|Health and Nutrition
Tofu: Superior health from the Simple Soybean
|Over 3,000 years ago, soybeans were discovered on the plains of eastern China. The Chinese people quickly realized the tremendous value of this plant and named it one of their sacred crops.
While it has taken Canadians almost 3,000 years to catch on, we are now discovering the many health benefits of soy.
Soybeans provide high quality protein, essential fatty acids and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Soybeans are also low in saturated fat and a rich source of disease fighting phytochemicals.
Soybeans are most commonly available in the form of tofu and soymilk, both of which have many versatile uses.
A U.S. study found that regular consumption of tofu reduced colon cancer risk by 50% (Harvard School of Public Health, 1989)
In a Chinese study, those who consumed soymilk regularly had half the risk of stomach cancer of those who did not (Chinese Journal of Epidem.)
A study of 1,500 men found that the risk of lung cancer was about 50% less in those who consumed tofu regularly (Int. Journal of Cancer, 1992)
A study of women in Singapore revealed that those who consumed two or more servings of tofu daily greatly reduced their risk of breast cancer (Lancet, 1991)
5 to 10 a day? Are you getting enough
| Recent federal health studies indicate that only 30% of Canadians eat the recommended five to ten servings of fruit and vegetables.
Other studies have concluded that people who eat a healthy variety of vegetables and fruits will decrease their risk of cancer by at least 20%. A diet high in plant foods has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk of coronary heart disease
In light of the above, the Canadian Cancer Society, along with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada have launched the 5-to-10-a-day campaign. They have even established a website: www.5to10aday.com, which contains lots of great information on healthy eating.
To determine how many servings of fruit and vegetables you are getting, consider that a small fresh harvest box from HGOF contains 50 - 60 servings, while a large box contains 70—80 servings. Add the additional fruit and veggie servings that your household may get elsewhere in a typical week (count each glass of pure fruit juice as one serving).
Once you have calculated the total servings, divide by the number of people in your household, then divide by the number of days in a week to get the daily servings.
Here a few ways to increase your produce intake:
Make juice from fresh fruits and veggies
Replace your usual snack foods with fruits or vegetables.
Check our HGOF recipe page online or go surfing for more recipes to expand your cooking repertoire.
Please contact us if you would like to switch to a large harvest box, or to add produce items to your order.
Add Fiber to your Diet for Better Health
|We all know that eating fiber is good for us, but you may be surprised to learn just how good it is. Here are nine reasons to eat more fiber:
- Fiber curbs over-eating because fiber-rich foods are a natural appetite suppressant.
- Fiber helps reduce calories because most fiber leaves the body undigested.
- Fiber reduces "bad" cholesterol. Soluble fiber, which is found in oatmeal, beans and fiber-rich cereals reduce LDL cholesterol.
- Fiber helps cut fat because fiber-rich foods are low in fat.
- Fiber has been linked to a reduction in the risk of getting diabetes.
- Fiber keeps you regular because fiber-rich foods bind with water to move wastes out of the body smoothly and dependably.
- Most fiber-rich foods are dense with nutrients, especially fruits and vegetables, which are packed with vitamins.
- Fiber may protect against breast cancer because fiber has been shown to bind with and remove carcinogens from the body.
- Fiber may reduce colon cancer.
Add Soy to your Diet for Better Health
|Numerous research studies are demonstrating the health benefits of soy. The American Heart Association has officially stated that eating soy can lower cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. A recent study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating 20 grams of soy a day can reduce cholesterol levels in as little as nine weeks. Studies also show that the earlier that one starts eating soy, the better so the American Heart Association recommends encouraging children to eat soy.
To add more soy to your diet, use tofu chunks in spaghetti sauce or add some soft tofu to a breakfast smoothie made of banana, frozen strawberries, honey and soy milk. Tofu burgers and tofu hot dogs are another easy way to add soy to your diet.
Carbohydrates: The Backbone of a Healthy Diet
|Carbohydrates are high quality fuels because, compared with fats or proteins, relatively little work is required by the body to break them down. The best sources of carbohydrates are grains, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
Complex carbohydrates are the backbone of a healthy diet worldwide. Unfortunately, in Canada and other high income countries, the bulk of our calories comes from meat and other high protein foods, fats and simple carbohydrates.
Nutritionists say that about 60% of our calorie intake should come from carbohydrates. However, the average Canadian gets only 25% of their calories from carbohydrates.
