Thursday, May 15, 2008

EATING FOR HEALTH

I am one of those folks who religiously scan the papers and magazines for the latest on health and wellness. Instead of being enriched by the information, I often find myself totally bewildered and confused. One research group would come up with claims backed by statistics that taking X is detrimental to our health. Invariably, another survey group would issue findings that claim otherwise. So where does that leave me? In total confusion when it comes to making certain dietary choices.

Good or bad for health?

Coffee
Egg Yoke
Tea
Wine
White rice
Milk
Chocolate
Margarine
Seafood
Peanuts

My personal take on this is to play safe and go with moderation and balance. That way I can still enjoy some ‘sinful’ food on the side, while making sure I don’t indulge to the point of spiking my bad cholesterol level.

I am no nutrition guru, but from what I’ve read, and observed, as well as from my own experience, you can't go wrong with these food types.

Fruits and vegetables – the more colorful, the better. High on my shopping list are broccoli, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, green / red pepper, french beans for greens, and mangoes, watermelon, papaya, jambu and bananas for fruits. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that protect us from chronic diseases. They are also a natural source of energy.

Nuts – I love nuts, any nuts. They are rich in polyunsaturated fats, and keep the blood vessels healthy and elastic. The problem is most nuts, like walnuts and almonds, are too expensive to buy on a regular basis. That leaves me with peanuts – the cheapest but the most fattening of all the nuts! I can easily consume a whole packet while watching a TV movie. Certainly not something I would recommend if you have problems with your heart or weight. Stick to a handful at the most, and preferably unsalted.

Soy milk – go for the unsweetened type. Drink milk for strong bones, they say. But what kind? I am inclined to side with those who say cow’s milk is for calves, just as cat’s milk is for kittens, and dog’s milk is for puppies. You get the picture. Mother’s milk is for babies. No wonder people with lactose intolerance suffer from adverse side effects after taking dairy products. There are alternative sources of calcium, for example, soy milk, egg white, tofu, fish, chick peas and spinach.

Garlic – I use garlic generously for almost every dish I cook. Not only does it improve the taste, but more importantly, garlic is great for cleansing the blood, never mind what it does for the breath!

Dark chocolate – Don’t quote me on this, but I’ve read that taking two oz of chocolate with at least 60% cocoa content can help reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 11%. As a rule, I seldom buy chocolates. I don’t have a sweet tooth. But I’ll be happy to accept gifts of chocolates anytime. Just remember to get the dark variety, with plenty of nuts!

Cereals & whole grains – a great source of fiber, and for regulating bowel movement. I used to take a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every morning till I got bored with it. It did help lower my LDL cholesterol level. I’ve since switched to cereals. When I’m on the road, I’m not too fussy but will try to avoid sausages, bacon, fried or spicy food for breakfast.

Water – at least 8 glasses a day to keep me hydrated. I never go anywhere without a 600ml bottle of water in my bag.

The state of our health today is the result of the food that we have put into our body all these years. If we constantly feed our body with food that's high in sugar, salt or fat, we'll have to face the dire consequences – diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

These were the findings in a recent study conducted by the Health Ministry on chronic diseases (The Star: 11 Sept 2007).

  • A total of 3.08 million people aged between 25 and 64 suffered from high blood pressure. Of this total, Malays made up 1.56 million, Chinese 635,000 and Indians 244,000. Men made up 1.64 million while women 1.44 million.
  • 1.33 million Malaysians were diabetic; 56% of them were Malays. A total of 736,000 were Malays, 227,000 Indians and 155,000 Chinese. Women made up 717,000 and men 608,000.
  • About 20% - 37% of Malaysians suffered from obesity.

Eat right for good health. The onus is on us to pass the message to our children and grandchildren. For more information, check out the link below:

http://www.mypyramid.gov/

1 comment:

Antares said...

Wow! What's a HOTTIE like YOU doing running a blog for "senior citizens"??? Wanna have dinner with me sometime, sweetie? ;-)