Healthy tips for National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month® which gives us the opportunity to highlight Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and the extensive work they do to educate you on healthy nutrition/healthy lifestyle. When we can make an informed choice, we often make a better choice.

Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions when January 1 rolls around, but shortly thereafter, most have either given up or forgotten their resolutions. Many resolutions revolve around weight loss and/or a healthier lifestyle. To many, “diets” that don’t involve lifestyle changes are appealing but in the long-run are very unrealistic. There is a lot of money usually spent on something that not only proves ineffective but discouraging, setting some up to feel the endless-feeling of failure when thinking about previous weight loss efforts.  This sometimes results in us giving up and giving in to the quick satisfaction we often find in those calorie-dense low-nutrition foods. As our waistlines continue to grow and our energy continues to drain, the cycle continues until “tomorrow” which usually doesn’t come. 

Our health is nothing to be taken for granted; just ask anyone who is struggling with a chronic health issue. The food we put into our bodies can either increase or decrease our risk of developing disease. Sometimes diseases just happen, but did you know that there are certain foods that are thought to be disease fighters? Regardless of your age and gender, there are health conditions referred to as weight-associated diseases: type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and certain cancers. Unhealthy inflammation in the body is often responsible for the onset of these diseases; sometimes the food we eat can make this inflammation worse, while other foods can help lessen or reverse unhealthy inflammation. What this means is that when people gain weight into a category classified as overweight or obese, unhealthy inflammation increases which increases the risk for developing these diseases. While calories matter, this does not mean that you have to “diet” your way down to a healthier weight. Instead, it means to work towards changing your lifestyle to include healthier more nutrient-dense foods, plus an activity level as prescribed by your physician. When you make important lifestyle changes most will see an accompanying weight loss, which decreases your risk of these inflammatory diseases.

Calories matter but even more important is your source of calories. Let’s dissect this in more detail. Most of us have or are currently restricting or eliminating fats because fats are higher in calories. Some fats have many health benefits. This does not mean to eat an abundance; it means to include in portioned amounts as part of a healthy nutrition plan. Other important anti-inflammatory foods include veggies, fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy, and low fat proteins. All of these groups provide valuable vitamins, minerals and other disease fighting substances that our bodies regularly need and crave. Following is a list of foods that a healthy nutrition plan includes:

  • Healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocados.
  • Vegetables and fruit; fresh is best but if not available, choose frozen without sauces.
  • Whole grains like whole grain breads, quinoa, couscous, and bulgur.
  • Lean proteins like fish, poultry, pork, beef, and vegetable sourced proteins like black beans, split peas and lentils.  
  • Low fat dairy, or dairy substitutes.

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can give you more specifics as to what your body needs to meet your health goals.

DID YOU KNOW?

UPHS-M has Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) on staff who work in all capacities.

  • Inpatient RDNs who work with our inpatients for all nutritionally related issues.
  • Outpatient RDNs who work in the pediatric clinics (Pediatric Diabetes, Blue Prints 4 Health, Multi-Handicapped, Cardiology, Neuromuscular, and Hemophilia), the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, and who see outpatients for a variety of nutrition-related issues. Did you know that UPHS-M insurance covers 12 nutrition counseling visits per year for certain diagnoses?
  • Outpatient diabetes program.
  • Food and Nutrition Services. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, Food and Nutrition Services is offering a basket give-away drawing in the cafeteria, on March 13.
  • Please be sure to complete the quiz attached to this article for Vitality Points.

If you have any questions or for more information, please feel free to call us at (906) 225-3221.  

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