National Nutrition Month, says the Academy of Nutrition and
Dietetics, the largest organization of nutrition professionals
in the world. What we need to remember, say these experts, is
that no one food, drink or pill is a magic formula for optimal
health. Rather, the magic resides in the choices we make day
to dayÖand today. Nutrition experts call it "lifestyle
balance" ó feeding our bodies what they need while
still allowing room for enjoyable foods and activities. Along
those lines, Iíll be answering readersí questions this
"Are legumes considered a good source of protein? I see
in a book that they have about 1/3 protein and 2/3 carb; so on
a special eating program which limits combinations of proteins
and starches, how do legumes fit into meal planning?"
beans are a very good source of protein. One-half cup of
cooked beans contains as much protein as two ounces of meat,
fish or poultry and essentially no fat (less than 1 gram).
Beans contain carbs as well, in the form of starch and dietary
fiber. They are especially rich in soluble fibers, known for
their cholesterol lowering prowess.
ask, but beans also provide a host of vitamins and minerals,
including iron, potassium and folate, an important B-vitamin.
According to the Bean Institute (yes, there is one),
researchers have identified anti-inflammatory compounds in
beans that seem to enhance longevity. A study called the
"Food Habits in Later Life Study" showed that ó in
people over the age of 70 ó eating higher amounts of legumes
like beans reduced the risk for death by 6 percent.
planning, beans count as a protein source as well as a starchy
vegetable. Unless you have a medical reason to limit beans in
your diet, this exceptional combination of protein and carbs
would be a good one to embrace.
Regarding vitamin B-12, are daily tablets of 1000 micrograms
(mcg) effective for elderly citizens without any other B
vitamins? Or are injections more effective?
an individual question. Vitamin B12 is found naturally in most
animal-based foods, including milk and eggs. In order to
absorb B12 from food, however, you need a well-functioning
stomach, pancreas and small intestine. According to the US
National Library of Medicine, many people over the age of 50
lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12. Thatís why some
people need intramuscular injections of this vitamin.
however, studies show that high doses of vitamin B12 taken
orally ó to the tune of 1000 micrograms a day ó may be
just as effective as injections in some people. And according
to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University,
vitamin B12 is better absorbed by the body when it is taken
along with other B-vitamins, such as might be found in a daily