Monday, January 28, 2013

Stay Healthy by Eating Whole Foods, Vegies, Fruits, Nuts & Seeds

When we talk about healthy, it should be inside out, as everyone wants to look and feel healthy, younger and even slim naturally without a crash diet, and there are so many ways to improve your health. Whether you're improving your diet or do some exercise, small steps can make a big impact and could be a healthy change for the better.  I would like to share some experience and knowledge how to pick healthy foods and incorporate the healthy lifestyle in your daily living. First start with the food we eat.
Eat natural whole foods:  take whole grain instead of processed cereal and cut down intake of white flour and white sugar
Eating whole-grain oatmeal daily -  your cholesterol and blood sugar will be lower significantly.  Whole grains not only provide carbohydrates and protein, but also the fiber which forms a gel that slows down your body's absorption of sugar as well as  cholesterol.  Instant cereal or processed food is lack of fiber and sometimes contains additives and substantial amount of sugar, white flour can raise your blood sugar too. Try oat meal, quinoa or  other whole grain with prunes, cranberries, banana ,seeds (pumpkin, sunflower) and molasses for your breakfast, you will like it.
Take fresh veggies and fruits
Try to take at least five kinds of different veggies and two or more servings of fruit per day.  Do not overcook the vegetables, or eat them raw as salads, because vegetables contain cancer-protective flavonoids, vitamins and minerals, some of them may be destroyed if cooked at high heat or too long , if you like, stir fry or sautee them for a few seconds in low heat, or steam the veggies for 3-4 minutes, and do not use microwave oven to cook vegetables.

During winter time when fresh veggies are hard to find, fermented sauerkraut can be a good substitute. A Finnish study found that cancer-fighting compounds are produced during the fermentation process of sauerkraut, and it has probiotics that can help break down toxins in the gastrointestinal tract. If you consume the canned sauerkraut instead of homemade one, rinse it to reduce sodium content before eating.

Nuts Nuts contains selenium, iron, zinc, trace minerals, protein , fiber and cancer fighting compounds. Almonds are known to help lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, that can help to kill cancer cells and help repair DNA, and can decrease cancer risks, others such as cashews, pistachios, macadamia, hazelnuts, walnuts are also good for you, for the best effects, eat them raw instead of baked or fried.  Beans and legumes Beans and legumes contain a lot of protein, iron, fiber and some vitamins and minerals. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, regular intake of three or four kinds of beans and legumes daily is good to prevent lack of protein in your body. Soy bean, lentils are good source of protein, while chick peas, kidney beans, small red beans provides you with more iron. The fiber contained in beans and legumes also help to increase bowel movements and hence help strengthening your body’s detoxification system.
Seeds are source of oils, minerals and fiber and can help to prevent diseases.  Flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants which can lower cholesterol and hence have cardioprotective effects , flaxseeds also contain chemical compound called Lignan, which is one of the major classes of phytoestrogens, could help reduce the risk of hormone-associated cancers (breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate), while grape seeds, sunflower seeds and safflower seeds are high in Omega-6.

Tips: Better to eat the seeds raw, I routinely take one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with blended fruit in the morning before having breakfast.
A new study says that people who take at least three servings per week of berries, especially strawberries or blueberries may reduce the risk of heart attack by one-third compared with those who incorporated fewer of the colorful berries into their diet.Dietary flavonoids called anthocyanins are found in berries and are known to counter the buildup of that causes atherosclerosis.

Blueberry, cranberry, goji berry, strawberry and cherry are classified as super fruits,  they are packed with nutrients and antioxidants which help fight free radicals that damage or kill cells. 

Herbs and spices
Herbs :  fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano and pepermint have certain phytochemicals that may help prevent cancer and other diseases and fight inflammation.  Parsley which its high levels of apigenin can inhibit tumour growth and delay its formation, and it is also believed to act as a diuretic.
Spices:  garlic, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, capsicum which are used to enhance the food flavor provide health advantages that may range from lowering blood sugar to reducing joint inflammation.

Do not eat between meals
We need digestive enzymes to digest food that we eat, and our body can only produce limited amount of enzymes and it decreases along with age, meaning we get less and less enzymes as we get older, that is why people who like craving and snacking (especially sweet and fatty ones) will take more enzymes to digest, and eventually will have indigestion problems.

Regular exercise and sleep well
Do not be a cough potato, your body is a dynamic structure and is meant to move, any exercises from walking, swimming, station cycling, to stretching exercise like yoga and pilates are good to keep our body flexible and more energetic, and it can also help us to sleep better at night.

It is recommended that 7 to 8 hours sleep is necessary to keep us in good shape, although some people may feel good to have just 6 hours deep sleep.