The Boomer is a column written for adults nearing retirement age and those already in their golden years. It will also promote reader interaction by posting e-mail responses and answering reader questions. E-mail your questions or topic ideas to email@example.com.
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Just like hairstyles, baby boomers have seen a lot of diets come and go. Remember the grapefruit diet, that one has been around since the 1930s, and then theres the Atkins diet, the infamous Scarsdale diet and more recently, the South Beach diet. I am sure at some point in our lives weve all tried one of these diets, or known someone who has.
I am leery of the word "diet" because I think most tend to be unhealthy and ineffective. I recently saw nutritionist Keri Glassman on a morning talk show discussing her book, The O2 Diet, and I was intrigued with her concept. The 02 diet is an eating plan based on consuming antioxidant-rich foods, theres no counting calories or restrictions on what you eat.
I asked Glassman the following questions about how baby boomers can take advantage of her eating plan and how they can stay healthy.
Boomer: Can baby boomers overall health be improved by the O2 diet and if so how?
Glassman: The O2 diet is good for anybody. It is a high anti oxidant based diet based on real foods. You eat five to six times a day and the meals contain a great proportion of nutrients; the carbohydrates, fats and protein in the meals focus on those foods that are the highest in anti oxidants. When you are eating fruits you are eating the highest anti-oxidant fruits and when you are eating vegetables, the highest anti-oxidant vegetables. Anti oxidants, we know, help fight everything from cancer to aging to heart disease to neuronal degeneration.
Boomer: Is the super anti-oxidant diet and nutrition guide a health plan for boomers? Please give some specifics.
Glassman: Under this plan you eat five times a day; you are going to get a great amount of fiber and anti oxidants and a lot of healthy fat. For example, users tend to eat a lot of blueberries, pomegranates, pecans and artichokes. I have herbs and spices at every meal because they are low in calories, high in flavor and have a lot of anti-oxidant properties.
Boomer: Studies show anti oxidants can play a role in preventing certain cancers and heart disease. Boomers would like to know more about how that works.
Glassman: As you age some molecules in your body can morph; basically, an oxygen molecule is like a wide oxygen bag, but we have these free roaming oxygen molecules that have sort of gone array and are no longer that perfect O2 molecule. This change can occur from aging, daily wear and tear, stress, pollution and even from certain foods and some medications. Our body is constantly taking these sort of perfect oxygen molecules and turning them array--those are called free radicals. Everyone has a certain amount of free radicals in their body and they cause a range of things including a wrinkle, inflammation and heart disease or cancer. We need to squash those free radicals. When you eat foods that are high in anti oxidants, those anti oxidants come in and they either get rid of those free radicals or they help your body increase making more anti oxidants. When you eat foods that are high in anti oxidants they basically minimize the amount of free radicals in your body.
Boomer: Please explain the ORAC scale and how it works.
Glassman: The ORAC scale is not a perfect scale but it is a measurement of a foods anti-oxidant power. For example, blueberries have 7900 ORAC points. This is a high anti-oxidant value, which means you are getting a whole lot of nutrition and power to sweep up those free radicals. People that are eating foods that are high in ORAC value means they are eating naturally-healthy foods. I provide people a guideline of how much to eat and the right proportion of nutrients and fruits, starches and proteins but when you focus on the points there tends to be that psychological value of you getting the best foods for your body.
Boomer: If saturated fat is bad why is it in some of my favorite healthy foods?
Glassman: High concentrations of saturated fats tend to be found in non-health foods. Sat fat is better to have on a label than trans fat that are manufactured for shelf life and stability. A little bit of saturated fat that can be found in meat is OK. You don't want foods that are fried in these manufactured trans fats. In general, if you are eating an overall healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, lien protein and healthy fats you are not going to get to much saturated fat.
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