We are what we eat!
We are what we eat! If we take time to analyze our typical diet, we may find a few surprises. Diet has been implicated as the culprit in many chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. Numerous books are sold each year with new diets for better health, but a recent article describes a diet actually tested and found to lower blood pressure. The article by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH presents the problem as follows: "Even slight elevations of blood pressure above the optimal level of less than 120/80 mm Hg are unhealthy." The DASH diet brought blood pressure down an average of 6 mm Hg systolic and 3 mm Hg diastolic in individuals with moderate blood pressures. The reductions occurred within two weeks of beginning the diet and were even more dramatic for individuals with high blood pressure.
This diet sounds like it came from the Word of Wisdom. Based on a 2000 calorie diet, the plan increases daily servings of grain and grain products to 7 or 8 per day. Vegetables and fruits are increased from the 5 per day being advertised by the American Cancer Society to 4 or 5 servings each of fruits and vegetables totaling 8 or 10 per day. This diet includes 2 to 3 servings of low-fat or fat free dairy products and 2 or less servings of meat, poultry or fish daily. One concept to remember in figuring portions of meat is that one serving is about the size of a deck of cards. Fats and sweets are limited and nuts, seeds, and dry beans are recommended 4 to 5 times weekly. These suggestions might be worth trying if blood pressure is a problem in your family. More information is available at http://www.nih.gov .
If you or your loved ones are taking medications, diet can also affect the way medications work in the body. Most of us are aware that aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs can upset our stomachs if we do not take them with food. But some drugs can also be dangerous if taken with grapefruit juice. Apparently, grapefruit juice slows down the elimination channel in the liver and keeps the drugs in the body too long. Three heart drugs (Procardia, Norvasc, and Plendil), three anti-cholesterol drugs (Mevacor, Lipitor, Zocor) and a common drug for seizures (Tegretol) are found to be affected adversely by grapefruit juice. So be cautious in your choices, but don?t hesitate to really enjoy fruits, vegetables and grains as you eat your way into the new millennium.
Feb. 3, 2000