Wednesday, February 29, 2012

KALE FOR YOUR HEART

According to Joel Fuhrman. MD, "Kale has everything you would want in a superfood."  Dr. Fuhrman, author of the bestseller 'Eat to Live', uses diet and exercise to help patients reverse their cardiovascular disease.  Notice that says reverse, not treat!  He had the following to say about kale;
  • Boasts a bumper crop of heart heatlthy antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin E.
  • Rich in lutein which protects against early atherosclerosis.
  • Contains an unusual compound - glucorophanin - that activates a special protein called Nrf2.
  • Creates a Teflon-like coating in arteries to keep plaque from adhering.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

FRUIT-ON-THE-BOTTOM YOGURTS

If you are a yogurt eater, and there are many benefits in yogurt, beware of the fruit-on-the-bottom varieties.  Many people just grab their favorite yogurt and think they are doing themselves a big favor by 'eating yogurt.'  However, there are some unhealthy traps in yogurt and this is one of them.  Are you aware that many of these fruit-on-the-bottom varieties contain more sugar in a single serving than does a candy bar?  Yes, that's right!  If you want fruit in your yogurt, add a few slices of healthy banana or stir in some blueberries to a regular low-fat yogurt.  (There is a lengthy article on this blog comparing the benefits of regular yogurt to Greek yogurt and which is best the best one for you.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

DAILY EXERCISE

No doubt about it, most of us need more exercise for its health benefits.  Beginning with children who now spend so much of their time sitting around watching TV, playing video games, etc instead of playing outside, riding bikes, etc, to adults whose jobs keep them behind desks and in front of computers hours and hours a day, we need to move around!  Daily exercise doesn't mean an expensive gym membership, it can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.  Take a few minutes to think back over your day and how many times you could have exercised more.  Here are a few ideas in addition to the one just mentioned:
  • Only going a few blocks?  Walk instead of drive.
  • Park farther from the door to your office or the shopping center, etc.
  • When watching TV get up and walk around during commercials or between shows.
  • When talking on the phone, stay active.  Instead of getting in your comfy chair, walk around, load the dishwasher, pick up the room, etc.
  • Carry your groceries in one bag at a time.  The extra trips are exercise!
  • Get a friend to walk around the block with you, push the young ones on the swing, work in the yard, etc.
  • Put dishes, etc that you use often on a higher shelf.  Stretching to reach them is exercise!
Start now to add exercise to your life daily, no matter how small.  This is especially important for diabetics, most people with heart disease, etc.  And get the young ones started out right by limiting 'lazy activites' and encouraging 'busy activities'.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

HEART HEALTH AND YOUR PLATE

As we come to the end of February which is known as Heart Health Month, there is one thing we all need to remember; The single most important step you can take for heart-health starts with what you put on your plate!  There are many suggestions and information on this blog and in many other places to help you learn how to eat 'heart-healthy'.

As I type this I cringe!  Having heart problems and past heart attacks myself, I can't believe what I just ate for breakfast.  Yes, it was a 2 or 3 times a year indulgence but I know better.  I say this to let you know we all slip up sometimes.  But that is no excuse.  When you slip up, forgive yourself and work hard at doing better tomorrow, the next day and the next.....  It is your health and your life at stake!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

ORANGES TO PREVENT HEART DISEASE?

HEART DISEASE IS THE #1 KILLER OF BOTH MEN AND WOMEN IN AMERICA!

One thing you can do for yourself as well as your family to help prevent heart disease is to add oranges to your diets.  If you have young children it is important to serve them healthy meals from the very beginning!

We often think of oranges as a source of vitamin-C but they are so much more. They help to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart failure so why wouldn't you add them to your diet?  And while orange juice is good, eating the orange is healthier.  Check out the following information about the properties of oranges and their affect on the heart:
  • Soluble fiber pectin - acts like a giant sponge, sopping up cholesterol in food and blocking its absorption - just like a class of drugs known as bile acid sequestrants.
  • Potassium - helps to counterbalance the salt in your diet, helping to keep blood pressure under control.
  • Citrus pectin - helps neutralize a protein called galectin-3 that causes scarring of heart tissue, leading to congestive heart failure.
Peter Muntendam, MD, of BG medicine in Waltham, MA, says research has shown that 20% of Americans over the age of 50 have galectin-3.  A study in 2009 showed that a diet high in fruits and vegetables decreased the risk of heart failure by 37%!

