Friday, June 29, 2012

BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND CANCER

Do not turn your nose up to Brussels Sprouts!  These tiny vegetables are an excellent source of Vitamin C, a good source of protein, folate, vitamin A, iron and potassium.  They also contain bioflavonoids and indoles which protect against cancer.  Try new recipes, experiment until you find a way you enjoy these healthy little vegetables.

You may wonder if something as simple as Brussels sprouts can really help protect you against cancer.  The answer is yes, especially breast, uterus, and prostate cancers.  Thus both men and women need to have Brussels sprouts in their diets.  They have high amounts of bioflavonoids and indoles, plant chemicals that protect against cancer.  These natural chemicals help to prevent cell damage and mutation caused by unstable molecules released when your body burns oxygen.  They inhibit hormones that promote tumor growth.  The indoles are especially active against estrogen, a hormone that stimulates growth of some breast cancers!

Can Brussel Sprouts keep you from getting cancer?  Maybe not.  But why not give yourself that extra protection?  Even if cancer does or has developed, they may slow down tumor growth and the spread of the cancer.

Tip:  Frozen Brussel sprouts are fine, they retain almost all their nutrients. If you are buying fresh Brussel sprouts, buy the ones that are small, bright green, and have tightly packed leaves.  If they have yellow patches, they are aged and may have a bitter taste.  Do not overcook Brussels sprouts as that will destroy vitamin C and they will taste bitter.  Cook only until crisp tender. 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

PROTEIN IN CORN

While corn is high in both starch and protein, it lacks two essential amino acids (lysine and tryptophan) making it unsuitable as a protein substitute.  To receive protein benefits from corn, it should be consumed with beans and/or other legumes.  Corn when combined with legumes provides a complete protein.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

FAST FOOD CHICKEN AND SALT

When you go to a fast food restaurant do you choose, for yourself or your children, chicken over burgers?  Many people feel they are making a healthy decision with just such a choice, and maybe they are.  But maybe they aren't!  Our American Dietary Guidelines recommend only 1,500 mg of sodium a day for anyone at risk for blood-pressure related diseases and only 2,300 mg daily for others.  That may sound like a lot but beware!  Here are some numbers taken last year on the amount of sodium (salt) in some popular fast food chicken strips:
  • Hardee's = 770 mg
  • McDonald's = 1,010 mg
  • Arby's = 1,160 mg
  • Chick-Fil-A = 1,230 mg
  • KFC = 1,280 mg
  • Church's = 1,320 mg
  • Popeye's - 1,620 mg
Some important things to consider; not all the pieces are the same size which can skew the numbers but all of these numbers are based on a 3-piece serving.  If you are eating a larger serving, of course the mg numbers rise.

You can easily see how quickly you use up your daily sodium allotment.  And notice this doesn't include the sodium with the fries which you are likely to eat with the chicken.

If you are trying to watch the sodium in your diet for health or diet reasons, beware of these chicken strips!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

EATING BREAKFAST

If you read this blog often, you know I try to stress the importance of eating breakfast.  But that is not just any breakfast.  A cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll does not a healthy breakfast make!  This is what an "ideal" breakfast should consist of:
  • whole grains (oatmeal, whole-grain toast, etc)
  • fruits or vegetables (berries or fruit on cereal, on yogurt, in scrambled egg, etc.)
  • lean protein (soy, egg, lean meat, etc)
  • low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc)
I saw this picture (an old cooking light picture) below and thought it would be a good example of a healthy breakfast.  You have a whole-wheat tortilla, fruits/vegetables, lean protein, and you can include dairy by whipping the egg with some milk before scrambling or by eating this with a small amount of yogurt or milk.
While it may not be possible to eat like this 365 mornings a year, it should be your goal to eat a healthy breakfast as often as possible!

Friday, June 22, 2012

KIDS IN THE KITCHEN

Don't be one of those parents who refuses to allow your children in the kitchen.  Allowing your kids to participate in the preparing of meals will help them to have a better understanding of foods and will cause them to try more foods.  Kids love to eat what they make!  This is an excellent way to get them to try new and healthy foods.  One of my granddaughter's favorite activities is helping me in the kitchen.  One of her favorite foods is our healthy pear-pecan cakes that she bakes.  This is a picture of her in action creaming ingredients for said cakes.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

