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Fruits and Veggies that Help your Health

Updated on August 30, 2017
jodigirl88 profile image

I have been writing since I was in my early teens. I have taken a couple creative writing classes in college. I'm also a photographer

Fruits and Veggies

colorful foods
colorful foods | Source

Reasons to Change Lifestyle

I've been on this 40 day journey to changing my life. I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and pre-diabetes. I am 48 years young, and I need to start doing something for my health, so that I may be around to watch my 9 grandchildren grow up. I have lost about 10 pounds, but my life is chaotic and I don't get to exercise much. I will be putting it to full force as soon as our youngest granddaughter starts preschool next month. I have been changing what I eat and cutting portions. I do not deprive myself from some favorite foods though, otherwise I would feel starved and eat everything in sight. My weaknesses, are Sprite and gummy bears :) I have cut down to one Sprite a day, and a handful of gummies.

Both of my daughters' started a couple weeks earlier than I did. My youngest cut her portions, cut out sweets, her weakness, and started doing more exercising. She has gone from a size 16 (after having her daughter, July 2016) to a 13 in little over a month. My oldest daughter is 5'8", and was 360 pounds before she started her lifestyle change as well. She has now lost about 30 pounds in little over a month. She has been exercising and eating right, not dieting, just changing her eating habits. She first just started cutting portions, drinking only water, then adding exercise to her regimen. She now has a membership at the YMCA, she has an upcoming consultation for weight loss surgery. We started a facebook support group for people like us, wanting to change our lifestyles, change the way we eat, exercising, and to get support. We share cleaning eating, diabetic, gluten free, and healthy recipes. My daughters' have been my inspiration to start this group, to live better, and to continue to be healthy and change my eating habits.


Energy Boosting

Energy boosting fruits
Energy boosting fruits | Source

Energy Boosting Foods

Recharge your batteries with these amazing natural foods:

Eggs are a major part of our protein, it is such a versatile food, you can boil it, poach, scramble, fry, or make an omelette out of it.

Sweet Potato is filled with vitamin A and C, is high in carbohydrates and will keep the afternoon lethargy at bay. Sweet potatoes are a nifty little veggie as it can be mashed, or baked into french fries, so even the kids will enjoy it's sweetness.

Honey is a natural energy source. Give up those energy drinks and put a spoonful of honey on your oatmeal in the morning, or drop it in your afternoon tea.

Bananas are one of the easiest ways to get your energy. They are high in glucose, fructose, sucrose and fiber so add some to your breakfast cereal and have one for your mid afternoon snack.

Apples are even better than the above, because they take longer to digest, they are also high in fiber and will keep you going even longer.

Oranges are high in vitamin C, folate and potassium, they will distribute the energy over a longer period of time, if you peel it and eat it whole.

Spinach is high in iron which is a main product in energy. Eat spinach in a salad or replace lettuce with it on a sandwich or wrap. It will stop your afternoon fatigue.

Beans are an excellent protein, which is also a good source of energy. Throw some in a salad or a wrap.

Brown Rice is rich in the mineral, manganese, that helps produce energy from proteins and carbs. Brown rice can be served on the side or a main meal, packed with other nutrient filled foods.

Almonds are full of protein, copper, manganese, which is a very important choice to get rid of your sluggish afternoons. Keep them handy!

Salmon is filled with protein, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 which all transforms into energy when you eat it. You can bake it, toss it in a salad, or bake it with a veggie such as asparagus.

There are also other fruits that give you energy as well. Let's take a look:

Peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, cherries, oranges, limes, lemons, pineapple, and persimmons all give you the right fuel for energy. Sugar and sucrose from all of these fruits maintain blood sugar because they have glucose and fructose.

Choosing these foods in the morning and mid afternoon can give you a boost to finish your day.

