1 August 2007

Food for Thought

Reduce your risk of stroke
Stroke affects millions of men and women around the world, and can lead to disability and death. The number one risk factor is high blood pressure. Others are smoking and high levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. People with diabetes are at greater risk of stroke. In fact, overall, the health risk of cardiovascular disease (including stroke) is about two-and-a-half times higher in men and women with diabetes.

Nicole Senior

‘Living a healthy lifestyle makes a real difference to reducing your risk,’ says dietitian Nicole Senior. ‘The right diet can not only lower your LDL cholesterol, but it is also effective in lowering your blood pressure, controlling your blood glucose levels and managing your body weight. Of course you need to make sure you are active every day and if you smoke cigarettes you know you need to quit.’


10 tips to eat to beat stroke

  1. Get your fats right – out with the vessel-clogging saturated fats in butter, cream, cheese, fatty meats and sweet treats such as pastries, cakes and cookies, and in with the good polyunsaturated fats in sunflower oil and margarine, soy bean oil and walnuts. Monounsaturated fats such as olive, canola and peanut oil are also good for replacing saturated fats. Choose trans-free brands.
  2. Obtain omega 3 fats – you’ve heard that fish is brain food and it is in more ways than one. It not only helps your brain-computer process at top speed, it also prevents ‘fatal errors’ such as ischemic stroke. Your target is fish at least twice a week.
  3. Aim for five serves of vegetables a day – and make sure you eat your greens and keep your mind sharp. Green vegetables contain brain-boosting folate which helps reduce age-related cognitive decline as well as maintaining healthy blood vessels.
  4. Enjoy two fruits each day – variety is the spice, so eat fresh what’s in season and choose different colours and types for all the phytochemical protection your brain needs.
  5. Include 2 serves or more of low-fat dairy foods – low fat milk and yoghurt have all the essential nutrients without the bad fats and are essential components of the blood-pressure beating DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
  6. Lean towards legumes – such as chick peas, lentils, kidney beans and soy beans. Include these highly nutritious and versatile foods into two meals a week for their cholesterol-beating plant protein and soluble fibre
  7. Go grains! – ensure at least half your grains foods are whole kernel grains for the extra nutrients and fibre they contain, such as wholegrain breads, crispbreads and breakfast cereals, brown rice and wholemeal pasta
  8. Select smart carbs - choose lower GI foods at each meal, such as oats, muesli, orchard fruits, mixed grain breads, pasta, legumes, and low fat milk and yoghurt.
  9. Go nuts – these super-food snacks are perfect for settling hunger between meals. A small handful most days is the ideal amount.
  10. Fill up on fibre – ensure most of what you eat is minimally processed plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, legumes and nuts and you’ll score high on the fibre-meter. Remember that oats, barley, lentils and fruits contain soluble fibre to beat cholesterol.
– Nicole Senior is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and author of Eat to Beat Cholesterol (with Veronica Cuskelly).


Anonymous said...

Are you nuts? Anyone that suggests that margarine is a good fat must be! Margarine is loaded with trans fatty acids which if you're not aware is NO good for you.

Anonymous said...

When did margarine become a better fat then olive oil?

Anonymous said...

About grains, My GYN. told me that a person should only have 1 serving of grains a day. That is only 1/2 bowl oatmeal or 1 slice of bread. Doesn't this go against healthy eating guidelines?
By the way, There are margarines that do not have trans fats in it. I was explained that these margarines are better than butter. As far as better than olive oil, I am questioning that as well!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other comments about margarine...yuck. A good friend has a PhD in Food Tech and thinks margarine is the most disgusting 'food'

Anonymous said...

We asked Nicole to answer this:
'I should have said trans-free margarine. Luckily in Australia the trans-fat levels in our margarine spreads are low, but I believe they are higher in the USA. However, trans-free margarines are available and are a healthy choice as they are made with unsaturated oils that are better for blood cholesterol because of their healthier fatty acid profile.

Olive oil is a healthy monounsaturated oil, but like many things in nutrition variety is important. Enjoying a combination of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils in the diet is recommended because monounsaturated oils (such as olive) do not contain essential polyunsaturated omega-3 and 6 fats, and because studies have shown polyunsaturated oils are a little better for cholesterol lowering.'

Anonymous said...

About grains, here's what Nicole says:
'This recommendation is too strict and goes against healthy eating guidelines. The number of grain servings you should eat depends on your kilojoule (calorie) requirements, but typically around 6 servings a day women (1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup pasta or equivalent per serving). Wholegrains are best as they contain more vitamins, minerals, fibre and protective phytochemicals, so aim for at least half your grain servings as wholegrain versions (at least 3 servings). Wholegrain foods include oatmeal, muesli, wholemeal or mixed grain bread, brown rice, barley, wholewheat pasta, bulgur (cracked wheat) and breakfast cereals labelled ‘wholegrain’. Your doctor may have been trying to reduce the glycemic impact (load) of your diet but we know you can achieve the same effect choosing low GI grain foods (bold), rather than cutting out grains and missing out on valuable nutrients.

It appears you are from the USA and I have answered accordingly. Some countries (such as Australia) use different serving sizes for grain foods.'

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 13 years ago. I have found that if I eat even just a 1/2 cup of oatmeal (no sugar, just with cinnamon, and the oatmeal is made with water, not even skim milk) my blood sugar count rises over 100 points within 2 hours. This also happens with whole grain bread, or other grains as well as beans.
I have been to 4 different nutritionists, each specializing in diabetic meal planning. They all said to have 30-45 grams of carbs per meal and 15 per two snacks a day. I can't do anything like that. I have a most difficult time eating breakfast. Most days, I either skip it (with the doctor's approval) and just eat lunch, a moderate sized salad, a protein and some olive oil and vinegar dressing, and the same for dinner.
Fruit also causes a high spike. Still, my Ha1C is too high. I wish I knew who to go to for some real help!

hermin said...

hi there... it must be really frustrating to see that even the "best" foods seem to work against you... a few things that i was wondering:

- are you now on insulin?
- are you taking any diabetes pills - like metformin etc - and do they work?

and just my two cents worth... i'd say a combination of medications and low GI nutritious foods would help, but it might start slowly/ gradually. so probably in the first few months after eating low GI foods, you might need less medication, and in the long term you might as well be able to stay away from complications.

hope everything's going well for you

Anonymous said...

my son has opted to eat vegetarian. I've talked him into making fish the exception once a week, but he's now muttering about dropping fish from the menu as well. Is that wise? Is there something alternately vegetarian that I can suggest to him that will offer him enough omega 3?

Anonymous said...

We don't want to sound as though we are always promoting books, but there is one that was written especially for people like you and your son. It's called The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook and was written by the GI team including Jennie Brand-Miller, Kate Marsh, Kaye Foster-Powell and Philippa Sandall. The first section is all about how to be a healthy vegetarian and there are menu plans too. Here's what dietitian and vegetarian Kate Marsh says about those all-important omega-3s:
'Since vegetarians tend to consume more omega-6 and less omega-3, focus on including foods that a specifically sources of omega-3 such as walnuts, linseeds (flaxseeds), soy products or flaxseed oil. When preparing meals, try to use a variety of oils depending on the dish--a monounsaturated oil such as olive or canola is a good idea for cooking as both these oils are omega neutral, meaning they will not worsen the balance of omega-6 to omega-3.' Kate also suggests you use omega-3 enriched eggs if you can find them in your supermarket. They are produced by feeding hens a diet that is naturally rich in omega-3s including canola and linseeds.