Five Best, Worst Foods for Your Health

Five Best, Worst Foods for Your Health

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Trans fat, metabolic rate, glycemic index, oh my! Let’s face it, we need a Santa Claus-esqe “good” and “bad” list of foods. That’s why Lisa Andrews recently started Sound Bites Nutrition, LLC with her friend Barbara Lattin.

Sound Bites Nutrition is a “two woman show” that takes very scientific information and breaks it down into chewable bites anyone can understand. Between the two women, they have taught, written and counseled people about things such as weight management, nutrition, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Andrews shares her picks for the best and worst things you could eat.

“Eat Me!”

  1. The Magical Fruit. A great thing about beans is they are low-calorie and high-vitamin, meaning you can eat a good-sized portion, be full and still get the vitamins you need. They are high in fiber and help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. Andrews says good beans to eat are black, navy, garbanzo and soup beans. Of course, it might be a good idea to slip a little Bean-O into your bowl before you begin.
  2. Berry, Berry Nice. Berries like strawberries, blueberries and black raspberries are high in phytochemicals. Andrews explains that phytochemicals help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. And they are another one of those foods high in fiber and low in calories, so you can eat more without worrying about your waist.
  3. Broccoli Bonanza. When Andrews and her business partner Barbara Lattin, were developing their logo, they knew they wanted to have a piece of broccoli incorporated somehow. “Its one of the healthiest foods. But if anything ever comes out negative about it, we’re in trouble,” Andrews says laughing. Right now, their fork spearing a piece of broccoli is safe. All studies show that broccoli is very high in antioxidants. “They mop up the free radicals in your system,” Lisa says. Those “free radicals” being unstable chemicals that get left in our bodies and can cause cell damage. For example, smokers have more unstable chemicals in their systems, and would benefit from eating more broccoli.
  4. Not Just for Horses. The Quaker Oats man isn’t lying when he says that he can help lower your cholesterol, Andrews says. By lowering your cholesterol, he also helps reduce the risk of heart disease, weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
  5. Tea Time. Black, green or white tea helps improve the function of blood vessels, protect us from blood clot formation and reduce inflammation, which is related to heart disease. Teas contain phytochemicals and antioxidants. Andrews says you can drink either caffeinated or decaffeinated tea, but not herbal tea. The herbal versions are more processed, so the health benefits have been removed.


Five Worst Foods

  1. Processors are for Computers. Meats like hot dogs, bacon and salami are high in sodium and fat. Processed meats have even been linked to stomach and pancreas cancer. That might make you think twice before you have that bacon with your breakfast.
  2. “Crispy Crimes." Andrews came up with that catchy name for doughnuts because they have a high caloric count, and are full of refined carbohydrates and trans fats. Refined carbohydrates are bad because they process quickly, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to go up and increasing the risk for heart disease. The punishment for committing the crime: trans fasts increase total cholesterol and LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.
  3. “Freedom Fries” Aren’t Free. Not only are these fast food staples high in fat and sodium, but they are also a significant source of acrylmide, Andrews says. This chemical, she explains, has been linked to certain kinds of cancers, including ovarian cancer. Would you like that super sized?
  4. Cut the Cheesecake. Cheesecake is high in saturated fat and calories and not at all good for you. Andrews said there are some low-fat alternatives, but this delectable dessert is generally not something good to eat.
  5. Sod-y Pop. The high fructose corn syrup in pop has been linked to obesity and high triglyceride levels. To add insult to injury, soda tends to replace milk in women who drink it. By not drinking enough milk, you can increase your risk of osteoporosis by not getting enough calcium. In fact, Andrews says that there is increased bone loss in women found to drink just one pop a day. If you think diet pop is better, think again. This popular conscience cleaner has been linked to heart disease. Andrews says the experts don’t know why yet, but there is a definite link between the two.“Your best bet is water or iced tea,” Andrews says.