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- Family Doctor: The DASH Diet: Healthy Eating to Control Your Blood Pressure
- Centers for Disease Control: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight
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According to the Centers for Disease Control, sodium in the American diet contributes to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke and 77 percent of that sodium comes from processed and restaurant food 12.
Whole foods include all foods in their natural state. Food processing removes nutrients and adds ingredients such as preservatives, flavorings, colorings and other chemicals in addition to being a major source of excess salt and sugars.
Most whole grains receive minimal processing, such as to remove chaff (the husks that cover some grains). These grains include:
- whole wheat
Brown rice is whole, unpolished rice. Polishing rice to make it white removes nutrients and fiber. Brown rice helps people feel full longer due to its natural fiber. It works as a bulking food to improve elimination and metabolizes more slowly than white rice, causing less of a rise in blood sugar.
Moderate amounts of fat in the diet help reduce hunger. Raw nuts such as:
- hazel nuts
- Brazil nuts
- macadamia nuts
- almonds can be good a choice of healthy fats in the diet
Eat these in moderation. Avoid salted nuts to reduce unnecessary sodium. You can rinse salted nuts right before eating them to reduce the salt. Discard rancid nuts and nuts showing any sign of mold.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide fiber and antioxidants (healthy compounds in food which have been shown to help prevent cancer and other health risks). Select fresh and organic produce when possible. Commercially grown produce contain pesticides. To reduce pesticide exposure, wash the fruits and vegetables prior to eating.
To select frozen fruits or vegetables read the label. Some frozen products contain added preservatives, flavorings, sauces, sugars or salt. Canning destroys enzymes and offers the least nutritious version of these foods, though having tomato sauces and other minimally processed foods on hand can help people maintain a healthy diet. Check labels for fat, sugar, sodium and chemical food additives.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, sodium in the American diet contributes to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke and 77 percent of that sodium comes from processed and restaurant food2. Brown rice is whole, unpolished rice. Avoid salted nuts to reduce unnecessary sodium. Commercially grown produce contain pesticides. Canning destroys enzymes and offers the least nutritious version of these foods, though having tomato sauces and other minimally processed foods on hand can help people maintain a healthy diet.
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