Thursday, March 25, 2010

WE ARE WHAT WE EAT: Dr. Brueck, Plastic Surgeon reflects

This is one in a series of health-related messages from Dr. Robert Brueck, MD, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon practicing in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, Florida. More of Dr. Brueck's thoughts, especially on cosmetic surgery, may be read at his web site,

As I sit here in the airport in Knoxville, Tennessee, returning from a trip to see my brother I can’t help but notice the over abundance of bulging thighs, necks and tummies.

We have all been reading about the obesity epidemic. I guess that one look around any public gathering can confirm all of our suspicions. I think that most of us at one time or another has gotten on the treadmill of “weight loss”. I know I have and guess what, I’m still on it. Too bad all of that running isn’t paying big dividends.

It is not just about a few extra pounds or in many cases a lot of extra pounds, it is about longevity; eating the right foods can help us control our plaque buildup, our blood sugar, blood pressure, all of which can have a great beneficial effect on how long we live.

What are some of the foods that promote longevity? Roll the drums, here they are, get ready.

"Double stuff oreo cookies, Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia and extra large fries. NO, NO, that's the wrong list but it would be wishful thinking for many of us."

Here are some of the foods for longevity:

  • Fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna and wild salmon provide us with a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids which can reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Whole grains are an excellent source of B complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. They are essential for optimal energy and metabolism and help us to deal with stress

  • Low fat dairy-contain anti-aging nutrients calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D also provides excellent anti-cancer activity.

  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale are a derivative source of fiber, calcium and carotenoids. This is also a very potent anti-oxidant.

  • Berries such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, have anti-oxidants and flavenoids, and help reduce heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

  • Green tea contains catechins and theanine. These are great anti-cancer drugs which can reduce a variety of cancers, especially in people that drink 4 to 10 cups of tea. Maybe being a tea drinker isn’t such a bad idea.

  • Mangosteen is a small, purplish fruit grown in southeast Asia, which contains compounds known as xanthones. They help with gastrointestinal functioning and can also reduce inflammation such as a reaction to protein.

  • Turmeric, curcumin and ginger have been shown to be beneficial in terms of their anti-cancer effects.

  • Citrus fruit is a tremendous source of vitamin C. Living here in southwest Florida, and in Florida in general, we have ready sources of citrus. The vitamin C found in tangerines, grapefruits and oranges are a superior source of vitamin C Versus taking tablets.

  • Red grapes and red wine contain resveratrol, which is shown to control blood sugar and provide for a greater life span. Many researchers now are conducting significant studies into the anti-aging benefits of resveratrol and this is a compound found in the skin of the red grape. There was a big documentary not too long ago on 60 Minutes.

There are many things we can do to help prolong our lives. Eating the right way can be beneficial and productive.

So, good luck, good eating and good health.

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