Sunday, October 25, 2009

Eating Well to Help Prevent Cancer


Help keep your immune system strong and promote overall good health with healthy foods.
Can diet make a difference? The links between cancer prevention and specific dietary patterns are still pretty murky. Even people with extensive health knowledge, who seem to get everything right, get cancer. We know there are some things we can’t control. We can’t change risk factors like our family history. But it’s clear that eating well is part of doing everything you can to tip the odds in your favor—and the best benefit is knowing that you’re doing what you can to promote overall good health.
A well-nourished, well-rested body is the best nutritional strategy for keeping your immune system strong. Eat a variety of foods that provide a natural abundance of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, particularly those rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene and selenium, antioxidants that, according to some studies, may help prevent disease, including some cancers. These healthy recipes will get you started—they all contain at least 15 percent daily value of at least one of those vitamins or minerals.
News you can use
-The American Institute for Cancer Research just published its most up-to-date food, nutrition
and activity recommendations to help prevent cancer. Here are eight quick tips from the report:
-Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
-Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
-Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods (particularly processed foods
high in added sugar, or low in fiber, or high in fat).
-Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, such as beans.
-Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.
-If alcohol is consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to two for men and one for women a day.
-Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).
-Don't use supplements to protect against cancer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

13 Easy Ways to Save 200 Calories a Day


By incorporating even one of these smart tweaks from diet and nutrition writers into your day, you could lose up to 20 pounds a year!



Coffee, Hold the Milk
“Instead of a latte, order your coffee drink Americano style, which is espresso with water instead of milk. A 12-ounce Americano is 10 calories versus the same-size latte made with whole milk, which comes in at 180 calories. Nix the sugar—two packets are 30 calories—and you’ve saved yourself 200 calories.”



Create Your Own Chips
“Instead of snacking on tortilla chips and salsa, I make my own pita chips in the toaster oven. I cut a whole-wheat pita into small triangles, spray them with no-calorie cooking spray, sprinkle with salt and toast for about two minutes. They taste just as good as regular tortilla chips but without the added calories and fat. You can even add garlic salt, cinnamon or paprika to jazz them up.”



Give Mashed Potatoes a Healthy Twist
“For me, mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food. To make your potatoes healthier, try using equal amounts of potato and another mashable vegetable, like cauliflower or turnips. Not only is this reducing the calorie content, but you’re also adding extra nutrients to your plate. To add even more flavor, replace butter and whole milk with a small amount of tahini and some fat-free yogurt.”



Slim Down Your Strawberry Shortcake
“In the summer, I particularly love strawberry shortcake at a barbecue. I bake my own angel-food cake, slice it thin and throw it on the grill for a few minutes instead of using a biscuit—that cuts about 100 calories right there. Then I use a balsamic reduction—cook the vinegar down slowly until it’s about half the volume it was originally—and drizzle it over the strawberries and cake. The flavors are so elegant, and no one misses the whipped cream, which would usually tack another 100 calories onto the dessert.”


Invest in a Steamer
“Food steamers save calories and your time. Before I got my steamer, which has multiple layers, so you can cook your entire meal at once, I would usually pan-fry salmon in oil or butter or cover it in sugary teriyaki sauce and bake it. Both of those methods add so many unnecessary calories. Now when I get home from work, I throw veggies, brown rice and salmon with a lemon slice and some fresh parsley in the steamer. It absorbs all the flavor, and it tastes so fresh that way. It takes 15 minutes, so I avoid fatty takeout.”


A Breakfast of Champions
“Instead of the average 450-calorie cream-cheese bagel, I have a Thomas’ English muffin with two tablespoons of fat-free cream cheese for a similar taste that saves about 300 calories.”


Pop Your Own Corn
“Next time you go to the movies, bring your own popcorn. Microwave kernels in a brown paper bag and use a little nonstick spray. Season them to suit your mood: savory with garlic powder and sea salt, sweet with cinnamon and a few dark chocolate chips, or ‘cheesy’ with sea salt, chili powder and nutritional yeast. It’s delicious and tastes just like cheese with fewer calories!”



Embrace Water
“Many people forget that calories you drink count too, so I try to be aware of what I consume in liquid form and drink as much zero-calorie water as possible. Simply cutting out a 20-ounce bottle of regular soda saves more than 200 calories. Plus, when I’m hydrated, I can more accurately tell whether I’m actually hungry.”



Beat the Office Munchies
“Every afternoon at work, I tend to want a snack. With small chocolates in my co-worker’s nearby office—five mini chocolate bars are 210 calories!—and a vending machine down the hall that’s calling my name, I avoid the temptation by chewing a piece of fruit-flavored sugar-free gum. Sugar-free gum comes in all kinds of fun, tropical flavors these days like sangria and pina colada, so I feel like I’m indulging even though I’m not.”



Save Your Salad With Salsa
“When ordering salad out, ask for salsa or pico de gallo instead of dressing. Many restaurant-size servings of dressing have around 300 to 500 calories. Using salsa, even half a cup of it, will likely save you hundreds of calories and dozens of fat grams—half a cup has 35 calories and almost no fat. And salsa rocks on salads.”


Make Over Your Milk Shake
“I love milk shakes, but at 420 calories for a small strawberry fast-food shake, they can be a real diet breaker. So when I’m in the mood for one, I blend a cup of 1% milk with a cup of unthawed, unsweetened frozen strawberries and a teaspoon of agave nectar for a delicious and satisfying cold treat. It’s only about 170 calories, which is a savings of 240 calories.”



Skip the Cheese
“Build a healthier sandwich: Hold the cheese because two slices can add up to well over 200 calories. Load your sammie with low-calorie veggies or go gourmet with slices of apple and pear.”



Substitute Yogurt for Mayo
“When making tuna salad, use 2 percent Greek yogurt, about 75 calories for half a cup, instead of mayonnaise, about 450 calories for half a cup. Greek yogurt has the same texture and creaminess as mayonnaise but far less fat and calories. I use the tangy Greek yogurt as a lower-cal replacement anywhere I’d regularly use sour cream or mayo.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Fruits and Vegetables

