The foods we eat are an integral part of determining the status of your health. In other words, “we are what we eat”. Eating the proper foods will not only help in living a healthy and vigorous lifestyle, but will help in the prevention of many illnesses such as, cardiovascular diseases, circulatory disorders, diabetes, obesity and cancer, just to name a few. We are constantly being bombarded with a diet of one sort or another. I don’t remember one week passing when there is not a new diet on the scene. And of course this will be the “Holy Grail” of diets. The claims for these diets are so great, how can you not try it? So, of course, many, many people will try these new diets. After awhile they find the diet claims are not up to be as touted, so the search begins anew for new and better diet.
Most diets stress weight loss as being the main reason for using it. Claims are made that there will be anywhere from 15 to 30 pounds of weight loss per month. That may prove to be correct in some instances, but they not address the toll it can take on your general health. Anyone wishing to lose weight should do so within reason. A loss of one pound per week would be more in reason while protecting your health. For the obese individual using this rational, will have lost 52 pounds in a year. Not only would this be a great achievement for the individual, yet it would not cause complications that can occur in a very rapid weight-loss diet.
However, we will be discussing super healthy foods in this newsletter. Foods that we need to have in our diets on a daily basis in order to be and stay healthy and live a vigorous and vital lifestyle. These foods will be listed in the health hints below. The individual needs to acquaint themselves with these foods so that they will become an everyday part of their lifestyle. It is not only important in knowing these foods, but the preparation, portion size and calorie amount must be taken into consideration as well.
Reading the labels on food is a must, and knowing what you read is imperative. It will not only take the mystery out of food labels, but will give you many more hints for eating properly. As we get older, there are several more things to know in addition to the proper foods to incorporate into your diet.
- It is better to eat 5 small meals instead of 3 larger meals.
- Reduce the size of portions.
- Do not skip breakfast. If you do, you will tend to eat more at lunch and dinner.
- Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly.
- Drink plenty of water and other liquids to keep you hydrated.
- Incorporate 30 % proteins, 40% carbohydrates, and 30% fats and fiber on a daily basis.
- Proteins should consist of lean meat (once weekly), fish, poultry and low fat dairy foods.
- Omit transfats completely from your diet.
- Reduce sodium from your diet by omitting prepared packaged meats, canned vegetables and soups high in sodium. You will be getting enough sodium from the healthy foods you eat.
- Preparation of food is very important. Cooking vegetables will tend to leech out the valuable nutrients. It is better to steam or microwave them. When fresh vegetables are not available, use frozen vegetables. They will more like the fresh variety because they are frozen right after being picked, and will not have as much sodium as the canned vegetables. Steam, poach and broil meats, fish and poultry instead of frying.
Read in health hints below, the foods you should have in your diet.
- Whole grain foods, consisting of I cup of whole grain breakfast cereal, or a ½ cup cooked whole grain cereal. Incorporate at least 3 servings daily. Do not use processed grains. You can also have one slice of whole grain bread (as one portion), barley and wild rice to make up the 3 portions.
- Fruits and vegetables, such as a large apple, a banana or 1 cup of other fruits, and 2 cups of green leafy vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. should be part of the diet.
- Lean protein to consist of 1 egg, 1 ounce of lean meat, seafood and poultry without the skin. Fish, high in omega-3 fats should be eaten 2-3 times weekly. Use turkey and chicken breast, as it is lower in fat than the dark meat. Also use soy, beans and legumes. Nuts are an excellent source of protein and should be used to snack on a daily basis.
- Fat-free or low fat milk or dairy products. This can consist of 3 cups daily. Have one 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of non-yogurt and 1-½ ounces of a low fat cheese.
- Green leafy vegetables should be eaten and incorporated into your diet on a daily basis.
- Use herbs and spices when preparing your food. One teaspoon if using dried, or 1-2 tablespoons fresh.
- Soy and soy based foods such as veggie burgers, hot dogs, etc.
- Ground flax seed for it’s omega-3 fats
- Fresh garlic should be incorporated whenever and as much as possible.
- One or 2 cups of green tea daily. Can also include one cup of cocoa.
- One 5-ounce glass of red wine for women and 2 glasses for men.
- One multi-vitamin/mineral supplement should be included daily.
- Dark chocolate, but don’t over do it. Eat 3 small pieces approximately 1 ½ inches in size daily.
If you wish to maintain a healthy, vigorous lifestyle and maintain or lose weight, you need only to make up your own diet by selecting from the foods above. Use moderation in your portions and don’t over indulge by keeping your calories down.