Small changes can end up giving you big results. Consider these fixes for a longer, healthier life.
1. Do-it-yourself bypass surgery: walking. Walking briskly for 20 to 30 minutes several times a week dramatically increases blood flow through the arteries and can help some people with narrowed arteries safely avoid bypass surgery.
2. Black is in. Black mushrooms, vinegar, sesame seeds, rice, pasta and licorice are being hailed as “superfoods” because of their anti-inflammatory properties. They can help protect against cancer and heart disease, and possibly slow aging.
3. Antioxidants may last longer than the fruits and vegetables. It has long been believed that fresh produce loses nutrient quality during storage. Not so. In several fruits and vegetables, including onions and oranges, antioxidant content actually increases during storage, remaining high even after the produce started to spoil.
4. C for yourself — vitamin C slows wrinkles. In women aged 40 to 74, lower vitamin C intakes were associated with a greater risk of wrinkles and skin dryness. An orange a day could keep the wrinkles at bay.
5. Oats work. Ten years after the FDA allowed oatmeal labels to proclaim their cholesterol-lowering effects, the initial research has been proven correct over and over again. Eating oatmeal and foods containing oats lowers both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
6. Eat ethically, don’t be wasteful. 27% of the available food in the US is wasted annually, about 1 pound of food waste per person per day.
7. Salt and calcium doesn’t mix. Women who get as much as 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day may still be in negative calcium balance if they eat 2 teaspoons of salt a day, too. Americans average between 1 and 3 teaspoons of salt daily — go easy.
8. Another trans fat risk. Eating too much trans fat increases your risk for heart disease, but it also increases the risk for breast cancer. Women with the highest trans fat intake had a 75% greater chance of developing breast cancer.
9. Prevent dementia, treat hypertension. Some very promising research shows that treating and controlling high blood pressure not only reduces your risk for heart disease but reduces your risk for dementia as well.
10. Alcohol and diet soda don’t mix. Artificially sweetened drinks enhance the absorption of alcohol and speed up how quickly you’ll feel drunk. Carbonated drinks are second on the absorption-drunk barometer, with juice + alcohol coming in a slow third.
© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc., January 2010