CUTTING BACK ON SUGAR

Today's post is basically a continuation of yesterday's post about sugar.  I thought I should probably add some additional information so I will dedicate today's column to sugar also. 
  • Sugar is listed in many different forms on the nutritional labels you should be reading.  If it appears within the first 5 ingredients listed on packaged foods, move on to another item.  You need to be aware that the following are all different ways of "saying" sugar:
  1. sugar (of course)
  2. brown sugar (white sugar with molasses added)
  3. corn syrup
  4. dextrose
  5. fructose
  6. high-fructose corn syrup (a highly processed form of sugar made from corn starch and fructose)
  7. honey (natural sweetener that contains fructose and glucose)
  8. molasses (this is made by boiling down sugar from sugar cane)
  9. sucrose (plain white sugar)
  10. turbinado (made by spinning sugar cane extract in a centrifuge or turbine to creat large brown crystals)
  • You can be drinking a lot of added sugar if you choose products labeled "cocktail," "punch," etc rather than 100% juice.  You can even lower the natural sugar from 100% fruit juice by mixing your juice with a little seltzer or plain water.
  • Acidic foods often have sugar added to cut the acidity.  Check the labels on tomato products especially.  You will find different brands have different amounts of sugar.  As a diabetic, I always check the labels when I buy a jarred or canned spaghetti sauce.  It is amazing the variations in sugars.
If you cut your sugar consumption in half, you will be amazed at how much better you will feel.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SUGAR - NUTRITIONALLY

Basically, in a nutritional sense we really don't need added sugar. According to Audrey Cross, PhD, MPH, a retired professor from Columbia University's School of Public Health, "Sugar is a form of energy, or calories, and nothing else."  There are really two ways we get sugar.  One is by eating "sweets" and the other is by eating healthy foods that naturally contain sugar, such as fruits.  Yes, eating an apple floods your body with sugar just as a lollipop does.  There is, however, a difference in how your body receives these sugars. First, and this is important to remember, with the lollipop your body is just getting a jolt of sugar.  With the apple, your body is also getting fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, all important for your health.  Also, it is important to note that your body absorbs these two types of sugars differently.  The body converts natural sugar (from fruit) to glucose and breaks down the sugar more slowly, keeping the blood sugar levels sustained.  With the lollipop, etc, the body absorbs the sugar quickly causing problems with blood sugar levels. 

It is possible to eat refined sugar and still be eating a healthy diet.  But the amounts of refined sugar should be kept to a minimum.  In a 2000 calorie a day diet, 32 grams of added sugar is allowed.  The problem comes in to play when we fail to realize just how much sugar we are eating daily.  For instance, one cup of presweetened cereal can contain up to 20 grams of sugar.  That is well over half of ones daily allotment!

Learn to read food product labels.  You might be surprised the added sugar you are eating on a regular basis.  For instance, the following products often contain sugar: salad dressings, canned soup, breads, frozen foods, especially breakfast foods, etc.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CREAMY ORANGE FROSTY FOR CANCER AND OTHER VERY ILL PATIENTS

I try not to do this often but today I am basically sharing an article from my Ladybugs Sweet Treats Blog.  This recipe could be so helpful to patients who are very ill or perhaps undergoing cancer treatments that I thought it would be worthwhile to repeat it here.

CREAMY ORANGE FROSTY

NOTE: While this is a delicious recipe for anyone, cancer patients or others who are seriously ill, may find this frosty helps when having difficulty swallowing or when foods have a metallic taste. Make, refrigerate, and sip on it thoughout the day if necessary.  (See Dr. Sears remarks about this in a previous post on this site.)

8 cups orange or vanilla frozen yogurt (8 cups = 1/2 gallon)
1 can (6-oz) frozen calcium-fortified orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup milk (whole, fat-free, soy, etc; whatever suits your needs)

Place half the ingredients in blender container; cover and blend on medium speed about 45 seconds or until thick and smooth. Stop and scrape down sides as needed.

Repeat with remaining ingredients or save remaining ingredients for another day.
 
Let me add that this drink is high in potassium, calcium, vitamin-C, folic acid and it is low in fiber for those who might be having a problem in that area. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

FLAXSEED FOR OMEGA-3S

If you are one of those people who doesn't care for fish (I am one!), which is the best source of omega-3s, don't dispair!  Add some ground flaxseed to your cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, and in baking.  One tablespoon of flaxseed has 1,000 mg of omega-3s.  That is more than half of what you would get in a 4-oz salmon steak!  Here is one of my favorite brands!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

ADD EDAMAME TO SALADS

You can add more protein, fiber, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C to your diet by simply adding edamame to your salads.  Edamame (soy beans) contains 8 grams of protein, 4 grams fiber, a little more iron than a 4-oz chicken breast, and around 10% of your daily requirement of vitamins A & C per 1/2 cup.  What a tasty and easy way to add these essentials to your diet!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

IT'S EASY TO WORK IN FRUITS AND VEGGIES

Do you wonder how you can possibly get all the recommended fruits and vegetables worked into yours or your children's diets?  It is not as hard as it may seem.  No one wants to force themselves or their children to eat things they aren't that fond of.  Try these tips and see if they won't make it easier to get those daily recommendations of fruits and vegetables into your eveyday diet.
  • When you have a sandwich, always add something from the veggie list such as lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, etc.
  • When you have soup, toss in some extra veggies.  Even if it is not a veggie-type soup, this will still work.  As example, chicken noodle soup is great with some finely chopped carrots, celery, or some peas.
  • Pasta is another place where it is easy to add veggies.  Toss some broccoli, asparagus, fresh tomatoes, or some frozen vegetables into your sauce or over the pasta before adding the sauce.
  • Chop dried fruits and add to cookie dough.  Raisins are popular in oatmeal cookies but can be added to other types, too.  Drain some canned fruit well, cut into small pieces and add to cake batter, add fresh berries to brownie mix or cake batter, etc.
  • Use fresh fruit and berries as garnishes on your cakes, cream pies, etc.
  • I'm sure you are more creative than me and can come up with a lot of other ideas.
Once you make a habit of this, it will become second nature to you and you will soon be surprised how many more fruits and vegetables you are eating.


Friday, June 15, 2012

NEED TO EAT MORE CALCIUM AND FIBER?

There is a quick and easy way to get more calcium and fiber into your everyday diet!  By mixing just 6-ounces of yogurt with a quarter-cup low fat granola you will add approximately 300 mg calcium and around 7 g fiber to your diet.  This equals to approximately 30% of your daily calcium needs and around 25 % of your daily fiber needs.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

DRINK A SMOOTHIE TO GET YOUR DAILY FRUIT SERVINGS

If you find it hard to get in all your daily servings of fruits and vegetables, put them in a smoothie for breakfast or lunch.    It is easy to get in two or three fruit or veggie servings in one smoothie.  But be careful you don't load your smoothie down with sugar and calories!  Here is an example of a fruit smoothie you might want to go by:

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled & cut up
1 ripe banana, peeled & cut into chunks
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/3 cup fat-free milk

This particular smoothie would offer 3 fruit servings.  It also offers 5 grams of fiber, and only 153 calories.

Note:  The above list of ingredients makes 2 servings!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ONIONS

Onions are not known for their nutritional value!  However, the green tops of onions are a good source of vitamin C.  So don't toss the tops from your green onions!  Chop the tops fine and toss into salads, soups, potatoes, etc.

Onions can serve a variety of uses other than just adding flavor to our dishes.  Some of these ways include:
  • When cutting onions their sulfur compounds combine with enzymes to form a type of sulfuric acid.  This is what causes us to "cry" when peeling or cutting onions.  This may actually help clean nasal passages that are congested.
  • The sulfur compounds in onions block the potential of some cancer-causing carcinogens.
  • Onions have a mild antibacterial effect.
  • Some studies indicate onions may protect against the artery-clogging damage of cholesterol by raising the levels of the high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) which are the protective proteins.
  • Research has also shown that adenosine, a substance in onions, hinders clot formation which could offer heart protection.

Monday, June 11, 2012

DR. LA PUMA ON HOW TO SHOP FOR FOOD

Dr. La Puma (see previous post) believes it is important to know how to shop for high-quality ingredients - an important step toward healthful eating.  He believes in the touch and smell method.  For instance he says tomatoes "should smell aromatic."  "Butternut squash should feel heavy in your hand and be free from bruises and cracks.'  He prefers "fresh-from-the-market organic fruits and vegetables but says out-of-season substitutes can be fine." He continues to say, "nutrients from whole foods play key roles in optimal health.  And, when they are not deep-fried and doused with salt, they're low in fat, calories, and sodium."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

DR. JOHN LA PUMA ON THE JOY OF EATING

Dr. John La Puma is a physican/chef who thinks we could cut back on obesity by thinking of eating as an experience.  He treats patients with hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and other obsity-associated illnesses.  He finds that for a lot of his patients, and we know it is this way for many others, traditional dieting and calorie counting just don't work over time.  This is his statement on the matter: "People are too fixated on numbers."  He believes we need more than 300 calorie frozen meals and height/weight charts.  He says we need new ways of looking at food, shopping for it, and preparing it.  He also believes, as I do, that one needs to sit down at the table and share their meals with family and or friends.  He says that when we sit down in front of a TV, etc to eat, we are not concentrating on what we eat, don't even taste it half of the time, and therefore overeat.

Dr. La Puma has created a clinical research program, designed to treat obesity, called CHEF (Cooking, Healthy Eating, and Fitness).  In future columns we will check into his program more thoroughly.

