Physicians became early advocates for and supporters of olive oil based cooking. They were impressed by reports which stated that the rate of heart disease in certain regions of the Mediterranean was relatively low and that dietary monounsaturated fat was capable of lowering total cholesterol and LDL without lowering HDL.
Devotees of good dining have turned their attention to the varieties of olive oil, finding that olive oils differ in quality, flavor, color, aroma and smoke points. Some olive oils are best used on salads, some on bread or pasta, while others are more appropriate for sautéing or frying.
When you visit a restaurant, request a dish of the house olive oil
instead of butter. Try dipping your bread or roll. It can be caloric if you overdo it, but it is better for you than butter.
You should know...
- An Olive Oil labeled "virgin" is produced without chemical solvents .
- "Extra-virgin olive oil," the most costly and sought after by gourmet diners is lowest in acidity, less than 1%. It is produced from the first pressing, from carefully selected olives and has a rich deep flavor that captures the essence of the olive.
- To insure that you are purchasing the best of extra-virgin olive oils, examine the label for "produced and bottled by." This establishes that one company or estate has both produced the olives and bottled the oil. "Selected by" means that an expert has selected the olives pressed for the particular oil, another guarantee of quality.. Absence of these markings could mean that the olives were grown in one region, then shipped for processing to the region named on the bottle. Select "cold pressed oil" when possible. This suggest more nutritionally sound oil, extracted with little or no heat. We like ours unfiltered, finding it more flavorful.
- Unlike wine, olive oil does not improve with age. It should be used within a year of its bottling for the best flavor.
Back to Top
Basics of a Healthy Diet
- Try to limit meat, poultry and yes, even fish, to six ounces daily. Trim fat when you cook or dine.
- Use skimmed or low-fat milk and other dairy products such as yogurt. If you love your sweets, try Haagen Daz sorbet pops (the chocolate is fabulous).
- Vitamin D - most people know that too little Calcium makes for brittle bones. But recently, concern with Vitamin D deficiency, particularly in older people, is growing. Milk as the only food that is fortified with Vitamin D is being consumed far less by adults these days. In the wintertime, with less sunlight (which acts to make vitamin D for us), blood levels of a form of D decrease. Vitamin D is involved in Calcium metabolism, and deficient vitamin D prevents the body from putting down calcium in the bone. On the contrary, deficiency increases risk of bone loss and fracture. One clinic reports that the daily multivitamin is not sufficient to provide for a healthy vitamin D level in adults over 70. Be careful not to overdo it. Too much vitamin D can cause toxicity: confusion, fatigue, kidney stones, etc. If you're over 50, ask your doctor to check your level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. That's the only way to be sure that you don't have a silent vitamin D deficiency. Women over 50 should consider having a bone mineral density study.
- Recommendations for vitamin D - ten to fifteen minutes of sunshine, 2-3 times per week between 8AM and 4PM; under age 70, a multivit, supplement or milk to provide 400 IU per day ; over age 70, get total of 600 IU.
Caution: stay below 1000 IU from all supplements and food. Calcium supplements often contain vitamin D. Get your calcium from a supplement or from 1% skim milk, low-fat yogurt, reduced-fat cheese. leafy green vegetables, fortified orange juice.
- Subscribe to the Nutrition Action newsletter of the center for science in the Public Interest, suite 300, 1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington DC 20009-5728
Back to Top
Heart Healthy Dining
A recent survey revealed that almost 90% of Americans know that high on the list of risk factors for heart disease are elevated blood cholesterol and a high fat diet. An awareness heart-healthy dining and its corresponding practice can reduce your risk considerably. So how do you do this while traveling for business or pleasure?
Let's start with the airline. Airline food is ordinarily nothing to write home about unless you're traveling business or first-class- and even then, it pays to ask in advance what's on the menu. If you fly frequently, ask the airlines to provide you with information about their low-calorie vegetarian, kosher or low-fat meals. Order in advance according to taste and diet. If you're going to "cheat," do it in a good restaurant rather than on an airplane. It may seem like a drag, but consider bringing your own food. Some of our correspondents take roast turkey sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes in separate containers, mustard or low-fat mayo in another. The airline provides the drinks and they'll try the salad and maybe the dessert.
Back to Top
Soy Protein and Cholesterol
A 1995 study in the New England Journal of Medicine summarizing data from 38 previous studies
concluded that eating soy protein in place of animal protein for 4 weeks, lowered total
cholesterol more than 9 percent. soy appears to reduce ldl (low-density lipoprotein), the "bad"
cholesterol without impacting on the valuable hdl(high-density lipoprotein).
so, if your cholesterol is at a a level where your doctor is considering a cholesterol-lowering
drug, ask whether you might try soy in your diet, replacing animal fat. you'll need around 25
grams a day, according to the research we've read and this can be obtained in a variety of
forms. tofu, tempeh, isolated soy protein (powder form that can be mixed into drinks, sauces
etc.), soy flour(half-cup of defatted has 24 grams of soy protein and less than a gram of fat),
textured soy protein and soy milk.
