Almost everyone values the gift of health. By making small dietary changes you can reap rewards all year round. Here are some practical dietary changes that you can make to help you ease into a healthier 2003:
- Think red and green — You can find cancer fighting chemicals in every kind of plant. A study by the National Cancer Institute found that regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage may reduce the risk of cancer. In a hurry? Try 100% fruit juice or organic fruit leathers. Both are delicious and nutritious!
- Feast on fiber — Increase fiber intake by consuming at least three servings of whole grains per day. The International Journal of Cancer published a study in 1998 reporting that high intakes of fiber consistently reduced the risk of several neoplasms. Remember that brown is not necessarily better. Select breads by weight: those that are heavy and dense usually contain more fiber. Want to bulk up for breakfast? Kashi for Good Friends offers 13 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
- Moooove over, beef — Switch to ground turkey and save 3 grams of saturated fat per 3.5 ounce serving or get really serious and try a soy burger. Boca Burger is a popular alternative that contains more than 6 grams of soy protein. Just add ketchup, close your eyes (if you must), and take a bite! The old saying “try it, you’ll like it” applies here.
- Pick a better bread spread — Most margarines contain a tub full of polyunsaturated and trans-fatty acids, which may damage healthy cells. Try a 50:50 blend of butter to margarine or reduce the amount of trans-fatty acids in your margarine by changing from stick to tub form. Or try Smart Balance, Spectrum, and Brummel & Brown’s margarines. They all qualify as trans-free bread spreads.
- Say good-bye to Ol’ Smoky — Most processed meats like sausages, ham, and bacon contain sodium nitrates and nitrites. These compounds may damage gastrointestinal tissue. Not all processed meats contain nitrates, so check the labels carefully. Hillshire Farms, for example, offers nitrate-free products.
Note: There are no well-studied “silver bullets” to “boost” immunity. The immune system has to remain in a balanced state for whatever it has to fight off. The bottom line is simply to be diligent about getting enough nutrients so that a single or multiple deficiency of certain nutrients does not compromise immune status. There is very little scientific information out there to say anything more specific.