Friday, June 8, 2012

FRESH VS FROZEN GREEN BEANS

While we usually think fresh foods are the best nutrionally, that is not always so.  For instance, fresh green beans that have been purchased 3 days after picking and refrigerated have been found by the FDA to only retain 36% of their vitamin C.  However, green beans that are picked and frozen within a day retained twice as much.  Frozen vegetables that are frozen without additives such as butter and sauces can be as nutrionally sound, maybe even more so, than fresh.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

ZUCCHINI

Zucchini is a tasty, healthy, versatile food.  It has been around forever, cultivated by the Native Americans before the New World was ever discovered.  It was a favorite of the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson who both grew it in their gardens.  It is inexpensive to grow with a single plant often producing a bushel basket of zucchini.

Zucchini are approximately 94% water which is why they are so low in calories.  One cup of raw sliced zucchini has less than 20 calories, 20% of the adult recommendation of daily vitamin C needs, and 250 mg potassium.  It also has beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A but this is lost if you peel the zucchini.  Zucchini is also a good source of folate.

Whether you saute it, use it in a casserole, bake it in breads and muffins, etc, just be sure to include it in your diet.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES TO WARD OFF CANCER

Cancer is a dreaded disease.  None of us want to hear our doctors tell us we have the disease.  I know the feeling having heard it twice!  This horrible disease is one in which we can help our bodies prevent and heal from with our diet.  That may sound simplistic but it is true.  Don't misunderstand me.  I am not saying that if you have cancer you made yourself sick.  Nor am I saying that if you follow a certain diet you will never get cancer.  Cancer is more complicated than that.  But I am saying there are certain foods proven to have cancer-fighting compounds.  These are common foods and they taste good.  Doesn't it make sense then to include them in our daily diets? 

Scientists have discovered that the pigments and other chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors are much of what contributes to their cancer-fighting properties.  Nutritionists have advised that we should eat three different colored vegetables daily.  For example,  add a couple of tomato slices to your breakfast, carrot sticks to your lunch, and broccoli for dinner.  There you have it, three different colored vegetables over the course of the day.  They also suggest including 2 servings of fruit in your daily diet.

I don't know about you, but I believe that advice is well worth following.
This picture is only a small example of some of the known cancer-fighting foods.

Monday, June 4, 2012

WHOLE-GRAIN STAMP

Due to the increased interest by us - the consumers, manufacturers are starting to make nutritional information more readily available and easier to understand on product labeling.  One area of vital importance to our health is whole-grains.  Over many years of food production, many of the vital nutrients, etc were  lost as we refined everything.  Now, thanks to us health-conscience consumers, more grains are left whole. 

To help you spot the whole-grains, some manufacturers are now placing the "WHOLE-GRAIN" stamp on their packaging.  Not all manufacturers are on board yet buy many are.  I just went to my cabinet and took a picture of the stamp so you will know what you are looking for:
This stamp tells you how many whole-grains this product carries per serving and underneath is reminds you of the daily guideline for whole-grains. 

Note: If you are diabetic, as I am, it is very important to eat whole-grains.  Don't even buy products without them when they are available.  You will hardly notice a difference in taste by switching to whole-grain pastas, for example.  I only use whole-grain now and even my grandchildren are unaware of the difference!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

WHICH MILK?

It used to be that milk was milk.  If you wanted a glass of milk, you went to the refrigerator and poured yourself a glass of "regular" milk.  Like so many foods today, even choosing a glass of milk gets complicated.  Below are some simple facts about some of our milk choices per 8-ounces:

  • Vitamin D Cow's Milk - Calories = 150, Fat = 8 grams, Protein = 8 grams
  • Skim Cow's Milk -         Calories = 83, Fat = 0 grams, Protein = 8 grams
  • Soy Milk -                      Calories = 131, Fat = 4 grams, Protein = 8 grams
  • Almond Milk -               Calories = 60, Fat = 2.5 grams, Protein = 1 gram
  • Rice Milk -                     Calories = 120, Fat = 2.5 grams, Protein = 1 gram
For the average person, skim cow's milk is probably the best choice.  However, one may prefer one of the others for various reasons.  For those with serious allergies to soy, nuts, or are lactose intolerant, rice milk is a good alternative with cereal, etc.  But when buying rice milk or almond milk check to be sure what you buy is fortified with calcium and vitamin D so you aren't losing out on those nutrients.

Friday, June 1, 2012

BENEFITS OF PORK

Lean pork is sometimes also known as the "other white meat".  But did you know that lean pork is not only "another white meat," it is a good source of high-quality protein.  You may be surprised to know that lean pork is also a good source of the B vitamins. 

You will notice that all of the above statements are based on lean pork.  You need to remember that cured pork such as bacon, some hams, etc contain nitrates which can form cancer-promoting nitrosamines. Cured products are also usually quite high in salt and often high in fat.