There are so many “healthy” foods out there, each boasting miraculous health benefits. Bananas are filled with potassium; spinach is loaded with vitamin K. Quinoa has plant-based complete proteins; blueberries are rich in antioxidants. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, some of the health benefits of food are not properly explained or are exaggerated. Here is a list of some healthy food health benefits you might be missing out on. Continue reading
You may have heard that going meatless once or more a week could be beneficial to your health. In fact, numerous studies have found that vegetarians have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and are at a lower risk for some diseases. Nice! Becoming a vegetarian has a lot of upsides, but it isn’t for everyone. Before you decide to ditch meat for good, here are some things you should know. Continue reading
You get your exercise in (as often as you can) and you eat well (most of the time), but you’re still not seeing the results you’re hoping for. While there could be a plethora of reasons for this, the first thing you should do is take a look at how much sleep you’re getting. In fact, did you know that along with exercise and diet, sleep is considered one of the three pillars of good health? It’s true! Which makes it that much more important to get in those zzz’s. Continue reading
Few things give you the same feeling as laying on your back after an hour of strenuous physical activity. At the end of each and every yoga practice, you get that sensation. We may not practice Warrior I or Bridge or Crow every class, but we certainly do make time for final rest. It’s during this time that we get to absorb the benefits from our practice. Continue reading
Have you ever met someone who says they’re a nutritionist? If you have, did you ask if they went to school for it or if they are licensed? Does it even matter? Continue reading
You’re on the road to a successful, healthy body, and it’s great that you’re getting your regular exercise in. But did you know that confining physical activity only to the time you’re working out can be a major roadblock to reaching your goals? Continue reading
Low fat diets have been around for some time. By the 90s, eating fat became taboo because it was dubbed that eating fat makes you fat. A couple decades later, and we’re realizing just how wrong we were. Let’s just get this straight: Fat does not make you fat. Eating excess calories makes you fat. So why exactly did the “fat makes you fat” fad come around? And why is it still immersed in our food culture that we should be eating low fat meals? Continue reading
This past week, I had the opportunity to go to the MAND Annual Meeting. MAND, the Minnesota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, put on a great conference that included talks about everything from general dietary guidelines to a diet’s role on inflammation in the body to nutrition in public policy to the impact of bees in food availability. Needless to say (though I’ll say it anyway), it was a day packed with information.
One of my favorite parts of the day, though, was listening to Dr. Jillian Lampert from The Emily Program. What was she talking about, and why was it so interesting? Well, let me tell you. Continue reading
We have started looking more in-depth at the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In our previous post, we talked about the facts that played into creating the guidelines. (Like the fact that 117 million Americans have one or more preventable chronic disease.) In this post, we’ll talk about the basic recommendations to leading a healthful lifestyle.
While changing your food habits later in life can have an impact on your overall health, it’s more beneficial to consistently eat well over your lifetime rather than every once in a while. So how do we make sure we’re eating foods that are healthful for us over longer periods of time? There are guidelines for that! In general, a healthy eating pattern looks something like this:
Vegetables: A healthful diet consists of a variety of colorful vegetables from all the vegetable subgroups. What are the subgroups, you ask? Vegetables include dark green varieties (such as spinach and kale); red and orange varieties (such as red bell peppers and carrots); legumes (including beans and peas); starchy vegetables (like sweet potatoes and corn) and other vegetables (such as onions).
Fruit: Colorful fruits are also part of a diet filled with nutritious foods. Fruits are especially beneficial in whole form (instead of in juices or dried). That’s because you’re getting all the fruit’s nutrients when you eat it whole. When you drink it in juice form, you lose the fiber content, and when you eat them dried, you’re mostly getting the sugar.
Grains: There has been a lot of talk about low-carb diets and how beneficial they can be, but the truth is, 45-65% of your daily calories should be coming from carbohydrates. Without these essential nutrients, your brain can not function as efficiently. That said, the recommendations are to aim for at least half of your grains to come from whole grain sources. How do you know if it’s a whole grain source? Simply read the ingredient list. Look for ingredients that include the word “whole” (i.e., whole wheat, whole grain, etc.).
Fat free or low-fat dairy: This category includes milk, cheese, yogurt and/or fortified soy beverages. You might be wondering why the recommendation calls for fat free or low-fat dairy instead of full-fat, whole dairy sources. The reason is because dairy foods are high in saturated fat, which has been shown to lead to a whole host of diseases (especially heart disease).
Protein: A varied protein diet is recommended as best to ensure a variety of vitamins and minerals in the diet. Some protein sources include poultry (chicken and turkey), lean meats, seafood, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products. Because there is such a wide variety of protein sources available for consumption, it should be relatively simple for everyone – no matter what type of diet you follow – to get enough protein each day.
Oils: A healthful diet also includes added oils. Some oil sources include olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado (yup, that’s considered an oil!) and sesame oil. Watch out, though! You don’t need that much added oil in your diet.
Some of this information may seem daunting – especially if you’re just beginning your journey to a healthier life. There is some good news, though. By adding these healthful foods into your daily routine, you’ll be feeding your body what it needs to keep you healthy for a long time to come.
While we covered what you should be eating in this post, in our next post, we’ll talk about the recommendations about what you should probably stay away from.