Eating For Beauty

Macrobiotic eating

A macrobiotic diet includes plant­based foods, limited amounts of white-fleshed fish, limited amounts of fruit, and very limited amounts of salt. Dairy products, eggs, foods with artificial ingredients, hot spices, mass-produced foods, meat, vegetables from the nightshade family (such as peppers, potatoes, and eggplant), poultry, some fish, shellfish, warm drinks, and refined foods are not consumed.

Macrobiotics is based on a system created in the early 1900s by Japanese philosopher George Ohsawa. The diet consists of 50 percent whole grains, 20 to 30 percent vegetables, and 5 to 10 percent legumes, sea vegetables, and soy foods. The small remainder of the diet is composed of white­fleshed fish, fruits, and nuts. The diet’s low amounts of saturated fat, absence of processed foods, and emphasis on high-fiber foods, such as whole grains and vegetables, maypromote cardiovascular health. Because soy and sea vegetables contain cancer-fighting compounds, a macrobiotic diet is often recommended to help treat cancer. However, critics worry that the diet’s limited variety of food can leave followers lacking in certain vitamins and important cancer-fighting and immune system-boosting phytonutrients.

The more varied your diet, the less chance you’ll have of missing out on important nutrients. That’s why the Japanese government urges its citizens to eat 30 or more different kinds of food each day. To sneak more diversity into your diet, consider using your snack time as a chance to sample new, nutritious foods.

Piscatorial diets

This diet includes plant-based foods, dairy products, eggs, fish, and seafood. Red meats, organ meats, poultry, and foods made from these are not eaten. Like an omnivorous diet, a piscatorial diet is as healthy as a person makes it. Individuals who eat high-fat and highly processed foods, fail to get the recommended daily number of vegetables and fruits, and eschew whole grains for processed grains will not enjoy optimum health. That said, individuals who are conscientious about eating a balanced, varied diet and who limit fish and seafood intake to two or three times per week, can expect a lower risk of heart disease. Be aware, however, that oily saltwater fish, such as shark, swordfish, and tuna, have been found to carry mercury in their tissues; many health authorities recommend eating these varieties no more than once a week and avoiding them altogether if you are trying to get or are already pregnant, are lactating, or have a weak immune system.

Going vegetarian

A vegetarian diet includes plant-based foods, dairy products, and eggs. Fish, gelatin, seafood, red meats, organ meats, and poultry are not eaten. Vegetarians should concentrate on a wide variety of whole foods, including beans, fruits, grains, low-fat dairy products, sea vegetables, nuts, soy foods, and vegetables. A varied diet insures enough protein, calcium, and other nutrients for all vegetarians, including children, pregnant women, and the elderly. A well-chosen vegetarian eating plan has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of breast cancer, and prevent heart disease. In addition, the diet’s high fiber level cuts the risk of diverticular disease and colon cancer.

The vegan way

A vegan eats only plant-based foods. This means that dairy products, eggs, fish, seafood, red meats, organ meats, poultry, and novelty meats are avoided. Foods made by animals or processed with animal parts, such as gelatin and honey, are not consumed.

A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) diet can be extremely healthy. Like the vegetarian diet, a vegan diet has been shown to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. In addition, the high fiber intake cuts the risk of diverticular disease and colon cancer. Some vegans may need to supplement their diets with vitamins.

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