Resolved: 10 smart food moves for 2010
While indulging at the holiday tables, don’t despair. Just resolve to enjoy wholesome foods as the New Year chimes in. That will assure not only a leaner, healthier you, but also more stamina and a sharper mind. Here’s my Top 10 list for 2010.
You don’t have to give your beloved carbs the shaft — just your refined ones like white bread and pasta. Be adventurous and convert to low glycemic grains like whole-wheat couscous, brown rice, buckwheat noodles, barley, oats, bran and bulgur wheat.
Amp up your intake of cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, which are high antioxidant anticarcinogens. Although notorious musical foods, their boons far outweigh their bads. Just add them slowly to your diet and increase your water intake to lessen the gaseous effects.
Move over mocha. Have a spot of tea — whether green, black, white or oolong, you’ll still get a dose of antioxidant polyphenols that help prevent blood clotting, lower cholesterol and risks for certain cancers. And if you’re having trouble catching your zzz’s, a cup of soporific chamomile will do the trick.
Swap out red meat for red snapper or other omega-3 fatty acids powerhouses, especially deep sea, cold-water ones like salmon (where possible buy wild-caught), herring, sardines, scallops, squid and Pacific soles. These are not only heart-healthy, but have been shown to ward off age-related decline in the brain. Seaweed and other oceanic veggies are also treasure-troves of nutrients, but stay away from bottom feeders loaded with mercury and PCBs like swordfish, shark and tilefish.
Although eggs have had a checkered past, they are really nature’s most perfect food. In fact, recent studies have shown that eating eggs may prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attacks, and may even improve a person’s lipid profile. High in protein, nine amino acids and vitamin D along with sulphur for enhancing healthy hair and nail growth — so get cracking!
If you crave something sweet, grab a whole fruit and crunch away on a pectin-loaded Pink Lady, pop an antioxidant-rich red or purple grape or enjoy a slice of cantaloupe or seedy strawberries — a great source of polyphenol antioxidants known as a potent foe of certain cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
Some fats are our friends, some are our foes, but “everything in moderation” is a standing advice. Really butter (especially organic) is better, but please, steer clear of artery-clogging monsters – hydrogenated trans-fats commonly found in fast food French fries and many mass-produced baked goods. Heart-healthy olive oil has also been heralded as a natural painkiller and anti-inflammatory, while sesame oil contains anti-carcinogenic lignans as well as phytosterols that block cholesterol production. Grape seed oil has a high flash point so you can safely sizzle at high temperatures, while healthful canola has one of the lowest ratios of saturated to unsaturated fat.
Need I twist your arm? Pure dark chocolate with a cocoa content of more than 70 percent is a heart-healthy aphrodisiac, packed with antioxidant flavonoids — eight times the number found in strawberries. So indulge guiltlessly.
Stay away from sugar, especially white refined. An excess of sugar can weaken the body’s ability to fight diseases. To satisfy that sweet tooth substitute with natural sweeteners like agave syrup or steevia, which are also diabetic-friendly. Also avoid fried foods since heating certain vegetable oils can create carcinogens and other toxins. Braise, roast, bake, saute, broil, boil, steam or even pan fry for better alternatives.
How to eat is almost as important as what you eat. Don’t multi-task when eating. Let your delicate digestive system do its job without energy flowing into reading, texting. Eat foods like Goldilocks’ porridge — not too hot, not too cold, just right. Eat breakfast like a queen (or king), lunch like a commoner, and dinner like a pauper. Use smaller plates to provide the illusion of eating bountifully while keeping portion sizes down. And don’t have heated political debates at the dinner table. Dining should be an experience of culinary bliss.
Check out the Kitchen Shrink and Company’s healthful eating blog at www.FreeRangeClub.