Sunday, September 2, 2012

Good Health comes in many colors

When it comes to eating healthy, the phrase "eat like a rainbow" is the mantra we all should seek to live by. By getting a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables you not only maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients, you are also guaranteed a diverse amount of essential vitamins and minerals. "Nature has endowed each fruit and vegetable variety with certain vitamins, minerals, fibers and more," said Lilan Cheung, director of health promotion and communication with the Harvard School of Public Health.
Everyone should be eating nine or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day," Cheung said. "The more, the better!"No single food contains all the necessary nutrients, but different plant color groups when eaten in combination fulfill the average person's daily requirements.

 Here are some rainbow groupings, along with their disease-fighting capabilities:

• Red: Tomatoes, beets, radishes, red bell peppers. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, is known to reduce prostate cancer risk.

• Green: Spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, green peppers, kale, collard greens, peapods, asparagus. "Phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin are found in spinach, collards, kale and broccoli," Cheung said. "These antioxidants may protect the eyes and fight against free radicals - harmful substances in our body caused by smoke and pollution."

• Yellow and orange: Carrots, pumpkins, yellow peppers. Especially rich in beta-carotene, which strengthens the immune system.

• Blue and purple: Eggplant. Loaded with antioxidants called anthocyanins that may prevent heart disease by blocking the formation of blood clots.

• White: Garlic, white onions. "These pungent vegetables add flavor to foods so you can cut back on the salt," Cheung said. "The onion family contains allicin, which has anti-tumor properties. Garlic is being studied for its potentially beneficial role in preventing heart attacks and strokes, although the research is still preliminary."

May prevent
Beans (such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans, lima beans)
Colorectal cancer
Fiber and phytochemicals (saponins, protease inhibitors, and phytic acid)
Phytochemicals have been shown to slow the growth of tumors, and researchers have identified probable evidence that fiber protects against cancer. Beans are also a great source of vegetable protein, which is helpful if you are limiting red meat intake.
Skin, bladder, lung, esophageal, colorectal, and breast cancers
Vitamin C, fiber, and phytochemicals like ellagic acid, flavonoids, and antioxidants
Blueberries contain anthocyanosides, possibly the food kingdom's most potent antioxidants, which attack cell-damaging free radicals.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy)
Many cancers, including colorectal, breast, oral, gastrointestinal, endometrial, lung, liver, and cervical cancers
Fiber, folate, glucosinolates, crambene, indole-3-carbinol, and isothiocyanates
Studies suggest these veggies fight cancer by regulating enzymes in the body.
Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, Romaine lettuce)
Mouth, pharynx, larynx, stomach, breast, skin, and lung cancers
Fiber, folate, carotenoids, saponins, and flavonoids
Research suggests the carotenoids act as antioxidants, eliminating possible cancer-causing free radicals from the body.
Colon, breast, skin, and lung cancers
Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans (plant estrogens), alphalinolenic acid
Flaxseed contains more lignans than any other known food. These phytoestrogens seem to mimic the hormone estrogen. Note that flaxseed oil does not naturally contain lignans.
Garlic (and other allium vegetables such as onions, scallions, leeks, chives)
Stomach, colon, prostate, bladder, skin, lung, esophageal, and breast cancers
Allicin, allixin, allyl sulfides, quercetin, and organosulfur compounds
Research shows a “dose-response relationship” with garlic. That is, the more you eat, the higher the protective benefits.
Green tea
Colon, liver, breast, prostate, lung, skin, bladder, stomach, pancreas, and esophageal cancers
Catechins, a type of flavonoid, which are potent antioxidants
A 2007 study by Japan's National Cancer Center showed that men who drank five or more cups a day may reduce the risk of advanced prostate cancer by 48 percent.
Prostate, lung, skin, and colon cancers
Antioxidants, polyphenolic flavonoids
Researchers say pomegranates, which have high levels of antioxidants, have more anti-inflammatory properties than green tea or red wine.
Red and purple grapes
Lymph, liver, stomach, skin, breast, and leukemia cancers
Resveratrol, a type of polyphenol
Resveratrol has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Although wine contains resveratrol, research also shows a link between alcohol and other types of cancer, so it's not the best choice. Jam and raisins don't contain much; eat fresh dark-colored grapes.
Soybeans (also soy milk, soy yogurt,tofu, edamame, soynuts)
Breast and prostate cancers
Phytoestrogens called isoflavones, saponins, phenolic acids, phytic acid, and protein kinase inhibitors
Researchers believe soy isoflavones mimic hormones in the body, which may translate to cancer-fighting capabilities. Researchers also recommend that because of possible hormone mimicking, women taking anti-estrogen medicines should limit or avoid soy until more is known.
Most notably, prostate cancer; also breast, lung, and endometrial cancers
Lycopene, an antioxidant
It appears the red fruit's cancer-fighting potential is higher when the tomato is in sauce, juice, or paste form.
Whole grains (such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn)
Colorectal cancer
Fiber, antioxidants, phenols, lignans, phytoestrogens, and saponins
The phytochemicals from whole grains appear to protect cells from the damage that can lead to cancer. The disease-fighting nutrients and fiber found in the bran and germ of grains are stripped out in the milling of refined grains like white flour, white rice, and pasta.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Real Men Age Gracefully - Nutrition Definitions

