Saturday, March 31, 2012

ORGANIC LABELING CAN MISLEAD YOU INTO THINKING 'HEALTHY'

Just because something is labeled 'organic' does not necessarily mean it is healthy.  Don't confuse the two!  Marketing is at the heart of all packaging.  Organic is  popular right now so food manufacturer's/producers are taking advantage of the word.  You will find organic cookies, candy bars, etc. All that means is that the ingredients were grown without pesticides.  Sugar is still sugar, trans fat is still trans fat, etc.  Remember the old saying, "Buyer beware."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

PESTICIDES IN FOOD

One of the main reasons for buying organic fruits and vegetables is the presence of pesticides sometimes found in conventional foods.  Some studies show that the presence of pesticides in fruits and vegetables may be linked to health problems.  If you can't afford or don't have good access to organic foods, that is not necessarily a bad thing.  The good news is that a thorough washing of fresh fruits and vegetables with water (no soap, please) will remove almost all pesticides.  The main thing is to make sure you wash all fresh fruits and veggies.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

SOY PROTEIN AND TYPE 2 DIABETES

It seems soy protein has a lasting beneficial effect on the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys of persons diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  In a study published in the journal Diabetes Care,  patients who ate soy protein showed significantly lower levels of fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides.  The study also found that C-reactive protein levels, which signal inflammation in the body, were lowered along with other indicators of kidney disease.

If you aren't currently eating soy protein, you need to add it to your diet!  Don't know what to include?  Try tofu, soy milk, soy burgers, edemame, etc.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

LOCATION MATTERS

This sounds simple but sometimes we need reminders about simple things!  Where you place items you should avoid or eat a minimum of, is key!  A study by Cornell University a few years ago was done by placing two dishes of Hershey's Kisses in a busy office.  One dish was clear and was placed on a busy desk.  One dish was a darker color and was placed on a credenza 6 feet from the desk.  More candy was taken from the clear dish where the candy was easier to see and to reach.  Not an earth shattering finding but a good reminder to keep foods we shouldn't have out of sight and reach!  At home, keep fruits and vegetables in easy reach and sight rather than cookies and candy!  At the office set out some healthier such as nuts, etc.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

OMEGA-3s IN VARIOUS OILS

There are so many types of oils on our grocers shelves it can be confusing as to what is the best one to use everyday.  Omega-3 Fatty Acids (that fatty acid that supposedly makes fish so healthy) is found in some oils and totally missing in some.  To me it only makes sense to use an oil that has omega-3s since they have been proven excellent for our health time and time again.  To help you sort through the confusion, here are the facts about omega-3 fatty acids in the most common oils; peanut, safflower regular, sesame, and sunflower regular have 0.  Flaxseed oil has the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids by a large margin.  It is, however, harder to find and is not carried in a lot of grocery stores but is available in health food stores.  Of the common oils on the grocery store shelves, canola oil has the most fatty acids.  It also has the least amount of saturated fats.

Friday, March 23, 2012

GI (GLYCEMIC INDEX)

If you have heard the term GI applied to foods but don't know what it is, here is a simple answer.  GI is a ranking of foods based on their overall effect on blood glucose (sugar) levels.  Foods that the body absorbs slowly have a low GI index (ranking).  Likewise, foods that the body absorbs quickly have a high GI index.  This is important to know, especially for diabetics.  Eating slowly absorbed carbs can help even out blood sugar levels.  In other words, different carbs effect blood glucose differently.  Example: Pasta has a different GI than rice even though both are carbs.  Would you believe potatoes boiled in their skin have a different GI than mashed potatoes?  Following are a few GI examples.
These foods have a low GI of 0 to 55:
rolled oats
nuts
raisins
apple
multigrain bread
broccoli
These foods have a medium GI of 56 to 69:
couscous
muffins
pita bread
beets
baked potatoes
mangoes (the fruit)
These foods have a high GI of 70+
cornflakes
mashed potatoes
scones
pretzels
watermelon
French bread

Thursday, March 22, 2012

EAT BREAKFAST EVERY DAY

Studies by the National Weight Control Registry following 5,000 people found that of those who lost weight and kept it off, 78% eat breakfast everyday.  We all know breakfast is important, especially for diabetics and others.  Need a little more motivation to eat a healthy breakfast everyday?  It may help you to lose weight and keep it off!  What more motivation would you need?  Once again we see that starving oneself is not the way to lose weight.
Picture courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens Feb 2011

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

FOODS TO EAT IF YOU HAVE ACNE

If you suffer from acne, there are things you should eat plenty of and things you should avoid.  While most of the things teenagers are told will cause acne are just mistaken fokelore, anyone with serious acne problems should avoid any supplements containing kelp and cut back on salt.  Unless taken under a doctor's supervision, high doses of B vitamins should also be avoided.  Stick with a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, cereals, lean meat, poultry, and fish.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

HOW YOU EAT YOUR CARROTS DOES MATTER

Carrots are interesting vegetables.  Are you aware the sugar content in carrots rises dramatically when they are cooked?  Also rather interesting is how you need to eat carrots to get the most beta-carotene from them.  James Olsen (Iowa State University), a leading expert on carotenoids is quoted as saying, "If you actually nibble on a raw carrot Bugs Bunny style, you absorb very little of the carotene--about 5 percent."  He goes on to say cooking the carrots makes 25 to 30 percent of the beta-carotene available, and pureeing cooked carrots allows your body to absorb about 50 percent.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Vitamin E

Dr. James Duke, an authority on medicinal plants at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said Vitamin E is a powerful, protective antioxidant.  Vitamin E is present in dark green vegetables and almonds, peanuts, tomatoes, black currents, blueberries, sunflower seed oil and especially in wheat germ oil.  Be sure to include some of these foods in your diet on a regular basis!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

BREAKFAST CEREALS

Are you aware of how much sugar you, or worse yet - your children, are eating a day just in breakfast cereals?  Be sure to read the nutrition information on the labels before you buy cereal!  At least about a dozen or so popular breakfast cereals contain 12 grams of more of sugar per serving.  And that is if you only eat the serving size listed.  That is approximately the same amount of sugar as a frosted donut.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PEANUTS

Did you realize peanuts are packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats and a whole host of other nutrients?  If eaten regularly, peanuts are linked with lower weight and a decreased risk of developing diabetes.  If you are already diabetic, peanuts should be added to your diet.

