Food alone is good; wine alone is good; but food and wine together is heaven!

Health and Food

What is healthy food?

This is a big question and there is a wide range of differing opinions that experts hold. Probably you could say that healthy food fits into a balanced diet that minimises health risks and maximises health benefits.

The good news is that we can improve our health simply by educating ourselves about which foods are harmful and which are beneficial to our health and changing from the former to the latter. The second bit of good news is that we can be healthy and still enjoy tasty food and moderate alcohol intake. Together, there's no reason not to continue enjoying food and wine heaven into our old age!

Which food minimises health risks?

Coronary heart disease and diabetes are two very prevalent health problems in modern lifestyles. These health issues are not un-related and can be simply improved by making wiser choices of the food we eat. Much has been made of the Mediterranean diet, because the incidence of heart disease is low in the countries that border the Mediterranean.

There is evidence that moderate intake of wine and especially red wine is believed improved longevity. Both the author's father, and his father's sister consumed moderately, normally enjoying a glass or two of wine in the evening and lived well into their nineties.

Food that maximises health

There are several important risk factors that come from the food we eat: salt, saturated fat and high GI index relating the carbohydrate in our diets.

What is the Glycaemic Index?

The Glycaemic Index (GI Index) is a number that is used to describe the effects that carbohydrate foods have on the level of sugars in the blood.

Why are low GI foods important?

The medical condition Type 2 Diabetes is caused by high blood sugar levels and is now a widespread condition in populations of the Western countries.

The Glycaemic Index is useful because it identifies foods that cause rapid and large increases in blood sugar. These high GI foods are harmful, especially to people with Type 2 Diabetes, because they cause rapid, high levels of blood sugar.

Foods that have low glycaemic index release their carbohydrate much more slowly into the blood when we digest the food. This slow release keeps us from feeling hungry for longer and also avoids high spikes in blood sugar levels.

By switching to foods that have low GI we can improve the management of sugar levels for Type 2 Diabetes. Low GI index foods are important for people who don't have Type 2 Diabetes because they can help to avoid this condition developing.

Why is cholesterol important?

High blood cholesterol levels are believed by medical science researchers to be one of the important factors in coronary heart disease. Foods that have high levels of saturated fat can increase blood cholesterol levels.

A diet that increases the ratio of poly-unsaturated and mono-unsaturated fat and decreases saturated fat has been shown by scientists to improve the management of coronary heart disease.

Interestingly, the Mediterranean diet is not a low fat diet, but it is high in the use of olive oil and fish, which are both believed to increase the ratios of poly-unsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats.

Low GI and low cholesterol foods

The table shown on this link healthy foods for a table that identifies classes of foods that range from low to high in both cholesterol and GI index.

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