Jul 142014

Continuing our head-to-head comparison of healthy foods, let’s find out which one among these foods comes out healthier.

To recap, the results of Part 1 of this article are as follows, with the first item listed below coming out as healthier between the two: 1) clear soup over cream soup, 2) fresh fruits over dried fruits, 3) peanuts over shrimp crackers, 4) tomato sauce over fresh tomatoes, 5) hard-boiled egg over fried egg, 6) salad over soup, 7) several small meals a day over one big meal, 8) tea over coffee, 9) fish fat over pork fat, and 10) red wine over white wine.

Now, let’s look at our second list of 10 pairs of food items. Can you guess the healthier (or less fatty) food between the pair?

 1. Orange vs. apple. A study from the University of Nottingham finds that people who eat more than five apples a week have improved lung function and fewer asthma-like symptoms. Apples are rich in quercetin, a substance known to protect against many cancers. Studies show that people who eat an apple a day have lower chances of getting lung cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Even smokers who often eat apples can somehow minimize the adverse effects of cigarette smoking. Moreover, apples are lower in calories at around 92 calories per apple. However, this does not mean that oranges aren’t good for you. The high vitamin C content of an orange and the fiber found in its membranes are healthy, too. But if we are forced to make a choice, an apple a day may really keep the doctor away.

Winner: Apple.

2. Cauliflower vs. broccoli.
Broccoli has more fiber, vitamins, and minerals as compared to cauliflower. Broccoli has 2.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams, which are twice the amount of fiber in cauliflower. Broccoli flower is also greener and probably healthier. And although both vegetables belong to the Brassica family, broccoli’s anti-cancer properties have been more intensively studied by scientists.

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Winner: Broccoli.

3. Ice cream vs. yogurt. Both ice cream and yogurt are nutritious because they contain milk products, which are rich in calcium, protein, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, and vitamin A. However, one issue with ice cream is the higher fat content. Yogurt, on the other hand, contains many beneficial bacteria, which is good for the stomach and intestines. In fact, some experts advise patients taking antibiotics to eat a cup of yogurt a day, just to replace the healthy bacteria destroyed by the antibiotic. People with lactose intolerance (those who get diarrhea after drinking milk or eating ice cream) may also be able to tolerate yogurt better.

Winner: Yogurt.

4. Milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains resveratrol and flavonoids, which are substances that can protect your heart. Scientists are particularly excited about resveratrol because animal studies have shown that it can prolong life expectancy. Hence, when buying chocolate, choose the dark variety, which has 70% cocoa content. More cocoa means more antioxidants that are good for you. Yes, it has a slightly bitter taste, but dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate or white chocolate.

Winner: Dark chocolate.

5. Fried milkfish (pritong bangus) vs. milkfish in tamarind soup (sinigang na bangus). Rule number one in healthy eating: Limit fried foods. Thus, fried milkfish (even though it’s fish) may not be as healthy as grilled, steamed or fish soup. The Filipino dish of milkfish with tamarind soup and vegetables is healthier than fried milkfish.

Winner: Milkfish soup.

6. Pork chops vs. pork tenderloin. It’s hard to choose between two not-so-healthy foods, but pork chops and pork belly have more fat while pork tenderloin and sirloin have less fat. Choose the healthier meat cuts, or you can also physically remove the fat.

Winner: Pork tenderloin.

7. Yellow watermelon vs. red watermelon. Researchers from the US Department of Agriculture report that eating watermelon increases the body’s arginine level, which is then converted into nitric oxide, a substance that relaxes the blood vessels and improves blood flow. Hence, watermelon may be good for the heart. Regarding the color, the red variety of watermelon contains the pigment lycopene, which is believed to be an anti-cancer substance. On the other hand, yellow watermelon contains lutein, a component that is beneficial to one’s eyesight.

Winner: Both are healthy.  Red watermelon for the heart and yellow watermelon for the eyes.

8. Mango vs. strawberry. It’s hard to find a fruit that can beat the berries in health benefits. Strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries are extremely healthy foods. They contain substances called ellagic acid and polyphenols, which may help protect against cancer. Strawberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamin Bs, vitamin C, vitamin K, minerals, potassium (good for the heart) and folate (good for the blood). Mangoes are healthy, too, because they contain vitamin C, but they can easily make you gain weight. A medium-sized mango contains 207 calories while a cup of strawberries only has 49 calories. If you’re on a diet, choose strawberries.

Winner: Strawberry.

 9. White rice vs. spaghetti. White rice and spaghetti are both carbohydrates. However, one of them raises the blood sugar at a faster rate than the other. According to nutrition experts, white rice is classified as having a “high glycemic index,” which means your blood sugar may shoot up after eating rice. On the other hand, spaghetti is classified as “low to medium glycemic index,” which means it will release its nutrient to the body more slowly. Spaghetti noodles should be firm or al dente. Overcooked and soggy spaghetti will have its starches broken down (gelatinized) and will have the same effect as white rice.

Winner: Spaghetti.

10. Banana (latundan variety) vs. banana. Bananas are rich in potassium, vitamin B, tryptophan, and carbohydrates. Heart doctors often tell their patients to eat one or two bananas a day, especially if they’re taking certain medications for the heart. The potassium in banana is essential to heart muscle contraction and may prevent heart rhythm abnormalities. However, between the varieties of banana, the local lakatan variety (yellowish, thicker peel and more expensive) contains more vitamin C as compared to the latundan variety (whiter, thinner peel and cheaper), which has no vitamin C. That is the reason why the lakatan variety tastes a bit sour.

Winner: Banana, lakatan variety.

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