Caution:  We are talking plain peanuts here.  Once you add salt, candy coatings, etc, you have changed them from their healthy status.

Note: Some people are allergic to peanuts and this would not apply to them!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

HEATHLY EATING = DOING MATH

That's right; healthy eating is all about math!  We should subtract fat, count calories, divide portions, and yes, add. Tara Gidus, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says, "Adding just one food to another can make a tremendous difference in your total nutrient intake and offer significanct health gains."  Sometimes it's just the little things we toss in the pot that often yield the biggest benefits.  Below is a good example:

  • Add parsley to all pastas.  Topping a dish of pasta with just 6 sprigs of fresh parsley gives a full day's worth of vitamin K, according to Marisa Moore, RD, an Atlanta based nutritionist and American Dietetic Association spokesperson.  Vitamin K is important for bone health.  Studies show that vitamin K helps prevent fractures and may guard against bone loss.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

ADD RED BELL PEPPER TO EGGS

Did you know you can get a full day's worth of Vit-C just by tossing a half cup of chopped red bell pepper into your scrambled eggs?  Not only are you getting a good dose of vitamin C, you are getting a vegetable serving early in the day and adding flavor to your scrambled eggs!

Friday, March 9, 2012

LEAFY GREENS FOR BLOOD SUGAR

Based on 18 years of research of more than 71,000 women conducted by Tulane University and Harvard School of Public Health, for every serving of green leafy vegetables you add to your diet, you may slash your likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes by 9%.  Green leafy vegetables include spinach, chard, kale, etc.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

CARBS ARE GOOD FOR MEMORY

If you follow my blogs, you know I advocate eating a well-rounded diet.  Unless it is under strict doctors orders, never eliminate a specific food group from your diet.  Here is another study showing one should not eliminate carbs from the diet.  A study by Tufts University showed that women who ate a low-carb Atkins-style diet performed 50% lower on memory tests than did the women who ate a low-calorie diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains (all carbs).  It is obvious the memory loss was related to cutting out the carbs because when the women returned to eating the carbs again, guess what; their scores went up.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ARE FOOD FRAGRANCES A GOOD IDEA?

Some interesting research from the journal Food Quality and Preference shows exposure to food fragrances may awaken cravings in your brain!  You might want to stay away from shampoos, soaps, lotions, etc that have a food fragrance.

Monday, March 5, 2012

WEIGHT RELATED DEATHS

First of all I want to state I am against government telling us what we can and cannot eat!  Recent items in the news are disgusting, ie taking a child's school lunch (a healthy lunch) from them and replacing it with nasty chicken nuggets, etc does not belong in American!  Big brother, get off our backs.

That said, I do believe we should pay more attention to our diets, eat healthier, exercise, and take care of our health.  Right now over 350,000 Americans die annually of weight related diseases.  That is so sad.  Take your health and your weight into your own hands.  Start making small changes and work your way up to the bigger ones.  But do something.  There are many suggestions on this blog of how to improve one's diet; check them out.  The life you save just might be your own!

Friday, March 2, 2012

CINNAMON BOOSTS INSULIN ACTIVITY

I have found so many studies showing that cinnamon is a blood sugar regulator.  And I have found it to be true in my own experience with diabetes.  I can enjoy cinnamon rolls right along with everyone else so long as they have lots of cinnamon.  We have a local gas/convenience store in town that serves delicious donuts, etc.  I was addicted to the cinnamon rolls and gave them up when I was diagnosed as a type-2 diabetic.  Once I got my sugar under control (it is now within the normal range), I started noticing those cinnamon rolls again.  One thing that stood out to me was how much cinnamon they had in them, much more than one usually sees in other cinnamon rolls.  I have found that I can have one of those rolls without it effecting my blood sugar so long as I keep the rest of my diet in check (no, I don't have it with a candy bar and coke!).  I am so excited!  Here is the information from another cinnamon study, this one done a few years ago by a Dr. Richard Anderson, an expert on the metabolism of sugar.

Dr. Anderson suspected certain foods might stimulate the activity of insulin and help the body process sugar more efficiently with less insulin.  But when he measured insulin activity in test tubes in the presence of many foods, he found that most foods had only a slight or no effect.  However, he did notice that 3 spices and 1 herb actually tripled insulin activity.  They were cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, and bay leaves with cinnamon being the most powerful.  He concludes that eating as small an amount of cinnamon as just some sprinkled on your toast can boost insulin activity.  Dr. Anderson says there is pharmacological wisdom in using cinnamon and cloves in sweets like pumpkin pie, etc.





Thursday, March 1, 2012

FRUIT EVERYDAY TO PREVENT PANCREATIC CANCER?

A study done a few years ago among residents of Southern Louisiana, where the rate of pancreatic cancer is unusually high, by the National Cancer Institute found that eating fruit only once a day cut the odds of developing pancreatic cancer by 40%.  Eating fruit twice a day cut the odds by 60%.  This worked with fresh fruits as well as canned fruits.  Just another reason to make fruit a part of your daily diet.