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2nd-Jul-2008 09:07 am - UpDayDownDay Diet

Eat everything I want, lose weight and live longer? Yes, please!

Fad diets are known for their ridiculous names, their ridiculous restrictions and their propensity to fail miserably. There's the Breatharian diet (based on the belief that humans need neither food nor water — only air — to survive), the age-old grapefruit diet (which, you guessed it, involves eating only grapefruit) and the Shangri-la diet (which promotes appetite suppression by eating only bland foods).

So when I heard about the UpDayDownDay Diet, also known as the alternate-day diet, I figured I'd stumbled on yet another diet with a silly name, unreasonable restrictions and dire health consequences.

The diet, created by New Orleans plastic surgeon James B Johnson, works exactly the way it sounds. That is, one day you eat whatever you want (the 'up' day) and the next, you suppress your kilojoule intake to 20 percent of what it normally is (the 'Down' day).¬

Sounds fairly radical, but according to scientists at the University of Washington, adults who have followed a similar diet for six years have not only lost weight (and kept it off) but also have better elasticity in their hearts. Other US researchers have found that intermittent fasting can slow the brain's ageing process and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Dr Johnson, who lost 15 kilograms on the diet, created the plan after learning that, on average, animals live 40 percent longer if they're fed 30 to 40 percent less kilojoules. Johnson believed that permanently restricting kilojoules by this amount would be too prohibitive for dieters to stick to regularly. Instead, by only cutting down half the time, Johnson feels that dieters can sustain the plan for longer.

So how does it work? Basically, by restricting kilojoule intake, the body undergoes a mild form of stress. This causes the body to turn on a gene called SIRT1, also known as "the skinny gene". This helps the body shed fat by releasing fat from the cells around our organs.

Sydney dietician Susie Burrell is wary of the UpDayDownDay Diet, saying that it "sounds too good to be true", adding that there is no scientific evidence to confirm that the plan works.

We decided to speak to the man himself, Dr Johnson, to get the skinny on this rather bizarre eating plan.

Do you follow the diet yourself?
I attempt to reduce my intake by 50 percent every other day. I find it difficult to do 20 percent, and the 50 percent level helps me to not gain weight. Ninety percent of us have to be concerned about excess weight and some have to be more vigilant than others. The alternate day diet makes it possible to control your weight without feeling deprived.

This is a fairly radical diet — you must have your fair share of critics. What do you say to them?
Scientists have reacted positively. People who choose to ignore the underlying science and react to the simplified description of the diet with their own prejudice find it strange, especially since they have heard all their lives that one should eat three solid meals a day.

Some people have construed our advice to eat whatever they want to eat as permission to gorge or binge on 'up' days. This is just plain silly. Common sense dictates that overall calorie intake and expenditure determines body weight. Our point is that it is the number of calories consumed rather than the type of food that is important because the low energy intake on the 'down' day turns on the caloric restriction mechanism regardless of the type of calories.

The number of calories on the 'down' day depends on whether you are trying to lose weight (20 percent) or maintain your weight (50 percent) and get health benefits.

How does the diet protect against disease?
It has long been known that reducing calories prolongs lifespan and prevents disease. It has usually been assumed that to get these benefits extreme thinness is required. It is now known that reducing calories for 36 hours, as in the [alternate-day diet], turns on the same genes and we create a shield to protect our cells from damage due to free radicals, a main cause of aging and disease. This occurs by way of activation of a gene called SIRT1 which, in turn, sets in motion other genes which help to prevent unnecessary cell death, repair damage to DNA, reduce inflammation and body fat, and improve brain function all of which promote health.

Is the diet sustainable?
Yes, the whole point of this approach is that from a behavioural standpoint it is much easier to restrict your intake half the time than it is to do all the time, and you can experience dramatic health benefits. There are people, including myself, who have followed it for five years.

Do you find the people are compelled to eat more than normal on 'up' days because they deprive themselves the day before?
In our diet asthma study, hunger was no greater on 'up' days than the base line level before the study started. In fact, virtually everyone reports that they are amazed to find that they are not hungry the day after a 'down' day. However, people do experience hunger on the 'down' day itself.

