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Optimum Nutrition

Optimum Nutritional Lifestyle
Could your diet be killing you? The greatest threat to your health today is likely a result of what you are eating. Food is not simply a source of energy, but a crucial factor in mental and physical well-being. Today the leading killers in this country are heart attacks, strokes and cancer. It is estimated that at least 90% of first heart attacks are preventable. The American Cancer Society reports that diet alone is responsible for at least one-third of all cancers. A US Surgeon General report concluded, "Imbalances or excesses of fats are involved in 70% or more of all US deaths."

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, a risk that will soon surpass smoking as the leading preventable cause of death in the country. As the weight of average Americans increases, the life expectancy numbers will start to decrease. The good news is that you still have the opportunity to improve your health, your quality of life and your longevity by carefully (mindfully) choosing what you eat, when you eat, and how you eat.

Optimum nutrition is not about low-fat meals, fat-free carbohydrates, low carbohydrates, or high protein regimens. These programs all have health risks because they increase markers for chronic inflammation. The key to successful aging and health is to understand that the foods you eat control your intricately connected and delicately balanced hormonal system. Hormone levels and sensitivity change as you age and must be controlled to prevent or reduce silent and chronic inflammation.

Go Organic
Buy "Certified Organic" food products to reduce your exposure to toxins and increase your nutrient intake. Conventionally grown foods may contain high levels of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and other additives. Sixty percent of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides, and 30% of all insecticides are considered carcinogenic by the Environmental Protection Agency. "Estrogen mimics" produced by agricultural chemicals can create hormone imbalances, cellular mutations and micronutrient malnutrition, resulting in cancer or chronic diseases. Furthermore, organic crops are frequently more nutritious, containing more vitamin C, iron and less nitrates. Even after washing, some fruits and vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others. For information about pesticide levels of produce, go to www.foodnews.org. Buying organic may be expensive, but your health is worth it.

Nutrition Tips
●    Make whole or minimally processed foods the bulk of your nutritional lifestyle.
●    Go organic whenever possible.
●    Consume food raw, steamed or lightly stir-fried.
●    Graze; eat regularly throughout the day (5-6 meals per day).
●    Dont wait until you are hungry to eat.
●    Eat slowly, so your brain can catch up with your stomach to let you know you have eaten enough.
●    Choose seasonal, local produce.
●    Frozen fruit and vegetables are acceptable.
●    Make substitutions when you eat out (more vegetables instead of French fries is an example).
●    Be aware of hidden fats and calories in foods.
●    Think "healthy" at the grocery store; shop along the store perimeter.
●    When selecting olive oils use only "extra virgin".
●    Use olive oil cold or room temperature, canola oil for cooking.
●    Caution when buying "fat-free" products - they are usually loaded with sugars.
●    Limit caffeine to 2 cups per day.
●    Fiber: optimum amount is 25-50 grams per day.
●    If you consume a lot of fiber but do not increase your water intake, you may become constipated.
●    Vinegar based salad dressings help reduce the number of colonies of E. coli bacteria on vegetables.
●    Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.
●    For tips on healthy seafood, www.montereybayaquarium.org , an excellent resource for consumer choices.

●    All grains and starches for the first 1-2 weeks. Thereafter, you may find you feel better eliminating them most of the time.
●    Processed foods, sweets, white bread, biscuits, breadsticks, and other refined carbohydrates.
●    Vegetables prepared in butter or cream sauces when possible.
●    Juices, except vegetable.
●    Canned foods, except fish and tomatoes.
●    Bacon, sausage, other processed or high-fat meat, ice cream, milk or cheese that is not low-fat.
●    Fried fish (except when pan-fried in olive oil)
●    Omega 6 oils found in processed vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, peanut).
●    Heavily salted or honey-roasted nuts; stale or rancid nuts.
●    Fast food, fried food, margarine (unless trans fat free), chips, crackers, baked goods, doughnuts, any processed food made with partially hydrogenated oil.
●    Farm raised salmon.
●    Foods containing pesticides, nitrates, antibiotics, and hormones.
●    Cereals containing more than 9 grams of sugar and less than 4 grams of fiber per serving.
●    Overcooking your food.
●    Cooking at very high temperatures.