Color Code Your Vegetables

08/01/2011

Color Code Your Vegetables

What a Painter’s Palette of Vegetables Can Do for You

by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN

 

Fresh, colorful vegetables: dark green and leafy; red, ripe, and juicy; or bright orange and crunchy. This exquisite rainbow-colored cornucopia is truly the class of foods that keeps our arteries healthy and clean. Head for your green grocer and harness the phenomenal medicinal power of natural plant compounds. Buy them fresh, buy them often, and fill your body with a spectrum of healthy colors, nature’s medicine chest.

Studies show that heart disease death rate drops with each added vegetable serving!
That is why phytochemical-rich vegetables, such as spinach, are part of a plan I developed to reverse heart disease, and/or to build good heart health to hopefully avoid heart troubles. The other key food groups are olive oil, figs and other fruits, lentils and other legumes, salmon and other seafood, walnuts and flaxseeds, oatmeal and other whole grains, and red wine. Dark chocolate is a bonus food in this plan. Yeah!

 

I like to paint the colors of health by classifying and color coding vegetables into six colors, divided depending on their individual high concentration of phytochemicals (plant warriors against free radical destruction).

Here are the 6 categories:

 

1. Dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables such as spinach & broccoli
2. Red/purple vegetables such as tomatoes, beets and eggplant
3. Yellow/orange vegetables such as carrots and pumpkin
4. Green herbs such as basil and rosemary
5. Allium vegetables such as garlic and shallots
6. Other vegetables such as artichokes and zucchini

Vegetables are chock full of myriad polyphenols (the major disease-battling phytochemical), so be sure to tap into the miraculous healing power of plants. Consuming greens and other colorful vegetables throughout the day will boost your heart disease defense system by:

  • Increasing your body’s antioxidant level
  • Fighting inflammation
  • And, helping to prevent and treat diabetes

 

One additional advantage of frequent consumption of vegetables is that they are the perfect diet food — loaded with nutrients but very low in calories. Hence, eating your daily vegetable prescription will also help you control your weight, and being overweight is another major risk factor that ups your odds of a heart attack.

Here are a few ideas for getting colorful vegetables into your daily eating plan:

  • Routinely eat a dark green salad at lunch and dinner when eating in or out, and remember to dress simply with extra virgin olive oil and wine vinegar and/or fresh lemon juice.
  • For quick and healthy, try purchasing prewashed, bagged, and prechopped vegetables, toss them on a sheet of tin foil, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and roast (425°F for at least 30 minutes). Keep in a container in the refrigerator for easy access.
  • Purchase frozen vegetables (with a short ingredients list). Frozen vegetables, picked and frozen immediately after harvest, are a nutritionally sound choice. (In fact, frozen spinach has been shown to retain its carotenoid power longer than fresh because of the lower temperatures at which it is stored.)
  • When time doesn’t allow for prepping fresh veggies, grab a bottle of jarred veggies, such as corn or roasted red peppers. Just watch out for added sodium, and if the veggies are packed in oil, check to ensure that it’s olive oil.
  • If the weather’s nice, fire up the grill and roast vegetables coated in extra virgin olive oil.
  • Infuse fresh herbs into your olive oil or mix into your salad dressing (olive oil vinaigrette) to add extra flavor and antioxidant power.
  • You can always get an array of colorful vegetables at a salad bar (some supermarkets even have them). Avoid the mayonnaise or oil-added veggie selections. Pile on the plain colorful vegetables instead and dress with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • Remember, no lunch or dinner without that rainbow of vegetables!

 

You may be surprised at how some dishes truly come alive with the addition of this painter’s palette of health. A few of the recipes I include in Prevent a Second Heart Attack that feature greens and other vegetables are Chef Mario Spina’s Braised Broccoli Rabe, Chef Julie Korhumel’s Linguine with Fresh Garden Vegetables, Dr. Janet’s Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins and Dr. Janet’s Roasted Red Pepper Strips. All are sure to please the palate — and your heart health.

___________________________________

 

Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, is a leading diet, nutrition, and fitness expert. She is the author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack and Cholesterol Down. Learn more at www.drjanet.com.

_________________________________________          

 

Dr. Janet’s Roasted Red Pepper Strips

Serves 4

A quick and easy method for roasting red peppers. These are delicious in Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Tuna Romesco, and Whole-grain Pasta with Roasted Eggplant, Olives, and Tomatoes found in Prevent a Second Heart Attack.

4 large red peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch thick strips
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss red pepper strips with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes or until peppers are softened and starting to turn dark around the edges. Store refrigerated.

