9 Ways Nutrition and Health Collide

Potatoes and wheat-based noodles. If these foods bother you, opt for rice instead. It’s the only starch completely absorbed in the small intestine.

1. Beans Aren’t the Only “Musical Fruit”
These windy foods can also beget gas:

  • Potatoes and wheat-based noodles. If these foods bother you, opt for rice instead. It’s the only starch completely absorbed in the small intestine.
  • Low-carb or sugar-free sweets and chewing gum. They’re made with gas-producing sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and mannitol.
  • Apples, artichokes, onions, pears, peaches, and prunes. All contain sugars that are difficult for your body to digest.

    2. Go Beyond Dairy for Calcium
    Milk and other dairy foods are an excellent source of calcium. Depending on your age, an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk provides about one-third to one-quarter of the calcium you need each day for good bone health. (The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day for men and women under 50 and 1,200 milligrams for all other adults.) But dairy isn’t your only source of calcium — and it’s not even clear that guzzling milk is even necessary for stronger bones. (Asian women are half as likely as American women to develop osteoporosis, yet they consume little dairy.) In fact, there are enough suspicious clues that drinking too much milk might raise the risk for certain cancers (particularly ovarian and prostate) and that getting some of your daily dose from other sources makes sense. Ask your doctor if calcium supplements are an option and eat more:

  • Leafy greens. Kale and collard greens are the best choices. (Spinach, beet greens, and rhubarb have modest amounts of calcium, too, but they also contain a chemical called oxalate, which keeps your body from absorbing the mineral efficiently.)
  • Beans, peas, and other legumes. Caution: After soaking dried beans, always discard the water and start with fresh water before cooking to lower levels of phytate, a chemical that makes it harder for the body to absorb calcium.
  • Fortified foods. Manufacturers now offer calcium-fortified versions of everything from orange juice to soy milk, breakfast cereal, bread, and even bottled water.

    Plus15 Foods You Should Never Buy Again

    3. Dairy Isn’t the Sole Source of Lactose

  • Food processors add lactose to a dizzying array of foods and beverages to prolong shelf life, add bulk and texture, and enhance other qualities. If you’re eliminating lactose from your diet, check ingredient lists on package labels for the words lactose, milk, milk solids or powder, milk by-products, whey, or curds. Lactose is even added to some medicines; ask your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you take.
  • 4. MSG Occurs Naturally in Small Doses in Many Foods
    These include milk, broccoli, peas, walnuts, grapefruit juice, and Parmesan cheese.

    5. Marinade Makes Meat Safer
    Researchers have discovered that marinating meat for an hour before cooking at high heat stifles the formation of most cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs). For a simple HCA-blocking marinade, combine oil, vinegar, and rosemary; antioxidants in the herb provide extra defense against the cancer-causing compounds.

    Plus: 13 Things Your Butcher Won’t Tell You

    6. Smokers and Secondhand Smokers May Need Extra Vitamin C
    Smokers need extra vitamin C, since lighting up depletes the body of this important antioxidant. But just living or working with a smoker may increase your need for it, too. One study found that 12 percent of nonsmokers who were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke had low blood levels of C. The recommended daily intake for smokers is 35 milligrams higher than for nonsmokers. There are no formal recommendations for people who breathe lots of secondhand smoke, but this may be reason enough to take a multivitamin, which typically provides 60 to 90 milligrams of C.

    7. Foods Trigger Adult Eczema, Too
    Doctors and parents have long known that eczema can flare up in babies and toddlers who’ve had milk, eggs, or wheat products like bread and noodles. Now, evidence is mounting that adults with eczema may react to foods, too. Researchers have found that one in four adults with severe eczema have food allergies. Culprits in one small Italian study included nuts, tomatoes, milk, eggs, and grains. Don’t cut out foods on your own; work with your doctor to see if foods are affecting your skin and eliminate one at a time.

    Plus: 10 Fruits and Veggies to Enhance Your Meals

    8. Some Drinks Can Increase Kidney Stone Risk
    These include apple, cranberry, grapefruit, and orange juice, all of which can increase levels of stone-forming oxalates in urine. Skip sodas, too. Drinking about three 12-ounce cans per week can increase stone risk by 15 percent.

    9. Gut Bacteria Can Cause Gas
    If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and intestinal gas that won’t quit, your gas may be due to an overgrowth of bacteria in your intestinal tract. In one Lebanese study of 124 people with IBS who took the antibiotic rifaximin for 10 days, 42 percent said they had significantly less gas.

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    Originally Published in Reader's Digest