Dear Dr. Mo:What are some of the foods that could help lower my cholesterol?
Dear reader: Eating a healthy diet in general can be challenging and tailoring it to a specific health need only adds to that challenge. Before embarking on any significant change in your diet, I suggest you first speak with your doctor who could give you useful pointers, link you with a specialist and follow up on your progress.
To get you started, I’ve written about such foods here
To answer your question, I’ve made this useful infographic to serve as a quick reference point to what’s out there Continue reading …
Dear Dr. Mo: What about onions and health – I avoid them because they give me bad breath but I actually love onions. Should I eat them anyways?
Dear reader: With their unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients, the allium vegetables—such as onions—belong in a healthy diet on a regular basis.
The total polyphenol content (polyphenol Quercetin) of onion is higher than its fellow allium vegetables, garlic and leeks and other polyphenol rich plants like tomatoes, carrots, and red bell pepper. Polyphenols are natural antioxidants linked to prevention of cardiovascular diseases (by primarily helping us regulate the cholesterol levels and reducing oxidative stresses).
When onions are simmered in a soup, their Quercetin is not destroyed. It simply leaks out into the water. By simmering at low-heat, you can preserve the health benefits of onion that are associated with Quercetin.
Here are 5 quick health benefits we derive from eating onions on regular basis:
4. Onions contain natural anti-clotting agents with fibrinolytic activity and platelet-clumping suppression ability. The anti-clotting effect of onions closely correlates with their sulfur content and this property is again beneficial for preventing complications in cardiovascular diseases for example; Continue reading …
Legs could be windows into health – if they’re tired, you need a recharge
Dear Dr. Mo: My legs feel tired relatively often and I’d like to know if there is something I can do about it? Should I be worried?
Dear reader: The feeling of tiredness in legs is a relatively common complaint and the reasons for this feeling could be different. If the feeling is more than just tiredness and it extends into pain and cramps, swelling, numbness and other more severe symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately as these could signal a more serious underlying condition.
Use a healthy diet in your favour to get rid of tiredness in your legs and in some instances even pain (but like I said, for pain, always see your doctor first and discuss your options, including your diet).
Include foods that are rich in calcium, fiber, proteins and vitamin E in your diet as well as foods that will clean up your blood vessels and regulate your blood pressure. These ingredients will maintain your health and specifically improve the strength and fitness of your legs.
What exactly do I mean? Here are 5 important points that you can use in your diet to improve the health of your legs and reduce the feeling of tiredness:
Dear readers: I’d like to share with you 6 amazing health benefits of Butternut Squash, my latest discovery on my quest for delicious healthy foods. It didn’t seem appealing or eye catching and I remember my grandpa used to dry it up to make a ladle out of it but I’ve never tried it until recently. So, here is my list:
Benefit 1 – Vitamin A and Beta carotene:
Squash is literally loaded with vitamin A – 1 cup of cooked squash has over 400% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) – Vitamin A is important for our vision, bone health, cell function, reproduction and the immune system. ~One note here: Vitamin A is not water soluble, which means that its excess it is not easily removed from our body so do not overindulge in this treat – perhaps not more than once a week.
The squash’s orange color means it is high in beta carotene, an antioxidant relevant for vision health and possible reduction of breast cancer risk.
Dear Dr. Mo: Are beans really any good to eat? All I know is that they give me gas and cramps, but I’ve heard they might be really healthy so, are they?
Dear reader: Beans are one of the fiber-richest foods out there, especially when it comes to cholesterol lowering soluble fiber. Eating a cup beans, any beans really, a day can lower your total cholesterol levels by as much as 10% and that’s significant.
In fact, beans are so nutritious and healthy that the latest dietary guidelines recommend a triple of our current suggested intake, from 1 to 3 cups per week, and like I told you, a cup a day would be the best way to go.
Beans are a good meat protein substitute but they are even more than just a simple substitute. Beans have similar calorie count as meat and their water and fiber content will make you feel fuller for longer, which helps in weight management and weight loss and will allow you to cut total daily calories in your diet without starving yourself or skipping any meals. Meat however, contains zero fiber!
How much fiber?
One cup of cooked beans contains about 12 grams of fiber, which is almost half the recommended dose of 25 grams (women) to 35 grams (men) on average. Continue reading …
There’s a group of chemicals in green tea called catechins responsible for a lot of claimed benefits and researchers believe these catechins help prevent the absorption of cholesterol all together but at the same time they increase the absorption of high-density HDL cholesterol, which is the good one.
Green tea is said to improve bone mineral density thus lowering your fracture risk – this is because green tea contains a group of chemicals that stimulates the formation of bone and helps slow their breakdown although more research is needed to corroborate this claim outside the lab.
4. Oral health booster
Catechins again – think about the green tea as a natural mouth wash, like Listerine, only better. Drinking green tea regularly can contribute to a healthier mouth because catechins can help kill bacteria in your mouth.
5. Keeps some cancers at bay
Studies show that green tea benefits include protection against certain cancers, not all of them but the fact is that we just don’t know yet about the full potential of green tea’s compounds. What we do know is that the data are the most substantial for bladder, ovarian and esophageal cancers. It mostly does this by starving cancer cells to death.