If all the pre-cut vegetables and fruits in the grocery store and news stories about the importance of produce for health has led you to believe that you’re the only one not eating many vegetables and fruits, relax. Once again, a study shows that most Americans aren’t, even though relatively minor changes in increasing fruits and vegetable consumption could pay off big in good health.
The latest study suggesting we’re still more talk than action when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables compares findings over the last 20 years from NHANES, a large federal diet and health survey. Nutrition experts urged us to aim higher when results from the 1988 to 1994 NHANES showed that among Americans ages 40 to 74, only 42 percent met the minimum recommendation of at least five servings of vegetables and fruits daily. Instead of increasing, the 2001 to 2006 NHANES showed that 26 percent of adults this age met the minimum.
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Make vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans at least two-thirds of your plate at each meal.
The findings of other dietary surveys may not seem quite as grim but show the same overall result. When state health departments surveyed more than a million respondents by telephone, they found essentially no change over the last 15 years in the proportion of adults aged 18 and older who met the five-a-day minimum: 24.6 percent in 1994 and 25.0 percent in 2005. This survey gives a somewhat incomplete picture of produce consumption, however, since it asked people how often they ate vegetables and fruit without any indication of portion size. Someone who ate two cups of vegetables at dinner would be listed as consuming the same amount as someone who ate a few forkfuls.
The telephone survey suggests that where vegetable consumption decreased, it was often due to a drop in potato consumption. Are people only hearing half the messages about vegetable and fruit consumption? Perhaps people responded to low-carb messages about over-reliance on potatoes, but forgot the message to swap for other vegetables.
Likewise, were people who decreased juice consumption responding to messages about its concentrated calories and sugar, but missing the message to swap juice beyond one small glass a day for eating more solid fruit?
One strategy to increase vegetable and fruit consumption is to start with times you already eat them, increasing their portion size and cutting back on other foods. For example, the New American Plate approach recommended by the American Institute for Cancer Research calls for making vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans at least two-thirds of your plate at each meal.
Research suggests that many people aren’t aware of how many vegetables and fruits we need for health. Adults can lower their cancer risk and improve health by reaching the minimum target of at least five servings (about 2½ cups) of vegetables and fruits daily. But for optimal overall health and easier weight control, once you reach that target, most of us should aim for seven to 10 standard servings (3½ to 5 cups).
For others, studies show it takes more than just knowledge; until people see produce available and affordable and know how to serve it in ways they expect to enjoy, they are likely to stay stuck. The barriers are more often a matter of perception. Produce need not be expensive if you buy what’s in season, and choose plain, frozen produce when it’s less expensive. And if you reduce purchases of expensive meat and convenience foods, that money can be spent on fruits and vegetables.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Perfect Day of Eating

Will this be your best day ever? Or your beastliest? What you put in your mouth will have a lot to do with the answer. Food can help fuel body and mind to ensure that you perform at the peak of your abilities. Or it can sabotage your best efforts, leaving you panicked, drained, and floundering. Are you eating your way to disaster, or triumph? Let's go through your daily menu of foods and tasks to help you snack, slurp, and sup your way to success.

Live longer, stronger, and leaner, and transform your body into a sleeker, fitter, stronger version of itself with this four-week plan.

6:43 a.m.: You've just rolled out of bed. You need to be on the road by 7:20. Big day of work ahead.

Eat this: bacon or ham and fried eggs

Benefit 1: fullness and energyThe protein in this power meal will keep you feeling full throughout the morning. A University of Illinois study found that people who eat more protein and less carbs than in conventional meals find it easier to stick to a diet. Protein is satiating and may also boost calorie burn, the study authors say.

Benefit 2: relaxed blood vessels
When you digest eggs, protein fragments are produced that can prevent your blood vessels from narrowing-which may help keep your blood pressure from rising. In fact, Canadian scientists found in a lab study that the hotter the eggs, the more potent the proteins, and frying them sends their temps soaring.

Not that: pancakes, or a bagel with cream cheese

These carbohydrate-loaded options will send your blood glucose skyward, and you may feel ready to tackle anything. But don't be fooled: That soaring blood sugar will lead to a crash, and you're bound to feel hungry again before lunch. Resist the tempting ease of most high-carb breakfasts, and go find some protein.

Extra tip: Eat now at home, not later on the road.

A University of Massachusetts study found that eating breakfast out instead of at home more than doubles your odds of obesity. Not only are restaurant meals often bigger than home-cooked ones (check out the 20 Worst Breakfasts in America), but you're also vulnerable to an impulse buy at a drive-thru or convenience store.

7:37 a.m.: You're caught in stop-and-go traffic. Figures it'd happen on the day you need to arrive early to prepare for the big meeting.

Try this: chewing gum

Benefit: stress relief

Stop pounding the steering wheel and reach for a pack of gum. In a British study, people who chewed gum while taking math, memory, and concentration tests reported an average 13 percent drop in stress. The study authors believe that the act of chewing might lead to subconscious associations with positive social settings (like mealtimes), which may reduce tension.

Not that: coffee

Caffeine can trigger a spike in the stress hormone cortisol. It's not the best choice in a situation you can't control. Have your caffeine fix at the office, to help you power through problems.

9:42 a.m.: Your to-do list is tedious and never-ending. You're having trouble staying on task.

Drink this: peppermint tea

Benefit: focus

Researchers in Cincinnati found that periodic whiffs of peppermint increase people's concentration and performance on tasks requiring sustained attention. (Sniff: "I can do this.") Now, we know most guys don't keep peppermint tea in their desks. So here's your Men's Health-approved shopping suggestion. The brand Stash has made MH's Best Foods for Men list (check out all 125 foods here) for the last two years. Brew a cup and impress co-workers with your focus.

Not that: soda

British researchers discovered that sleepy people who downed a sugary, caffeinated drink similar to soda had slower reaction times and more lapses in attention after 80 minutes than people who drank a sugar-free beverage.

12:00 p.m.: lunchtime.

You can't stop stressing over the big meeting in an hour. You have to give a presentation—and stay awake through your colleagues' presentations. You're not sure which challenge is more daunting.

Eat this: grilled salmon

Benefit: alertness
Salmon contains tyrosine, an amino acid that your brain uses to make dopamine and norepinephrine—neurochemicals that keep you alert. The brain-balm omega-3s in salmon may also help tame your neurotic tendencies. Halibut and trout are good alternatives to salmon. Not a fish fan? Try the power lunch in this all-day plan to beat stress.

Add this: spinach or arugula salad

Benefit: improved mood and memory

Leafy greens are a good source of the B vitamin folate, used by the brain to make the mood controllers serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Folate shortages have been linked to depression. Add carrots: Beta-carotene may help reduce the effects of oxidative stress on your memory.

Not that: tea with milk

Tea can cut stress. In a British study, tea drinkers who performed stressful tasks had a 27 percent lower level of cortisol afterward than those who drank a placebo. But those effects disappear when you add milk to the mix. The proteins in milk may bind with the tea catechins, reducing their blood-vessel-relaxing benefits.
Extra tip: Preserve your gray matter by eating these foods:
-Even more salmon: People who eat fatty fish three or more times a week have a 27 percent lower chance of developing brain lesions associated with cognitive decline and stroke.
-Blueberries: Their polyphenols may shield your brain against oxidative stress.
-Garlic: It may increase the brain's levels of serotonin, linked to better memory function.
-Steak: High blood levels of vitamin B12 (found in meat, milk, and fish) may combat age-related brain shrinkage.
-Brazil nuts: The selenium in the nuts spurs antioxidant activity that helps preserve cognitive functioning.

2:17 p.m.: Meeting's over—finally. Too bad you're completely drained and you have a pounding headache.

Try this: cayenne pepper

Benefit: migraine relief

A report in Alternative and Complementary Therapies says capsaicin, the source of some chilies' heat, can deplete the neurotransmitters that trigger headaches. Not if you eat it, though.
Add ¾ teaspoon of fresh cayenne powder to a few ounces of warm water. After the powder settles to the bottom, dip a swab into the solution and apply it to the inside of your nostril on the side of your pain (or both sides, if needed). This should burn a bit, but it's worth a try.

