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Reversal of Caution

Corn: A corny Idea or a bad joke?

Old news:
T'was once believed that corn was not as nutritious as whole

Newer, happier news:
Corn is also considered a "whole grain." It is rich in carotenoids, which help keep our eyes healthy. And popcorn made from yellow corn has these same nutrients. White corn, while tasty, is less nutritious.

Shellfish: What do They Want?

Old News:
Shrimp are rich in cholesterol and don't belong in a heart-healthy diet.

New News:
Although shrimp are higher in cholesterol than any other shellfish except squid, the cholesterol found in shrimp may not be as much of a problem as that found in other foods. Shrimp are low in saturated fat and contain only 0.3 grams per serving. In addition, shrimp contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Oranges: Naval and other Operations

Old News:
Citrus Fruits contain lots of vitamin C.

The Latest:
The vitamin C is still there. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes also contain a wide range of important phytochemicals that may help protect against cancer and stroke.

Chocolate: Death By And Otherwise:

It's bad. That's all.

Maybe not so bad after all. Chocolate contains large amounts of the same beneficial plant chemicals that now have burnished the reputation of tea. In fact, just one ounce of chocolate has about as much of these plant chemicals as a cup of brewed black tea. One large ongoing study of the benefits of exercise found that men who eat chocolate in moderation (one to three bars per month) live longer than those who eat none. Nobody knows why. And moderation remains the key word.


Once Upon A time:
A pleasant beverage.

Here and Now:
All teas, green, black and red (not herbal teas) contain a range of beneficial chemicals that may reduce the risk of many cancers and that act as antioxidants. Drinking tea regularly may protect arteries from plaque build-up. Tea does not, as was once believed, promote bone loss.

Butter or Margarine

Old News:
Once touted over butter, margarine is made from vegetable oil and thus has no cholesterol and much less saturated fat than butter. Then it turned out that margarine, because the oil is hydrogenated, contains trans fats, which are as bad for your heart as the saturated at in butter.

Newer News:
Some new margarines contain no trans fats. if you can find it, canola oil margarine is a good choice. Or try liquid, tub or "diet" margarines, which have less trans fat. To reduce your blood cholesterol levels try the new margarines, such as Benecol or Take Control, which contains cholesterol-lowering ingredient. If you use only small amounts of butter and margarine and follow a heart-healthy diet, it doesn't really matter whether you choose margarine or butter.

Salt: A Salty salute!

Old News:
The more salt you eat, the greater your chances of developing high blood pressure.

Latest Flash:
High sodium intake may not lead to high blood pressure unless you are sodium sensitive. Since it is impossible to know in advance who is sodium sensitive, it makes sense to limit consumption of salt to less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day – a little more than a single teaspoon of table salt. This means avoiding highly salted processed food such as chips, crackers and most canned soups. It is also a fact that high sodium intake may reduce bone density.

Soy: Ahoy, Soy!

Out With The Old:
Soybeans are just another item on the commodities exchange.

In With The New:
Soy is good food, well worth adding to your diet. This includes tofu, soy flour, soybeans and soy milk. Soy protein may help lower cholesterol and have anti-cancer effects. Food containing moderate to high levels of soy protein can now sport an official health label: if you eat 25 grams of soy protein within the context of a low-fat, low cholesterol diet, it can help lower the risk of heart disease. It is not, however, a magic bullet. Like all plants, soybeans are a mixture of complex substances with many potential effects in the body, some beneficial, some not. (Don't you feel better now?)

Corn: Aw, Shucks!

Old Hat:
Corn is not as nutritious as whole wheat.

New Hat:
Like whole wheat, corn is also a "whole grain". Yellow corn is rich in such carotenoids as lutein and zeaxanthin, which may keep your eyes healthy. And popcorn made from yellow corn has these same nutrients. White corn, while tasty, has fewer nutrients.

Eggs: Almost As Many As You Want In One Basket

Old Wives’ Advice:
Don’t eat eggs. A single egg has 215 milligrams of cholesterol, which is two-thirds of the daily maximum.

Young Wives’ Advice:
Saturated fat, of which eggs contain very little, plays a bigger role in raising blood cholesterol than dietary cholesterol. A daily egg may have little effect on the risk of heart disease in healthy people. If you know you are healthy, you can eat an egg every day with impunity and even make friends with the chickens as well!

Nuts: Chock Full Of and Otherwise

Old Hat:
It was once believed that even though nuts are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, that they are too fatty, caloric and salty to be really healthy.

Talk of The Town:
The good news is that recent studies indicate that nuts can help prevent heart disease. They are rich in unsaturated fats, vitamin E, fiber, folic acid and other B vitamins. Sometimes you might even want to add nuts to salads and rice dishes depending on your mood. Let’s face it. Nuts are like that man who keeps siigning in and out of the asylum; sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don’t.

Cherries, Blueberries, Beets and Peppers: Berry Important News

Stale News:
Originally touted as good food but no better than light colored fruits and vegetables, deeply colored fruits and vegetables have come up in the culinary world!

Almost Hot Off The Press:
Deeply colored fruits and vegetables tend to have more vitamins and minerals than they had before. (New, improved berries? Ralph Nader, you are wonderful!) And besides that, experts claim, the plant pigments that give them such rich colors may themselves protect against chronic diseases, including cancer. These pigments have high antioxidant potential. This doesn’t mean one should throw white cauliflower, green grapes or white potatoes by the wayside. Just don’t forget to include some of the darks such as kale, spinach, prunes, red grapes, raisins, cherries, oranges and carrots in your daily diet.

with thanks to the Wellnass Newslatter of the UC Berkley

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