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Good Foods


Just to mention a few ...

About Carbs
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 the bun.

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 pain. 

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 even better.

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 dishes.

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 local supermarket.

Of course fruits, vegetables and whole grains, especially brown rice, are good sources of fiber, which helps maintain healthy bowel function.

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