sufferers typically receive detailed instructions regarding dosages of
medication, but the conventional medical community is just starting to recognize
the effects of diet on disease. For almost any type of ailment, choosing to
practice a healthy diet can be an effective tool in any disease management
Diet, of course, is
only one part of an overall healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, sleep and
stress management. However, thinking logically, if we have plaque build-up in
our arteries that led to a heart attack, continuing to eat foods that add to
that plaque could lead to another, possibly fatal attack. There are many
diseases, including cardiac disease that respond well to changes in dietary
habits or may even be preventable with a little conscious eating.
Both diabetics and
multiple sclerosis sufferers report success in reducing the severity of symptoms
by changing their diet to one lower in saturated fats and higher in whole foods
and unsaturated fats. Since Omega-3 fatty acids and other polyunsaturated fats
play a role in healthy nerve conduction, MS patients may benefit from
maintaining a diet that not only promotes nervous system function, but may even
help repair existing damage. Good sources of unsaturated fats include avocados,
nuts, seeds and fish.
The National Cancer
Institute reported in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association
that various fruits and vegetables may protect against heart disease, stroke,
cancer, cataracts, chronic obstructive lung disease, diverticulosis and possibly
high blood pressure. Produce especially rich in cancer-protective chemicals
(including broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, kale and Brussels sprouts)
Dried legumes (beans
produce (sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and winter squash)
Dried fruits such as
prunes and raisins
The American Heart
Association recommends that patients with heart disease change their diets to
one higher in produce and lower in meat and saturated fats. Flavonoids and other
antioxidants found in produce can inhibit the formation of blood clots and
artery-clogging cholesterol. Natural potassium may help to prevent or control
high blood pressure and thus reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Produce especially protective against heart disease and stroke include:
Orange fruit and
vegetables high in potassium (orange, cantaloupe)
Leafy green vegetables
additionally believe that several components of whole grains such as
antioxidants, minerals, fiber and phytoestrogens, act in symphony with each
other to fight both heart disease and cancer. Whole grains can help lower LDL
cholesterol levels, and oats contain a number of nutrients that can help reduce
several heart disease risk factors.
A large study of male
health professionals showed that fruits and vegetables high in the antioxidants
of carotenoids and vitamins C and E appear to reduce the risk of developing
cataracts. Produce especially helpful to prevent cataracts include:
These are only a few
examples of foods that have been formally studied in connection with a specific
disease; imagine how much we don't know or can't identify yet about the link
between diet and health. Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients were only first
isolated and identified within the last century and new properties are still
Since, in many ways,
the formal study of human nutrition is a relatively recent field and much is
still unknown, the best way to hedge our bets toward health may be to attempt to
provide our bodies with the nutrition it needs to function properly, if not
optimally. A diet rich in a variety of whole, unprocessed fruits, vegetables,
grains and proteins can not only provide a balanced source of energy but will
also nourish and sustain bodily functions from the cellular level on up.
Try this recipe for a
quick, convenient, nutritious and delicious one-pot meal that offers a variety
of whole foods containing a medley of nutrients to supply a healthy body.
French Riviera Tomato Trout with
1/2 lb. potatoes, red boiler or new
2-5 cloves garlic, chopped
8-10 pearl onions, peeled, whole
1/2-3/4 lb. trout fillets
Tbsp. capers, drained
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
Tbsp. parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
cup haricots verts (green beans), cut in thirds
2-3 plum tomatoes, chopped roughly
1/3 cup white wine
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray inside of 2-quart cast iron Dutch oven and
lid with olive oil.
Scrub and eye the potatoes and cut into 1″x1/2″ pieces. Place in base of pot in
a single layer. Distribute 1/2 the garlic and all of the onions among the
Lay the trout in a single layer (skin side down) atop the potatoes and onions.
Sprinkle with rest of garlic, capers, olives and 1/2 the parsley. Lightly season
with salt and pepper.
Add the haricots verts. Top with the chopped tomatoes, sprinkle with the rest of
the parsley and again lightly season with salt and pepper. Pour the wine over
Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
Eat in the light, clean Mediterranean tradition for meals that are low in
saturated fats but high in flavor. You can easily skip the wine in this recipe
and still have a great tasting meal, but if you do choose to use wine, try a
Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc rather than a “cooking wine."
About the author:
is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and
the author of
Glorious One-Pot Meals: A new quick & healthy approach
to Dutch oven cooking, a guide to preparing
quick, healthy and balanced one-pot meals.
Visit Elizabeth online at www.GloriousOnePotMeals.com to subscribe to her free newsletter. The
Glorious One-Pot Meal cooking method is unique and holds US patent 6,846,504.