Eating a healthful, balanced diet is one way to help prevent cardiovascular disease – the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S. This National Nutrition Month, we remember that we are what we eat.
It’s widely known that certain foods and weight gain are associated with an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure, known as hypertension, is when the force of blood pushing against arteries is above normal. Hypertension can lead to cardiovascular disease and heart attack.
Foods linked to high blood pressure tend to be high in sodium (salt), fat and caloric content. Examples include deli meats, pickled items, salad dressings, canned soups and fast foods. Whole milk products, butter and fried foods have also been tied to high blood pressure.
It seems to be getting more difficult to produce fruits and vegetables that are safe for human health and the environment. The agriculture industry continues to be impacted by manufacturers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and more than 70 percent of processed foods on the U.S. market contain some GMO ingredients. To date, there are no laws requiring production companies to mark which goods containing genetically modified foods.
Foods and products most likely to be genetically engineered are: corn, soybeans, canola or rapeseed, cottonseed oil, dairy and sugar beets. GMOs also impact meats, as many cattle, pigs, chickens and farm-raised fish are forced to eat genetically engineered corn and other modified foods in the last few months of their lives. Aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in NutraSweet and Equal brands, is also typically derived from GMOs.
Here’s some food for thought: more and more women – people, for that matter – are incorporating or transitioning to a plant-based diet to improve overall health.
A well balanced, plant-based diet can be flavorful and delicious, while at the same time less harsh on the digestive system. Those skeptical of the plant-based diet, known as being vegetarian or vegan, are typically concerned about getting a sufficient amount of protein to function.
According to this graphic, known as the vegan food pyramid, it is quite possible to get all of the nutrients necessary to survive and thrive by eating a plant-based diet.