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Right foods impact health

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” This quote from Hippocrates in 400 BC is still very relevant today. Hippocrates believed the human body had an innate capacity for self-healing.

Healthy eating is certainly a huge part of maintaining our overall good health. March is National Nutrition Month and a good time to be reminded of healthy eating habits and how we can provide our bodies with the best fuel possible. As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat!”

Healthy nutrition is important for all ages and our AAA7 registered dietitian has shared with me the importance and benefits of healthy eating and ways to incorporate healthier eating habits into our lives. Read the tips below from www.nutrition411.com to learn more about healthy eating habits for you and your family:

A low-calorie snack

Half a large pepper offers you a full day’s worth of vitamin C. Munch on a pepper, just as you would on an apple, for a delicious, low-calorie snack.

Cherries for your health

Cherries are a great choice, whether fresh or dried.They are rich in fiber and vitamin C, and are associated with heart health and reducing the risk of cancer. Cherries are also rich in melatonin, which may help with sleep!

Fresh or frozen

Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh. Toss carrots, broccoli, or corn into canned soup, or make a fruit smoothie for a quick, delicious breakfast.

Fiber for digestive health

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables gives you fiber that keeps your digestive tract healthy and helps protect against diseases such as diverticulosis.

The benefits of blue and purple

All fruits and vegetables from the blue and purple color family contain flavonoids, the most powerful phytochemicals found in nature. Phytochemicals decrease one’s risk of cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and much more.

Carbohydrate facts

Excess calories are fattening, carbohydrates are not.

‘Soft’ fat vs ‘hard’ fat

Choose your fat wisely. Limit your intake of “hard” fat, such as lard and butter, and use more “soft” fat, such as olive oil and canola oil.

Hunger help

Fiber-rich breads, cereals, and pastas curb your hunger. They also help with weight management.

Colorful vegetables

Dark, colorful vegetables, such as broccoli, peppers, tomatoes and carrots, are more nutrient dense than pale cucumbers, mushrooms and celery.

Early to bed

Get some rest. Your body recovers and repairs while you are sleeping. Sleep can also affect your weight and mood.

A perfect start to the day

Start your day off right with oatmeal, an excellent source of whole grains. Spruce up your oatmeal with some cranberries, apples and nuts!

Fish for omega-3s

Fish contains significant amounts of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health. When purchasing fish, buy domestic, wild varieties and stay current on the latest news.

100-calories/day

If you cut 100 calories from your daily food intake, you could lose 10 pounds a year. It is as simple as skipping the cheese on your burger, choosing carbonated fruit-flavored water instead of a regular soda, or substituting pork sausage with turkey sausage.

Digestive health

Probiotics, found in many yogurts, are likely to help improve gut health, but they are not a “cure” for digestive problems. Fluid consumption, total fiber intake, physical activity, and stress reduction are also important for a healthy digestive tract.

Heart-healthy advice

To manage blood pressure and protect your heart, strive to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, reduce your salt intake, quit smoking (if you smoke), and manage your stress levels.

Osteoporosis prevention

Lifelong, healthy habits can help reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. Eat calcium-rich foods to build strong bones and maintain bone density. Exercise regularly. Monitor your salt intake.

For more information about home-delivered or congregate meal programs in your community, or to speak with a trained social worker or nurse about long-term care home and community-based options in your area, call us toll-free at 1-800-582-7277.

 

Pamela K. Matura is the executive director of the Area Agency on Aging District 7.