I think some of us around here have been dieting for too many years. Instead of worrying about my weight, I find myself contemplating food choices instead of calories or amount. Should I eat that fudge? (click this link, guys!) Or, will half a pineapple counteract the bad stuff in a bowl of potato chips?
I think it's much better to focus on the quality of the food you eat and not worry about calories or the ratios of carbs-protein-fat. Try to ensure that everything you eat is a high-quality, real food. Most of the time you find this is hard to do, snacks and packaged meals are just so easy, convenient. And good. Sometime, even when given a choice, we'll pick the bad one. But if you want to make one change that will effect your health. This is it.
Eat more real food (especially veggies).
So here's an article from today that describes how "green leafy vegetables" protect against high blood pressure and strokes. Researchers followed 682 people around who had seriously high blood pressure and suffered from a bleeding stroke. This was in Sub-Saharan Africa where we tend to think of a super-healthy "Primaltm" "Paleo" diet. I'm thinking images of giant yams, baobab fruit, and grubs.
Taken all together, Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly West Africa, ranked better than wealthier regions in North America and Europe, probably because of a diet comprised of lean meats, vegetables, legumes, and staple starches, with less processed foods than countries that fared worse (such as the US and Russia)
|Fresh as it gets|
But in this study, they've found 682 Sub-Saharan Africans with blood pressure so high it blows holes in their brain. Everyone's first question has to be, "What up with that?"
Well, it turns out they looked at several factors. People were more likely to suffer bleeding strokes if they smoked (10 times higher) or had diabetes, high cholesterol, or under lots of stress. The people least likely to have a stroke were those that ate lots of green, leafy vegetables (64% lower risk).
Green Leafy Vegetables
Is this really what the study was about? I don't think so, and certainly the researchers couldn't have believed that it was this simple. I think it's obvious that all of these factors, and many others, are interrelated. Poor diet-->high cholesterol-->high bp-->diabetes-->stroke. Add in smoking and stress and lack of sleep and alcohol abuse and drug abuse. There's where most people live. There's a there there.
|Face of Stress|
I wish the researchers would have looked at intakes of processed foods versus whole foods. I cannot believe that Africa is not under Western influence to eat junk foods. Or maybe junk food is all that's available to some.
We can use this information to change our own lives. Stop eating junk food and start eating more vegetables. I see so many people eating little bars of organic stuff. Eat a banana. Eat berries. eat a potato. Give in to some temptation, satisfy your sweet tooth if you must, but always try to make the best choice possible. Go for baked instead of fried. Get the salad instead of the French fries. Ask for a whole wheat bun.
From the article
Researchers say reducing stress and increasing green leafy vegetable consumption may be a novel way to reduce the rates of brain bleeds.
I think they are onto something!
Hope you're having a great year so far. Only seven months til next winter! I've been thinking a lot lately about junk food. What makes a food "junk?" Can you turn a good food into junk food in your kitchen? Is goodness a function of ingredients only?
Oh, and I activated a batch of sourdough last week. Fixing to make some bread today. I have a loaf of whole wheat spelt fermenting in the cold garage. Smelling great!