We all know what eating the wrong things can do to us, but did you know that by eating the "right" foods we can actually manage and even reverse some of our most common health conditions? Pretty empowering. "Today" show nutrition expert Joy Bauer came by to tell us about her new book, "Food Cures," which lays out delicious diet plans to holistically address everything from sleep deprivation (who doesn't have that?!) to high cholesterol to PMS to choosing the foods that promote healthy, glowing skin. In this episode Joy lays out what we should be eating for eight very familiar conditions.
Sometimes it's about including a specific food in your meals. Sometimes it's about what not to eat, and sometimes it's about when you should or shouldn't make a certain food choice. Here are Joy's diet adjustments to treat eight common conditions:
To fight sleep deprivation
What you eat and drink leading up to bedtime can make a difference. You might have guessed the first part of this answer: Cut out caffeine eight hours before hitting the sack. Right before you go to sleep eat a modest 150-calorie snack that includes tryptophan-rich foods and carbohydrates. Some examples could be turkey and hummus on a rice cake or cottage cheese and apple slices topped with cinnamon. Some low-fat vanilla pudding is also a healthy option.
To promote healthy skin
The skin superfood is a red bell pepper. It actually has twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange— and a lot less sugar. Vitamin C is a key player in fending off sun damage and helping skin produce collagen.
To lower cholesterol
Eating salmon at least twice a week is the best thing one can do to lower bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides) and increase the good kind (HDL). The key ingredient is omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep blood vessels elastic.
To lower blood pressure
If this is an issue for you, introduce sweet potatoes into your diet. Aside from being delicious, they include high levels of potassium and magnesium, which are "key players," as Joy says, in managing blood pressure.
To combat mood swings
The best way to keep your mood even is to keep your blood sugar steady. Starchy but healthy foods like black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils that are rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbs are a great solution.
To pump up energy
Around 4:30 p.m. many of us could use a pick-me-up to make it through the rest of the day. Instead of sugary foods, which will spike and then drop your blood sugar and lead to other consequences (see above), a snack of roasted edamame will give you the fuel you need but in a healthy way.
One of the best things for women to eat when they're feeling like they're holding too much water is cantaloupe. The juicy melon helps to flush out the water you're retaining because it has so much water in it. Cantaloupe's also high in potassium which helps offset the water retention that comes from sodium in your diet.
To soothe PMS
Introduce nonfat yogurt into your diet. It's the calcium in the yogurt which can help alleviate cramping and bloating and minimize symptoms.
Check out Joy's website for more great advice as well as scrumptious, healthy recipes!