Not that: diet soda

Caffeine and aspartame have both been linked to aching heads. Steer clear if you want the pounding to subside. (Not to mention that diet soda is 100 percent nutrition free. The more of it you drink, the less good stuff you put in your body.)

3:11 p.m.: That headache is still there—and you're getting over a cold and need something for that cough. And you have a date tonight.

Eat this: ginseng

Benefit: immunity boost

In a Canadian study, people who took 400 milligrams of ginseng extract a day had 56 percent fewer recurring colds than those who popped placebos. Studies suggest ginseng can boost the activity of key immune cells. Another benefit: Ginseng might boost your brainpower. British researchers found that people who swallowed 200 milligrams of the extract an hour before taking a cognitive test scored significantly better than when they skipped the supplement.

And this: kiwi, oranges, red bell peppers

Benefit: symptom relief

All three are packed with vitamin C. Studies suggest that taking in at least 200 milligrams daily may help shorten the duration of your symptoms the next time you're under the weather.
Quick tip:If you're really hacking up a lung, try downing a spoonful of honey. Penn State scientists found that honey is better at lessening cough frequency and severity than dextromethorphan, the most common active ingredient in over-the-counter cough meds. Want more? Stock your kitchen with these 15 stealth health foods to reduce your risk of numerous diseases.

5:20 p.m.: You're prepping for a predate workout—maybe 20 minutes of cardio, followed by a
weight circuit. But you're feeling peckish.

Eat this: half an apple and a shot of espresso

Benefit 1: preworkout energy fix
It's low-calorie enough not to fill you up, but it has the carbohydrates you need for energy. You'll hit the gym with added vigor.

Benefit 2: postworkout muscle fuel
Australian researchers found that when cyclists combined carbs with caffeine after a workout, their supply of muscle glycogen refilled at a 66 percent faster rate than it did for cyclists who downed only carbs.

Not that: nothing

If you don't fill up before working out, your body will burn muscle tissue, not just fat. If your goal is to bulk up, exercising on an empty, rumbling stomach is the worst thing you can do. Give your body something to work with.

Quick tip: Make sure your drink is cold, not just lukewarm. Drinking cold water before and during exercise can improve your endurance, British scientists found. Cyclists drinking cold water were able to bike 23 percent longer than riders who drank warm liquids.

8:50 p.m.: You've picked up your date she looks even better than you remembered), and you've just been seated for dinner. Time to order.

Drink this: wine

Benefit: relaxation

A glass of wine really does take the edge off. University of Toronto researchers discovered that one alcoholic drink causes people's blood vessels to relax-but the second drink begins to reverse the effect, so limit your intake. You'll be even more relaxed knowing that that glass of red contains resveratrol, an antioxidant linked to everything from cancer prevention to heart-disease protection. One variety that's packed with resveratrol: pinot noir.

Not that: whiskey

A small 2007 study says that more than twice as many people with alcohol or drug problems had prematurely gray hair as those without. Long-term abuse may speed the aging and loss of melanocytes, cells that give hair its pigment.

Eat this: steak

Benefit: libido boost

Protein can boost levels of brain chemicals that heighten arousal. Steak also contains zinc, which may help maintain testosterone levels.

Or maybe this: oysters

Two forms of an amino acid in oysters have been linked to testosterone production in rats, but it's unclear whether oysters have any true libido-boosting influence. Go for the suggestive effect.

But not that: white chocolate

White chocolate has no cocoa solids, so it lacks the methylxanthines (caffeine and theobromine) found in dark and milk chocolate. These stimulants can make you feel more energetic and alert.
Quick tip: Dark chocolate is a foreplay food. A woman becomes more aroused from the melting of dark chocolate in her mouth than from kissing, British scientists found. The chocolate not only raises her heart rate, but brain-wave monitoring shows it also makes her more relaxed and alert. Opt for 60 percent cacao.

11:20 p.m.: You're at home. Alone. It's been a long day, but you can't fall asleep because your mind is racing.

Drink this: cherry juice

Benefit: sleep-inducing serotonin

Carbohydrates help boost your brain's production of serotonin, a neurochemical that can help induce sleepiness. We're guessing you don't have any in your fridge. So buy Lakewood Organic Pure Black Cherry juice, which has only one ingredient: juice from organic black cherries. There's no added sugar, and a 4-ounce glass contains just 70 calories.

Not that: warm milk

Contrary to popular belief, warm milk will keep you up, not knock you out. Blame the protein in the milk, which can reduce serotonin levels and delay the onset of sleep.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Best and Worst Foods for Your Sleep


Foods That Sabotage Your Sleep: The nightcap
A drink or two may make you feel more relaxed after dinner, but it comes back to haunt you—literally—a few hours later, by preventing you from achieving deep sleep. And because alcohol both dehydrates you and makes you have to pee, it wakes you up, too. Wine is high in the stimulant tyrosine as well.




Foods That Sabotage Your Sleep: Tomato sauce, chili, pizza, and spicy foods
Digestive disturbances are a common source of sleep problems, but many people fail to make the connection. Acidic and spicy foods can cause reflux, heartburn, and other symptoms that interrupt sleep.




Foods That Sabotage Your Sleep: Energy drinks
Red Bull and other energy drinks are high in caffeine as well as the amino acid taurine, which boosts alertness and adrenaline. Recent studies have shown that even if you drink energy drinks early in the day, the combined high dosage of taurine and caffeine can make it hard to sleep, or to sleep well, later on.




Foods That Sabotage Your Sleep: Chocolate
Love an evening cup of cocoa? That sundae in front of the TV? Be careful of chocolate in all its disguises. Many people are increasingly sensitive to caffeine as they get older, and even the little chocolate chunks in chocolate chip ice cream could zap you just enough to prevent ZZZZs. Chocolate also contains tyrosine, a stimulating amino acid.




Foods That Sabotage Your Sleep: Preserved and smoked meats
If you're having trouble sleeping, what about a midnight snack? Think twice—here are five foods that can prevent you from getting a good night's rest:

Slap your hand away when it reaches to make a ham sandwich as an evening snack. Ham, bacon, sausages, and smoked meats contain high levels of the amino acid tyramine, which triggers the brain to release norepinephrine, a brain stimulant that makes us feel alert and wired.



Best Foods for Your Sleep: Warm milk
Like bananas, milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases relaxing serotonin. It's also high in calcium, which promotes sleep.



Best Foods for Your Sleep: Oatmeal
Like toast, a bowl of oatmeal will trigger insulin production, raising blood sugar naturally and making you feel sleepy. Oats are also rich in melatonin, which many people take as a sleep aid.




Best Foods for Your Sleep: Toast
Carbohydrate-rich foods trigger insulin production, which induces sleep. Bring on sleepiness by speeding up the release of tryptophan and serotonin, two brain chemicals that relax you and send you to sleep.




Best Foods for Your Sleep: Bananas
Potassium and magnesium are natural muscle relaxants, and bananas are a good source of both. They also contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain. The 5-HTP in turn is converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin.




Best Foods for Your Sleep: Cherries
Should you let yourself have that midnight snack if you're having trouble sleeping and you think hunger might be part of the problem?

