Just to mention a few ...
Since carbs are all the talk now, let's start here. Nutritionists fear that
thousands of dieters are counting carbs but failing to distinguish between
"good" carbs and "bad" carbs.
Think about it like this: A light
beer (three net carbs, 95 calories) and a bag of low-carb chips (four net carbs,
90 calories) add up to fewer carbs than half a cup of black beans (12.9 net
carbs, 114 calories), an apple (17.3 net carbs, 81 calories) or a sweet potato
(19.2 net carbs, 95 calories).
Counting carbs is not the solution, emphasizes Udo Erasmus,
PhD, developer of the "right fat carb-conscious diet" and author of Fats
That Heal, Fats That Kill, (Alive Books). A better approach is to be carb-conscious
rather than low-carb. Your goal should be to eliminate the bad carbs from your
diet, and to include more good carbs.
Eat more good carbs. Healthy carbohydrates
are found in whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. Because they contain
fiber, good carbs break down slowly in your body, thus avoiding fattening sugar
spikes and the cravings that follow.
Unfortunately, because they are high in carbohydrates,
whole grains and beans often are banned in the early stages of the fad low-carb
diet plans. Even fruits and vegetables can be limited. The foods people choose
instead are not invariably healthy -- a bacon cheeseburger is still a bacon
cheeseburger, packed with calories and saturated fat, even if you eat it without
Eat fewer bad carbs. When you consume bad
carbs, such as a cookie, a soda, a bag of chips or a piece of white bread, they
are quickly broken down into glucose (blood sugar), which floods into the
bloodstream. In response, your body produces insulin to allow glucose to enter
cells for energy. If there is more glucose than the body requires to meet energy
needs, the excess is stored as fat.
As Dr. Erasmus puts it, bad carbs are absorbed so rapidly
that insulin turns on the fat production and turns off the fat burning. The
rapid spike in blood sugar leads to a brief surge in energy, but when this sugar
rush ends, you're left feeling tired, irritable, depressed and fidgety. This is
when children lose their focus at school, or truck drivers doze and veer off the
road. Even worse, the drop in energy leaves you craving something sweet to get
your sugar back up -- which starts the whole vicious cycle over again.
Almonds, the ideal snack
Along with walnuts, these nuts help reduce total cholesterol, LDL
cholesterol, and triglycerides, leading to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Almonds give you energy during the day and help you sleep soundly at night. When
you can't keep your eyes open at the office, grab a handful of salted almonds.
Their winning combination of vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats
imparts immediate energy. At night, the calcium and magnesium in almonds act as
a natural sedative, and since they contain salicylic acid (which is
essentially natural aspirin), versatile almonds also can help control headache
Beets (or borscht)
Our livers are under siege. Every day, they are bombarded with toxins, from car
exhaust fumes to secondhand smoke. To improve liver function, try beets. The
deep purple color of these root vegetables comes from a flavonoid called betanin,
the active ingredient of which is betaine. This chemical is similar in structure
to the nutrient choline, which studies have linked with the production of
healthy liver and blood cells.
For best results, use fresh beets and cook them with their
greens intact. If you boil beets, do not throw out the water. Most of the
nutrients are found in the juice, so drink it right away or save it and add to
soup. Soups are perhaps the ideal way to serve beets. In Europe, beet soup is
known as borscht, and it often is served with high butter-fat sour creams -- an
excellent combination, since fat helps extract the valuable pigment from beets
and accelerates its absorption into the blood.
Your skin can benefit from a regular serving of guacamole, too. Natural oils in
avocados perk up a poor complexion, make brittle nails strong again and improve
dry skin. People with severe hair loss to eat three avocados daily, because they
contain special oils that aid in the regeneration of hair follicles, stimulating
the growth of new hair.
Tomatoes center-stage phytonutrient, lycopene,
tomatoes are packed with traditional nutrients that have shown in many studies
to be helpful for many health conditions. Tomatoes are an excellent source of
vitamin C, vitamin A, chromium, biotin, molybdenum and copper. Tomatoes are very
good source for vitamin K, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), manganese,
vitamin B1 (thiamin) vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) vitamin B2 (riboflavin),
vitamin B3 (niacin) and folate. Tomatoes are a good source of magnesium,
phosphorus, vitamin E, iron and tryptophan.
The carotenoid phytonutrient lycopene found in tomatoes has
been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties.
Lycopene from tomatoes has been repeatedly studied in humans and found to be
protective against a growing list of cancers. These cancers now include prostate
cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and lung cancer. For those at risk of
atherosclerosis, tomatoes are a very good source of potassium, niacin, vitamin
B6, and folate. Tomatoes are an excellent source of biotin, important for the
metabolism of both sugar and fat.
Cherry tomatoes contain more fiber than regular tomatoes,
and improve digestion and bowel function. Sun-ripened cherry tomatoes also are
an excellent source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Never refrigerate tomatoes,
as it inhibits ripening and damages their skin. Organically grown tomatoes are
Vinegar just may be the perfect food. A natural antibiotic, it stimulates the
immune system and inhibits the growth of microbes. Vinegar also is an excellent
source of acetic acid, which stimulates digestion. To help prevent food
poisoning, consume it with every restaurant meal, especially when you
travel abroad. Add a splash to salads or soups, or pour it over meat or fish
For arthritis, mix together one tablespoon each of honey
and vinegar in a shot glass and drink it down twice a day. Among the best
varieties of vinegar are those made from grapes or apple cider. Dark balsamic
vinegar is exceptionally rich in health-enhancing chemicals, such as
bioflavonoids. Food always has been medicine. While we may have temporarily lost
sight of this fact, the cures for many common ailments are as close as your
Of course fruits, vegetables and whole grains, especially brown rice, are good
sources of fiber, which helps maintain healthy bowel function.