Take this short quiz to test your nutritional savvy.

  1. 1.Radicchio is (a) the name of a little boy whose nose grows every time he tells a lie, (b) a teenage slang term for “very, very cool,” (c) a kind of lettuce high in iron.

  2. 2.Cruciferous vegetables (a) are grown primarily in Crucifera County, California, (b) make wonderful subjects for still life paintings, (c) are rich in vitamins and contain substances that may prevent cancer.

  3. 3.Pectin is (a) the muscle between your trapezium and your collarbone, (b) a spray antiseptic for cuts and scrapes, (c) a type of water-soluble fiber that can lower cholesterol.

  4. 4.Omega-3’s are (a) high-priced Swiss-made watches, (b) an up-and-coming punk-rock band, (c) substances in fish oils that may help prevent heart disease and other health disorders.

The correct answer in each case is (c). If you’re not familiar with these terms, you might need to brush up on your nutritional knowledge. Great strides have been made since the days when all you had to know about good nutrition was the names of the four basic food groups. Consider the following discoveries.

  1. Researchers are studying the cancer-resisting potential of beta-carotene, a plant pigment in apricots, squash, and other yellow-orange fruits and vegetables, which the body converts to vitamin A.

  2. Scientists are discovering that fiber (roughage) does more than keep you regular. Certain kinds of fiber, like pectin, can aid in the elimination of bile acids through the intestinal tract, possibly lowering blood cholesterol levels.

  3. Tests show that people who eat a lot of mackerel, salmon, and other fish high in omega-3 fatty acids tend to have lower levels of triglycerides and total cholesterol (blood fats implicated in heart disease).

These are just a few reports on the link between diet and health. Clearly, there’s more to protecting your health than counting food groups or popping a multivitamin pill. You have to eat the right foods. Think of this chapter as a road map to guide you to food choices that lead to tip-top nutritional fitness.

Chapter 4
  1. Eating for Better Health