Nutrition and Diet Corner

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

I'd like to start a question and answer thread for all of us interested in good health , nutrition, diet and food in general.

I'll start by suggesting to anybody to start increasing the intake of cinnamon, add the powder to your breakfast cereal, cup-of-chocolate, fruit juice or anywhere you'd like. It is a wonderful stuff. Not only does consuming cinnamon improve the body's ability to utilize blood sugar, but just smelling the wonderful odor of this sweet spice boosts brain activityit, it has anti-microbial activity, helps diabetes, indigestion, and colds also flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and painful menstrual periods.

Recent studies have found that cinnamon has a beneficial effect on blood sugar and it has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.

This message was edited Aug 30, 2009 10:40 PM

This message was edited Dec 14, 2009 4:11 PM

Phoenix, AZ

We are big believers in cinnamon. I don't take the capsules but the diabetic OH does. Now a question about sugar. Is it healthier to substitute other sweeteners, e,g., honey, agave syrup, molasses or stevia, for refined sugar - or must a diabetic cut out just about all sweeteners?

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

I feel that sugar should be used only in very especial occasion, I am not a diabetic but I use minimal amounts of sugar, because I am getting older, I like to eat and I would not waste energy intake in simple sugar. I do not put sugar in tea, coffee, do not drink carbonated drinks and fruit juices with added sugar. In sweets I get my "hair loose" for family parties and celebrations otherwise I'm a sugar free person

I would consume some honey (it is still simple carbohydrates).But you still got to counted as carbohydrates.

Honey is a source of simple carbohydrates. Its composition on average, is 17.1 percent water, 82.4 percent total carbohydrate and 0.5 percent proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. The average carbohydrate content is mainly fructose (38.5 percent) and glucose (31percent). The remaining 12.9 percent of carbohydrates is made up of maltose, sucrose and other sugars.

The American Diabetic Association's position about sugar has changed, please read:

Therefore I do believe that with more knowledge about food and nutrition you can take the responsability to respect sugar and use it conscientiously.

Other than little sugar I also would also use stevia and or xylitol

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Which is the healthier choice: green or black tea?
Answer: The only real difference between black and green tea is the processing. They both come from the same bush! But black tea goes through more processing. That means green tea is healthier for you because fewer nutrients are lost in the prcessing.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Valuable info, cristina. Maybe I will have to switch to green.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

pajaritomt, I'll be adding more healthy tips to benefit us all,

Is there as much caffeine in tea as there is in coffee?
Answer: The loose-leaf breakfast tea and the off-the-shelf medium-roast ground coffee sampled on the show had exactly the same percentage of caffeine. With water added, there was just a little bit less caffeine in the tea than in the coffee. However, there was still quite a lot of caffeine present, probably more than most of us would expect.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I always heard that there was less caffeine in tea than in coffee. Now I gather there is not that much difference. It doesn't matter to me. I drink coffee and love it and more and more nutritional research vindicates coffee as a healthful drink. I know tea is as well. I drink both, and never worry.
I am lucky that I have no problems with caffeine.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Does an apple each day keep you out of your GP's office?
Answer: There's a whole raft of research to support the notion that an apple may keep the doctor away. The humble apple has large quantities of flavonoids, which help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Apples have also been shown to lower the risk of cancers — especially those of the prostate, lung and colon. Eating just two a week can even cut your chances of getting asthma by as much as 32 percent.

Does an apple each day keep you out of your GP's office?
Answer: There's a whole raft of research to support the notion that an apple does indeed keep the doctor away. The humble apple has large quantities of flavonoids, which help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Apples have also been shown to lower the risk of cancers — especially those of the prostate, lung and colon. Eating just two a week can even cut your chances of getting asthma by as much as 32 percent.

Let's look an apple and then will decide:
Pectin -- Pectin is a form of soluble fiber than lowers both blood pressure and glucose levels. It can also lower the levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol in the body. Pectin, like other forms of fiber, helps maintain the health of the digestive system. Apples are an excellent source of pectin.

Boron -- A nutrient found in abundance in apples, boron supports strong bones and a healthy brain.

Quercetin -- A flavonoid, this nutrient shows promise for reducing the risk of various cancers, including cancers in the lungs and breast. It may also reduce free radical damage. Free radicals develop when atoms in the body's cells have unpaired electrons, which can lead to damage to different parts of the cell, including DNA. Quercetin may neutralize free radical damage, which has been implicated in a variety of age-related health problems, including Alzheimer's disease.

Vitamin C -- Vitamin C boosts immunity, which helps maintain overall health.

