healthy eating

Pink or White?

While grapefruit of any color is a healthy addition to your diet, if you opt for pink or red grapefruit over white then you will consume a significant amount more vitamin A  – about 26 times more! Vitamin A is essential to vision, immune function and cell growth. In addition, red and pink grapefruit contain lycopene, which has anti-tumor properties.

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Personally, I love pink grapefruit and always choose it over white. What about you? I also keep pink grapefruit juice in the house instead of orange juice because I find it to be more refreshing and I also like that it has 7 grams less sugar per serving.

What’s the Beef?

A healthy FYI for all of you meat eaters: When buying beef, it’s best to buy grass-fed since it contains more beneficial omega-3s and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), but less saturated fat and calories than grain-fed beef. If you opt for organic then the beef should also be free of antibiotics, hormones, nitrates, and other harmful additives.  Wondering what CLA is good for? CLA is believed to improve heart health, reduce cancer risk and increase lean muscle mass.

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Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in grass-fed meat and dairy, are changing the way we think about fat. More and more science is showing the benefits of certain fats and the low-fat craze isn’t as crazy as it once was, but you can definitely still see remnants of this craze left and right when you look at common misconceptions still affecting store shelves and consumer choices today.  There was a point in time when it was being portrayed as if every fat was bad for us – no egg yolks, no butter, etc . Interestingly enough, we have we seen a dramatic increase in obesity with the increase of low-fat and non-fat products.

So I have to break the news – the healthy, slender people of the world are not living on sugar-free, diet, non-fat, low-fat, reduced-fat, low-sodium processed foods. You’ll find that the healthiest and happiest among us tend to have a diet of mainly whole foods. Those flavorful, nutrient-dense, wonderful foods in their original form. Yes, whole foods not only taste better, but are far more satisfying than their processed versions. In addition, you are much less likely to overeat when you’re eating whole foods.

Think about it: You have that 50 calorie yogurt that has no fat yet it has artificial flavors, colors and 30 grams of sugar.  Does that sound healthy? Does that sound like something your body will easily know how to process? NO and NO!

We need fat because fats provide us with a concentrated source of energy. Not to mention, they are the main material for cell membranes and various hormones. Without fat in your diet it is extremely hard to feel satiated and if you don’t feel satiated then you are going to keep eating… Is anyone getting skinnier with that equation? Nope.  The low-fat craze demonized all fats and neglected to inform consumers of the fact that fat has healthy forms and fat has a good and essential place in our diets!

So if you want to consume a healthy, balanced diet, you have to include the right fats. These good fats are found in a wide range of foods like fish, meat, milk, cheese, nuts, and olives. Even butter – yes, the real deal golden bar (again, organic grass-fed is best and the yellower it is the more nutritious it is) – is actually beneficial in small amounts and when eaten with something like steamed broccoli, it helps your body absorb the broccoli’s nutrients. Also, butter is much better for you than margarine – that scary  man-made, chemically altered fat.

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So remember that not all fats are the enemy and there are many sources of healthy fat, which should be included on a daily basis in a well-balanced diet!

Detrimental Diets – A Reminder

Research shows that people on diets severely limiting carbohydrates or fat missed out on vital nutrients like iron and zinc, which both help to maintain immunity and energy. Who wants to be lacking when it comes to either of those categories? Not me, not you! Be good to your self and your body by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.

 

Healthy Addition: Sesame Seeds

These tiny little seeds commonly found on bagels actually contain unique lignans (plant compounds), which help to lower cholesterol. Sesame seeds are also a good source of zinc, phosphorous, calcium, and copper. Need one more reason to include them in your diet? They help to protect the liver from oxidative damage.

So am I suggesting you make sesame seed bagels a regular addition to your daily food line-up? Nah, because there are much healthier ways to incorporate these tiny gems into your diet. Some of my favorites include adding tahini (aka sesame paste) to salad dressings and sandwiches, buying bread with sesame seeds on the crust (Trader Joe’s has a great option), coating fish (especially tuna) with the seeds, and adding whole sesame seeds to salads for starters. You can also purchase hummus with tahini included or just add some yourself. Hopefully, you now might be thinking of purchasing some seeds to have on hand. FYI – The most cost effective way to purchase them is from the bulk section of your nearest health food store.

Are you a fan of sesame seeds? Do you have a common way that you incorporate them into your diet?

Huge Potential for Health Care Savings in Healthy Habits

Great article: Health Care Savings Could Start in the Cafeteria

One of my favorite lines: “We need to put food back in the heart of health care,” says Zoe Finch Totten, Full Yield*’s chief executive. “It’s the cheapest way to deal with health and the simplest, and definitely the most pleasurable.”

*Full Yield, Inc. offers assistance in improving your health and quality of life beginning with food. They offer a 12-month practical, effective and scientifically-backed plan to reduce, reverse, and prevent chronic diseases, which are caused by diet and lifestyle. I really love this approach to public health and I hope that it starts to have a greater impact on people and policy!