Watermelon

For many of us summer is watermelon season! The beautiful green fruits with a juicy interior, are the perfect treat on a hot summer day. Watermelons are 92% water and take about 90 days to grow. Around the world there are over 300 different varieties of watermelon that are cultivated which include seedless, mini, and yellow watermelons. From a health perspective, watermelons are great as they contain lycopene which is an antioxidant and are hydrating as they have such a high water content. In the kitchen, watermelons are super versatile as you can use the entire fruit in both sweet and savory dishes. A refreshing watermelon salad with basil and feta is the perfect appetizer while the rind can be pickled for a delicious condiment or side dish. What is your favorite way to eat watermelon in the summer? Let us know in the comments!

Strawberry

One word that is commonly associated with summer is strawberries! In the summertime, strawberries can be found everywhere, whether at the grocery store, your local farmer’s market, or a farm stand. Strawberries are not only delicious but also offer many health benefits. Strawberries are full of vitamins: they contain many B vitamins, folic acid, zinc, copper and even more vitamin C than oranges or lemons. They are also packed full of fiber and more importantly contain high levels of antioxidants also known as polyphenols. In addition to being healthy and delicious, strawberries are extremely versatile and are perfect for both sweet and savory delicious. Classic pairings with ingredients such as basil, yogurt, and balsamic vinegar can create amazing dishes!

Chocolate as a Healthy Treat

It has been scientifically demonstrated that chocolate lifts our mood. This is triggered by the so-called endorphins, in addition to the messenger substance serotonin. Endorphins modulate the brain’s metabolism and ensure that we become euphoric, but also insensitive to pain. Since they are also contained in small quantities in cocoa, chocolate is a light “happiness drug. ” Furthermore, chocolate is said to be antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it can lower blood pressure and slow down free radicals.  Chocolate also contains substances that are said to stimulate the growth of skin cells and prevent the formation of wrinkles. Chocolate is therefore also a delightful anti-aging food! Important! To exploit its full potential and to prevent the pleasure from becoming a calorie trap, it is recommended to enjoy dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70% or more!

Raw food – healthy or unhealthy?

Many people associate a particularly healthy diet with the raw food diet. This is because the raw food diet is based on consuming foods that are not cooked in any way. Fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, sprouts, nuts, lettuce and seeds that are not heated thus contain their full original nutrient content. Above all, they are rich in vitamins and secondary plant substances, as these are inactivated or broken down at 100°F and then are no longer available to the body.

It is also known that all cooking methods, whether boiling, steaming, roasting or barbecuing, partially damage the sensitive vitamins and secondary plant substances. It has been shown, for example, that half of the vitamins contained in food, in particular vitamins C, B1, B2 and B6, are lost due to heat. So what’s more obvious than to join the raw foodists?

Nevertheless, the reality is usually somewhat different than one has imagined. Often, after some time of eating mainly raw apples, carrots, cabbage turnip, etc., you reach your limits. The craving for cooked food can’t be simply switched off at the touch of a button and some people struggle with a constant feeling of hunger or satiety. In addition, digestive and intestinal disorders can occur and these are often the reason why the “raw foodist” project is quickly abandoned. This may also be due to the prevailing opinion that a raw food diet is equivalent to a vegan diet. However, this is a false conclusion: With a raw food diet, both plant and animal foods can be consumed that have not been heated to more than 100°F. This means that raw milk cheese, fermented fish, carpaccio, tartar or sushi can also be on the menu.

Preventing diseases with raw food?

The health benefits of raw foods are controversial. Supporters claim that many diseases are caused by cooked or highly processed foods.
 With raw food you can get rid of problems such as obesity, diabetes, allergies, gout and gastrointestinal problems. Raw foodists are said to have a purer skin and less susceptible to colds and flu.
Raw foodists reject canned foods, pasta, and boxed cereals, and completely ban tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate, and dairy products from the diet. The diet includes mainly regional fruits, vegetables, nuts, salads and wild herbs.

Nevertheless, many nutrition experts advise against a long-term diet with only raw food, because it is too unbalanced in the long run. Some people also get intestinal problems, because some fruits and vegetables are difficult to digest raw and can cause fermentation processes.

In fact, sensitive people can be affected by such deficiencies, especially if in advance always little raw food and low-fiber foods have been consumed.

Raw food diet and science

In a large-scale study conducted by the University of Giessen, Germany, from 1996 to 1998, 200 participants who practiced the raw food diet were accompanied by nutritionists and medical doctors for a year to find out how raw food nutrition affects health. The participants were all non-smokers and in good overall health.