NUTRITION per 1/2 cup serving:
Calories: 133

Fat: 11 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, <1 gALA)

Saturated Fat: 1 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 294 mg

Carbohydrate: 10 g

Dietary Fiber: 3 g

Sugars: 7 g

Protein: 2 g

 

Excerpted with permission from Prevent a Second Heart Attack

by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN ©2/2011.

Advertisements

Milk for the Muscles!

07/09/2010

A recent study in the June issue of Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise reported the women who drank two glasses of milk after weight lifting exercise gained more muscle mass and lost more fat than women who drank the energy, sugar-based drinks.

While resistance training is less common an activity women choose, it does have major health benefits.  Resistance training is good for muscle and bone health as well as improving metabolic health. Many women also avoid dairy products for they believe they are “fattening” foods/drinks.

For 12 weeks, the study followed young women who did not do resistance training exercises.  They began 3 types of training exercises: pushing (bench press or chest fly), pulling (lateral pull downs or abdominal exercises) and leg exercises (presses or curls).  Each day the women did not eat or drink 2 hours prior to exercise, except for water.  Immediately following exercise and one hour after exercise the women drank either 500ml of fat free white milk or 500ml of a sugar based energy drink looking similar to the milk.

The results were a gain in lean muscle mass without a gain in weight because there was a balance due to loss of body fat.  Investigators are not quite sure why there was the loss of fat as well as the gain in muscle. They state it may be the calcium, protein and Vitamin D that may be part of the answer.

The bottom line is that simple lifestyle changes like adding some resistance training and drinking some fat free milk can significantly improve a woman’s body composition! So girls (and guys too-an earlier study found the same results in men) let’s get moving and lifting!!!

Looking for more info about what beverages to drink – the facts about water, coffee, tea, alcohol, fruit juice check out our e-book “You are what you Drink” at http://heart-strong.com/products.html

If you are looking for more heart healthy tips and info please check out our website and our 2 books about preventing heart disease, stroke and diabetes www.heart-strong.com

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” and “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthy Heart – So simple you will not even have to stop and ask for directions” – our books offer realistic steps to help you develop a healthier lifestyle, all of the information in the books comes from the latest medical guidelines available and is written in an easy to follow and understand format.


Water Wisdom

07/06/2010


from the Healthy Living Center

You’ve heard all the advice: Drink eight glasses of water a day. Stay properly hydrated while exercising. Sports drinks aren’t just for professional athletes.

Yet you’re still unsure whether you’re drinking the right amount for good health.
How much fluid should you really be taking in daily? Do you need to add extra when you’re physically active? And is too much water dangerous?

Everyone’s body needs water. We lose it by sweating, excretion, or simply not taking in enough through foods—like fruits and vegetables—and drinks. Mild dehydration (losing less than two percent of your body weight due to inadequate fluids) can cause health problems, including dizziness and headache.

To keep your body supplied with the fluid it needs, especially when exercising, follow these tips:

  • Get the basics. Most women need eight to nine cups of total fluids a day, including all beverages and the water in foods.
  • Increase according to the weather. High temperatures or humidity outside, heated indoor air and high altitudes all cause you to need more fluids.
  • Add when exercising. Drink one cup of fluids every 15 minutes during physical activity, advises Werner W.K. Hoeger, Ed.D., FACSM, professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Boise State University. He recommends sports drinks over water when exercising because they contain electrolytes—important to provide the minerals necessary for proper cellular metabolism—which is disrupted during physical exertion. Electrolyte replacement also helps maintain proper muscle contraction and cardiac function.
  • Add more for big events. If you’re going to be in a race or charity walk, make sure you drink enough to be well-hydrated the day before, Hoeger adds. Also, drink a glass of fluids an hour before the event.
  • Drinking for two? Pregnant and nursing women need additional fluids. Talk with your health care professional about what’s best for you.
  • Still thirsty? If drinking fluids doesn’t relieve your thirst, you may have a health condition such as diabetes. See your health care professional right away.
  • Too much of a good thing. In very rare cases—chiefly among marathon runners—drinking too much fluid leads to a life-threatening illness, hyponatremia. This occurs when sodium levels in the blood fall too low. It happens chiefly to athletes who have run for more than four hours and gained a lot of weight during the race from drinking.

For more information on healthy living, visit: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living

For more information on fitness, visit: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/fitness

For more information on sum me r safety, visit: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/summer-safety

© 2010 HealthyWomen All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free). On the Web at: www.HealthyWomen.org.


Can Ginger Ease Muscle Pain?

06/01/2010

Ginger has been used for a variety of ailments like upset stomachs and the common cold for many years.  It has also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in rodents, however it had not been studied on human muscle pain.