Foods Lowering Cholesterol Levels

Foods lowering cholesterol levels
Foods lowering cholesterol levels | Source

Cholesterol Lowering Foods

Bad LDL levels are very harmful if they are too high. Good HDL levels are harmful if they are too low. Mine have been out of this world high, wondering how I've not had a stroke or heart attack. Now, is the time to start eating these foods to help lower the LDL levels of my cholesterol and help raise the HDL levels too.

Oats contain beta-glucan which a key factor that helps lower cholesterol because it grasps the LDL and then our body eliminates it. Try adding some fruit to it in the mornings, or make a cookie out of it, use it in your meatloaf recipe instead of bread crumbs. There are tons of weighs to add it to your diet.

Red Wine is another great LDL busting food. High-fiber Tempranillo red grapes that are used to make red wine actually lowers cholesterol levels. So, go ahead, have a glass of Cabernet or any other red wine you may love.

Olive Oil has heart healthy monounsaturated (good fat) fatty acid in it which lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol level. Olive oil also trims belly fat. I use it to make italian dressing, I marinate my steaks, chick and pork with it. I use it on a daily basis as well.

Avocado is one of my favorites as well as the two above, although, I just discovered it recently. Since it contains monounsaturated fatty acids as well, more than any other fruit, it punches cholesterol with its beta-sitosterol, a plant based food that lowers the cholesterol absorbed from food. Avocados are a bit high in calories so use in moderation but have at least one per day, to lower your cholesterol.

Garlic prevents blood clots, reduces blood pressure, protects against infections and reduces cholesterol levels, Garlic stops plaque early by keeping particles from attaching to the artery walls. I cook with it on a daily basis, I love the flavors it gives all my food.

Salmon and other fatty fishes have Omega 3 fats which are a good kind of fat that fight off heart disease, dementia and a lot of other diseases. These fatty acids also lower your bad cholesterol and raise your good cholesterol as well. Sardines, oysters, herring (kippers) all have the Omega 3 fats in them, so have them as a snack any time.

Spinach contains lutein which is the yellow pigment found in dark green leafy veggies and egg yolks. Luetin helps against heart attacks and helps to smash cholesterol intruders. In addition to giving you energy, it also helps lower cholesterol. I replaced lettuce with spinach or I add it to my sandwiches or wraps as I said earlier.

Nuts are great cholesterol lowering foods also, but try not to eat too many of these, as they are high in calories. Just try to eat a handful, about a little over an ounce should do the trick.

Tea is a very good defense against higher cholesterol levels as well as cancer fighting antioxidants.

Beans are another great way to lower your cholesterol. They have loads of fiber which slows the absorption of cholesterol in some foods. There are all kinds of different types of beans. Black, red, kidney, white, or pinto are just a few.

Dark Chocolate is a good resource to help build good cholesterol (HDL) with its antioxidants, it has more than 3 times as many antioxidants, which prevent blood platelets from attaching together and may even keep arteries unblocked.

Margarine has plant sterols that help lower cholesterol. I use Smart Balance, recommended by my nutritionist. There are all kinds out there. Plant sterols are mixtures that reduce cholesterol absorption. Switch from butter to margarine.






Blue Berries

Blueberries help lower blood pressure
Blueberries help lower blood pressure | Source

Foods that Lower Blood Pressure

Have you heard of the DASH diet? I really hate the word "diet" as most people do not "stay" on a diet. I prefer lifestyle change, so with that said, when you consume foods low in sodium, rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium that is called the DASH diet. It helps keep your blood pressure normal. There are also precise foods that help do this naturally without all those extra supplements.

White Beans contain calcium, magnesium and potassium which you need to lower your blood pressure and can be eaten every day. You can cook dry beans in a crockpot overnight, you can add them to soups or side dishes as well. Just one cup gives you everything you need to lower that bp.

Pork Tenderloin is really the other white meat! Ha! It actually contains magnesium and potassium that you need every day as well. Meat lovers it is your dream. There are so many ways to cook pork!

