women 4 hope

Dedicated to addressing women’s issues.

Food Synergy: For Healthy Weight Loss and Disease Prevention

Posted by Catherine Morgan on April 5, 2008

Weight Loss: Getting Reacquainted With Healthy Food — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

For the last few weeks I’ve been making an attempt at eating healthy. And usually this is where I would tell you that I’ve failed miserably. But, I’m happy to report that I have actually been doing pretty well. I think it is in part because, around the same time I decided that I couldn’t afford to gain another pound, I got an email from Elaine Magee. Funny how we get what we need, just when we need it. Anyway, Elaine is the Healthy Recipe Doctor at WebMD, and she wanted to tell me about her newest book Food Synergy. Even better, she said if I wanted a copy she would send me one. The timing couldn’t have been better.

I’m not sure if it was the book or my total fear of gaining another pound, but I’ve actually lost about six pounds. It’s not that her book is a diet plan or anything…It’s really about eating healthy, and that’s what is so great about it. The book reinforced a lot of what I already knew, but also explained how different food combinations actually work to prevent disease and promote wellness. Not only is the book informative, but it is loaded with great recipes.

Evidence is mounting that certain components in the food we eat and drink (minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals, fiber, smart fats, etc.) interact to provide our bodies extra disease protection and a higher level of health. This advanced nutrition science is called food synergy.

Food synergy is like adding 1 plus 1 and getting 4 or 6 instead of 2; the total is greater than the sum of the individual parts (or nutrients).

From WebMDAt The Healthy Recipe DoctorTop 10 Food Synergy Super Foods

  1. Whole Grains
    Whole grains are naturally low in fat and cholesterol-free; contain 10% to 15% protein and offer loads of fiber, resistant starch and oligosaccharides, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and often, phytoestrogens. With all those nutrients in one package, it’s no wonder whole grains provide so many health benefits, including protection from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, and some cancers.
  2. Veggies — Especially Dark Green Ones
    Whether it’s the two vegetables high in viscous fiber (eggplant and okra); the cruciferous veggies (like kale and broccoli) with their anticancer organosulfur compounds; or the carotenoid family (like carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach) with their rich mix of phytochemicals, the message is clear: The more the merrier! Eat as many vegetables as you can, as often as you can. Dark green veggies, in particular, showed up on all sorts of food synergy lists in my book: for vegetables high in vitamin C; foods with multiple carotenoids; foods high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium; and good sources of vitamin E.
  3. Nuts
    Nuts contain mostly monounsaturated fat, and antioxidant phytochemicals (like flavonoids). Most also contribute phytosterols, which in sufficient amounts may help lower blood cholesterol, enhance the immune system, and decrease the risk of some cancers. Nuts also have some vitamins and minerals we tend to lack, like vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium. Two forms of vitamin E tend to work best together (alpha- and gamma-tocopherol), and you’ll find them in almonds, cashews, and walnuts. Walnuts also contain some plant omega-3s.
  4. Tea (Especially Green Tea)
    With each sip, you get two potent flavonoids — anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin — plus a healthy dose of catechin, which may enhance the antioxidant activity of alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E). Green and black teas also contain antioxidant polyphenols, thought to block cell damage that can lead to cancer. Phytochemicals in tea have a half-life of a few hours, so have a cup now and another later to get the biggest bang for your tea bag.
  5. Olive Oil.
    There are 30-plus phytochemicals in olive oil, many of which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action in the body, helping to promote heart health and protect against cancer. They’re also found in the olives themselves, of course.
  6. Fish
    Fish offers heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, along with a dose of potassium. It’s also a rare natural food source of vitamin D. A recent Norwegian study found that the intake of fish and fish products was strongly linked to higher mental performance in a group of men and women aged 70-74. And because lean fish had the same health benefits as fatty fish in this study, it may not be just the omega-3s at work, but perhaps a combination of components found in fish. Fish omega-3s may also have some synergy with plant omega-3s and olive oil, so cook your seafood with a little canola oil or olive oil. Or, serve your seafood with a side dish rich in plant omega-3s or lightly dressed in olive oil.
  7. Tomatoes
    Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids, which have synergy as a group. Few fruits and vegetables can say that! Tomatoes also contain three high-powered antioxidants thought to have synergy together (beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C) as well as lycopene, which has synergy with several food components.
  8. Citrus
    The whole citrus family is loaded with synergy because it boasts plenty of vitamin C and the phytochemical subgroup flavones, which are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action in the body, as well as other benefits. Oranges also offer two carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin. Grapefruits are rich in the antioxidant lycopene.
  9. Flaxseed
    Ground flaxseed seems to have synergy within itself on many levels, through fiber, lignans (plant estrogens), and plant omega-3s. But the seed may have synergy with several other foods, such as fish omega-3s and soy, and these are just the ones we know about. Remember, it’s ground flaxseed you want to add to your yogurt or cereal. All those healthy components aren’t absorbed and available to the body until the seed is ground.
  10. Low-Fat Dairy
    Dairy foods deliver a team of players that’s important for healthy bones (calcium, vitamin D, protein, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins A and B6), some of which have synergy together. Calcium combined with vitamin D, for example, may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Including a couple of low-fat dairy servings a day is also part of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet to lower hypertension.

