Food Healthfulness Quotient (FHQ)

How Healthful is the Food that You're Consuming?

By Pete Lorins

It is no secret that most people are not consuming the right amount and/or kind of food nowadays. Thus, at LorinsPOST, with an understanding that one's "Health" is one's biggest "Wealth" we have come up with a metric to measure the healthfulness of the food that people consume. We call it the Food Healthfulness Quotient (FHQ).

The three (3) main components of food intake are as follows:

  • Fruits and Vegetables;

  • Whole Grains; and

  • Milk and Milk Products

FRUITS & VEGETABLES

As accentuated by the FDA, Fruits and vegetables provide us with a variety of micronutrients and fiber. There is a specific number of fruits and vegetables that are good sources of vitamins A (as carotenoids) and C, folate, and potassium. In the fruit group, consumption of whole fruits (fresh, frozen, canned, dried) rather than fruit juice for the majority of the total daily amount is suggested to ensure adequate fiber intake. The following is the suggested amount of weekly consumption of fruits and vegetables:

Dark green vegetables 3 cups/week

Orange vegetables 2 cups/week

Legumes (dry beans) 3 cups/week

Starchy vegetables 3 cups/week

Other vegetables 6 ½ cups/week

Sources of vitamin A (carotenoids)

  • Bright orange vegetables like carrots, sweetpotatoes, and pumpkin

  • Tomatoes and tomato products, red sweet pepper

  • Leafy greens such as spinach, collards, turnip greens, kale, beet and mustard greens, green leaf lettuce, and romaine

  • Orange fruits like mango, cantaloupe, apricots, and red or pink grapefruit

Sources of vitamin C

  • Citrus fruits and juices, kiwi fruit, strawberries, guava, papaya, and cantaloupe

  • Broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage (especially Chinese cabbage), brussels sprouts, and potatoes

  • Leafy greens such as romaine, turnip greens, and spinach

  • Sources of folate

  • Cooked dry beans and peas

  • Oranges and orange juice

  • Deep green leaves like spinach and mustard greens

Sources of potassium

  • Baked white or sweetpotatoes, cooked greens (such as spinach), winter (orange) squashBananas, plantains, many dried fruits, oranges and orange juice, cantaloupe, and honeydew melons

  • Cooked dry beans

  • Soybeans (green and mature)

  • Tomato products (sauce, paste, puree)

  • Beet greens

WHOLE GRAINS

In addition to fruits and vegetables, whole grains are an important source of fiber and other

nutrients. Whole grains, as well as foods made from them, consist of the entire grain seed,

usually called the kernel. The kernel is made of three components—the bran, the germ, and the

endosperm. If the kernel has been cracked, crushed, or flaked, then it must retain nearly the

same relative proportions of bran, germ, and endosperm as the original grain to be called whole

grain. In the grain-refining process, most of the bran and some of the germ is removed,

resulting in the loss of dietary fiber (also known as cereal fiber), vitamins, minerals,

lignans, phytoestrogens, phenolic compounds, and phytic acid. Some manufacturers add bran to grain products to increase the dietary fiber content. Refined grains are the resulting product

of the grain-refining processing. Most refined grains are enriched before being further

processed into foods. Enriched refined grain products that conform to standards of identity are

required by law to be fortified with folic acid, as well as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and

iron.

Whole grains Consumed in the United States in Decreasing Order:

  1. Whole Wheat

  2. Whole oats/oatmeal

  3. Whole-grain corn

  4. Popcorn

  5. Brown rice

  6. Whole rye

  7. Whole-grain barley

  8. Wild rice

  9. Buckwheat

  10. Triticale

  11. Bulgur (cracked wheat)

  12. Millet

  13. Quinoa

  14. Sorghum

Milk and Milk Products

Another source of nutrients is milk and milk products. Milk product consumption has been

associated with overall diet quality and adequacy of intake of many nutrients. The intake of

milk products is especially important to bone health during childhood and adolescence. Studies

specifically on milk and other milk products, such as yogurt and cheese, showed a positive

relationship between the intake of milk and milk products and bone mineral content or bone

mineral density in one or more skeletal sites (see table 1 for information on equivalent amounts

of milk products).

