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Eat This for That;

Don’t Eat This to Avoid That

Part One

By Gary F. Zeolla

      The media is fond of touting lists of foods or a specific food to improve a particular health situation or of claiming certain foods shouldn’t be eaten to avoid developing a certain health problem. This two-part article will overview recent news articles with such foods recommendations. A follow-up article will look at beverages. I will go through the news articles in alphabetical order by the news outlet then article title.

 

Best of Life. Eating This Beloved Food Slashes Your Heart Attack Risk, New Study Finds.

 

      Eating avocados twice a week can lower your heart attack risk.

      Researchers used data from 68,786 women aged 30 to 55 and 41,701 men aged 40 to 75 collected through dietary questionnaires every four years. At the beginning of the 30-year research period, all participants involved had reported no history of heart attack or stroke.

      There were 9,185 coronary heart disease events and 5,290 strokes reported among participants throughout the study. After comparing health records and dietary data, results showed that participants who ate two servings of avocado per week—or the equivalent of one whole avocado—saw a 16 percent reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21 percent reduced risk of having a heart attack compared to participants who didn’t eat avocados….

      Besides noting the impact of including avocados in participants’ diets, the researchers also used statistical modeling to find that replacing half a serving each day of butter, margarine, eggs, cheese, yogurt, or processed meats such as bacon also reduced the risk of heart disease by 16 to 22 percent. However, the same health benefits were not seen when avocado was swapped out for the equivalent serving size of nuts, olive oil, or other plant-based oils.

 

      This is the type of study I often cite in my books God-given Foods Eating Plan and Creationist Diet: Second Edition. However, I generally cite multiple studies showing the various benefits of a particular food or class of foods. It is always tenuous to base too much on one study.

      The problem is, it is often difficult to tease out one specific factor as the reason for the study results. In this case, that is seen in that it might not have been the eating of avocados that caused the seen benefit. It could be the stopping of the eating of the foods avocados replaced that caused the benefit.

      Or it could be something completely different about avocado eaters that was not considered in the study. Maybe they exercise more, sleep more, have less stress in their lives, or a myriad of other factors, with the eating of avocados just being coincidental.

      Remember this as we proceed, as this caution about giving a study too much credence will apply to the rest of the foods recommendations.

 

Eat This, Not That. 7 Best Foods to Eat For High Blood Pressure, Say Dietitians.

 

      High blood pressure is a serious diagnosis, but it can be managed with the right lifestyle changes. Chances are if you’ve been told by a doctor that you have high blood pressure or are at greater risk for it, you’ve also been warned about certain foods to stay away from, such as salty foods like chips, canned soups, and deli meats.

      But what about some of the foods you should add to your diet? Getting the right nutrients and caring for your overall health can help you manage your levels and keep your health in top shape. To learn more, we asked a few dietitians to give us their recommendations for the best food for high blood pressure.

 

       The article then lists the following foods: 

1.       Dark leafy greens.

2.       Fish.

3.       Milk and Yogurt.

4.       Bok choy.

5.       Avocados.

6.       Garlic.

7.       Bananas.

 

      Below each food item is a discussion of how the food aids in controlling blood pressure. Be sure to note that all seven of these foods are unprocessed, whole, natural foods.

 

Eat This, Not That. 7 Popular Foods With More Vitamin C Than an Orange.

 

      Think the orange is the queen of all vitamin C foods? Think again!

      When you have a cold and your immune system is down, you likely reach for a glass of orange juice, right? Oranges—along with other citrus fruits—are always advertised as being high in vitamin C, one of the most prominent vitamins you need in your diet. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and an antioxidant that can help improve your skin and keep your immune system healthy….

      And while eating an orange does get you closer to your RDA for vitamin C (around 70 milligrams per one medium orange), it doesn’t quite get you there [the RDA is 90 mg] compared to some other popular foods you may know, which easily get your vitamin C RDA in just one serving.

 

      The article then lists seven vitamin-C rich alternatives to citrus: 

1.       Kiwi.

2.       Kale.

3.       Strawberries.

4.       Brussels Sprouts.

5.       Broccoli.

6.       Mustard “Greens” Spinach.

7.       Yellow Bell Peppers.

 

      Below each food item is indicated the amount of vitamin C in a serving, along with a discussion of the food item. As with the previous list, these are all unprocessed, whole, natural foods.

