Diabetes isn’t the end of the road. You can still enjoy food. However, it is important to broaden your diet. You need to stress the fruit and vegetables, and these need to be integrated in a far larger proportion of your diet than meat and simple proteins from refined sources, better known as snack foods. Yes, there are simple carbohydrates in fruits and some vegetables, but these foods are also high sources of fiber. Fiber helps your body control blood sugar levels. So you get a little sweet with a whole lot of good-for-you fiber. Besides, fiber helps you feel full. Feeling full longer helps to manage your cravings. However, before making any major change to your diet, it is best to consult your doctor.
Increase Fiber Intake
To maximize the fiber and nutrients you are getting from your fruit and vegetables, try raw food recipes. This doesn’t limit you to eating fruit and veggies plain. You can try lettuce wraps and even smoothies. Toss your fresh fruit, chopped in tiny bits, into a high performance blender with some yogurt, and voila you have a treat! You can search for “raw smoothies” on Google or peruse this site for more recipes that will help you increase fiber, satisfy that sweet craving, fill you up in the morning, lose weight and even fight diabetes.
The Raw Fruit Advantage
Drinks that are 100% juice help, too. You can buy them, sometimes for a bit more than you may like to dish out, or make them at home. Raw fruit blended to a pulp can be a good basis for a smoothie. Or you could use a blender to make a whole range of fruit-based sauces and dressing. Frozen fruits can be okay. Sometimes, if you stumble upon a sale (especially with berries) it can be hard to pass up buying a lot of fruit all at once. If you wash and freeze them, you can use them for a wide range of dishes at a later date. If you are trying to lose weight, this can be especially helpful.
Tiny berries are fine to freeze as they are. Strawberries, though, should be cut up first. It is especially helpful to use zip lock bags and measure out 8 oz of strawberries into each bag. Then you have a full cup of berries all ready for munching or cooking or baking. If you’ve got frozen berries stored in your freezer and you want to make a smoothie the next day, just transfer your baggie to the fridge. The ice should be mostly gone, and some soggy slices should be left. Add a banana, fresh blueberries, and yogurt into your blender and switch it on. Then you’re good to go. Trying to avoid dairy? Opt for almond milk and ice. If you choose this method, be cautious because the soggy slices of strawberry have a fair amount of water in them, so you don’t need as much added liquid as you might with fresh-out-of-the basket strawberries.
Raw Veggies and Smoothies
Raw veggies can be added to smoothies too! There is far more you can do with raw vegetables than merely dip in ranch dressing as a snack. Carrot-Orange juice is a delicious drink you can make at home. Use a juicer to turn one whole carrot into juice. Use a citrus juicer on one orange. To make into a smoothie, add a ripe banana, ice, your two homemade juices, and mix in your high performance blender.
Another excellent raw vegetable recipe is the raw lettuce wrap. In this dish, you combine veggies to make a salsa-like filling and wrap the mixture in fresh lettuce leaves. You can combine different ingredients for different tastes. Wraps are a good alternative if you’re looking at that salad and groaning. It’s okay, there are more ways to eat the same foods, and versatility in your cuisine will help you maintain an enjoyment of the foods that you are eating. Diversity in dishes is key to making certain that you maintain healthy eating patterns.
So if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, don’t see it as a prison. Look at your daily food choices, and find ways to experiment. Healthy eating is not limited eating, it is merely informed eating. Your options are still numerous, but you now are encouraged to play with your choices and find or rediscover things you have forgotten or did not even know were delicious. Remember to discuss proposed changes to your diet with your doctor first.
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Brightly colored fruits and vegetables make delicious smoothies and also contribute to healthy eyes. Vitamins in these raw foods can protect against such conditions as night blindness, eye infections, and degenerative eye diseases. Although supplements are plentiful and widely marketed, health professionals stress the importance of a good diet. Making raw smoothies with your high performance blender is one way to give your diet a boost while taking care of your vision.
Seeing Better with Vitamin A
Children and pregnant and lactating women who have a vitamin A deficiency are at a risk for blindness. In fact, night blindness is the first symptom of an eye disease that may be linked to insufficient vitamin A in the diet. This vitamin nourishes cells in the retina that are responsible for creating nerve impulses triggered by light. Vitamin A also helps to relieve dry eyes and can guard against glaucoma. Look for yellow, orange, red and green vegetables and fruits for good sources of vitamin A. Examples include: spinach, pumpkin, kale, collard greens, cantaloupe, and apricot. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient and will build up in the body. It is important to get enough, but not to get too much of this vitamin. The recommended daily intake for girls who are more than 10 years of age and women is 800 mcg; boys older than 10 and men should take 1,000 mcg a day.
