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Weight Loss: Lifestyle Changes and Medications Are Crucial

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  • A new study finds that lifestyle changes and weight loss medications may help lead to a 10 percent drop in weight.
  • Losing weight in a sustained and healthy manner is usually very difficult.
  • Experts say this new data can help people who want to lose weight work with their physicians safely.

New research finds lifestyle changes combined with weight loss drugs enabled people with obesity and overweight to maintain a weight loss of nearly 11 percent for up to five years.

Weight loss greater than 10 percent offers significant health benefits, according to researchers.

“If weight loss can be sustained, metabolic abnormalities can be reversed with meaningful benefits in patients with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many other diseases where obesity is the root cause,” lead study author Michael A. Weintraub, MD, lead author and fellow in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Weill Cornell Medicine, told Healthline.

Weintraub and the team presented their findings on June 12 at ENDO 2022, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Our real-world study,” said Weintraub. “Demonstrates that anti-obesity medications along with lifestyle changes can achieve significant weight loss of 10 percent body weight and that loss is maintained over the long-term.”

The study analyzed data from 428 patients at an academic weight management center.

“This research can help guide medical practitioners toward designing personalized, accessible treatment regimens to aid patients in long-term weight loss,” he said.

All patients received counseling on following a low-glycemic diet and exercise by the obesity medicine specialist during their office visits and were offered additional counseling with a registered dietitian.

Medical intervention included FDA-approved and off-label weight-loss medications that included metformin, phentermine, and topiramate.

By their final visit, patients were using an average of two medications for weight management.

Followed for about 5 years, participants maintained an average weight loss of 10.7 percent.

“In our study, we were surprised at the magnitude of weight loss achieved and maintained,” said Weintraub. “By adding anti-obesity medications, patients lost and maintained on average 10 percent of their body weight, which in this cohort was 23 pounds.”

He added that a third of patients could maintain 15 percent or more long-term weight loss.

“If weight loss can be sustained, metabolic abnormalities can be reversed with meaningful benefits in patients with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many other diseases where obesity is the root cause,” Weintraub said.

Brian Quebbemann, MD, FACS, bariatric surgeon, and founder of The N.E.W. Program in Orange County, California, said for many people with overweight or obesity, a 10 percent weight loss would not mean they end up with moderate weight.

“Yes, a weight loss of 10 percent provides some health benefits,” said Quebbemann.

He compared it to a person with a blood pressure of 200 over 140 who is better off if they’re given medications that lower their blood pressure to 180 over 120. At that level, they still would be considered to have high blood pressure.

“Yes, they are better off, but they are still a long way from achieving a healthy blood pressure,” said Quebbemann.

Suchitra Rao, MD, bariatric physician at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, California, said that when used appropriately, weight loss drugs can help people reach their weight loss goals in a safe manner.

“However obesity being a chronic, complex, and relapsing disease,” she noted. “It may be necessary to continue them long term for maintenance of weight loss and prevent weight regain.”

Rao added that beneficial lifestyle interventions to promote and maintain weight loss include behavioral modifications for adapting our lifestyle to eat a healthy diet, learning to stay active regardless of age, stress management, and getting adequate sleep.

According to Minisha Sood, MD, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, while all medications have potential side effects, the real issue is whether the benefits of a medication outweigh its risks.

“In the case of obesity, oftentimes the benefits do outweigh the risks,” she said. “Metformin, topiramate, and phentermine have been used for many years with success in a safe manner.”

Sood pointed out that these medications have manageable side effects and can be easily discontinued if someone experiences intolerable adverse effects.

However, when the medication is discontinued, weight can increase.

According to Weintraub, his findings show its possible to achieve “significant” long-term weight loss in overweight and obese people without surgery.

“Although it will require lifelong medications, the side effects of the weight loss medications used in this study are relatively mild,” he said.

Weintraub added that the health benefits of weight loss could result in a decrease in serious weight-related disease, and therefore a decrease in cost of medications as well as a decrease in disability and future complications of these medical problems.

“The result will be a measurable improvement in the quality of life of those people that take the necessary lifestyle changes to heart,” he concluded.

New research finds a combination of weight-loss drugs and lifestyle changes can result in significant long-term weight loss.

Experts say that once the medications are stopped, weight may return.

