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Whole Grain Benefits

Eating the Rainbow for Health Can Villainize Cultural Foods

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YesYou’ve probably heard the term “eating the rainbow” before, and with good reason. The compounds that give plant foods their color also have unique health benefits. So when you eat a variety of colors, you get a wide range of nutrients. But I’m a Registered Dietitian, and this maxim – like so much “conventional wisdom” in nutrition – drives me insane.

True, most Americans could benefit from eating more fruits and vegetables. Currently, only about 10 percent of adults get their five a day. But who says they have to be rainbow colored? Not everything you eat – for health reasons or otherwise – needs to be alive. The mere assumption of the nutritional value of colorful foods means that white, beige, and brown foods are unnecessarily overlooked (and even demonized). In fact, it draws a narrow view of what healthy eating can look like. Here’s why beige isn’t boring, bland, or otherwise “bad” for your diet — and more importantly, how its sole focus on eating the rainbow both denigrates many cultural foods and glosses over nutrition.

White fruits and vegetables also contain health-promoting compounds

Although colorful pigments appear to retain all of the health benefits (the chlorophyll in deep green vegetables; the lycopene in bright red tomatoes; the anthocyanins in blueberries), white pigments also offer unique health benefits. For example: anthoxanthins, the pigments that give plants a white or creamy yellow color, are a type of antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Think cauliflower, parsnip, radish and jicama. A cup of cooked cauliflower provides more than half of your daily vitamin C goal, and a cup of raw parsnips has nearly a quarter of the folic acid most adults need in a day.

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Even starchy white vegetables, which sometimes get spoiled, are nutrient dense. “White potatoes are packed with the fiber and potassium we need every day,” says Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Barnes, MS, RD, Owner of Weight Neutral Wellness. Fiber, found in all plant-based foods, helps keep your digestive system working, lowers the risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and may even support your immune system by delivering probiotic bacteria to your gut. And potassium, also found in bananas, is crucial for nerve and muscle function and heart health.

…and they’re not the only ones

Although white fruits and vegetables aren’t often the focus of conversation about healthy eating, most people know that they are nutritious. After all, they are still fruits and vegetables. Other white, plant-based foods, like nuts and seeds, are also highly praised by wellness devotees.

The real problem with the “Eat the Rainbow” ethos is that it excludes starchier white and brown foods: rice, bread, tortillas, grits, cornmeal, and other carbohydrates that many people mistakenly believe aren’t staples in a healthy diet nutrition should be. Madalyn Vasquez, MS, RD, CDCES, Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator, explains that starchy white foods play an important role in health. “Carbohydrates are our body’s preferred source of energy and provide other nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals,” she says. All carbohydrates, whether from a sweet potato or a flour tortilla, provide the body with important energy and nutrients.

Carbs like beans, whole grains, and starchy vegetables are also high in fiber. This fiber aids digestion, prevents constipation, and may reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases, Vasquez says. But processed carbs like cereal and packaged bread products aren’t evil. They are a source of energy, and they are often fortified with certain essential vitamins and minerals that many people may otherwise be deficient in. Plus, we typically eat these foods with other things as part of a meal—bread in a sandwich, rice with veggies and meat, cereal with fruit and milk, and so on—which means we’re getting a variety of nutrients overall.

Creamy, cheesy foods and white foods aren’t inherently bad either. Sure, a steady diet of creme brulee and queso blanco with tortilla chips isn’t nutritionally healthy. But eating these things sometimes as part of a varied overall diet is okay. They’re often a great source of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones, as well as heart, nerve, and muscle function. And some creamy foods like yogurt and skyr are extremely nutritious because they’re high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and health-boosting probiotic bacteria.

Demonizing white foods is not only a bad attitude toward nutritional science, it’s also culturally insensitive

Dalina Soto, MA, RD, LDN, nutritionist and owner of Your Latina Nutritionist, says many of her Latinx clients come to her believing they need to stop eating rice, beans, tortillas, yuca, and other cultural staples, to be healthy. Some nutritionists and other healthcare providers, she says, write off these traditional Latin American staples like rice, plantains, tostones and tortillas as too high in carbohydrates, especially for people with type 2 diabetes. They recommend limiting or eliminating them rather than taking the time to explain how our bodies process carbohydrates and how to incorporate these things into a healthy diet. Sometimes, says Soto, it has to do with the language barrier: an English-speaking provider cannot explain the nuances of healthy eating to a Spanish-speaking patient. Without an interpreter in the room, the only way to convey information might be to oversimplify something, like “avoid white foods,” or use a handout that lists white foods as foods to avoid.

