Sunday, July 5, 2009

"N" is for Nutritional No-How! Part One

Summer is officially here!! The island is booming with visitors-the heat is on, so to speak!! I love summer! One of my favorite things about summer is the fantastic food choices that are available. Fresh, healthy, whole food choices to optimize every moment of every day. I am a firm believer of eating "what is in season." What God has provided. This approach keeps your options exciting, the necessary nutrients for healthy living- and the costs down. Generally, whatever is in season is available in an abundance, and is on sale!!
Summer is an active time of the year. So much to do, so many options. Hydration becomes somewhat of an issue, leaving many of us feeling unusually fatigued. It is important to drink lots of plain water to keep your energy level high. Another energy booster is eating fresh fruits and vegetables. These are wonderful ways of staying hydrated and refreshed. Cut, ready to go watermelon in the fridge is a great way to have a cool, healthy energy booster on hand. (Watermelon won't only hydrate you-it has a high concentration of lycopene that can protect you from prostrate, breast, lung and colorectal cancers.) Remember, water participates in almost every metabolic reaction in the body. It is also critical for healthy cell. Alcohol is not considered a good choice, in fact it dehydrates you.
It is very important to eat a "rainbow" of color each day. It is suggested that by eating seven to nine servings per day is a key component to feeling your best. Colorful, fresh eating is the first line of defense against many of the diseases we struggle with today. Try to eat from each color group each day, very easy to do during the summer and see if your blood pressure, skin, eyesight, cholesterol levels and energy are not better by the end of the season. Add in some exercise and you are on your way to better health. Try eating from each of these groups, each day, this summer. Make it a goal!
Purple grapes, dark raisins, blueberries, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, plums and dried plums.
Tomatoes ( both fresh and canned. Cooked tomatoes actually are more nutrient rich.) watermelon, apples (which has also been touted for improved endurance and mental acuity), strawberries (high in antioxidants that protect against free radical damage, and collagen production), cherries and sour cherries ( good for gout and muscle recovery), beets(folate) and red onions (also, good for endurance.)
*Dark Orange/ Yellow Orange (Much of this group is rich in Vitamin A (essential for vision, cell growth, bone growth, and cell division, immune function regulation.) and Vitamin C (essential for collagen production needed for strengthening blood vessels, scar tissue formation, and is a matrix for bone growth. Vitamin C is also a key part of iron absorption)
Mangos, pumpkin, cantaloupe, carrots, squash, apricots, oranges, sweet potatoes, papaya.
*Yellow Green
Spinach ( known as a super food containing vitamin A, K, magnesium, folate, zinc and iron, best served with a vitamin C food, such as delicious berries in a salad.)Kiwi fruit, collard greens and romaine lettuces (containing vitamin K)
*The "super food" Greens
Leafy green vegetables (vitamin K, trace minerals), kale (calcium), Broccoli (calcium, vitamin C, A and Folate), bok choy (vitamin B6), swiss chard, green beans, asparagus (thiamin, vitamin C, and A)
Cauliflower (folate), cabbage (vitamin K), onions, garlic, mushrooms (riboflavin).
As you can see, eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables provides a full range of critical nutrients for good health. It is important to mix them up, enjoy them!( So easy to do this time of year.) I like to pre-prepare and clean them when I bring them home from the store. They are ready when I need them. No fuss.
With barbeques and so many family get together's it is important to make sure you fill up on fresh, whole, natural foods. Try to stay away from the heavy meats, loaded with saturated fats, and even nitrates that have been linked to certain cancers (more on this topic next week.) Our bodies thrive on whole foods full of nutrients to recharge, rebuild and rejuvenate the body, mind and soul. Nutrient rich foods. They not only energize us now, they prevent diseases, and disabilities , and offset the aging process. It may not always be easy to get your children to enjoy these foods with you, but you should be firm and consistent with them. Making fun shapes out of fruits and vegetables will help make them more enjoyable. It is important to have a good sense of diet instilled at an early age. Too many of our children are living on fast foods, and "party foods". We need to take the time to teach them before it is too late.
Summer is a fun time of the year! So many great options! Try something new and fresh, it's time to step out! Remember, eat fresh , eat whole foods (grains and produce), eat organic (carbon containing... life sustaining), eat variety, and live long and healthy!! Try watermelon in the blender for a smooth summer cooler....

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