The evaluation of the vitamin and mineral status of study participants surprised researchers: Although only vegetables, fruits, nuts and salads were consumed and the food was rich in minerals and vitamins, this could not be detected in the blood count. One possible reason for this could be that the subjects ingested too little fat. Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E and beta-carotene can only be absorbed in the presence of fat. Furthermore, the subjects were deficient in vitamin D, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and iodine after one year.

The supply of protein was also insufficient, as some protein-rich foods, such as the group of legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, etc.) as well as many mushrooms, are unsuitable for raw consumption and were therefore avoided.

Raw food diet – which foods should be dispensed with?

Raw legumes contain a high proportion of lectins, which are toxic and can also cause inflammatory bowel diseases. By soaking and boiling, the lectins are largely destroyed and legumes can be eaten, but then no longer meet the requirements of the raw food diet.

Phytic acid contained in grains blocks the absorption of some minerals. Therefore, grains are best tolerated when cooked or baked, i. e. higher temperatures destroy the phytic acid. However, fermented grains, i. e. ground grains, soaked overnight in water, can also break down a large part of the phytic acid and render it ineffective. The disadvantage is: Excess water is drained off and a considerable proportion of dissolved minerals is poured away.

Furthermore, some secondary plant substances are not able to develop their full health potential in their raw state. For example, the ingredients lycopene and lutein, which are responsible for the red color of the tomato, only become available after cooking. Lycopene and lutein are highly effective antioxidants that can strengthen the body’s defenses.

The same applies to carotenoids, which, among others, can be found in carrots and bell peppers. If, for example, carrots are cooked and they are consumed in combination with fat, then about 40% of the beta-carotene is utilized – in the raw state only about 3% is absorbed by the body.

Potatoes are also among the plant foods that, when eaten raw, are not tolerated. This is mainly due to the potato starch. It can’t be digested well or at all in our intestines. Potatoes also contain solanine, which is slightly poisonous when uncooked and can cause abdominal pain, bloating and other intestinal complaints.

What is Metabolic Balance’s position on raw food diet?

The proportion of raw food in the diet should be increased overall, taking into account the positive effects on the body and the fact that, according to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), the average fiber content in most diets is too low. Especially vegetables, lettuce, nuts, mushrooms, herbs and fruits contain many vitamins, minerals and fiber, which stimulate digestion and provide a healthy environment for the intestinal flora. In addition, the secondary plant substances contained, such as flavonoids and antioxidants, prevent cancer and heart attack. Nevertheless, a pure raw food diet is not recommended.

Therefore, nutrition according to Metabolic Balance is designed with a high proportion of fresh food, which is optimally tolerated, tasty and healthy for our metabolism.

Metabolic Balance focuses on natural foods, i. e. foods should be cooked, heated or processed as much as necessary, but still as little as possible, so that the body is adequately supplied with all the vital substances and at the same time is spared from the natural toxins and pollutants of plant and animal foods.

At the same time, it is important to make sure that fruit and vegetables are not too heavily contaminated by nitrates and pesticides and therefore rely on organically grown products.

Meal Times

Everyone has their own biorhythm and metabolism. Certainly, it is not recommended to eat abundantly late in the evening and before going to bed.
It is medically proven that digestion works much slower at night, which affects the metabolism and also the quality of sleep. However, not only the timing is important, but also the quantity and quality of the food. Calories don’t care what time it is! So what should you stick to when you want to lose weight?

Tips for meals after 6 pm:

  • Avoid monosaccharides (sweets, chocolate, etc. ), which stimulate the appetite.
  • In the evening, prefer protein-rich foods such as fish, dairy products, eggs and nuts.
  • Don’t eat too much raw food in the evening – steamed vegetables are easier to digest.
  • Your last meal should be 3-4 hours before bedtime.
  • Always drink enough water.

Acid-Base Balance

Are you full of energy, in great health, have an altogether positive outlook and enjoy life? Congratulations! That means you’re part of only 10% percent of the population. For most people it’s the opposite: they feel exhausted, are stressed and feel burned out. Many complain of such symptoms as difficulty concentrating, headaches, tension, joint pain, constipation, heartburn, skin impurities, cellulite or obesity – the list is long. All those things have a significant detrimental impact on your overall well-being – and are signs of an acid-base imbalance. All the physical warning signs listed above are an indication that you need to do something to restore that balance.