Vitamin D Lowers Risks
Vitamin D in sufficient amounts lowers the risk of eye infections as well as protecting overall immunity and helping you maintain good vision. Most recently, studies published in leading ophthalmology journals show a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of macular degeneration, a progressive disease resulting in blindness. Fortified juices, daily milk and almond milk are good sources of vitamin D and can easily be used in your smoothies and sauces. Daily requirements of this fat-soluble vitamin vary by age. Those below age 50 should consume 200 IU, men and women between 51 and 70 need 400 IU, and those older than 70 require 600 IU.
Vitamin E and Your Immunity
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and can be found in sweet potatoes and nuts, as well as vitamin-fortified cereals and peanut butter. It helps the immune system and plays a role in reducing the risk of blindness in later years. Foods that are good sources of vitamin E include kiwi, avocado, peach, pumpkin, and papaya. All can be used found in soup, smoothie or sauce recipes. Vitamin E, which is also a fat-soluble vitamin, must come from either supplements or diet because the body cannot manufacture it through any biological function. The recommended daily requirement for vitamin E is 22 IU for men and women. Women who are lactating need 28.5 IU every day, and children between the ages of 4 and 8 require 10.5 IU.
Vitamin C: The Other Antioxidant
Many nutritionists and medical professionals consider this vitamin a good source for making overall immunity stronger. It is also thought to improve eye health because it can protect against eye infections. Other advantages are said to include antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties. Among the raw fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C are peas, strawberries, oranges, kale, broccoli, carrot, apricot, papaya and collard green. The recommended daily dosage of this water-soluble vitamin is 75 mg for women and 65 mg for men
Eye Support with Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Colorful vegetables contain these two important substances, which are referred to as xanthophylls. Both lutein and zeaxanthin are present at high levels in the human eye. Specifically, these compounds are found in the macula and provide an antioxidant benefits that keep the cells in the eyes healthy. Zeaxanthin can protect the photoreceptors in the eye as well as the retina and macula. Some studies *** indicate that these two substances play a larger role in reducing the incidence of macular degeneration than vitamins E or C. Studies suggest *** that adults should eat foods that contain 6 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin a day. If you are in the habit of making raw smoothies with richly colored fruits and vegetables, the changes are good that you are giving your body the right amount of vitamins and other nutrients for optimal eye health. Rather than seeking out supplements and researching to find credible manufacturers, it is far easier to make smoothies using some of the colorful fruits, vegetables along with fortified milk or juices.
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Can Vitamins and Antioxidants Improve Eye Health?
After recently released study results, doctors are beginning to pay attention to their patients’ vitamin D levels and ask them more questions about eye health. Researchers are finding that when vitamin D as well as other vitamins, minerals and foods rich in antioxidants are present in sufficient amounts, the risk of blindness is reduced. Smoothies made with ingredients for proper nutrition can keep your eyes healthy in later years.
The two main causes of blindness in the elderly are age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Studies published by the Archives of Ophthalmology and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a link between nutrients and eye health.
Antioxidants and Protection Against Cataracts
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye and can result in blindness if not treated. Current medical technology allows those with cataracts to undergo an operation that removes the clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial one.
Although surgery procedures have become routine and most people with cataracts can be treated on an outpatient basis, it is better to take steps to reduce the risk of getting them in the first place. One study that was published in June 2008 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the combination of antioxidants lessened the cataract risks of 2,400 older adult subjects.
Fruits and vegetables have been rated on the degree to which they function as an effective antioxidant. The standard measurement is called the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), and the chart below lists raw fruits and vegetables that have a high ORAC score (see below). All of these foods can be used to make raw smoothies, soups or sauces in your high performance blender.
Red bell pepper
The macula is the central point of vision in the retina. Macular degeneration is a progressive disease characterized by a dying off of light sensing cells, which eventually results in blindness. There is no medical treatment available that will reverse the disease process of macular degeneration at this time. Of the men and women in the United States who are 40 years old or older, 15 million are said to have some degree of age-related macular degeneration.