This cliché demonizes foods that have not only been part of Latinx cultures for centuries, but are also cheap and quick to prepare. (As opposed to, say, a grain bowl with more than six different veggies, vegan meat, and homemade dressing.) And that has consequences. Soto shares that some people give up on being healthy: “They feel like what’s the point if they can’t enjoy familiar foods?”

Instead of giving blanket advice that’s doomed to fail, Soto takes a much more individual approach. “Everyone is so different,” she says. “Even when I work with someone who has type 2 diabetes, I talk to them about what actually happens when they eat these high-carb foods.” (And she notes that not everyone’s blood sugar response to all carbs is the same, so an individual approach is really key.) She talks about ways to keep blood sugar stable and eat appropriately without completely avoiding staple foods, such as carbohydrates, protein and vegetables alongside high-carb white and beige foods.

Andrew Akhaphong, MS, RD, LD, a Registered Dietitian for Mackenthun Grocery Stores, says that in his family’s Lao culture, which is heavily influenced by Theravada Buddhism, meals have traditionally been built around balanced flavors – sweet, spicy, sour and umami – versus nutrition or aesthetics. “It is believed [in Buddhism that] A balance between these restores the “hot and cold forces,” he explains. While colorful vegetables and herbs abound in Lao cuisine, foods like rice and noodles are also important. And in this context, white foods actually provide a balanced diet.

Making good nutrition more accessible means including white and brown foods

Soto, who rarely shares food pics with her 62,000+ Instagram followers, believes social media fuels the fire of people who believe healthy eating needs to look a certain way. “There’s all these reds, greens, and purples,” she says. “Everything is so damn colorful and the photography makes it look amazing.” Often this can also mean intimidating and aloof.

Indeed, colorful foods are visually vibrant, while whites and browns don’t exactly stand out in your feed — especially when they’re competing with sky-blue spirulina, pumpkin-spice lattes, and bright purple açaí bowls. “We recommend you eat the rainbow because many of these colors contain different vitamins and nutrients,” says Soto. “But you don’t always have to throw something green in everything you eat.” It’s okay if some meals and snacks lack color, since less vibrant foods also provide nutrients.

Aesthetics is just not a good metric to measure nutrition. In fact, a diet that consists only of kale salads and smoothie bowls is not healthy at all. As someone who helps adults overcome disordered eating behaviors, I see all too often how what starts as an innocent decision to “prioritize colorful foods” can quickly devolve into a downright unhealthy obsession with eating huge amounts of fruit and vegetables and little else to eat.

There’s no doubt that eating colorful produce is good for your health, but that’s no reason to exclude other foods from the conversation. White, beige, and brown foods — from cauliflower and chickpeas to rice, plantains, lentils, sweet potatoes, tofu, and more — all have a place in a healthy diet. They are nutritious and energizing in their own right, and they are staples in traditional cooking that are of great importance in ways that go beyond their vitamin and mineral composition. Instead of trying to avoid these less colorful foods, think of them as just another shade of your healthy eating rainbow with their own unique texture, taste, and nutritional benefits.

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Whole Grain Benefits

12 Best Snacks for Weight Loss

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  • Healthy weight loss snacks are nutritious, portioned and balanced.
  • Some examples are an apple with peanut butter, a banana and almonds, or a protein bar.
  • You can also try hummus and carrots, fruit and plain Greek yogurt, and homemade trail mixes.
  • Check out the Insider Health Reference Library for more advice.

If you and your doctor have decided that losing weight is the best course of action for your health, then lifestyle and diet changes are likely needed.

That can mean replacing high-calorie snacks that lack nutrients, like potato chips, with healthy snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Unfortunately, many American snack foods are highly processed, high in calories and low in nutritional value. These types of snacks can make you feel sluggish and lead to weight gain,” says Amber Ingram, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

On the other hand, she says that a healthy, balanced snack can boost your energy and provide your body with the nutrients it needs. Ingram says some rules of thumb for healthy snacking are:

  • Nutritious, meaning they contain a nice mix of vitamins and minerals.
  • Portion controlled, like a single apple or orange.
  • Balanced, meaning ideally it contains protein and one complex carbohydrate – which helps to keep you full. A healthy fat can also be a great addition, but it’s not necessary for a balanced snack.
  • About 150-250 calories

Here are 12 healthy snack ideas recommended by nutritionists.