Fresh and dried cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the body's internal clock to regulate sleep. Researchers who tested tart cherries and found high levels of melatonin recommend eating them an hour before bedtime or before a trip when you want to sleep on the plane.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The 7 Healthiest Foods You're Not Eating, But Should

A little culinary adventure can add nutrients, fiber, and flavor to your diet.



Flaxseeds
These trendy seeds are one of the few plant sources of healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Toss these tiny brown seeds into cereal, yogurt, soups, and stews. Sprinkle them on top of ice cream or on slices of apple coated with peanut butter. My kids call this “ants on apples.”




Greek yogurt
Called "yiaourti" in Greece, this is a thicker, creamier yogurt because the liquid (whey) has been strained away. It contains probiotic cultures and has twice the protein of regular yogurt and fewer carbohydrates. It is lower in lactose, too.




Paddlefish caviar
When you’re trying to get more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, expanding your repertoire of egg dishes can help. We’re talking fish eggs as well as those from chickens. Caviar contains three times as much omega-3 as salmon does. Spooning 2 teaspoons of paddlefish caviar into your omelet just before folding it over will give you a tasty morning boost of fish oil. And if you use omega-3 eggs from chickens who are given feed rich in omega-3s, you’ll get a double shot.




Shirataki noodles
These noodles made from the root of an Asian yam consist of a no-calorie soluble fiber, so they are a healthier alternative to egg noodles or pastas high in fast-digesting carbohydrates. Studies show that the fiber, called glucomannan, helps lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and may even help lower body weight. Researchers say that just 1 gram of this fiber can significantly slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream after a high-carbohydrate meal. Because they have little flavor of their own, shirataki noodles take on the flavor of sauces and herbs from the dishes to which they are added. Try them in vegetable salads, soups, and stir-fry dishes.




Pickled lunch herring
Keep a jar of pickled herring chunks in your refrigerator for a quick omega-3 lunch with crackers. It’s an easy way to get more fish into your weekly diet without the hassle of cooking fresh fish. Herring, essentially a larger sardine, is still small enough to be low in contaminants. And it’s a good source of EPA and DHA as well as calcium.




Pearled barley
The chewy, nutty hulled grain used in soups and bread and as a substitute for rice, is quickly becoming a favorite of people trying to lose weight. It’s made up of 43 percent slow-digesting carbohydrates and 12 percent of a fiber known as a “resistant starch” because it goes through the small intestine without being digested at all. In 2008, a Swedish study showed that people who ate barley bread as part of their dinner felt much less hungry than those who munched on plain white bread--and the hunger-quenching effect lasted for more than 10 hours.




Kimchi
Most of us are in a food rut. The Belly Off! Diet will break you out of it by introducing you to delicious foods that’ll surprise your taste buds while maximizing nutrition—making the most of every calorie you consume. Here are seven that we recommend you rotate into your meal plan for variety and to reap their rich health benefits. You just might find a favorite that’ll become a staple on your table.

Koreans are among the leanest and healthiest people on the planet. Could it have something to do with this spicy pickled cabbage, which they eat the way Americans eat French fries and baked potatoes? Eaten at almost every meal in Korea, Kimchi is packed with vitamins and immune system-boosting phytochemicals. Its main ingredient, fermented cabbage, contains lactic acid, which helps with digestion and may weaken infections. Several years ago, kimchi made big news when Korean researchers found chickens infected with the avian flu recovered more quickly after being fed an extract of kimchi. More recently, a study at the University of New Mexico suggested that eating cabbage might help ward off breast cancer. Kimchi is low in calories and rich in dietary fiber.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Do Anti-Cancer Superfoods Really Work?

The short answer to this question is—drum roll, please—yes. They really do. While studies are ongoing, and in many cases experts still don't know exactly how these superfoods work, there's strong evidence that certain fruits and vegetables rich in plant-based nutrients can both prevent tumors from starting and halt their growth. Here, the top foods to work into the family diet if you'd like to cut cancer risk or help those with cancer recover. And who wouldn't?



Watercress and spinach
Watercress isn't exactly a major part of the American diet. But maybe it should be, according to researchers in Ireland, who released studies in the past two years showing that eating watercress everyday can prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition—but conducted in Ulster, where people are more comfortable eating watercress—found that antioxidants in the nutrient-rich greens prevented free radicals from damaging healthy cells. Spinach, which we're all more familiar with, is also a cancer fighter; research conducted by the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas showed spinach to protect against bladder cancer. The chemical that gives spinach its dark green color, chlorophyllin, proved to reduce the risk of liver cancer in research by the National Academy of Sciences. Who cares about muscles? Here's a much more important reason to eat your greens.




Turmeric
The orange-yellow spice turmeric, best known for its role in Indian curries and other Asian dishes, fights cancer because of an active ingredient, curcumin, that's a powerful antioxidant. Researchers at Ohio State University in Columbus reviewed numerous animal studies and concluded that curcumin demonstrated anti-cancer effects at virtually all stages of tumor development. Researchers in France and Britain also have been studying curcumin's action in the laboratory and concluded that it prevents and slows tumor cell growth. The great news about turmeric is how easy it is to work into the diet, because you don't need very much. Add a teaspoon of the spice to soups, salad dressings, meat and pasta dishes and you'll reap the preventative effects.
Watch out, though; according to the American Cancer Society, turmeric made certain anti-cancer drugs less effective when studied in animals and test tubes. Cancer patients shouldn't add a lot of turmeric to their diets or take curcumin supplements without talking to their doctors first.




Soy
The active ingredient in soy is genistein, which is a phytoestrogen that protects against hormone-dependent cancers. It's also a powerful inhibitor of several proteins that are implicated in the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. To get the anti-cancer benefits of soy, you need to consume about 50 grams per day of the whole food, such as raw fresh soybeans, known as edamame, dry roasted soybeans, or tofu. The research to date shows that supplements containing isoflavones don't work with the same action as soybeans themselves and in fact can be bad for you rather than good.




Resveratrol
The hype about red wine centers on an antioxidant called resveratrol that's present in grapes and grape juice, but is most concentrated in red wine. Numerous studies show that resveratrol possesses powerful anti-cancer activity. Teams at several universities and cancer centers are studying resveratrol's effects against specific types of cancer. Most recently, a University of Nebraska study published in Cancer Prevention Research demonstrated that resveratrol suppresses the abnormal cell growth that leads to most types of breast cancer. Breast cancer is fueled by estrogen, and resveratrol acts to block the action of the estrogen, preventing it from feeding tumor growth. Previously, research conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that mice fed a diet enriched with resveratrol had an 87 percent reduction in their risk of developing prostate tumors of the most dangerous kind.
The problem, however, is that higher alcohol intake has been linked to cancer as well, particularly breast and esophageal cancer. The solution? One glass of red wine a day, unless you're at risk for or have one of these types of cancer, in which case a resveratrol supplement is a better idea.




