Posts Tagged ‘Cardiovascular Health’

Eat My?!?!?!

April 9, 2012

Errr, I mean Eat Your Veggies!!

Your mother always said to eat your vegetables. What does this mean exactly? Can I just get a wedge of iceberg lettuce, throw some tomatoes in and smother it with creamy Italian dressing? That’s vegetables, right? Not exactly. In fact what I want to address here is dark green leafy vegetables specifically.

Greens are the number one food you can eat regularly to help improve health” says Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, a culinary educator in Northern California and author of The Veggie Queen. That’s because they’re loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Yet Americans are still not eating the recommended daily requirements of vegetables.

The latest dietary guidelines call for us to get 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (2 ½ to 6 ½ cups per day) depending on your calorie intake. For example a person who needs 2000 calories a day to maintain their weight should be eating  9 servings or 4 ½ cups per day (2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables). And by the way in this case more equals better.

There is strong research that supports the premise that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The largest and longest study to date was done by the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals. This included 110,000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years. The findings were that the higher the average daily intake the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. And although all fruits and vegetables contribute, green leafy vegetables make very important contributions.

In another large report by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research findings suggested that leafy greens and fruits “probably” protect against several types of cancers, including, mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus and stomach cancer.

Why aren’t you eating some veggies RIGHT NOW!!!!

Nussinow ranked the top 10 most widely-eaten greens from most nutritious to least. Here’s her top 10:

  1. Kale
  2. Collards
  3. Turnip Greens
  4. Swiss Chard
  5. Spinach
  6. Mustard Greens
  7. Broccoli
  8. Red and Green Leaf Romaine Lettuce
  9. Cabbage
  10. Iceberg Lettuce

For More Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com

Chocolate – Good vs Evil

August 17, 2010

In the last few years there has been a lot of talk about the health benefits of chocolate.

Coincidentally the International Cocoa Organization states that production has risen from 1.2 million tons per year in 1960 (I know a long time ago) to 3.2 million tons per year in 2004. Along with the rise in the production of chocolate so has the global rate of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Hmmmm?

So which is it? Is chocolate good for you or is it killing you? Oh, and don’t get me started on expanding waistlines.

Studies have surfaced that show that it is the plant sterols and cocoa flavonoids in chocolate that when used as part of a low fat diet support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improve blood pressure.

A review of studies conducted by members of the departments of Epidemiology, Nutrition and Medicine at Harvard University also agree that the flavonoids are likely protective against coronary heart disease.

Now we must remember that all chocolate is NOT created equal. Most candy bars that you find in the grocery store are high in refined (white) sugar and other fats that replace the healthy nutrients found in cocoa.

So, when shopping for chocolate there are a few things to consider. Does the chocolate product

  • Consist of at least 70 percent pure cocoa.
  • Contain cocoa butter instead of milk fats or hydrogenated oils.
  • Contains natural, low-glycemic sweeteners – such as raw cane – rather than refined sugar

What about you? Do you eat chocolate? Is it a guilty pleasure? Or do you like Nancy Clark, (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) who wrote in Sweat Magazine (July/August 2010) use it during a cardiovascular workout like a long hike or bike ride?

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

www.longevitypt.com