Learn the Top Five Supplements Every Woman Needs Daily
BOYT: When did your passion for uncovering the worlds healthiest foods begin?
George: I have had a lifelong interest in good food. I remember my favorite room in the house was the kitchen, where I watched as my mother lovingly spent hours preparing meals for the family. My father, a wholesale food broker, would bring home the finest ingredients, always fresh and wholesome.
From my parents, I learned to appreciate the way each season brought forth its own special foods. In the spring and summer, there were sweet, juicy strawberries, raspberries, apricots and many types of melons. In the fall, there were apples, oranges and sweet potatoes. And in the winter, there were hearty root vegetables such as beets, carrots and potatoes. My favorite times were the holidays when I helped prepare special festive dishes.
BOYT: Please list your top four sweeteners that are calorie-free, all natural, and have no harmful side effects.
George: All of the sweeteners we recommend on our website are not calorie-free. Even sweeteners can contain some nutritional value and we have selected those on our list of foods. Although not on our list of World's Healthiest Foods, the one non-caloric sweetener that I would recommend is stevia, a herb belonging to the Chrysanthemum family.
BOYT: Please share your top three most overall nutrient-rich foods.
George: Because nutrient-richness takes into consideration the number of nutrients in relation to the number of calories a food contains, my top three nutrient-rich foods are vegetables because they provide the greatest number of nutrients for the least number of calories. My top three are kale, spinach, and Swiss chard.
BOYT: You don’t promote eating a diet that includes meat; do you feel that a vegetarian lifestyle is most suitable for people?
George: Although I don't recommend eating large quantities of meat I also do not promote a vegetarian diet. We are all biochemically individual and therefore it may suit one person to eat meat while another would be healthier as a vegetarian. We include fish, chicken, and lean organic beef in our Healthiest Way of Eating menus. I like following the philosophy of having vegetables and fruits taking up the largest portion of your plate with protein (meat, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and seeds) taking up the smallest portion of the plate; this is in alignment with USDA's latest depiction of a healthy plate represented in their MyPlate icon.
BOYT: For those who consume meat, what is the healthiest type of meat to eat?
George: I recommend selecting grass fed organically grown meat.
BOYT: Please share your top choices for cooking oils and why you feel that are the best.
George: I prefer not to heat oils for cooking, as heating oils to high temperatures can cause the formation of health-damaging compounds. That's the reason I developed my Healthy Sauté method of cooking which uses broth for the cooking and adds the oil after the food has been cooked; this ensure greater flavor and nutrition from the oils. I recommend the use of extra virgin olive oil. If someone wants to cook with oil I would recommend oils with a high smoke point such as high oleic safflower oil or avocado oil.
BOYT: What are foods that every family should begin to incorporate into their diets?
George: For the same reasons that the leafy greens (especially those in the cruciferous family such as broccoli, cabbage, collard greens and kale) top the list of the foods I consider most nutrient-rich; they are also the ones I would recommend every family regularly including in their meals. It is recommended to eat 2 cups of cruciferous vegetables 4-5 times per week.
BOYT: What are foods that you feel are very beneficial but not commonly found or sold in stores, maybe the public isn’t aware of?
George: At the World's Healthiest Foods, we have made an effort to focus on foods that are both familiar and readily available to the general public. There are foods such as hemp seeds that are very nutritious but not easily found in your local market. Foods are also culturally based so there are also foods that are very nutritious and only found in other parts of the world; we have focused on foods available in North America.
BOYT: What type of diet do you follow personally?
George: I follow a diet similar to the one we recommend on the whfoods.org website and in our World's Healthiest Foods book and which basically follows the Mediterranean Diet. It consists of whole foods - fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and legumes with an occasional meal featuring lamb. My grain and dairy consumption is very minimal and I avoid processed foods.
BOYT: What food should children begin to incorporate in their diets daily for their incredible health benefits?
George: I believe it is very important for children to grow up enjoying vegetables and fruits of all kinds. Variety is important because different vegetables and fruits provide a different set of nutrients, which work synergistically towards making our bodies healthier and happier. Of course, some are more nutrient-rich than others (see above).