Tomatoes
Harvard researcher Edward Giovannucci reviewed 72 different studies published by the National Cancer Institute, and concluded that lycopene, the active chemical in tomatoes, lowered the risk of many different cancers, particularly prostate, breast, lung and colon cancer. Subsequently, the FDA conducted a review of its own and disagreed, refusing food companies' request to label tomato products with an anti-cancer health promotion message. However, many experts believe the FDA's process was flawed and that tomatoes will be vindicated by further studies. The good news: cooking tomatoes seems to enhance the effects of lycopene, qualifying tomato-based spaghetti sauce as a nutritional powerhouse. Bring on the pasta!




Onions and leeks
According to the National Institutes of Health, studies of people from southern Europe who eat a diet high in garlic and onions show a direct relationship between high consumption of "allium" vegetables (all types of garlic, onions, and leeks) and reduced risk of many common cancers.



Broccoli and cabbage
British researchers made headlines last year with a study that showed that men with early signs of developing prostate cancer prevented tumor growth by eating broccoli four times a week. Other studies have shown anti-cancer benefits from eating cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables.



Garlic
Numerous studies over the years (more than 30 different studies to date) have documented the anti-cancer properties of garlic. The strongest evidence so far has focused on digestive cancers, but garlic appears to protect against all types of cancer, including breast and prostate. According to the National Cancer Institute, an analysis of seven different large-scale population studies showed that the more raw and cooked garlic a person consumed, the lower the risk of stomach and colorectal cancer; one study found that middle-aged women who regularly consumed garlic had a 50 percent lower risk of developing colon cancer. Scientists have isolated two active ingredients in garlic, allicin and allyl sulfur, and demonstrated that they prevent and fight cancer in both animals and humans; you can take garlic in supplement form but the capsules must be enteric-coated to protect these active ingredients. Add crushed, fresh garlic to your meals whenever possible; some experts also recommend waiting 15 minutes between peeling and chopping the garlic to get the full effects of the active compounds.



Green tea
One of the first plant-based chemicals to be studied for its anti-cancer properties, catechins-the chemicals in green tea-have been known for some time to prevent and reduce recurrence of breast and other cancers. With this particular chemical, experts even know why: a chemical known as EGCG inhibits breast tumor growth, a University of Mississippi study shows. Just two cups a day is enough to do the trick.



Blueberries, açai berries, raspberries, and cranberries
The rich, dark colors of blueberries, Brazilian açai berries, raspberries and cranberries come from phytochemicals that protect against numerous types of cancer. Most recently, researchers at the University of Florida found that the active ingredient in açai berries destroyed cancer cells when tested in cell cultures. And blueberries and muscadine grapes contain compounds that recent research shows cause cancer cells in the liver to self-destruct. In studies particularly important to women, cranberries have recently been discovered to be an important weapon in the fight against deadly ovarian cancer. Studies reported at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society found that ovarian cancer cells that were becoming resistant to platinum chemotherapy—the standard of care for ovarian cancer—became six times more sensitive when exposed to a compound in cranberries.
The anti-cancer properties of all these berries are so strong that researchers have developing concentrated supplements and other products such as purees and concentrates.

Friday, October 16, 2009

You're Eating … What?

Want some dead bugs with your dinner? Well, that's just one of the freaky ingredients involved in making some popular processed foods. And while all seven of these sound incredibly icky—though presumably used to help make your food tastier or look better—some additives are decidedly more disturbing than others. Here's what you're eating—which may inspire you to start contemplating those ingredient labels a lot more closely.



"Natural" flavors
Natural flavors are the mystery meat of the food-additive world. And while they sound like a good thing—who doesn't want to eat something that's "natural?"—the term can be misleading and confusing. You will find these so-called natural flavors in just about every sort of processed food. They're used to give a "smoked" meat a smoky flavor; give canned peaches back their peachiness; and give an almond-flavored cookie its advertised nuttiness. The mystery is always that when the ingredient isn't specified—and it usually isn't—you don't necessarily know if that "natural flavor" is coming from something you want to eat.
For example, you might assume that if canned peaches list "natural flavoring" in the ingredients list, the flavor would be derived from a peach. But according to Jacobson, it could just as likely be referring to apricot extract. Which is fine, unless perhaps you are allergic to apricots. And according to the current Federal Code of Regulations, a natural flavor could be extracted from meat but does not have to specify that if "the function in the food is flavoring rather than nutritional." Once again, it's a case of consumer beware.




Xanthan gum
While we're on the subject of bacteria, here's another one. Xanthan gum is a microbial polysaccharide that's derived from the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris. It's used to thicken liquids, and since it takes very little for it to accomplish that goal (concentrations of 0.5 percent or less), it is generally considered safe for use. You'll find it in most bottled salad dressings to help stabilize keep the oil from separating out. But what you may not know is that Xanthomonas campestris is responsible for the plant disease known as black rot.




Bacteriophages
This is a case of an additive that sounds perfectly disgusting, but experts reassure that it's also perfectly safe—and even smart. Cold cuts and cheeses are often sprayed with a mixture of viruses (known collectively as bacteriophages) that work to help prevent listeria—a microorganism that can be lethal when eaten. "The viruses attack the bacteria and prevent bacterial growth on the food," says Jacobson. "It's actually better than harmless; it's a very clever way to prevent illness."




Gelatin
Gelatin is used in many packaged foods as a thickening agent. In addition to gummy candy, gelatin is found in Jell-O, ice cream and yogurt. But those innocent-looking little Gummi Bears are hiding a somewhat distasteful secret. According to the USDA, the gelatin that gives them their kid-pleasing texture is created at the expense of several different animal parts, including ligaments, skin, tendons and bones. Though some non-animal versions of gelatin are available, vegetarians know to avoid packaged foods containing gelatin, unless it's specifically labeled as being derived from a vegetarian source.




Shellac
Just in case you haven't eaten your fill of bugs, here's another opportunity for insect consumption. Shellac—which is used to make that shiny coating on jelly beans and to give fresh fruits and vegetables that perfect, glossy finish—is made from the excretions of Kerria lacca insects that are native to Thailand. Again, vegetarian lobbyists have urged the FDA to require that labeling indicate if fruits and vegetables are coated with an insect-derived substance. The FDA wouldn't go that far, but, according to Jacobson, it did require produce packers to disclose whether any coating used is animal- or vegetable-derived. "But it would be on a placard or on the box of produce, not in bold type on the fruit or vegetable itself," says Jacobson, and not necessarily displayed to grocery shoppers. "And I don't know that the regulation is very strongly enforced," he adds.





Carrageenan
This is a fancy way of saying seaweed, and it's used as a thickening agent in foods such as ice cream, pudding and other dairy products. According to Jacobson, it's extracted from red seaweed that's plentiful on the Irish coast. It meets the FDA's GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) criteria and it's vegetarian, unlike some other gelling agents.




Carmine
According to the FDA, this red food coloring (also known as cochineal extract) is made from dried, ground bugs . The Dactylopius coccus costa insect is native to Peru and the Canary Islands, where it feeds on red berries. The berries accumulate in the females' stomachs and in their unhatched larvae—which is what gives the extract its red coloring. Carmine is one of the most widely used coloring agents, and food manufacturers routinely use it to turn foods shades of pink, red or purple. Chances are it's what makes the color of your strawberry yogurt or that cranberry drink look so appealing.