Fat free Plain Yogurt has almost 50% calcium that you need daily. It also contains potassium and magnesium. All three are the key ingredients to lower bp. You can add toppings to it, mix it in your recipes, such as mashed potatoes, dips and more.

Tilapia has both potassium and magnesium to help lower that bp. I haven't made this in a way that I like it just yet. I am a seafood lover, too, you'd think I would like it. I need to try it some other ways.

Blue berries, Kiwi, Peaches, Nectarines, Bananas, Red bell pepper, Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Avocado and Quinoa all have at least two of the three special vitamins and minerals that are needed daily to help lower blood pressure.




Whole Grains

Whole Grains help prevent diabetes
Whole Grains help prevent diabetes | Source

Consume Foods to Prevent Diabetes

I have pre-diabetes, so of course, I want to know how to stop this before it gets started. I did a lot of research. Here are some of the foods to eat:

Limit processed foods and red meats, eat lean meat, fish and nuts instead to prevent diabetes.

Whole Grains, rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that may help reduce the risk of diabetes. Whole grain pasta and brown rice are some examples.

Choose good fats instead of bad fats, such as in olive oil and avocado's.

Drink water, coffee or tea, of course water would be the best way, as our body needs it. We have already covered how tea is good for you.





Exercising

Exercise keeps you healthy
Exercise keeps you healthy | Source

Get Moving

Not only do we have to eat right, take in the appropriate foods, vitamins and minerals, but we also have to get moving to stay healthy.


Exercising lowers blood pressure by allowing blood to flow freely. Riding a bike, walking, running, even standing is exercise.

Lowering your Low density lipoprotein (LDL/bad) cholesterol is to increase your activity as being overweight tends to increase it.

When you exercise your body burns gluclose, lowering your blood sugar level naturally.

Whatever your activity is, get to doing it. Mine is walking/running, cleaning, doing laundry, photography, whatever I can do to stay healthy. I played softball for 30 years but I got old and can no longer play, so I at least try to walk 30 minutes, 3 times per week, which is what my nutritionist suggests. Once the granddaughter is in school next week, I'm going to try to walk 30 min every day.



My Plate

This is the proper way our plates should look at almost every meal. With a couple snacks in between.
This is the proper way our plates should look at almost every meal. With a couple snacks in between. | Source

How are Plates Should Look at Every Meal

My nutritionist gave me that handout in the picture above. Choosemyplate.com has a variety of tips and helpful things to help you stay fit.

If you notice, the most on your plate is vegetables, then Grains, then protein, then fruit and lastly dairy.

Proteins~ lean meats, salmon, peanut butter, tuna, sardines, pork, chicken, etc. There are a lot of things to put in this area. We've gone over a few of them above. Your palm is about 4 ounces and that is how big your protein should be.

Vegetables~ Eat as many as you want, broccoli, kale, carrots, celery, cauliflower, peas, green beans. Eat fresh or frozen rather than canned, but if you eat canned make sure is "no salt" or "low sodium".

Fruits~ Be a little careful with these, as you don't want a lot of this sugar. That's why it's almost the last the thing smallest on the plate.

Grains~ whole grain pastas, breads, brown rice, nuts (also a protein, small handful) and of course many other grains.

Dairy~ milk (low fat), cottage cheese, low fat yogurt, real cheese, not processed, mozzarella, feta, or swiss. Just be careful of the calories in cheese. only 1 ounce should do it.

I hoped these lists helped open your eye about some of the foods we should eat to keep us healthy! Good luck! Happy Eating!

© 2017 Jo Jo

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    • jodigirl88 profile image
      Author

      Jo Jo 6 weeks ago from Camby, IN

      Ken, that is so true. And the government knows it, and allowing it to happen, fast food, processed foods, etc.. I wish you the best of luck in your lifestyle changes journey as well. Thanks for commenting.

