Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Resolutions -

New Year's goals:
I cannot believe that three years have passed since the Dr. informed me that I had high cholesterol. She explained that too much cholesterol in the blood could be serious and pose a risk of getting heart disease. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
I was surprised to learn that only about 20% of cholesterol comes from the foods you eat. Your body makes the other 80%. Things such as age and family health history affect how much cholesterol your body makes. Unfortunately, there are usually no signs that you have high cholesterol, but it can be detected with a blood test.

She explained that this is a serious diagnosis and should not be taken lightly.
I took a long look at this information and decided that I had to make some changes in my lifestyle. The doctor suggested a change in diet and exercise.
I do not eat meat and my diet is already low in cholesterol but I took a look at what I eat and realized that three things had to go: cheese, egg yolks and desserts.
I had recently read that there are eight healthy foods that are essential to eat every day.

I am happy to report that I never took any medication to reduce the cholesterol but I did start the following food plan. I find all of these foods to be nourishing and tasty. My cholesterol count has been low for the past three years.

Here is the list of eight:

1. Spinach: 
A rich source omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease. 1-cup fresh spinach or a half-cup cooked per day. SUBSTITUTES: Kale, bok choy, romaine lettuce.


2. Yogurt:
Helps boost your immune system, provides protection against cancer. Make sure the label says “live and active cultures.” One cup a day. SUBSTITUTES: Kefir, cottage cheese. Plain fat free yogurt is also a perfect base for creamy salad dressings and dips. 

3. Tomatoes: packed with more of the antioxidant lycopene which can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, breast, skin, and stomach cancers, and coronary artery disease. Eight red cherry tomatoes or a glass of tomato juice per day. SUBSTITUTES: Red watermelon, pink grapefruit, Japanese persimmon, papaya, guava.

4. Carrots: are associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as a reduced risk of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Aim for a half-cup a day. SUBSTITUTES: Sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow bell pepper, mango.


5. Blueberries: Host to more antioxidants than any other North American fruit, blueberries help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age-related memory changes. Rich in fiber and vitamins A and C can also boost cardiovascular health. 1-cup fresh blueberries a day, or a half-cup frozen or dried. 

SUBSTITUTE: A├žai, an Amazonian berry.

6. Black Beans: All beans are good for your heart and brain. They’re full of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. A daily half-cup serving provides 8 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber, and is low in calories and free of saturated fat. 

SUBSTITUTES: Peas, lentils, and pinto, kidney, fava, and lima beans.

7. Walnuts: Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine. A serving of walnuts is about 1 ounce, or seven nuts. Substitutes: Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, (all unsalted).

8. Oats: Awarded the FDA’s first seal of approval. They are packed with soluble fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disease. Oats have 10 grams of protein per half-cup serving, they deliver steady muscle-friendly energy. 

SUBSTITUTES: Quinoa, flaxseed, amaranth, and pearl barley.

Thought this just might be of interest to someone who is reading. I truly believe that Nature provides us with what we need and I always explore natural healing before even thinking about taking a prescription medication.

Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy year in 2012.


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