Nutrition plays a significant role here. For many of us our actual everyday diet is high in calories and acid-forming foods. Excess acid occurs first and foremost when you eat too many acid-forming foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, and not enough fruit and vegetables. Added to this, alcohol and nicotine can further fuel an excess of acid. Another crucial factor is lifestyle – because a lack of exercise and constant stress also contribute to excess acidity.

A good acid-base balance is vital for the most important metabolic processes. Hyperacidity prevents fat from being broken down and burned off – which means, among other things, that an overly acidic diet slowly but steadily leads to weight gain. This is because, when fat is broken down, it produces large quantities of acids that have to be removed by basic minerals (magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, selenium and iron). But if these basic minerals are not present in sufficient quantities, the breakdown of fat is restricted. 

To lose weight successfully, you need to keep an eye on your acid-base balance, in other words, make sure you eat in such a way that you not only get all the nutrients you need, but also in balanced ratios. If you do, you’ll keep your fat-burning capacity active.

Spinach

Let’s talk spinach! As kids many of us probably were not a big fan of this leafy, green vegetable.

Spinach is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients. In addition to a comparatively high iron content, it contains minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. It is also rich in vitamins B and C. Especially in the kitchen, spinach is extremely versatile. It can be used in many ways, whether in salads, as pesto or quite classically in combination with a fried egg. Consider trying a new way to use this great vegetable!

Photo: Unsplash

Pineapples

Pineapples are one of the strangest looking fruits but actually pretty awesome!

This exotic fruit belongs to the flowering bromeliad plant family and takes around 2 years to mature. Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain which can break down proteins (can tenderize meat) and supports digestive health. Pineapples also contain vital minerals including potassium, magnesium and calcium as well as the trace elements manganese, iron, copper and zinc. Small amounts of vitamin A, the vitamins of the B group and vitamin C are also present in this delicious fruit.

Pineapples are great as a snack, in sweet dishes such as a crisp, or in savory dishes such as fried rice or a salsa. Whichever way you enjoy eating pineapples, the possibilities are endless!

Tip: Pineapples don’t ripen after they have been harvested and their color doesn’t necessarily indicate ripeness. For example, a greener looking pineapple could be just as ripe as a yellow pineapple.

Chewing Longer

Intensive chewing promotes digestion and the usability of food. Through targeted and almost “meditative” chewing, the saturation reflex can also be positively influenced: We become full faster, even though we have not eaten abundantly. In addition, slow eating is good for the sense of taste and also for the jaw and facial muscles!

Tip:

  • Take at least 20 minutes to eat
  • Chew each bite consciously at least 10 – 15 times

Pain and Inflammation

Stop the pain! You can feel what you eat in your joints!

In addition to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis, chronic inflammatory joint diseases such as rheumatism, arthritis or osteoarthritis are becoming increasingly common.

Being able to move only with difficulty and in pain, feeling powerless or even waking up in the night from pain often considerably reduces the quality of life of those affected. It is alarming that not only older people suffer from it, but increasingly also children, adolescents and young adults.

Why do joints become inflamed?

Whether we sit down or stretch, whether we run or jump – we owe these movements to our joints. To prevent bone from rubbing against bone, the joints are covered with cartilage, a smooth elastic layer that ensures smooth movement. Wear develops over many years. An initial slight roughening of the cartilage layer is slowly but steadily degraded. The joint fluid, the so-called “synovial fluid”, also loses its shock-absorbing and lubricating effect. The abrasion of the damaged cartilage often leads to irritation and painful inflammation of the synovial membrane; typical complaints are stiffness and pain after prolonged sitting or during exertion. In advanced stages, the joint sometimes can no longer be moved.

In addition to genetic predisposition, advanced age or joint malposition, other causes may also be responsible. It is known that permanent overstraining of the joints promotes such joint or cartilage wear. Extreme high-performance sports over many years, heavy physical work as well as heavy strain due to excessive body weight can lead to premature wear.

Being overweight causes double damage in the case of inflamed, painful joints: The high body load not only accelerates cartilage degradation. Body fat also produces inflammatory substances, which are also involved in the breakdown of cartilage. A healthy body weight can therefore help prevent the development of osteoarthritis and slow its progression.

The next key role in the fight against osteoarthritis and other joint inflammations is lack of physical exercise. The smooth interaction of loading and unloading in the joints ensures that the synovial fluid is massaged into the cartilage. This provides the joints with necessary nutrients, such as calcium, potassium or magnesium.