One study conducted by the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health*** found that women younger than 75 with above average vitamin D levels had a decreased risk for age-related macular degeneration. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400 IU up to age 18, 800 IU for ages 19 through 50, and 1200 IU for those over 50 years of age.
Unlike the water-soluble B and C vitamins, vitamin D is fat-soluble and can collect in the liver and tissues. While the skin when exposed to sunlight absorbs some amount of vitamin D, this method alone will probably not provide the recommended daily dosages. Dietary adjustments need to be made to reach the recommended allowance.
You can find out what whether your vitamin D intake is sufficient through a simple blood test. Many lab forms used by doctors to order these tests include a place to indicate that vitamin D assessment is necessary. Doctors consider that someone with less than 30 nanomoles of vitamin D per liter of serum is deficient.
If you want to increase your intake of vitamin D to protect your eyes, try including these foods in your diet: canned tuna, herring, salmon, dairy milk, almond milk, orange juice with vitamins added, and fortified cereals. Follow smoothie recipes that use milk or orange juice and whip up a few in your smoothie blender each day to increase your vitamin D level.
A healthy diet throughout life that includes raw fruits and vegetables can keep you seeing clearly in your older years. The antioxidant benefits of berries together with the vitamin D advantages of dairy milk or fortified orange juice is a recipe for delicious smoothies and healthy eyes.
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Weight loss continues to be a hot topic in the US and UK, as increasing numbers of people battle weight gain and look for a solution that will allow them to maintain a healthy weight for the long term. Fads and false claims appear to be a natural outcome in the field of weight loss, and some myths have surfaced on the internet that should be called into question and debunked with facts.
#1 Carbohydrates make you put on weight
Most healthy people can apply a simple formula to lose excess weight: burn more calories than you take in each day. In order to accomplish this, of course, food choices are important. That means eliminating the carbohydrates that give you empty calories such as white flour, refined sugar, and foods that have been processed to the point that they lack any nutritional value.
With that said, the body does need carbohydrates for energy. The trick is to choose foods that give you good carbohydrates while also contributing to your nutritional requirements. In this category you’ll find raw vegetables that are both green and leafy, sweet potatoes, fruit with the peel, and nuts. Be sure to choose whole grains when buying bread and rice.
Good carbohydrate fruits and vegetables that are low on the glycemic index, such as the ones mentioned above, are ideal ingredients in raw smoothies.
#2 Avoid eating nuts because they are fattening
While nuts are calorically dense, they also are a great source of protein, fiber and the kind of fat that offers heart attack protection. If nuts are consumed as a replacement for other high-protein foods, then eating a serving a day will not add additional calories. The varieties that have been recognized by the FDA as heart healthy include peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, and some types of pine nuts, pistachios, pecans and almonds.
Nuts can be sprinkled in smoothies, or you can use a coffee bean grinder to reduce the nuts to fine granules that can be added to any smoothie to further boost the nutrients.
#3 Low-fat and fat free products have less calories
The terms low fat and fat free often get confused with low calorie. It is the saturated and trans fats that we want to limit, but the number of calories may still be high depending on the food item in question. Portion size and the contribution that a food source makes to your overall daily recommendation are two important considerations. Examples of high calorie low fat foods that can provide a nutritional punch include potatoes, beans, whole grain bread, fruit juice and rice.
Build your diet around these low fat high calorie foods and let them take the place of the high-fat, high calorie foods that you were used to in the past. Beans can be used easy in soups and dips you may make with your high performance blender.
#4 Natural herbal products are harmless and make you lose weight
Supplements are all the rage on the internet, and there are several doctors who have turned their talents toward creating over-the-counter treatments for everything from eyestrain to bone health. The caution here is that supplements in the US are not approved through the FDA, so the actual ingredients and the manufacturing process can remain a mystery to consumers even after the product reaches the shelves.
The word “natural” may be anything but truly natural. Before buying supplements from sources outside of the traditional medical community, find out about where the supplements are made. Look into the track record for the company and read as many reviews as you can before making a purchase.
Some products may help you lose weight initially, but it could be only water weight. Remember that all successful weight loss is due to the right balance of exercise and nutrition over time.
Claims of weight loss made in articles and ads on internet sites should be met with healthy skepticism. Web MD** and the Mayo Clinic*** websites are good places to visit to when you are looking for answers and health facts.
**Web MD: http://www.webmd.com
***Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com
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