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
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
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.
UPHS-M has Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) on staff
who work in all capacities.
RDNs who work with our inpatients for all nutritionally related issues.
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?
and Nutrition Services. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, Food and
Nutrition Services is offering a basket give-away drawing in the cafeteria, on
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.