed a marketing miracle; it is a fast-selling dairy dessert with the aura of a health food”.

When you see all kinds of yogurts lined up in the grocery store, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the choices of flavours that lay before you.  There seems to be a common theme between all the different flavours – that being sweetness.  Some fruit flavoured yogurts may very well have real fruit in them, but there are plenty that simply add concentrated fruit juices and added colours just to contribute to the visual of the “fruitiness”.  The sweeter the flavour of your yogurt, the more sweeteners your yogurt is bound to contain – fructose, fruit concentrates, corn syrup, and other artificial sweeteners.  To contribute to the health food aura yogurt tries to maintain, fruit flavours are what you’ll find most of when you visit the grocery store.

                   Since most of these fruit-flavoured yogurts will contain more sugar than fruit, your best bet is to buy a plain yogurt and add fresh fruit to it – you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into!  A great way to consume this is to make it into a smoothie – that way you still feel as if you’re getting a treat. One cup of non-fat or low-fat milk, ¾ cup of plain yogurt and around ¾ cup of your favourite frozen fruit blended together are good proportions to start off with (if you’re using fresh fruit, add a couple ice cubes as needed to thicken it up).  I find using a mixture of strawberries and pineapples helps avoid the temptation to add refined sugar – they sweeten your smoothie naturally! Enjoy J

Monday, 24 October 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

The end of October is nearing and what does this mean? Halloween! And what comes with Halloween? Pumpkins!
I bet you didn’t realize that pumpkins are actually filled with many vitamins and minerals and the vibrant orange colour is a dead give away of its high concentration of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Beta-carotene can be converted to Vitamin A to prevent vision related problems, it can enhance immune function, promote healthy cell communication and improve reproductive health.
Pumpkin seeds are often over looked and are actually a very nutritious and delicious snack. For all you fella’s out there, pumpkin seeds may promote prostate health through means of antioxidants, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids. Zinc also protects and maintains bone mineral density, especially in the hip and spine. These seeds contain a good amount of phytosterols (approximately 265mg/100g), which have the ability to lower cholesterol, improve the immune response and potentially reduce the risk of some cancers. Pumpkin seeds are also good sources of iron, vitamin K, protein and many other minerals.
Pumpkin seeds can be added to a variety of different dishes for added nutrition like a salad, to a granola recipe, a stirfry, etc. So this weekend, when you’re carving your pumpkins and getting ready for the big night, don’t forget to roast up those seeds for a nutritiously tasty and inexpensive snack!

Here’s a quick recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds:

1. After hollowing out the pumpkin, separate the seeds from the stringy pumpkin pulp.
2. Rinse the seeds to remove any remaining pumpkin
3. Lay seeds out on a paper towel to dry
4. Place pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat (about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil)
5. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325° F until toasted, approximately 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.
6. Let cool and enjoy!

In lieu of salt, you could add your favourite seasonings like a Cajun seasoning blend, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, etc.

From Kendra!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

More Reason to Love Omega-3's!

We've all heard that Omega 3's are an amazing supplement to consume. They reduce risk of Alzheimer's, lower cholesterol, help control ADHD but now they are being shown to be a player in helping reduce your risk of osteoarthritis. Read more if your interested!!!

From Jeffrey!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Why we love Coffee!

I thought this was an interesting article, especially since there's been alot of buzz about coffee and it's protective benefits relating to diabetes. Coffee contains hundreds of active phytochemicals which have been shown to exhibit protective benefit. However, the article discusses that the caffeine in coffee, when consumed with a high fat meal (ie. coffee and a muffin for breakfast, or coffee and a doughnut) the two can have additive "insulin de-sensitizing" effects. The article also states that: "The only reason coffee is beneficial is because of the severe deficiencies in the plant-derived phytochemicals in the diet of most Americans, and coffee at least supplies something." (Fuhrman)

Click Here for the Article!


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Fair skin and increased Vitamin D supplementation

Vitamin D is considered a “hot topic” in nutrition these days, as there is increasing research in confirming if, and discovering how, it increases longevity and overall health in humans. Vitamin D is also unique in the fact that it is very hard to find a food source that is rich in it. Other than fortified products like milk and OJ, high levels of Vitamin D occur naturally in very few foods – namely the flesh of fatty fish, fish liver oil, and some mushrooms [1]. The main source of Vitamin D for humans is the sun; where our bodies naturally produce the vitamin upon skin exposure! Of course cloud coverage, latitude, and time of day will affect intake but researchers suggest that an average of 15-20min of sun exposure twice a week is sufficient enough to maintain Vitamin D levels [1]. 

A recent article published in Cancer Causes and Control [2] brings to light the issue of fair skinned people not meeting the suggested adequate intake levels of Vitamin D. It is well known that people with sun allergies and de-pigmentation disorders (such as vitiligo – most notable had by Michael Jackson), must attain Vitamin D via supplementation. However it had never occurred to me that there would be people without such disorders that would also have a hard time attaining the required levels.

This UK study highlights the fact that very pale people, and those with melanoma, burn easily in the sun, and therefore cannot be exposed long enough to attain the Vitamin D levels necessary for adequate health. Fair-skinned people have an increased risk of skin cancer due to the fact that they burn very easily upon exposure to the sun. This study also suggested that melanoma patients should attain their Vitamin D intake via supplements instead of from the sun. 

This study is especially important in northern countries like Canada, the UK, Scandinavia, and Russia where sun exposure is limited throughout the year, so residents already have lower Vitamin D levels, and the majority of people tend to be fairer skinned. 