A high intake of carbohydrates is particularly important for athletes because it allows them to store high amounts of glycogen, which can be used for endurance sports that end in a burst of energy. This is why athletes carbo-load before major events (e.g. load up on pasta, bread and other starchy foods).
|Instead of grabbing a cookie or chocolate bar the next time you want a snack, choose a handful of nuts instead. Nuts are very nutritious. They are good sources of Vitamin E and help reduce cholesterol.
Some people feel that because of their high fat content, they should be avoided. However, researchers say that most of the fat is monounsaturated, which helps reduce tri-glyceride levels
Nuts also contain several minerals that help to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. These minerals help to keep fatty deposits from accumulating in our blood vessels.
Green tea treats cancer
|According to researchers from the Medical College in Georgia, green tea may be useful both as a cancer preventative and in killing malignant cancer cells in the mouth.
Oral cancer is most prevalent among people who use tobacco products, but in China, where smoking rates are considerably higher than in North America, oral cancer rates are half what they are here. Researchers believe green tea may be a key difference, since this beverage is much more widely consumed in China. Studies have shown that green tea contains powerful antioxidants, and has long been recommended by naturopaths for a variety of immune related ailments.
Study author Steven Hsu is quoted in the Vancouver Sun as saying: "What matters is that people choose a high quality tea that is without additives and has not been processed, because the fermentation process reduces the concentration of polyphenols and their beneficial effects."
Some Facts About Sugar: How Sweet it Isn't
|Complex carbohydrates like pasta, rice, beans, whole wheat bread and potatoes are low in calories and high in fiber, which fills you up before you eat too much. In contrast, sugar is a simple carbohydrate, which, when refined, has no fiber and therefore does not give your brain any warning signals that you’ve had enough to eat.
It‘s no wonder then that the average North American eats over a pound of sugar every three days
That’s about 620 calories per day as sugar. To make matters worse, simple sugars are absorbed into your body quickly (the same is true for alcohol, which your body converts to sugar). This causes your blood sugar to rise, causing your pancreas to pump out insulin to lower it again, often to below where you started. All this makes you feel tired and really hungry. The moral of this story is: Just because sugar is fat-free, don’t consider it diet food!
Twelve Nutrients for a Healthy Diet
|The key to a healthy diet is variety. Lots of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables help ensure that you get the necessary components of a balanced, nutritional diet.
Here a twelve important nutrients we all need, and some good sources for them (with emphasis on vegetarian or vegan options):
Omega-3 - this essential fatty acid can be found in Flax Seed Oil
Protein - this is really as simple as peanut butter on whole-wheat toast; for complete protein combine legumes and grains in your meals.
Iron - tofu, lentils, broccoli, and wheat bran. For better absorption of plant-derived iron, include a good source of Vitamin C with it.
Calcium - Tofu and tempeh, fortified soy beverages, broccoli and chick peas.
Zinc - Pumpkin seeds with flax seeds
Vitamin A - Whole milk products, tomatoes, and dried apricots
Thiamin (B1) - soy beans, nuts and whole grains.
Riboflavin (B2) -Leafy vegetables.
Vitamin B12 - Red star yeast or unwashed carrots
Vitamin C - Citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and potatoes.
Vitamin D - Egg yolks and sunshine (10-15 minutes per day for fair-skinned people, 30 minutes to 2 hours for darker-skinned people.
Vitamin E - Eggs and legumes.
Whole Foods Promote Brest Health
|Breast Cancer Awareness is tied to Women’s History month because it is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in Canada. 53 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day; 15 will die. The two most important things you can do include regular self exams and talking to your doctor about screening.
To promote breast health, a whole foods diet and regular exercise are your best bets. Whole foods are any minimally processed, unrefined foods. New Westminster’s Isis van Loon, ND, says that "eating organic as much as possible, especially with animal products, is obviously key." Animal fats store hormones and toxins, passing these on to you when you consume them.
If you eat 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and lots of whole grains you’re on the right track. Replace animal products with legumes and soy. Avoid caffeine except for green tea which acts as a powerful anti-oxidant. Steer clear of hydrogenated oils. Extra virgin olive oil is a great replacement for margarine, butter and other lipids in your life.
Dr. van Loon also reminded us that soft plastics are particularly dangerous. Don’t microwave things in plastic containers, and look for minimally packaged groceries. Soft plastics release estrogen mimickers in our food and are believed to cause breast and other forms of cancer.
Most important in any health plan is to love yourself well enough to take good care of your own health!