Monthly Tips May 2011

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Melissa Gootthard, a contributor to the AARP magazine featured some interesting health benefits of food. The foods described here are found in Mediterranean diets. Many of tips have been used in the following segment.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

With so many brands of olive oil in the market, I have often wondered what is a good buy. Reading about extra virgin olive oil has helped me to understand what to look out for, no matter the brand. So here is a good tip for you.

Olive oil is good source of monounsaturated fats that helps keep HDL, (good cholesterol), high and keeps LDL, the (bad cholesterol low).

According to Melissa Gootthard, a contributor to the AARP magazine, new research reveals that extra-virgin olive oil, the oil that comes from an olive's first pressing can help to reduce the formation of clots, due to the presence of plant compounds, phenols.

Extra virgin olive oil is higher in phenols. In the study, the group who consumed extra virgin olive oil had lower levels of clot-promoting substances in their blood than those who ate a non-virgin olive oil. So when purchasing olive oil, be sure to look for a brand that says, extra-virgin on the label. It is the only type that is totally unrefined.

What if you Do Not Drink Wine?

It is well known that drinking red wine has been linked to lowering heart-disease risk. But you can also get the same benefits without the alcoholic drink.

Scientists at Universté Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg in France recently found that purple grape juice mimics red wine's ability to stimulate nitric oxide production in arterial cells. Nitric oxide is a natural chemical that keeps blood vessels elastic.

At the University of Scranton in Pennslyvania, animal experiments revealed that purple grape juice was just as effective as red wine in lowering LDL.

Figs and Dates

Figs and Dates are excellent sources of fiber and potassium. This mineral plays an important role in blood pressure control. The antioxidant properties of dates and figs are up to 50% higher that other fruit. A recent Harvard study showed that eating 3 or more servings of high antioxidant fruits a day lowers the risk of macular degeneration by 36%, in people aged 50 and up.

Snacking on nuts

Eating almonds, walnuts and pistachios can help us reduce our cholesterol levels. As nuts are also satisfying, it prevents one from adding more pounds.

Adding Complex Carbs for Breakfast

Eating the whole-grain kind of cereal or bread is good for the heart. Since the whole-wheat and oats retain their fiber-rich bran and germ, they safeguard against insulin urges that are caused by refined carbohydrates. Diabetes risks can be cut in half, studies show.

Include Greens for Lunch

The more leafy greens you eat the more you lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. They reduce the risk of cancer as well. In separate studies, the risk for both ovarian cancer and non-Hodgkins Lymphoma were reduced by 40%.

Melissa Gotthardt mentions that at a Tuft University study, cognitive decline in 50-85 year old's was noted in diets high in B Vitamins. Folate found in spinach, endives and romaine can help the brain age gracefully.

Including Beans

Eating dried, or fresh, peas, beans and other lentils at least 4 times a week lowered heart disease risk by at least 22 per cent in a study conducted by Tulane University. Legumes also lower artery clogging LDL, (bad), cholesterol. They also don't spurt blood sugar spikes, a stress on the heart, that can lead to diabetes.


For those who do eat fish, Omega 3 fats are high in seafood. The benefits are, protecting against heart disease, and possibly lowering the risk for Alzheimer's disease and depression. Melissa mentions that coastal dwelling Italians and Greeks eat way more fish than red meat, giving them the advantage of over the risk for cancer. Studies show that those who ate more seafood had a 30% lower risk for colerectal cancer. The risk for those who ate the most red meat increased by more than a third.

Herbs and Spices

A recent USDA study showed that, the use of sage and oregano doubled insulin activity, while turmeric and cloves tripled it. In another study diabetics who ate 1 gram (about ½teaspoon), for 40 days lowered their fasting blood sugar by 18 percent and their LDL by 7 percent.

A nice way to use cinnamon is to add it to oats for breakfast. It not only improves the flavor but gives you this additional health benefit.

Fruits in Place of Crackers

Thinly slice fruits like apple and any variety of pears and use that in dips or spreads or with natural peanut butter. It is filling, full of nutrients, yet tasty too.

In Conclusion

Let's hope that these tips for better health will help you make adjustments to your diet. What you eat, certainly has an effect on your health and outlook on life.

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