They also encourage people trying to lose weight to thoroughly assess their lifestyle to make healthy changes that encourage weight loss.

Read the full article here

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Health

9 Best Natural Sunscreens

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Although sunlight can feel great (exposure to rays can increase serotonin), it can also wreak havoc on your skin. This is why sunscreen is so important. Without proper application, spending too much time in the sun can lead to wrinkles, premature aging, and possibly skin cancer.

Sunscreen helps protect your skin all year round, even during the winter when you aren’t feeling the heat.

The Skin Cancer Foundation notes that sunscreen can decrease your risk for skin cancers and precancers. Regular daily use of at least SPF 15 can reduce your risk for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common form of skin cancer, by 40 percent, and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent.

Physical sunscreens are often referred to as natural sunscreens because they don’t contain chemical sun protection filters. Natural sunscreens are typically free of parabens and ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate.

Instead, natural sunscreen formulas use active ingredients from plants, like aloe vera and zinc oxide, to coat the skin and reflect ultraviolet (UV) rays off the dermal layers.

An effective sunscreen will have a high SPF level. It will also be broad-spectrum, meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

Sunscreen may be the most important skin care product you invest in, so we compiled our list based on:

  • ingredients
  • cost
  • SPF ratings
  • customer reviews

We looked at physical sunscreens that use naturally-derived minerals, like zinc oxide, are formulated with natural and organic ingredients, and don’t contain harmful chemicals, like oxybenzone.

You should avoid sunscreens that have oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate because they’re regarded as harmful additives that are absorbed into the body after one use.

According to a 2020 study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these ingredients were still detected on the skin and in the blood weeks after no longer being used. Additionally, in 2019, the FDA deemed zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the only safe filters for sunscreens.

When shopping for sunscreen, it’s crucial to monitor which ingredients are being used, since not all sunscreens are created equal. It’s also important to note that “all-natural” isn’t an FDA-regulated term, so the ingredients in products will most likely vary based on the company.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = $20–$40
  • $$$ = over $60

Best overall

Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredient: Zinc oxide
  • Key features: Often recommended by dermatologists, this sunscreen contains SPF 46 protection, making it a suitable sunblock for most age groups (the FDA recommends opting out of applying sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months). This sunscreen offers long lasting, broad-spectrum, mineral-based sun protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Considerations: A high SPF often encourages people to stay outside for far too long. Remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, regardless of the SPF you’re using.

Best for oily skin

MAELOVE Sun Protector SPF 30

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredient: Zinc oxide
  • Key features: This sun protector uses a non-nano 18% zinc oxide formula that provides a complete defense against UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide is commonly found in mineral-based sunscreens, because it reflects light off the surface of the skin. And since you can never have enough protection against free radicals — aka the compounds that may cause blemishes, wrinkles, and dark spots — this formula is fortified with potent antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E.
  • Considerations: While SPF 30 provides just the right amount of daily sun protection, it might not be enough for those who spend a lot of time outdoors or want a higher level of protection. If you choose this option, you’ll want to make sure you reapply it every 2 hours.

Best lightweight formula

Coola Organic Mineral Sun Silk Crème

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredient: Zinc oxide
  • Key features: This mineral, oil-free formula glides onto skin for a silky, transparent finish. Fans of this Coola sunscreen can thank niacinamide, a hydrating antioxidant, as it helps minimize redness and irritation while supporting moisture retention.
  • Considerations: This sunscreen is just over $40, so it’s on the pricier side.

Best for melanin-rich skin

AbsoluteJOI Daily Hydrating Moisturizing Cream with SPF 40

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide
  • Key features: This paraben-free and fragrance-free formula offers broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection. Beneficial ingredients, like sustainably produced hydrating squalane and hyaluronic acid work to provide noncomedogenic, lightweight hydration for up to 8 hours. It’s available in 2 shades (mocha and café au lait) and is designed to seamlessly blend into melanin-rich skin.
  • Considerations: Although AbsoluteJOI offers two shades, some users wish that there were a darker option for a better match.

