Hello Warriors! 

We are continuing our series, “Be Healthy,” where we are looking at what constitutes being truly healthy. Today, we are discussing why good nutrition is integral to a healthy lifestyle. 

Eating food that would be categorized as “good nutrition” is a no brainer when talking about a healthy lifestyle. I love the picture below of the man filled with unhealthy food versus the man filled with healthy food. It depicts the saying “You are what you eat” very well.

Many of us grew up thinking a healthy meal was a “square meal:” a large portion of meat, a large portion of starch and a smaller portion of (usually-over-cooked) vegetables. New research shows that is not exactly the case. 

The American Institute of Cancer makes a case for plant-based foods saying that it may reduce cancer and help maintain a healthy weight. They concluded that “maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer” and good nutrition, along with physical activity, will help you do so.

Good nutrition means putting dietary emphasis on QUALITY fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, lean meats, and low-fat dairy foods to ensure the body has a steady and adequate supply of the nutrients it needs. When I say quality, I mean organic, grass fed meats, organic fruits and vegetables, and carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, beans and sprouted whole grain bread. 

Good nutrition is not a diet, but rather, it is a lifestyle. Diets don’t work and as the American Institute for Cancer Research says, “they distract us from the larger issue of overall health.” When nutrition becomes a lifestyle, it is not a quick fix but it is a slow and steady process. Consistency is key with good nutrition and after enough consistency, you will get healthy and remain healthy for the course of your life. 

What is good nutrition?

According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, we should “aim for meals made up of 2/3 (or more) vegetables, fruits whole grains or beans and 1/3 (or less) animal protein.” This is being called the “New American Plate.” 

The New American Plate

The New American Plate

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS is a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and clinical nutritionist, created this "real food" pyramid that I found to be helpful. 

The "Real Food" Pyramid

The "Real Food" Pyramid

Why is this important?

Food provides our bodies with the energy, protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals to live, grow and function properly. We need a wide variety of different foods to provide the right amounts of nutrients for good health. 

The center for Science in the Public interest states that the “typical American diet is too high in calories, saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars, and does not have enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium, and fiber.” This kind of diet can lead to:

-heart disease
-high blood pressure
    (Center for Science in the Public Interest) 

Good nutrition helps us prevent these things. By eating foods that are nutrient dense and of good quality, we are giving ourselves the best chance at a healthy lifestyle. 

How to implement good nutrition into your life?

The AICR recommends that you slowly transition to The New American Plate so that your body can adjust to increasing amounts of fiber and your eyes and taste buds can get a rich education. Small changes made over time are more long-lasting than radical transitions.

Start looking at your plate. How are your portions? Start eating less meat at a meal and eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If you are overweight, reduce your portions. New American Plate’s focus on portion size helps to moderate the number of calories you eat. Gradually reduce the portion sizes of high calorie foods and choose plenty of fruits and vegetables that are naturally low in calories. 

Here are some fruits and vegetables you can start eating alphabetically (A, B, C, D, E):

-Berries – especially blueberries and cranberries
-Colorful vegetables - the richer and brighter the pigment, the better
-Dark leafy vegetables - kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli
-Everything orange - squash, carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes

We know that good nutrition is not only important in helping our bodies function better, it makes us feel and function better too. Start taking steps toward eating healthy today.



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Keep up the fight!