Week 5 – Day 5

Beautiful warm, soothing sun

Dr. Mercola, a guest of the Dr Oz show, is one of the earliest champions of the importance of vitamin D, which most doctors now recognize as important to overall health. Dr. Mercola believes that the best way to get vitamin D and other important compounds is through direct sun exposure – about10 minutes a day.

According to News Medical, the sun’s UVB wavelengths also do some good for your skin. These wavelengths kick off the chemical and metabolic chain reaction that produces vitamin D, which may promote bone health. Some people also receive another benefit from letting some sun hit their skin: it helps reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is usually caused by lack of sunlight.

Of course, there needs to be a balance between the risks of having too much and the risks of having too little sunlight. that sunburn should always be avoided. I’ve always been one who was comfortable in the sun, but my youth was spent before the now-known effects of too much exposure to sunlight. I have wrinkles and discoloration to prove this, but I still believe some amount of sun is beneficial to one’s self. As in all things, moderation is the key!

Week 5 – Day 4

Brussels sprouts

As part of Dr Oz’s list of “Foods to fight aging”, brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin C, which help build collagen and fight off free radicals.

According to healthdiaries.com, here are 9 great reasons to eat brussels sprouts:

Cholesterol
The high fiber content (over 15% of our RDA) of Brussels sprouts lowers our cholesterol by binding with bile acids that the liver produces from cholesterol for digesting fat. Because many of these bile acids are coupled with fiber, the liver is charged with producing more bile acid to digest fat, and therefore requires more cholesterol to do so, ultimately lowering the cholesterol amount within our bodies.

DNA
Recent studies have shown that certain compounds in Brussels sprouts block the activity of sulphotransferase enzymes that can be detrimental to the health and stability of DNA within white blood cells.

Antioxidants
A host of antioxidant ingredients are found in Brussels sprouts, including Vitamins C, E, and A, as well as the mineral manganese. Furthermore, flavonoid antioxidants like isorhamnetin, quercitin, and kaempferol also serve well to protect against oxidative stress on the body’s cells.

Inflammation
Glucobrassicin, a glucosinolate particularly abundant in Brussels sprouts, has been shown to fight inflammation on a genetic level once converted into the molecule indole-3-carbinol, or ITC. Furthermore, one and a half cups of Brussels sprouts contain about 430 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids (about ⅓ of the daily recommended amount) that are an essential part of our body’s anti-inflammatory messaging molecules. Finally, the wealth of vitamin K found in Brussels sprouts has been shown to effectively regulate our body’s inflammatory responses.

Cancer Prevention
Glucosinolates in Brussels sprouts and their detox-activating isothiocyanates are shown to fight against and even prevent various cancers, including bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancer.

Cardiovascular Support
Brussels sprouts contain the isothiocyanate sulforaphane made from glucosinolates. This powerful compounds not only triggers anti-inflammatory activity in our cardiovascular system but may also prevent and even possibly help reverse blood vessel damage. By regulating inflammation within the body, Brussels sprouts can fight against the onset of heart attacks, ischemic heart disease, and arteriosclerosis. Furthermore, the lowered cholesterol mentioned earlier may also lessen the possibility of arterial blockage.

Digestion and Diet
One cup of Brussels sprouts contains four grams (16% of the RDA) of dietary fiber, which can aid in digestion, prevent constipation, maintain low blood sugar and check overeating. The sulforaphane found in Brussels spouts also protects our stomach lining by obstructing the overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that can lead to gastric cancer.

Vitamin K
Brussels sprouts are especially high in vitamin K (one cup contains 273.5% of the RDA), which promotes healthy bones, prevents calcification of the body’s tissues, serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, and is essential for proper brain and nerve function.

Vitamin C
The nutritional benefits of vitamin C (one cup contains over 161% of the RDA) found in Brussels sprouts ensure a healthy immune system, ward against hyper tension, lower blood pressure, fight lead toxicity, combat cataracts, and serve as a powerful antioxidant that prevents “cellular rust,” which can lead to atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Vitamin A Brussels sprouts also contains over 20% of the RDA of vitamin A that boosts immunity, protects eyes against cataracts and macular degeneration, maintains healthy bones and teeth, prevents urinary stones, and is essential to our reproductive organs. Folate A biochemical event called the methylation cycle relies on folate to properly transcribe DNA, transform norepinephrine into adrenalin, as well as transform serotonin into melatonin. Furthermore, folate suppresses the amino acid homocysteine that has been shown to contribute to heart disease. One cup of Brussels sprouts contains a healthy dose of folate (almost 25% of the RDA) and the health benefits associated with it.

