When it comes to heart healthy eating, the things that we know we should eat are rarely as tempting as the things we know we shouldn’t even be considering.
We make unhealthy food choices for two simple reasons:
- What we like is often cheaper than healthy alternatives.
- The food that we’re told to avoid simply tastes better.
This is an issue attracting significant media attention; first lady Michelle Obama has even picked up the mantle to join in the healthy eating debate. Mrs. Obama has been working to combat childhood obesity, supporting Congress and schools to adopt the new federal guidelines for healthy eating across our school-age population.
U.S. guidelines are promoting heart-healthy choices
Activities such as promoting exercise for school kids, encouraging them to make healthy choices for drinks, like choosing water over sugary sodas, and avoiding snack foods with high unhealthy fats have all been in the agenda, as the federal guidelines state that our youngsters should be eating fruit every day, having whole grains above simple carbohydrate alternatives, and filling up on fresh vegetables.
GREAT BUT THERE’S ONE SMALL PROBLEM…
The children themselves are pretty unhappy with the new changes. Looking at views expressed across social media platforms like Twitter, there’s a chorus of dissent, demonstrating the true reaction our kids have to healthy eating goals.
Why aren’t our kids choosing healthy food options?
This brings us down to the fundamental problem with healthy eating campaigns. Many heart healthy foods, and really just healthy foods in general, simply don’t taste as great as alternatives laden with fat and sugar. Our brains are hard-wired to respond positively to the addictive elements of sweet foodstuffs, even while our bodies rebel in all sorts of ways including obesity, heightened blood pressure and risks of serious long-term health problems.
If this was the only issue, we’d still have a fighting chance of beating the childhood obesity epidemic. However, there’s another key factor influencing the taste buds and food choices of our younger generation: Heart-healthy food choices tend to be expensive.
When you compare the price of, for example, an organic, whole-food diet with one full of budget cupboard fillers such as chips, cookies, white pasta, bread and cereal, it doesn’t take a calculator to realize that making positive, heart-healthy choices has a strong impact on the family budget. For parents, it simply doesn’t make short-term economic sense to pay more for healthy foods, when cheap alternatives – that kids love – are so readily available at such a low price.
Beating the obesity epidemic
So what can we do to address these fundamental issues?
The first point is that there needs to be a radical change in the availability and pricing of healthy options for our kids – and the rest of us. Those on a restricted budget are not choosing poor food options through preference alone, they make decisions based on their weekly grocery budget as well.
This means that parents who want to encourage healthy eating in their children will struggle to promote a heart-healthy diet, even if they’re fully aware of the long-term dangers of high consumption of fat and sugar.
Changing traditional views of “healthy” eating
Similarly, we need to try to remove the whole concept of “healthy” and “unhealthy” food. Simply by branding an apple as “healthy” can make a child instinctively turn away from it. Healthy isn’t cool, or important to a young child. They make their food choices based on what their parents introduce them to initially, and then develop their taste through peer interaction, media persuasion and availability.
Parents who provide a balanced, varied diet, swapping in healthy substitutes like whole grain rice and pasta, and whole meal bread without even mentioning it, will promote a balanced outlook in their kids, setting them up to make positive choices in later life.
SO HOW DO YOU DO IT?
We’d love to hear your opinions, successes… even failures, regarding kids and healthy eating. Any discussion is a good discussion about a topic as important as the health of our children. Please share…
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You’ve heard Plant Sterols help lower cholesterol by up to 15%? In addition to that news about Plant Sterols, you may have also heard:
- The National Institutes of Health suggests consuming 2 grams of plant sterols (2,000 mg) daily.
- The American Heart Association recommends plant sterols for adults with high cholesterol levels (total and LDL).
- The AHA also recommends plant sterols for those with cardiovascular disease.
So… which foods with Plant Sterols should you be eating? Corazonas Tortilla Chips and Oatmeal Squares? Well, of course! But what else?
We present below a collection of our favorite foods with plant sterols. Yes, Corazonas Snacks are on the list… can you blame us… we’re addicted to them!
BRANDS WITH PLANT STEROLS
1. Corazonas™ Chips and Oatmeal Squares
2. Minute Made® Premium Heartwise™
4. Heart Goodness® Egg Product
5. Smart Balance® HeartRight® milk
6. Cardio Juice™
7. Giant Eagle® Fat Free Milk
9. Cardio Chews™
ABOUT PLANT STEROLS
Companies like Corazonas, and the ones mentioned above, only recently began selling foods infused with plant sterols.
So what are plant sterols?
