For Good Health, Lowering Cholesterol, Preventing Heart Disease & Diabetes
May is National Mediterranean Diet Month, so what better time to start eating more healthy foods and beverages than now. Here is a list of some of my favorite foods that fit into the Mediterranean Diet. They are delicious, colorful and packed with nutrients that are scientifically proven to promote good health. I encourage you to give them a try today!
: Eat seafood two to four times a week. Try salmon, shrimp, snapper, tilapia or tuna fish. Choose light white tuna chunks (note: albacore may contain mercury). The American Heart Association
recommends 500-1000 mg omega 3’s daily, which equals 7 grams (7000 mg) weekly.
- Berries: Try fresh or frozen bags of mixed berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries. Top pancakes, oatmeal, toast, yogurt and light ice cream with berries. Make a smoothie by blending together yogurt, berries, half a banana and a little orange juice.
- Red foods: Enjoy red foods daily. Try tomatoes, marinara sauces, carrots, cantaloupe, oranges, red onion, red bell pepper, red cabbage, red beets, red apple with peel, red grapes, purple grapes, cherries, berries eggplant and sweet potatoes.
- Greens: Try spinach, asparagus, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lettuce (with red veins) and broccoli.
- Fruit & Vegetables: Have two fruit and three vegetable servings (1/2 to 1 cup) each day. For picky eaters, get creative and find ways to sneak veggies into favorite foods.
- Beans: Enjoy a half cup of beans almost daily. Try different kinds of beans such as hummus, lentil soup, black bean soup, limas, black bean & corn salsa, butter beans and black eyed peas. Prepare navy beans cooked with carrots, onions and celery, or combine garbanzo beans with rice and serve on top of spinach. Dip baby carrots and red bell pepper strips in hummus as a snack.
- Oatmeal and Whole Grains: Oats lower cholesterol. Prepare a fiber-rich bowl of oatmeal by combining half a cup of dry oatmeal with one heaping tablespoon of Quaker Oat Bran. Add your favorite toppings such as raisins, berries, peanut butter, or chopped almonds or walnuts. Or eat three cups of Cheerios.
- Enjoy three servings of whole grains a day. One serving equals half a cup of cooked oatmeal, brown rice, corn, barley, a corn tortilla, two cups popcorn, six low-fat Triscuit crackers or one slice of 100% whole wheat bread such as Sara Lee, Nature’s Own or Orowheat. Choose items with the highest number of whole grains (Nature’s Own: 23 grams of whole grains per slice; Quaker oatmeal: 38 grams per bowl).
- Lean Protein: Choose lean beef and pork cuts, poultry without skin, seafood, nonfat milk and yogurt and 2% or low-fat cheese. Visit http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/ for recipes using lean beef.
- Healthy Fats and Oils: Use olive, canola, soy or sunflower oil and tub spreads such as Smart Balance HeartRight Buttery Spread (stanols added). Consume two tablespoons of healthy fats and oils daily. Eat 1.5 oz (3 tablespoons) of walnuts, almonds or pistachios daily…they lower blood fats.
- Products that Help Lower Cholesterol: Add one heaping teaspoon of sugar-free citrus-flavored Metamucil to a glass of water at three meals daily. Eat soluble fiber found in beans, bananas, apples, oranges, carrots, oats and eggplant. Include new foods with stanols or stenols. Consume 2 grams (2 servings) a day to lower blood fats. One cup of Smart Balance HeartRight Milk or Kroger Active Lifestyle Fat Free Milk counts as one serving, and are delicious!
- Physical Activity: Get up and move every hour of the day! Walk around, move your feet and arms as you sit, march in place, climb some stairs. Use bands or hand weights, toss a ball, play ping pong, throw a tennis ball, dance or do a quick set of jumping jacks. By remaining on the move, you get the benefits of improved circulation, energy and health; plus a smile on your face.
For more resources and tips, visit http://www.georgiakostas.com/. Follow me on Twitter @georgiakostas or like my professional Facebook page, Georgia Kostas Nutrition.