You will notice that 2 of the 3 bullets above are about pectin.  Since pectin is found in the pulp and pith, if you buy orange juice you should buy it with pulp.  Even better, as mentioned earlier, eat the orange!

Friday, February 24, 2012

WHOLE-WHEAT BREAD

"When buying whole-wheat bread choose a chewy, dense bread in which you can see the whole grains and pieces of grains."  by Andrew Weil, MD

Thursday, February 23, 2012

CHEWING GUM FOR HEARTBURN?

According to Kings College of London researchers, chewing gum can reduce heartburn-related symptoms.  Chewing gum (sugar-free!) boosts the production of saliva which is an alkaline that helps neutralize stomach acid.   More saliva also means more swallowing.  More swallowing stimulates the muscle contractions that help digest food, according to the researchers.  Also a piece of hard candy or a lozenge may have the same effect.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GRAIN FED BEEF VS GRASS FED BEEF

Studies show that grass fed beef are higher in healthy unsaturated fat and lower in unhealthy saturated fats than beef from conventionally raised cows.  They usually have less antibiotics, etc, too since they aren't fed the additives in grain fed cows.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

PARKISON'S DISEASE AND VITAMIN-E

Some studies have shown that patients who suffer from Parkinson's disease, when compared to their similar-aged siblings, ate a diet with less nuts and seeds.  Nuts and seeds are high in vitamin E and an actual patients study at Columbia University found that those taking megadoses of vitamin E did have fewer symptoms than those who did not take the extra vitamin E.  Probably worth your while to add some walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc to your diet if you aren't already doing so.  They have many health benefits and this seems to suggest another one.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

CANNELLINI BEANS

Cannellini Beans are an excellent 'white food' that should be included in our diets on a routine basis.  One cup of these beans provides almost half of our daily fiber needs and provides 14 grams of protein.  Fiber is important in so many different health ways and protein is essential to our daily diet.  Protein and fiber are also both great blood sugar stablizers for diabetics and both are filling, thus helping to keep us feeling full.  Cannellini beans are easy to work into the diet for those who don't want to sit down to a bowl of beans.  Learn to include them in your soups, salads, etc.

Friday, February 17, 2012

PISTACHIOS AND HEART DISEASE

Research shows that pistachios help to lower ones risk of heart disease.  Researchers at Penn State University found that adults who got 20% of their calories from pistachios reduced their LDL cholesterol by 12%.   For an 1800 calories a day diet, that would mean eating about 1/2 cup of pistachios.  You may not want to eat that many pistachios a day, but including them in your diet on a routine basis would probably be a good idea.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU NEED?

Don't overdiet!  According to Neal Barnard, MD author of Breaking the Food Seduction, eating too little can work against dieting.  Eating too little not only depletes glucose, it also curtails the production of leptin, a hormone made by fat cells that helps regulate appetite.  "Within a few days of starting a diet, your leptin levels can drop by half.  Plummeting levels can increase appetite and bring on a binge." 

Use this formula to determine the number of calories you should eat a day.  Multiply your target weight X 10 and never eat fewer calories than that number daily.  In other words if your target weight is 140 pounds, you should not eat less than 1400 calories a day.  And be sure to exercise 30 to 40 minutes a day (walking is fine and is a good exercise-expensive gyms and equipment are not necessary).  And research shows that daily activity maintains healthy leptin levels.

Remember, when trying to lose weight, crash dieting is never a good idea.  Always eat a healthy diet and learn to control quantity.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

FOOD AS A DRUG

Food is definitely a drug!  The question is this, are you eating good drugs or bad drugs?  The fact is every time you put food in your mouth you will experience pharmacological and biological reactions.  Therefore it is up to you to control the type of drugs you are eating!

Some of the good things food can do are to lower your cholesterol, your blood pressure, regulate your blood sugar, help you control pain, resist blood clots, etc.  Isn't that good news?  But there are two sides to every story so to speak.  You can take that same statement and turn it around to 'some of the bad things food can do are to raise your cholesterol, your blood pressure, your blood sugar.....'

