Healthy Food Quiz: Questions and Answers to Help You Fight Disease

Most people know that calcium is good for bones, fiber is good for constipation, and iron is good for blood, to name a few. But once you go beyond the basics, the picture gets murky.

Here’s a healthy food quiz (questions and answers included) to see how well you know which foods or nutrients can prevent or promote which diseases.

Feel free to cheat. The questions aren’t really a test of how well you read (and remember) every issue of Nutrition Action. They’re just a sneaky way to get you to look at the answers, which contain a wealth of information on how your diet affects your health.

The Extra Benefits of Walking Daily You Might Not Know

Staying active can help keep your brain in good shape, say two studies that tracked exercise and mental decline over time.

And the extra benefits of walking daily are clear in these studies.

In the first, which followed more than 2,200 Hawaiian men aged 71 to 93, those who walked the least (less than a quarter mile a day) were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those who walked the most (more than two miles a day) over the next seven years. Men who walked between a quarter and one mile a day had a 70 percent increased risk.

In a second study, which tracked nearly 19,000 women aged 70 to 81 for at least nine years, those who exercised the most had a 20 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment than those who exercised the least. Women who walked for at least 11/2 hours a week scored better on memory, attention, and other tests than women who walked less than 40 minutes a week.

Walking vs. Running to Lose Weight

“Want to lose weight? Then run, don’t walk,” reported U.S. News & World Report in the April 2013 issue.

When it comes to running vs. walking, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California conducted a six year National Walkers’ and Runners’ Health Study. When they compared men and women who increased their walking or running, they found that running expended more energy than walking.

But people who choose to run may be different—they may be more physically fit, for example—than people who choose to walk.

The Benefits of Polyunsaturated Fats in Your Diet

The benefits of polyunsaturated fats in your diet may include lower levels of inflammation and less buildup of plaque in arteries. This is important, because “Inflammation plays two key roles in coronary heart disease,” explains Penny Kris-Etherton of Pennsylvania State University.

First, it helps build the plaque that narrows arteries. The process starts when the immune system mobilizes to heal an “injury” in the artery wall, often caused by oxidized LDL cholesterol. Smoking, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar can also damage the arteries and lead to plaque buildup.“

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And every single step of the way, inflammatory signals produced in the plaque fuel the process,” says Kris-Etherton. After decades, the plaque—now filled with cholesterol, calcium, and cell debris—gets covered with a fibrous cap of smooth muscle cells. Then, once again, inflammation wreaks havoc.

Why Sitting is Bad (And How to Get Off Your Duff)

Sitting for hours on end can hurt more than your back end, say two studies.

British researchers tracked 153 younger and 725 older adults who all had risk factors for diabetes. Each participant wore an accelerometer to measure how much time he or she spent sedentary or engaged in moderate-to-vigorous exercise (like running or brisk walking) for at least a week. The results helped researchers hone in on why sitting is bad for people who are at risk for health problems such as diabetes.

How to Purée Vegetables and Reduce Calories

Call it sneaky. Call it smart. Once you know how to purée vegetables, you can secretly swap those puréed vegetables for other ingredients in some dishes, people will eat fewer calories and won’t notice the difference. This is also a great trick for eating fewer calories for people interested in losing weight. You can also use puréed vegetables as a way to change things up with your regular recipes.

If you puree vegetables, will you reduce calories consumed?

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University offered 41 young men and women breakfast, lunch, and dinner once a week for three weeks.

At each meal, one dish—the carrot bread for breakfast, the macaroni and cheese for lunch, and the chicken-and-rice casserole for dinner—contained puréed vegetables in place of other ingredients.