Posted in Healthy Eating, Weight Loss
Tagged almond, American Heart Association, beef, berries, cardiovascular, exercise, fitness, fruits, healthy, lean meat, Mediterranean Diet, nature's own, nuts, oldways, quaker, seafood, Smart Balance, Triscuit, vegetables, walnut, whole grains
This morning, the eagerly-awaited 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released to help Americans eat better, become more active, enjoy better health and a healthier weight, and prevent the most common chronic diseases – heart disease, lung disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer. These health issues decrease quality of life, yet are 80% preventable with proper food, physical activity, weight, and lifestyle (not smoking and alcohol limits).
Here is my take on the 2010 Guidelines – what they say and how to live them:
- Eat with the plate approach. Divide your plate into fourths. Make one half of your plate fruits and vegetables at lunch and dinner. Choose lean protein (fish, poultry, lean beef/pork cuts, beans/peas) and starches/whole grains to make up the other two one-fourth portions. The divided plate creates food variety, nutrient-richness, balance and appropriate (moderate) portions. No calorie or fat counting needed! The more color, the better.
- Avoid over-sized portions. Remember just 3 “portion-right” visuals: 1) a baseball = 1 cup – Eat vegetable and fruit portions at least the size of a baseball ; eat starches (potatoes, pasta, rice, corn) no bigger than a baseball; 2) a deck of cards = 3 oz lean protein; 3) a golf ball = 2 tablespoons – the maximum amount of total fat (oil, spreads, dressings) we should add to our foods daily. Choose healthy fats (liquid oils, soft tub spreads) rather than solid stick margarine, shortening, and foods with trans fats (French fries, doughnuts, many commercially prepared snacks, desserts, fast foods).
- Increase no-fat or low-fat milk. We need the Calcium, Vitamin D and eight other key nutrients that are concentrated in dairy foods (milk, cheese, yogurt). Choose dairy 2-3 times daily.
- Choose lean protein. Eat more seafood – at least twice weekly. Choose lean beef cuts, which concentrate large amounts of 8 key nutrients in just a 150-calorie, “right-size” 3 oz cooked portion (4 oz raw). No need to overeat protein. Beans, peas, nuts are alternative plant proteins.
- Good news! We do not need to eliminate any foods. Enjoy eating! Go for balance and quality. Select lower-fat options; minimize sugar, salt, and processed foods which tend to have more calories, fewer nutrients. Choose “real food,” or wholesome foods with maximum nutrients and fiber, less salt, sugar, fat, and processing.
- Exercise daily. Drink water instead of sugary beverages. Eat breakfast. Watch snacks. Be mindful of calories in/calories expended, to keep weight healthy, and prevent weight gain. Seek the help of a registered dietitian to help you understand how to do this, for your body size.
- Eat more nutrient-rich, fiber-containing whole grains. Choose 100% whole wheat bread and cereals, oatmeal, corn, popcorn, Kashi, reduced-sodium Triscuits.
- Cut salt in half or more. Eat less salt and high-sodium foods. Read and compare food labels, choosing lower- sodium soups, snacks, crackers, etc. Target levels: 2300 mg for healthy adults and children; 1500 mg for those 51 years old and older, African Americans, and those with or at risk of hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease…more than half of Americans. Why? Excess sodium hurts arteries, the heart, and blood pressure. Current intake daily for adults averages 3400 mg. Stick with fresh or frozen produce , dry beans and peas, unsalted nuts, and more natural (less processed) plant foods…no sodium exists in these fresh foods.
Want to implement these guidelines today? My latest book, The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009) offers you quick and easy solutions…realistic meals, divided plate menus, quality snacks, brand-named products to spare you time from label-reading. Find “how to” tips on every topic mentioned in the new Guidelines. Enjoy reading food tips instead of food labels. Book available at http://www.georgiakostas.com/Products.aspx or Amazon.
Take even two of these steps this year, and you will find yourself healthier, at a better weight, enjoying fresh food more, and saving health dollars in 2011. That’s a lot of good news!
Posted in Dietary Guidelines
Tagged 2010DGA, beef, dairy, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, disease prevention, exercise, fitness, fruits, healthy weight, Kashi, lean meat, portion control, salt, sodium, Triscuit, vegetables, whole grains