A new study has found that eating lots of tomatoes can help prevent strokes. Tomatoes are also high in lycopene and anti oxidents which are thought to have anti cancer properties. They also contain quercetin which has anti cancer, anti microbial and anti iflammatory properties. Tomatoes are also one of the foods where cooking increases these benefits.
Like many fruits and vegetables today, are they really as beneficial as they should be. Tomatoes are a seasonal, sun ripened summer fruit. Unless you grow your own or buy organic outdoor grown tomatoes they may be lacking in these vital nutrients. When they are artificially grown under cover and then picked before they are ripe, how much of the nutrients that should be in a tomato have actually developed.
That is the same with many of our fruit and vegetables today. Back to tomatoes and have you noticed how most shop bought tomatoes all taste the same and all have tough skins – some genetic engineering to make it easier for them to be carted around and handled.
One final thought on the study that tomatoes help prevent strokes. Why is it then that in countries where tomatoes are a large part of the diet people still get strokes.
As always there are always more questions than answers when it comes to diet and nutrition.
The five a day rule is one of the most important rules to healthy eating. The five a day rule refers to the government’s recommendation that everyone eat at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. At first blush, five a day seems like a reasonable goal, but most people fail to eat sufficient amounts of these important foods.
It is important to remember the many advantages of fruits and vegetables when applying the five a day rule to your own diet. For one thing, fruits and vegetables taste great, contain fewer calories than many other foods and are full of many important vitamins and minerals. In addition, fruits and vegetables are colorful and beautiful, making them great garnishes and salad toppings.
In addition, fruits and vegetables are easy to prepare, even for the busiest individual. In most cases, fresh fruits require no preparation at all, other than a quick wash and perhaps peeling.
The five a day recommendation equates to roughly two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables every day, based on the average 2,000 calorie diet. This is not a difficult goal to reach, but it is important to keep the five a day goal in mind when grocery shopping, cooking and planning meals.
One great way to get started toward a five a day lifestyle is with a delicious serving of 100% fruit juice every morning. Apple juice, grapefruit juice and orange juice are all excellent choices for both taste and nutrition.
Fruits and vegetables can also be used as garnishes for other foods. Who doesn’t enjoy a sliced strawberry or banana with their morning cereal? And fruits and vegetables make great snacks as well. Whether you keep a couple of apples at your desk or a selection of carrot and celery sticks in the fridge, having fruits and vegetables readily at hand is a big part of the battle.
Of course variety is extremely important when making any change to your diet, and many dietary changes fail due to boredom. Constantly trying new varieties of fruits and vegetables is a great way to keep yourself interested in your new healthier way of eating. If you’ve never had kiwi fruit or asparagus, for instance, why not give it a try?
Combining attractive colors, shapes and sizes of fruits is another way to provide attractive and interesting meals for yourself and your family. Combining white grapes, red peppers and pineapple chunks can provide a delicious and attractive salad.
It is important to provide constant variety when implementing the five a day plan, particularly if you are cooking for a family. Try making some interesting new dishes, such as veggie pizza, made with fresh vegetables and whole wheat pizza crust, a fresh vegetable wrap, vegetable stir fry or pasta with fresh vegetables.
For those who think they are too busy to incorporate five servings of fruits and vegetables a day into their diet, there is help available. The many ready to eat, prepackaged salad kits on the market make it easier than ever to create a healthy salad on the go. Just keep a bottle of your favorite low fat or nonfat salad dressing on hand and you can enjoy a healthy salad anywhere and anytime.
Even fast food restaurants have made it easier than every to eat healthy, with every major chain now offering at least a few healthy menu items. In addition, most supermarkets sell fresh salads where you can create your own healthy lunch even if you’re pressed for time.
When creating your five a day healthy lifestyle, remember that fruits and vegetables make great snacks. An apple, orange or banana provides both great taste and excellent nutrition. In addition, the natural sugars contained in fruits do not provide the sugar high/sugar crash scenario all parents are familiar with.
Topping meals and salads with additional fruits and vegetables is a great way to enhance your new five a day lifestyle. Strips of green and red peppers, broccoli florets, sliced carrots and cucumbers are all great additions to pasta and potato salads. And of course carrots, spinach, apple slices, orange slices, nectarines, pineapples and raisins are all great additions to any salad.
In addition, adding fresh fruits to foods you already eat is a great way to make such foods part of your new lifestyle. Adding berries, bananas or oranges to cereal and yogurt is a great way to make sure you meet your five a day goal every day. Even better make it 7 a day. In fact try to aim for 50-70% of your diet coming from raw fruit and vegetables to gain the full benefit of the vitamins and minerals and important enzymes and other nutrients in raw foods.
In my book ‘The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book’ which you can get FREE from www.obooko.com (under Health and Self Improvement) I wrote about how the body can react if it does not get the food it needs. Basically your body needs nutrients to survive and they come from the food we eat. This means that when your body needs topping up with vitamins and minerals and other nutrients it tells you. It sends out hunger signals. You then eat and the body is satisfied. That is assuming you have eaten nutrient rich foods that the body needs. If you eat processed/junk food devoid of nutrients as your main form of eating your body will not get those important nutrients it is asking for. It then sends out more signals (hunger pangs) so you eat more food. If your food is junk you finish up getting fat!!
Now new research has gone further and found that if the body does not get the nutrients it needs cells start to eat themselves, and not only in the body but in the brain as well. Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York discovered this and found that the body responds to hunger by producing fatty acids which send more hunger signals to the brain to increase the need to eat. So as well as making us fat, lack of nutrients can also contribute to damaging brain cells!
So what use is this information to us. Basically it should be another tool to encourage us all to eat a healthy nutrient rich diet as I keep drumming on about. If you give the body what it needs in the food we eat these urges to eat more and more will not occur and will help with weight control amongst other things.
As I said, I would use the information to encourage healthy eating, but not the scientists. They are going further with their science and are looking at how they can stop this ‘cannibalistic’ effect medically. Probably so a drug company can then produce another wonder pill at great expense.
Surely it is easier, cheaper and healthier to get people to eat a healthy diet. Then you can’t sell a ‘healthy diet’ and make money, so devise a pill instead. It will disrupt the body’s processes as with the pills on the market to stop us absorbing fat and lose weight(?).
Some hope. You take the pill and still eat the wrong foods that brought about the need for the pill in the first place and the pill usually has side effects. Also in the case of fat, your body needs fat so why should you block it. I will talk about fat in a future blog.
As I said why block the fat? It would be better to spend the money on educating people with nutrition advice that they can follow – and eat a diet based on nutritious foods like my Nutrition Diet.