Upon request to our e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org we'll send you some recipes for cooking with soy.
Include your e-mail address.
And remember: Balance your diet, exercise regularly, explore ways to deal with stress!
Recent studies suggest that Soy supplements (isoflavones), used by postmenopausal women instead of estrogen may increase the risk of breast cancer for some, and the same may hold true for Soy, in general. Some investigators suggest that Soy, recommended for lowering cholesterol, be used by those with a family history of heart disease, but not by women with a family history of breast cancer. Talk it over with your doctor before embarking on a program of adding Soy to your diet.
Back to Top
Here is a quote from the Center for Science in the Public Interest that will excite your interest-and maybe your appetite.
"Eating at a steakhouse doesn't have to bust your waistline or help finance your cardiologist's
next Mercedes." But be sure to read the small print, too. While red meat is not your best
choice as a regular item on your diet, an occasional sirloin steak or a filet mignon won't break
the fat bank. A twelve ounce sirloin after the fat is trimmed has 15 grams of fat and 390 calories while a trimmed 9 ounce filet mignon carries with it 350 calories and 18 grams of fat. New York strip and rib-eyes have two to three times as much fat as sirloin, so choose your cut with care. And watch what you eat with your sirloin or filet mignon. Those side-dishes: buffalo wings, stuffed potato skins, fries of various sorts contain huge amounts of calories and fat.
Our recommendation: satisfy the craving with a sirloin or filet mignon, a salad with fat-free
dressing and a baked potato. Resist the butter and use only a tad of sour cream. And save
steak for a special occasion, at home or in the restaurant. A glass of cabernet or merlot,
California or French makes a nice accompaniment, too.
Back to Top
Recent headlines suggested that supplements of the trace element selenium in the diet may
decrease cancer incidence. Be aware that while further studies will surely be conducted, there is skepticism in some quarters as well as enthusiasm in others.
Until definitive word is in, researcher Larry Clark, one of those responsible for the findings,
says "we don't have enough evidence to make public health recommendations, but if informed
people want to supplement themselves as a precaution, I wouldn't discourage them."
In the study, people were given 200 micrograms a day of selenium, which is the upper end of the
"Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Intake" set by the National Academy of Sciences for
everyone. Discuss it with your doctor. There is even a question whether the inorganic sodium
selenite used in many tablets on the market will have the same results, if those results hold up, that the high-selenium yeast used in the study did.
Remember this - too much is toxic! Whatever you do, don't go above the estimated
safe intake. It can kill you.
Back to Top
Folic Acid Intake
Researchers have recently implicated high levels of homocysteine as an important risk factor
for cardiovascular disease. Though the evidence is not conclusive, it is strongly suggestive and some scientists are suggesting an increase in folic acid in the diet, via food consumption and supplements. Folic acid is a B vitamin and one of its effects is to reduce the level of homocysteine in the blood.
Ask your doctor to check your blood level of homocysteine.
Elevated levels are associated with insufficient intake of B-vitamins, in particular folic acid.
Individuals with elevated levels should ask their physician or cardiologist about treatment with folic acid supplements.
The healthy individual should be aware that the by-now famous prescription- five servings of
fruits and vegetables a day-should provide sufficient B-6 and folate, without supplementation.
Remember, too, that if you use folic acid apart from diet, i.e. 400 mcg supplement daily, you
must add 6 mcg of vitamin B-12- because folic acid can mask a deficiency of B-12 and lead to
Cereals such as Total, Grapenuts and All-Bran contain over 300 mcg per cup.
Remember to review your diet, vitamin and mineral supplementation with your physician.
Unfortunately, some physicians do not routinely inquire- so you must take the lead. This is not
easy for everyone, but we urge you to do so.
Back to Top
You will find wakame seaweed salad served in many Japanese restaurants. It is a healthy way
to start your dinner, high in iron and other minerals, low in calories- and it's delicious. In New York, you can also find it in Japanese food stores, some fish stores and such takeout shops as Obento Delight in the Village and Upper West Side or Fuji San in Brooklyn.
Back to Top
How to Eat
Recent research conducted at TUFTS University, a major center for nutritional studies, suggested that when people reach their fifties and sixties, they would be wise to switch their eating pattern so that they eat several small meals each day rather than one or two large ones. The metabolism of fat during a 1000 calorie meal is less efficient as we age, and thus, we deposit more fat than we would if we ate two 500 calories meals. They also recommend strength-training exercises for 45 minutes twice weekly, building up muscle, which burns fat more efficiently.
If you'd like to subscribe to the TUFTS Health and Nutrition Letter, you can call write to them at P.O. Box 57857, Boulder, CO, 80322-7857.You'll find it a valuable source of information.
Back to Top
Low Fat, High Calorie?
A recent report in the Harvard Health Letter (to subscribe to this worthwhile publication, write to Harvard Medical School Health Publications Group, 164 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115) calls attention to the fact that in the effort to cut back on fat, people may be eating too much carbohydrates of a certain kind- namely, pasta, rice cakes, fat- free cookies and crackers. They point out that this food has limited nutritional value. In the processing they lose fiber and most of their vitamins and nutrients. The shocking findings, from our point of view, is that despite reducing fat intake, during the past five years, Americans have steadily gained weight.