Are there health risks associated with the diet?
On the contrary, health improves very rapidly on the diet by numerous measures, as we showed in our asthma-diet study. There is every reason to expect it will work in many different disease states.

Copy from Cosmopolitan Magazine Australia.

5th-Dec-2007 06:03 pm - Entry Number One
Hello All. My name is Elizabeth and I will most likely be doing most of the blogging on our journal. My fiancee and I have decided to change our lives beginning Janurary 2008. We have both struggled with our weight most of our adult life, and want to take control back.

Follow Cut For Entire Entry.

Hi Everyone,

I have launched a website Called


Please forward to anybody you know

It is a web site about ultra-premium liquid Dietary Supplement. It provides necessary vitamins and minerals for healthy lifestyle.
It's now well-known that taking multivitamins with minerals on a daily basis is vital for long-term optimal health.

Thanks to All
Natures Healthy Life

1. Add a Tablespoon of Ground Flaxseed a Day.

I may sound like a broken record (I've written about the benefits of flaxseed many times), but a tablespoon of ground flaxseed a day really is very inexpensive and easy, once you get in the habit. And it's one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. Flaxseed contains a high concentration of heart-healthy plant omega-3 fatty acids (around 1.5 grams per tablespoon) and lignans (phytoestrogen phytochemicals), which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed also contributes a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber.

If you don't do it for the plant omega-3s, do it for the phytoestrogens (plant estrogens). And if not for the phytoestrogens, do it for the fiber. With just one tablespoon, ba-da-boom! – there's almost 3 grams of fiber, right there.

2. Eat Some Probiotic Yogurt Almost Every Day.

There are all sorts of yogurts on the market with active cultures that benefit your digestive system, including Activia with the probiotic Bifidus Regularis. When you enjoy one of these yogurts daily, you get the nutritional benefits of a low-fat dairy product (calcium and animal protein, several B vitamins, and potassium) while introducing a dose of beneficial bacteria into your gastrointestinal tract.

3. Snack on a Handful of Nuts Almost Every Day.

Nuts contain mostly monounsaturated fat, and most nuts contribute phytosterols, which in sufficient amounts help lower blood cholesterol and also may enhance the immune system and decrease the risk of some cancers. Some nuts also contribute some vitamins and minerals we need more of, like vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium.

Trader Joe's has a great assortment of reasonably priced nut mixes, along with trail mixes that include nuts. Or try Planter's lightly salted Heart-Healthy Mix, with peanuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Nuts make a nice afternoon snack. If you're on the go, just put 1/3-cup in a snack-size plastic bag. I eat mine when I'm driving my girls to the dance studio.

4. Have a Couple of Cups of Green (and/or Black) Tea a Day.

Though we don't have definite answers about tea's health benefits, we do have some important clues. In lab studies, green tea has been shown to slow or prevent cancer development in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. One of tea's most powerful components is the phytochemical group called catechins. Catechins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and may help stimulate the immune system and even aid with weight loss. Green tea contains about three times the amount of catechins as black tea.

Most of the studies suggesting cancer-protective effects of tea have used green tea, but black tea may also have protective qualities. White tea is less processed, so experts suspect it has plenty of phytochemicals to offer as well. A study published in the Dec. 16, 2006 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry concluded that when it comes to the anti-cancer potential of tea ingredients, consumers may benefit more by drinking both green and black teas.

So ask yourself, when are you most likely to work tea into your diet? Personally, I now enjoy a hot cup of green tea mid-morning and a cup at night. During the warmest months, I might have a cup or two of iced tea in the afternoon as well. If you aren't crazy about the taste of green tea on its own, try some yummy flavored green teas like Blueberry or Grapefruit Green Tea, or Green Tea with Chai Spices.

5. Switch to Canola Oil and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil for Cooking When Possible.

Canola and olive are your smartest oils; they each come with assorted health benefits. The FDA recently approved a qualified health claim for canola oil that, due to its unsaturated fat content, canola oil may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (according to supportive, but not conclusive, research). In 2004, the FDA approved a similar qualified health claim for olive oil. But, like any oil, both have plenty of calories (about 120 per tablespoon), so avoid excessive amounts.