    • Ken Burgess profile image

      Ken Burgess 7 weeks ago from Florida

      The more fruits, nuts, berries, beans and greens the better.

      Natural, unsalted, uncooked whenever possible.

      That, and drink as much water as possible.

      I understand what you mean when you say 'but we're human', I have way to much cheese in my diet still, I still eat some processed carbs... but having cut out all meats, everything with cornsyrup, candies (save some chocolate) has been enough to bring my high blood pressure back down to normal and eliminate the plaque build up in my arteries.

      And this is without exercise, I know once I get around to doing that on a consistent basis again, the fat will melt away and I will feel better than I have in years.

      I have been down this road before, its like quitting smoking, it often takes more than one effort before you master it.

      I did the diet change, went back to the gym, got my blood pressure down, and then decided I could go back to a more normal diet... problem solved.

      Doesn't work that way... you have to accept the facts, and then live accordingly, forever after, or the problems will just come back even worse.

      Some facts... McDonalds, Burger King, Popeye's every fast food chain out there, and most chain restaurants out there are serving poison. Its not food, not to our bodies, it is absolute toxic poison that is killing you. The preservatives, lack of nutrition, carcinogens, etc. ... fast tracking you to a heart attack, stroke, or cancer.

      But I won't get into a long dissertation over it... it takes time, even when you know the truth, for the mind to over-ride years of McDonald's commercials, years of going there to eat since the time you were a kid.

      I wish you the best of luck, don't get down on yourself when you 'regress' for a day or two, just get back at it, the longer you are at it, the easier it gets, the more regular it becomes.

    • jodigirl88 profile image
      Author

      Jo Jo 7 weeks ago from Camby, IN

      I know Ken, it is very hard. It is hard to know what foods are right for you, which "diet" you should be eating. I know that my fiance's doctor told him to just quit eating period for him to lose weight has he has a thyroid issue. None of the issues I have, thank God. There are so many "diets" out there that you just don't know, so my best bet at the moment is to just follow what my nutritionist tells me. We have goals each month to try to accomplish, so I'm going with that, also shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, mostly. Fresh foods, cheeses, lean meats, seafood etc... trying to drink more water, and of course trying to get at least 30 min of activity in per day. Today, I am going to a park, let my granddaughter play, while I find some great shots of nature, walk around as much as possible. Probably the most exercise I've had all week. ugh!!

    • jodigirl88 profile image
      Author

      Jo Jo 7 weeks ago from Camby, IN

      I also have a friend under 50 that has had his toes removed as well. I know what the awful effects can have on us. I'm trying to keep from getting it, but I'm human. Thank you for saying so about my kids and me. Appreciate it! :)

    • Ken Burgess profile image

      Ken Burgess 7 weeks ago from Florida

      I too, had a drastic change in diet when I was told I had high blood pressure.

      You are on the right path, congratulations. But I must warn you that finding out the right information, what to trust, is harder than you'd imagine.

      For instance the AHA (American Heart Association) you would think is full of information about what to eat that is good for your heart, that won't put it to risk... but not necessarily so. The AHA answers to their mega-billion dollar sponsors (see link) and those sponsors are the very people selling you the foods you eat.

      So do you think the AHA is going to tell you bad things about those foods?

      Of course not, they are getting paid millions of dollars every year to write the very best things about those foods that they can.

      Even if they know they are filled with all sorts of carcinogens, hormones, and poisons that put you at risk.

      http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Nation...

      You'll notice one of their sponsors is Bayer, and Bayer recently absorbed Monsanto. If you know what Monsanto is, what Round Up is, then I need ho no further... if not, I suggest you read the article (link) below.

      https://www.minds.com/blog/view/749376029239287808

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 7 weeks ago from USA

      Good for you and your daughters. This article summarizes a lot of important information for healthier eating. I know someone who is under 50 with diabetes and they recently had their big toe surgically removed because of the disease. The effects can be awful so it's better to prevent and control.