1. An apple and natural peanut butter

  • One medium apple: 95 calories
  • One tablespoon of natural peanut butter: 95 calories
  • Total calories: 190

Snacks that contain protein can help you feel full for longer, which can reduce overeating and subsequent weight gain.

Natural peanut butter is a great source of plant-based protein, and apples are high in soluble fiber, which studies have shown may help promote weight loss and reduce the risk of cancer.


diabetes

, and cardiovascular diseases.

2. Cottage cheese and pineapple

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 2% milk: 90 calories
  • Half a cup of pineapple: 41 calories
  • Total calories: 131

In addition to the protein that keeps you full, cottage cheese is also packed with calcium, which can support bone health.

You can pair it with pineapple, which contains bromelain — a compound with anti-inflammatory benefits that may also aid in digestion, says Ingram.

Plus, a sweet, healthy fruit like pineapple, melon, or mango is perfect for adding a flavor explosion to a snack.

3. Fruit and plain Greek yogurt

  • A cup of strawberries: 53 calories
  • A can of plain yogurt: 100 calories
  • Total calories: 153

While yogurt may seem like a healthy choice, many flavored varieties are loaded with added sugar. Added sugar can easily lead to excess sugar consumption, which has been linked to obesity.

You can avoid added sugars by opting for plain Greek yogurt, says Alicia Beltran, MS, a nutritionist at Baylor College of Medicine.

Add flavor and sweetness by adding your fruit of choice. Berries, including strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, are a great option because they’re loaded with antioxidants that help reduce the risk of conditions like kidney and cardiovascular disease caused by free radical damage.

Plus, Greek yogurt contains probiotics, which may have benefits like maintaining a healthy microbiome and cardiovascular health.

4. Hummus and carrots

  • Two tablespoons of hummus: 60 calories
  • A cup of raw carrots: 50 calories
  • Total calories: 110

This snack has two benefits: First, the hummus is a good source of protein and fiber, both of which help keep you feeling full and satisfied, Beltran says. And second, carrots contain beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by your body. Vitamin A can benefit your eyesight, immune system, and cholesterol.

Eating more vegetables in general can also help


weight loss

because vegetables are more filling, which a 2014 study of overweight adults found may help control hunger.

5. Cream cheese with cashew nuts as a side dish

  • A light mozzarella string cheese: 50 calories
  • A quarter cup of cashews: 197 calories
  • Total calories: 247

The combination of spreadable cheese and cashews packs healthy fats and proteins that don’t cause a blood sugar spike that might make you tired and sluggish later, says Allison Childress, PhD, nutritionist and assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech University.

Choosing light or low-fat versions of snacks like cheese is an easy way to cut fat and calories on your weight-loss journey.

Plus, nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts, and macadamias are heart-healthy and can help lower “bad” cholesterol levels.

6. A banana and almonds

  • One medium-sized banana: 105 calories
  • A quarter cup of almonds: 207 calories
  • Total calories: 312

“This snack combines the carbs of bananas with the fat, fiber and protein of almonds for a balanced, filling snack,” says Childress.

The banana is high in potassium, and nutritionists recommend bananas as a weight-loss snack. This is because bananas contain pectin and


resistant starch

, that’s enough.

Note: This snack has a little more calories than the others on this list, so it might not be a snack you want to reach for every day.

7. Wholemeal Toast with Peanut Butter

  • A slice of whole wheat bread: 110 calories
  • One tablespoon of natural peanut butter: 95 calories
  • Total calories: 205

Bread is often vilified in weight loss diets like keto and Whole30 for its high carb content. But if you eat the right type of bread, you can still enjoy a slice every now and then.

In fact, a small 2012 study found that overweight participants who ate bread as part of a restricted-calorie diet were more likely to stick to the diet than those who were told to avoid bread altogether.

Just be sure to avoid white bread and other refined grain options like bleached flour. These typically have little to no fiber. Instead, opt for whole grain breads, which provide more fiber and nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and folic acid.

You should also consider toasting your bread, as research suggests it can lower the glycemic index — a measure of how likely a food is to spike blood sugar. However, more studies are needed to determine how much toasting lowers the GI for whole grain bread and how this might affect weight loss.

8. A protein bar

  • One Quest protein bar: 190 calories

If you’re looking for easy on-the-go snacks, try some protein bars. However, be sure to read the label and make sure they aren’t loaded with added sugar.