Best for acne-prone skin

Kinship Self Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredient: Zinc oxide
  • Key features: This SPF 32 is formulated with turmeric to help soothe and protect blemish-prone skin. It also contains kinbiome, the brand’s proprietary plant-based probiotic made to support a strong skin barrier. All of Kinship’s formulas stand out, since they exclude 1,300+ questionable ingredients banned in the EU. This sunscreen is also made with reef-safe zinc oxide that’s gentle on skin while providing broad-spectrum protection.
  • Considerations: Some users report that the product feels greasy and thick on their skin, which is common for mineral sunscreens, as they often take some time to rub in.

Best for kids

Badger Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream Kids Clear Sport

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredient: Zinc oxide
  • Key features: This hypoallergenic natural sunscreen is a great option for kids. It’s formulated with organic sunflower, jojoba, and beeswax to help lock in moisture. It offers SPF 40 that’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The sunscreen even contains non-phototoxic essential oils to provide a natural scent of tangerine and vanilla. (This just means that the essential oils are less responsive to light, minimizing your risk for sunburn.)
  • Considerations: This sunscreen uses a specialized zinc oxide powder with high transparency that intentionally creates a white cast so that your kids are certain they don’t miss any spots.

Best for babies

Blue Lizard Baby Mineral Sunscreen

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide
  • Key features: Although the FDA recommends to opt out of applying sunscreen to kids under 6 months, this gentle sunscreen is great for babies and toddlers who are old enough for sun protection. It’s formulated without the harmful chemicals, fragrances, or irritants used in many sunscreen products, including oxybenzone and avobenzone. Remember to ​​reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating.
  • Considerations: Some customers report that it’s hard to wash off in the shower.

Best value

Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Gel-Lotion SPF 30

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredient: Zinc oxide
  • Key features: Free of chemical actives, parabens, and dyes, this gel-lotion sinks into the skin without leaving a white cast.
  • Considerations: Some reviewers report that the sunscreen pills on their face.

Best for athletes

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Body Shield SPF 50

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredient: Zinc oxide
  • Key features: There’s no need for constant reapplication while exercising or swimming outdoors, since this SPF is water-resistant and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Reviewers say this sunscreen easily melts into their skin without any irritation or stinging. It boasts a whopping SPF 50, with the main active ingredient being zinc oxide.
  • Considerations: One big drawback surrounding this product is the hefty price tag.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many sunscreens on the market. Here are some questions you should ask when shopping:

  • Do you trust the brand that manufactured this sunscreen?
  • Does this sunscreen offer broad-spectrum protection?
  • Does this sunscreen contain any toxic chemicals?
  • Does this sunscreen have at least SPF 30?
  • Does this sunscreen fit your budget?
  • How much product are you getting for your money?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should opt for a broad-spectrum formula. This means the sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. You should also pick one that has at least SPF 30 (the higher the number, the better the protection).

When shopping for sunscreen, it’s crucial to monitor what ingredients are being used, since not all sunscreens are created equal. It’s also important to note that “all-natural” isn’t an FDA regulated term, so the ingredients in products will most likely vary based on the company.

Sunscreen is a daily necessity if you want to take care of your skin and minimize your risk for skin cancer. Selecting sunscreen can be overwhelming for a lot of people, and you may have a lot of questions.

The AAD recommends using at least 1 ounce of sunscreen (equal to a shot glass) to fully cover the body, applied at least 15 minutes before going outside. Remember to rub it all over your body, including some easily missed areas, like:

  • ears
  • tops of the feet
  • hands
  • neck

Most dermatologists recommend reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours. Remember to wear sunscreen all year round, even on cloudy days or days when you’re primarily inside.

How can I protect my skin from the sun without sunscreen?

If you rather not wear sunscreen, wearing protective clothing with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), which shows how much the fabric protects your skin from UV rays, can be a great option. For example, wearing a long-sleeve rash guard with UPF 50 and a hat when going to the beach.

You can also use an umbrella or parasol when going outdoors.

Certain foods can help protect your skin from sun damage. Some of these include blueberries, watermelon, nuts and seeds, carrots and leafy greens, green tea, and cauliflower.

Can I use aloe vera as sunscreen?

Aloe vera alone won’t provide sufficient sun protection by itself. Experts recommend that people use an aloe vera product with an SPF 30 or higher.

Can I use oil instead of sunscreen?