Phytonutrients -- Apples are rich in a variety of phytonutrients, including vitamins A and E and beta carotene. These compounds fight damage from free radicals and can have a profound affect on health, including reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

An apple a day can reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and many types of cancer. But you’ll need variety in your diet, it is truly the best way to keep the doctor away.

This message was edited Dec 14, 2009 4:00 PM

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I love to eat apples in the fall when they are crisp and juice, but I kind of peter out on them the rest of the year. But I do eat more of them than I used to, because all these studies I have been reading.

Mequon, WI(Zone 4b)

Are many of the benefits lost when the apple is cooked? I have quite a bit of home-made applesauce (nothing but apples and a little cinnamon) that I really enjoy eating.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Some apples have higher nutritional value than others, and some are better tasting. Red Delicious apples have the highest antioxidant content, but Fujis and Galas are good for crispness in texture.
Apple phytonutrient content is not greatly affected by storage. After 100 days, the amount of phenolic compounds in the skin begins to decrease slightly, but even after 200 hundred days in cold storage, the total amount of these compounds remains similar to the level at the time of harvest.
Most nutrition in apples comes from the skin, where vitamin C and fiber are located, also there's a compound called triterpenoids that helps inhibit cancer growth. It's found only in the peel, to eat the apple with the skin prefer organically grown to avoid pesticide-associated health risks.

Cooking apples, in dishes such as pies or cobblers, causes them to lose some of the vitamins, some vitamins are soluble in water, so they'll be maintained in the cooking fluids, try to use minimal amounts of water and the lost will be less. Minerals and fiber remain intact when apples are heated, though. The downside to cooking apples is that we tend to add sugar to sweeten up the tart apples, which can lower the apples' natural nutritional value.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

waving hands... hi Cristina, my long lost friend. :D been a long time huh?

tea i drink is Pau D'Arco and oolong tea. although sometimes, for health reason.

sometimes, i saute Jonathan or Gala apple with garlic onion with cabbage. both apple variety 'sweetens' the dish if i may add. no sugar, tiny pinch of salt to improve apple sweetness.

hello to Betty and Alma. Christina and i goes a long way from the beginning of DG.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

How neat! Who would have guessed that you all were old friends.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

MaVie how good to see you well and happy.
For few years I did not find the time to get for long period in DJ's only few minutes at a time, that was when mum was very ill. Now, thanks God she is better so I HAVE TIME! and it is Wonderful.

How is your health now?

And by the way, that cabbage sound like a nutrition punch, lovely!!!!!!!!!!

This message was edited Dec 14, 2009 4:01 PM

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Does drinking sparkling wine get you drunk faster?

Answer: A bottle of sparkling wine has about 58 million bubbles in it and every single bubble contains carbon dioxide which accelerates your body's absorption of alcohol — leading to faster and more severe intoxication.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

No kidding! They always said that champagne made you drunk easier and I thought it was just baloney -- champagne and wines have similar alcohol levels. But no, it turns out the carbon dioxide helps you absorb more alcohol. Amazing.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Always good to know how we metabolize different foods, drinks etc so we understand the body reaction.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)


my health is much better compared to 5 yrs ago. i try to do my best. i am not so religious to follow all restriction on diet, but follow moderate eating and healthy food.

i do not altogether eliminate salt in my diet, no matter what guros proclaim, our body still need salt to function properly. not a whole lot of salt, a tiny very little pinch to improve flavor and supply body needs.

i do love drinking wine with my meal, specially with broiled lamb one a month. i love zinfandels. i drink Pau D'Arco for my immune system.

i do make lots of Korean side dishes and make my own kimchi were i control salt content. after all, FRESH veggies are better than cooked one. as some oriental sees western people to have their dead veggies for being over cook.

Phoenix, AZ

MaVie, I was so inspired by the Pho thread that I have a fridge full of fresh ingredients for stir fry. This afternoon, I made a pot of brown rice and cut up onion, carrot, celery, red pepper and broccoli stems. I usually stir fry by the scent and taste, no recipe. To those ingredients, I will add oyster mushrooms, pea sprouts (I love those!), bean sprouts, cubed firm tofu or browned chicken breast cubes. I'll probably divide the ingredients into two dishes for different days. Any advice on how to choose for best flavor and nutrition for each dish?

