Study: Olive Oil Lowers Stroke Risk
Drizzling olive oil over your meals could help lower your risk of stroke, new research suggests. Researchers tracked more than 7,600 people ages 65 and older in three French cities, and found that those who regularly used olive oil were 41 percent less likely to have a stroke over the 5-year study period than were never-users, according to findings published in Neurology on Wednesday. Those who benefited the most were "intensive" olive oil users, i.e., they cooked with it and dressed prepared food with it. Past research suggests that olive oil, a staple of Mediterranean diets, helps thwart heart disease and helps control high blood pressure and cholesterol. Exactly why olive oil shields against stroke is unclear, but the researchers speculate it’s because people use it in lieu of its less healthful cousins: butter, coconut oil, and other saturated fats.
6 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Eating Fruits and Veggies
Some people wrongly assume they don’t like asparagus or cauliflower, when in fact they don’t like the way those foods are often prepared. Many vegetables, among them green beans, carrots, and sweet potatoes, become family favorites when drizzled with a little olive oil and roasted in the oven. And fruits and vegetables can disappear if tucked into dishes the right way. Here are a few tricks from dietitians to get more produce into meals:
1. Use them in sauces, chili, soups, and casseroles. They’re great at camouflaging zucchini, squash, carrots, or corn. Grate and sauté them or pulse them in a food processor until they’re smooth. But they don’t have to be hidden to taste good. Pasta sauces or toppings on meat dishes are other veggie vehicles. Grab a can of butternut squash soup and cook gnocchi in it—it’s "super yummy," says Andrea Giancoli, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Smother your chicken in ratatouille—an assortment of seasoned, sautéed veggies—or top sea bass with tomatoes, capers, and olives or perhaps a mango salsa.
2. Bake them into muffins, breads, and pies. Yes, you can enjoy pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving relatively guilt-free, so long as it’s not topped with a huge dollop of Cool Whip. Carrot cake, zucchini bread, and banana muffins are a few more possibilities. Many recipes call for applesauce instead of all or some of the butter or oil, and it brings just as much moistness. "It can definitely be an awesome way to get your more nutritious substitutes to replacing high-oil, high-fat baked goods," says Sarah Krieger, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. [Read more: 6 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Eating Fruits and Veggies.]
Use These 8 Foods to Help You Lose Weight
We all know the basic nutrition rules when it comes to safeguarding our health and losing weight. In the words of best-selling nutrition writer Michael Pollan, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Sounds simple, but if you’re interested in maximizing the amount of nutrients you get, you may want to be a little choosy when selecting among various options in each food group. Some fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products stand out as nutritional superstars, according to the latest research. And they’re also easy on the calorie count to help you shed pounds, fitness blogger Ryan Sullivan writes for U.S. News. Consider incorporating these foods into your daily meal plan:
1. Watermelon. It’s not only delicious, but packs a wallop of antioxidants like vitamins A and C. It also contains lycopene, a plant chemical found in studies to lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and age-related vision loss due to macular degeneration. Just as gratifying: One cup of cubed watermelon contains less than 50 calories, not too damaging for your waistline.
2. Avocado. This extremely versatile fruit can be used in salads, sandwiches, and guacamole. Filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, avocado is a healthful alternative to mayonnaise and can help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. Just watch your portions. One-quarter of a medium-sized avocado contains 65 calories, so you don’t want to overdo it. [Read more: Use These 8 Foods to Help You Lose Weight.]
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