But the problem is that at the moment, you have no way of knowing if you're ingesting these little red bugs. Instead, the label will simply read, "artificial color" or "color added." But the Vegetarian Legal Action Network petitioned the FDA to disclose the presence of carmine, and in 2010, that requirement will go into effect. "But it will still be listed only as carmine or cochineal extract, with no mention of the ingredient's source," says Michael Jacobson, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "The onus will be on the consumer to know what carmine is, and that's asking a lot."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Important reason to eat slower for everyone

We all know that eating fast is very harmful for our health. However, we frequently regard eating as nothing else but just a routine activity and eat really fast. Is there anyone who is not aware that eating fast leads to various problems with digestive system, overeating and weight gain? Look at the French or the Japanese: they seem to be healthier and more fit because their culture of eating has been developing for centuries and these people find eating to be a truly enjoyable experience.

Our fast rhythm of life is a real evil. Sometimes it does not allow us enjoy simple moments of peace and relaxation. The reports show that an average meal in the US is only 11 minutes, and sometimes the time for having breakfasts decreases down to 2 minutes.

This problem should be taken as a serious matter of social concern and every modern person should think carefully about own eating habits. Below, you can find 5 reasons why you should consider eating slowly as one of the most beneficial and advantageous practices:

1.Eating slowly can help you avoid overeating and prevent weight gain. Many experts agree on the fact that fast eating is strictly linked to overeating. Usually, it takes 15-20 minutes for our brain to receive information that we are full. Therefore, eating slowly can help to avoid eating extra food and prevent consuming extra calories. Besides, according to a research of the specialists from the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the University of Rhode, eating slowly eventually leads to eating less.

2. Eating slowly can improve your digestion and help you prevent possible problems with the digestive system. If you have a habit of eating slowly, your stomach will have more time to process and digest the meals consumed. In addition, eating slower always connected with more chewing and better mixing the food with saliva, that also favors better digestion and lowers the burden on our digestive system.

3. Eating slowly can make you learn to enjoy what you eat. Start developing this habit of enjoying your meals from eating your most favorite meals as slowly as you can. Enjoy every bite, every piece of your favorite pizza, or fries, or lasagna. You should learn to receive pleasure from what you are eating, but not from the amounts of the meals consumed. This way you will start paying attention on what you eat and slowly shift to eating tasty, natural and healthy foods.

4. Eating slowly can help you avoid unnecessary stresses. Eating can be a pleasurable event, which should bring you more of positive emotions and help you to calm down your worries and anxiety. Turn your eating ritual into a sort of meditation, enjoy every piece of your meals and forget about everything that possibly brings you trouble. You will definitely feel happier and calmer after such a relaxation.

5. Eating slowly can help you understand a real taste of life. Slow eating can not only help us to learn enjoying the taste of good meals, improve our digestion and learn to relax. It can also define our life style and help us to be more sociable. Taking more time for eating in a company of friends or in your family environment is a unique opportunity to talk to the people you love, get closer and share the most special things and moments of your life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Poor Education May Lead to Poor Health

Adults with a poor education are also likely to have poor health, a growing body of evidence suggests.


Study after study has confirmed the link, and now experts are zeroing in on the reasons for it and what can be done.


"Persons with a higher education tend to have better jobs, and better income, better benefits," said David R. Williams, a professor of public health at the Harvard School of Public Health and staff director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Commission to Build a Healthier America.


Those benefits, he said, go beyond health benefits to include such other factors as having the leeway to take a day off or part of a day to see a doctor. People with higher levels of education "tend to have more resources to cope with stress and life, to live in better neighborhoods," Williams said. They have stress, of course, but also more resources to cope with it -- such as access to a health club to exercise away the stress -- than do people with less education, he said.


Being better educated also means that a person is more likely to understand the world of modern medicine, said Erik Angner, an assistant professor of philosophy and economics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who has researched the link between literacy and happiness.


"Modern medicine is incredibly complex," Angner said, "and if you lack the constellation of skills -- including basic reading and numerical tasks -- required to function adequately in the health-care environment, you might find it harder to effectively request, receive and understand your [medical] care."


A report issued in May by Williams's commission found that, compared with college graduates, adults who did not graduate from high school were 2.5 times as likely to be in less than very good health. High school graduates, it found, were nearly twice as likely as college graduates to be in less than very good health.


The report suggested that factors outside of the medical system play an important role in determining people's health, including how long they will live. Access to medical care is crucial, the report authors said, but it isn't enough to improve health.


What's needed, they suggested, is increased focus on schools and education -- encouraging people to obtain more education -- as well as more promotion of healthy living in the home, community and workplace.


From a "big picture" perspective, Williams said, health promotion should be emphasized and taught more -- and earlier -- in schools. Health habits in adulthood, he said, are built during childhood. It's also crucial, he said, to have a healthy neighborhood and workplace.


Angner said that he's found in his recent research that the older adults he has studied who could read and answer questions on medical forms without assistance were likely to be happier than those who could not.


Improving literacy -- and thus improving the ability to read and understand medical forms -- could boost health among adults, he said.


For adults whose education was stopped early, returning to school might help their health as well as their job prospects, the experts say. And if that's not an option, Angner said, simply trying to

improve reading skills should make a difference.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Truth About Energy Drinks

The Eat This Not That! authors help you separate the science from the sales pitch.



Do energy drinks really rev up your body and sharpen your mind? And what, exactly, are they even made of? To help you separate the science from the sales pitch, the authors of the new book, Eat This, Not That! The Best (and Worst!) Foods in America analyzed the claims and ingredients of five of the most popular potions on the market, and rated them from best to worst. All to answer the most important question of all: Are energy drinks safe—or should you can these beverages for good? Read on for our exclusive report.


5. 5-Hour Energy (2 fl oz)

-4 calories
-0 g sugar
-Exact caffeine content not provided by the company


The claim: “The two-ounce energy shot takes just seconds to drink and in minutes you’re feeling bright and alert. And that feeling lasts for hours.”


The truth: Sure, it’ll give you a jolt. That’s because it’s mainly caffeine—about the same amount that’s in one cup of coffee, according to label claims. (So somewhere between 65 to 135 mg of caffeine.) And turns out, the half-life of caffeine—the time it takes for half of the stimulant to be eliminated from your body—is about five hours. What’s more, the company touts that since the product doesn’t contain sugar, you won’t experience the sugar crash that comes a couple of hours after guzzling the sweet stuff. And that’s true, too. Of course, you could just grab a cup of unsweetened Joe for the same effect.


Is it safe? Downing a bottle should be no problem for a regular coffee drinker. Too much caffeine, however, could cause headaches, sleeplessness, nausea, hallucinations, and a spike in blood pressure. (Sodium can also spike your BP—be sure to avoid these saltiest foods in America.



4. Starbuck’s Double Shot Energy and Coffee (15 fl oz)

-210 calories
-26 g sugars
-146 mg caffeine


The claim: “A powerful, great-tasting brew of B vitamins, guarana, ginseng, and natural proteins from milk. Charged up with coffee. That extra surge to keep you energized and alert.”


