The Standard American Diet (SAD) is quite "sad" when you really look at what most American's comsume in a day. We have the poorest diets and are the highest for obesity and heart related conditons. As the fast food capital of the world, we need to ask ourselves . . what are we doing?
SAD's are high in meats (especially red) and lack vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Without these essentials our metabolism becomes very poor and can result in serious health issues and concerns. Recent studies have shown that American lack the essential nutrients for healthy and balanced systems based on US Dietary Guidelines. Now you may say, "How can these studies be taken or even true?" Well, they are taken and are true, American's are the highest for heart disease and its no wonder with fast food hang out's on every corner.
There are basic nutrients and vitamins the human body needs on a daily basis to sustain health and balance within the overall system. Here they are, take note and see if you can try and get some more of them into you daily diet habits.
Vitamin A - This aids vision, reproductive function and the role in creating new cells. It can be found in dairy products, liver; precursor beta-carotene in dark green and orange-yellow vegetables, apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, collards, leaf lettuce, mango, mustard greens, pumpkin, romaine lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes and winter squash (acorn, hubbard).
Vitamin C - This aids in numerous, numerous functions (too many to mention) but mainly focuses on boosting immunity and supporting the circulatory system. It can be found in broccoli, brussel sprouts, citrus, red peppers, strawberries, apricots, cabbage, canatloupe, cauliflower, chili peppers, collards, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi fruit, mango, mustard greens, pineapple, plum, potatoes (skin on), spinach, tomatoes and watermelon.
Vitamin E - This aids in protecting the cell membranes from free-radical damage and can also act as a natural blood thinner. It can be found in egg yolks, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, wheat germ oil and whole grains.
Fiber - This aids in regulating bowel function, blood sugar and cholesterol. It can be found in brans (wheat, oat and others), apple, banana, blackberries, blueberries, brussel sprouts, carrots, cherries, cooked beans and peas (kidney, navy, lima, pinto, lentils, black-eyed peas), dates, figs, grapefruit, kiwi, orange, pear, prunes, raspberries, spinach, strawberries and sweet potatoes.
Calcuim - This helps maintain strong bones and teeth as well as helps to support healthy weight levels. It can be found in dairy products, leafy greens, sardines, tofu, soy.
Potassium - This aids in regulating blood pressure, fluid balance as well as cardiac electric impulses. It can be found in beans, fruits (banana), milk, mushrooms, peas and various vegetables.
Magnesium - This helps create energy, relaxes the muscles to reduce spasm and aid in insulin production. Most people notice they lack this one when there legs get achy and paired with Potassium it can help balance your overall mood too! It can be found in beans, dark green vegetables, fish, grains and nuts (almonds are great!)
Try whole grain muffins or bagels in place of a donut or even better add a piece of fruit in at breakfast. Instead of the same old caesar salad for lunch, spice it up with fresh herbs like Basil and Cilantro tossed with spinach - you will need less dressing because it will be so tasty and you will be helping you body get what it needs. Late night snacks a problem - get local - what's in season now - in New Jersey strawberries are in and tasty as ever, in a few weeks blueberries will begin - these are a better late night snack then the fat loaded ice cream. It is not to say to not enjoy but maybe try topping your vanilla sundae with fresh berries and granola in place of the high fructose sorn syrup laden choclate syrup! There are lots of little things you can do, be creative and you will be surprised what really tastes good blended together.
Peaceful Blessings and Happy Cooking!