Farmers market shopping in downtown Znojmo, Czech Republic (Karel's home)
Every day I am reminded of our trip to Czech and the lifestyle that we lived during our trip. The trip was life changing but it was even more enjoyable to live such a great lifestyle while in Czech.
When it comes to "healthy" eating, there are many tips, suggestions, fads, thoughts, rules and styles that is can be very overwhelming. When it comes to disease prevention there are many research studies as to what people do consistently well that reduces the risk for disease and illness and what people do that increases the risk for certain diseases and illnesses. We can not avoid cancer but we can reduce the risk so when it comes down to following nutrition advice in a society that loves food, it's really not that complicated.
Eat a plant strong diet, rich in fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Choose heart healthy fats and low fat dairy (up to 3 servings daily). Reduce intake of saturated fat, avoid trans fat and stay hydrated with water. Reduce intake of added sugar and salt and focus on portion control to maintain a "healthy" body composition. Stay active and move the body daily.
I wanted to share a few articles that caught my attention during our trip.
Food and Nutrition: Sept/Oct 2013
-Pg 16-17: Beans are a tasty, nutritious and economically efficient way to meet nutrition needs year-round. They are high in protein and soluble fiber and a good source of vitamins and minerals. They are also an essential source of protein, iron and zinc. Diets rich in soluble fiber are associated with improved blood glucose control and blood cholesterol levels and may help fight heart disease. Since they're often priced less than 25 cents per cup, dried beans are affordable. Types of beans: Black, lima, chickpea/garbanzo, red, great northern, pinto, kidney, fava, black-eyed peas, navy, soybeans.
-Pg 22: Oats: a trendy, budget-friendly food staple. At 150 calorie per -one cup cooked serving, oats resemble other cooked whole grains in their energy density. The soluble fiber in oats (B-glucan) consistently has been shown to lower the heart disease risk factors of total and LDL cholesterol. In 1997, the FDA approved a health claim for the role of B-Glucan soluble fiber, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, in reducing risk of heart disease. One cup of cooked oatmeal supplies 2 of the daily 3 grams of B-glucan soluble fiber necessary for these heart benefits.
Oat definitions: The lease processed oats come in the form of groats - the husked whole oat kernel - and require the longest cooking time (40 minutes). Oat groats can be substituted for brown rice, wheat berries or other whole grains in a dinner side dish. Steel-cut oats are toasted oat groats that have been cut into small pieces with a metal blade. Ready in 10-20 minutes, steel cut oats have a firm texture and nutty flavor. Rolled oats (old fashioned or 5-minute) are groats that have been steamed, flattened and dried and are typically less expensive and more readily available than whole and steel-cut oats. Quick oats are rolled oats that have been cut into smaller pieces to reduce cooking time down to 2 minute. Instant oats resemble quick oats in texture but have been partially cooked before drying so that they can be reconstituted with boiling water.
Eating Well Oct 2013
-Pg 24: Several studies show that adding more produce to your diet can improve your mental health and sense of well-being. Celery and Parsley deliver apigenin, a compound that promotes the death of cancerous cells, according to new research from Ohio State University. Red cabbage and blueberries are packed with anthocyanins, which may help keep your memory sharp.
-Pg 17: The apple is a powerhouse of polyphenols, potent antioxidants. eating apples may lower the risk of asthma, lung cancer, stroke and prevent blood sugar spikes. According to a recent Ohio State study, adults eating just one apple a day of four weeks reduced their level of LDL cholesterol by as much as 40%. The fruit is also rich in pectin, a soluble fiber effective in lowering cholesterol. Apples offer thousands of flavor possibilities. Once more than 16,000 varieties grew just in American orchards. As shelf life an uniformity became more important, most disappeared. Find out what's growing by you at localharvest.org.
Remedy's Healthy Living Fall 2013 (healthcentral.com) - FREE pamphlet from the pharmacy at the hospital
-Pg 10: Gut reactions. The connection between the brain and the gut is a two-way street. Recent research suggest that the health of your digestive system - the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon - can affect your mood and well-being. The key to the complex interaction is the enteric nervous system, which experts sometimes refer to as the "brain in your gut." "Thousands of nerves line the intestines and signal muscles to contract to propel food along the digestive tract," explains David Wolf, MD, a gastroenterologist and University of Texas Health and Science Center in Houston. Like the one in your head, your gut's brain depends on neurotransmitters such as serotonin, the famous feel-good chemical. "Around 95% of serotonin is produced in the intestinal tract," says Dr. Chait MD.
While the serotonin in your brain regulates mod, in the gut, it promotes the growth of nerve cells and alerts the immune system to foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. Serotonin also keeps the two systems in constant communication, so when stress hits, it's no wonder your stomach starts to churn - or that GI problems make you depressed and anxious. New research is also highlighting the vital role of the healthy bacteria that exist naturally in the gut. Trillions of bacteria populate the gut and scientists are only just beginning to understand that unique habitat, according to Jack Gilbert, PhD, an environmental microbiologist at the Argonne National Lab in Chicago.
When these god bacteria are diminished by a poor diet or a course of antibiotics, your digestive health and overall well being often suffer. The best way to improve your digestion is to eat a healthy balanced diet, says Dr. Chait. Aim for plant based, fiber rich foods, plenty of veggies, fruits, whole grains and bran and lean sources of protein such as chicken and fish. Daily fiber recs - 38 g for men under 50, 25grams for women under 50 and 30,21 grams respectively for men and women over 50.
Thanks to the enteric nervous system, the digestive system is very sensitive to emotional and psychological stress. Stress busters like deep breathing, yoga, meditation and massage can play an important role in alleviating GI disorders triggered or exacerbated by tension, such as IBS, whose symptoms include cramping, bloating and often alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea. A recent study found that women who practiced mindfulness meditation for 8 weeks had greater reductions in IBS symptoms than women who were assigned to a support group.
It's true: regular exercise keeps you regular. Activity improves motility.
-Gas: If you are belching excessively, you may be swallowing air - aeorphagia. Flatulence happens when bacteria in the gut ferments undigested food; certain foods are worse than others. Avoid carbonated sodas and chewing gum. Chew foods slowly and eat small meals. If you experience gassiness, limit artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol.