Nutrition Articles

A new way to "beet" high blood pressure?

Drinking a cup of beet juice daily may lower blood pressure. The ruby-red roots are rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide-a compound that relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. (Locked) More »

Boost the power of your breakfast cereal

The healthiest breakfast cereals are those made with whole grains, such as corn, wheat, or brown rice. Fiber is another important component of a breakfast cereal. A healthy serving should have at least 5 or more grams of fiber. It’s also helpful to choose a cereal that is lower in calories,. ideally less than 150 calories per serving. A healthy breakfast cereal also has a lower sodium content,. preferably no more than 200 milligrams of sodium per serving. More »

Fed up about dietary fat advice?

Low-fat diets do not necessarily improve heart health. The new way of looking at fats in food does not focus on specific levels of fat intake. It emphasizes a diet based on whole, unprocessed plant foods, which contain healthy forms of fat. Eggs and dairy, although they contain saturated fat, can be part of a healthy diet in moderate amounts. Minimizing red and unprocessed meat is still recommended.  (Locked) More »

Having a big belly puts your heart in danger

Americans’ bellies are getting bigger, a trend that’s likely due to an increase in visceral fat, which surrounds the internal organs and is linked to a higher risk of heart disease. Genetic, ethnic, and gender differences affect a person’s likelihood of accumulating visceral fat. Eating fewer carbohydrates and doing more exercise (both aerobic and strength training) can trim a midriff bulge.  (Locked) More »

Glycemic index for 60+ foods

The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly. Low GI foods tend to foster weight loss, while foods high on the GI scale help with energy recovery after exercise, or to offset hypo- (or insufficient) glycemia. Long-distance runners would tend to favor foods high on the glycemic index, while people with pre- or full-blown diabetes would need to concentrate on low GI foods. Why? People with type 1 diabetes can't produce sufficient quantities of insulin and those with type 2 diabetes are resistant to insulin. With both types of diabetes, faster glucose release from high GI foods leads to spikes in blood sugar levels. The slow and steady release of glucose in low-glycemic foods helps maintain good glucose control. To help you understand how the foods you are eating might impact your blood glucose level, here is an abbreviated chart of the glycemic index for more than 60 common foods. A more complete glycemic index chart can be found in the link below. More »

The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between

Image: vasata/Getty Images Why are trans fats bad for you, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats good for you, and saturated fats somewhere in-between? For years, fat was a four-letter word. We were urged to banish it from our diets whenever possible. We switched to low-fat foods. But the shift didn't make us healthier, probably because we cut back on healthy fats as well as harmful ones. More »

Microwave cooking and nutrition

Are microwaves bad for your health? Almost every American home has a microwave oven. The convenience they offer is undeniable. But despite the widespread use of microwave ovens and their excellent safety record, some people have lingering doubts that cooking food with microwaves somehow makes food less healthy by zapping the nutrients out of food. Does cooking with microwaves do that? Is microwave food healthy? Understanding how microwave ovens work can help clarify the answer to these common questions. Microwave ovens cook food using waves of energy that are similar to radio waves but shorter. These waves are remarkably selective, primarily affecting water and other molecules that are electrically asymmetrical — one end positively charged and the other negatively charged. Microwaves cause these molecules to vibrate and quickly build up thermal (heat) energy. More »

Boost the health of your holiday buffet

Before going to a holiday party, it’s helpful to develop strategies to avoid drinking too much alcohol and overeating. Tips include eating before leaving the house, policing portion sizes, eating slowly, and leaving the table when the meal is over instead of lingering. Limiting alcohol intake to one drink, either before or after a meal, will also protect one’s resolve and limit calories. Enlisting the help of a buddy can also help someone resist temptation.  More »