The truth: Most energy drinks laud their herbal supplements, but the science behind the add-ins is somewhat fuzzy. Ginseng, for example, won’t give you an energy blast, although it might boost your brainpower. For instance, Australian researchers found that people who swallowed 200 mg of the extract an hour before taking a cognitive test scored significantly better than when they skipped the supplement. And guarana’s benefit may simply be due to its caffeine content—a guarana seed contains 4 to 5 percent caffeine (about twice as much as a coffee bean). Fancy marketing ploys aside, the Double-Shot ultimately one-ups the competition by virtue of containing actual health-boosting coffee—a beverage that delivers disease-fighting antioxidants. Check out other functional food fixes here.


Is it safe? Ginseng has been shown to interact with certain medications, like the blood-thinner warfarin, potentially altering its effectiveness. And scientists at Florida’s Nova Southeastern University concluded that the amount of guarana found in most energy drinks isn’t large enough to cause any adverse side effects. However, there's still a question as to the safety of downing a few cans of the stuff in a brief time span.





3. Red Bull (8 oz)

-110 calories
-27 g sugars
-76 mg caffeine


The claim: “With Taurine. Vitalizes body and mind.”


The truth: Caffeine certainly offers brain-boosting benefits, and the added slew of B-vitamins are conceivably helpful for a more efficient metabolism. Unfortunately, the sugar and taurine work to counteract those forces. A New Zealand study found that even the 27 grams of sugar in Red Bull is enough to completely inhibit your body’s ability to burn fat. (Check out the sugar-packed beverages on our list of the worst drinks in America. And taurine, an amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter, might act more like a sedative than a stimulant, according to researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College.


Is it safe? Certain European countries have banned the product out of fear that its stimulant properties increase the risk of heart attack. However, a 2008 research study presented to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology observed no negative side effects in people after the subjects quaffed one can. The best thing about Red Bull is the pre-packaged portion control. It’s half the size of many other sweetened energy drinks, meaning half the calories and half the sugar of its supersized counterparts.


2. AMP Energy (16 oz)
-220 calories
-58 g sugars
-142 mg caffeine


The claim: “With its energizing blend of B-Vitamins and a specially formulated intense combination of taurine, ginseng, and guarana, AMP keeps you connected and on top of your game at all times.”


The truth: AMP is basically a hybrid between Red Bull and Starbucks Double Shot Energy, but with more calories and sugar and without the brain-beneficial coffee—rendering it a veritable witch's brew of sweeteners, herbal supplements, and suspicious-sounding additives. (Find out why additives can be so bad—check out our list of the 11 most controversial food additives.


Is it safe? Just consider it a double Red Bull. One probably won’t hurt, but don’t make it a habit, if only for your waistline.


The Worst Energy Drink


1. Sobe Energy Adrenaline Rush (16 oz)
-260 calories
-66 g sugars
-152 mg caffeine


The claim: “Elevate your game with high performance energy for your mind and body. Bold citrus taste enhanced with a unique blend of energizing elements including D-ribose, L-carnitine and taurine. So good.”


The truth: D-ribose and l-carnitine sound exotic, but they’re simply natural compounds that your body needs for proper metabolism. While research shows that carnitine supplementation may aid in recovery from exercise, there’s no strong evidence to suggest either compound helps improve performance or enhances energy levels. The massive sugar load, however, will certainly spike your energy—for a price. You see, this drink quickly sends blood glucose soaring, which sets you up for a major sugar crash to follow: British scientists discovered that sleep-deprived people who consumed a sugary drink actually had slower reaction times and more sleepiness 90 minutes later. (Take a look at some other sugar-stuffed drinks on this list of the 20 worst drinks in America).


Is it safe? Not if you’re diabetic. Sobe Energy Adrenaline Rush contains as much sugar as 5 and a half scoops of Edy’s Slow Churned Rocky Road Ice Cream. Additionally, taurine is probably fine in small doses, but chug too many energy drinks and the picture becomes less clear. According to a recent case report from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, three people had seizures after drinking approximately two 24-ounce energy drinks in a short period of time. Whether the seizures were due to caffeine, taurine, or pre-existing health conditions is unclear.


Bottom line: limit yourself to one—at the most.


Our advice: The real truth is that most people are already consuming too much energy, which is why there’s an obesity problem. (Think about it.) So adding to your energy excess by guzzling a calorie and sugar-laden drink doesn’t make a lot of sense. In fact, ask yourself this: Is it a lack of incoming sugar that’s causing you to be tired—or is it that you’re consuming too much of it in the first place? Chances are, it’s the latter. If you feel you need a boost, reach for unsweetened beverage that contains only caffeine—like a black coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. It has zero grams of sugar, 146 mg of caffeine, and just 20 calories—all for about 2 bucks.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More Fruits and Vegetables

If all the pre-cut vegetables and fruits in the grocery store and news stories about the importance of produce for health has led you to believe that you’re the only one not eating many vegetables and fruits, relax. Once again, a study shows that most Americans aren’t, even though relatively minor changes in increasing fruits and vegetable consumption could pay off big in good health.



The latest study suggesting we’re still more talk than action when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables compares findings over the last 20 years from NHANES, a large federal diet and health survey. Nutrition experts urged us to aim higher when results from the 1988 to 1994 NHANES showed that among Americans ages 40 to 74, only 42 percent met the minimum recommendation of at least five servings of vegetables and fruits daily. Instead of increasing, the 2001 to 2006 NHANES showed that 26 percent of adults this age met the minimum.



The findings of other dietary surveys may not seem quite as grim but show the same overall result. When state health departments surveyed more than a million respondents by telephone, they found essentially no change over the last 15 years in the proportion of adults aged 18 and older who met the five-a-day minimum: 24.6 percent in 1994 and 25.0 percent in 2005. This survey gives a somewhat incomplete picture of produce consumption, however, since it asked people how often they ate vegetables and fruit without any indication of portion size. Someone who ate two cups of vegetables at dinner would be listed as consuming the same amount as someone who ate a few forkfuls.



The telephone survey suggests that where vegetable consumption decreased, it was often due to a drop in potato consumption. Are people only hearing half the messages about vegetable and fruit consumption? Perhaps people responded to low-carb messages about over-reliance on potatoes, but forgot the message to swap for other vegetables.
Likewise, were people who decreased juice consumption responding to messages about its concentrated calories and sugar, but missing the message to swap juice beyond one small glass a day for eating more solid fruit?


One strategy to increase vegetable and fruit consumption is to start with times you already eat them, increasing their portion size and cutting back on other foods. For example, the New American Plate approach recommended by the American Institute for Cancer Research calls for making vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans at least two-thirds of your plate at each meal.
Research suggests that many people aren’t aware of how many vegetables and fruits we need for health. Adults can lower their cancer risk and improve health by reaching the minimum target of at least five servings (about 2½ cups) of vegetables and fruits daily. But for optimal overall health and easier weight control, once you reach that target, most of us should aim for seven to 10 standard servings (3½ to 5 cups).


For others, studies show it takes more than just knowledge; until people see produce available and affordable and know how to serve it in ways they expect to enjoy, they are likely to stay stuck. The barriers are more often a matter of perception. Produce need not be expensive if you buy what’s in season, and choose plain, frozen produce when it’s less expensive. And if you reduce purchases of expensive meat and convenience foods, that money can be spent on fruits and vegetables.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure

Effect seen 15 years later, researchers report







THURSDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Low blood levels of vitamin D in younger women tripled their risk of high blood pressure 15 years later, new research has found.




