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Tag Archives: Whole foods

  • Eat Your Way to Better Health

    What makes foods whole? Fruits, vegetables; whole grains, (such as brown rice, whole wheat, bulgur and quinoa; plus nuts, beans and lentils); wild salmon, olive oil, organic orgrass fed beef, organic, free-range chicken; milk and yogurt without additives produced
    from animals that have not been given hormones. While foods provide the vitamins,minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs to help fight disease and protect against aging. By eating whole/fresh foods instead of processed high-fat, high cholesterol foods and snacks, you get more fiber, complex carbohydrates, power
    nutrients, and good fats.

    Switching is easier than you think. Here are eight simple ways to shop smarter and eat healthier:

    1. Whenever possible, buy fresh/whole foods. Fill your fridge with the freshest produce; it’s loaded antioxidants. Frozen and can products without added ingredients/preservatives are also acceptable. Find farm-fresh eggs, fish and cheeses; and naturally raised chicken and meats without antibiotics, hormones,
      or animal by-products.
    2. Color your diet healthy. Instead of eating the same old fruits and vegetables everyday, expand your plate and your palette. Varieties that are red (cranberries), yellow (papayas), orange (peppers), and blue-purple (blueberries)are loaded with antioxidants. Leafy greens (such as kale and chard) and yellow-orange foods (butternut squash and carrots) contain vitamin A and calcium and
      are rich in carotenoids and other phytochemicals that boost the immune system, help prevent damage to cells, and protect against cancer and heart disease. Red and blue-purple foods (beets, grapes) contain anthocyanins (a type of flavonoid), which help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Try to eat nine servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds, one serving is just one-half cup.
    3. While shopping stick to the perimeter of the store. This is where you’ll find most whole foods: produce, dried fruit and nuts, fresh fish and meats, diary, and freshly baked whole-grain bread. The inner aisles are loaded with processed foods. Enter the danger zone only for such staples as heart-healthy extra-virgin olive oil, oats, other whole grains, and canned goods with no added salt/sugar; skip the snack aisle altogether. Although typically it’s best to buy fresh, there are still benefits to canned (i.e. Lycopene that is found in tomato products and other antioxidants that are found in fruit and vegetable juices) and frozen foods also as long as they do not have any added ingredients.
    4. Load up on whole grains. They contain the antioxidants and phytochemicals that are stripped out of white bread and pasta. Look for whole wheat breads with whole grains as their first ingredient and at least two grams of fiber per slice. Try
      whole wheat pasta, for extra vitamins, fiber and earthy flavor. In addition to brown and wild rice, try high-protein quinoa and cracked-wheat bulgur for pilafs. (However, most white pastas still have at least 2 grams of fiber preserving. So as long as you are sticking to the serving size pasta isn't all that bad!)
    5. Follow the thumbnail rule for packaged foods. Even organic or natural foods can sometimes contain lots of ingredients, an indication that they’re far from their whole food state. An easy test: Measure the ingredient list next to your thumbnail. If the list is longer than your nail (less than an inch) and contains anything you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce, take a pass. Remember the less ingredients, usually the better.
    6. Give breakfast a boost. Sprinkle ground flax seed (a great source of heart-protective alpha-linoleic acid) over oatmeal or whole-grain toast with peanut butter and honey. Keep frozen berries, bananas, and cherries in your freezer, blend with orange juice and yogurt for a smoothie.
    7. Snack smart. Switch from chips and pretzels to a homemade trail mix of salted, roasted almonds and pumpkin seeds (which contain healthy fats), and dried cranberries and raisins (which are loaded with concentrated antioxidants). Swap peanut butter crackers from the vending machine, which are full of trans fats for a natural peanut butter on apple slices.
    8. Make over your dinner. Stir-fry cherry tomato halves and minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Toss with whole wheat angel-hair pasta and a handful of arugula.Top with shavings of Parmesan cheese. Or make a colorful stir-fry with red bell pepper, eggplant, summer squash, and broccoli served over brown rice. Toss hot roasted sweet potatoes with red onion, baby spinach, a dash of balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!
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  • Top Ten Foods for Athletes

    By Kimberly J. Mueller; MS, RD, SDTC Sports Nutritionist Whether you are training for a marathon, getting dirty riding a muddy single track or surfing some beautiful waves, the food you feed your body will dictate how well you will perform. While supplements seem like an easy solution, research supports the notion that whole foods are still the best source of the nutrients you will need for optimal
    health and peak performance. Below I have listen the top ten foods for runners. Eat up!!!