A 2020 review found that a high-protein diet can be beneficial for losing weight and preventing weight gain over the course of six to 12 months, whether you’re on a low-calorie diet or not. Additionally, the review found that a high-protein diet may promote feelings of fullness or satiety.

Childress recommends Quest bars, which contain about 15 grams of fiber, 21 grams of protein, and just 2 grams of sugar. Other brands with a healthy balance of fiber and protein and low in sugar include ONE and Alani Nu, says Childress. Experiment with different protein bars and find out which ones are your personal favourites.

Best protein bars

Checking the protein bars


Amazon

We test and recommend the best protein bars. Check out our selection:

9. Homemade Trail Mix

  • A quarter cup of trail mix: about 160 calories

Of course, buying pre-packaged trail mix is ​​an option, but Beltran suggests going the DIY route because you can more easily control total calorie count by choosing what’s in it. Beltran says some healthy options should be included:

  • almonds
  • cashew nuts
  • pecans
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • raisins
  • Dried cranberries

Since trail mixes usually contain high-calorie foods like dried fruit and nuts, moderation is key. Make sure you measure out a quarter cup before snacking instead of eating straight from a bag for portion control.

10. Crispy chickpeas and a hard-boiled egg

  • 1/4 cup crispy chickpeas: 161 calories
  • One large hard-boiled egg: 78 calories
  • Total calories: 149

Roasting chickpeas makes them nice and crispy — a bonus if you’re trying to lose weight, as researchers have found that foods that make a lot of noise when eaten lead people to eat less overall.

Also, eggs are good for weight loss as they are high in protein and nutrient dense while being low in calories.

11. Fruit smoothie with protein powder

The total calorie count depends on the ingredients you choose for your smoothie. In general, opt for a mix of fruits and vegetables such as:

  • 1 medium banana (105 calories) and a bunch of baby spinach (27 calories): About 132 calories
  • 1 medium apple (65 calories) and a handful of celery (20 calories): About 85 calories

One thing to keep in mind about smoothies is that they contain less fiber than if you were to eat those foods whole. As a result, your blood sugar may be more likely to rise. To slow digestion and prevent a spike in blood sugar, add a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie.

12. English muffin with avocado

  • One half of a whole wheat English muffin: 65 calories
  • A quarter of an avocado: 81 calories
  • Total calories: 146

Avocados are high in healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats and rich in nutrients that make them good for heart, eye, and skin health. Plus, the fiber in whole grains can help you feel fuller and promote good gut health.

A 2019 study found that among non-obese people, those who consumed avocados were less likely to gain weight than those who did not consume avocados.

Insider snack

There are so many options for delicious and nutritious healthy snacks to eat while trying to lose weight. Be mindful of portion sizes and always remember that moderation is key.

Also, Beltran says you should make sure you’re really hungry before grabbing a snack, rather than just eating out of boredom, stress, or distraction.

The right healthy snacks will keep you full until your next meal and can help you lose weight.

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Whole Grain Benefits

5 Morning Routines Tips for Holistic Heart Health

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By by now you probably know that keeping your heart healthy is just as important as keeping the rest of your system feeling good and working properly. But when it comes to your ticker, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get full advice from a cardiologist on how best to do it. Mona Shah, MD, a cardiologist also trained in holistic integrative medicine, several lifestyle factors play a role in heart health, including diet, exercise, sleep, and stress.

This is why it’s so important to look at all of the factors that affect your heart health, and not just cardiovascular fitness or cholesterol levels. Enter: holistic integrative medicine.

What exactly is holistic integrative medicine?

It is a comprehensive and informative approach to treating the patient because diagnosis and treatment looks at the whole person – their diet, stress levels, sleep intake, exercise schedule, vitamin intake, supplements and more to reduce their risk of heart disease and other complications later in life.

“Often patients are just given medication without really addressing the underlying causes of inflammation, blockages, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more, all of which can lead to heart disease,” explains Dr. shah “There are definitely cases where we need drugs, but what is the best way to integrate these two different approaches? [medication and lifestyle changes] That’s what I believe most strongly.” She not only believes it for her clients, but also practices it herself, beginning her day with specific rituals designed to keep her mind and body healthy.

dr Shah’s morning routine to promote holistic heart health

“Morning is a great way to start habits that can set the tone for the day, because all too often we get out of bed with a list of everything we need to do and stress levels start to rise,” says dr shah “I’m not a morning person at all, but this morning routine was such an important positive change I’ve made in my life that anyone can do.”

