Posts belonging to Category fruits and vegetables



Tips from Those in the Know

USDAThe United States Department of Agriculture,USDA has an extensive site for parents of preschool and elementary school age children featuring comprehensive nutrition plans, daily meal and snack plans for parents to reference and games that children can play that stress good eating habits. Go to:

http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/consumers/ages-stages/preschool-elementary-kids

USDA

Got a picky eater? The USDA has extensive information that can help parents get the picky eater to eat food necessary for good nutrition at

http://wicworks.nal.usda.gov/children/picky-eaters

Another great USDA site to visit for a personalized nutrition and physical activity plan, the  ability to track your foods and physical activities to see how they stack up and to get tips and support to help you make healthier choices and plan ahead is:

https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/default.aspx

 

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Healthy Foods…Healthy Moods

The web site, Fruit&Veggies More Matters at http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org, recently carried the following message about what foods we eat and how it can impact on our moods, even to the point of depression.

foodsA recent study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry reported that individuals eating a diet rich in whole foods were less likely to report feelings of depression than those who ate lots of desserts, fried foods, processed meats, refined grains and high-fat dairy products.

After five (5) years, the study determined that a processed food dietary eating pattern is a risk factor for depression, whereas a whole food eating pattern is a protective measure for depression.

Another article published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet of foods that include high intakes of fruits, vegetables, and soy products was associated with fewer depressive symptoms.

The study contributed these results to a cumulative effort of the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables as well as the omega-3 fatty acids in fish.

We’ve all turned to food after a bad day but instead of reaching for whatever seems soothing, eat food that may actually lift your spirits! A diet that promotes a healthy lifestyle is going to promote a positive outlook on life too! Your clothes are going to fit better, you’ll have more energy, and you won’t feel guilty about what you’re eating.

Leading a healthy lifestyle equipped with a healthy diet (rich in fruits and vegetables) and being physically active is just another aspect of your life you can be proud of!

So while more studies need to be done to determine if it is the foods themselves that enhance moods or the results of a certain eating pattern, we do know a healthy diet has many benefits to offer!

Source: Akbaraly, TN, et al. “Dietary Patterns and Depressive Symptoms in Middle Age.” British Journal of Psychiatry 2009; 195(5):

Nanri, A, et al. “Dietary Patterns and Depressive Symptoms Among Japanese Men and Women.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.86.

 

 

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How Safe Is a Low Carb, High Protein Diet?

It seems that we are being bombarded with news about the ever-expanding American waistline.

dietMany of us, in an effort to lose weight quickly, are embracing a low carbohydrate-high protein diet.

The low carb-high protein diet has become popular because of the short-term effects on weight control, but concerns have been raised about the potential cardiovascular effects over the long term. Studies exploring the issue have given mixed results, but three European studies showed a greater risk of cardiovascular mortality with such a diet.

If you are on one, or thinking about going on one, please consider the findings of a recent study that followed young Swedish women over 15+years that was reported online in BMJ (an open-access peer-reviewed medical journal).

  • Consuming a low carbohydrate-high protein diet — like the Atkins diet — may be associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease in women

  • A low carbohydrate diet implies low consumption of whole-grain foods, fruits, and starchy vegetables and consequently reduced intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A high protein diet may indicate higher intake of red and processed meat and thus higher intake of iron, cholesterol, and saturated fat. These single factors have previously been linked to a higher risk of major chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
  • A healthy diet plan for you needs to be a diet that considers your current health and medical conditions. The place to begin is with a visit to your physician, a physical, and a discussion about an eating plan and exercise tailored to your needs and health.

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Healthy Food is not More Expensive than Junk Food

healthyA study, recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service, found that healthy foods like beans, carrots, milk, and yogurt are actually less expensive than ice cream sandwiches, cinnamon buns, and soda.

The USDA researchers looked at calorie content but also compared the prices of more than 4,000 healthy foods and moderation foods based on price by weight and portion size.

Using dietary recommendations from the federal government’s choosemyplate.gov website, researchers identified healthy foods as those that contain at least one of the major food groups (vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein) and contain only moderate amounts of saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium.

Researchers found that by portion size, the cheapest healthy food to eat is grains, followed by dairy, vegetables, fruit, protein, and moderation foods.

When broken down by how much it costs per day to fulfill dietary guidelines, grains and dairy are the cheapest recommendations to meet while vegetable and protein are the most expensive to meet, the researchers wrote. Fruit falls somewhere in the middle.

It costs more money to meet the fruit and vegetable guidelines for a healthy diet because nutrition guidelines call for consuming such a large amount of fruit and vegetables, not because they are more expensive than other foods.

Earlier studies have found that people with limited incomes don’t spend more on fruits and vegetables as their incomes rise, suggesting that tastes and cultural food preferences play a significant role in food choices.

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Let’s Hear it for Popcorn!

According to study findings presented at a recent popcornmeeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego, if you want a healthy, whole grain treat make it popcorn.

Researchers found that popcorn has more healthy for you antioxidants called polyphenols than some fruits or vegetables. In every serving of popcorn there are 300 milligrams of polyphenols compared to 114 mg per serving of sweet corn and 160 mg per serving for all fruits. A big difference!

The study demonstrated that the levels of polyphenols in popcorn are higher than previously thought. The levels are similar to those levels found in a serving of  nuts and 15 times higher that the levels found in whole-grain tortilla chips.

The highest concentrations of polyphenols and fiber are found in the hulls of the popcorn; you know…those annoying little bits that get caught in teeth.

“Of course adding butter, salt and other calorie-laden flavorings can turn this snack from healthy into unhealthy. Air-popped popcorn has the lowest number of calories,” one of the researchers reported. He added, “Microwave popcorn has twice as many calories as air-popped, and if you pop your own with oil, this has twice as many calories as air-popped popcorn. About 43 percent of microwave popcorn is fat, compared to 28 percent if you pop the corn in oil yourself.”

The study makes a point of stressing that one is not suggesting eating popcorn instead of fruits and vegetables, as popcorn lacks the vitamins and other nutrients found in fruits and vegetables that are essential for good health.

The study continues to promote popcorn as a snack as it is the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 percent of the daily intake of whole grain. The average person only gets about half a serving of whole grains a day. Eating popcorn could fill that gap in a way that most of us would enjoy.

The study was not funded by the food industry.

(SOURCE: American Chemical Society, news release, March 25, 2012)

 

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