    1. Go Red!!! Lycopene, a vitamin-like substance that makes tomatoes and watermelon red, has potent antioxidant qualities that help reduce some of the cellular damage that occurs to activate muscles during exercise. Lycopene has also been shown to reduce the risk for prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease, and other cancers too (particular breast and cervical cancer). The highest does and best absorbed form of lycopene is found in processed tomato products, such as tomato sauce or tomato soup. So the eating of spaghetti and pizza should be encouraged in the name of good health. Extra sauce please!
    2. Get into the Swim of Seafood!!! Seafood is high in protein and zinc. Zinc is important for immune function and also helps clear carbon dioxide out of our muscles to help enhance recovery from intense exercise. Cold-water fish, including salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are effective in lowering risk for heart disease and may help boost fat burning. Most health professionals recommend at least 2-3 fish meals each to reap the benefits of seafood! If you don’t like seafood, omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in canola, flax seed and soybean oils, as well as walnuts.
    3. Bring on the Broccoli!!! Is a nagging cold compromising your performance? Rich in vitamin C, broccoli may help boost your immune system, helping to prevent unwanted illness during training. Broccoli is also an excellent source of calcium and potassium, which help to maintain strong bones and contribute to healthy connective tissue and cartilage. Put chopped broccoli on pizza, in spaghetti sauces, in stir fries, and in salads to help maintain peak immune function during season.
    4. Energize with Asparagus!!! Asparagus is low in calories, contains no cholesterol or fat, and is an excellent source of thiamin, which aids in the conversion of glucose into energy and also helps synthesize and breakdown amino acids. Add a healthy ration of asparagus spears to your meal or snack as means to help boost performance.
    5. Soybeans (edamame)!!! Rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, soybeans have been touted as the perfect recovery food. Soy is the only complete plant source of protein, containing all the amino acids necessary for repairing and building muscle. In addition, soy contains disease-fighting phytochemicals and appetite-surpressing unsaturated fats. Soy can also be implemented in the diet in the form of tofu, textured soy protein, tempeh, soy milk, soy flour, soy nut butter and soy nuts.
    6. Sow your Oats!!! Starting your day off with a bowl of oatmeal will help sustain your energy levels as well as maximize your glycogen stores for peak endurance performance. Oatmeal is also an excellent source of B-vitamins (for stress and energy production) and contains a significant amount of zinc for immune function. My favorite oatmeal concoction is as follows: Mix ½ cup old fashioned oats with ¼ cut natural granola. Add 1 handful of favorite fruit and 1 handful of almond or walnuts. Pour over 1 cup of nonfat milk and cook mixture in microwave for 2-3 minutes.
    7. Bone Up on Calcium!!! As a good source of both calcium and vitamin D, milk is most commonly marketed as a bone builder. Milk is also an excellent source of low-glycemic carbohydrates and is a complete protein source making it a great pre- or post-workout snack option. In addition, calcium is crucial for proper muscle function; cramping may incur with a deficiency. Blend low-fat milk with yogurt and fruit for a delicious, nutrient-rich smoothie.
    8. Boost Endurance with Raw Honey!!! A recent study performed at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory showed that the blend of sugars found in raw honey can significantly increase an athlete’s average power and endurance. In its natural state, raw honey is an immediate source of energy, full of B-complex vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes. Add honey to toast, cereal, tea for added sweetness and a quick boost of energy.
    9. Go Nuts!!! Eaten raw, nuts are a great source of vitamin E. Adequate vitamin E helps with heart health and also helps reduce some of that damage that occurs to our muscles during exercise. Nuts are also filling and satisfying because of their healthy monounsaturated fat content. Try a little raw nut butter on a piece of whole wheat bread with a half of banana sliced up on top. It’s delicious!
    10. The Bold and the Blue. A 1/2 cup and a mere 40 calories later, you get a hefty 2.5 grams of fiber as well as a significant amount of vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant that keeps our immune system running at its peak. Blueberries have the highest ORAC score (oxygen radical absorbency capacity) of any fresh fruit, which means they can destroy free radicals in the body before they cause damage to our healthy cells. In addition, the dye that makes blueberries "blue" have been shown to improve memory, balance and coordination. So the next time you are at the store, be bold and buy blue. Blueberries are a tasty addition to cereals, salads and smoothies.
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