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Healthy Diet Choices

Sources of dietary protein, the health benefits of fish, legumes and nuts go beyond their high protein content. Many studies show that people who eat the most red meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb) and/or processed meat (luncheon meat, bacon, hot dogs, sausages) are more likely to get colon cancer than those who eat these foods only once in a while. The form of iron in red meat, heme iron, may also damage colon cells and trigger cancer growth.

Protein foods such as fish, legumes and nuts – as well as meat, poultry and eggs – supply the body with amino acids, the building blocks of protein that are vital to developing and maintaining muscles and synthesizing hormones, enzymes and immune compounds that fight infection.  Protein foods play another important role in your diet:  They help keep you feeling satiated longer after eating.  That’s because protein takes longer to be digested and emptied from your stomach into your small intestine than does carbohydrate in starchy foods, fruit and vegetables.  Although meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts and soy foods are all excellent sources of dietary protein, the health benefits of fish, legumes and nuts go beyond their high protein content.  These three protein foods help fight disease. 

When buying meat, be sure to select lean cuts, such as sirloin, flank steak, eye of the round, beef tenderloin, lean and extra-lean ground beef, pork tenderloin and centre-cut pork chops.  Keep in mind that any cut of meat that comes from an animal’s stomach area, for example, rib eye steak, rib chops and spareribs, will be high in saturated fat.  When it comes to red meat, portion size is also an important consideration.  Many studies show that people who eat the most red meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb) and/or processed meat (luncheon meat, bacon, hot dogs, sausages) are more likely to get colon cancer than those who eat these foods only once in a while.  The form of iron in red meat, heme iron, may also damage colon cells and trigger cancer growth.  If red meat is eaten at all, limit your serving size to no more than three ounces (90 grams) per day.  To help reduce portion size, enjoy small amounts of red meat in stir-fries and pastas.  One serving = three ounces (90 grams) cooked meat or poultry or two eggs.

Power foods include: arctic char, haddock, herring, mackerel, rainbow trout, salmon, sardines, striped bass, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, soybeans, soy beverages, tempeh, texturized vegetable protein, tofu, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts.

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