Stephanie Fink, MPH, RD, CSG, LD
Director of Clinical & Wellness Support – West Regions
Health and nutrition can get very confusing especially with all the propaganda through the media and the creation of “new and improved” fad diets. The list below keeps it simple, focusing on 10 foods you should incorporate into your diet to maintain a healthier mind and body.
1. Whole Grains provide fiber, protein, and vitamins B and E. Read the nutrition and ingredients label to ensure it is whole grain. Look for greater than or equal to 3 grams of fiber per serving and 100% whole wheat or grains.
2. Berries provide a good source of vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium and antioxidants. An anti- oxidant is a substance that helps to prevent or delay cell damage which may lead to cancer.
3. Leafy greens are low in calorie and one of the most nutrient dense foods. These antioxidant rich vegetables provide iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C, K, E and B.
4. Nuts are a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids (healthy fat) and omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation, improve immune, brain and heart health, and are important for cognitive development. Eat in moderation as nuts are a high calorie option.
5. Plant protein such as beans, legumes and soy are a lower calorie and saturated fat source of protein than your animal alternative. Have at least 1 meatless meal per week.
6. Spices are a great way to add flavor while also increasing the health value of your meal. Spices are another great source of antioxidants.
7. Low fat dairy is a great way to add protein and calcium to your diet. Remember to choose lower fat options such as 1% or skim milk based dairy products to ensure you are not sacrificing your waist line.
8. Add dark vegetables to your menu such as beets, eggplant, red cabbage, tomatoes and carrots. Red and blue pigments provide a good source of anthocyanins (known to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer or cognitive decline). Yellow and orange pigments provide carotenoids (known to reduce risk of cancer and improve eye health.)
9. Oils high in unsaturated fats are the preferred alternative to those high in saturated or trans saturated fats such as vegetable oils, Oleo or Crisco. Add olive or flax oil to your salad. Use canola, corn or sunflower oil for frying.
10. Sustainable seafood is an excellent low saturated fat source of protein and a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Sustainable means the fish are caught and farmed focusing on the wellbeing of the oceans and fisheries.