6. Switch to Whole Grains Several Times a Day.

You might think the benefits of whole grains mostly have to do with fiber, but it's so much more than that. Whole grains are rich in an assortment of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical compounds. Whole grains may provide many health benefits, including protection from:

  • Heart disease
  • Ischemic stroke (the most common type of stroke)
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin insensitivity/resistance
  • Obesity
  • Certain cancers.

So switch to whole grains as often as possible throughout the day. Enjoy whole wheat breakfast cereal, toast, or sandwich bread; and switch to whole wheat for other grain products like crackers, bagels, and hot dog buns. When baking at home, use half whole wheat flour and half unbleached white flour to make 50% whole wheat muffins, nut breads, cakes, cookies, brownies, etc.

7. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables Every Day.

Recent studies suggest we should be eating nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day for optimal health. The scientific evidence is overwhelming: Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other substances that protect against a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, cataracts, and many inflammatory diseases.

Evidence continues to mount about the cornucopia of health benefits from fruits and vegetables. For example, a recently-released study found that drinking fruit and vegetable juices at least three times a week may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by as much as 75%. Another new study concluded that fruit and vegetables may reduce the risk of kidney cancer in men.

Be sure to choose cruciferous vegetables (those in the cabbage family, including broccoli and cauliflower) a few times a week. They contain phytochemicals called isothiocyanates, which not only increase your cells' antioxidant defenses, but help switch on enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing elements at an early stage, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

8. Eat Fish a Couple of Times a Week.

High intakes of omega-3 fatty acids from fish are thought to decrease the production of inflammatory compounds, and to be potentially potent anti-inflammatory agents. Why is this so important? Because excessive or inappropriate inflammation in our body cells and tissues can contribute to a range of conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.

One group of Australian researchers found that eating fish just once a week may reduce the risk of early age-related macular degeneration by 40%. In 2004, the FDA announced a qualified health claim for omega-3 fatty acids. The claim says that supportive, but not conclusive, research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids (those found in fish) may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

9. Eat Beans in Place of Meat a Few Times a Week.

I call beans "protein pellets" because they are big on plant protein (a 1/2 cup serving comes with around 9 grams of protein --15% of the recommended intake for a woman). These perfect packages also come with a healthy supply of complex carbohydrates (around 27 grams per half cup) and fiber (about 11 grams per half cup). Beans also contain phytochemicals called saponins, which may help prevent cancer cells. Some types of beans even have plant omega-3s, with soybeans and red kidney beans leading the list.

Did you know there are at least four great reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables?

1. It is easy to do.
2. Almost all are low in calories and fat.
3. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals and provide fiber.
4. They may hekp reduce cancer risk.

Here are some actions to get you started and keep you going. Try two or three actions now and try more later.

  •  Buy many kinds of fruits and vegetables when you shop, so you have plenty of choices, and you don't run out. Buy frozen, dried, and canned as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
  •   First, use the fruits and vegetables that go bad easily (peaches, asparagus). Save hardier varieties (apples, acorn squash) or frozen and canned types for later in the week.
  •   Use the salad bar to buy cut-up fruits/vegetables if you're in a hurry.
  •   Keep a fruit bowl, small packs of applesauce, raisins or other dried fruit on the kitchen counter, table, or in the office.
  •   Pack a piece of fruit or some cut-up vegetables in your briefcase or backpack; carry moist towlettes for easy cleanup.
  •   Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables on the top shelf of the refrigerator.
  •   Add fruit to breakfast by drinking 6 oz of 100 percent fruit juice or by having fruit on cereal.
  •   Add fruits and vegetables to lunch by having them in soup, salad, or cut-up raw.
  • Add fruits and vegetables to dinner by microwaving or steaming vegetables and having a special fruit desert.
  • Increase portions when you serve vegetables and fruits. Season them the low-fat way with herbs, spices, and lemon juice. If sauce is used, choose a nonfat or low-fat sauce.
  • Choose fruit for dessert. For a special dessert, try a fruit parfait with low-fat yogurt or sherbet topped with berries.
  • Add extra varieties of vegetables when you prepare soups, sauces, and casseroles (for example, grate carrot and zucchini into spaghetti sauce.

