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Repelling Insulin Resistance

Kathleen Johnson, a nutritionist at the University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine, estimates that as much as 50 percent of the population are genetically predisposed to insulin resistance. This condition occurs when cells in the body don't respond normally to insulin and can lead to dangerously high levels of blood glucose.

Ms. Johnson says the best way to control insulin resistance is by getting regular exercise, reducing total carbohydrate consumption to 50 percent of daily calories or less, and by choosing foods that are lower on the glycemic index (GI) scale. She suggests eating more vegetables, beans, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and whole grains. Foods ranked above 60 on the GI scale are all considered "high" glycemic index foods that can trigger insulin resistance.

Restaurant Bill Update

The great Canadian restaurant labelling debate continues. Bill C-379, a private member's bill to amend the Food and Drugs Act (food labelling), was reintroduced to the new session of Parliament in May 2005. The modified bill proposes that fast-food chains post the number of calories of food items beside the prices on menu boards. The controversial bill also wants full-service restaurant chains, where more spacious menus are provided, to display the amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.

According to the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (www.cspinet.org/canada), the proposed amendments are consistent with government commitments to tackle diet-related disease and promote healthier living. Canadian consumers love the idea, but the restaurant industry finds the idea less than appetizing.

Higher Vegetable Intake Equals Lower Blood Pressure

Eating a more vegetable-based diet is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure, reports the January 2005 issue of Nutrition Reviews. Researchers conducted a Medline (National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD) search for studies published on the relationship between vegetarian diets and blood pressure in adults and determined that both observational and random-controlled studies show that a vegetarian diet is one of the best ways to regulate blood pressure. Many studies suggest a vegetarian diet may help keep blood pressure in a healthy range by keeping potassium, magnesium, and calcium intake at an optimal level. Even if you're not ready to become a vegetarian, this study should prompt you to eat more blood pressure friendly foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The review also acknowledged the greater importance of diet and lifestyle over hereditary factors when it comes to blood pressure.

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