Week 5 – Day 3

EGGS

Eggs are often thought as a bad food due to the cholesterol found in egg’s yellow core however they are a soung good food. Listed as part of Dr Oz’s “Foods to fight aging”, eggs are rich in iron and biotin, which help keep your skin and hair healthy and full.

From the site www.aneggadayisok.ca, Eggs have always been an excellent choice for a healthy diet. They’re low in saturated fat, contain only 70 calories per egg and have no trans fat. Eggs are considered “nutrient-dense” because they are high in many vitamins, minerals and other key nutrients, but low in saturated fat and calories. Eggs are also a rich source of protein that provides long-lasting energy for your body.

Eggs are sometimes called “functional foods” because they deliver health benefits that go beyond basic nutrition, such as protein, vitamin B12, D, E and A, folate and iron amongst other benefits.

I often boil a half dozen eggs and have then on hand for quick snacks or to add to a salad or wrap. I also favor Spanish tortilla, a Spanish potato and egg mixture.

Week 5 – Day 2

CHOCOLATE – – Mmmmm!

My favorite type of chocolate is very dark – in fact, brand wise I prefer Lindt 85% Cocoa. It’s not a sweet chocolate by any means, but to me, it’s one of the most flavourful one.

According to allchocolate.com: Packed with natural antioxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa sit in the same good-for-you category as green tea and blueberries. That’s because chocolate comes from cacao beans (or cocoa beans), which grow on the cacao tree and are full of natural plant nutrients. Most of the studies to date highlight dark chocolate’s health values because it has the highest percentage of cocoa solids, therefore more flavanol antioxidants.

In short-term clinical trials, dark chocolate has reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow, showed mild anti-clotting effects and may help prevent plaque formation in arteries. Read about the research on chocolate and your heart.

Dark chocolate as an essential mineral source

COPPER – One average dark chocolate bar has 14 percent of the daily requirement for copper, a critical mineral that aids in the absorption of iron and is a key component of enzymes that form skin-strengthening collagen. An unsweetened baking chocolate bar delivers a whopping 22.5 percent of the daily requirement. Copper also is critical to heart health. During the early stages of development a diet low in copper can result in cardiovascular abnormalities and later on in life can contribute to the development of vascular disease.

MAGNESIUM – One average dark chocolate bar can deliver nearly 12 percent of your daily magnesium requirement. Studies show magnesium may help reduce the risk of several chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes

POTASSIUM – Cocoa and chocolate are natural sources of potassium, which studies have shown to be a key factor in affecting blood-pressure and stroke. The more potassium present in the body, the less likelihood of developing high blood pressure or stroke, the studies show

IRON – On average, a dark chocolate bar has nearly 7 percent of the required daily allowance. An average unsweetened baking chocolate bar packs in 13.3 percent of the daily requirement. Some specific brands of chocolate even have higher iron contents. The main function of iron is to help carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and other organs.

This is a no-brainer for me, but I recognize that I must ingest this in SMALL quantities!

Week 5 – Day 1

Romaine lettuce

From Dr Oz’s “Foods to fight aging” list, romaine lettuce is a leafy green vegetable high in vitamin A, a vitamin that helps revitalize skin by increasing cell turnover and encouraging new skin cell growth. Add 6 leaves to your salad or as a side with dinner for your daily allowance of vitamin A.

I use either romaine lettuce or mesclin greens in my lunch wraps. As well, we often use even amounts of romaine and other lettuces for salads.

From the incredible smoothies site (www.incrediblesmoothies.com) – 10 surprising nutritional facts about romaine lettuce:

1 – Protein. Believe it or not, romaine lettuce is 17% protein with 7.7 grams per head. It is also a complete protein! That means that it has all 8 essential amino acids, 9% RDA of some and up to 26% RDA of others.

2 – Calcium. One head of romaine has 206mg of calcium (about 21% RDA). Blend it with calcium rich fruits like papaya and oranges and you’ll get more calcium than a glass of milk!

3 – Omega-3s. One head of romaine lettuce contains 44% RDA of Omega-3 essential fats. Forget the tainted fish oils, reach for some leafy greens instead!

4 – More Vitamin C Than An Orange. One head of romaine contains 167% RDA of vitamin C while an average sized orange contains only 92%.

5 – Iron. One head of romaine contains 6mg of iron, which ads a significant source of iron to the diets of vegetarians and vegans.

