These days everyone seems to be concerned about health, and more than ever before, interested in healthy foods.
Whether this is an exclusively western and rich country problem or an affluence phenomenon remains to be seen.
In Third World countries, people are more concerned with getting food into their stomachs than worrying what food they should buy.
Researchers determined conclusively that as nations become wealthy and can afford more meat, assorted disease incidence increases in proportion. When the Chinese economy was struggling in 1980’s cholesterol and associated diseases were unheard of. Now that meat (especially pork) consumption increased significantly, heart attacks, high blood pressure and strokes have become daily occurrences. Clearly, wealth created its own problems.
Nutrition savvy individuals know instinctly or by reading that large amounts of refined sugar, fat, four and salt are detrimental to health. They consume all but in moderation. Disciplined eating is an absolute must for healthy nutrition.
Luckily there is an abundance of foods that help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis and even memory loss. Essentially, all flavonoid-rich foods contain potent antioxidants that fight assorted diseases.
Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that assist in preventing free radicals from damaging cells. Free radicals are natural and produced in every human body. They are unstable molecules with one missing electron and attack healthy cells to make up for the missing electron, thus damaging healthy cells.
Luckily nature provides us whit many foods than fight or substantially reduce the harm free radicals inflict.
Such foods are: skins and seeds of red grapes, blueberries, apples (especially their skin), tea, cinnamon, soy beans (all products derived from soy beans), dark chocolate, onions, artichokes, kale, spinach, rosemary, thyme, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds, salmon, sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes and red wine.
The darker the vegetable or fruit, the healthier it is. Simply put, sun-ripened produce contains more beneficial properties than those ripened artificially. Also, sun-ripened fruit tastes much better. Freshness plays a role too.
Like in every endeavor, excess leads to undesirable results. Eating exclusively one or two of the foods mentioned above is unhealthy. Variation of foods in a balanced diet is crucial.
Meat was, and in many societies still is, expensive and eaten once a week, most often once a month. Essentially, meat was and should be a condiment to enhance the taste of vegetables on the plate. Wealth, however, changed this healthy balance.
Eating a 350 – 400 gram grilled steak with a baked potato enriched with copious amounts of butter and sour cream and no vegetable will fail to contribute to health.
Similarly, wine or alcohol consumption in general must be moderate, never to exceed 375 per day. Red wine including port is considered to be healthier than wines derived from green grapes. Some researchers claim that the benefits of wine (red or white) are in the alcohol they contain.
There are even those who claim spirits to be as beneficial. Scots are often cited to benefit from their daily whisky consumption, the inhabitants of Charente Maritime from Cognac, and the people of Armagnac from the eponymous distillate.
Americans and Canadians who like their whiskies and never overindulge also prove the point.
If you are interested in a healthy life and enjoyable life, stick to colorful produce, dark fruit juices, eat more fish, but little meat, reduce fat intake, and exercise. Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation.
There is no secret; discipline and regularity are the things that count.