With everyone from your grandma Sally to Dr. Oz to your Facebook friends telling you how to eat healthy, it is hard to know what to swallow. Never mind America’s struggle with morbid obesity and our propensity to gorge ourselves with processed and artificially sweetened food, even a relatively intelligent and health conscious individual would have trouble trying to decide what to eat.
Our grandparents and our great grandparents probably did not have much choice when it came to eating healthy. From the farm to the table sans the chemical preservatives and the additives that most of us cannot pronounce had to make for a healthier diet. Let’s not forget canning and stewing and the ultimate in fresh cuisine…the ringing of that poor bird’s neck. These and other mysterious activities that our grandmothers engaged in prior to putting food on the table were a far cry from pulling through the drive through for genetically engineered nuggets and yes, a recent post on Facebook claims that McDonalds used ammonium hydroxide in their burgers up until 2012 when word got out.
So what about Dr. Oz and the so-called super foods? While most nutritionists agree that super foods can be loosely defined as nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals, it is hard to find agreement about which foods make up the top ten. Most of us would probably be hard pressed to find the items, lingonberries, beet juice, and black soybeans to name a few, on Dr. Oz’s list. We are more likely to find and be more comfortable with the super foods touted by Web MD as the top ten. Foods like yogurt, broccoli, kiwi and salmon might, in fact, already be in your kitchen.
Then there are the lists that caring friends repost on Facebook; you know like the healing power of breadcrumbs or the life saving benefits of cornstarch. No seriously, you’ve seen the posts and we have all heard about eating bananas to relieve muscle cramps (something about potassium) but did you know that bananas can aid in digestion, sustain your blood sugar, relieve anemia, protect against heart attack and stroke? Bananas can make depressed people feel better and you can even use to peel to shine your shoes.
Another amazing food, according to Facebook is the unassuming cucumber. Yes the cucumber. It seems that the cucumber, able to fight cancer, relieve bad breath, cure hangovers and diabetes, should be on somebody’s the top ten list as well. Who knew? Cucumbers can even prevent foggy mirrors and silence a squeaky hinge.
With all these different reports about super foods, what vitamins you need, what minerals you should digest; fish oil, chia seed, anti-oxidants and/or probiotics, how is a reasonably intelligent person supposed to determine exactly how to eat healthy? What is a body to do?
While there are plenty of different opinions about what to eat and what not to eat, choosing the best mix without doing your research would probably be about as successful as winning the lottery, without a ticket. Best advice? Nix the fast food, the preservatives, the artificial sweeteners and everything processed. Everything? Well… I remember, as a kid, riding by the “Golden Arches” with pure lust in my eyes and praying that my parents would stop and they did, but only about once a month. Moderation people, moderation. You might even drop in and see what Dr. Oz is saying. The bottom line? Do the research and then do what’s best for you.
By Constance Nicole