Adults and children should not avoid milk and milk products because of concerns that these foods lead to weight gain. There are many fat-free and low-fat choices without added sugars that are available and consistent with an overall healthy dietary plan.

With an understanding of the necessity to consume the right amount and kind of all three major food groups, we would like to assert the ten (10) most healthful foods which acording to fitness magazine should we consumed on a daily basis. We have used information from the FDA and the latter to create our Food Healthfulness Quotient (FHQ), upon which we can grade food intake either from restaurants or from the average household:

Healthful Food #1: Lemons

  • Just one lemon has more than 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C, which may help increase "good" HDL cholesterol levels and strengthen bones.

  • Citrus flavonoids found in lemons may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and act as an anti-inflammatory.

Healthful Food #2: Broccoli

  • One medium stalk of broccoli contains more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement and almost 200 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C -- two essential bone-building nutrients.

  • The same serving also helps stave off numerous cancers.

Healthful Food #3: Cocoa

  • Just one-fourth of an ounce daily can reduce blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals.

  • Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants shown to reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol and increase "good" HDL levels.

Quick Tip:

A dark chocolate bar contains about 53.5 milligrams of flavonoids; a milk chocolate bar has fewer than 14.

Healthful Food #4: Potatoes

  • One red potato contains 66 micrograms of cell-building folate -- about the same amount found in one cup of spinach or broccoli.

  • One sweet potato has almost eight times the amount of cancer-fighting and immune-boosting vitamin A you need daily.

Quick Tip:

Let your potato cool before eating. Research shows that doing so can help you burn close to 25

percent more fat after a meal, thanks to a fat-resistant starch.

Healthful Food #5: Salmon

  • A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of depression, heart disease, and cancer.

  • A 3-ounce serving contains almost 50 percent of your daily dose of niacin, which may protect against Alzheimer's disease and memory loss.

Quick Tip:

Opt for wild over farm-raised, which contains 16 times as much toxic polychlorinated biphenyl

(PCB) as wild salmon.

Healthful Food #6: Walnuts

  • Contain the most omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce cholesterol, of all nuts.

  • Omega-3s have been shown to improve mood and fight cancer; they may protect against sun damage, too (but don't skip the SPF!).

Quick Tip:

Eat a few for dessert: The antioxidant melatonin, found in walnuts, helps to regulate sleep.

Healthful Food #7: Avocados

  • Rich in healthy, satisfying fats proven in one study to lower cholesterol by about 22 percent.

  • One has more than half the fiber and 40 percent of the folate you need daily, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Quick Tip:

Adding it to your salad can increase the absorption of key nutrients like beta-carotene by three

to five times compared with salads without this superfood.

Healthful Food #8: Garlic

  • Garlic is a powerful disease fighter that can inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E. coli.

  • Allicin, a compound found in garlic, works as a potent anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood-pressure levels.

Quick Tip:

Crushed fresh garlic releases the most allicin. Just don't overcook; garlic exposed to high heat

for more than 10 minutes loses important nutrients.

Healthful Food #9: Spinach

  • Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two immune-boosting antioxidants important for eye health.

  • Recent research found that among cancer-fighting fruits and veggies, spinach is one of the most effective.

Quick Tip:

Spinach is a healthy -- and flavorless -- addition to any smoothie. You won't taste it, we

promise! Try blending 1 cup spinach, 1 cup grated carrots, 1 banana, 1 cup apple juice, and ice.

Healthful Food #10: Beans

  • Eating a serving of legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) four times a week can lower your risk of heart disease by 22 percent.

  • That same habit may also reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Quick Tip:

The darker the bean, the more antioxidants it contains. One study found that black bean hulls

contain 40 times the amount of antioxidants found in white bean hulls.

The LorinsPOST Food Healthfulness Quotient (FHQ) Calculation:

FHQ = [%(Major Food Groups Consumed) + % (Top 10 Healthful Foods)] / 2

We will use the above "FHQ" equation in order to culculate the Food Healthfulness Quotient for either specific restaurants or any participating household in the months to come.

Stay tuned!

Dr. Pete Lorins is the Chief Editor of LorinsPOST.com. This article was sponsored by LORINS.biz a multi-industry consultancy firm providing services in engineering, law, education, business, and medicine.