These ideas and tips should get you started and keep you going with beans:

  •   Once a week or more, try a low-fat meatless meal or main dish that features beans (tacos or burritos stuffed with pinto beans; chili with kidney beans; black beans over rice).
  •   Try kidney beans or black-eyed peas. It's a fast and easy way to use beans and peas without cooking them from scratch.
  •   Use beans as a dip for vegetables or filling for sandwiches.
  •   Serve soup made from beans or peas - minestrone, split-pea, black bean, or lentil (once a week or more).
  •   Try black-eyed peas or black beans as a vegetable side dish with meat or fish.
  •   Add beans to salads. Many salad bars feature kidney beans, three-bean salad, or chick peas (garbanzo beans).

Did you know that there are some great reasons to eat more whole grain breads and cereals?

1. They are low in fat.

2. They are good sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein.

3. They can be fixed and eaten in may ways.

Here are some actions to get you started and keep you going. Try two or three actions now and try more later.

  • Choose whole grain varieties of bread, muffins, bagels and rolls (whole wheat, bran, oatmeal, multigrain).
  • Choose a whole grain (oatmeal, wheatena) variety when you have hot cereal, or a cold breakfast cereal that provides at least 4 grams of fiber for serving.
  •  Have whole wheat varieties of pancakes or waffles.
  • In recipes that call for flour, use at least half whole wheat flour.
  • For dinner at least twice a week, serve whole wheat noodles, brown rice or bulgur (cracked wheat).
  • Try higher fiber cracker varieties, such as whole rye crackers, whole grain flatbead, or some of the new muliltigrain crackers. Check the label to make sure you're choosing a low-fat variety.
  • Once a week or more, try a low-fat meatless meal or main dish that features whole grains (spinach lasagna, red beans over brown rice and vegetable stir-fry).

Did you know there are at least four great reasons to eat less fat?

1. It can assist in weight loss or weight maintenance because you'll be eating fewer calories.

2. It can help reduce your risk of heart disease by reducing saturated fat, which will help lower blood cholesterol levels.

3. It may help reduce your risk of cancer.

4. Eating fewer high-fat foods means more room for fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans.

Here are some actions to get you started and keep you going. Try two or three actions now and try more later.

  • Use reduced-fat or nonfat salad dressings.
  • Use nonfat or lower fat spreads, such as jelly or jam, fruit spread, apple butter, nonfat or reduced-calorie mayonnaise, nonfat margarine, or mustard.
  • Use high-fat foods only sometimes; choose more low-fat and nonfat foods.
  •  To top baked potatoes, use plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt, nonfat or reduced-fat sour cream, nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese, nonfat margarine, nonfat hard cheese, salsa or vinegar.
  •  Use a little lemon juice, dried herbs, thinly sliced green onions, or a little salsa as a nonfat topping for vegetables or salads.
  •  Use small amounts of high-fat toppings. For example, use only 1 tsp butter or mayonnaise; 1 tbsp sour cream; 1 tbsp regular salad dressing.
  •  Switch to 1 percent or skim milk and other nonfat or lower fat dairy products (low-fat or nonfat yogurt, nonfat or reduced-fat sour cream).
  • Cut back on cheese by using small (1 oz) amounts on sandwiches and in cooking or use lower fat and fat-free cheeses (part-skim mozzarella, 1 percent cottage cheese, or nonfat hard cheese).
  • Try small amounts of these low-fat treats: fig bars, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, angel food cake, jelly beans,, gum drops, hard candy, puddings made with low-fat (1 percent) skim milk, nonfat frozen yogurt with a fruit topping, or fruit popsicles. Try pretzels or popcorn without butter or oil for an unsweetened treat
  • Save french fries and other fried foods for special occasions; have a small serving; share with a friend.
  • Save high-fat desserts (ice cream, pastries) for special occasions; have small amounts; share a serving with a friend.
  •  Choose small portions of lean meat, fish, and poultry; use low-fat cooking methods (baking, poaching, broiling); trim off all fat from meat and remove skin from poultry
  • Choose lower fat luncheon meats, such as sliced turkey or chicken breast, lean ham, lean sliced beef.


It keeps you slim: Breakfast eaters are less likely to be overweight than breakfast skippers, and successful dieters are also more likely to be breakfast eaters.

