Pixel Tracker

Monday, February 18 , 2019, 11:04 am | A Few Clouds 53º


Tracy Shawn: Miracle Foods to Lose Weight, Slow Aging and Fight Disease

For the full benefit, feast on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins

The right foods may help you in ways you’d never expect. A healthy diet not only promotes weight loss and maintenance, but it also has been shown to slow down the aging process; boost the immune system; decrease blood pressure and cholesterol while strengthening the heart and circulatory system; prevent cataracts; maintain a healthy blood sugar level; and prevent or slow down certain diseases and cancers.

So what are these “miracle” foods? They include the whole, unprocessed fare of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins (and not the processed mix of white flour, sugar, chemicals and trans fat that make up the stuff of junk food, including most baked goods, chips, candy and both regular and diet soft drinks).

This way of eating remains the foundation for steady, no-nonsense weight loss because it emphasizes complex carbohydrates, heart-healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables. Listed below are the health benefits from these powerhouse-packed foods.

Foods That Slow Down the Aging Process

Antioxidants fight free radicals, which cause inflammation, cell damage and disease. Some of the most prevalent foods that are high in antioxidants include blueberries (frozen is fine), citrus fruits, broccoli, carrots, cocoa, flax seeds (buy organic, keep in fridge and grind desired amount in coffee grinder), grapes, raspberries and tomatoes.

According to the book Personal Nutrition by Marie Boyle, Ph.D., R.D., and Sara Long, Ph.D., R.D., phytochemicals may act directly to both inhibit enzymes that activate carcinogens and to induce enzymes that detoxify carcinogens. Foods rich in phytochemicals may also slow down the aging process as well as boost immune system and reduce cancer risk, heart disease and other conditions.

Phytochemicals are the compounds that give plants their aromas and brilliant colors. A variety of foods are rich with different classifications of phytochemicals. They include deeply colored fruits and vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, citrus fruits, oats, flax seed, nuts and legumes.

Foods That Boost the Immune System

Anti-inflammatory foods not only reduce inflammation in the body, they also supply an impressive amount of essential vitamins and minerals, which boost overall immunity. Foods well known for their anti-inflammation properties include kelp (opt for organic brands), wild Alaskan salmon, tumeric (otherwise known as curry powder), shiitake mushrooms, green tea, papaya, blueberries, extra virgin olive oil, broccoli and sweet potatoes.

Foods That Decrease Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Heart health may be increased by incorporating a number of different kinds of foods into your daily diet. The Mayo Clinic recommends oatmeal, oat bran and other high-fiber foods because the soluble fiber (which is also found in such foods as apples, pears, barley, prunes and kidney beans) reduces LDL (the “bad” cholesterol).

Fish and omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood pressure and the risk of developing blood clots. Doctors recommend eating two servings of fish a week. The fish highest in omega-3s are mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon and halibut. You may consider taking an omega-3 supplement as well.

Foods rich in polyunsaturated fat can also reduce blood cholesterol. The Food and Drug Administration notes that eating a handful of nuts a day may reduce risk of heart disease. The best choices include almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.

Foods That Help Maintain Blood Sugar and Prevent Cataracts

According to the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch, CNC, following a low-glycemic diet may reduce the risk of cataracts by 77 percent. Low-glycemic diets are also good for general health and the maintenance of a healthy blood glucose and insulin response. Low-glycemic foods include whole fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and proteins (from both meat and vegetable sources).

Foods That Lower Cancer Risk

The American Cancer Society predicted that almost a third of cancer deaths in 2008 were attributed to poor eating habits, obesity and physical inactivity. Diets high in alcohol, processed meat and saturated fat — with low intake of fiber, fruits and vegetables — are associated with a number of different cancers and diseases. The consumption of high beta-carotene foods (think dark-yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables as well as dark-green vegetables), vitamin C rich foods, cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli), and adequate fiber intake all work together to slow down and even prevent certain cancers and other diseases.

Basically, moms have been right all along. Fortify yourself with oatmeal before you venture out in the world. Munch on fruit instead of candy. Don’t pick at your fish. And for goodness sake, eat your vegetables!

— Tracy Shawn, MA, “The Walk & Talk Weight Loss Coach”, is a certified nutrition and wellness consultant for men and women. She helps clients achieve their weight loss goals through individualized guidance and education. Click here to contact her.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >