Today’s Modern diet. Huge helpings of meat, mountains of grains stripped of their key nutrients, and processed foods galore, filled with factory-engineered sweeteners, flavors, colors, and preservatives. Not only does the modern diet give you lots of what you don’t need, it also shortchanges you on what you do need.
Many of the classic signs of aging – including fatigue, aches and pains, memory lapses, fuzzy thinking, balancing problems, and more – may actually be symptoms of unrecognized yet easily reversible nutritional shortfalls, says Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. Just because you feel that you’re aging, Dr. Blumberg says emphatically, that doesn’t mean it’s because you really are aging. It’s more how you are eating.
What do we mean my nutritional shortfalls? Consider B12, a vitamin crucial for maintaining healthy nerves and red blood cells. As you grow older, your stomach produces less hydrochloric acid, and as a result, your body absorbs less B12 from food.
Vitamin D – Once you get into your seventies, your skin synthesizes 60 percent less D than it did when you were a child. Lower Vitamin D means you may be at risk for brittle bones, muscle weakness, and stunning variety of cancers.
The Answer? Healthy foods to the rescue! Low-fat milk, seafood, and greens. But that multivitamin is also the perfect form of insurance.
And what about Calcium? People seem to think they don’t need calcium as much when they are older. They think it’s only important early in life, during the bone-building years of your childhood, teens, and early twenties. But the fact is, women and men need even more calcium after age 50 than before because absorption drops with age. And not just Dairy products provide great calcium. Kale, Broccoli and Almonds are just some examples of great foods full of calcium.
Another pitfall as you age, are prescription and over-the-counter medicines. These remedies can also create nutritional shortfalls by blocking absorption or speeding up the excretion of vitamins and minerals. Some of the big culprits are things such as Pepcid, Prilosec and Zantac) those that target heartburn and other gastrointestinal problems. Prescription drugs such as antibiotics, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, diabetes drugs, diuretics, pain relievers, laxatives, and tranquilizers all can cut levels of many vitamins and minerals, research shows.
The Key point? For long life and ongoing health, it’s mostly about food. Diet experts say Supplements may help fill in gaps, but the best way to get the nutrition you need is from the foods you eat. There are nutrients in food, thousands of nutrients, we don’t even know about yet. They’re buddies that work together in our bodies to keep us healthy – something pills can’t do. That is the beauty of food!
By now you have probably heard over and over that Olive Oil is the healthiest oil out there. It does get the popular vote, but there are other oils just as healthy. Take for instance Canola Oil. This Oil is derived from the canola plant, and has the least amount of saturated fat of any other common cooking oil. It has high oleic oil content with the ability to reduce disease risk factors. Another oil that is not talked about a lot is Avocado Oil. Avocado also is high in oleic acid and contains powerful phytonutrients like beta-sitosterol, which has been shown to lower cholesterol, and glutathione, which provides protection against certain types of cancer. Some other great oils are Coconut oil, Sacha Inchi Oil, Grapeseed and Flaxseed oil.
Once you pick one of these oils from the multitudes of options on your grocery market shelves, here are a few ideas of what to do with them.
Flavor with Olive oil
One of the richest sources of monounsaturated fats, olive oil seems to cool the inflammation that leads to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and worsening arthritis. In one Spanish study of 755 Canary Islands Women, those who had 1/3 ounce a day were the least likely to get breast cancer.
Watch the calories, though. A tablespoon of olive oil – or virtually any oil – packs 120 calories, so use a light hand. Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons on veggies like squash, asparagus, and green beans instead of butter. Buy an oil mister and spritz your pans with it instead of spray on oil. Get only what you’ll use in the next two months and store it in a cool, dark spot. Old olive oil goes rancid and tastes like soggy cardboard.
Splurge on extra-virgin
This is the fruity, full-bodied good stuff to use in situations where taste is important, such as in salad dressings; it also has the most antioxidants. In a Spanish study comparing the effects of extra-virgin olive oil with olive oil that had all of its antioxidant phenols filtered out, the arteries of people who had the extra-virgin oil expanded and contracted easily in response to changes in blood flow – a trait that cuts heart attack risk.