It keeps you healthy: Eating breakfast may reduce your risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer, and it strengthens your immune system so you're more resistant to common ailments like colds and the flu.

It keeps you sharp: Memory and concentration get a boost from breakfast. A study on children found that kids who eat breakfast score higher on tests and are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity. It should help you at the office, too.

The Perfect Meal

You say you eat breakfast? Good boy. Even so, it's likely you're doing it wrong. "Most men make the mistake of eating too little in the morning, and then get so hungry they go overboard and eat a giant meal later in the day," says Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist in Irvine, California, and author of Stealth Health.

A typical breakfast is just a couple of hundred calories, mostly in the form of simple carbohydrates that spike blood-sugar levels and leave the body starving for energy a couple of hours later.

Even a classic fiber-rich breakfast — say a cup of raisin bran with blueberries and skim milk — provides less than 300 calories and only about 10 grams of protein. An ideal breakfast needs to be much larger — between 500 and 600 calories. And it needs to be packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including at least 20 grams of protein and at least 5 grams of fiber. That will give your body a high-quality, long-lasting, steady supply of energy to help you through the morning.

Here's how to hit those numbers. Each of the following meals tastes great and can be made in minutes.


Blueberry Smoothie With Toasted-Cheese Sandwich

Prep time: 4 minutes

  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 1/2 c Kashi Go Lean Crunch! cereal
  • 1 c fat-free milk
  • 1 c frozen blueberries
  • 1 1-oz slice Cheddar cheese

Pop the bread into the toaster. Dump the cereal, milk, and berries into a blender and liquefy. Stick a slice of Cheddar between the warm slices of toast and nuke the sandwich in a microwave for 15 seconds. It tastes grilled—but isn't.

Benefits: "The cheese and milk in this meal are essential for building and maintaining new muscle," says Christine Rosenbloom, Ph.D., R.D., a professor of nutrition at Georgia State University. "The whole grains in the bread and cereal will help lower cholesterol, and the minerals in the milk and cheese will help keep blood-pressure levels down." Per meal: 509 calories, 26 grams (g) protein, 75 g carbohydrates, 14 g total fat, 12 g fiber

Grab-and-Go Breakfast

Prep time: 1 minute

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1/2 pint fat-free milk
  • 1 bran Vita muffin
  • 1 pack Skippy Squeeze Stix peanut butter

Slice the apple, grab the milk, muffin, and peanut butter, and go. Squeeze the peanut butter out of its pack onto your apple slices as you eat.

Benefits: Vita muffins (vitalicious. com) contain 100 percent of your recommended intake of several important nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, and E. Foods high in monounsaturated fats — like peanut butter — may boost testosterone levels. This meal should help you burn energy more efficiently and lift more weight at the gym.

Per meal: 506 calories, 20 g protein, 87 g carbohydrates, 12 g total fat, 15 g fiber

Minute Omelette with Toast

Prep time: 2 minutes

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 slice Canadian bacon, diced
  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1 c Welch's grape juice

Stir together the egg, spinach, and Canadian bacon and pour onto a plate coated with nonstick spray. Microwave for 1 minute or until the egg is fully cooked. Toast the bread and eat it with the almond butter. Chase everything with grape juice.

Benefits: Monounsaturated fat in the almond spread will help prevent spikes and drops in blood sugar, which can leave you feeling tired or crabby. Grape juice gives you an antioxidant, called resveratrol, that not only helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels but also helps improve bloodflow to the heart.

Per meal: 540 calories, 25 g protein, 73 g carbohydrates, 19 g total fat, 8 g fiber

Two PB-and-Banana Wraps With Milk

Prep time: 2 minutes

  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 Eggo Special K waffles
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 pint fat-free chocolate milk

Spread a tablespoon of peanut butter over each (briefly microwaved) waffle. Divide the banana between them and roll each to make wraps. Wash down with chocolate milk. Benefits: Eggo's Special K waffles supply complex carbohydrates, which break down slowly in the body and stimulate the production of serotonin, a calming brain chemical. The banana is packed with potassium — a heart protector.