Some oils, such as from coconuts, almonds and even lavender, have been shown to offer a natural SPF. In other words, they absorb a percentage of the sun’s radiation and prevent some sun damage. However, the SPF levels of most oils aren’t high enough to adequately protect against harmful UV radiation.

According to a 2010 study, the higher SPF values of some of these oils only range from SPF 5 to 8.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it’s important to monitor which ingredients you apply daily.

Natural sunscreens are a great option, as they’re usually free of harmful chemicals and better for the environment. Aside from the ingredients, choosing sunscreen really comes down to personal preference.

Once you find a sunscreen that works for you, remember to wear it daily and reapply often for maximum protection.


Iman Balagam is a writer based in Houston, Texas. When she’s not laughing at her own jokes, or buying overpriced chia pudding, she can be found reading fiction novels, catching a spin class, doomscrolling through TikTok, or waiting for her delayed Spirit flight to board. You can see more of her work on her website.

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5 Best Sunscreens for People with Psoriasis

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For many people, warm weather means outdoor activities like swimming and backyard barbecues.

But sunlight can be a friend — or foe — for those living with psoriasis. Making sure you choose the right sunblock for your sensitive skin can mean the difference between an amazing day outside, and one that’s worthy of nightmares.

Proper sun protection during outdoor activities is important for everyone. But people with psoriasis need to be particularly careful.

If you have psoriasis, you may have heard that exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays has actually been shown to help with the autoimmune skin condition.

“UVB rays are actually good for people with psoriasis,” says Jacqueline Schaffer, MD, founder of Schique Skincare. UVB rays help slow the skin growth and shedding that happens with psoriasis.

But too much sun exposure — of both UVA and UVB rays — can be a problem. “If people with psoriasis are overexposed, it can actually worsen the skin,” Schaffer says. “They’re extra sensitive versus someone who doesn’t have psoriasis.”

Psoriasis also mostly affects people with lighter skin tones who are already more prone to sunburn.

Plus, certain medications used to treat psoriasis can cause increased photosensitivity. This makes a person sunburn more easily.

For all these reasons, wearing sunblock when you have psoriasis is crucial. It’s important to choose wisely since skin may already be irritated and sensitive.

Make sure there are no parabens, no formaldehyde, and no other really strong preservatives.
— Jacqueline Schaffer, MD

Follow these expert tips next time you’re shopping for sunblock.

1. Make sure you’re buying sunblock, not sunscreen

“Sunscreen is known to be absorbed into your skin, whereas sunblock actually sits on top of your skin and reflects the UV rays,” Schaffer says.

Many products are a mixture of both, so a product labeled “sunscreen” can still have enough protection if it also contains sunblock. Common sunblock ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

2. Avoid preservatives and chemicals

“Make sure there are no parabens, no formaldehyde, and no other really strong preservatives that can be damaging to the skin,” Schaffer says. These ingredients can irritate psoriasis patches.

3. If you’re shopping for a child, don’t buy sunblock with added color

Some companies now offer colored or “disappearing color” sunblocks. Parents should avoid buying these for children with psoriasis, Schaffer says, as they can irritate skin.

4. Don’t buy sunblocks with added scents

Added fragrances can aggravate the skin in people with psoriasis.

5. Buy SPF 30 or above

People with psoriasis need just as much sun protection as everybody else. This is especially true if they’re on medications that can increase their sensitivity to the sun.

SPF 15 doesn’t provide enough protection throughout the day. “A lot of studies from the American Academy of Dermatology have shown that SPF 30 is more effective for longer use as a sunblock,” Schaffer notes.

6. Look for the label ‘broad spectrum’

This meansthe product will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Even though UVB rays can be beneficial in treating psoriasis, people with the condition should still have sunblock on to protect against too much exposure to both types of rays.

The sunblocks on our list were carefully chosen and vetted. Following the advice from our expert, Schaffer, we looked for:

  • sunblocks that don’t include potential irritants like parabens, formaldehyde, potent preservatives, added color, or fragrances
  • sunblocks that include the mineral ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
  • sunblocks that are broad spectrum and provide SPF 30 or higher protection

We also carefully considered customer reviews, the prices of products, and selected products only from trusted brands.

