In America obesity is out of control, diabetes is an epidemic and chronic diseases are increasing. The Journal of Food Composition and Analysis states that one-third of our calories are from junk foods, soft drinks, sweets, alcoholic beverages and salty snacks. Soft drinks and other junk foods are considered “empty calories” high in calories but having no nutritional value. High in calories, no nutrition but contributor to obesity, diabetes and chronic illnesses.
We all have stressful and hurried lives. It is convenient picking up fast food for lunch or dinner. We treat our kids on the weekends picking up fast food. Or having a bag of chips. But is it healthy? The answer is no. There is scientific evidence that there are strong links between what you eat and health.
We can still eat our favorite foods but you have to substitute foods and prepare them differently. Additionally, some things have to be eliminated from your diet. Weight loss and disease prevention is not about eating less but our choice of foods. Let us consider healthy foods:
High consumption of fruits and vegetables. Preferably green leafy vegetables raw or minimally processed
Olive oil versus butter. Olive oil low in saturated fat and increases the level of HDL good cholesterol.
Whole grain cereals and pasta.
High consumption of beans, nuts and seeds
Red Meat and dairy are substituted with poultry or sea food. Poultry and sea food are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
If red meat is eating it is in very limited qualities
A maximum of 4 eggs are eaten a week.
Substitute soft drinks with water or fresh juice
Reduce or eliminate processed foods.
Fruits and Vegetables – Eating predominantly fruits and vegetables is a plant-based diet. Citrus fruits are rich is vitamin C a protector against a host of ills. Low risk of heart disease and lung cancer have been linked to leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and peppers are full of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is associated with lowered risk of heart disease and lung cancer. Leafy greens are also rich in vitamin C a protector against a host of ills. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene a carotenoid that may protect against several types of cancer. Not only are there high nutritional values but they keep your cholesterol level at a healthy level. Fruits and vegetables and some fish lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.
Fish – Especially salmon, halibut and tuna contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids “good” fat and lowers cholesterol levels.
Red wine – It has been suggested that drinking a glass of red wine with dinner reduces artery plaque and lowers cholesterol. Red wine has the antioxidant compounds called polyphenois. Additionally, wine contains flavanols an anti-inflammatory properties that may help lower cholesterol and a defense against heart disease. Drink wine in moderation hopefully one glass at dinner.
Beans – have soluble fiber when passed through the intestinal tract grabs and removes cholesterol before it is absorbed in your body. By reducing the cholesterol level beans reduces the risk of heart disease. Additionally, the compound found in beans isoflavins lagnins phytic acid sapopin and protease inhibitors studies have shown keep normal cells from turning cancerous and inhibit their growth. Women with a high weekly consumption of beans have half the risk of breast cancer as versus to women that do not have a high consumption of bean. Studies suggest the cancer reduction is because of beans.
Nuts(non processed) – Nuts are cholesterol free and eating one ounce per day reduces the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Some studies suggest 4-5 servings per day may help lower blood pressure. Nuts are a great snack.
Fast foods, soft drinks and salty snacks can easily be substituted with a healthy diet. There is an ancient diet that existed before processed and fasted foods. It is a timeless diet for Healthy Living and Weight-Loss. The Mediterranean Diet