Weight loss and exercise are essential to relieve joint inflammation. Especially if we take into account that our muscles, no matter how old we are, have a maximum age of 15 years, because their cells are constantly renewed. They are always in puberty, so to speak, and therefore very trainable. Exercise not only strengthens the muscles, but it also contributes to a healthy body weight, thus avoiding permanent overloading of the joints. However, in addition to exercise and weight loss, nutrition can also make a useful contribution here.

What role does nutrition play

A healthy diet rich in vital substances is important for everyone and especially when well-being suffers, pain occurs and mobility in the joints decreases. What we eat largely determines the condition of our joint cartilage and the muscles and fascia surrounding it. An alkaline-rich diet can help with joint discomfort and relieve pain. This is because a diet that contains excess acid and provides too little fiber causes the body to bind toxins between cells in fat and connective tissue. Often, joint spaces also form such a temporary storage. In its attempt to neutralize the excess acids itself, the body deprives bones and cartilage of necessary minerals. The consequences: degenerative joint changes, inflammations such as arthritis, and rheumatic diseases.

A study conducted by the University of Michigan in 2015 showed that a predominantly vegetarian diet with fish significantly improved the joint complaints of osteoarthritis patients, compared to the comparison group that continued to eat a mixed diet. This can be explained, among other things, by the fact that the high proportion of plant foods, such as vegetables, herbs, legumes, nuts, whole grains and fruit, the body is simultaneously supplied with a lot of anti-inflammatory vital substances, which have a strong antioxidant effect and absorb free radicals that can attack the joint cartilage.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, amino acids are also important building blocks for the joints.

Collagen – protein for the “inner beauty”

Protein used to be the nutrient for bodybuilders or those who wanted to become one. Protein is not only the “muscle maker”, but also responsible for the structure of the cells and serves as a building material for all organs and the blood. A valuable structural protein is collagen, which is found everywhere in the body. Many people associate collagen with firm connective tissue, absence of wrinkles and eternal youth. However, this is only half the truth, because collagen is also a supporting tissue and thus a component in bones, cartilage, tendons, in the skin and many organs. Collagen fibers are composed of several hundred amino acid building blocks. The body can build collagen itself, provided it has the necessary amino acids available.

Unfortunately, there are not many foods through which we can absorb collagen. There is a persistent rumor that gummy bears, which are composed of 80 percent collagen (gelatin), could be beneficial for maintaining cartilage mass. In order to cover the daily requirement of collagen of approx. 15 g, one would have to eat at least 14 ounces or 400 g, which corresponds to approx. two bags, of gummy bears daily. However, this is not compatible with a healthy diet. After all, the sugar content of two bags of gummy bears is terribly high.

But there is also a healthier alternative – a good bone broth. Collagen and valuable minerals are cooked out of the beef bones and consumed as broth or used to prepare meals.

Spices and herbs – especially active against joint inflammation

Spices and herbs are also used very frequently in naturopathy to alleviate or cure a wide variety of diseases. They contain an abundance of so-called secondary plant substances, which maintain health in many ways.

In addition to the well-known anti-inflammatory spices turmeric, ginger and chili, the combination of cumin, nutmeg and coriander is also said to be effective. The essential oils, which are abundant in the combination of spices, are transported into the blood via the intestines and then migrate to the synovial membrane. They promote blood circulation in the joint and thus ensure a good supply of nutrients. However, some patience is required for the pain-relieving effect, because the first changes are only noticeable after about four weeks, if you take half a teaspoon of the spice mixture at least twice a day. It is best to add the mixture to yogurt, cottage cheese, soups or stir it into hot water.

Metabolic Balance and joint disorders

The pain is quickly numbed with medication, with the desire for quick relief. But this completely ignores the fact that nature can help much more sustainably. Many natural foods, such as herbs, spices, vegetables or high-quality vegetable oils, applied internally and/ or externally, are anti-inflammatory par excellence. They can relieve chronic inflammation and pain just as effectively as chemical medications – but in a sustainable way and without side effects!

And this is exactly where Metabolic Balance comes in with its individual nutrition plan. The individual nutrition plan according to Metabolic Balance provides a natural alternative against joint pain. The individual selection of suitable foods, taking into account the latest scientific findings, provides all the necessary nutrients and vital substances to nourish joints and cartilage and to combat inflammation. In addition, of course, the side effect of weight loss through the Metabolic Balance nutrition program is a significant help for recovery and relief for the joints.