Saturday, December 4, 2010

The best and worst foods for your tummy

As Christmas gets closer, I wanted to leave you with this list of best and worst foods for you. Many on the list are not a huge surprise but some are so here we go.

The worst foods for your tummy are
Red meats
Hydrogenated oils/fats
Processed meats (hot dogs, lunch meats, sausages etc.)

Why they received "the worst food" label is because they are bad for our health in general. Red meat and processed meats have been linked to intestinal and colon cancer. They are also high in fat, sodium, nitrites and offer no real nutritional value.

Not only are they hard to digest but hydrogenated fats have been linked to increased bad (LDL) cholesterol and decreased good (HDL) cholesterol. They also cause damage to the arteries & heart. Products that contain Hydro fats/oils may be cheaper than others on the shelf but is eating them worth it?

Gluten and lactose are hard to digest and cause intestinal turbulence for many people.

Now on to he good foods. They are
Gluten free grains
Fermented foods

Prunes are great for fiber and fiber is like nature's broom; it cleans you out! Fiber protects us against cancer. GO FIBER!!!

Did you know that 4 pounds of your weight comes from beneficial bacteria that live in our intestines? Our friend yogurt has these live and active cultures but you need to check that the container has the words "live" or "active" on it. Yogurt can calm a rumbly tummy, and I'm not talking about hunger, and it (or the good bacteria) can also contribute to a healthy immune system.
But there is a trick to buying yogurt: you must find a brand that has the least amount of sugar because sugar feeds the bad bacteria and makes them flourish. Unsweetened would be the best but I'm still looking for one. I buy Bulgarian yogurt, fat free with 6g of sugar/1 cup. Still a lot when I can only have 15 g/day but it's the best I can do until I learn to make it myself.

Have you ever heard of Prebiotics? Not PRO but PRE? Prebiotics is what the good bacteria eats among other things. Things like lentils, onions, garlic, leek, legumes, bananas, sun chokes (Jerusalem artichokes), asparagus etc are great sources of prebiotics.

Gluten free foods are self explanatory. Buy quinoa for example to avoid tummy troubles.

Why are Fermented foods so good for you? Because they are made more digestible by fermenting them. Sounds a bit gross but fermenting gives our digestive tract a break. There are lots of fermented foods: sauerkraut, sour dough, tempeh, miso, soy sauce, pickles, kefir, etc etc. The gluten breaks down during fermentation so people with gluten allergies may be able to eat fermented foods too.

To avoid gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach aches etc. remember the tummy friendly foods. Maybe you can incorporate them into your Christmas menu!

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