Garbage In….Garbage Out

19
Oct
2012


Welcome to Day 19 of 31 Days of Mom Mojo – Tackling Time Management.

“Man Is What He Eats”  Lucretius

If your body isn’t getting the foods and nutrients it needs to function properly, we cannot expect it to respond appropriately when it’s called upon.  We tend to think we can run our bodies with little fuel or worst yet, foods filled with un-natural ingredients.  Remember that old saying, “Garbage in….garbage out?”

Your brain and body feeds on the foods you put in your body and if you’re constantly eating an unhealthy diet then not only does your body slow down so does your brain.  Often this comes on so slowly it’s not noticed until you’re really run down and you tend to just put the blame on being “older.”  Your body begins to perform at a lower level and we get frustrated.

To lead a healthy and productive life, it’s imperative to tune your body and your mind so that both are functioning efficiently.

One area to make sure you are focusing on is a diet that’s rich in mind and body enhancing nutrients.  Supplements can be taken but it’s best to rely on natural foods to obtain the best and longer lasting results.  I am not here to give you medical advice, but having done enough research myself and changing the way I eat, I know I can share some basic nutrition elements that have helped me.

Health Benefits of a Colorful Diet

We can learn a lesson from plants.  They produce their own antioxidants to protect themselves from diseases, pollution and other harmful elements in the environment.  So, we should ingest foods that are rich in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables.

It’s time to look at nature’s food rainbow and point out the health benefits!

Healthy red foods

Red-colored foods tend to be high in lycopene, which acts as an antioxidant and possible cancer preventative. Lycopene (sometimes called anthocyanins) is actually the pigment that makes red foods red, and has also been implicated in promoting heart health. In addition, red foods are often high in Vitamin C and other important nutrients.

  •   Pink grapefruit
  •   Watermelon
  •   Tomatoes (particularly cooked or canned tomatoes – this processing seems to help the lycopene be absorbed by the body)
  •   Raspberries
  •   Strawberries
  •   Rhubarb
  •   Cherries
  •   Beets
  •   Red/Purple cabbage
  •   Red bell peppers

Healthy yellow and orange foods

Yellow and orange foods are usually lumped together in the same category, all getting their color from carotenoids. Carotenoids, or beta-carotene, are converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is said to be an important nutrient for eye health and hormone regulation (especially in women). Studies have also shown beta-carotene to promote heart health.

  •   Cantaloupe
  •   Sweet potatoes
  •   Yellow and orange bell peppers
  •   Carrots
  •   Peaches and apricots
  •   Yellow corn (note that white corn does not contain as many carotenoids)
  •   Oranges
  •   Papayas
  •   “White” grapefruit
  •   Pineapple

Healthy blue and purple foods

Again with anthocyanins – blue and purple foods contain these antioxidants which are reputed to protect against a host of diseases, including cancer, heart disease and stroke. Blue and purple foods are also said to help prevent memory loss. Here are some to try

  • Purple grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Eggplant
  •  Raisins
  •  Plums
  •  Blackberries
  •  Prunes

Health green foods

When you think of vegetables, this is probably the color you think of first. In general the darker the green, the healthier the food. The green pigment is due to chlorophyll, the plant chemical that makes all green plants green, from broccoli to oak trees. Some dark leafy greens contain lutein, another eye-healthy nutrient; others, like broccoli, contain indoles which are said to protect against cancer. Go green by adding some of these foods into your diet:

  • Kale
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Green bell peppers
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Asparagus
  • Green cabbage
  • Peas
  • Lettuce (leaf varieties)
  • Cucumbers

Also Important

Omega 3 fatty acids must not be forgotten and they may be found in salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel and sardines.  Seafood also is packed with B vitamins as well as dairy products, eggs, spinach, carrots and various nuts and seeds.

Flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components but owes its healthy reputation primarily to three ingredients. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.  Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75-800 times more lignans than other plant foods.  Flaxseed also contains both the soluble and insoluble fiber.   I’ve recently been buying flaxseed ground in the bulk area of my grocery store and adding it to nearly all my meals.  It’s easy to toss in a teaspoon in soup, over a salad or on top of meat.  The reading I’ve done has shown that it could help my Lupus symptoms – so I am all for it!  Less drugs is good.

Good news for coffee lovers too.  Recent studies have revealed that caffeinated coffee in moderation helps to prevent memory loss and stimulate brainwave activity.  The study showed it to be more effective in helping women than men. So don’t feel bad about having that cup of coffee – just remember nearly everything in moderation is good.

Maintaining a healthy body and mind with a balanced diet will not only help you to excel today but enable you to move into the future with more energy and a better outlook on your health.  Finding ways to decrease stress by eating a more nutritious diet should be on every mom’s to do list!

A resource on nutrition that I’ve enjoyed reading and has helped me quite a bit is:

Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss by Joel Fuhrman    This was a very informative book.  It does talk more about losing weight, but the basis of the book’s nutrition information is excellent.

What small change can you make in your diet today?

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