Use Canola oil when you don’t want an assertive flavor
Replace butter in baking recipes with Canola oil, using a ratio of ¾ tablespoon of oil for each teaspoon of butter called for in the recipe. Also, switching from corn or sunflower oil to canola oil in muffins, cakes, and sautéed dishes is one of the most powerful “good fat” strategies you can deploy.
It’s smart to keep canola as well as olive oil in your pantry; each has its nutritional and culinary charms. Canola is lower in saturated fat and has more polyunsaturated fat, which lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol more effectively than monounsaturated fats do.
Try Grapeseed and flaxseed oil.
Grapeseed oil, also rich in healthy fats, is perfect for high-temperature cooking. Flaxseed oil, which breaks down in high heat, is best used at room temperature cooking. Flaxseed oil, which breaks down in high heat, is best used at room temperature as a salad dressing. Dress leafy greens with flaxseed oil by shaking up a smart vinaigrette with flaxseed oil, balsamic vinegar, and your favorite herbs and spices. Then store the extra in the refrigerator. Heat destroys the essential fatty acids in this fragile, light-tasting oil. Think oil’s too much of a luxury on your salad? It’s time to rethink fat-free dressing. New research shows that none of the cancer-fighting alpha – or beta-carotene antioxidants found in salad greens are absorbed unless oils are present. (You could add nuts or avocado instead).
Use Coconut Oil in your desserts
Coconut oil carries a natural sweetness so it’s a great choice for desserts that require oil. Plus, it is safe for cooking, so it makes a great choice for baked goods that might benefit from a coconut flavor. Try using coconut oil to replace butter in your sweet bread recipes or even try it in your marinades for Chicken, Fish or Vegetables for a slightly tropical island flavor.
In summary, it isn’t about avoiding oil but about choosing the healthiest oils to use in your everyday cooking and baking.
Sans the worms of course!
Nuts and Seeds contain healthful mono – and polyunsatured fats. These fats are essential health by managing inflammation and maintaining the normal structure of every cell in our bodies. Choosing healthy fats like in Nuts and Seeds can lower cholesterol and decrease inflammation. A study published by the “British Medical Journal” found that individuals who consumed nuts five times a week had a 35% reduction in heart disease risk.
Nuts and Seeds also have Fiber. Fiber helps to slow digestion, which helps you feel full longer. This translates into eating less, which over time can lead to weight loss.
Another great benefit to Nuts and Seeds are Minerals. Nuts and seeds contain minerals such as magnesium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus needed for bone development, immunity and energy production.
A handful of nuts, or about 1 ounce, is a serving. Aim to consume a variety of nuts and seeds, as they contain different vitamins, minerals and ratios of healthy fats. This will not only give your taste buds some variety but also ensure that your body is getting adequate amounts of all the different nutrients nuts have to offer.
Here are some great ways to incorporate these into your weekly diet:
Sprinkle chopped peanuts on your brown rice tonight.
Spread a tablespoon of peanut butter on a slice of whole-wheat toast for breakfast (topped with sliced bananas for natural sweetness). In five big population studies, nut consumption cut heart risk by up to 35 percent. Peanuts pack an extra nutritional bonus that may explain why: They’ve got beta-sitosterol, which blocks cholesterol absorption and, in lab studies, discouraged growth of tumors of the breast, colon, and prostrate. Peanuts can also help you feel full and satisfied longer. In a Pennsylvania State University study, peanut eaters weighed less than peanut avoiders.
Scatter sunflower seeds on top of muffins or hot cereal; add to a green salad.
Sunflower seeds also provide linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid your body cannot produce and must obtain from food. In studies, women who got the most had a 23 percent lower risk from heart disease. Store in the freezer, since their fats turn rancid fast.
Much 22 almonds tonight.
“Bad” LDL levels dropped 6 percent in a University of California study of people who ate almonds and used almond oil in place of half the regular fats in their diet.
Instead of having a candy bar for a snack, carry nuts in a metal breath-mint box.
(Wash it out first!) One of those cute little tins is the perfect size to hold 22 almonds – a full snack-size ounce – and it couldn’t be more portable.
Add a dusting of ground walnuts or flaxseed to yours cereal, veggies, or salad every day.