Suggested are 6-11 servings of grains per day: but look to such foods as all-brain cereal (half-cup portion), whole wheat bread, cooked oatmeal, for example. When you shop for bread and crackers, look for 100% whole wheat. There's more to learn about nutrition- and worth your time doing so- for yourself and your family. Subscribe to publications such as the Tufts and Harvard letters- and don't take your intake lightly, or the results may be heavy.
Back to Top
Taglierini with Lemon and Basil
1 lb. Fresh taglierini (May substitute linguini or spaghettini)
1/2 cup Olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
1 Tblsp Zest of lemon (2 medium lemons)- less, if you don't want it so tangy, more if you prefer it that way.
3 Tblsp Chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup Grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp Salt
3 twists Black pepper, Pepper grinder
Cook the pasta al dente in 6 quarts rapidly boiling salted water to which a few drops of olive oil have been added (to prevent pasta from clumping). A few minutes before pasta is ready, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the lemon zest and a grating of pepper. At the last minute, add the chopped basil and stir together. Drain the pasta and place it in a large warm serving platter. Give sauce a final stir and pour over the pasta. Toss very well. Salt and pepper to diet and taste. Enjoy!
Back to Top
Advice from the Experts at Lighthouse International: Coping with Age-Related Vision Loss
For older adults with conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, learning to adapt to vision loss can represent one of life's major hurdles. However, according to recent research projects conducted by Lighthouse International, a variety of strategies can benefit many people with vision loss.
"We found that a realistic acceptance of the vision loss," said Amy Horowitz, DSW, Senior Vice President for Research and Director of the Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute of Lighthouse International, "neither denying nor exaggerating its effects can be one of the most important steps toward overcoming the challenges it can pose."
The following coping tactics for older adults - or ways to reduce the challenges presented by vision loss - are based on original research conducted by the Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute of Lighthouse International:
- Try to Accept Your Vision Loss: Accepting the fact that you have vision impairment is a long process. You may initially deny to yourself that you have vision loss. Some people may feel that they can never fully accept their vision loss. However, once you accept the condition, you will be better able to manage life with vision loss; to learn new skills and receive help from others, if necessary.
- Be Pro-Active: Find out as much as possible about your eye condition including possible treatments and other options. This will help to dispel unfounded fears. Equipped with the proper information, you are more likely to realize that, while some eye diseases may not be curable, there are effective ways to deal with the condition, and that leading as full a life as before the onset of vision loss is a real possibility.
- Learn New Skills: Because vision loss will, inevitably, disrupt your everyday activities, this is a great time to learn new skills that will help you regain or retain control of your life. Seek out "vision rehabilitation" in your area, the term for a broad range of counseling and training services. While vision rehabilitation cannot restore lost sight, it can help to maximize the use of any remaining sight, as well as equip individuals with the techniques to maintain an independent lifestyle. A team of professionals, including rehabilitation teachers, low vision professionals, orientation and mobility specialists, social workers and employment specialists, can provide individualized instruction and guidance to achieve your personal goals - at home, at work and in the community. Vision rehabilitation services provide people who are blind or partially sighted, as well as their family and friends, with the skills and confidence needed to meet the day-to-day challenges of life.
- Seek/Accept Help from Others: While most people who become visually impaired have a strong desire to be independent, part of accepting vision loss is to come to terms with the fact that, in some situations, you may need to seek or accept the help from others. Support from friends and family can be crucial to a person experiencing vision loss. This can range from help with routine tasks such as shopping and running errands to emotional support and advice.
- Tap into Your Feelings of Spirituality: Your spiritual beliefs, regardless of whether or not they are expressed through organized religion, can be an important inner strength in adapting to vision impairment. For many people coping with vision loss, spirituality is a powerful factor, as revealed by Lighthouse research, contributing to a sense of comfort and protection when confronting challenging situations.
"Because of the broad range of lifestyles and preferences that exist among us all," advises Mark Brennan, PhD, Senior Research Associate at Lighthouse International, a 'one size fits all' does not exist in adapting to vision loss. Each person must face the challenge in his or her own way-from relying on friends for help, to using personal resources to maintain independence, to accepting vision impairment."
If you or anyone you know has a vision impairment and would like more information about coping with it, including how to locate vision rehabilitation services and other professional referrals in your area, call Lighthouse International's toll-free number at 1-800-829-0500 or visit the website at lighthouse.org.
Lighthouse International is a leading resource worldwide on vision impairment and vision rehabilitation. Through its pioneering work in vision rehabilitation services, education, research, prevention and advocacy, Lighthouse International enables people of all ages who are blind or partially sighted to lead independent and productive lives. Founded in 1905 and headquartered in New York, Lighthouse International is a not-for-profit organization, and depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations and corporations.
Back to Top