Price guide

Sunscreen can become costly, as it’s something you regularly use that sometimes comes in small bottles. We considered options from different brands at a range of prices, to bring the best possible selection.

Sunscreens in this article are broken down on a price per ounce basis according to the following key:

  • $ = under $6 per ounce
  • $$ = $7-12 per ounce
  • $$$ = more than $12 per ounce

If you have psoriasis, try one of the following products that made it through the above checklist and past the experts.

Best sunblock for psoriasis for the face and body

Badger Sunscreen Cream

  • Price: $
  • Size: 2.9-ounce (oz.) bottle

Schaffer recommends this SPF 40 mineral-based cream because it’s unscented and doesn’t have dyes or chemicals. It uses four ingredients, and 98 percent of them are organic. You can use this sunscreen on both your face and body.

The certified non-GMO formula includes uncoated zinc oxide at 22.5 percent, and it adds organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, and sunflower vitamin E for a moisturizing boost. The brand also says it’s hypoallergenic and gluten-free.

The product is designed to resist water for 80 minutes, but you’ll want to be mindful and reapply every 2 hours.

Coral reef safety is a big concern for many sunblock users. The company says this product is reef-safe. Even the manufacturing is eco-friendly — the company says it’s made with 100 percent solar power.

Amazon reviewers are impressed with the quality, especially given its reasonable price. A number mentioned that the formula is thick, so it may take some elbow grease to squeeze the product out of the tube. You may also need some extra time to rub it into your skin completely.

Best tinted sunblock for psoriasis

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 1.7-oz. bottle

This water-resistant product, which is free of dyes, fragrances, oil, and chemicals, is one of Schaffer’s go-to recommendations. It’s a 100 percent mineral sunscreen that’s safe for sensitive skin, and it’s noncomedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores.

This sunscreen is tinted with a matte finish, which some may prefer. For those who’d rather skip the tinted glow, there’s an untinted version available on the company’s website.

The sunscreen is lightweight, nonwhitening, and nongreasy, according to the company. The majority of Amazon reviewers seem to agree it checks those boxes.

One complaint from Amazon reviewers about the tinted version is that there’s only one shade available. The tinted version doesn’t include zinc oxide, using instead titanium dioxide, which may be a drawback for some.

Best sunblock for psoriasis with vitamin C

Derma E Sun Defense Clear Zinc Mineral Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 2-oz. bottle

This broad spectrum, oil-free sunblock is chemical-free and contains vitamin C and green tea, which can help skin recover after sun exposure. It also contains soothing aloe vera. To protect you from UVA and UVB rays, this sunblock uses non-nano mineral zinc oxide.

The brand says this pick checks a number of other boxes, as it’s:

  • vegan
  • reef-safe
  • cruelty-free
  • non-GMO
  • gluten-free

Keep in mind that some reviewers mention pilling or peeling and a white cast — a common, but still bothersome, factor in mineral sunscreens.

Best sheer sunblock for psoriasis

Drunk Elephant Umbra SheerPhysical Daily Defense SPF 30

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 3-oz. bottle

This SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen contains 20 percent zinc oxide, as well as algae and sunflower sprout extracts for additional antioxidant protection. Aloe vera is tossed in to soothe and moisturize.

It doesn’t use sunblocking chemicals (it’s mineral-based), essential oils, silicones, and fragrances. Plus it’s cruelty-free.

The brand suggests applying this sunscreen to the face, neck, chest, and backs of hands. So, it’s not considered an all-over sunscreen, but it works for more than just your face. The company also says it’s safe for daily use and sensitive skin types.

Reviews in Google are split. Some users call it their favorite, noting how effective it is for sensitive and acne-prone skin. Others were underwhelmed — one said they wished it felt more moisturizing, while another pointed out a white cast (but again, it’s tough to find mineral sunscreens that completely leave out a white cast).

Best value sunblock for psoriasis

All Good SPF 30 Sport Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

  • Price: $
  • Size: 3-oz. bottle

This certified organic sunscreen is made with sensitive skin in mind, leaving out harsh chemicals.

The non-GMO formula uses 16 percent non-nano particle zinc oxide to block UVA and UVB rays (as well as blue light from screens). The exclusion of chemical sunscreen ingredients also makes this sunscreen coral reef-friendly.

