Sports & Fitness

Do I really need that?

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Is it vital to your health or just a passing fad? When it comes to the latest health trends, who can tell? We asked Sandra Mouton, clinical nutrition manager at Emory Eastside Medical Center, along with Annette Payne and Cris Hartley at the Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center at Gwinnett Medical Center, to help us decide.

Green Tea
Green tea is thought to have many health benefits, due to high levels of antioxidants. Chinese and Indian medicine practitioners use green tea as a stimulant, diuretic, astringent and to improve heart health. Other traditional uses include regulating body temperature, blood sugar, digestion and improving mental processes. Green tea has been reported to help other diseases as well, including cancer.

White Tea
White tea is processed very little, therefore it is healthier than its black or green cousins and has similar benefits.

Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil belongs to the omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation and help prevent certain chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other health conditions. To get the maximum health benefit, use ground flax seed rather than oil.

Almond Butter
Almond butter makes a great alternative to peanut butter, providing the protein of peanut butter without the bad fats. Both almond butter or natural peanut butter are more heart healthy.

Vitamin Water
The experts agree that while this sounds healthy, you”d be much better off just drinking some water and eating some fruit.

Remember, the real thing is always healthier than taking a supplement! Also, while some of these waters do contain vitamins, many of them also contain extra calories due to added sugar.

Juice
Some juices claim to cure everything from asthma to cancer, but most, such as tropical juices and pomegranate juice, are still being studied. In the meantime, you might be better off with the traditional cheaper juices – orange, apple or grape – which provide many of the same health benefits.

Acai
You may have heard of this particular berry-style fruit. It is said to be packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. The fruit is also known for antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In 2006, acai was studied by Stephen Talcott, a professor at the University of Florida. The study showed that the berry contained antioxidants that destroyed cancer cells. Grapes, guavas and mangoes all contain antioxidants shown to kill cancer cells in similar studies. Research is still being done on their effects within the human body.

Organic Foods
Organic foods are becoming more popular around the world because they are produced with out many of the modern-day pesticides, fertilizers, human waste or antibiotics. Scientists are still researching the benefits of organically grown foods.


Nutritional Health Tips

  • Eat five servings of fruits or vegetables per day to get vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Remember food is always better than a pill.
  • Always talk to your doctor before talking any herbs or supplements.
  • Keep in mind that the FDA does not regulate herbal/health supplements,so there could be a huge variance from one brand of supplement verses another.
  • Multi-vitamins are not considered herbal/health supplements.