Both contain impressive amounts of another beneficial omega-3 oi, called alpha-linolenic acid. Getting some into your diet is a good idea, nutritionists say; plenty of studies show that eating walnuts or flaxseed can help cut heart disease risk.
Coat fish with sesame seeds before baking.
A quarter cup packs 144 milligrams of phytosterols – super healthy chemicals that block cholesterol absorption.
Luckily Nuts and seeds are tasty as well as nutritious so it should be a snap to add more of them into your diet!
If fish isn’t already a mainstay in your diet, it is time that you start eating some fish! You should be working in at least 2 servings of fish each week.
Fish is a great source of Omega 3’s (write about benefits of fish) but some of us have trouble getting the recommended 2 servings in per week. Here are some great ways to get healthy fish into your diet.
Have no-mess baked fish for dinner on Friday – and a double-good fat fish sandwich for lunch on Wednesday. Just place a fish fillet on a large sheet of foil and top with your choice of flavorful additions (we like sun-dried tomatoes and chopped garlic with salmon and slices of fresh lemon over flounder) Plus a splash of water, wine or fruit juice. Bake at 350 degrees until cooked through, usually about 20 minutes.
On Wednesdays, mix canned salmon or tuna with a bit of canola-oil mayo and grated carrots and apples. Enjoy on double-fiber bread with a leafy green side salad.
Want fresh fish? Don’t shy away from farm-raised varieties. Despite the scary headlines about PCB contamination and environmental problems caused by fish farming, farm-raised salmon has no more toxins than a piece of chicken, experts say. And they contain the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids as wild fish.
Stocking up? Look beyond the fish counter.
It’s a misconception that frozen and canned fish isn’t healthy as fresh, wild fish. Frozen Tilapia, sole, orange roughy and mahi-mahi are great choices – just let your fillets thaw in the refrigerator during the day, then broil with lemon or poach lightly.
Don’t overlook canned fish.
There’s even affordable wild salmon hiding in the canned food aisle. Canned red of pink salmon is wild salmon – full of Omega-3s and low in contaminants. It makes great salmon salad, salmon cakes, even a salmon loaf. Canned pink salmon has 1.7 grams of omega-3s in a 3.5 ounce servings; canned sockeye (red) salmon’s got 1.3 grams. Use it to make salmon salad, salmon loaf, or salmon burgers.
Reach for light tuna instead of white or albacore. Light is skipjack, a short-lived fish that has two-thirds less mercury than long-lived albacore.
Love shrimp? Go for it!
Shrimp cocktail and peel-and-eat shrimp are fun ways to work more low-fat protein into your week. And don’t fall for the high-cholesterol shrimp scare. Shrimp’s quirky cholesterol count – about 200 milligrams in 12 large ones, about the same as the amount in one large egg – could make you pass up this low-calorie delicacy, but for most of us, shrimp should get the green light.
Snack on bite-size inflammation coolers
Have a small serving of sardines, herring or smoke sable. They’re all packed with good fats.
Some great ideas there! Fish doesn't have to be boring. Here are 27 more great fish dinner recipes.
==>Check them out here! 27 Simple, Healthy Fish Recipes
What are the 4 Anti-Inflammatory Super foods? They are Fish, nuts and seeds, and oils
Over the last 20 years we have learned that certain fats are indeed among the most unhealthy foods you can eat, but other fats are among the most healthful. It is still pretty easy to separate the good fats from the bad. Here’s the basic breakdown.
Bad Fats: Fats from pork, beef, and other land animals and “trans fats” artificially created in factories.
Good Fats: Fats from plants, such as those in nuts, olives, and beans, and fats from most fish.
How good are good fats? Good enough that you should go out of your way to have plenty in your diet. Healthy fats reduce inflammation in your body greatly reducing your risk of many major diseases. Another reason is that they help shore up levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which becomes more and more important than keeping “bad” LDL low after about age 60.
Get started today by putting good-fat super foods on your plate. And while you’re enjoying these anti-inflammatory powerhouses, don’t forget about fruits and veggies. They contain a natural form of salicylic acid, the same inflammation-cooling compound found in aspirin. Meanwhile, spice up your cooking with delicious anti-inflammatory add-ins like ginger and turmeric.
Here are the good-fat super foods:
Salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and other fatty, cold water fish. No other food come close to delivering the high-quality, high concentration omega-3s these cold-water fish have. They’re the richest sources of the two most powerful omega-3s, EPA and DHA. Fish is so powerful that even just three servings a month could cut your risk of stroke by 40 percent. Two meals a week could slash your heart attack odds by 59 percent. Yet most of us manage just 4 ounces of fish per month!
Nuts and seeds are crunchy, tasty treasures rich in sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and even, in a few cases, of plant-based omega-3s that may play a special role in preventing cancer and heart disease. With nuts, a little is good, but more isn’t better. A that fat makes them high in calories; a palmful of nuts has about 200 calories. For a 100-calorie snack, all you need are 8 walnut halves, 16 to 20 almonds, 10 to 12 cashews, 10 pecans, 7 or 8 macadamia nuts, 15 hazelnuts, or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
Move over sunflower, soybean, and corn oil. The good fats found in olive, canola, and grape seed oil have proven health benefits and can help you establish a healthier, more natural balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers believe that the higher omega-3 content of Mediterranean and Okinawan diets contributes to many more healthy years of life.
Interested in learning more about Long Life Eating?
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Food is not only the cause of chronic inflammation in your body, but food is also the “cure” for your body. Research shows that even a regular-size fast food breakfast (egg and sausage on an English Muffin plus fried potatoes) quickly floods the bloodstream with inflammatory compounds and keeps levels high for the next three hours. If you have a fast-food meal for lunch as well, you start the cycle all over again, keeping inflammation fired up indefinitely.
Learn the phrase “omega-3 fatty acids.” This is the one type of fat in our diet that is truly terrific for our hearts. A dangerous eating problem is that most modern humans no longer each a healthy combination of two important fats – Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. We need both for healthy brain function. Omega-3s are found in foods such as fish, nuts, and olive or canola oil. They are building blocks for hormone-like compounds that reduce chronic inflammation – a modern health problem fired up by too much belly fat, too little exercise, and a diet brimming with the wrong types of fats. New lab studies show that your body uses good fats to make useful inflammation fighting chemicals called resolvins.
Yet, most of us eat far too few omega 3s these days, and far too many Omega 6s – a fat found in high levels in corn, safflower, soybean, sunflower, and sesame oils. Omega-6 fats help our body produce compounds that increase inflammation. In prehistoric times, people ate omega-3s and omega-6s in nearly equal proportions; today we consume as many as 30 times more omega-6s. Eating yummy foods like salmon, peanut butter, walnuts, and good-for-you oil can correct this balance. You’ll slash your risk of heart attack and stroke and possibly cut your odds for arthritis pain and depression, too.
So why are we eating so many of these foods with loads of omega-6s? Partly it is because we eat lots of processed foods, often dripping with corn, sunflower, and soybean oil, all top sources of omega-6s. We eat grain-fed beef and poultry instead of free-range meats (grass fed animals have more omega-3s in their fat stores.) Just as dangerous is skimping of good fats – the omega-3 fatty acids.
So what should we do to eat for longer life? You need to rebalance your fat portfolio by eating more fish, more nuts, and more good-for-you oils. The immediate benefits will be that getting more good fats could help ease arthritis pain, relieve asthma, lessen symptoms of eczema and psoriasis, and even cut your risk of depression.
The long-term benefits to rebalancing your fats is that it may cut your risk of dangerous heart arrhythmias (out-of-sync heartbeats that can lead to heart attack), high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
We all can get more nuts in our diet. Who doesn’t love a handful of Almonds and Walnuts. They are great for snacking. And taking about oil.. they all look the same in the grocery store isle, but obviously they are very different. Stock up on olive oil and Canola oil and throw out all the rest. Both oils can handle all of your cooking needs.
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Did you know that eating whole grains not only gives you more fiber in your diet, but also reduces risk of diabetes and heart disease? And did you know that it can help you control your weight, too, by making you feel fuller and helping your body get rid of fat?
A great way to eat more Whole grains is to incorporate it as a side dish with dinner. Here are some great ideas that you can start doing tonight!
