Type of Fat Good or Bad? Food Examples
Polyunsaturated Good Fish (mackerel, tuna) vegetable oils, flaxseed, walnuts
Monounsaturated Good Olives and olive oil, avocados, canola and peanut oil, hazelnuts and almonds, sesame and pumpkin seeds
Saturated Bad Animal products: meat, chicken skin, dairy, eggs.
Trans fat Very Bad Anything with partially hydrogenated. Frying oils, cookies, cakes, crackers
Protein: Without protein, we wouldn’t exist; it’s the building block of our very existence. DNA is made of proteins, our bodies are mended by proteins when we are injured, and without protein, we couldn’t fight off infections and diseases. This is where it might get a little confusing. We just learned that trans fat comes from animal products; so does protein. The trans fats come from the fat within and surrounding the meat. To avoid that we select leaner cuts of meats which provide just the protein we need. When it comes to protein, think low fat or fat-free.
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A special note for vegetarians: depending upon your classification of vegetarianism, you must eat a variety of foods to ingest your RDA of protein.
Protein Consumer Source
Meat eaters & Vegetarians Lean meat, low-fat dairy, eggs, legumes, peanut butter, whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, and fish.
Putting it all Together: The human body is an amazing marvel of design. It can heal itself with minimal input. It begins life as two cells and grows to a fully developed person. The amazing achievements of humans are made possible by the fuel we put into our bodies. In this chapter we’ve learned what we need to feed our bodies and what we don’t. In Chapter 2 we begin our discussion of the DASH diet and how it can positively impact our lives.
DASH to Better Health
“Well, at least you have your health.” For many of us that aren’t true anymore. The most unfortunate circumstance of this health epidemic is the youngest causalities. The idea of 17.2% of children that are now obese and since they’re consuming the same diets as their parents, well on the way to chronic diseases. Dieting is the great American past time or, so it seems. Some interesting numbers associated with the diet industry as a whole:
62% of Americans are overweight or obese
9 million children are considered obese or overweight
50% of women are on a diet at any given time
90% of teenagers diet regularly, and 50% of younger kids have tried a diet (8 is the average age a girl first attempt dieting)
In 2004, the last year the survey was conducted, Americans spent $46.3 BILLION on diets
DASH: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is not a fad diet. It encourages the consumption of nutrient-rich foods; the whole grains, fresh veggies and fruits and low-fat dairy. Another component is exercise. To this point, we haven’t mentioned exercise. It’s a key component to healthy living and improving chronic disease management. “If you don’t move it; you lose it” is very true where our bodies are concerned. In this chapter, we’re going to take what we learned in Chapter 1 and apply it to how DASH can improve our health.
The Plate: We’ve all seen the plate approach to eating healthy based on colors. It is an easy way to understand the method to eating better.
DASH also has a graphic to break down the ins and outs of what foods are encouraged.
Don’t worry about understanding it now. In Chapter 3 we’re going to discuss in depth the types and quantities of food DASH encourages to improve health .
The Salt Escape : We know there is a delicate balance between salt intake and how much we need. Most of us consume 4 to 5 times more salt than our bodies require on a daily basis. Reducing that salt intake reduces our blood pressure which protects our arteries and kidneys. DASH utilizes two levels of sodium intake. For those who do not have high blood pressure- 2300 mg per day. For those who have been encouraged to eat a lower sodium diet-1500 mg per day.
The Body Changing: The right fuel is key to keeping a machine performing at optimum levels. Our body is our machine, and if we don’t feed it right, it doesn’t perform well or for very long. Eating a variety of foods improves the performance of our machine. We know eating less salt protects our kidneys and other systems. Salmon, olive oil, nuts and those other healthy fats can reverse artery-clogging plaque and prevent strokes while adding strength vessel walls.
Carbohydrates have long been labeled as bad; the opposite is true. There aren’t any bad carbs, just ones we indulge too much. That peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with whole wheat bread and served with low-fat milk are actually good for your blood sugar. Every time we ingest food our blood sugar level rises sharply as the meal is broken down into sugar and other components. Carbs break down first and increase the glucose levels in our blood faster. Complex carbs break down slower and raise the blood glucose levels less than simple carbs. Eating simple carbs over long periods of time can cause diabetes and severe damage to the body.
Proteins are the building blocks of us. They repair damage, create new cells and are the basis of life. Our DNA is made of protein. Protein comes from a variety of sources as we discovered in Chapter 1 and the source makes the difference. DASH suggests those whole grain bread and pasta, lean meats, veggies and low-fat dairy. There’s a pattern starting to surface here .
You may say, “I don’t have time to cook.” “It’s cheaper to buy mac and cheese in a box.” “My kids aren’t going to eat this.” All true. A little later we’re going to tackle those issues and try some recipes utilizing the concepts of DASH to get you and your family on the track to better health. Small changes are the longest-lived. Start out by switching from full-fat milk to 2%. It may require some sneaky tactics of jug switching, but over time it will work. But that’s coming up later.
Food Labels 101
Go to any grocery store, pick up a food item, and you’ll find a box on the package containing all the nutrient information for that food item Even fast food restaurants now offer the nutrient information on their foods. The first food labels were severely lacking in useful information for the consumer. Through various lawsuits and government involvement, they have changed drastically. Reading them can be a little time consuming and if you’re not sure what you’re reading, a useless activity in an already busy day. In this chapter, we’re going to take a look at nutritional food labels and learn to decipher the information they contain.
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