by Jeannie Versagli, RDN, CN
As with every new year, we find ourselves reflecting on the year prior and pondering how we can become healthier versions of ourselves. Nutrition is often a key consideration since poor nutrition contributes to multiple things —stress, tiredness, your ability to work efficiently, and your risk of developing some illnesses. It can also lead to
- Weight gain
- Tooth decay
- High Blood pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Heart disease and Stroke
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Some Cancers
- Eating disorders
This is a loaded goal though, isn’t it? As much as we can individually be alike with our nutritional needs, we are all still very different. Each of us has specific nutritional needs for performing activities of daily living, exercise, and athletic activities. Individually, we have to know the balance of nutrients needed to be at our own optimum nutritional status.
The body is totally dependent on the foods you consume. Vitamins, minerals, water, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates cannot be made by the body. If we do not consume these nutrients, then we are pushing our bodies out of balance and producing a negative environment. The body is unique in that it will continue to adjust as best it can, but there will be a time when it can no longer compensate. This is when we notice signs of high blood pressure, cardiac disease, strokes, diabetes, depression, or more.
We so often want a quick fix to our most complicated problems, however, what we put in our bodies is worth the extra effort. A diet, many times, is only a
Guidelines for Nutritional Success
The most simple first step is to eat well by consuming a variety of foods at the appropriate caloric intake for one’s age and activity level. This year once again the Mediterranean and DASH eating plans were awarded the best nutritional program to practice for health and wellness. Additional tips include:
- Eat foods that are the color of the rainbow. Colorful foods are packed with nutrients.
- Aim for two servings of fresh fruits and five servings of vegetables daily.
- Avoid, sugary, fatty, and salty foods.
- Drink water and avoid sugary beverages.
- Plan meals ahead of time.
- Consume whole grains.
- Look to consume probiotic and prebiotics daily through yogurt or kefir.
- Exercise daily.
- Eat cold water fish twice a week.
If you’re ready to dive deeper – to truly understand the relationship you have with food and to begin using your diet as a tool for improvement, private nutrition coaching with a dietitian may be the best answer.
As a dietitian, I work with individuals to gain an understanding of what nutrition does for the body. Each one of us cannot function at our highest capacity if we don’t provide the right proportion of nutrients for the body to work at its greatest potential. Often, I see individuals who seek out nutritional advice once they’ve already started experiencing problems — high blood pressure clients consume a diet high in sodium, and those with diabetes often consume more calories and carbohydrates than necessary. This pattern can be seen with each disease entity.
Being proactive in your consumption can save you a lot of trouble and medical expense in the future.