Per meal: 570 calories, 23 g protein, 90 g carbohydrates, 16 g total fat, 7 g fiber

The Santa Fe Burrito

Prep time: 4 minutes

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c Santa Fe frozen mixed vegetables (black beans, peppers, and corn)
  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 1/2 c low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 c salsa

Mix the eggs and vegetables and spread the mixture on a plate coated with nonstick spray. Cook in the microwave for 1 minute, stir with a fork, and microwave again until the eggs are cooked and the vegetables warm. Pile onto a flour tortilla, top with shredded Cheddar cheese and salsa, fold, and eat.

Benefits: "Without protein, guys can lose muscle mass quickly," says William J. Evans, Ph.D., a professor of geriatrics, physiology, and nutrition at the University of Arkansas. This meal is packed with it.

Per meal: 530 calories, 36 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 18 g total fat, 6 g fiber

Black-Cherry Smoothie and Peanut-Butter Oatmeal

Prep time: 4 minutes

  • 1 c R.W. Knudsen black-cherry juice
  • 1 c frozen strawberries
  • 1 c frozen unsweetened cherries
  • 2 Tbsp protein powder
  • 2/3 c oatmeal
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 c fat-free milk

Blend the cherry juice, frozen fruit, and protein powder until smooth. Microwave the oatmeal according to the directions on the package. Stir in the peanut butter and milk.

Benefits: Men who ate at least one serving of whole-grain cereal (like oatmeal) a day had the lowest risk of dying of any cause, including heart disease, according to a 5-year study of 86,000 doctors. Cherries and strawberries are natural sources of salicylates — the active ingredient in aspirin — making them ideal for relieving stress-induced morning headaches.

Per meal: 600 calories, 27 g protein, 100 g carbohydrates, 11 g total fat, 10 g fiber

Almond-Butter-and-Raisin Sandwich With Smoothie

Prep time: 1 minute

  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 2 Eggo Special K waffles
  • 1 Tbsp raisins
  • 1 Stonyfield Farm smoothie

Spread the almond butter on the waffles. Sprinkle the raisins over one waffle and top with the other. Wash down with the smoothie.

Benefits: Whole-grain waffles help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve your body's processing of insulin and glucose, a benefit that can reduce your risk of becoming diabetic.

Per meal: 600 calories, 21 g protein, 86 g carbohydrates, 22 g total fat, 7 g fiber

By Elizabeth Ward
Provided by Runner's World

21st-Jan-2007 01:38 am - Power Cooking
Ways to chop, saute and stir your way to better health.

Stocked up on leafy greens? Super. Did you know that sautéing them in a bit of olive oil instead of steaming them will help you absorb up to five times as much of the vision-protecting antioxidant beta-carotene?

Buying healthy food is just the first step toward a better diet; preparing it correctly can make or break your nutrient bank. Keep reading for even more surprising nutrition-enhancing prep tips.

1. Fire Up Heart Protection

Heating lycopene-rich tomatoes instigates a chemical change that makes the heart-healthy nutrient much easier for your body to absorb.

Try halving Roma tomatoes lengthwise; arrange on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Broil for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly shriveled. Adding canned crushed tomatoes or tomato paste to recipes works, too. (They were heated during processing.)

2. Maximize Cancer Prevention

High temperatures destroy allinase, garlic's most important cancer-fighting and immunity-boosting enzyme. After chopping, let crushed garlic stand for about 10 to 15 minutes before adding it to a sizzling pan. This allows the pungent herb to generate compounds that blunt the damaging effects of heat, report scientists at Pennsylvania State University and the National Cancer Institute.

No time to spare? You can always enjoy raw garlic. We love rubbing it on toasted bread and topping it with chopped tomato and onion and a dash of olive oil for a simple bruschetta.

3. Get 10 Times the Iron

Cooking with tomatoes, apples, or lemons? Heat acidic foods like these in a cast-iron pot or skillet to spike the amount of the energy-boosting iron you absorb by more than 2,000%, suggests a Texas Tech University study.

"Some iron from the skillet leaches into the food, but the particles are small enough that you won't be able to see or taste them—and it's perfectly safe," says Cynthia Sass, RD, MPH, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Bonus tip: You don't have to pull out a pan; coupling certain iron-rich foods with high-acid ones gives a tenfold boost to your iron absorption. "While the iron in red meat is easily absorbed on its own, the type of iron found in beans, grains, and veggies isn't," Sass says.