BOYT: Are any vegetables damaging to the digestive system is eaten raw?
George: I wouldn't say any vegetables are "damaging" to the digestive system per se when eaten raw. Rather that lightly cooked vegetables prepared in the way we recommend are more easily digestible. And, of course, people vary greatly in the health of their digestive system; this always has to be taken into account when adopting a particular type of diet.
BOYT: How do you grow organic vegetables at home without having a bug infestation? Is there all natural pesticide you can recommend?
George: I do grow a small garden consisting of some vegetables and herbs. What I have discovered is that keeping the soil rich by adding compost combined with plant rotation from seasons to season gives you a good start in avoiding bug infestations because the plants themselves are strong enough to ward them off themselves. You can also combine specific plants with other plants (such as garlic or marigolds) to avoid some types of bugs. I don't know of any natural pesticides to recommend.
BOYT: What vitamins do you recommend that all women take daily?
George: Supplemental nutrients are not our area of expertise. Our focus is on eating healthy and getting the necessary complex of nutrients from whole foods. Scientific studies show that nutrients should primarily come from whole. That being said supplementation can be an important part of someone optimizing their health; however what is needed is very individual.
BOYT: As women age should their intake of certain types of nutrient rich foods increase? If so, what are the foods you can recommend?
George: Omega-3 fatty acids aid in combating inflammation, which increases with age. Consuming at least 4 grams of omega-3 fats every day from fish such as salmon and tuna as well as vegetable based omega-3s from flaxseeds and walnuts.
Bone building nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is important for maintaining the strength and density of bones, and inadequate intake of calcium in women throughout their lifetime, but especially after menopause, leads to more rapid breakdown of bone, resulting in osteoporosis. Excellent food sources of calcium include collard greens, low-fat yogurt and tofu. Vitamin D plays an important role in the absorption and utilization of calcium. As a result, vitamin D deficiency negatively impacts calcium status and bone health. Rich sources of vitamin D include salmon, sardines, shrimp and low fat milk. Boron, a trace mineral that is also an important nutrient for bone health, is found in raisins, which are among the top 50 contributors in the U.S. diet of this important nutrient for bone health. I also have to add that it is important to avoid carbonated drinks, caffeine, and excess amounts of protein and sugar.
The risk of heart disease increases for women as they age. Nutrients required for a healthy heart include: folic acid, B6, and B12. Excellent sources of folic acid include spinach, parsley, broccoli, beets, turnip greens, asparagus, romaine lettuce, Brewer's yeast, calf's liverand lentils. Excellent sources of B6 include bell peppers, turnip greens, cauliflower, garlic, tuna, mustard greens, and kale. Excellent sources of B12 include calf's liver, salmon, shrimp, scallops, venison, lamb, and halibut.
BOYT: Who do you admire in your industry?
George: I admire anyone or any company that is primarily interested in the health of individuals rather than in the potential monetary gain derived from their product or services. Beyond that I am particularly supportive of those who are promoting healthy eating and cooking. We have become a very "quick fix" society where it is appealing to think that health can come in a bottle. Increasing amounts of research have shown that there are thousands of nutrients found in food which haven't yet been identified much less isolated into a form of a supplement. And since how those nutrients work synergistically is also very much an unknown, the best we can do is to promote the eating of as many healthy, whole foods as possible.
About George Mateljan
For ten years, George worked to create and develop preparation methods and recipes that allow people to enjoy delicious and exciting flavors in easy and affordable ways. The Foundation supports the number one website on 'healthiest foods', www.whfoods.org which has over 5 million visitors a year and is probably the most comprehensive website on healthy eating; it also sends out over one million free Weekly Bulletins each year. The website focuses on the nutrient-rich foods, which George calls the World’s Healthiest Foods. George uses the website to help instruct visitors how to select, store, prepare and enjoy these foods for an optimally healthy lifestyle. And all of this health-promoting information is for FREE!
Over the years, George has published five books that have been read and used by millions of people. His latest book, “The World’s Healthiest Foods,” is a culmination of his travels and personal experiences with achieving vibrant health and energy.
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