There are numerous articles on this blog regarding the benefits and dangers of certain foods.  Start to take seriously the idea that everything you eat can and will effect your health.  You wouldn't take 'bad' drugs, why would you eat them?  Consider that thought before you put anything into your mouth.  If you do this for 1 week, you will no doubt be surprised at what you are doing to your body, therefore your health not only now but in the future!

Monday, February 13, 2012

GREEN TEA = FAT BURNER

Learn to replace at least some of your carbonated drinks and coffees that you drink loaded down with sugar and cream with green tea or water with lemon.  Green tea has been scientifically proven to be a fat-burner.  If you don't currently drink green tea, try replacing one of the above beverages a day with green tea for your health.  Green tea offers many benefits (see the post of this blog about teas), but today I wanted to point at that it is a fat burner!  Aren't we all looking for more ways to burn fat?

BUFFET EATING

Are you one of those people who always overeat at a buffet?  Research has shown that these little hints can help you control how much you eat.
  • Look before you fill your plate.  You know the feeling of piling food on your plate then seeing something on the other side of the buffet that you just have to have?  Research has shown that 71% of people of normal weight check out the buffet before putting anything on their plates.  Then they only choose their favorite things thus putting less on their plates.  Only 33% of obese people check out the buffet first.
  • If you are at a buffet restaurant, sit in a booth if possible instead of at a table.  It is much more inconvenient to get out of a booth to refill your plate.  It is much easier if you are sitting at a table.
And remember to eat healthy foods and not load your plate with all the foods you wouldn't eat at home.

It is up to you to control what goes on your plate and therefore into your body.  Your health and untimately your life depend on it! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

DIRTY SINKS

The sink is the dirtiest place in the kitchen even though it make look clean!  Never place food directly in the sink; use a colander to hold the fruits and veggies you wash.  Never take a chance on getting a food-borne illness.  It is my understanding they can make you very sick!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

REASONS TO EAT BRAZIL NUTS

Every since I was a child and my dad bought us bags of mixed nuts, I have always enjoyed the Brazil nuts.  But frankly, I never really thought about them except during the Christmas holidays.  Now that I have discovered some of the great benefits we derive from these nuts, I plan to think about them and thus eat them a lot more often!

Brazil nuts have anti-inflammatory properties and anyone who follows this blog knows how I stress the importance of getting enough anti-inflammatory foods into our diets.  These nuts contain a large amount of selenium, which is known to help our bodies fight colon and prostate cancers.  The American Cancer Society also notes that Brazil nuts also contain the antioxidant quercetin that may trigger cell death in certain cancer cells.

Add Brazil nuts to your list of cancer fighting foods you consume on a regular basis.

Friday, February 10, 2012

HOT COFFEE OR TEA VS MRSA

It is estimated that 2.5 million Americans carry MRSA, a deadly, atibiotic resistant strain of bacteria, in their nasal passages without showing symptoms.  People who drink hot coffee or hot tea are 50% more resistant to the disease. 

This study was published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Note:  The benefits were found only when drinking hot tea and coffee.  Drinking the beverages iced did not improve ones chances of resisting the disease.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

SUBBING MUSHROOMS FOR BEEF

Research from John Hopkins University showed adults who ate a mushroom based version of beef dishes such as lasagna and chili felt just as full as when they ate the same dishes with beef.  Not only were they just as full, they ate around 420 fewer calories and 30 less grams of fat.  It is probably a good idea to replace beef in dishes such as the above along with casseroles, etc with mushrooms.  Mushrooms are a good protein source.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

POTASSIUM & STROKE RISK

Eating plenty (at least your daily requirement) of potassium rich food may cut your risk of having a stroke by 21% and lower your risk of heart disease, according to recent studies.  This is a general statistic for the overall population, not specific just to those at a higher risk of stroke.  Having taken care of my mother after she suffered a massive stroke, let me assure you that it is well worth loading up on these tasty potassium-rich foods to cut your stroke chances by any percent!  A few of the potassium rich foods are, bananas, spinach, potatoes, sweet potatoes, poultry, cantaloupe, kidney beans, tomatoes, raisins, mushrooms, etc.  Now I know there are some of those foods you like!  If not, you have a real problem with your diet and should set out to change it immediately!