Christina, you and MaVie will certainly make a great pair for me to follow in this diabetes diet quest. It gets discouraging sometimes. I'm sure glad you all are here.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

i do not have recipe when i stir fry. i cook what i crave to eat. most of my stir fry base ... is garlic and onions, all the time. instead of salt, i use tiny bit of fish sauce [u may not like the smell as u cook] but u will be rewarded with flavor on finished dish.

i love to eat mushroom fresh, specially in salad. the same with any kind of sprouts. try stir fry beans sprout in garlic... 2 tsp olive oil in frying pan. lightly fry 2 cloves of crush garlic. freshly wash sprouts of ur choice. do not spin dry the bean sprout. from the water, straight to the garlic flavored pan [ little bit of water left on the sprout will help cook the sprouts. do not over cook, only to the point sprout is welted]. sprinkle a wee bit of pepper powder [u buy from Korean market, has smoky flavor. amount of pepper powder depends on ur tolerance to hot peppers.] or u can cut up some fresh red peppers [again amount depends on ur tolerance to hot stuff] using the hot peppers give u the extra ump and flavor. u do not need salt.

in oriental store, where they keep tofu[refrigerated section] u can find already fried or cooked tofu or tempeh. use either one of these two as protein substitute on ur stir fry. i do. they keep for months in the freezer.

maybe Cristina can explain nutritional value of tofu and tempeh for u/us? i can research but Christina will make more sense if she explain.

to change flavors, i either use fish sauce, tamari soy sauce or oyster soy sauce. pick one, not all in same dish. u will have an array of flavor base.

stir fry only enough to consume in one meal. stir fry veggies to me is good for one meal. as i have said before, prepare ingredients ahead of time before u cook. alleviate urself from stress of cooking. happy cooking!

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I have a question for you, Cristina, why do diabetics have to limit their salt? Is that because they usually have blood pressure problems or does salt have an impact on diabetes itself?

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)


I am so enjoying and learning from your posts. Thank you so much!

I am in good health, and eat right to stay that way. I am 59. My husband is 67 and in excellent health. He is slender, no blood sugar or blood pressure problems.

My biggest problem is my husband eats so much due to his super metabolism, I almost need to cook two seperate meals. He loves meat, potatoes, bread, milk, desserts. And he can eat them. I eat salads, very little meat, no milk, and no dessert. I can't, nor do I wish to change his diet as he is healthy. He sees his Dr regularly as scheduled, and the Dr. says not to change a thing.

But since I am trying to be careful with what I eat, I can really benefit from your posts. Much appreciated. I'm sure I'll come up with some questions as you continue.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

Betty ... these links, i often read as a guideline , , , although i have guidelines, i use my common sense most of the time, plus eating in moderation do make lots of difference.

i am eagerly waiting for Cristina's opinion.

Cristina, got one questions for u too ... is it true we should eat accdg to our blood type? a friend in the Phils. suggest i should check with my dr. to find out my blood type, cuz the diet or food here is not same as from the old country. in the Phils. fertilizer is hardly use in planting. all animals are raised in farm in natural manner, no hormones use but only natural food grown by the farmers. most food we have here in the U.S are processed, chemical and hormone present in farm produced. i wonder if this blood type and food has any significance to our health in the U.S? , ,

this is all new to me. need ur input pls. wow! things i learn in research. :D! plus care from friends i have met in my life time.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Those are all good articles on how salt affects blood pressure and, therefore, the heart, but none of them mention whether or not salt has impact on diabetes. I am guessing that the reason all diabetics are told to limit salt intake is because diabetes is hard on the heart and circulatory system and so is salt.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Hello my dear friends, I see I'm having some very interesting comments and question I will start with the more simple one to continue with the more elaborates one.

MaVie you already know that I feel you're anatural cook, is whithin you a you always combine things so wellthat your recipes ALWAYS come to the right point...enjoyment of life!

pajaritomt, in diabetes not only your pancreas is affected, but your vision, cardiovascular system and kidneys can suffer from the effects of diabetes, because of the cardiovascular connection that is the reasonn of concern about the salt intake.
Salt increases the blood pressure, retains fluids in the system, also eating salty food can cause glucose to be absorbed more effectively from the intestine, also if your salty food induce you to drink more fluids with your meal, your stomach may empty more rapidly resulting in a more quicker rise of the blood glucose level.

It is suspected that this is why there are discrepancies in post prandial glucose test and the A1C reading.

See how everything is related?

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Yes, now I see. I always wondered why they told diabetics or pre-diabetics to lower their salt intake. My understanding is that we aren't supposed to add any salt at all to our food, but that is difficult. I do stay off of prepared foods, but sometimes I like to add just a dash of salt. I only add salt when the food tastes dreadful without it and then I add just a little.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

It is best to cook with a little salt instead of adding salt in the table, it is easier to control the quantity of salt used and by cooking with it, it pervades the food making it better flavour.

