1. What are the benefits of eating soy foods such as tofu?
Soy is an excellent source of protein. Some studies suggest that soy may decrease the risk of heart disease independent of being a protein source that does not contain any saturated fats.
2. Besides limiting salt, what dietary measures can I take to lower my risk of high blood pressure?
Salt, more specifically, sodium, raises blood pressure in some people, but not everyone. There's no way to tell who might be affected by too much sodium, so it's wise use salt in moderation. One of the most exciting research discoveries is the important role fruits and vegetables play in preventing high blood pressure. At least 5 servings per day is now recommended.
3. Do diet teas work?
Diet teas often contain natural diuretics, substances that promote the elimination of sodium and water from the body. If you lose any weight at all, it's only temporary water weight, not fat. Excessive use of diuretics in any form can cause dehydration and decreased stores of body potassium and magnesium.
4. When is it OK to eat raw oysters?
If you don't know the source of your shellfish, there's always a chance they come from contaminated waters. If you're buying live oysters or other shellfish to prepare at home, be sure they carry a shipping tag from approved waters. One of the greatest risks of eating raw shellfish is contraction of hepatitis virus. Because raw shellfish probably always contains some bacteria, it's never wise for a pregnant woman or anyone with an immune-system disorder to indulge.
5. What are electrolytes and what do they do?
Electrolytes are tiny particles that are dissolved in body fluids, both inside and outside cells. The standard electrolyte blood test measures the levels of sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate in the blood. Electrolytes maintain water balance, keep the acid-base composition of fluids stable, and provide the proper electrical gradients across cell membranes.
6. Should children be concerned about cholesterol?
Babies need fat and cholesterol for neurologic development and as a source of energy. As they become older, then eating healthier fats like olive oil and soybean oil rather than saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol should be emphasized.
7. I've heard it's better for digestion not to drink liquids with meals. Is it true?
It makes no difference. If you're trying to watch your weight, however, it can be beneficial to drink water with your meal, particularly at the beginning. Water can help you feel full faster so you'll eat less.
8. Should I be drinking liquid supplements now that I'm over 50?
If you're healthy, it's always best at any age to get your nutrients from a well-balanced diet. But if a medical condition interferes with your appetite, a fortified liquid supplement in the form of a shake or a juice can help you continue to get the nutrients you need when you're not feeling well.
9. Are artificial sweeteners dangerous?
Aspartame should be avoided by people with the inherited metabolic disorder, phenylketonuria. Because saccharin can cross the placenta, other sweeteners should be selected during pregnancy. Some people believe that aspartame triggers their migraine attacks. Artificial sweeteners are a better choice than sugar, especially for those with obesity, diabetes or high triglycerides--although they should be consumed in moderation.
10. Is it more important to count total calories or calories from fat?
Counting total calories is more important because this is what helps you stay within the range you need to lose or maintain weight. Ounce for ounce fat has more than twice as many calories than carbohydrate or protein. So eating fatty foods means more calories per serving size. A balanced diet requires eating modest portions of healthy fat, the unsaturated oils like olive oil, soybean oil, and canola oil. Stay away from trans fat and saturated fats in meat and dairy products.