Monday, October 26, 2009

EATING FOR HEALTH

Here are some tips, based on science and common sense:

  • · Lower your lung and prostate cancer risk by increasing your intake of cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts). The isothiocyanates in these vegetables will protect you from both of these deadly cancers.
  • · Trans fatty acids, considered more harmful than saturated fats, are made through the process of hydrogenation. This process solidifies liquid oils and increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods such as stick margarine, cookies, cakes, microwave popcorn, crackers and fast foods. Limit your intake of these foods.
  • · If you are a vegan and concerned about your vitamin B12 intake, eat fortified cereal every morning. This vitamin is easily absorbed because it is sprayed onto cereal during processing.
  • · Drink orange juice to lower your cholesterol levels. The effect could be due to citrus pectins, flavanones (hesperetin and naringenin) or other health-promoting polysyllables we still have to discover (and pronounce).
  • · The words "whole wheat flour" or "100% whole wheat" should be first on the ingredient list for breads that are truly made with whole-grain wheat.
  • · Be adventurous with whole grains. Try bulgur, kasha (roasted buckwheat), quinoa, barely and wheat berries.
  • · Phenolic compounds (in wine and olives) are a category of phytonutrients with strong antioxidant effects. Enjoy both foods in small amounts.
  • · You can add ground golden or brown flax seeds to your salads and cereals. They contain beneficial omega-3’s.
  • · Even if you are sensitive to lactose, you don’t have to give up a little milk in your cereal. Research shows that people with mild to moderate lactose intolerance can drink milk with meals and in small amounts throughout the day.
  • · You don’t have to avoid all cheeses if you’re lactose intolerant. Firm cheeses such as cheddar and mozzarella contain very little lactose. You may be able to enjoy them.
  • · Brown rice is rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant which could protect cells from damage that can lead to cancer, heart disease and cataracts.
  • · White and brown rice have the same amount of calories, except that brown rice is tastier, crunchier and has twice as much potassium, six times more fiber, ten times more folate and twenty times more vitamin E.
  • · For a better cholesterol profile, consume one ounce of vegetable oil per day and eat fatty fish four times a week.
  • · Eat vegetables rather than drink them. ½ cup cooked carrots supplies 25 calories and 2 gm fiber. 1 cup (8 oz) bottled carrot juice supplies 120 calories and 1 gm fiber. Vegetable drinks are higher in calories, lower in fiber and lose many phytochemicals, which we are still discovering.
  • · Large vegetable bottles contain 16 oz. and 240 calories. That's a lot of calories from vegetables if you want to lose weight. That being said, vegetable juices are better than no vegetables at all.
  • · A diet high in fruit, especially apples and tomatoes, may protect against respiratory illness, according to a study presented at the American Thoracic Society conference.
  • · Fruit juice lacks fiber and can be consumed more rapidly and in larger servings than whole fruit.
  • · Some “juice” drinks contain mostly water and sugar. Be sure to check the drink contains 100% juice.
  • · Probiotics in a pill or powder might not be live, so they might not be effective. Buy yogurt that says “live and active cultures,” then get it home and refrigerate it as soon as possible.
  • · Keep bacteria-containing yogurt handy if you are taking antibiotics.
  • Eat yogurt when you are traveling to prevent traveler’s diarrhea and enjoy the sights other than bathrooms.
  • Obtaining sufficient daily quantities of folate – 400 micrograms - is easy. Folic acid has been added to bread, cereal, pasta, flour, crackers and rice, and is found in fruit, juices, green leafy vegetables and legumes.
  • Enjoy your caffeinated coffee, tea and diet soft drinks in moderation - maximum 4 cups tea or coffee and 3 cans of diet soft drinks/day. A recent study found that men with higher levels of coffee and caffeine intake had a lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Hate the thick, mucus-y feeling in your throat from drinking whole milk? It may just be in your head. In a study in Australia, people found no difference in mucus formation between chocolate-disguised cows' milk and soy milk. If it bothers you, drink nonfat milk instead.
  • 3 oz calamari supplies 140 cal, 2 gm fat, 4 gm carbohydrate, 25 gm protein. Even though it’s fat content is too low to supply heart-healthy omega 3 fats, it is still tasty and adds to variety to your diet. Enjoy, but watch out for preparation methods. Avoid fried and breaded calamari in favor of grilled, steamed, or baked.
  • Eating low salt high potassium foods may reduce your risk for high blood pressure and stroke. Examples of high potassium foods are orange, grapefruit, tomato and pineapple juices; green peas, potatoes, bananas, meat and milk.
  • Sometimes studies give us results we really like. Researchers found that vitamin B6, which can be found in beer, reduces homocysteine levels in blood, which may reduce heart risk. Daily recommendations are one beer for women, two for men.
  • Fish and seafood are excellent low-fat sources of many nutrients including protein, omega-3 fatty acids and minerals such as calcium and zinc.
  • Vitamin A is crucial for good vision, immune function and other bodily functions. Never eat more than 3,000 micrograms of Vitamin A/day, because higher levels can cause severe liver disease and, in pregnant women, birth defects.
  • Vitamin A deficiency is very rare, because we have so many foods full of the nutrient: meat, fish, eggs, vitamin-fortified breakfast cereals, and dark-colored fruits and vegetables like oranges, carrots and spinach.
  • Peanuts are a source of essential protein, fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, copper, selenium, magnesium and zinc. Sprinkle on salads to add flavor and crunch.
  • If your diet requires you to consume more than the usual recommended amount intake of vitamin C, eat 1 orange, I apple, ½ cup broccoli, ½ cup peas and 1 potato in one day. Easy.
  • If you can’t sleep because of hunger and you don’t feel like eating, drink a glass of warm milk.
  •  Eat fish and a variety of plant foods to get in your daily iodine requirements. If you don't eat fish, you should use iodized salt to be sure to get your daily iodine requirements.
  •  Enjoy fortified cereals for breakfast. The folic acid content decreases homocysteine levels, a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Keep magnesium-rich foods in your cupboards to maintain good heart health. Foods such as bran, avocado, wheat germ, shredded wheat, pumpkin seeds, cashews, spinach, peanut butter, potatoes, lentils, bananas, broccoli, baked beans, almonds and whole wheat bread.
I hope all these health tips will help you enjoy your food now.


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