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“After dropping my boys on the doorstep of school, I have about 2030 minutes for me before I have to get ready for work,” she says. This is how she spends it.

She drinks water with turmeric and lemon after waking up

“I start with a tall glass of warm water with lemon and turmeric because turmeric has so many health benefits and drinking warm water as a first drink is so calming,” says Dr. shah Additionally, turmeric can promote gut health and kick-start the digestive process, and it is anti-inflammatory, which boosts the immune system.

She practices gratitude

After drinking her water, Dr. List three things she’s grateful for to encourage positive feelings and keep stress levels from rising early in the day. “Stress itself is a big risk factor for heart disease, so simple breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, or journaling can help, even for five minutes a day,” she says. “Writing in a gratitude journal and showing kindness releases a variety of feel-good hormones that can lower your risk of heart disease. Gratitude has been shown to improve quality of life, lower cortisol levels, relieve depression and boost immunity, so don’t skip it.”

Then she meditates for 5 minutes

“I breathe in slowly through my nose and I usually say a mantra like ‘I am’ as I breathe in, and I visualize love coming into my heart before I breathe out,” says Dr. shah “With that exhale I could say ‘at peace’ and imagine love going out into the world.”

She wakes up the body with a short yoga flow

“I then do a few yoga poses, such as the sun salutation, to get my body moving before taking a shower, as yoga has a variety of health benefits, including lowering stress levels, improving blood pressure, and enhancing immunity and inflammation. ” She says.

To start your day soaking up the sun like Dr. Greetings Shah, Check out how to do the following yoga flow:

In general, exercise helps reduce heart disease risk, manage weight, reduce stress and improve our mental state — Shah says even just 30 minutes of walking a day can improve mood, tame stress and protect the heart. So swap out yoga for any workout that makes you feel good. Bonus points if it gets your blood pumping.

She puts off breakfast a few hours

“I typically do intermittent fasting, so along with black coffee with a shot of stevia, I don’t eat my first meal until 11 a.m. or noon,” says Dr. Shah risk of heart disease. I’m a vegetarian, so the night before I usually make overnight oats with sprouted gluten-free oats and unsweetened almond milk, blueberries, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and a pinch of powdered cinnamon and stevia.” Other suggestions include whole wheat toast with avocado, chia seeds, and crumbled feta; smoked salmon and Greek yogurt; nut butters and berries; or hummus with egg and vegetables.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Consume these nutrient-rich, whole foods to glow on your wedding day

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From salmon to beetroot—here’s all you need to incorporate into your diet

Time to have healthy foods! (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Wedding day is, undoubtedly, one of the most special days for anyone. Thus, people end up spending months to make sure all the arrangements are perfect and in place. However, amidst this hustle-bustle, many tend to forget their self-care routine which is crucial to glow on your big day. You may have the best hair and make-up artist in place but nothing beats the glow that comes from within.

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Wondering how to amp up your fitness and nutrition game? Nutritionist and diet coach Minaschi Pettukola is here to the rescue. This wedding season, incorporate these colourful, varied, nutrient-rich, whole foods suggested by Pettukola and make sure that you shine not just on your wedding day but for days to come.

salmon

Salmon is a powerhouse of essential fatty acids and is very rich in omega. It is the perfect recipe all on its own for glowing skin and shining hair.

Turmeric

Every Indian household is familiar with the benefits of turmeric. It is an age-old staple in our kitchens and is excellent in healing damaged skin and can repair sun-damaged skin.

Garlic

Garlic is known to reduce and fight off any skin infections. It is also recognized for boosting immunity which is of prime importance nowadays.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits can easily be added to your breakfast as oranges and grapefruit. They promote healthy collagen production and can fight inflammation and toxicity.

greens

Greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, mustard and fenugreek leaves are rich in antioxidants, calcium and folate, necessary to keep your skin healthy and glowing.

bedroot

Beetroot is an exceptionally rich source of antioxidant compounds which repair skin cells, promotes new skin growth and younger cells.

Whole grains

Whole grains are rich in fiber and nutrients, especially in these days of highly processed and nutrient-depleted foods. Whole grain foods help tilt the balance towards a healthier diet.

Others

Other foods which make a big difference to enriching your diet are eggs, nuts and seeds, pro and prebiotics, lentils and green tea.

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📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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