Plant sterols, or as they are also called, phytosterols, occur naturally in fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole-grain products and most vegetable oils. The issue with foods that contain sterols naturally is that the foods normally contain levels that are just too low to be able to positively effect the level of bad/LDL cholesterol in our bodies.
But since the advent of plant sterol-infused foods, people have been able to eat normal quantities of sterol foods and still help to lower blood cholesterol as they reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Plant sterols are thought of as “a plant’s cholesterol”. Similar to how we have cholesterol, so do plants! In fact, looking at them under a microscope reveals substantial similarities between “plant cholesterol” and human cholesterol. It is this almost identical structure that allows plant sterols to battle with cholesterol to access receptors in our small intestines known as micelles. Micelles help transport cholesterol through the intestine into your blood stream.
Now here’s the important thing to remember… and why we exist… Over 140 clinical studies have shown us that plant sterols can help lower bad/LDL cholesterol levels by up to 14%!
GETTING DEEP ABOUT PLANT STEROLS
The most well-known plant sterol is sitosterol. 50 to 60 years ago, sitosterol was studied by a large group of professionals who found that the sterol seemed to lower cholesterol by around 10 percent. In the 80′s, sitostanol was found to reduce the amounts of cholesterol (and blood cholesterol) that was absorbed by the body.
A fairly recent study indicated that when sitostanol is coupled with margarine plasma cholesterol in the body was decreased by 10.2 percent on average. This particular study looked at a group of people who had mild hypercholesteremia. The sitostanol was not absorbed. Additionally, it didn’t seem to interfere with absorption of vitamins that were fat-soluble.
As noted above, when plant sterols occur naturally in foods, they don’t often provide enough of a benefit to us without eating really big amount. But it is still important to understand which foods naturally contain sterols. Relatively good sources of sterols are:
- Rice bran
- Wheat germ
- Oat bran
- Whole wheat
- Brown rice
- Dried peas
- Dried beans
- Nuts and Seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
Fruits and Vegetables only contain trace amounts of plant sterols. And even though you’d have to eat pounds and pounds of them to see any benefit; here are the ones relatively rich in sterols:
- Brussels sprouts
- Vegetable oils
- Wheat germ oil
Most of the foods listed above are D-licious, no doubt. But hey, why eat all those pounds and pounds of foods? If you’re going to try to lower your cholesterol naturally, eat something that makes you smile…
”Exciting news in the world of alternative medicine!” – Dr. Oz, May 2013
For years, we at Corazonas have been doing our best to explain the powerful benefits of plant sterols associated with lowering cholesterol.
Now, the message finally seems to be gaining traction with the help of some well-known personalities. After all, when Doctor Oz features something, you know it’s mainstream! Recently, certain chips and oatmeal snacks were featured during a segment with Dr. Oz and Doctor Melina Jampolis.
In the segment, the two experts discussed the cholesterol-lowering benefits of plant sterols (a.k.a. stanols) as they examine a group of foods that contain plant sterols. Among the foods sampled were tortilla chips and oatmeal squares that might seem very familiar to fans of Corazonas tortilla chips and oatmeal squares (wink, wink). Read more >>
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Did you know:
- Cholesterol is essential for life
- Cholesterol tests can be inaccurate
- Where cholesterol comes from makes a difference
- Increasing “good” cholesterol has little value
- Cholesterol in food hardly affects your blood cholesterol levels at all
Tune in to The Dr. Oz Show on May 9th to see our Oatmeal Squares and Tortilla Chips! We will be featured in a special segment on the importance and impact that plant sterols can have on lowering cholesterol.
Dr. Melina Jampolis, their physician nutrition specialist, shows how to find plant sterols in foods like tortilla chips and snack bars as part of a heart healthy diet.
A renowned TV personality, Dr. Oz, has recommended eating more LDL-lowering foods like plant sterols and stanols found in many grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sterol/stanol enriched products and soluble fiber like oatmeal, psyllium and bran.
We are delighted to see “Nature’s Secret Weapon” getting even more national attention. Check your local listings for air times, set those DVRs and be sure to encourage your friends to watch as well!
Corazonas is “In the Kitchen with David!”
Corazonas is delighted to announce that we’ll be one of the featured brands on QVC on Sunday, May 5, 2013 for one of their most popular shows, “In The Kitchen with David.”
Starting at 9:00 a.m. PT/12:00 p.m. ET David will share his passion for cooking as he whips up something new from the top brand names in cookware and appliances to the latest cookbooks and gourmet treats.
Fun-loving foodie and QVC Program Host David Venable will show everyone how easy it is to create delicious dishes when you have the right tools and techniques.
Be sure to check it out!