So, I’m not on any specific diet plan at the moment, but I am eating a lot healthier. I’m looking at this time as my pre-dieting phase. I’m getting myself reacquainted with the taste of healthy foods, and weaning myself off the junk…at the same time, not putting a lot of pressure on myself. I know I will have to eventually go on an actual (calorie counting) diet if I am going to have any chance of losing the over 40 pounds I need to lose. But until then, I think I’m making positive changes in my eating habits, that will hopefully help me develop the willpower to stick to an actual diet in the near future.

The one thing that’s nice about trying to lose weight while blogging is – You never feel alone. Here are some links to other women who are blogging their way to a healthier lifestyle…

Roni’s Weight Watchen Page

I’m just a girl who started a weight loss blog to stay accountable during my weight watchers journey. I started the site while on maternity leave after regaining the 40lbs I lost before getting pregnant. Since starting the blog I’ve reached my goal weight and am now maintaining a 70lbs loss. I’ve lost the pregnancy weight, plus the extra 30lbs I was carrying around before baby.

Even though I set a goal to be one, I never thought I would actually make it to success story status. People now email me saying I inspire them to lose weight or to get “back on track” and that is a wonderful feeling. I sought out inspiring stories while losing weight so I understand the importance to know it is possible.

Journeying to Lose 200 Pounds

I’m a chubby chick in her 30’s who is tired of being fat and miserable. Come along and share my journey to lose 200 pounds and gain a healthier and happier me.

Growing Older, Sexier, and Skinnier

I’m I’m a postmenopausal woman who has struggled with weight my whole life. Due to a huge change in my business life, I not only have gained weight due to the natural changes of getting older, but also due to the fact that I am on my ass all day in front of the computer, instead of on my feet 10-12 hrs. a day and moving around. Now, back on WeightWatchers once again, this is a journal of the new struggle and new learning about how my body works when “that time of the month” doesn’t come to visit anymore.

Step Away From The Cupcake!

I’m 26, a future-wife, a Mommy, an aspiring baker, a Weight Watcher, a daughter, a sister… you get it, right? I’m struggling to balance weight loss with my love for baked goods and carbohydrates, working with motherhood, life and love. It’s a challenge, but I’ll happily take it.

Are you dieting or trying to eat healthy? Do you have any good tips to help a girl stay on the path? Do you blog about dieting or health eating? Do you have a great dieting success story?


25 Responses to “Food Synergy: For Healthy Weight Loss and Disease Prevention”

  1. I have use green tea to lose weight. After reading your article, I will try fish. haha, I like eating fish.

  2. sahabat88 said

    thanks good post.. but i need to be little fat?? so?
    keep smile

  3. Diet makes a huge difference for weight loss success. I try to eat fish at least once a week

  4. Linda said

    Diet does make an important difference. In addition to healthy eating and moderate exercise, making sure you are taking a multivitamin (info can be found on vitamins & weight loss on on this site).

  5. Thanks for sharing these super tips and for the motivation. I picked up 13k’s when I stopped smoking 2 years ago and I have been trying to lose weight to no avail. I am now going to try and just eat healthy instead of concentrating on trying to lose weight!

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  7. I fully agree with you as nap of myself sideways I felt the same when I started my weight loss program in Feb2008. To keep me on track I took a before as well as a frontal one. I then took my weight and waist measurement. I then reapeated this after 5 days and was surprised to see the results.

    What this has done for me i spurred me to continue and I have lost over 8 kgs in the last 10 weeks on this low GI diet I am on. I must confess I have been breaking the diet 2 or 3 times a week but I am still doing real well inspite of it.

  8. I believe that is important to learn how to eat healthily for long term nutrition and healthy weight support. Even just focusing on adding a few extra servings of fruits and veggies in your day can help.

    Pilates & Reiki In Paradise Blog

  9. […] at eating healthy. And usually this is where I would tell you that I??ve failed miserably. Buthttps://women4hope.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/food-synergy-for-healthy-weight-loss-and-disease-preventi…Medical notes – April 22 Akron Beacon JournalArea organizations and events dealing with health […]

  10. Karen Davis said

    I agree that you need to eat healthy, but to keep the calories at a minimum, I really don’t eat enough to get the vitamins, etc. that experts say you need. I followed Linda’s advice and checked out this article about getting enough nutrients. What do other readers think? Do we need to add vitamins?

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  12. greentea said

    This is a great post. Weight watchers should be aware of what they’re eating.

  13. Sytropin said

    I just learned a simple thumb-rule for ‘healthy’ diet. NO salt. NO cooked food.

    this sounds a little crazy with all the spices that we are used to have here in India – Sudha.

  14. Jeff said

    This is a great list of healthy alternatives! Fish is a very underrated food that can bring about a ton of improvements in our health, and I’m happy to see it being talked about more!

    There are a couple good health rules to follow when looking at smart recipes. These healthy living recipe rules can help lower your cholesterol and keep you energized!


    – J

  15. Dan said

    Swimming did wonders for my girlfriend. Helped her get in shape in under a month with 4-5hours of swimming/week.

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  17. Anonymous said

    grlz r starvin der selff cozz of dizz

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