To answer MaVie request about Tempeh and Tofu, let' see:

Tofu is a curd. It is made from curdled soy milk, an iron rich liquid is extracted from ground, cooked soybeans. The curds are then drained and pressed in a similar fashion to cheesemaking. The hardness of the tofu cake is depending on how much whey is pressed out. Tofu does not have as much flavor as tempheh, but also lends to many preparations as well as taking lots of the flavors you many introduce through spices, herbs, and marinades. Tofu is also a very versatile food.

Tofu it's made by curdling fresh hot soymilk with a coagulant.
It sold in five inch sized blocks, and you can buy it in four varieties: silken (used for creamy dishes), soft (great for soups), firm, and extra firm (the last two are great for stir fries). It's usually packaged in water to help it stay moist.
Appears as a white, smooth, and wet.block of a soft, smooth, and spongy.consistency It has hardly any taste on its own, but when added to recipes, takes on the flavour of whatever you're making.

Gives in ˝ cup: Protein 10.1g, fiber 5g gr and 97 calories.

Is a fermented soybean cake, with a texture similar to that of soft tofu and has a yeasty, nutty flavor. It comes with different grains. Always containing soy of course, tempeh may contain brown rice, barley and millet. It is very high in protein and calcium. One can almost say it's a complete food containing many daily essential vitamins. Because of its simple flavor, it lends to different spices, herbs and marinades and can be baked, broiled, or grilled.

Tempeh is made by fermenting cooked soybeans with a mold.
It's sold in flat rectangular pieces about eight inches long.
Its appearances is firm and chewy. Has a slight earthy sweet taste.

Gives in ˝ cup: Protein 15.4g, Fiber 3.5 g. and 97 calories.

Since tempeh is less processed than tofu, it's healthier in general, so that's why it has more protein and fiber than tofu. If you've never tried tempeh, you can find it at most health food stores (it's refrigerated). Start to incorporate this soy product into your recipes by crumbling it up and adding it to soups, casseroles, and your pasta sauce. It'll add a chewy consistency and some extra protein and fiber.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Sounds terrific. I like tofu, but I bet I would like tempeh even more. It is very hard to find around here. I will have to look again.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

do not forget. tofu is like a sponge, it absorbs all flavors in stir fried dishes.

in the orients, very little meat is use, in fact meat is use only as a flavor enhancer compared to the western world cuisine where meat is eaten heavily. i hardly use meat in stir frying veggies, only tofu which iis also a protein substitute w/out the cholesterol deposit in our body.

there are so many different types of tofu cook in so many different ways! wow! would this info qualify me as a tourist guide in Oriental stores? hahahaha!

we never have salt with our meal or salt shaker in dining table. i was taught and trained to season well the dish during the cooking process. seasoning food where i came from does not mean using salt. i use lots of herbs and spices to season the food. observe closely when u go to any oriental restaurants, there a re lots of dipping sauce use to different dishes. the only reason why u see salt is b/c Americans always ask for it. one time a poor oriental waitress try to explain to this Amer. lady, salt is not paired to the dish she is about to eat, in fact flavor will not do justice to the dish. the poor thing got in hot water b/c of the salt.

there are lots of salt substitute: lemon either juice or rind, fried garlic that has been pulverize, dried herbs that appeals to u, vinegar also improves flavor [when i eat stewed beans, i drizzle balsamic or cider vinegar and olive oil to the dish in my plate. stir to combine properly, prior to eating. love any type of beans serve as such.]

i do know that fish sauce, soy sauce or oyster sauce have salt in them. but! u got to remember, those were not poured on the dish, very little amount is use only for flavoring.

on the same note, allow me to point out, if u marinate, albeit fish, meat or chicken, do not allow ur marinate to be over flowing with liquid... almost like the meat is swimming in the marinate [this manner is wrong. and ingredients wasted.]. the right way to marinate is barely enough flavoring for the meat to absorb the liquid. massaging the meat with ample amount of flavoring marinate allows the meat to absorb the liquid, when done right.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Do our bodies need eight glasses of water a day?

Answer: In the normal course of events, our bodies can lose between 1.5 and two litres of water a day, simply by breathing, sweating and going to the toilet. To make up for that, we should be drinking three glasses a day as an absolute minimum, however, most world health bodies recommend between 1.5 litres and 2.5 litres.

