Nutrition & Asian Americans Diet


Benefits of Soybeans

  • Soy foods have cholesterol-lowering effects; partaking in 25 g per day of soy protein may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Soybeans are high in protein, fiber and unsaturated fat. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium and iron.
  • Research shows that soybeans may reduce symptoms of menopause and risk of osteoporosis, as well as certain cancers.
  • Soy supplements are composed of soy isoflavones; these substances can only ease menopausal symptoms but have no effect on lowering cholesterol.
  • Typically soy can be found in foods such as tofu, miso, soybeans, green soybeans (edamame), soy flour and soymilk.

How to Control Blood Cholesterol

  • There are two types of lipoproteins – LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein).
  • LDL is considered bad cholesterol because it can potentially build up in the arteries and create plague, whereas HDL is known as good cholesterol since it removes cholesterol build up on artery walls.
  • Plague that build up overtime can lead to atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, angina, and heart attack.
  • Lifestyle changes are important in lowering LDL, this includes a diet low in LDL, regular physical activity, and maintaining an optimal weight.
  • A low LDL diet limits the amount of trans fat, saturated fat and the cholesterol you eat, as well as increase intake of cholesterol lowering food such as juices or margarines containing plant sterols.
  • Weight control is especially critical for those with a large waist circumference, this means > 40 inches for men and > 35 inches for women.

Dementia Prevention

  • The risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s increases with damage to the heart or blood vessels (stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc).
  • In order to maintain a brain-healthy lifestyle, it’s important to follow the six pillars of prevention:
  • Regular exercise – it can slow down brain deterioration. Try to obtain 30 mins of aerobic exercise five times a week.
  • Healthy diet – include fresh vegetables and fruits in your daily diet.
  • Mental stimulation – keep challenging your brain by engaging in activities that involve multitasking, interacting and organizing. Strategy games (puzzles, riddles) are a great way to start.
  • Quality sleep
  • Stress management – chronic stress can lead to shrinkage of hippocampus (memory area) and increase risk of dementia. Learn to relax and breathe.
  • Engage in an active social life – try volunteering in your spare time.

How to Handle Food: Food Safety

  • Foodborne illness can occur from eating food with harmful bacteria, you may begin to feel sick anytime from 20 minutes to 3 weeks after consuming.
  • Symptoms of foodborne illness include vomiting, feeling sick to your stomach, diarrhea or fever and headache.
  • In order to handle food safely, follow CSCC – Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.
  • Clean – wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate – don’t cross-contaminate, use different cutting boards for vegetables and meats.
  • Cook – cook to proper temperature.
  • Chill – refrigerate prepared food and leftovers within 2 hours.
  • You can thaw food in the refrigerator or by immersing the food in cold water (change the water every half an hour), but never at room temperature.
  • Avoid the “Danger Zone”, harmful bacteria can multiply between 40 and 140°F, so remember to discard any perishable food left at room temperature after 2 hours.

Kidney Disease

  • Kidney helps to filter the blood in the body, it also remove wastes and excess water to form urine.
  • As one age, kidney function reduces as the amount of filtering units and kidney tissues decrease.
  • Risk factors for developing kidney diseases are: diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of kidney failure, and cardiovascular disease.
  • If one is at risk for kidney disease, make sure to get tested through blood and urine samples. Learning how to properly manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease is also important.
  • In order to prevent kidney disease, make sure to have a healthy diet (including fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy products), reduce sodium intake, limit alcohol use, being more physically active, taking prescribed medicine according to your provider, and to see your doctor regularly.

Nutritional Value of Legumes

  • Legumes are podded plants that are used as food, such as peas, beans, lentils, and peanuts.
  • Beans are well known for their protein and soluble-fiber content. They are also low in glycemic index, which is perfect for individuals with diabetes or those at risk for diabetes.
  • Typically most beans are very low in fat.
  • Beans are an excellent source of folate and iron, which is necessary to support red blood cell production and aid in preventing osteoporosis related bone fractures.
  • Some healthiest choices of legumes include black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans and soybeans. Try to incorporate different kinds into your diet.
  • Canned beans are the most convenient way to obtain legumes, as they are easy to cook. However, they are very high in sodium so it’s important to rinse thoroughly to remove the salt water.

Facts About Magnesium

  • Magnesium is critical for good health, as it aids to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps the bones strong, helps to regulate blood sugar levels, promotes a healthy immune system and a normal blood pressure.
  • Magnesium plays a role in preventing hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
  • With increased age, the absorption of magnesium decreases and the excretion of magnesium increase.
  • Food sources of magnesium include wheat bran, dry almonds, spinach, raisin bran cereals, cashews, soybeans, wheat germ and mixed nuts.
  • Medications such as diuretics, antibiotics and some cancer treating medications may result in magnesium deficiency, so magnesium supplements may be necessary.
  • For individuals with poorly controlled diabetes, magnesium supplements may also benefit.

Benefits of Omega-3 & 6 Facts

  • Since our bodies can’t make omega-3 or 6 fats, we must obtain it from food.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids prevent against heart disease and possibly stroke. New studies show a wider range of benefits including cancer prevention.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in both vegetables and fatty fish, such as canola oil, flaxseed, walnuts, kale, spinach and salmon.
  • Try to incorporate one rich source into your diet per day.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids help reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), protect against heart disease and reduce inflammation.
  • High sources of omega-6 fatty acids include safflower oil, sunflower oil, poppyseed oil and wheat germ.
  • Try to obtain omega-3 fatty acids from food first; however, for those that don’t consume fish or other omega-3.

Facts About Organic Foods

  • The term “Organic” indicates how crops are grown. Farmers are expected to not use petroleum-based fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, and GMOs (genetically modified organisms – in which plants’ DNA has been altered) in growing crops.
  • Organic livestock are given organic feed and are brought up in open space. They can’t partake any antibiotics, growth hormones or any animal by products.
  • Overtime with accumulated build up of pesticides in our body, we are more prone to develop health issues such as headaches, birth defects, and weaken immune systems.
  • When shopping, look for the USDA Organic seal. Only products that contain 95-100% organic contents are certified organic food.
  • The following food contains the highest level of pesticides used, so it’s better to buy organic. These include: apples, carrots, bell peppers, celery, cherries, kale, lettuce, peaches, and pears.


  • Osteoporosis is a disease that occurs when the bones weaken and become fragile, as a result it increases the risk for bone breakage. As one ages, more bones are broken down than it is replaced.
  • Some risk factors for osteoporosis are: gender (specifically women as they tend to have smaller bone frames and lose bones quicker), age, ethnicity (Caucasian and Asian), family history and history of previous fractures.
  • To prevent osteoporosis, make sure to obtain enough calcium and vitamin D daily in order to slow down the process of bone loss.
  • Women over 50 should consume 1,200 mg of calcium daily, men between 51-70 should consume 1,000 mg, and men over 70 should take in 1,200 mg per day.
  • Doing weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, jogging and playing tennis 3 to 4 times a week can help strengthen bones.