Serve no-worry brown rice in place of potatoes tonight
Yes, classic brown rice does require 45 minutes of cooking time, so you have to plan ahead a little. Make the cooking process easier by investing in a rice cooker (toss in rice and water and turn it on – no need to worry about burned pot!) or cook a big batch of brown rice on the weekend and freeze meal-size portions in zipper-seal freezer bags. Reheat in the microwave on weeknights.
Stock instant, boil-in-bag or quick-cooking parboiled brown rice, too.
These grains are cooked, then dried. Yes, they lose some texture along the way, but they retain most of even all of brown rice’s fiber and nutrients. Their stellar quality: They cook in 5 to 20 minutes, making this convenience food great as a once-in-awhile fallback. You can also cook up quick brown rice to use in place of the tub of white rice that comes with Chinese takeout.
Replace white rice in recipes with brown.
It works as well – or better – in chicken-and-rice dishes, stuffed cabbage, soups, and casseroles. You’ll love pudding made with brown rice, too, for its nutty flavor and chunky yet tender texture.
Shop for another great grain this week.
Other whole grains you may find in your grocery store or health food shop include amaranth, barley, kasha (buckwheat groats), couscous, millet, quinoa, wheat berries, and wild rice. Each has a unique flavor and texture. Try a new one each week. Give it the sniff test before purchasing to be sure the oils in the germ don’t have a stale, rancid odor. Refrigerate or freeze grains to retain freshness.
Keep a supply of fast-cooking favorites on hand.
We love pearled barley for its creamy texture, its 6 grams of fiber per cup (including cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber), and its fast cooking time: just 30 minutes. It’s a delicious side dish replacement for rice and gives soups and stews a soft, thick texture. Bulgur is just whole wheat that’s been steamed, dried, and cracked. Think of it as a whole-grain convenience food; it cooks in 2o minutes. Traditionally used for Middle Eastern tabbouleh (a salad with bulgur, tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley), it also makes a delicious side dish. Couscous is really a tiny-grained pasta made from wheat flour. The catch: Some is refined, some is whole wheat. Your assignment: Look for whole-grain couscous in the supermarket or natural foods store. It’s the fastest-cooking whole-grain product of them all: Just add boiling water and cover, and in 5 minutes, it’s ready to serve. Switching to whole-wheat couscous means getting 7 grams of fiber per serving, compared to just 2 grams in regular couscous.
Stir it in.
Add a half cup of cooking bulgur, wheat berries, brown or wild rice, or barley (not pearled) to stuffings, soups, stews, salads, or casseroles. Add a cooked whole grain item or whole grain bread crumbs to ground meat or poultry for extra body. Make risottos, pilafs, and other rice-type dishes using grains such as barley, brown basmati rice, bulgur, millet, quinoa, kasha, or sorghum.
Use your air popper for a high-fiber, low-fat snack. Each cup of air-popped popcorn has 1.2 grams of fiber (and just 31 calories) – and who can eat just 1 cup? Don't like just plain popcorn? Here are some great low fat recipes for Popcorn that you can use tonight.
Here is one way to make Whole Grains a staple in your diet: Make cereal your breakfast default.
This means starting each morning with a bowl of cereal, milk and some fruit. You can’t get much healthier than that. Just find a cereal – or several - that you’ll be happy to face first thing in the morning. We’re happy to report that there are dozens upon dozens of choices crowding supermarket shelves. Be sure yours fits our “Super food” criteria for cereal. It should be made with whole grains, contain at least 4 grams of fiber, and have only modest amounts of added sugar or corn syrup.
The first item on the ingredients list should be a whole grain, such as whole wheat or whole oats. Look at the sugar content, too. Remember 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. So if you see 12 grams of sugar, the cereal’s got the equivalent of 3 teaspoons – that’s 1 tablespoon – of sugar. Lower is better: 4 to 5 grams is great to strive for.
It is also recommended to choose a cereal with a moderate fiber level., from 3 to 6 grams. Higher-fiber cereals contain more bran – the high-fiber , low nutrition outer covering of the grain It serves one purpose – pushing things through your colon more effectively. High -bran cereals don’t contain the germ or the endosperm of the grain, and that’s where all the great fats and vitamins and phytonutrients are. IF you eat whole grains, beans, and fruit and vegetables throughout the day you won’t need a high-fiber cereal. But if you’d rather make a huge dent in your fiber quota first thing in the morning, remember to include other true whole grains throughout the day to make up the missing nutrients in the morning.