The sunblock is also:

  • biodegradable
  • gluten-free
  • paraben-free
  • cruelty-free

This pick gets high marks among Google reviewers, who mention it’s kind to their sensitive skin and doesn’t leave them feeling sticky or greasy.

It’s intended for use on the face and body, which makes it a pretty convenient go-to for all uses. Plus, there’s a 16-oz. family-size version with a pump top available.

The only complaints we found on this one say that it has a thick consistency, and may leave a white cast behind if it’s not fully rubbed in.

What type of sunscreen is best for psoriasis?

People with psoriasis should look for mineral (physical) sunscreens that include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The sunscreens they use should have an SPF of 30 or higher.

Should people with psoriasis wear sunscreen every day?

Most people — those with psoriasis and those without — should wear SPF daily. If you believe your symptoms improve with some sun exposure, limit your time in the sun without sunblock to just about 5- or 10-minute periods. Keep in mind that too much exposure could potentially worsen your symptoms.

What ingredients should I avoid when selecting a sunscreen?

It’s a good idea to avoid potentially irritating ingredients like intense preservatives, parabens, formaldehyde, and added color or fragrances.

Some companies will advertise that their sunblock doesn’t contain these ingredients. But it’s always good to double-check the label on products that say they’re good for sensitive skin, and don’t call out certain ingredients their formula excludes.

Can sunshine help with psoriasis?

Some sun exposure can benefit people with psoriasis. But when people with psoriasis are overexposed to the sun, they may see worsened symptoms.

People with psoriasis should wear sunblock in the sun, even when using the sun as treatment for their condition. Look for broad spectrum, fragrance- and preservative-free sunblocks that are at least SPF 30.

If you have psoriasis and are planning on being in the sun, experts recommend starting with 10 minutes of exposure at noon, then increasing exposure by 30 seconds to 1 minute each day.

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8 Healthy Ways to Use White Rice, According to a Dietitian

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Rice is a staple food in many cultures.

It’s predominantly produced in the Asian-Pacific region, where it serves as an important economic crop. More than 60% of the world’s population eats rice every day.

Compared to brown rice, white rice offers fewer nutrients, including minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber. This disparity has led many in the West to vilify white rice, and there are claims that it can’t fit into a balanced diet.

However, white rice remains more widely consumed than brown rice, potentially due to cultural practices, its faster cooking time, and its softer texture, which many people find more favorable.

Plus, it is more cost-effective and can be purchased in bulk.

For example, a bag containing 320 ounces of white rice (more than 200 standard servings) costs less than $9 USD at Walmart. A similarly-sized bag of brown rice is not available at the retailer. Instead, a 32-ounce bag (about 20 servings) costs $1.37 USD.

To buy the same amount of brown rice as offered in the bulk bag of white rice, you’d need to purchase 10 32-ounce bags for more than $13, plus tax.

Therefore, it’s important that we acknowledge the roles and benefits of white rice as a cultural staple in several dietary patterns and as an affordable alternative to other grains.

We need to develop a deeper understanding of ways to use this staple food as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

This article explains the benefits of white rice and ways to enjoy it through balanced nutrition.

The scientific research on white rice’s association with various health outcomes has been inconsistent.

For instance, some research suggests that white rice is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes among Asian women when consumed in “extreme” amounts — but “extreme” is not well-defined with respect to the amount of white rice consumed each day.

In other research, white rice that has been cooked and cooled before consumption in a human clinical study lowered blood sugar spikes after a meal.

This occurred because cooking the white rice then refrigerating it for 24 hours before reheating activated its resistant starch — a type of non-digestible carbohydrate that confers benefits for gut health and blood sugar management.

Here is how 1 cup (158 grams) of cooked parboiled white rice compares to 1 cup (155 grams) cooked parboiled brown rice:

White rice offers fewer calories, fewer grams of carbs, fat, and dietary fiber, and less of the mineral phosphorus, but comparable protein and selenium compared with brown rice.

However, it is richer in the B vitamin niacin than brown rice.

This data shows that white rice offers some nutritional benefits. Consider pairing it with foods rich in dietary fiber and minerals to boost the nutritional profile of your meal.

Learn more about the differences between white and brown rice here.

