Andy Patterson: Greetings, and welcome to today’s edition of “Your World” with me, Andy Patterson. And with me in the studio I have nutrition expert Dr. Maureen O’Ryan. Welcome, Doctor.
Maureen O’Ryan: Thanks, Andy. It’s great to be here.
AP: So, it’s time to listen up, people, for some top health tips. Remember, you may like the taste, but did you ever wonder about the effect on your body of what you eat and drink?… Doctor?
MO’R: Well, let me start by saying this isn’t a lecture on healthy eating. We all know that we should drink lots of water, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and so on, but in the real world, most of us prefer soft drinks to water, and we all eat food we know is bad for us. My point is, it’s OK--
AP: What! It’s OK? Great! I’ll have a double cheeseburger!
MO’R: It’s OK to eat any food you want as long as your diet is balanced. And what I want to say today is that we can all enjoy good health, but we have to know the effects that the food and drink we consume have on our bodies.
AP: That makes sense. So, let’s look at some of the things we enjoy most…Now, I love a spicy beef burger or a juicy steak.
Of course, I know red meat’s supposed to be bad…
MO’R: Well, that’s exactly my point. Red meat isn’t bad for you, unless you eat too much. It actually gives us healthy bones and skin. But obviously you shouldn’t eat a huge steak every night!
AP: White meat is healthier, though, right?
MO’R: Yes, white meat, such as chicken or turkey, is definitely good for you. In fact, because it contains a natural substance which makes us feel calm, eating turkey can actually change your mood. Have a turkey sandwich for lunch, and you’ll feel more relaxed.
AP: OK, but what about a cheese sandwich? I love cheese, but people say it’s bad for you.
MO’R: Well, cheese has calcium, so it’s good for your teeth, but since it’s high in fat and salt you shouldn’t eat it every day. We need salt to survive, but too much salt can cause high blood pressure.
AP: OK, but I’m a coffee man, too, and I know that’s bad for you.
MO’R: Well, coffee gives you energy due to the caffeine, and that’s all right. But if you drink too much coffee it can make you feel stressed and give you problems sleeping. Coffee before lunch is OK, but I suggest drinking tea in the afternoon.
AP: Ah, but tea has caffeine, too, Doc. I read about it.
MO’R: Yes, but only a small amount, and green tea, for example, also helps fight cancer and improves your ability to concentrate. Tea is fine, and lots of green tea is even better!
AP: Hmm. But when I’m tired I usually rely on a soda.
MO’R: Well, a soda might give you energy for a short period, but one can contain up to 15 teaspoons of sugar! All of that sugar has a big effect on your body, Andy! And the calories in soda are what we call “empty” calories, since they have no nutrition at all. As a result, a couple of hours after you consume the soda, you’ll probably feel more tired, and depressed as well.
AP: Hmm…and what about chocolate lovers? Bad again, right?
MO’R: Well, a little chocolate from time to time isn’t so bad, but not milk chocolate—that’s bad—it has to be dark chocolate. Dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure and is good for your heart…I guess all I’m really saying is that by making wise food choices, you can basically eat what you like…you just need to mix the good and the bad. What’s so hard about that?
AP: Sounds great! Now, let me ask you one more thing…