Archive for August, 2012

Do decisions about when to eat affect health? After a night’s fast, breakfast may be the most important meal of the day. I want to eat each morning as soon as my feet hit the floor. Many make excuses for delaying or skipping breakfast.

Health professionals have purported the benefits of breakfast. Those who skip this significant meal usually fail to meet daily nutrient requirements. Breakfast enhances mental ability while those who skip this meal report more irritability and tiredness. Eating breakfast helps control weight, whereas skipping can increase the possibility for obesity and make weight control more difficult.

New evidence suggests more benefits. At the 2012 American Diabetes Association convention, A. O. Odegaard and his cohorts reported that for men and women ages twenty-five to thirty-seven, their choice to eat or not eat breakfast affected their risk for developing type 2 diabetes (defined as those with a fasting-blood glucose greater than 126 mg/dL).

From a group of 3,500, those who ate breakfast five or more times per week reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 31% and gained less weight than those who ate breakfast zero to three times per week. Participants who ate a more nutritious diet had even less risk, but the frequency of eating breakfast was more important than quality of food. In other words, a doughnut was better than nothing.

Often people claim to miss this important meal because of limited time in the early morning. For a quick nutritious breakfast, pair a make-ahead muffin with a glass of milk and fresh fruit. You can find a great recipe for Banana Ginger Muffins at http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/breakfast-on-the-go.html . Toss in a few nuts for extra protein and you have a great start on the day. Your extra effort will help control weight, provide more energy, improve mental alertness, and help prevent type 2 diabetes. For a healthier you, try breakfast.

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Touted as the nectar of the gods, how do you choose the right olive oil for your use? The degree of acid and the method of extraction determine the different types. Higher quality oils have a lower acid content.

  • Extra virgin comes from the first pressing of the olives, known as cold-pressed. It has 1% acid and ranges in color from champagne to greenish-gold to bright green. The deeper the color, the more intense the olive flavor. This oil is more expensive and has a very low smoking point. It is best used in salads and foods that don’t require heat.
  • Virgin olive oil has 1-3% acid and is also from first-pressed olives. Use it for low temperature cooking.
  • Fino (fine) olive oil is a blend of extra virgin and virgin olive oils.
  • Light indicates color and fragrance. Light has the same amount of calories as other varieties. Because of its negligible olive flavor and higher smoking point, this oil is great for cooking, baking, and frying.

The US government does not regulate label information for olive oils. Labels with North American Olive Oil Association assure the product meets standards of the industry. The following applies to all types of olive oils.

  • Storage:          Store in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. You can refrigerate for one year, but it will turn cloudy. Cloudiness dissipates when the oil is left at room temperature.
  • Nutrition:       Most people know olive oil is healthier than other vegetable oils. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats which may help reduce the risks of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL). All types of olive oil contain about 45-50 calories per teaspoon.

Choose the olive oil most suited for your use and flavor, and then enjoy this nectar of the gods for better health.

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