6 – Romaine Lettuce is Rich in B-vitamins: Thiamine (B1) – 38% RDA, Riboflavin (B2) – 32% RDA, Niacin (B3) – 12% RDA, Pantothenic Acid (B5) – 18%, Pyridoxine (B6) – 36 %, Folate (B9) – 213%!

7 – Water. One head of romaine provides 16% of your daily water needs with about 20 ounces of water per head!

8 – Rich Source of vitamin A (as beta-carotene) and K. As with most leafy greens, romaine is super rich in beta-carotene with 1817% RDA per head and has 535% RDA of vitamin K.

9 – Low Levels of Oxalic Acid. If you have problems with calcium oxalate kidney stones, romaine lettuce might be a good choice for leafy greens since it is very low in this anti-nutrient.

10 – Mineral-Rich. Don’t let the lighter color of romaine lettuce fool you. This not-so-dark leafy green is rich in minerals. One head contains copper (33% RDA), magnesium (22% RDA), manganese (42% RDA), phosphorus (27% RDA), potassium (33%), selenium (5% RDA) and zinc (13% RDA).

4 week follow up

December 16th was my fourth completed week of incorporating a tip, suggestion or idea from Dr Oz’s many many shows. How did I feel?

In one word – GREAT! I’ve cut down on snacking, have religiously added Chia seeds and raspberry Ketones to my daily intake, I’ve increased my exercise and have incorporated more green into my meals.

Results as of Dec 16th – I’m now off one of my high blood pressure medication (one left to eliminate), I’ve lost 5.5 lbs and my blood pressure is average to low. My blood sugars are down, and I sleep better at night. Is this all due to the changes? in part yes, but also some of the changes I had already started adding to my daily life.

I’ve become more aware of nutrition (there’s a lot of great articles on Dr Oz’s website) and often read additional materials based on the information gathered from the main site.

Life is grand!

Week 4 – Day 7

Dr Oz’s green drink

My good friend Sylvie was the one who introduced me to Dr. Oz’s green drink. She had me try it at her home, and I loved it. In fact, when on our Mazatlan holiday, Sylvie arranged with the morning kitchen chef to have him make us this drink for breakfast. I can tell you that almost every morning we had curious guests asking us about the drink.

the recipe is as follow:
Ingredients
2 cups spinach
2 cups cucumber
1 head of celery
1/2 inch or teaspoon ginger root
1 bunch parsley
2 apples
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a blender. This makes approximately 28-30 ounces, or 3-4 servings.

This drink is high in fiber, low in calories and tastes great!

Week 4 – Day 6

HOLD the SALT!

I have to admit, this is an ongoing battle for me. Let’s face it, salt makes food taste – well, better at times… OK – for me, most times. I do however understand the need to keep our salt intake to a much lower level than we typically do.

Our body needs some sodium to function, but too much may lead to high blood pressure (a major risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease). Some sodium is needed in our body to regulate fluids and blood pressure, and to keep muscles and nerves running smoothly. Healthy adults need only 1500 mg of sodium each day.

According to Health Canada, processed foods (including restaurant and fast foods) account for 77% of the sodium we eat. Another 12% is found naturally in foods, 6% we add at the table, and 5% we add during cooking. So 88% of all the sodium in our diet is not present naturally: it is added during food manufacturing or preparation.

One easy way to reduce salt intake is to use fresh or frozen products rather than canned products. We eat a lot of fresh and frozen vegetables, and I make exceptions only occasionally, and mostly for beans (chili) or canned tomatoes for spaghetti sauce. Canned options include lower soldium so check labels when choosing your canned products.

Week 4 – Day 5

High fiber cereals are available in many forms.
One of my favorites is Cheerios. We use to give Cheerios as a snack to our girls and as toddlers, they founs portable snacks such as Cheerios fun to eat.

Cheerios like cereals have a specific type of fibre that has been shown in scientific research to help lower cholesterol. This oat fibre acts like a “sponge,” soaking up some of the cholesterol in the body so that the body can get rid of it naturally. Lowering cholesterol can lower the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease.

Week 4 – Day 4

Peas, peas, glorious peas.

Yes, I’m talking about those little round tasty green vegetable, sweet and perfect on its own or in salads and one of my favorite dish, paella!

If peas are not in season, you can substitute frozen peas – just as good and handy to have in your freezer. Peas are very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. They are also a good source of Protein, Folate, Iron and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Thiamin.