Friday, December 01, 2006

Eating for Your Genes

African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics can reduce their risk of developing diabetes by a whopping 46% just by making some easy changes in their eating habits, according to Harvard researchers who followed more than 78,000 women for 20 years. That's a big health payoff: These groups tend to have a much higher risk of the disease than Caucasians (who get only a 23% reduction in risk by munching wisely).

One of the most crucial shifts: favoring low-glycemic foods — which studies show help stabilize your blood sugar. Try these simple strategies:

  • Swap sugary drinks, such as soda and bottled sweetened teas, for water and freshly brewed unsweetened teas.
  • Ditch refined grains, like white rice, for fiber-rich whole grains, like brown rice or quinoa.
  • Pass on foods that contain saturated fats or trans fats; instead pick foods rich in polyunsaturated fats, including fish and nuts.
  • Keep meat choices lean, and incorporate other sources of protein into your diet, too. Try chickpeas and kidney and black beans.

For more information on the glycemic index, visit

By: Marianne McGinnis, Prevention, Dec2006

'D' best seasonal supplement

What if a pill could tower your risk of cancer by as much as 70%? Vitamin D may be that magic medicine. University of California San Diego researchers analyzed national cancer deaths between 1950 and 1969 and again between 1970 and 1994 — when people began staying out of the sun and wearing more sunscreen. (Our bodies require sunlight to make vitamin D.) Their comparison suggests that getting enough D could drive down mortality rates of 16 types of cancer — including breast and ovarian — by anywhere from 2 to 70%.

"Hundreds of lab studies show that vitamin D can stop cancer cells from proliferating and promote the death of tumor cells," says lead author William B. Grant, PhD. Experts now recommend that people get 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day in summer, and as much as 2,000 IU in winter when the sun is much weaker. Getting that amount from your diet is tough. Your best bet is to take 1,500 IU daily in supplement form.

By Sarf N. Harrar, Prevention, Dec2006