Nutrition Definitions men's series:
There was a time not so long ago that “graceful” aging was viewed as a woman’s topic of conversation.  Baby boomers, male and female alike are contributing to a shifting paradigm. Ours is not our grandparent’s “ripe old age”.  Ours is not even our parent’s longevity. According to the 2009 National Vital Statistics Report, 20th century longevity rate changes are reflected in the trend that shows a new ripe old age of 100; more and more we are likely to become octarians.

A recent Google internet search for the phrase “graceful aging” yielded 79,200 results. The business of staying young has resulted in a plethora of multi-million dollar industries – from hair color to Viagra. The same phrase in a book search on Amazon returned 131 titles including Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial by Nicole Hollander and Rethinking Aging: Growing Old and Living Well in an Overtreated Society by Norton Hadler. Interestingly enough, the phrase “anti-aging for men” yielded 124,000 results on Google and 97 book titles on Amazon.

 Although we have not arrived, what if we lived in a culture where aging is equated with getting better rather than worse? What if we understood that we really begin to come into our greatness after the age of 50? There are signs that we are embracing the knowledge that aging is not a disease, although many are still intent on finding the magic anti-aging potion. For women it’s about LOOKING younger, for men it’s FEELING younger. “The truth of the matter is that total testosterone levels decline in men at the rate of approximately 1.6% per year starting at age 30. And that’s just the rate that they fall without additional influences.” (from His Change of Life by Chris Meletis & Sara G. Wood, ND)

The new science of biogerontolgy (the biology of aging) makes new the old secrets of healthy longevity: diet, activity and attitude! Bestselling author Andrew Weil, MD is leading the charge in separating myth from fact about life-extending herbs and anti-aging medicines in his book Healthy Aging: A lifelong Guide to Your Well Being. While there are a laundry list of things we can do to keep our bodies and minds in good working order; at the top of the list is FOLLOW AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET!

At the end of the day, the aging journey boils down to prevention and acceptance. Accept the things you cannot change, prevent/change the things you can and allow the aging gift of wisdom to help you distinguish the difference. Sound familiar? Who would have ever thought that the popular poem known as the Serenity Prayer just might be the best advice for the real man on the path of graceful aging!

Meal makeover expert, nutrition coach and Professor Velonda Thompson, PhD helps baby boomers gain control of runaway weight gain and empowers them to age gracefully. As a 25-year health promotion veteran, she is the author of several cookbooks including the newly released, as seen on Fox2 TV cookbook Beyond Candied Yams and Sweet Potato Pie.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

80-20 Rule - Wrapping up Women's Health Month

May was not only the month that has been declared National Women’s Health Month but it is also the month in which we celebrate Mother’s Day. One mother that has the whole world watching and listening like E.F. Hutton is First Lady Michelle Obama. Recently on the popular late morning talk show The View, First Lady Obama discussed a topic she and I both are passionate about reducing obesity, particularly among children.

The world we live in is not our grandparent’s world - children and adults alike are bombarded with images of so many “foods” that promise to make the lives of busy adults more manageable and dietary choices more convenient. Convenience is killing and Mrs. Obama has committed to using the platform she has to promote a shift that encourages adults to embrace choosing the high road to health. No yo-yo diets or extreme measures, just simple meal make-overs and a little bit of hands in the dirt can forever change the health status of our world.

Reflecting on my work as a nutritionist over the last 25 years, I have lost count of the many times I have said to a client “If you do what you are supposed to do 80% of the time, you’ll have not need for guilt or worry the other 20% of the time.” You know – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Birthdays and office parties. Mrs. Obama and I agree that while the 80/20 rule requires planning and patience and commitment, it will surely lead to a healthier nation in the short and long-run.

For some the following to books will be a start, for others they will add variety to what should be your ever expanding library of tips and trick, menus and meal-makeovers that you will enjoy preparing and will have your family asking for more.