 

Eat This, Not That. 13 Fortified Foods Actually Worth Buying.

 

      “Added vitamin D!” “More protein!” “Extra fiber!” These things may all sound promising, but not all foods are, in fact, better off fortified.

 

      The idea here is, the type of added nutrients used to fortify a food might not be in a very absorbable form. But more importantly, just adding some protein, vitamins, minerals, and/ or fiber to a “junk food” does not make that food healthy. The food needs to be healthy to begin with, then the added nutrients will add a bit “extra” to the already healthy nature of the food.

      The foods mentioned in this article with the added nutrient(s) in parentheses are as follows:  

1. Skim Milk (Vitamin D).

2. Whole Grain Bread (folic acid).

3. Eggs (omega 3 fatty acids).

4. Almond and Rice Milk (calcium and vitamins A and D).

5. No-Sugar-Added Orange Juice (vitamin D and calcium).

6. NON-GMO Soy Products (calcium and vitamins A and D).

7. Grains and Rice (iron).

8. Hemp Milk (calcium and vitamins A and D.).

9. Granolas (probiotics).

10. Whole Grain Cereals (vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid).

11. Unflavored Yogurt (calcium and vitamin D).

12. High-Quality Salt (iodine).

13. Unsweetened Oatmeal (B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin A, and iron).

 

      For the most part, each one of these foods are relatively unprocessed and would be healthy foods even without the added nutrients. But again, those added nutrients give them an extra plus. Although, you could get the same nutrients in a basic multi-vitamin/ mineral supplement at probably a lower cost than the extra you will pay for the fortification of these foods over the cost of the regular product.

 

Eat This, Not That. 21 ‘Healthy’ Snacks You Should Avoid at All Costs, Says Science.

 

      You may perceive these snacks to be good for you, but they could be sneakily causing weight gain….

      Snacking for weight loss is something we highly encourage, so it’s extra important you make the right choices with your healthy snacks. Noshing on deceptively unhealthy snacks could be causing your weight loss plateau, or even pushing you into weight gain territory.

      Refer to this list of the terrible “healthy” snacks for weight loss, so you can spot and avoid the worst offenders.

 

1.       Rice cakes.

2.       Dark chocolate chips.

3.       Sweetened Nuts.

4.       Gluten-free snacks.

5.       100-calorie packs.

6.       Fruit smoothies.

7.       Granola.

8.       Veggie chips.

9.       Bran muffins.

10.   Trail mix.

11.   Protein bars.

12.   Flavored yogurt.

13.   Craisins.

14.   Wraps.

15.   Reduced-fat peanut butter.

16.   Chocolate hazelnut spreads.

17.   Sugar-free snacks.

18.   Cereal bars.

19.   Olive oil.

20.   Anything with Splenda.

21.   Egg whites.

 

      Under each food item, the article explains why it is recommending against the food. In most cases, it is because the item is highly processed and/ or makes it too easy to overconsume calories. Olive oil is in the latter category, though it is healthy otherwise.

      On the protein bars, it is true many protein bars are just candy bars with some protein powder added to them. But a recommendation I heard on a health podcast a while back made sense to me. It was to compare the number of grams of protein to the total number of grams of added sugars and sugar alcohols. If the bar has more protein than added sugars and sugar alcohols combined, it is relatively healthy. But if it has more added sugar and sugar alcohols than protein, it is just a candy bar and unhealthy.

 

Eat This, Not That. Secret Side Effects of Eating Raspberries, Says Science.

 

      If you want to improve your whole body health, try adding these tasty fruits to your regular routine….

      Read on to discover the many beneficial side effects of eating raspberries, according to science.

 

      The article then lists the following claimed benefits of raspberries: 

1.       They may help lower your cholesterol.

2.       They may improve your post-meal blood sugar.

3.       They may help reduce cancer growth.

4.       They may help regulate your digestion.

5.       They may benefit your heart health.

 

      Under each claimed benefit is mention of a study that found that benefit. But do not miss the “may” in each item. Nothing in nutrition science is ever certain. But given that raspberries are an unprocessed, whole, natural food, whatever the exact benefits, they are better to snack on than any processed snack food.