Potassium also helps to blunt the effects of sodium making it important in reducing high blood pressure.

Monday, February 6, 2012

THE BEST BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE?

According to Prevention magazine (Oct. '11), one of my favorite foods is good for lowering blood pressure.  Since that is a concern of mine, I was especially delighted with this news!  Are you ready for this?  Drumroll please....Dark chocolate (flavanols) make blood vessels more elastic thus lowering blood pressure. Yeah!  I love chocolate!  The bad news?  Okay, here it is....You can eat 1/2 ounce of at least 70% cocoa daily.  This leaves out milk chocolate, sugar-laden candy bars, etc.  But isn't it nice to know we can have a bit of chocolate daily and improve our blood pressure?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

EGGS = ANTIOXIDANT

I don't know about you but this little statistic surprised me.  According to a study from Food Chemistry, 2 cooked egg yolks have the same antioxidant power as an apple!  I still recommend eating the apple, but if you are one who eats more eggs than apples, you are still getting some good antioxidant power.  And there is no doubt about the benefit of antioxidants on the body!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

ANTI-COLORECTAL LIFESTYLE PART II

More changes you can make in your lifestyle to help prevent colorectal cancer.  See part I below.
  • Limit alcohol.  If you drink, cut way back.  Studies have shown that people who average 2 to 4 drinks a day have a 23% higher risk than those averaging less than 1 drink a day.  (Personal note:  I have never drank alcohol, but still had colon cancer.  Again, I have serious digestive system issues which probably caused mine.)
  • Exercise.  Sedentary people are about twice as likely to develop colorectal canncer as highly active exercisers.  Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderately intensive exercise a day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Don't smoke.  Researchers have enough evidence to conclude definitively that smoking tobacco contributes to colorectal cancer.  Women appear to be more susceptible to precancerous polyps from smoking than men, according to a study published online in July 2011 in the Journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences.
Trust me, this is a disease you don't ever want to deal with.  Do what you can to prevent it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

ANTI-COLORECTAL CANCER LIFESTYLE

Studies have shown that up to 40% of all colorectal cancers could be eleminated by the following changes in our diets.  As one who has been faced with this cancer, let me tell you that you want to do everything you can to possibly prevent it!  These are simple changes and I believe it would behoove each of us to make these changes.
  • Eat less red meat.  (Not eleminate, reduce)  During digestion red and processed meats form carcinogenic chemicals.  The colorectal cancer risk was 22% higher among people who ate 5 oz of red and processed meat a day compared to those who ate less than 1 oz a day.  This statistic comes from a 2011 meta-analysis combining results of 21 studies.  (Personal note:  I am not much of a meat eater and go days at a time without meat.  However, I have serious digestive sytem issues that probably caused my problem.  I still recommend taking this information seriously.)
  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, and fiber.  A recent study using data from the U.S. Polyp Prevention Trial looked at the impact of diet on 1,900 people with a history of precancerous polyps.  Those who met goals for cutting fat and consumed at least 18 grams of fiber and 3 1/2 servings of fruit and vegetables per 1,000 calories daily were 35% less likely to develop new polyps during the study.
Note:  More of these points to continue over the next couple of days.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

STRAWBERRIES AND VITAMIN C

Did you know that just a half cup of strawberries provides 40% of the daily requirement of vitamin C?  Vitamin C helps our bodies in many ways a few of which are: boosting the immune system, helps to maintain strong bones, strong teeth and cartilage.  What a tasty way to provide your body with with an essential need.  Now that is good medicine!

FEED YOUR IMMUNITY

Studies have shown that people whose diets are low in the following vitamins - A, C, D, Bs (includes folic acid) and the minerals iron, zinc, and selenium tend to have fewer and less active types of the important white blood cells that defend against invading microorganisms.  To keep yourself healthy, eat a well balanced diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables, whole-grains, and low-fat dairy.  You should also eat a moderate amount of fish, lean meat, nuts, and healthy vegetable oils such as olive. 

Don't get sick because you aren't eating right!

This information is from the Consumer Reports on Health Vol. 23, Issue #12, December 2011