Nutrition is an incredibly complicated topic these days. The amount of information flooding the internet is overwhelming… and it’s not all good information! Many of us are busy and constantly on the go leading us to reach for the quick fix. Unfortunately, nothing truly substitutes good ol’ classic whole foods. I work with many patients on a daily basis to help them make the “right” choices for them. For some people the right choice means avoiding certain foods as a result of food sensitivity testing, for others it means rescheduling their busy lives to spend more time in the kitchen, and for families it means eating together and teaching our kids to make good choices. In honor of National Nutrition Month, I have 5 quick tips to finding balance in our diets to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Increase the veggies and reduce the grains.
“Grains” have been getting a lot of attention lately. And it’s a good thing! The average American diet is heavy on the grains and low on the vegetables and we need to change this trend. So what are grains? The short list includes wheat, rye, barley, corn, and rice. Yes, corn is a grain not a vegetable. Although grains provide some nutrient value, they have overall less nutrients, less fiber, and more calories than vegetables. So instead of picking up those crackers and peanut butter, reach for the veggies and hummus. For more information about dietary trends and how we can make changes, check out this site from healthcare.gov.
The skinny on fat- it’s not all bad!
Unfortunately, fats have been given a bad name over the years. As a result, it has left many of us deficient in some of our essential fatty acids, namely the Omega-3 fatty acids. Just as the name reflects, essential fatty acids and essential for proper bodily function, but must be consumed in the diet since our bodies don’t make it naturally. How do the Omega-3’s benefit us? Benefits include an anti-inflammatory effect which is helpful for your joint health, lower levels of depression, and other cognitive benefits. For more information on the benefits, check out this previous article.
Protein throughout the day keeps us going.
Protein is a very important macro nutrient that is often overlooked in the diet due to the typical American’s excessive carbohydrate intake. Protein is essential for building muscle and plays a big role in balancing our blood sugar levels. Diabetics are very familiar with the need to stabilize blood sugar levels, but the average person needs to be just as aware. Imbalanced blood sugar levels result in such symptoms as poor sleep patterns, low energy, and weight gain. Increasing protein intake has been shown to elevate blood sugar more slowly with a less dramatic affect on the body than carbohydrates. Quick increases in blood sugar levels result in a equally dramatic drop in blood sugar once insulin is released. Consuming protein with each meal throughout the day promotes a well-energized day by preventing the dips in blood sugar associated with a high carbohydrate diet.
Put down the soda and pick up the water!
Simply put, soda has no nutrient value and can actually be damaging to your health. Water, however, has an incredibly beneficial affect on the body. Although “nutrients” are not the goal with water, hydration status is. At Body Logic we are often coaching patients and clients to increase their water intake for muscle health. In fact, muscle tissue contain approximately 75% water. If the body is in a slight state of dehydration, our muscles are affected. Additional health benefits of water include increased energy, improving mood, headache relief, improved digestion, and flushing out unnecessary toxins.
Sugar is NOT a food group.
Educating about sugar intake and its effect on the body has been a nutritional theme for Body Logic this year. Sugar can be found everywhere, but that does not mean it’s good for you, and it should not be consumed to the level that is typical for the general population. High intake can be detrimental to a child’s physical and brain health which is often displayed in behavioral patterns. As adults, we work through it and then crash. Repeating this pattern creates an unhealthy addiction for a continued need for sugar. Breaking the sugar habit is challenging, but worth the positive results of better overall health and well-being. To review our January article about sugar, click here.