 

Fox News. Eat these foods to live a long life, experts say.

 

      Below, these RDs [Registered Dieticians] give their top picks for research-backed superfoods to support a long life: 

1.       Greens.

2.       Berries.

3.       Sardines, anchovies and salmon.

4.       Cauliflower.

5.       Tomatoes.

6.       Greek-style coffee.

7.       Herbal teas.

8.       Dark Chocolate.

9.       Legumes.

 

      Below each food item are comments from one of the RDs about the food and how it contributes to longevity. The connection between all of them is they are unprocessed or minimally processed, whole, natural foods. The reader should be detecting a pattern by now.

 

Fox News. The best foods for a good night’s sleep,

 

      Struggling with sleep right about now? Millions of Americans are in the same boat, in no small part thanks to the ongoing stress of living amid the coronavirus pandemic, school and business closures, and more.

      Below, try to snap out of your bad-sleep rut with these wholesome choices that get nutritionists’ seal of approval. 

1.       Almonds.

2.       Walnuts.

3.       Bananas.

4.       Tart cherries or cherry juice.

5.       Chamomile and Lavender Tea.

6.       Oats.

7.       Salmon.

8.       Eggs.

9.       Avocados.

10.   Kiwis.

 

      Once again, below each food item is a discussion on how it aids with sleep. And note once again that all of these are unprocessed or minimally processed foods.

 

Fox News. The best vegetables for your health, according to nutritionists.

 

      For National Nutrition Month, here are 11 healthy vegetables nutritionists wish you’d eat regularly.

      It pays to love your veggies. Especially when you’re loading up on some of the healthiest in the vegetable kingdom. Read on for a list of nutritionist-approved go-to veggies to support good health.

 

1.       Shiitake mushrooms.

2.       Sweet potatoes.

3.       Jicama.

4.       Green peas.

5.       Broccoli sprouts.

6.       Garlic.

7.       Kimchi.

8.       Beets.

9.       Carrots.

10.   Brussels sprouts.

11.   Spirulina.

 

      Once again, below each food item is a discussion of what makes it “special.” And once again, these are all foods that are eaten with little or no processing except for possibly cooking, except for maybe the last item. It is generally purchased in a powered form, such as this Nutricost Spirulina product available at Amazon.

 

Fox News. The worst foods for heart health, according to experts.

 

      Avoid these 7 foods groups to support your heart health.

      Hippocrates, the father of modern-day medicine once said, “Let food be thy medicine,” recounts Nitin Bhatnagar, a holistic heart doctor and practicing cardiologist in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

      “I believe that if we do not treat food as medicine then we will one day eat medicine as food,” he warns, adding that processed foods, foods with added salt, excess sugars, fast foods, sugar-sweetened beverages and more “can disrupt our homeostatic mechanisms and promote an increase in diabetes, obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol.” 

      Bhatnagar added that these conditions can increase your risk for heart disease, peripheral vascular disease and stroke….

      Listed below are the worst types of foods for your heart health. 

1.       Processed meats.

2.       Foods with added salt.

3.       Fried foods.

4.       Sugar-sweetened beverages.

5.       Diet soda.

6.       Red meat.

7.       Refined grains and sweets.

 

      Below each food item is a discussion on why the food is so bad. The connection between all of these is they are highly processed and/ or have added fats, sugars, or artificial ingredients. The exception is red meat. But the article does not discuss the incredible difference between factory farmed meats and what I call “old-fashioned meat” in my Creationist Diet: Second Edition book. I contend the former is indeed unhealthy, but the latter is healthy.

 

Part Two of this two-part article will be posted after it appears in the next issue of FitTips for One and All.

 

 

Eat This for That; Don’t Eat This to Avoid That: Part One. Copyright 2022 by Gary F. Zeolla.

Disclaimers: The material presented in this article is intended for educational purposes only. The author is not offering medical or legal advice. Accuracy of information is attempted but not guaranteed. Before undertaking any diet, exercise, or health improvement program, one should consult your doctor. The author is in no way responsible or liable for any bodily harm, physical, mental, or emotional, that results from following any of the advice in this article.

The above article was posted on this site June 2, 2022.
It originally appeared in the free email newsletter FitTips for One and All.

Nutrition
Nutrition: General Nutrition

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