Summary

White rice is not inherently inferior to brown rice, despite myths. It offers nutritional benefits, including some minerals. It’s low in fiber, fat, and calories, and can be paired with fiber-rich foods to boost a meal’s nutritional profile.

Here are 8 healthy ways to enjoy white rice.

1. With peas and beans

Peas and beans are rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and other health-promoting compounds shown to improve blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

Furthermore, when peas and beans are paired with rice — including white rice — a complete protein is formed. A complete protein is one that provides all nine essential amino acids in sufficient amounts.

This is an especially important food combination for people who follow a vegetarian or vegan dietary pattern, since most complete proteins are animal-based foods.

Enjoy white rice with stewed lentil peas, dhal (split peas), or a black bean chili.

Learn more about complete protein sources for people who eat plant-based here.

2. Vegetable rice

Like peas and beans, non-starchy vegetables are rich in dietary fiber. When included in a vegetable rice dish, they can help make up for the lower fiber content of white rice.

Vegetables also contain nutrients like calcium, vitamin C, iron, and folate that support lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and may reduce the risk of some types of cancers.

Examples include carrot rice, spinach rice, and pumpkin rice.

3. Balanced with veggies and meat

A great way to build a meal using white rice is following the balanced MyPlate method recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Under this guideline, about half your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables and fruit, a quarter of your plate with protein like meat, fish or poultry, and a quarter with grains like white rice.

This method encourages flexibility and a diversity of nutrients to be enjoyed while also helping you eat mindful servings of white rice.

Serve a quarter-plate of white rice with a half-plate of cooked spinach and a quarter-plate of grilled fish for a quick, balanced dinner meal.

4. In a one-pot dish

It is impractical to enjoy all meals in the MyPlate method recommended above, as is the case with one-pot meals.

However, these can still be a nutritious and healthy way to eat white rice.

Pair one-pot dishes like pelau — a Caribbean dish made with caramelized chicken, rice, pigeon peas, herbs, spices, and vegetables — with an additional side of non-starchy vegetables like carrot coleslaw or tossed salad.

Other rice-based one-pot dishes, such as casseroles or South Indian recipes like sambar rice, can also be accompanied with a side of non-starchy vegetables for a boost of filling dietary fiber.

5. Vegetarian rice bowls

Rice bowls are quite popular in Asian, Persian, and Spanish cultures.

The rice may be topped with beans, vegetables like lettuce, onions, and olives, avocados for healthy fats, and sauces or gravies for flavor.

Because rice bowls use so many ingredients, that often means you’ll use smaller portions of each food, including rice, to create room for a variety of other food groups.

The inclusion of fats like avocado or olive oil-based dressings encourage the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K, and may support heart health by lowering low density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol.

6. Lean meat burrito bowl

In some cultures, rice bowls are also called burrito bowls.

Popular burrito toppings include lettuce, red onions, celery, or a combination of other non-starchy vegetables, corn, black beans, and cooked chicken, beef, pork, or plant-based proteins like tofu and tempeh.

If you’re making a burrito bowl that uses meat, choose lean cuts to reduce saturated fat intake. Research shows that a moderate intake of lean, fresh red meats is associated with lower blood pressure compared with high-fat meats.

Try topping your rice bowl with a Mongolian beef or smoked pork recipe for a burst of flavor.

7. With fish

Consuming fish at least twice per week is associated with benefits for heart, nerve, and liver health.

In addition, fish is an important source of protein, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory nutrients, including the heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids.

Try curry fish, blackened creole fish with white rice, or a tuna fish and rice casserole. Don’t forget to include a fresh or cooked non-starchy vegetable side dish for fiber and health-promoting added nutrients.

8. Stuffed in bell peppers

A clever way to enjoy white rice and vegetables in a nutritious and filling yet simple dish is by making stuffed bell peppers.

Bell peppers contain capsaicin, which is a phytochemical compound with potential benefits against cancer development.

This active compound in bell peppers has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory, blood sugar-lowering, anti-fungal, antioxidant, and other beneficial properties for human health.

Summary

Pair white rice with peas and beans, lean cuts of meat, fish, and vegetables to make balanced and nutritious dishes. White rice can also be enjoyed in one-pot meals like pelau and sambar rice or in rice bowls and stuffed bell peppers.

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