Archive for May, 2013

5 ‘bad’ foods you should be eating

5 ‘bad’ foods you should be eating

By Leslie Goldman

EGGS
 

Then: Yolks were considered tiny cholesterol bombs.

  1. Now: Numerous studies, including one in a 2011 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have debunked the link between eggs and heart disease. Although a single yolk contains nearly the recommended daily limit for dietary cholesterol, it is the most nutrient-rich part, packed with zinc, iron, vitamins A and D, and choline, which may help reduce breast-cancer risk. Plus, the yolk contains nearly half of an egg’s hunger-quashing protein, which is why white-only omelets aren’t as satisfying.

“Because you feel full, you’re less likely to overeat later on,” says Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, Ph.D., an associate professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Bring it back: A hardboiled egg makes a great snack with staying power — and has only around 70 calories. Just beware fattening companions that often accompany eggs, such as butter, bacon, and cheese.

 

BANANAS

Then: Higher in calories than most fruits, bananas were considered carbs that packed on pounds.

Now: Bananas contain a type of dietary fiber known as resistant starch that your body can’t absorb, so it fills you up temporarily without the risk of filling you out permanently. Other research has linked resistant starch to an increase in post-meal fat-burning, says Janine Higgins, Ph.D., nutrition research director at the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. One of the by-products of the unabsorbed carbohydrates in your system is butyrate, a fatty acid that may inhibit the body’s ability to burn carbs, forcing it to incinerate fat instead.

Bring it back: Choose a greener banana; once it has turned totally yellow, the starch inside has broken down and is no longer resistant to digestion. If you don’t like to eat bananas when they’re that firm, toss one into the blender for a hunger-dampening smoothie. And take a deep whiff before sipping it: Research from The Smell Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago shows that the smell of banana helps reduce appetite, so you may not want to eat as much anyway.
COCONUT OIL

Then: Because it’s high in saturated fat, coconut oil was demonized by dieters.

Now: Turns out, coconut oil is swimming in medium-chain triglycerides, fats that can be metabolized faster than the long-chain variety found in other oils like sunflower. “They’re rarely stored as fat because the body prefers to use them for energy,” says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. A 2009 study in Lipids found that supplementing women’s diets with about two tablespoons of coconut oil per day fueled a reduction in abdominal obesity while helping elevate HDL (good) cholesterol levels. (Other studies have confirmed there is no negative impact on LDL cholesterol or blood pressure.)

Bring it back: Because coconut oil is calorie dense — about 120 calories per tablespoon –you still want to watch how much you down. Bowden suggests swapping oils high in omega-6, like corn or vegetable, for virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil.

 

RED MEAT

Then: Beef had a reputation for contributing to heart disease and wide waistlines.

Now: New research suggests that saturated fat—at least in moderation—may not be the evil heart attacker it’s been made out to be. And today you can buy cuts of meat that are leaner than what was available a decade ago. Red meat is a stellar source of satisfying protein, a known ally in weight management. “It requires more time and energy to digest and can help you gain metabolically active muscle, which burns more calories at rest than fat does,” says Wendy Bazilian, D.P.H., R.D., author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet. Plus, particularly the grass-fed variety contains high concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is associated with a lower body-fat percentage. Early research indicates that CLA may disrupt enzymes that help deposit and store fat.

Bring it back: The cut of beef is the deciding factor. Extra-lean ones include top sirloin select, sirloin tip, top round, and eye of round roast. They all have fewer than five grams of total fat and two grams of saturated fat per three-ounce serving, but avoid anything labeled prime, which tends to be fatty. Shoot for a three-to four-ounce portion—the size of a BlackBerry—and grill, roast, or bake it (panfrying only soaks it in butter or oil).
PEANUT BUTTER

Then: This sandwich staple has been shunned as high-fat and high-cal.

Now: True, peanut butter contains 16 grams of fat per two-tablespoon serving, but it’s the heart-healthy, monounsaturated kind. “Peanut butter helps with appetite regulation without your even trying,” says Bazilian. “It’s so nutrient dense that we simply end up consuming fewer calories overall.” A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who remained on a diet that included peanut butter for 18 months lost an average of nine pounds.

Bring it back: Skip reduced-fat varieties, which are often heavily sweetened to compensate for missing flavor. Stick with natural PB with no added sweeteners and focus on portion control. If you can’t be bothered to measure out two level tablespoons, buy individual packets (try Justin’s) for 200 calories or fewer.

The 12 Most Common Causes of Food Poisoning

May 2nd, 2011

The 12 Most Common Causes of Food Poisoning

 

The CDC estimates that there are about 48 million illnesses caused by food poisoning each year, and as ahealth care professionalyou’re bound to see more than a few. Of course, knowing that food poisoning is a common occurrence isn’t any consolation to those suffering through the nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and digestive problems it can cause. Your best weapon against food poisoning is prevention, and there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of exposure to some of the common bacteria that cause it. Learn these common causes of food poisoning so you can eat smart and help stop yourself from becoming just another statistic.

