Fruits And Vegetables
Most nutritionists agree that, for each meal, half of our plate should be filled with something green. A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health took it a step further after showing that people who eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day can cut their risk for overall death in half.
A research team from the University of Liverpool surveyed nearly 4,400 people in the U.K. who, on average, consumed just under four portions of fruits and vegetables the day before completing the survey. Respondents who ate at least seven portions on a daily basis lowered their risk for death from all causes, which included heart attack, stroke, and cancer, by 42 percent. Even eating two to three daily servings of healthy produce can lower our risk for death by 19 percent. So what is it about fruits and veggies that makes them so healthy? That brings me to my next point: fiber is very good for us.
Foods Rich In Fiber
Fiber is found in various food groups, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. However, only eight percent of adults in the U.S. get the recommended daily amount of fiber from whole grains. To show how important dietary fiber is, researchers from the Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study revealing that heart attack survivors who eat the recommended amount of fiber lower their risk for death by 25 percent. The best part is that foods rich in fiber that lower our risk for death also include cereal. (Yes, cereal!) Well, whole grain cereals.
A similar study conducted by the Harvard Public School of Health found that consuming a healthy amount of cereal fiber can lower our risk for death from cancer by 15 percent and diabetes by 34 percent.
As the American Heart Association puts it, “going nuts may help heart health.” Tree nuts, including cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, etc., are often considered expensive and hard to find. On the other hand, peanuts, which are actually considered legumes because they grow in bushes, are relatively cheap and can be found almost anywhere.
A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who consume either tree nuts or legumes often have a lower risk for overall death. Like all food, moderation is best when considering how much you should eat. Since nuts are 80 percent fat (healthy fat), the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than four servings of unsalted, unoiled nuts per week.
Foods Rich In Potassium
Ever hear of Freelee the Banana Girl who claims she stays healthy and fit by eating upward of 51 bananas a day? While many healthcare professionals would not recommend focusing 91 percent of your diet on one group, this self-proclaimed “diet guru” may have been on to something with all that potassium.
Foods that are high in potassium, including bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach, avocado, and pinto beans, play essential roles in our regulation of electrolytes, nerve function, muscle control, and blood pressure. According to a study conducted on behalf of the American Heart Association, menopausal women who eat greater amounts of potassium-rich foods lower their risk for ischemic stroke or death by 16 percent. When a woman enters menopause her risk for a stroke nearly double in the next 10 years.
When it comes to that morning pick-me-up before a long day at the office, most people turn to coffee instead of tea due its abundance of caffeine. Now for people looking to hold off on their meeting with the Grim Reaper there’s only one option: a cup of hot tea. Research presented at the 2014 European Society of Cardiology Congress (ESC) in Barcelona, Spain showed that drinking at least a cup of tea per day can lower a person’s risk for premature death by 24 percent, even for former smokers.
And the best part about tea being so healthy is all the options we have to choose from. Whether its green, black, white, chai, or chamomile, all types of tea are packed with antioxidants, a molecule found in certain foods that prevent damage caused by free radicals, and polyphenols, a micronutrient food that can aid in the prevention of degenerative diseases.