Use cereal as a topping
Keep a small box of high-fiber cereal in the cupboard to use as a crunchy topping on yogurt, oatmeal, fruit salads, and green salads. It almost acts as a fiber supplement.
Be sure to finish the milk.
The B vitamins added to cereals leach into milk quickly. Be sure to spoon up the milk at the bottom of the bowl to get the cereal’s complete nutritional offerings.
New to higher-fiber cereal? Mix it half and half with an old favorite.
You’ll get loads more fiber than before, yet at the same time ease the transition to a new breakfast habit. The next week, fill you bowl with two-thirds higher-fiber brand and one-third an old favorite. The week after, try sprinkling a little bit of your old standby cereal over your new favorite cereal as a topping.
Put oatmeal on your breakfast table at least twice a week – more often in chilly weather.
To eat more, start with old-fashioned oats and add a little brown sugar or maple syrup, dried fruit of fresh fruit, chopped nuts, and fat-free milk. You’ll get about 4 grams of fiber per cup.
Try this quick cooking method for old-fashioned oats: Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil, add the oats, and bring the water back to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and take a shower. In 10 minutes, the oats will be ready to eat.
Another idea, try long-cooking Irish Oatmeal. This delicious, stick-to-your ribs porridge takes 45 minutes to cook, unless you know this chef’s secret: The night before, bring the oats and water to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. In the morning, simply simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the oats are tender as you like.
In summary, You can eat Cereal Again! Just make sure that you are reading the ingredient label and the nutrition label to be sure of what you are actually eating. Not all cereal is equal! You can pretty much find any nutrition label for a cereal on the internet, so if you don't like the thought of spending a lot of time in the super market isles reading labels you can look it up ahead of time. Just google it!
For long life eating, whole grains are definitely the way to go. But change... is hard. We all know that. But sometime with some little tricks and tips, things can go a lot easier trying to convince ourselves that the change is a good one. Here are some of mine for you.
Say a permanent good-bye to white bread
Don’t give yourself or your loved ones a choice. When your current bag of white bread is finished, don’t buy another one. Use Whole-Wheat bread in all the same ways you’d use white. For French Toast, with eggs, for a sandwich, and with dinner, whole-wheat bread can replace all the white bread you’ve used in the past. It’s that simple. Even if you love crusty French Bread loaves or baguettes, there are whole-wheat alternatives that have a lovely texture and mix well with Mediterranean foods.
Create a bakery habit
You and your family deserve individually made, freshly baked bread. So why settle for a loaf made on an assembly line at a distant bread factory? Make it a habit: Stop at a good-quality bakery, say hello to the proprietor, and pick up healthy, whole-grain bread. Eat if over the next two days, then head back for a new loaf. Make it a never-ending cycle.
If you buy packaged bread, study the label. Look for whole-wheat flour as the first ingredient, then check the nutrition facts label for the fiber content. Your goal: buy a loaf with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice. This also goes for Breakfast cereal.
Another clue: Look for products that display this health claim: “Diets rich in whole-grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol may reduce the risk for heart disease and certain cancers.” Products displaying this health claim must contain at least 51 percent whole grain by weight.
What if the fiber’s high but the bread’s not made from whole grain? Put it back and keep looking. Many High-fiber, “light” breads contain mostly refined white flour to which manufacturers have added highly processed cottonseed, oat or soy fiber. While the fiber can help with digestion (and prevent constipation), the loaf won’t have the phytochemicals and nutrients of real whole-grain versions.
Try double-fiber whole-grain bread. Just as tender as regular whole-wheat bead, two slices of double-fiber bread can net you a whopping 10 grams of fiber.
Look for whole-grain crackers that supply at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Choose a lower-fat, low sodium variety, such as Scandinavian-style flatbread that taste great with bean dip or nut butter or as a bread substitute for open-faced sandwiches. Five or six crackers count as one grain serving.
