Monthly Archives: July 2012

Enjoy or Avoid: The Truth About Eggs

The egg is a tasty and nutritional food that can be served at breakfast, lunch or dinner and is used in making many other meals. For the longest time, eggs had a bad rep as an unhealthy and nutritional untouchable food due to the controversy about cholesterol, high calories and bad fats. It wasn’t until recently that we all got the facts right. Just like most foods, eggs can be healthy for you when eaten in moderation. Eggs don’t completely live up to their reputation.

The myths:       

  • Eggs are a nasty fat and cholesterol filled food that makes them an enemy to anyone on a diet.
  • Eggs raise blood cholesterol levels.
  • Eggs clog arteries especially since they raise dietary cholesterol levels.
  • Cholesterol is fat.

The truth:

  • You shouldn’t throw out the yolk and eat only the egg whites. By doing this you are throwing out the most nutrient packed, antioxidant rich, vitamin packed and mineral loaded portions of the egg.
  • Egg yolks contain B-vitamins, trace minerals, folate, vitamin A, lutein and many other powerful nutrients.
  • The proteins in the egg whites aren’t as powerful without the egg yolks to balance out the amino acids and make protein more bio-available.
  • The egg is a nutritional powerhouse.

The benefits:

  • Eggs are great for the eyes and can help to protect against macular degeneration as the result of carotenoid content.
  • Eggs can help to lower your risk of developing cataracts.
  • Egg consumption may be able to help prevent the occurrence of blood clots, stroke and heart attack.
  • Eggs are a great source of choline, which can help regulate the functions of the brain, nervous and cardiovascular systems.
  • Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.

Enjoy or Avoid: Red Meat

With warmer weather just around the corner, it is time for many individuals to fire up the grill and enjoy a hamburger or two. However, there are reasons why you should cook your meat thoroughly. Since a vegetarian diet is not for everyone, there are plenty of reasons and benefits from scaling back on your burger cooking this year.

Perhaps the biggest reason for reducing your red meat intake is that you’ll live longer. Numerous studies have indicated that eating red and processed meats regularly can increase your risk of developing heart disease and cancer. This is largely because of the high levels of cholesterol and saturated fats found in red meat. A study released in the Archives of Internal Medicine is the first to link red meat with an increased risk of death. This study found that by replacing one dish of red meat per day with a healthier, protein-packed choice – such as poultry, fish or legumes – can decrease the risk of an early death by seven to 19 percent.

Still not convinced? By cutting back on red meat, you’ll be eating more nutritious meals. If you have a delicious steak on your plate, healthy sides such as veggies can become neglected. When you don’t have a sizzling piece of meat in the center of your plate, you are more likely to finish the healthier foods on your plate. By eating healthier foods, your body is getting the vital nutrients it needs to function on a daily basis.

Cutting back on red meat is not only beneficial for yourself, but for the environment as well. It is important to realize that meat production requires a great deal of energy, food and water resources.

What can you do to start cutting back your red meat consumption? Experts recommend starting with the processed meats – such as bacon or sausage. Processed meats carry the highest risk of premature death with them. Next, try limiting yourself to eating only two to three servings of red meat per week. You can enjoy the benefits of a healthier meal plan without completely eliminating red meat from your diet.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Research shows that only 30 percent of adults receive the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. With nutritional experts recommending a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, a busy lifestyle can often lead to a lack of fruits and veggies and more unhealthy convenience foods. Here are five ways to help ensure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables.

  1. Use fruits and veggies as snack foods. Instead of eating cookies or a bag of potato chips, opt for a healthier alternative. Opt to carry small baggies of fruits and vegetables with you. If you find fruits and veggies to be a boring snack, consider using a hummus dip or a low-fat yogurt dip with your fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies can help lower your caloric intake and can also prevent the energy drop that normally comes along with eating an unhealthy snack.
  2. Make it a point to eat fruit at breakfast time. Add some fruit to your existing breakfast routine. This may mean adding fruit to your cereal or yogurt. Fruits are packed with nutrients and can help to give you a boost of energy to start your day out on the right foot.
  3. Combine fruits and veggies servings. If you normally have fruits or veggies at any of your meals, simply try adding to the amount of fruits and veggies on your plate. This is a simple way to increase your daily intake. A few more pieces at each meal can quickly add up and help you meet dietary guidelines.
  4. Remember that all varieties of fruits and vegetables count. Frozen, canned or fresh fruits and veggies are all considered to have important vital nutrients. You do not have to have fresh fruits and vegetables to be meeting the recommended serving amounts.
  5. Choose fruits and veggies that are convenient to you. Prepare small snack-sized bags that you can take on the go. Keep fruit at your desk or on your counter at home, so that you can grab a healthy snack when you begin to feel hungry. If preparing fresh fruits and vegetables, prepare them for a few days at a time – this way the lack of time excuse is no longer an excuse.

Enjoy healthy, yet tasteful meals and snacks.