Yours in health,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Healthy Easter Eating made easy

If you’re in charge of cooking this year you can modify most recipes simply by reducing the amount of fat, salt and sugar while increasing the fiber content. Here are a few tips for making your Easter menu healthier and avoid packing on Easter holiday pounds:
  • Choose healthier cooking options such as grilling, poaching, or baking.
  • Reduce the meat in recipes by substituting with lentils, beans and/or peas.
  • Instead of sour cream, use cottage cheese blended with lemon juice.
  • It’s perfectly alright to enjoy a little chocolate over the Easter holidays if you make sure you eat carefully at other times, watch your portion sizes and cut back on snacking. Choose dark chocolate eggs, which are lower in sugar, lower in calories and you will have the benefit of healthy antioxidants.
  • Be sure to drink half your body weight in water  (that’s 75 ounces if you weigh 150 pounds)
  • Spring has sprung, so get out and walk or run!
Yours in health!
Dr. Velonda
Free shipping when you order your autographed copy of "Beyond Candied Yams & Sweet Potato Pie" before April 20th 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pass the PROTEIN, Please!

In spite of what we believe, most Americans get more than enough protein in their diets. Unless you are an athlete, weightlifter or serious exercise enthusiasts, you want to focus on less rather than more protein. Eating too much protein has been associated with a number of negative effects on the body, including:
  1. Weight gain. Excess calories from excess protein may be stored as body fat.
  2. Intestinal irritation. Too much protein has been linked to constipation, diarrhea and/or excessive gas.
  3. Dehydration. Experts advise drinking a half gallon of water per 100 grams of protein.
  4. Seizures. Seizures have been linked to excess protein intake – but only if insufficient amounts of water are consumed.
  5. Increase in liver enzymes.
  6. Nutritional deficiencies. Just focusing on protein intake causes some high-protein dieters to overlook other nutrients. Ensure that your diet is balanced and nutritious.
  7. Risk of heart disease. This is a bit misleading. A healthy high-protein diet is not associated with heart disease. But if you are getting all of your protein from unhealthy sources that are loaded in unhealthy fats, obviously the risk for heart disease will increase.
  8. Kidney problems. Some believe that high protein and low carbohydrate diets – when done long term – can possibly cause kidney issues, but more research needs to be done.

Personal Trainer Davey Wavey suggest the following 5 tips to help exercise enthusiasts balance protein needs with a vegan diet?
  1. Eat lots of nuts. 1/4 a cup of nuts can have upwards of 8 to 9 grams of decent quality protein.
  2. Cook with quinoa. 100 grams of quinoa contains some 14 grams of high-quality protein. In fact, the protein in quinoa has a higher rating than either beef or chicken.
  3. Stock up on oatmeal. A cup of oatmeal has 6 grams of relatively high quality protein.  A great way to start the day!
  4. Spread the hummus. A half cup of commercial hummus has 10 grams of protein, and it makes a great addition to a sandwich – or a condiment for fresh veggies.
  5. Almond and peanut butter. These butters are  wise choices and great additions for smoothies and snacks. Typically, a serving of nut butter will have 6 – 8 grams of protein

There are many athletes and celebrities that swear by vegetarian and vegan diets, including Jake Shields –Vegetarian Boxer
Yours in health,
Dr. Velonda

Reserve your copy of the new cookbook entitled Beyond Candied Yams and Sweet Potato Pie, special price only for National Nutrition Month (ends 3/31/12)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

March - Celebrating Women and National Nutrition Month

In February we celebrated Heart Health Month and National Sweet Potato Month. As February fades in our memory, March signals the end of winter, the beginning of spring and  a LEAP forward into the rest of 2012.  
March is a celebration of National Nutrition Month and Women’s History Month

National Nutrition Month keeps good nutrition in the spotlight. Given the poor state of health of many children and adults in the U.S., it’s time to get your plate in shape

Attend the FREE nutrition presentation  Wednesday, March 7, 2012  >  6 - 7:30pm
Eat to Live @ Detroit Public Library – Redford Branch

Ignite your spiritual passion & regain your health edge by learning how to do The Daniel Diet 
Saturday, March 10th (Movie &  A Light Meal) 10am - 1pm
Register by visiting 
Through your dietary choices you automatically are choosing life or death

Detroit Area Agency on Aging presents it’s  6th Annual  
NUTRITION & FITNESS FAIR - Wednesday, March 14th
 Greater Grace Temple Conference Center
23500 West 7 Mile Rd - Detroit, Michigan 48219
 Celebrity Guest: Deena Centofanti
Fox 2 News Anchor/Health Reporter
Special Presentation by Dr. Velonda Thompson
 For more information and to register call: (313) 446-4444, ext. 5227 by March 7

Yours in health! - Dr. Velonda 313-354-1788 or