Good News about Chocolate
Just what you've wanted to hear: chocolate can be good for you.
It has flavonoids.
Flavonoids are antioxidants that seem to help lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL). So chocolate that's consumed in small servings on a regular basis may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It's important not to use chocolate as your main source of flavonoids. The fat and sugar content is too high. Fruits and vegetables can provide the vitamins, minerals and fiber you need without a lot of fat.
Source: American Journal of Nutrition, December 2001.
Infants Need Fat
It's a good idea for most of us to watch our fat intake, but don't go overboard with children under two. For example, when you switch from breast milk to bottled milk, buy whole milk for the baby instead of skim or 2 percent fat.
Fat helps the baby's nervous system develop properly. Infants also need more fat because they grow at a rapid rate.
After age two, toddlers can start on a lower-fat diet along with everyone else in the family.
Source: American Dietetic Association - January, 2002
Butter Vs. Margarine
All those commercials for margarine may lead you to believe that using margarine instead of butter is better for your heart. We know differently now.
Butter has a lot of saturated fat, which can lead to higher levels of LDL, or "bad cholesterol." So you don't want to eat too much butter.
But you don't want to eat much margarine either. It contains trans fatty acids, which can also be bad for your arteries and your cholesterol.
Better choices include monounsaturated fats like olive oil or canola oil.
Source: A. Weil. Eating Well for Optimum Health. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 10022, 2000.
Water for Health
Just because it's winter doesn't mean you shouldn't keep drinking water. There are lots of benefits. Water helps
Heart Healthy Food
- Metabolize stored fat in the body
- Preserve kidney and liver function
- Prevent water retention (When you don't drink enough, the body compensates by storing water. This can result in swollen feet, legs and hands.)
- Give the skin a healthy appearance
According to a recent study, replacing refined grains such as white bread and white rice with whole grains (whole wheat bread, brown rice) and dried beans and peas may help lower your risk of heart disease.
Switching to whole grains and legumes is a matter of getting into a new habit. It's no more difficult to buy whole grain bread than white, and brown rice takes just a little longer to cook than white rice. Dried beans are available already cooked in cans and jars, so it's not necessary to soak them overnight and then simmer.
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. December 2001.