Make your own
Replace the white flour in bread, muffin, and quick-bread recipes with whole-wheat flour. Start with half whole wheat and half white. If you totally replace white with wheat, use 7/8 cup whole wheat for every cup of white you remove, since wheat flour has a heavier texture. In bread recipes, use a tablespoon to transfer the whole-wheat flour to the measuring cup instead of scooping or dumping; this introduces extra air into the flour, which makes loaves lighter. You can also replace some of the liquid in baked goods recipes with orange juice to temper the sharper, tannic-acid taste of wheat flour. Or try “white whole-wheat flour, “ which is milled from hard, white winter-wheat berries rather than the hard, red, spring-wheat berries of traditional whole-wheat flours. It has a fiber and nutrient profile similar to that of standard whole-wheat flour.
But wait.. Isn’t wheat bad for me? Everyone is going Gluten Free.
It is true that some people cannot tolerate wheat in their diet (Celiac Disease) and this is why there is now Gluten Free in almost everything you can think of. This really only effects a small number of people. For the majority of people wheat is still the best and most nutritious choice for Long Life eating.
Here is a helpful article if you are unsure if you should be eating Gluten Free.
Today I would like to dive into choice #2 from my previous blog: 7 Choices of long life eating. If you didn't get a chance to read it you can find it HERE.
The second choice for long life eating is whole grains.
So why are they so good for you?
It is the dietary fiber – also called bulk or roughage – it is simply the parts of plant foods that your body can not absorb or digest. Whole-grain foods are filled with it. Eat more fiber, and you’ll fill up faster, making weight control a breeze. Once high-fiber eating was perfectly natural because we ate mostly unprocessed foods. Then the rise of the processed food industry stripped our diet of fiber. What happened next was even worse. Once the need for fiber was recognized, manufacturers introduce a new crop of high-fiber health foods that made for less-than-pleasant eating – “bran” cereals that made you feel as if you were chewing on pebbles, gritty whole-wheat pasta, and health bars with the texture of sawdust. So health-conscious people took to the alternative which wasn’t very appealing either: mixing gluey fiber supplements with water, then downing it as quickly as possible.
No wonder the concept of “high-fiber” foods creates apprehension in many people. But fear not. Today, food store shelves are crammed with dozens of high-fiber cereals and whole-wheat breads that taste absolutely great and have wonderful texture. Delicious whole-grain pastas, brown rice, and more exotic grains are as commonplace as elbow macaroni. Despite this bounty, however, most of us manage to get just 12 grams of fiber a day- far short of the 20 to 30 grams recommended by health experts.
Fiber becomes more important with each passing birthday, simply because with age, food moves more slowly through the digestive system. Partly, it’s a natural slowdown, but often, getting less physical activity and drinking less fluid plays a role, too. How fiber helps: It makes your stools bulkier, which stimulates your digestive tract to keep things moving. (Of course, it’s also important to drink plenty of water a you increase your fiber intake.)
Supplements work, but nothing beats the fiber in real food. It is always best to get the fiber you need from fruits, vegetables and especially whole grains. You can get fiber from a supplement, and it will help with constipation. But you’ll be missing out on all the other wonderful nutrients you get in whole grains – the vitamin E, good fats, protein, and antioxidants that help protect against heart disease and diabetes and even cancer. You lose all that when you have white bread and white rice and white pasta, then make up the difference with a pill or powder.
Switching to whole grains is one of the easiest eating upgrades you can make. After all, you probably already eat bread, rice, and noodles, so there’s no need to add or subtract anything from your diet. Just reach for a different type. But if you’re new to high-fiber eating, make your switch gradually – over the course of a month or so.
If you ratchet up your fiber all at once, you could have a lot of bloating, gas, even cramping. The first week switch to whole-wheat bread and aim for four daily servings of vegetables and fruit. The second week, have six produce servings and add brown rice. The third week, go to nine servings of fruit and vegetables and give whole-grain pasta a try. They are a great source of fiber.
So now that you have a plan, make sure to schedule it in! The best way to start a new habit is to be prepared and schedule it into your life. Sit down on Sunday night and plan your week's menus. Pick up everything you need ahead of time from the store so you are ready to go. The best news is you are probably eating these items already, you just may have to make a little choice change in the grocery store isles. Look for the choices that say "Made with Whole Grains" and you should be good to go!
Giving you the most current and up to date advice on living a longer and active life.
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