This beautiful vegetable bouquet was created with love by the kitchen staff of the Oasis of Hope Hospital

Healthy Foods - The basics for body and mind.

Nutrient rich foods, which are plant based, provide energy and boost our immune system. We will hear more and more about the "rainbow" diet, meaning that all colors of the rainbow we can find in fruits and vegetables and are vital for our health. So go for red, orange, yellow, green, purple, blue and white.
Most nutrition researchers believe that the healthful compounds in different foods work together to provide health benefits. The benefits of any single food must be evaluated as a part of your whole diet.
Aim for a balanced diet with a variety of foods that includes:

* Daily at least five, better more, portions of a variety of colorful fruit and veggies
one portion is equal to one hand full or an 8 oz. glass of juice (potatoes do not count)
* All types of fruits and veggies -little or no fat, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals,
enzymes, fiber, fluid and phyto-chemicals (important natural chemicals found in plants)

* All kinds of unprocessed whole grains -contain fiber, vitamins
* Brown rice *corn *quinoa *couscous *bulgur *oats *millet *buckwheat *barley
* Whole wheat pasta -contain fiber
* Whole wheat breads -contain fiber
* Cereals without preservatives and no added sugar
* Fresh fish such as *trout *bass *salmon *sole -good source of omega-3 fatty acids
* Cold pressed natural oils like *olive *sesame *grape seed and flax
* Plain, cooked, broiled or baked potatoes (potatoes do not count toward the
  5-9 servings of fruit and veggies a day)
* Ginger, especially fresh, fighting inflammation and colds
* Legumes (beans, peas and lentils) of all colors - good source of protein and fiber  
* Nuts and seeds in all varieties *flax seeds -source of protein and important omega-3 fatty acids
* Sea vegetables like *nori *wakame *kombu *hijiki -good source of iodine and minerals
* Soy products like tofu, soy milk and other soy bean products - good source of protein
* Miso - fermented and aged soy bean paste
* Organic lean meat, twice a week, if at all - grilled, baked or broiled
* Plain Yogurt, if possible home made
* Sprouted beans and seeds like alfalfa -especially rich in vitamins
* Salads with different dark green and bright colors
* Seasonings such as garlic, basil, turmeric, curcumin, paprika, thyme, dill, rosmarin
Herbs and spices also contain protective phytochemicals.

"Why is it important to eat vegetables?" Some answers are given by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
"Eating vegetables provides a great deal of health benefits. — people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
* Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases.
* Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes.
* Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain cancers, such as mouth, stomach, and colon-rectum cancer.
* Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."
(Ref: USDA, Inside the pyramid,vegetables)

WASHINGTON—"The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, unveiled today, highlight the benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets, drawing praise from nutrition experts at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The new Guidelines go further than previous federal policies in acknowledging the power of plant-based diets for health.The Dietary Guidelines—issued by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services every five years—are the blueprint for all federal nutrition programs, including school meals. The new Guidelines devote two full pages to vegetarian and vegan nutrition, and point out that these eating patterns provide nutritional advantages and reduce obesity, heart disease, and overall mortality. Vegetarian diets may include dairy products and eggs, while vegan diets avoid all animal products."
(Ref: PCRM news and media center, Jan.31, 2011)

“People who avoid meat cut their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers, and those who also avoid dairy products and eggs are healthiest of all,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M. S., R. D. “It’s good to see that these diets are now part of federal policy.”

Research has long linked cruciferous vegetables with overall good health, along with cancer prevention. Now, new evidence presented at AICR's Research Conference from October 2010 helps explain why these vegetables may play a role in preventing cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are all part of the cabbage family. They include: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, along with rutabaga, watercress, and bok choy. Several studies have linked high cruciferous vegetable consumption to lower risk of several cancers, including lung, prostate and colorectal.
(Ref: American Institute of Cancer Research)

The American Institute of Cancer Research has been stating again and again the importance of fruit and veggie consumption: "Research suggests that many people are not aware of how many vegetables and fruits we need for health. Adults can lower their cancer risk and improve health by reaching the minimum target of at least five servings (about 2½ cups) of vegetables and fruits daily. But for optimal overall health and easier weight control, once you reach that target, most of us should aim for 7 to 10 standard servings (3½ to 5 cups)."
(Ref: AICR, newsletter of August 2009)

Organic foods are free of agricultural chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides. In addition they do not contain growth hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms (GMO's).