  1. Raw or undercooked foodWhether you’re cooking at home or going out, eating food that hasn’t been cooked thoroughly or brought to the appropriate temperature can put you at high risk of developing food poisoning. While you might enjoy rare steak, runny eggs or certain raw veggies, these foods can all carry bacteria when they are not cooked long enough or hot enough to kill off the offending particles. Common bacteria found in undercooked food include E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter. Be safe instead of sorry and ask that your food be cooked through or use this chart when at home.
  2. Food that is not stored at the proper temperatureWhile simple common sense would tell you that leaving foods like meat and dairy products out of refrigeration makes them unfit to eat, temperature regulation can be a bit more complicated. Refrigerators can malfunction, foods can be forgotten on the counter and instructions on labels can be misread. To keep yourself safe, always check the temperature on your fridge and freezer. They should be at 40 degrees F and 0 degrees F respectively. Always read the label to see what foods will need be refrigerated immediately and which have to be cooled after opening. If you plan to freeze foods, do it within 2 days of purchase. This can help prevent some very serious bacteria from growing and making you sick.
  3. Letting food sit outMost of us are smart enough to not let refrigerated foods sit out, but sometimes we can forget to put away the leftovers or want it on hand at a party. In order to keep these foods safe to eat and avoid some common bacteria taking hold, you should always put leftovers away as soon as you can. If you’re serving food at a party, keep hot food at 140 degrees F or warmer, cold foods at 40 degrees F. Never leave perishable food out for more than two hours, especially if the weather is warm. This will help ensure that neither you nor your guests end up sick.
  4. Not washing hands before eating or preparing foodContamination of foods from dirty hands is a big cause of many cases of food poisoning. Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling foods at home (for at least 20 seconds) and only eat at restaurants with strong showings in health department assessments. Additionally, always make sure your hands are clean before eating food as well, especially if you will be touching them. Without these precautions, you could put yourself at risk of coming in contact with bacteria like staphylococcus-aureus and clostridium-perfringens.
  5. Contamination of other foods by raw meatCross-contamination of foods is a major health issue and one that many out there should be highly conscious of avoiding at home. When juices from contaminated meat get onto cutting boards, hands and into the refrigerator, contamination can spread to other foods, some of which you might not plan to cook at all. It is essential to keep raw meat, poultry and fish separate from other foods. Always wash any utensils, countertops and cutting boards that have come in contact with them immediately, sanitizing them with bleach and water, or even having separate tools for handling meat can be a big help.
  6. Eating raw shellfishRaw oysters may be a delicacy, but ingesting them doesn’t come without some serious risks. Oysters from the Gulf of Mexico are commonly contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus bacteria which can cause mild to serious food poisoning. Additionally, even oysters that do not come from this region are often left unrefrigerated for several hours while being brought to shore. While you may be fine after eating raw oysters, be aware that ingestion of these shellfish uncooked is a big risk and could lead to serious health issues.
  7. Improper canningCanning foods at home has been a common practice for several decades, but it’s one that needs to be carefully monitored in order to ensure that the food being preserved won’t carry contaminates along with it. Botulism is perhaps the most common bacteria contaminant in improperly canned food, and is one of the most serious and potentially deadly forms of food poisoning out there. Always boil jars and lids to be used in canning to kill off any lingering bacteria and make sure that all cans are properly sealed. Improper canning can also happen with foods you get off grocery store shelves so look out for bulges, discolored food, or seepage.
  8. Ingesting expired foodWe’ve all done it at one point or another, but eating expired food comes with a big risk for food poisoning attached. Always check expiration dates before ingesting any food in your home or purchased at the store. If there is no date on the package, no packaging or only a sell by date, use the government guidelines for cold storage to help you determine if a food is safe to eat or not.
  9. Not reheating food thoroughly.You might think that you only have to worry about food poisoning in foods that haven’t already been cooked, but that’s not entirely the case. You should also be careful with foods that you’re reheating, especially if they’ve been hanging out in your fridge for more than a couple of days. When reheating foods, make sure that meats reach a temp of at least 160-170 degrees F and that other foods come to around 165 degrees F. This will ensure that any bacteria that might have made its way into the food will be killed off and that you’ll be able to avoid a common cause of food poisoning.
  10. Not washing produce thoroughly before preparationEven those seemingly innocuous veggies can be the source of food poisoning if not washed and prepared properly. Prior to reaching your table, there’s no telling how many things they may have come in contact with, so always clean any fruit or vegetables with a soft kitchen brush and water (or a pre-prepared veggie wash) to ensure that any bacteria it contains will be largely washed away. This is especially important with foods that you do not plan to cook. While foodbourne illness is more commonly caused by meats, recent outbreaks of salmonella and E. coli have originated in spinach and tomatoes.
  11. Unclean cooking utensils and surfacesWhen it comes to food safety, cleanliness matters. Dirty kitchens attract mice and rats that can spread disease and also create ideal places for bacteria to grow and thrive and access your food. It’s essential to keep any space you plan to cook in and any tools you plan to use highly sanitized. The USDA advises putting a tablespoon of bleach into one gallon of water to create a sanitizing liquid. This can help prevent any bacteria hanging out in your kitchen from getting on food and will ensure that none are able to cross contaminate one another.
  12. Unpasteurized foodsFor the most part, people are fine after eating foods that are unpasteurized, provided they have been stored and served in a safe manner. Yet for those with compromised immune systems, who are pregnant and the very young and very old could be at risk for food poisoning from these. Commonly pasteurized foods include milk, cheeses, yogurt, ice cream, ciders and juices. Unpasteurized versions of these foods can carry Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, which can make individuals very sick.