Plan to E.A.T. R.I.G.H.T.

by guest blogger
Margaret Lewin, MD,FACP
Medical Director, Cinergy Health

Eat the rainbow! Not only do foods of varying colors pack a wealth of nutrition, they also look ever so enticing on the plate!
• Red fruits (think cranberries, grapes) and vegetables (think beets, red peppers, tomatoes) are high in the anti-oxidants which help fight heart disease, cancer and age-related memory loss.
• Orange and yellow fruits such as citrus and vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, carrots) are high in beta-carotene for healthy skin and eyes, Vitamins A and C and anti-oxidants.
• Green leafy vegetables (think kale, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) – the darker the green the better – broccoli, bok choy, avocados, and snow peas. They are high in fiber and most are rich in folic acid, vitamins A, C and K and potassium.
• Blue and purple fruits (grapes, raisins) and vegetables (purple cabbage, blue potatoes, black beans) are high in fiber, anti-oxidants and many important trace elements.
• White and tan fruits (pears, dates) and vegetables (garlic, ginger, mushrooms, shallots, onions, turnips) add spice, phytochemicals and anti-oxidants to any meal. Cauliflower is rich in vitamins C, K, and folate, and is one of the cruciferous vegetables that reduce the risk of many cancers.
• Brown grains, seeds, legumes (beans, lentils, split peas) and nuts are high in fiber, zinc, iron, folic acid, minerals, healthy fats and B-vitamins.

Avoid processed foods. Take advantage of your time at home to multi-task by making your own soups and stocks and steaming some fresh vegetables while you prepare the main course (note that micro-waving removes many valuable vitamins). Cook larger portions than you need and freeze the extras in individual portions to reheat for lunch or to thaw quickly when you’re in a hurry to get dinner on the table.

Take a list with you when you shop – with a mind to whole meals containing those fresh fruits and vegetables of varying colors as well as whole grains.

Read package labels carefully. Pay attention to serving size (for example, you’re likely to be surprised that those little boxes of dried pasta contain 8 servings!) and choose products low in hydrogenated and saturated fats, salt and added sugar, altogether avoiding products containing trans fats.

Inspect fruits and vegetables carefully for signs of spoilage, store them properly, and wash them immediately before using.

Get locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables when possible, in order to maximize nutrition, decrease the risk of contamination and save money.

Have fish at least twice weekly – it’s high in protein, low in calories and fat, and high in omega-3 fatty acids. There is evidence that dementia and impairment of thinking are significantly decreased, the incidence of heart attacks and sudden deaths are decreased by more than one-third, and the risk of death from all causes is decreased by more than 15%... and benefits can be seen in as little as 3 - 4 months! Fish’s ability to reduce inflammation can decrease symptoms of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and it may also help to control diabetes.

ake time to enjoy your meals, eating slowly to decrease portion size and to help digestion.

So… celebrate good nutrition by trying at least one new seasonal vegetable or fruit every week of this month, going to the Internet to find new and interesting ways to serve them, and making your meals brilliant with color and nutrition.

Dr. Margaret Lewin specializes in nutrition and prevention who believes ‘you are what you eat’. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology.

Breastfeeding Saves Lives

For lots of reasons, breastfeeding can be a touchy subject for many families of color. On top of that, some new mothers are unable to nurse because of health issues or work situations. But new research offers encouragement for those who are able to produce milk for their babies and those who are considering breastfeeding. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, if 90% of American women fed their babies only breast milk for the first six months of life, the lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year.
My own experience is that nursing my son is one of the most rewarding things I've done as a parent. The health benefits are immediate and tremendous. My little one never had an ear infection and did not catch a serious cold until he went to daycare at almost 18 months. Today he's a healthy, happy, rambunctious 3-year-old.

What is your experience? Did you choose to nurse or use formula? How do you feel about your decision? Would you do anything differently if given the chance?

Tuning In: Tiny & Toya

The hit BET show Tiny & Toya returns to the air tomorrow night for a second season. As many of you already know, the show focuses on two women attempting to live their own lives in the shadow of their children's fathers- namely, rap superstars T.I. and Lil Wayne.

Want more information on what Tiny and Toya have been up to? Click here. So, what do you think? Will you be watching?

Sponsored: Spring Cleaning with Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean

In my house, kids mean stains. I first noticed this when my son was just months old. My husband and I were always changing him out of food-soiled onesies. To make things worse, we would wash the onesies only to find out that the stains were not coming out. And things have not changed. Spaghetti sauce, gravy, and juice try to make permanent marks on shirts and pants. We've had mixed results with various sprays, but Arm & Hammer Plus Oxiclean detergent might have saved us the trouble. It has the popular spray OxiClean built right in for brighter colors and whiter whites. Click below for more information on getting your child's laundry cleaner for less.

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