What Food Can Do For Your Health
Food, the meaning of food, the reasons to eat food and the effects of food on our bodies and psyches is profound. Food is for nourishment and nutrition. Food can also be thought of as medicine.
Some foods are known as comfort foods and can help with our mental health.
How Foods Can Improve Your Mind
- Warm soup on a cold day.
- A favorite food when we need a pick me up.
- Eating chicken noodle soup when we have a cold.
- Sharing and eating chocolate with a loved one.
How Foods Can Improve Your Body
There is quite a bit of research on food's physiologic effects on the body.
- Drink some beet juice prior to your jog and increase your endurance by five percent. Beet juice boosts your stamina by helping to make your muscles more efficient.
- Eating beets also appear to help lower blood pressure. (FYI - Excessive beet ingestion can color your stool red.)
- Bite into a juicy watermelon after your work-out to soothe your sore muscles. L-citrulline is the secret ingredient in watermelon that accelerates muscle repair.
- Chew on some juicy pineapple fruit and the pineapple stem to help osteo-arthritis pain. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples and has been used as an anti-inflammatory that helps your body fight pain and inflammation.
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and foods rich in B-complex can elevate the mood.
- The type of protein you ingest can affect your body and metabolism.
- Fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, pickles, and saurkraut helps your gut microbiome.
How Foods Can Help Your Skin
- Eating orange foods like carrots, pumpkin and peaches can give your skin a warm, natural tone since these foods are rich in natural beta-carotene. Be wary about ingesting excessive amounts of orange foods or you will develop beta-carotenemia in which the skin appears yellow and jaundiced from excessive yellow pigments.
In your quest to remain strong, healthy and in charge, remember the nutritional and the medicinal effects of foods, and not always a supplement, pill or potion.
How Protein Powder Can Help Improve Muscle Mass
Protein powder is an excellent and convenient food option that can help you improve lean muscle mass while reducing body fat when used in concert with exercise. There are several different types of protein powders available with the most common being:
- soy protein based
The milk-derived protein shakes that feature whey and casein have been shown to be optimal for muscle growth and even tendon growth!
For women with tendonitis and tendon problems, I recommend 10-20 grams of whey protein daily as a meal substitute as long as they have NO kidney problems.
If you want the highest quality, leanest, and most growth-promoting protein powder, I would recommend looking for one of the following:
- Whey protein isolate
- Hydrolysate product
Reducing Belly Fat With Protein
For midlife women concerned about midlife belly fat, hot flashes and elevated cholesterol levels, they may want to consider low glycemic soy protein shakes that contain calcium and 20 grams of soy protein.
For midlife women watching weight and calories, you can NOT just add protein supplement, you have to substitute it as otherwise you may ingest too many calories. There are several different flavors, and some protein powders come with caffeine while many do not.
Read the label and talk with your physician and trainer.
Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!
- Holly L. Thacker, MD and Stetson T. Thacker, BS in Biology and PhD candidate in Molecular Medicine
Holly L. Thacker, MD, FACP is nationally known for her leadership in women’s health. She is the founder of the Cleveland Clinic Women’s Health Fellowship and is currently the Professor and Director of the Center for Specialized Women’s Health at Cleveland Clinic and Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Thacker is also the Executive Director of Speaking of Women’s Health and the author of The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause. Her special interests and areas of research including menopause and related medical problems including osteoporosis, hormone therapy, breast cancer risk assessment, menstrual disorders, female sexual dysfunction and interdisciplinary women’s health.