HEALTH IS WEALTH so you must have heard and it is true. Just as we try to keep up with our financial, social, family, relationship demands so we ought to keep up with our health. There are some health tips I will like to share with you.
A). VITAMIN A: “Vitamin A” is the blanket term for retinoids, biologically active compounds that occur naturally in both plant and animal tissues. Vitamin A is important for many functions, including:
- Supporting bone growth, reproduction and immune system health
- Helping the skin and mucous membranes repel bacteria and viruses more effectively
- Promoting healthy vision
- Slowing declining retinal function in people with retinitis pigmentosa
Vitamin A is fat-soluble, and has potential for toxicity if supplementing with retinols. The best natural food sources of vitamin A are their precursors, the carotenoids, found in fruits and vegetables, including carrots, spinach, kale, butternut squash, cantaloupe, mangoes, pumpkins and sweet potatoes. In supplement form, I recommend 15,000 IU of mixed carotenoids daily. Look for products that contain beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, astaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin as part of an antioxidant formula.
B). UNHEALTHY BREAKFASTS
- Doughnuts. High in sugar, trans-fats, calories and refined flour, doughnuts are not only bad for your waistline, but ultimately disastrous for your energy levels as well. The high sugar content is likely to end in a midday energy crash. If you crave a doughnut, try a piece of whole-grain bread with some jam and peanut butter instead.
- Fast-Food “Breakfast Sandwiches.” The combination of low-quality fried meats, processed cheese, and refined breads add up to a high-calorie, high-sodium unhealthy food. A better option is to make a sandwich at home – include whole-grain bread, and high-quality cheese, along with fresh veggies to boost your morning fiber.
- Sugared Cereal. While different brands vary widely in the amount of added sugars (do your homework and read the labels), sugared cereals should not be a part of your morning routine – or your diet, period. If you crave sweetness, try adding a half-teaspoon of sugar or stevia to unsweetened whole-grain cereals, or try a bowl of steel-cut oats with some blackstrap molasses, which provides added doses of calcium and iron.
- Granola. This healthy sounding mix of rolled oats, grains and sometimes fruits and nuts can be healthy, but you need to read the labels. Granola can be a source of unhealthy polyunsaturated fats and a larger amount of sugar than you may suspect. Instead of a bowl of granola, add some to unsweetened, organic yogurt for added flavor. When choosing granola, opt for full-fat, low-sugar versions
C). BANANA: A favorite tropical fruit of Americans, bananas are available year round, but can bring a touch of summer to your table during colder months. Native to the Caribbean and Central America, bananas are a good source of vitamins B6 and C, offer a fair share of magnesium, and are rich in potassium – one banana contains 450 mg of potassium, one-fifth of the adult daily requirement. In addition, bananas help to:
- Strengthen the stomach lining – bananas are good for soothing indigestion
- Normalize blood pressure, and protect against atherosclerosis and heart disease
- Promote healthy bones
The perfect go-anywhere food, bananas have only about 100 calories each, and serve as a healthful snack or pick-me-up anytime during the day. Bananas naturally lend their sweetness to cereals, smoothies, breads, muffins, and desserts, and also work well in relishes and salads.
Diabetics should take note that bananas have an intermediate score of 55 on the Glycemic Index (GI); I recommend diabetics choose fruits that rank low on the glycemic index, so if you do have diabetes, eat low-index fruits such as cherries, grapefruit, apricots and apples more frequently than you eat bananas.