Try to avoid saturated fats derived from animal products and stay away from processed foods, including sweets with added sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives and other additives. This would include chips and desserts such as cakes, pies, ice cream, cookies, etc. There is some new scientific research, that dark unsweetened chocolate with at least 60% or more cocoa has health promoting effects. So chocolate can be eaten in moderation. The same goes for coffee. Here is still conflicting information, though. However, more nutritionists are saying now coffee is not on the negative list any more, since newer research shows our health can benefit by drinking daily up to two cups of coffee. The culprit here is: What do people put in their coffee? Two or three sugars and cream will certainly destroy the "beneficial" effect which comes from the coffee bean.

If you do have any food allergies or food intolerance then seek the advice from your health care professional.

It is vital to drink at least eight glasses of liquids daily. The best sources are good water, which always should be your first choice. Also with water diluted unsweetened fruit juices (not fruit drinks) and unsweetened fruit or herbal teas. Nowadays there are not just common teas available like Mint, Camomile, Rose hip and fruit, but a great selection of green teas, roibos, mate, sencha, bancha, kukicha, and blends of a variety of teas called wellness tea, good night tea, relaxing moments, and more. The green teas will stimulate without feeling the negative effect of the caffeine. Try a glass of warm or hot water with ginger, it feels not only refreshing but enhances the immune system. Also hot or warm water with some organic lemon might be a "wellness drink" you like. Add a leave of fresh mint from the garden, balcony or from the kitchen and enjoy! Plenty of liquid will insure that our metabolism, our muscles, our cells, our skin and our brain activities are functioning well. Avoid caffeine beverages like coke and all soft drinks which are loaded with sugar.

If you plan to be out for a while, then pack some fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, string cheese sticks, or a handful of unsalted nuts—to help you avoid impulsive, less healthful snack choices

While it is important for everyone to choose wholesome foods for our health, eating right is crucial for cancer patients who already have a compromised immune system.

Remember, we can not overdose on fruits and veggies. And the riper the fruit or vegetable is picked and the fresher it is consumed, the more nutrients we get out of it!

The Nutrition Source published by the Harvard School of Public Health says:
" Most people should aim for at least nine servings (at least 4½ cups) of vegetables and fruits a day, and potatoes don't count. Go for a variety of kinds and colors of produce, to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. Best bets? Dark leafy greens, cooked tomatoes, and anything that's a rich yellow, orange, or red color."
(Ref. Harvard School of Public Health, The Nutrition Source)

It takes less effort and less money to maintain our health than to regain health! It also makes sense to invest in maintaining our health, otherwise it could be that some day we might need to pay with our health!

Start with "super or super plus" phyto-nutrient rich foods, including five or more servings of fruit and veggies every day in order to keep your health in the +plus section of your health account. Remember to eat you meal or snack while sitting down. Eating in the car is out. Chose to eat your meal without distractions which include news on the radio, television, reading a newspaper, magazine or book. Try to avoid intense or anxiety-producing conversations. This way you truly can get an "all around" healthy meal and the benefits will be much more than you might think.

Our +plus points need to be constantly replenished in order to equal or exceed the -minus points within our health account. This we can achieve through a healthy lifestyle which includes a nutrient rich diet. As the American Institute for Cancer Research urges: "Fill up your plate with more plant foods and less animal food."

And the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans point out that "eating a plant based diet provide nutritional advantages and reduce obesity, heart disease, and overall mortality."

I do wish you great success in achieving and/or keeping a healthy balance in your diet!


This is only for informational use. If you have health issues see your Health Care Practitioner.
-Last update, January 2016-

© 2006-2016 Walburga Ratti