Nutritional Information: (1 extra-large) 80 calories; 7.03 g protein; 5.33 g fat; 0.40 g carbs; 0 g fiber; 0.21 g sugars
Notes: It turns out that normal intake of dietary cholesterol from foods doesn’t elevate blood cholesterol to a point of concern saturated fat does a fact of which many Americans are simply not aware. The type of fat we eat, not cholesterol, is what is correlated with increased blood cholesterol levels.
So, if you are in good health and have total blood cholesterol below 200 mg/dl, it is probably OK to have one whole egg a day. The American Heart Association recommends an intake of 300 milligrams or less of dietary cholesterol a day (one large egg contains 215).
On the other hand, if you have total cholesterol over 240 mg/dl, a family history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or you smoke, aim for no more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol per day. You can still eat an egg a day, but rather than large eggs, choose one small or medium egg with 157 and 187 milligrams of cholesterol respectively. One egg packs in 6 grams of protein (a little more than half of which is in the white). Eggs also have a high beta-carotene content. Specifically, lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the yolk. These two carotenoids have been shown to decrease macular degeneration, which causes irreversible blindness.
Additionally, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition has cited the high choline (said to have a role in early brain development) content of the egg. Eggs also contain 15 percent of the daily requirement for riboflavin (an important B vitamin necessary for metabolism) and 17 percent for selenium (an important antioxidant mineral).
All that said, eggs are known to keep bad company with butter, bacon, hash browns, etc. Stay clear of those extras.
Nutritional Information: (1 medium) 105 calories; 0.39 g fat; 27 g carbs; 3 g fiber; 1.29 g protein
Notes: Bananas are inexpensive, easy to purchase, soft and easy to chew. They ripen after being picked, and they’re packed with nutrients. The best part is that they taste fantastic. They’re sweet as candy, and they come in their own wrapper. Bananas contain folate, vitamins C and A and magnesium. They help reduce stress levels and increase serotonin levels. Bananas are loaded with potassium (422 milligrams), which is necessary for muscle contractions (including your heartbeat), transmission of nerve impulses and the delicate balance of fluid and electrolyte regulation. Diets rich in potassium reduce the adverse effects of salt and lower blood pressure (one in five Americans have high blood pressure). Plus, they may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss. In terms of stress relief, the potassium helps to relax muscles. There is a basic balancing act that goes on in the body between sodium and potassium. The sodium creates muscle contraction and the potassium relaxes muscle, so together they help transport nutrients to the cells.
Nutritional Information: (12 ounces) 154 calories; 1.64 g protein; 12.65 g carbs; 0 g fiber; 0 g sugars
Notes: According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Experts believe alcohol improves heart health by making blood less sticky so it's less likely to clot by increasing levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol while lowering unhealthy LDL cholesterol. Additionally, there is evidence that beer lowers the risk of kidney stones. ‘Compounds in hops may also slow the release of calcium from bone that is implicated in kidney stones.’ Finally, beer contains important B-vitamins such as folate, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and vitamins B6 and B12.”
Nutritional Information: (1 cup cooked) 158 calories; 3.2 g fat; 0 g cholesterol; 115 mg sodium; 143 g potassium; 27 g carbs; 4 g fiber; 6 g protein
Notes: According to research, soluble fiber (beta-glucans) may help lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease when included in a diet that is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The 3 grams per day of oat beta-glucan needed to lower cholesterol can be obtained by eating 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal (3/4 cup of uncooked oatmeal), or roughly three packets of instant oatmeal. Eating this amount typically lowers total cholesterol by up to 23 percent.
Besides lowering your cholesterol, oats are just plain healthy, providing protein, iron, insoluble fiber and other nutrients. In terms of weight control, studies show that an increase in either soluble or insoluble fiber intake helps you feel full longer, thereby decreasing your subsequent hunger. Finally, oats are low in saturated fat and sodium. Avoid eating your oatmeal with brown sugar, butter, salt, honey or whole milk. Do try it with fresh or frozen blueberries (1/2 cup has about 40 calories), which are also high in antioxidants.
- Avocado roll: 350 calories; 12 g fat; 39 g carbs; 3 g fiber; 8 g protein
- Spicy tuna roll: 325 calories; 5 g fat; 57 g carbs; 12 g protein
- Shrimp tempura roll: 508 calories; 21 g fat; 64 g carbs; 20 g protein
- Philadelphia roll (salmon, cream cheese, avocado): 345 calories; 10 g fat; 56 g carbs; 2 g fiber; 7 g protein
- Spider roll (soft-shell crab): 295 calories; 5 g fat; 51 g carbs; 6 g protein
- California roll: 263 calories; 2 g fat; 53 g carbs; 2 g fiber; 6 g protein
- Cucumber roll: 273 calories; 0 g fat; 61 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 4 g protein
- Eel: 371 calories; 4 g fat; 72 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 10 g protein
- Salmon sashimi: 132 calories; 6 g fat; 1 g carbs; 19 g protein
Notes: Just for the record, sushi does not mean raw fish. Sushi refers specifically to dishes made with vinegared rice, which traditionally includes fish (often raw) and/or vegetables, sometimes wrapped in seaweed to make a roll. The basic ingredients in sushi make it sound healthy and "calorically light,” but steer clear of rolls containing fried or battered foods or anything tempura. Also, watch out for mayonnaise, cream cheese and even that traditional Japanese dressing on your salad. Sushi menus generally offer a wide variety of options, so there is no reason to make fish "heart-unhealthy."
- Red table wine (5 ounces): 125 calories; 0 g fat; 0.10 g protein; 3.84 g carbs
- White table wine (5 ounces): 121 calories; 0 g fat; 0.10 g protein; 3.82 g carbs
- Sparkling white (Champagne): (5 ounces) 121 calories; 0g fat; 0.10 g protein; 3.82 g carbs
Notes: Wine has been purported to have many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, because it contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that have been proved to keep blood healthy and prevent cell damage and inflammation. A diet supplemented with these antioxidants can slow oxidation of LDL ("bad" cholesterol) and increase the level of HDL ("good" cholesterol). Flavonoids also help reduce blood clotting. Red wine also contains an antioxidant called resveratrol, which is supposed to be cardioprotective by reducing inflammation, but this effect still requires further study. Only problem is that alcohol is a double whammy: It lowers your inhibitions, so you end up not only drinking more (more calories) but also eating more food (more calories). Green tea can offer many of the same benefits, with no calories.
CHARLES PLATKIN, Ph.D., M.P.H., THE DIET DETECTIVE is one of the country's leading nutrition and public health advocates, whose syndicated health, nutrition and fitness column, the Diet Detective appears in more than 100 daily newspapers nationally. Dr. Platkin is also the founder of DietDetective.com, which offers nutrition, food, and fitness information. Platkin is a health expert and blogger featured on Everydayhealth.com, Active.com and Fitnessmagazine.com. Additionally, Platkin is a Distinguished Lecturer at the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College in New York City.