Researchers at the University of Georgia have recently conducted two studies evaluating the effect of raw and heated ginger intake on muscle pain.  The volunteers consumed either raw or heat-treated ginger or placebo for 11 days straight.  On the 8th day, the participants performed arm exercises with heavy weights to induce moderate muscle pain.  Arm function, pain and inflammation were assessed prior to exercise and 3 days following.

The participants that consumed the daily ginger supplement reduced the exercise-induced muscle pain by 25%.  This effect was noticed in both the raw and heat-treated ginger groups.  No increased benefit was noted in the heat-treated ginger group.

Muscle pain is one of the most common types of pain and is usually caused by sports and recreational activities. Most people experiencing this type of pain would be likely to embrace an alternative option for pain management.

This study will be published in The Journal of Pain in September 2010.

Looking for more health and wellness info visit www.heart-strong.com


National Nutrition Month: Should we eat Fresh, Canned or Frozen Fruits/Vegetables?

03/14/2010

 

When it comes to buying fruits and vegetables, many factors play a role in which types consumers choose, including nutritional value. Are there significant differences among fresh, frozen, canned or dried? The American Dietetic Association says no matter what form they take, fruits and vegetables are good-for-you foods that can be enjoyed at any time. “While fresh fruits and vegetables are recommended, this does not mean they are the only healthy option,” says registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson Ximena Jimenez. “Research shows frozen and canned foods can be as nutritious as fresh. In fact, since some nutrients in canned produce are more easily absorbed in the body, these can sometimes be better nutrition choices than fresh.”

 March is National Nutrition Month®, when ADA and its members reinforce the importance of a healthy eating plan, which includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. The theme for 2010 is “Nutrition from the Ground Up.”

“This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is a great reminder for eating fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and beans to create a healthy diet and understanding the role of nutrition in getting and staying healthy,” Jimenez says.

Fresh, canned or frozen, Jimenez offers ideas for getting the most from your fruits and vegetables, no matter what form your produce takes:

For canned fruits and vegetables:

  • Get the juice. “For canned fruit, look for descriptions on the label like ‘packed in its own juices,’ ‘packed in fruit juice,’ ‘unsweetened’ or ‘in syrup.’ Fruits packed in juices contain less added sugar and fewer calories than fruits packed in syrup,” Jimenez says.
  • Pinch the salt. If you are cutting back on sodium, look for descriptions such as “no salt added” and “reduced sodium” on the labels of canned vegetables.
  • Savor the flavor. Use canned fruits and vegetables immediately after opening for maximum flavor and nutritional value. “Handle leftovers as you would any perishable food,” Jimenez says. “Remove them from the can, place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer to retain taste and nutritional quality.”

For frozen varieties:

  • Forgo the fat. When buying frozen vegetables, control fat and calories by choosing plain vegetables or those made with low-fat sauces.
  • Check the label. “Frozen fruits come in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties, so make sure to check the label and choose unsweetened if you are limiting your sugar intake. Frozen fruit bars also make a nutritious snack, but read the label to learn if they’re made with real fruit juice,” Jimenez says.

Dried fruits:

  • Pick the plain. “Dried fruit contains lots of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and folate, but also more calories per serving than fresh fruit because of natural and sometimes added sugar,” Jimenez says. “Also, some dried fruits are preserved with sulfite, which can trigger allergic reactions. So read the package label to make sure your choice is in line with your healthful and safe eating plan.”
  • Have a handful. “Dried fruit is a great portable snack. It can also jazz up salads, pancakes, bread recipes or a bowl of cereal,” Jimenez says.

“There are thousands of varieties of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables on grocery store shelves, which makes it easy to find foods that suit your tastes and fit into a healthy eating plan,” Jimenez says. “And it’s always fun to try a new food or find a new way to cook your old favorites.”

The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org for more info.


Fish Oil/Omega 3’s Good for Everyone’s Heart

03/04/2010

 

A recent review of fish oil studies that have been performed over the past 30 years suggests that omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for everyone (published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology August 2009).  Studies have found that healthy people as well as patients with heart disease (heart attack, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation) benefit from fish oils.

Most of the positive health effects were found with trials using DHA and EPA, which are long-chain fatty acids.  EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements.  Not as much data is available on plant-based ALA which is found in flaxseed and other plants.

Current recommendations for omega 3 consumption:

1)  Healthy people should consume at least 500 mg per day of EPA and DHA, equivalent of 2 fatty fish meals per week

2)  Patients with known heart disease or heart failure should consume 800 to 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA per day

3)  Patients with very high triglyceride levels may require prescription strength fish oil, should discuss with your healthcare provider

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com


You Are What You Drink Blog Talk Radio Show

11/23/2009