“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” Is this really true?
What we eat and drink and what we don’t can definitely make a difference to our health. Eating well is one of the best ways we can take care of ourselves- and those who depend on us.
As women we all have special dietary needs during the different stages of our lives, during adolescence, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. Regardless of the stage of life we are in, committing to a healthy diet decreases our chances of developing a lot of those dreadful diseases we hear about, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers. Eating healthy also increases our energy levels, which makes it easier to juggle our commitments every day.
So what is a healthy diet? Healthy eating is not about restricting diet or depriving ourselves of the foods we love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping ourselves as healthy as possible. We should all learn a little more about nutrition basics and how to incorporate them in a way that works for us. We need to start reading labels and make healthier choices.
Some quick nutrition ABCs:
A. Choose the right fats for our diet:
- Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for us. These are found in Olive oil and canola oil.
- Saturated fats ( hydrogenated and trans fat) found in red meat, palm oil, vegetable shortenings, fried foods and other processed foods are unhealthy.
- Foods rich in omega-3 fats can reduce cardiovascular disease, improve mood, and help prevent dementia.
- Calcium has been shown to help alleviate PMS symptoms, support a healthy pregnancy, and prevent osteoporosis and bone loss after menopause.
- Calcium from naturally occurring sources is absorbed much better than calcium supplements.
- Our body needs Vitamin D and magnesium to properly utilize the calcium.
- These prevent against certain cancers and slow the aging process. The brighter, deep-colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Blueberries are known to be “youth” berries.
- Dietary fiber found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fiber helps us feel fuller faster and longer. It keeps blood sugar levels even and maintains a healthy colon.
Next on the list is “Be active.” Until next time “Eat healthy!”
Leina Wahba lives in Northern Virginia with her three children and husband. She’s a full-time pediatrician, home-schooling mommy and MAS Cub Scouts leader.