Dear Dr. Mo: Someone I know has just had a stroke. What can I do to reduce my risks of stroke? I’m middle aged and generally in good health.
Dear reader: What we have long suspected, the latest study published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke confirms: By making small changes in our lifestyle, we could reduce our risk of having a stroke by up to 48%, depending on our general health status – the better our overall health, the larger the reduction in stroke risk!
Dear Dr. Mo: Should I or shouldn’t I eat eggs and are they healthy in any way? People keep saying eggs are full of cholesterol and should be avoided but, is this true?
Dear reader: Contrary to a wide-spread belief (or myth), eggs are very healthy food and a healthy individual can and should eat them on a regular basis. If a person loves eggs vey much and eats too many of them, this can increase cholesterol levels and associated risks for heart disease but if you stick to 4 whole eggs or fewer a week, evidence suggest that any risks you may have will not increase.
Dear readers, our modern diets are plagued with unhealthful food choices. Many people are struggling with excess weight and our arteries are taking the toll over the years – they begin to accumulate plaque. Plaque buildup increases the chances for heart disease, heart attack and/or stroke.
This basically means accelerated death. Or debilitation. Then death.
We can use a healthy diet to keep our arteries in good shape and preserve their fitness into the old age.
The following 4 foods are very powerful arterial cleansers – I cannot say which of the first three I hate more but these are my top 3 foods I’ll never ever eat even if it kills me. The 4th food is actually pretty cool.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them and in fact, you’ll benefit greatly if you introduced all 4 to your daily diet. Here’s why: Continue reading …
Dear Dr. Mo: I’m a guy in my late 40s, not overweight and I work a lot. Is there something I can easily do to stay healthy and live longer?
Dear reader: Many things are important as we age, and this goes for both sexes, not just men: blood sugar levels, blood pressure, mobility and fitness, risks for cancer, heart and mental health.
For us men, I would say that the latter two are really important and that by maintaining them we surely improve all other parameters to help us live longer and better although women are no different in this regard. Continue reading …
Dear Dr. Mo: I’ve been eating a lot of Avocados lately (not really sure whether they are fruit or vegetable) – are these any good for my health or is it just a
The only trick is to know when it’s ripe enough to eat
quirky addition to a salad?
Dear reader: Avocados are very interesting and old food originating from South and Central America – they are fruit, not a vegetable.
My baby girl loves to eat them, which is great because Avocados are extremely healthy.
Personally, I will never learn to immediately tell a difference in my head between Avocados and Mangos, as for some strange reason my mind confuses these two words and no amount of mental effort will ever help; of course I always know an Avocado when I see one. Continue reading …
Dear Dr. Mo:I love butter but is margarine better for my health? And which one?
Butter is tasty but could hurt health
Dear reader: I remember when I was a child, I used to steal a stick of butter from the fridge and eat it whole, biting on it as if it were an apple. I loved the way it melted through my little fingers and the greasy and salty taste it had as I munched on it. Whenever my theft was discovered, my grandmother wasn’t too happy about it – she thought I would spoil my stomach with that much butter – often times she was right.
For a little child to eat food high in fat content is actually beneficial so my ventures to the fridge weren’t too harmful to my health (apart from occasional diarrhea) but as we age, eating a lot of butter on a regular basis can hurt our health. Butter is made from animal fat (usually from cow’s milk), which is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Continue reading …
Dear Dr. Mo: I’m worried about my cholesterol levels and I am thinking of ways to avoid foods that will keep on raising it. What to do to bring my cholesterol down?
Dear reader: Following a healthy diet usually brings up the question of which foods to avoid. The follow up thought in our heads leads us to figuring out which foods could raise our cholesterol levels and add kilograms.
Normally, you’d want to avoid too much saturated fats from meat, full fat-dairy products (cheese, high fat milk) and trans fats found in many processed foods like pastries, processed cheese like the ones in a fast-food burger, cakes, cookies, biscuits, creams, candy etc. Even your favorite chips or pretzels are packed with trans fats (these hide behind tech terms like hydrogenated plant-based fat or palm fat so don’t be fooled).
Go nuts – it will regulate your cholesterol
These foods hurt our bodies not just by raising cholesterol levels (mostly the ‘bad’ one – LDL) but by exposing our cells to un-natural compounds, which we were simply not designed to handle.
In response, our systems are stressed out and over time, chain biochemical reactions lead to cancers, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, tons of autoimmune diseases, genetic alterations etc.
The list of unhealthful foods would be far too long. Here’s a hint – those advertised the most are usually suspicious.
Instead, and further to my previous post, I will list 8 foods (and functional foods), which strongly help to regulate your cholesterol level and have appropriate ratio of HDL (the ‘good’ one) Vs. LDL (the ‘bad’ one).
Of course, for some people, diet alone is not enough to bring cholesterol under control in which case your doctor may start you on some medication to help you reach desired levels but even in these cases, proper diet is of large significance for success and long term health. Continue reading …