Aim for a va­ri­ety of veg­eta­bles, fruits

Greenwich Time - - ADVICE / GAMES - Michael Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer at the Cleve­land Clinic Well­ness In­sti­tute. Sub­mit your health ques­tions at www.doc­toroz.com.

Q: I am try­ing to take off a few pounds grad­u­ally, but in truth, it’s so slow that it’s adding up to noth­ing! I’ve been eat­ing a wide va­ri­ety of foods like the 2015-2020 Di­etary Guide­lines says to, so what’s wrong? Abi­gail L., Spring­field, Illi­nois

A: Los­ing weight grad­u­ally is the right way to shed it and keep it off. That said, we won­der about what you mean by “va­ri­ety.” A milk­shake and a car­rot stick is not what’s meant by “va­ri­ety” — but it’s what many folks seem to think they can get away with.

In fact, it’s got­ten to be enough of a prob­lem that the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion re­cently is­sued a po­si­tion pa­per say­ing, “Greater di­etary di­ver­sity is as­so­ci­ated with sub­op­ti­mal eat­ing pat­terns, that is, higher in­takes of pro­cessed foods, re­fined grains and sug­ar­sweet­ened bev­er­ages.”

So what is the va­ri­ety that you should be aim­ing for? A va­ri­ety of col­ors and types of veg­gies and fruits is a good place to start. You want to en­joy some legumes, some leafy greens, some cru­cif­er­ous veg­gies like broc­coli and cau­li­flower, some cit­rus and some fleshy fruits and berries daily. You can add lean pro­teins like skin­less chicken and fish.

But if that va­ri­ety doesn’t spice up your in­ter­est in healthy eat­ing, just re­mem­ber that while va­ri­ety may be the spice of life, spices are the life of va­ri­ety. Here are three of our fa­vorites.

Turmeric: A main com­po­nent of curry pow­der, turmeric de­liv­ers pow­er­ful fla­vor, and pre­lim­i­nary stud­ies show it can re­duce the num­ber of heart at­tacks by­pass pa­tients have post­surgery and con­trol knee pain from os­teoarthri­tis as well as ibupro­fen can. Peo­ple from In­dia, who use it fre­quently, have much lower rates of de­men­tia. An­i­mal stud­ies con­firm its brain ben­e­fits.

Cin­na­mon: Use this to fla­vor your cof­fee and make black beans sing with fla­vor. It’s also has anti-fun­gal prop­er­ties, and helps to con­trol glu­cose lev­els.

Pep­per: Black pep­per can com­bat can­cer-caus­ing prop­er­ties of grilled foods —just coat lean chicken or veg­gies with ground pep­per be­fore cook­ing over a flame.

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