When making a spinach salad, toss in mango slices to increase the iron payoff. Other healthy combos: beans and tomato sauce or cereal and strawberries.

4. Strengthen Eyes and Bones

Adding avocado, olive oil, nuts, olives, or another healthy fat source to red, green, orange, and yellow fruits and veggies increases the amount of fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, E, and K. These nutrients boost vision, improve immunity, and protect against stroke and osteoporosis, respectively.

"Fat acts as a transporter for them," explains Sass. The same strategy works for carotenoids, the compounds that give tomatoes and carrots their bright hues. Proof: A recent study from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center found that men and women who ate salsa containing chunks of avocado absorbed 4.4 times as much lycopene and 2.6 times as much beta-carotene than those who enjoyed plain salsa.

5. Stock Up on Calcium

If you're preparing homemade chicken soup, it's smart to add a hint of lemon juice, vinegar, or tomato to the mix. Pairing a slightly acidic broth with on-the-bone chicken can up the soup's calcium content by 64%, according to researchers at Harvard University and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. (This stock dissolves the bone's calcium more easily than a nonacidic one would.)

Bonus tip: Other research that was referenced in the Harvard/Beth Israel study has shown that slathering spareribs with an acidic vinegar-based barbecue sauce will dramatically increase the calcium content.

6. Grill without Worry

The high heat needed to grill meats can create carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), but marinating can help. When researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA, soaked chicken breasts in a mixture of brown sugar, olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and salt for 4 hours, they developed up to 99% fewer HCAs after 20 minutes of grilling than unmarinated chicken did.

Try the marinade, previous page, or add an extra antioxidant kick with this herb-packed soak: 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar; 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary; 1 tablespoon each of olive oil, honey, and minced garlic; and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

Bonus tip: Instead of marinating hamburgers (too messy), mix in some rosemary. Research has found that it can slash the production of some HCAs by as much as 72%.

7. Fight Colds and Flu

When you're slicing and dicing fresh produce, cut large pieces. Lots of small portions expose more of the fruit or vegetable to nutrient-leaching oxygen and light.

"A larger cut allows you to hold on to more vitamin C, which helps bolster immunity," says Roberta Larson Duyff, RD, author of the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Quarter carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes instead of dicing them; slice melons into crescents rather than cubing.

8. Retain Key Nutrients

Save yourself some time—and some key nutrients—by not peeling eggplant, apples, potatoes, and other produce before using. "The peel itself is a natural barrier against nutrient loss, and many vitamins and minerals are found in the outer skin or just below it," Duyff says.

Yam skin is loaded with fiber, and zucchini's is full of lutein, which may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, for example. (Remove grit and pathogens with cold, running water and a vegetable brush.)

Bonus tip: Add citrus zest to your favorite recipes. A University of Arizona study linked eating limonene—a compound in lemon, lime, and orange peel—to a 34% reduction in skin cancer.

9. Double the Antioxidants

Dressing your salad with herbs can more than double its cancer-fighting punch, according to a recent Italian study. When compared with garden salads made with no added herbs, those featuring lemon balm and marjoram had up to 200% more antioxidants per serving. Spices such as ginger and cumin also upped the antioxidant quotient.

Provided by Prevention

8th-Jan-2007 03:09 pm(no subject)
I've seen a couple of posts here asking about books on diet and good eating habits.
Last night I was looking for something to read at my parent's house and found the Mayo Clinic Plan: 10 Essential Steps to a Better Body & Healthier Life . I've heard of the Mayo series before but this was my first time reading it.
I would really like to recommend this book to others, it explains healthier eating habits without starving or extreme limitation, it just re-organizes the food pyramid and divides the food groups appropriatly. It also has visual explanation of "a portion" since that has always been confusing to me. The book also gives you tips on stress management, as well as exercise tips.
So, if you're looking for a book that is about reevaluation of your eating habits, exercise, and mental health then Mayo Clinic Plan: 10 Essential Steps to a Better Body & Healthier Life is the book for you.

x posted to a few other dieting communities
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