People have been cultivating bananas for thousands of years. Many primates eat the whole banana, including the peel. Although people in the West generally throw the peel away, people in some Asian countries consume the peels, which are usually cooked. Banana peels are not nearly as sweet as the fruit’s flesh, but they are rich in nutrients such as potassium.
Bananas are the most popular fruit in the United States. The banana is technically a berry. Unlike many other fruits, bananas are easy to peel and eat. Its fans range from toddlers to professional athletes. Aside from its good taste and convenience, the banana promotes good health.
As Americans become more aware of the importance of healthy eating, there has been a level of backlash against McDonald’s restaurants. Of course, the hamburger chain continues to be hugely popular, but recently they debuted a new food option aimed at people looking for natural, healthy food choices. That option is a salad they’ve christened “Keep Calm and Caesar On.” Unfortunately, despite the company’s advertising, the new salad just doesn’t meet the expectations of health-oriented customers.
McDonald’s touts the fact that the new salad includes a “nutrient-rich lettuce blend with baby kale.” However, the caloric and sodium content for the Caesar salad is actually higher than that of the iconic Double Big Mac. It is true the salad boasts eight different kinds of lettuce, but it also includes parmesan cheese, bacon, croutons, chicken and a dressing made by Kraft.
The salad is available in the American and Canadian market, and the company’s Canadian website admits the salad has 530 calories, even without the dressing. When the dressing is included, the calorie count goes up to 730, with 53 grams of fat and 1,400 milligrams of salt.
In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Toronto registered dietician, Shauna Lindzon, said, “Health-wise, I think it’s fat and sodium overload.” The Canadian government recommends a maximum total sodium consumption of 2,300 milligrams daily. Lindzon continues, “By eating that salad, you’re getting your sodium for the day,” and CBC comments that “average adult women would also be getting about one third their recommended daily calories.”
In contrast, the classic Big Mac delivers 530 calories and 950 milligrams of sodium, while the Double Big Mac delivers 680 calories and 1,340 milligrams of sodium. So – in terms of calories and salt – this new “healthy” option surpasses both the Big Mac and the Double Big Mac, as well as the standard cheeseburger, the double cheesburger, the Filet-o-Fish, the Double Filet-o-Fish, the Bacon McDouble Sandwich, the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and the Quarter Pounder B.L.T. It appears the McDonald’s marketing department has a low opinion of the intelligence of healthwise consumers.
Beyond the calories and salt content, the company does not say the ingredients of the new salad are organic. So the various varieties of lettuce and kale have likely been sprayed with pesticides. The bacon is laced with sodium nitrate, designated as “probably carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Consumers may also be concerned with the conditions under which the factory farm animals are raised.
Another new salad is the “I’m Greek-ing Out,” which has fewer calories, but is still far from healthy. As Lindzon said, “Combined with the Greek Feta Dressing, the Greek salad with grilled chicken totals 420 calories, 26 grams of fat, and 1,080 milligrams of sodium. That is almost equivalent to a Double Cheeseburger.
Natural health experts agree that the biggest public health hazard in the country is the modern American diet, heavy on processed, low-fiber food and chemicals. This toxic diet kills beneficial bacteria, and undermines the diversity of our intestinal flora, creating an assault on our immune systems and an array of health problems. Impaired gut health manifests in symptoms such as constipation, uncomfortable intestinal gas, diarrhea, bad breath, hormonal problems, menstrual issues, allergies and vitamin deficiencies, among others. Ultimately, poor gut health can cause serious digestive complications, autoimmune conditions, and even cancer.
Research conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine concluded that low fiber foods create a range of internal deficiencies. These deficiencies are passed down and affect future generations. Tragically, these deficiencies proved to be irreversible after four generations. The study was conducted with mice with the gut bacteria of human beings; the low-fiber diets fed the mice produced a depletion in complex microbial ecosystems and an erosion of gut health. This loss of intestinal flora diversity become progressively worse with each successive generation. In other words, eating badly today can affect your children, your grandchildren, and ultimately, your great-grandchildren.
Today Americans eat an average of only 15 grams of fiber daily, and as the modern American diet spreads around the world, people in other industrialized nations are following suit. Compare that to the diets of our hunter-gather and agrarian ancestors, who consumed as much as 10 time the fiber we do. The widespread use of antibiotics, the decline in breastfeeding, and an increase in cesarean section deliveries have also contributed to the decline in healthy gut flora.
Low-fiber diets are dangerous to our health because fiber is the primary food source for helpful microorganisms like commensal bacteria, which colonizes the colon. We need each of the thousands of various types of intestinal flora that are ideally present in our large intestines, for a healthy immune system and for tissue development.
In the history of human evolution, the constant consumption of low fiber foods in the United States and other industrialized nations is a fairly recent development. Nevertheless, the Stanford study serves as a warning of serious health consequences for future generations if these dietary trends continue.
The good news is that you can change the trend now, in your own life. Select foods that are high in fiber and avoid processed, chemical-laden foods. Build your diet around organic vegetables and fruits, along with whole grains. Avoid overusing antibiotics, and if you are pregnant, breastfeed your baby.
If you’ve tried to navigate the world of weight loss programs, you have probably encountered a lot of contradictory information. There is also enough confusing diet terminology to fill a dictionary, like BMI, GI, LDL, and HDL. If you are not a nutritionist or a dietician, there must be an easier way to figure out what you need to know.
When life gets stressful, how do you cope? If you’re like many of us, you reach for tasty food. That may be chocolate, or it might be a big plate of mashed potatoes and gravy. Whatever you choose, the choice is probably not based on nutritional science, and it could lead to unintended consequences such as weight gain or a tummy ache. So what are some alternate ways to soothe yourself through high stress?
At 38, the Patriots’ Tom Brady is still going strong, and he has said he plans to continue playing football well into his forties. To support their health, he and his model wife, Gisele Bundchen, and their children follow a scrupulously healthy diet. In a recent interview in The Boston Globe, their personal chef, Allen Campbell, offered details.
According to Dr. Michelle McMacken, medical schools provide aspiring physicians with only about 20 minutes of education in nutrition. When she established her family practice, she realized she needed to explore the subject herself, for her own health and that of her patients. She says doctors are subject to the same misinformation about nutrition as everyone else.
Peanut butter is not just for kids. The protein and healthy oils in peanut butter make it an excellent food for everyone, with the exception of the one percent of the population that is highly allergic to peanuts. Peanut butter can help with weight loss, diabetes, and can even lower your chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.