4 Diet Changes That Add Up To
A recent round of studies looking at potential health benefits from four nutrients or food groups - chocolate, olive oil, whole grains and vitamin D - show that making small yet significant changes to your diet can reduce the risks of certain chronic diseases while protecting you from others.
Metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer's
Metabolic syndrome has been defined as a combination of the following factors: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood glucose levels, and poor cholesterol scores (including high triglycerides and low levels of HDL, or good cholesterol).
Dietary Fat and the Risk of Alzheimer's
It has become clearer and clearer that diets high in saturated fat and trans fats are associated with health problems. Recently a very well designed study shows a clear connection between Alzheimer's Disease and an increased intake of saturated and trans fat.
Avoid Alzheimer's - drink your juice!
Recent studies have suggested that antioxidant vitamins from fruits and vegetables (not from supplements) may help delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Other than vitamins, the most abundant source of antioxidants in foods are substances known as polyphenols that are primarily found in the skin or rind of fruits and vegetables. The method of preparation of these foods then has a big impact on the amount of polyphenols in the resulting cooked food.
A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins - B1/thiamine, B2/riboflavin, B3/ niacin, B5/pantothenic acid, B6/pyridoxine, B7/biotin, B9/folic acid and B12/cyanocobalamin.
The macrominerals - calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur - and trace minerals (needed in small amounts) - cobalt, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc.
Problem is, many people consume more calories than they need without taking in the recommended amounts of certain nutrients.
By: Julie Davis - Chief Content Officer at Parentgiving.com
While studies will continue to debate whether certain foods or specific vitamins and minerals can prevent cancer and other diseases, one thing is clear: Eating a diet that provides these nutrients is certainly healthier for you than not. On the most basic level, the body needs vitamins and minerals just to function.
Another debate is whether you can get all these necessary nutrients in food or if supplements are needed. Certainly the more you can get through your diet, the better. Problem is, according to the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, many people consume more calories than they need without taking in the recommended amounts of certain nutrients, and that's cause for concern.
For older adults, these AWOL nutrients are often calcium, needed for bone health; potassium, needed to regulate sodium; and magnesium which with these two other minerals helps lower blood pressure; and vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamins A, C, and E are important because they appear to deter plaque from forming on artery walls. Plaque forms because oxygen and the so-called bad LDL cholesterol combine in a process called oxidation. Vitamins A, C, and E are called "antioxidants" because they slow or stop the plaque-forming process. Vitamin A also helps prevent night blindness.
In addition, everyone over age 50 may be coming up short on vitamin B12, which helps prevent memory loss, because the body doesn't absorb it as well in later years; you can get it through protein sources, fortified foods or supplements.
If you don't have any exposure to sunlight, the main natural source of vitamin D (either because it's not always possible or if you're prone to skin cancer), you'll need to get D from fortified foods and/or supplements (or about 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure a day). Vitamin D is needed for the interaction with calcium for bone health. Taking vitamin D and calcium supplements is a question for the primary care physician if osteoporosis, or the risk of it, is an issue - it might not be possible to get all the calcium needed naturally through foods, about a quart of milk or the equivalent in dairy products every day.
Getting most of your vitamins and minerals through food doesn't have to be overwhelming or require piled-high plates. Usually it's a matter of picking powerhouse foods before the bagel or slice of cake. And, since many foods supply an assortment of vitamins and minerals, you can add up required amounts faster by eating what's called nutrient-dense foods first. (Of course, stay away from any foods that the doctor has said to avoid if following a restrictive diet for health reasons.)
Make up as many of the day's meals as possible from a variety of these top food choices.
Vegetables, like asparagus, broccoli, peas, and zucchini provide: B7 and E, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. In addition:
Fresh fruit like apples, melon, pears and plums provide: B vitamins, potassium and copper. In addition:
Whole grains, like barley, brown rice, buckwheat (kasha), oats, rye and whole wheat provide: B vitamins and E, chromium, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc
Beans and legumes, like dried peas, lima, kidney and garbanzo beans and lentils provide: B1 and B7 and magnesium
Nuts, like almonds, cashews, walnuts and hazelnuts provide: B1, B7 and E, copper, magnesium and manganese
Seeds, like flaxseed, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds provide: B1 and E, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc
Dairy products, like lowfat milk, yogurt and cheese provide: A, B2, B7 (milk), B12, D (fortified milk) and K, calcium, phosphorus and sulfur
Vegetable oils, like sunflower, safflower and olive oil provide: vitamin E
Wheat germ provides: B6, B9 and E and magnesium
Brewer's yeast: B5, B6 and B7, chromium, selenium and zinc
A note about the other essential minerals in the diet: salt - which most people get too much of - provides chlorine, sodium and iodine; and we get fluoride from fluoridated water.
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