Millions of people throughout Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa and Central America have been including coconuts as a significant food source in their diet for millennia. Before modern foods were introduced, some communities were almost entirely dependent upon coconut. In those cultures, diseases such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and other degenerative disease were largely unknown.
Hunger is a problem in many areas of the world, but it is also important for us to remember that an estimated 50 million Americans face hunger every day. Yet a full 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten. Twenty pounds of food, per American, is wasted every month. That is a total of $165 billion of food, every year, that winds up in landfills and decays (adding to emissions from methane). If we could reduce that amount by even 15 percent, we could cut hunger among Americans by half.
As Americans become more health-conscious, we gravitate to foods that are promoted as good for us. Responding to consumers, advertisers use “healthy” as one of their most common catchwords. Unfortunately, many of these so-called “health foods” are not particularly healthy. Some of them are downright unhealthy. One of the main drawbacks is sugar, which the food industry hides in nearly all processed foods.
A recent article on the PBS website covered some of the basic tenets of healthy eating. The information was presented in an easy-to-follow list format. Of course, the foundation of a healthy eating program is to consume most of your nutrition from farm-raised, organic protein (such as eggs, yogurt, fish and chicken), organic fruit, non-starchy vegetables, and organically farmed whole grains.
We are constantly bombarded by advertising and magazine articles touting the benefits of products we can apply topically to give us smooth, younger looking skin. In the United States, skin care is a multi-billion dollar market. What many consumers do not realize, however, is that nutrition is by far the most important factor in healthy, lovely skin.
Nutritionists have been evolving in their assessment of fats in the diet. There are several schools of thought, and people disagree about animal fats, seed oils, and other sources of fat. But almost all health experts agree on the benefits of extra virgin olive oil.
Avocados are unique among fruit. While most fruits are composed primarily of carbohydrates, avocado is higher in healthy fats. Research has also proven they are an exceptionally healthy food.
Little known just a few years ago, kale has become a popular food. It is a cruciferous vegetable, related to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and brussel sprouts. Among all the healthy greens, kale is one of the most nutritious. It is filled with beneficial compounds, many of which are medicinal in their health effects.