It doesn't always have to be water either — juices and even moderate amounts of tea and coffee, the fluids in soups and milk drinks or any other liquid can all be counted toward your daily fluid intake.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I just found this very concise little formula for leading a healthier life. See it at:

I am working on number 2. I am pretty good on the rest.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

Is it safe to drink epsom salts? Some sites say yes, some say no.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Epsom salt, .... this is a hot potato!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't recommend to use it internally

Epsom Salt is mainly made up of magnesium and sulfates. Many modern diets are deficient in magnesium and sulfates, but they are important minerals. Increasing levels of magnesium may help to improve heart and circulatory health, flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, improve nerve function by regulating electrolytes, improve the body's ability to use insulin, raise the body's levels of serotonin which reduces stress and elevates the mood, improve sleep and concentration, regulate the body's enzymes, improve oxygen use, lower blood pressure, reduce muscle pain and inflammation, and help muscles and nerves to function properly. Sulfates are also necessary for good health. Sulfates are used by the body to flush out toxins, improve the absorption of nutrients, form joint proteins, brain tissue, and mucin protein, and to help prevent and ease migraine headaches.

Magnesium and sulfates are readily absorbed by the body externally. This means that soaking in a bath with Epsom Salt is not only enjoyable, but is also good for you, it softens the skin, soothes aches, reduces swelling, inflammations, exfoliates the skin, removes odors, draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, relaxes the muscles, provides relief from joint soreness and arthritic pain, and is a natural emollient. Unlike other salts, it does not leave the skin feeling dry. Epsom Salt leaves the skin with a soft and silky texture.

Some people use it to aid constipation , in this case would act as on osmotic agent, causing bloating and extra fluids producing an "osmotic diarrhea".
In alternative medicine is ised as an ingredient for liver cleanse treatment or to eliminate heavy metals from the system.

One tablespoon of the salt contains about 35g (grams) of magnesium sulfate, or roughly 3.4g of elemental magnesium. This is a very large amount, especially if you understand the daily-recommended allowance is between 300-400 mg (milligrams) per day. Many people do not realize ingesting too much Epsom salt can result in death.
The first reported death by using an Epsom salt enema was in 1943. Sadly, magnesium enemas were commonly used on infants up until the early 1970’s when it was discovered as the cause in some deaths brought on by hypermagnesemia.

Epsom salts should not be ingested or used in an enema if you have preexisting stomach pain, vomiting, or nausea. In addition, certain drugs may interact negatively with Epsom salts.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

Thanks Cristina! I will definitely soak, and not drink, then. I wasn't sure I really believed that the magnesium and sulfates were absorbed through the body during a soak, but if you say it's true, I'm a believer.

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Yes pollyk, epsom salt is easily absorbed and a hot bath is luxurious and relaxing, put 1 or 2 cup, (I put 2) in your bath water and enjoy!

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

may i add.... i save the Epsom salt bath water, after i finish soaking. use it on ur plants. ur plants will love u got it! my neighbors must think i am crazy, whenever they see me carrying buckets filled with epsom solution. they never say anything to me, but for sure, they love to see all the flowers in bloom and bright green leaves color on my plants. neighbors that do not remember my name when they have conversation amongst themselves, i was told ..... my house is known as "the house with beautiful and fragrant flowers."

i once lived in Los Angeles, zone 10. there are no frost, i am able to keep my plants in good shape year round.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I have heard of putting Epsom salt on roses and other plants for the magnesium. My mother used to have me soak any infected areas I got on my body with epsom salts in hot water. Do you absorb it through your skin into your bloodstream or does it just help the skin?

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

i do not know if ES is absorb by the skin. here are a few links that will explain better than i can , , ,

another link that confuse me

those link were useful for me and give me reason/s to soak in ES. hth

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Well, I guess I don't know what to make of it all either, but I understand they are really good for your roses!

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

Mavie and pajaritomt
the foothortotics person in that page that is confusing you two, is himself confused. Do not beleive what he is saying, ES and Table salt are two VERY differents stuff!

Extracted from the page of the ES Council:

Why is Epsom Salt called Epsom Salt?
One of the earliest discoveries of magnesium sulfate, the scientific name of Epsom Salt, occurred back in Shakespeare's day in Epsom, England, which explains the first half of the name. The term "salt" probably refers to the specific chemical structure of the compound, although many people mistakenly assume it refers to the crystalline structure of Epsom Salt, which has an appearance similar to that of table salt. (Table salt, of course, consists of sodium chloride, so it's an entirely different substance than magnesium sulfate.)

And pajaritomt, a legs soak (use a bucket) in ES for you will be very good!

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