On Nutrition: Diet for a princessWomen are designed differently from men and have unique health needs, experts find. Women are softer because we are endowed with a higher percentage of body fat. The American Heart Association says that nearly 2 of every 3 women in the U.S. are now overweight or obese. And heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women. Here are the AHA's “uniquely female” guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women.
By: Barbara Quinn, The Monterey (Calif.) County Herald / MCT
I was totally enchanted with the set designed by my friend Nicole for a charming play last week. And how sweet that it was nutritionally inspired - a musical fable of “The Princess and the Pea.”
Alas, the pea had a minor role in the production. The princess, however, had amazing strength and endurance (I imagine from eating a good diet and getting plenty of exercise around the castle).
Women are designed differently from men and have unique health needs, experts find. Men are stronger because their bodies are more muscular. Women are softer because we are endowed with a higher percentage of body fat.
Many women, however, have accumulated too much soft tissue, says the American Heart Association. Nearly 2 of every 3 women in the U.S. are now overweight or obese. And heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women, as well as those in every major developed country.
And so, without further ado, the AHA presents its “uniquely female” guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women:
• Do not smoke. Period.
• Exercise. At least 150 minutes a week of “moderate” exercise plus 75 minutes a week of “vigorous” activity.
• Maintain a healthy body weight. Our goal is a Body Mass Index of 25 or less.
• “DASH-like.” Evidence-based “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” can help assure a longer, more fruitful life for all princesses in the kingdom.
• Fruit and vegetables: 4 to 5 cups each day, including fresh, canned, dried, frozen, raw, cooked and juiced.
• Fish (preferably oily types like salmon, tuna and sardines): two servings a week. (A serving is 3 to 4 ounces of cooked fish.)
• Fiber: At least 30 grams a day. Hint: fiber is found in plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
• Whole grains: Three servings a day. A serving is one slice of bread or cup cooked rice, cereal, or pasta or 1 ounce of dry cereal.
• Nuts, legumes and seeds 4 times a week. Unsalted nuts, please. One serving is approximately 1/3 cup or 1 ounces of nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter or cup cooked dry beans or peas.
• Sugar: No more than 5 tablespoons of sugar, jam or jelly a week. And less than 450 calories a week from sugar-sweetened beverages. (Caution: One 16-oz-, nonfat, white chocolate mocha Frappuccino contains 440 calories.)
• Saturated fat. No more than 7 percent of total daily calories; less than 10 to 15 grams per day for most of us. (Warning: 2 measly ounces of regular cheese can easily meet this quota.)
• Cholesterol. No more than 150 mgs. a day.
• Alcohol. No more than 1 drink a day, ladies. That’s 4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1 to 1.5 ounces other alcohol.
• Sodium. Less than 1,500 mgs. a day.
• Trans-fatty acids. Zero. None. Nada. Many foods these days are trans-fat free. That’s good for a princess heart.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.