Vitamin D deficiency, defined as less than 80 nanomoles per liter of blood, was measured in 1993 at the start of the Michigan Bone Health and Metabolism Study, explained study author Flojaune C. Griffin, a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.




By that measure, more than 80 percent of the 559 women first tested in the study had vitamin D deficiency, while 2 percent were being treated for high blood pressure and another 4 percent had undiagnosed high blood pressure.




No association between vitamin D levels and high blood pressure was seen at that time. But in 2008, when 19 percent of the women had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and 6 percent had the condition but didn't know it, the incidence of high blood pressure was three times higher for women who had vitamin D deficiency at the study's start, after adjusting for the effects of age, obesity and smoking, Griffin said.




Griffin was to report on the findings Thursday at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Chicago.




What happened to the women in the intervening years in terms of vitamin D intake is unknown, Griffin said. "We don't have any information about how the women were eating beyond that baseline measurement," she noted.




The recommended intake of vitamin D has risen since the study began. Current guidelines call for an intake of 400 International Units (IU) for people under 60 and 600 IUs for those aged 60 and older, Griffin said.




"Exposure of skin to the sun is the most potent way to increase vitamin D levels," she added.







"The main food sources include fatty fish, such as wild salmon. Also, milk and milk products are fortified with vitamin D."




There is no way of knowing whether increased vitamin D intake over the years might have affected the incidence of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for such cardiovascular problems as heart attack and stroke, Griffin said.




"This study underscores a growing amount of accumulated data that low vitamin D levels are associated with high blood pressure," said Dr. John P. Forman, an associate physician in the renal division of Brigham and Women's Hospital.




But it's still not certain that raising vitamin D intake can help prevent high blood pressure, Forman added. "We need large randomized trials on that," he said.




Still, he noted, "there are a growing number of studies associating lower vitamin D levels and high blood pressure. This one probably has the longest follow-up."

Friday, October 9, 2009

11 Featured Nutrients: Why You Need Them


Vitamin E
What it does:
Scientists have not yet elucidated all of vitamin E's roles, but they hypothesize that it has a role in immune function, DNA repair, the formation of red blood cells and vitamin K absorption.

How much you need:
The RDA in men and women is 23 IU, or 15 milligrams, and because many E-rich foods come from nuts and oils, some low-fat diets may be inadequate in vitamin E.

Food Sources of Vitamin E:
Wheat germ oil. Sunflower seeds, cooked spinach, almonds, safflower oil and hazelnuts.

Zinc
What it does:
Zinc is integral to almost every cell of the human body, from keeping the immune system healthy to regulating testosterone.

How much you need:
The recommended dietary intake for men is 11 mg/day, for women 8 mg/day.

Food Sources of zinc:
Oysters, cooked beef tenderloin, turkey, chickpeas, roast chicken leg, pumpkin seeds, cooked pork tenderloin, plain low-fat yogurt, wheat germ, tofu, dry roasted cashews and Swiss cheese.


Folate/Folic Acid
What it does:
Folate is necessary for the production of new cells, including red blood cells. Folate deficiency remains a major cause of spinal-cord defects in newborns.

How much you need:
Many dietitians recommend taking a multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid; 1,000 mcg per day is the safe upper limit for folic acid.

Food sources of folate:
Rich sources of folate include liver, dried beans and peas, spinach and leafy greens, asparagus and fortified cereals.



Vitamin D
What it does:
Early on, most of the concern focused on bones, since vitamin D, working along with calcium, helps build and maintain them.

How much you need:
Official recommendations now call for 200 IU for children and 600 IU for people over 71, with other groups falling somewhere between.

Food sources of vitamin D:
We rely on fortified milk and breakfast cereals to get most of our dietary vitamin D. Apart from a few kinds of fish, including herring and sardines, there aren't many natural food sources, which leaves supplements and direct sunlight.



Vitamin C
What it does:
Researchers have long known that vitamin C is an essential building block of collagen, the structural material for bone, skin, blood vessels and other tissue.

How much you need:
The current recommended daily intake for men is 90 mg and for women it is 75 mg. The body can only absorb a maximum of about 400 milligrams a day.

Food Sources of Vitamin C:
Virtually everything in the produce section including oranges, green bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, cantaloupe and tomatoes, turnip greens, sweet potatoes and okra.





Magnesium
What it does:
Necessary for some of the body's most basic processes, magnesium triggers more than 300 biochemical reactions—most importantly the production of energy from the food we eat.

How much you need:
Around 300 mg/day (women) and 350 mg/day (men), with the upper limit for supplemental magnesium at 350 mg.

Food sources of magnesium:
The mineral is abundant in avocados, nuts and leafy greens including acorn squash, kiwi and almonds.



Potassium
What it does:
Potassium is involved in almost every vital body process: maintaining blood pressure, heart and kidney function, muscle contraction, even digestion.

How much you need:
Surveys show that most Americans get less than half the recommended amounts of potassium, which is 4,700 milligrams (mg) daily for adults and teens.

Food sources of potassium:
Foods that are closest to their original states are best, so be sure to choose whole, unprocessed foods as often as possible, especially fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish and lean meats.



Vitamin K
What it does:
Vitamin K is used by the body to produce an array of different proteins. Some of them are used to create factors that allow blood to coagulate—critical in stemming bleeding and allowing cuts and wounds to heal.

How much you need:
The current recommended daily intake of vitamin K is 90 micrograms for women and 120 for men. Luckily, vitamin K deficiency is extremely uncommon.

Food Sources of Vitamin K:
Kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, arugula, green leaf lettuce, soybean oil, canola oil, olive oil and tomatoes.



Chromium
What it does:
Chromium is required by the body for the process that turns food into usable energy, helping insulin prime cells to take up glucose.

How much you need:
Despite disappointing findings on chromium supplements and weight loss, the body still needs it. The daily recommended intake for adults is 50 to 200 mcg.

Food sources of chromium:
Best sources of chromium are whole-grain breads and cereals, meat, nuts, prunes, raisins, beer and wine.


B12
What it does:
Vitamin B12 is used in making DNA, the building block of genes, and in maintaining healthy nerve and red blood cells.

How much you need:
2.4 micrograms a day for people 14 and older provides all the body needs—although some researchers have argued that a daily intake of 6 micrograms would ensure absorption.

Food sources of B12:
B12 is bound to protein, so foods like meat, fish, eggs and dairy products like yogurt and milk are the principal sources.



Beta Carotene
What it does:
In the body, beta carotene is converted to vitamin A, a nutrient essential for healthy vision, immune function and cell growth. It also acts as an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals.

How much you need:
There's no RDA for beta carotene.

Food Sources of Beta Carotene:
Eat plenty of dark green vegetables and orange vegetables and fruits (papaya, mango) weekly to meet your vitamin A needs and reap beta carotene's potential antioxidant benefits.

Other blog by ShIn

This blog talk about phones, share the lastest model's phone and it technology.
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