[1] Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D

[2] Pale People May Need Vitamin D Supplements

From Maggie!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Hey there NANS friends,

I found what I consider perfect examples of the knowledge and skills gained from our program applied to the real world.
The first link is a trailer to an amazing documentary called "Forks over knives." I guarantee you that you don't want to miss checking it out!
The second link is a trailer dealing linking cancer and food.



Let me know what you guys think.

Fred Choy 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Banana Bread: Healthified!

             This is one of my favourite recipes! I used it for our bake sale last year and it seemed to go over pretty well. It’s super easy to make and it’s relatively healthy, so I don’t feel AS guilty mowing down on delicious baked goods when they’re made like this. Like most of us, I love dessert. A healthy lifestyle isn’t about depriving yourself, it’s important to let yourself indulge once in a while. I try to modify recipes to make them as healthy as possible (healthier than the original anyway) and add certain ingredients for extra benefits.
For example, you can substitute regular flour for whole wheat or spelt flour. You can also add ground flaxseed to certain recipes for added fibre, and if I’m going to use chocolate I make sure to use dark to get those flavanols in! You can substitute ingredients with various other functional foods as well providing that they will work with the nature/texture of the particular recipe.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt.
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
*Optional: 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or frozen blueberries

Whisk together dry ingredients, set aside.

3 large very ripe bananas
2 eggs (I like to use omega-3 fortified eggs. yeah functional foods!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk of choice (almond milk is good for this recipe)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk together. You can use an electric mixer, but it's not difficult to do by hand either. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45-50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes to cool and enjoy!

From Caitlin!

Monday, 19 September 2011

The Joys of Soluble Fiber

Fibre is an important part of our diet. This study focused specifically on soluble fibre and it's weight loss potential. When we ingest soluble fibre, it acts as a gel and holds water. It therefore becomes very viscous and slows down how quickly your stomach empties. This keeps you feeling fuller longer and ultimately, you take in less food and therefore less calories. Check out the article to learn more!

By Alex

Sunday, 18 September 2011

NANS students have fun too!

Last years student executive hosted an amazing event for all the students of NANS in the shape of a Brewery Tour. It was a resounding success and the event will be repeated this year! (All you can drink, oops)
Pictured from left to right:
Caitlin: Current Social Coordinator
Jeff: Current Communications Officer
Freddy: Current Co-vice president
Anna: Past President
Luke: Past Treasurer
Elly: Current President

Quinoa Carrot Loaf

This great recipe is adapted from the food blog Bakeaholic.  I’ve made it a number of times and the secret ingredient that adds a powerful punch of complete protein is – of course – quinoa!  If you aren’t familiar with cooking quinoa, you can find easy instructions online or on paper at Bulk Barn.  Enjoy experimenting with this great healthy recipe!

Quinoa Carrot Loaf
                  2 cups whole wheat flour (or mix of whole wheat and white flour)
                  1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
                  1 tsp baking powder
                  1 tsp baking soda
                  1 tsp cinnamon

                  1 cup cooked quinoa*
                  1 cup shredded carrots
                  1/2 cup plain yogurt
                  2 eggs, beaten
                  1/3 cup sugar
                  2 Tbs. canola oil
                  1 tsp vanilla
   approx. 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa + 2/3 cup water, made in a rice cooker, or on stove for about 15         minutes

Pre-Heat oven to 350.
Peel and shred carrots.
Boil and cook quinoa. Set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
In another bowl mix wet ingredients.
Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture and mix until just moistened.
Spoon into prepared loaf pan, or muffin tins.
Bake for 40-50 minutes for loaf, and 20-25 minutes for muffins.
A toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean.

-Note- this is a versatile loaf that can support a wide range of variations.  Substitute carrots with ingredients like fresh fruit or raisins and walnuts.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Trends in the Nutraceutical Industry!

It seems like everyday I read about the newest health supplement that just seems to be bursting with the cure for yet another common human ailment. One day a new usage is discovered for a well-known vitamin, the next it’s an African seed that’s been used to curb hunger by the regions natives for centuries. Whichever way this new supplement is discovered or used, it also seems to generate a fad following. 

    Now the encouraged consumption and incorporation of functional ingredients and natural supplements into our diets is not what I have a problem with. I am conflicted however, with which the evidence for these new “miracle ingredients” is presented. It is rare for media outlets to link their readers to the peer-reviewed journal articles that help support their claims. So how do we know when to believe the hype or not?

    One answer comes in the form of a very interesting and interactive webpage (see link at bottom of the post_. I recently stumbled across this page while surfing the Internet on a not so interesting Wednesday. In a nutshell this webpage lists health supplements, from Vitamin D to black tea to omega-3’s to grapefruit seed extract. All of these supplements are represented by colourful bubbles, with size dictating their popularity and are ranked based on the amount of scientific evidence backing their particular health claim (i.e. peppermint oil as a cure for IBS).  This eye-catching and easy to follow interface allows for a clear pictorial representation of which supplements have scientific merit, and which are more of hype (for now of course). 

    As a user you can choose to narrow down this list by type of health supplement (enzyme, mineral, plant compound etc.) or by health claim (cancer, mental health, digestion etc.). The best part is that each time you click on a supplement it will automatically lead you to a journal article (usually from NCBI – National Center for Biotechnology Information) providing scientific evidence that either backs up or disputes the health claim. 

    I highly recommend exploring this webpage and checking out the accompanying articles. It really is surprising to see which health supplements have very strong evidence backing their claims (i.e. folic acid), and which supplements (such as wheat grass) do not. Enjoy!

Information is Beautiful website:

- Maggie