Everyday foods are full of powerful healing elements that increase energy, help prevent diseases and make us feel good and look better. We all have read about the importance of fiber and fish. Here, based on recent research, we discuss new ways to get more out of our food.
Beware of fats
- Eat lean meats. Dark meat from birds, without skin, provides 20 percent more calories and 10 percent less protein than white meat without skin, as well as double of the fat.
- Be careful with the crackers. Half of the calories that many crackers contain come from fats. To test the ones you usually eat, rub one of them against a napkin. If leaves a greasy mark, experiment with another brand.
- Try not to eat with too many people. The greater the number of people with whom you have your meal, the more you will eat. In a study conducted at a certain university, the portions of food consumed by 63 healthy adults, whose age fluctuated between 19 and 54 years, increased by up to 44 percent when they ate accompanied. They also ingested more fat and calories.
Protect yourself from diseases
- Eat broccoli. According to many studies, people who tend to eat vegetables have less risk of developing certain types of cancer than those who avoid these foods. Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, known anti-cancer agents. So are the sweet potato, or potato, red pepper and cabbage. Spinach is rich in folic acid, which may protect the body from precancerous cell changes in the lungs and cervix area.
- Use your microwave oven. It is preferable to quickly cook the vegetables. Microwave cooking preserves nutrients such as vitamin C to a much greater extent than the traditional procedure of boiling vegetables in large amounts of water.
But the best thing is not to cook them. Fresh fruit and raw vegetables with their essential vitamins intact are powerful health protectors.
- The brighter the better. When buying fruits and vegetables, choose those that have the most intense colors. An intense orange color carrot contains more beta-carotene than one that is discolored. The dark green leaves of the lettuce have more vitamins than the paler ones. And there is a higher concentration of vitamin C in red peppers than in green ones.
- Take care of your sight. The first studies conducted in this regard indicated that fruits and vegetables with a high content of vitamin C and carotenoids – red, yellow and orange pigments – may help prevent the appearance of cataracts, as well as playing a role in the prevention of certain types of cancer. In a research center on the effects of nutrition on the aging process, volunteers who reported eating less than three and a half servings of fruits and vegetables a day were found to be approximately five times more likely to have cataracts than those who ingested larger amounts of these foods.
- Do not abuse with the consumption of red meats. The results of a study conducted in a women’s hospital reveal that volunteers who said they ate beef, pork and lamb as a main dish every day were two and a half times more likely to get colon cancer than those who ate these meats, less than once a month. Those who ate chicken or fish instead of red meat were less likely to have colon cancer.
Foods to strengthen bones
- Drink milk. A quarter of a liter of skim or semi-skim milk per day contributes more than a third of the 800 milligrams of calcium recommended by nutrition experts for men and women over the age of 25.
- Other sources of calcium. Not only dairy products help you meet your daily calcium needs. Nutritionist Helene Swenerton says that when chicken is cooked in an acid broth of tomatoes or wine, the bones of the bird release calcium in the cooking liquid. The tiny bones of sardines are also rich in calcium. Another alternative is orange juice enriched with calcium; Spinach, turnip greens and broccoli are also good sources of plant calcium.
- Divide and multiply. According to a study conducted by a medical school, our body assimilates almost 50 percent more calcium when a supplement of 500 milligrams is ingested in three doses (with meals), instead of a single tablet. Whether you drink several glasses of milk a day or take calcium supplements with your food, you will get the most benefit by dividing them throughout the day.
Foods that increase energy
- Eat carbohydrates. When you are going to exercise a lot, eat rice, bread and potatoes beforehand to provide energy to muscles and increase endurance.
- Pay attention to the minerals. The effects of a diet deficit in iron are lower energy and higher risk of anemia. According to one study, women who ingested only one-third of the recommended daily dose of iron slept longer and woke up more frequently during the night than those whose diets contained adequate amounts of iron. A diet rich in iron includes beans, spinach, dehydrated apricots, whole grain cereals, clams and lean cow meat.
- Get enough thiamine. This nutrient, also called vitamin B, helps to release the energy of carbohydrates when they break down in the body. High-thiamine foods include pork, sunflower seeds, vitamin cereals, and enriched pasta, breads and rice. Do not rinse pasta or rice before or after cooking, because it will remove thiamine from them.
- Strengthen your brain. Foods rich in boron – apples, pears, grapes, carrots, and broccoli – can help maintain the normal level of brain activity. There are studies indicating that people may feel less alert when their diet is low in boron than when they contain an adequate amount of that particular mineral.
Eat and care for the health of your heart
- Fight cholesterol. Beta-glucans are resinous fibers, soluble in water, which have been found to be effective in reducing cholesterol. They abound in barley and oats. Barley also contains an oil compound (tocotrienol) that decreases the rate of cholesterol production in the body. According to one study, barley and oats are equally effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels.
- Try to ingest magnesium. There is a correlation between low levels of magnesium in the blood and high blood pressure. To increase your magnesium reserves, use whole grains, green vegetables, dehydrated beans, nuts, vegetables, skim milk and yogurt.
- Include seafood in your diet. The news that some shellfish contained a lot of cholesterol was no more than a false alarm. In fact, clams, mussels, oysters and crabs can lower blood cholesterol because they have little saturated fat. As part of a recent study, 18 men with normal cholesterol concentrations replaced meat, cheese and eggs they normally consumed with these shellfish.
The amount of seafood fat remained at half portion of that of the previous diet, and only unsaturated vegetable oils were used for cooking. After three weeks, the concentrations of the most harmful form of cholesterol in the blood of those men dropped by as much as 14 percent.