Nancy Teeter, RDN
Was one of your new year’s resolutions related to health? Studies show that small, specific goals are more likely to be met than large, vague ones. Nutrition expert Nancy Teeter provides a guide for making small positive changes over time which will help improve your health now and into the future. Begin by replacing less healthful products with nutrient dense whole foods.
Minimize Ultra-Processed Products
There are lots of exceptionally healthy processed foods including frozen vegetables, yogurt and canned beans, but processing that strips foods of their natural goodness and add questionable ingredients should be avoided. Take a look at the ingredient list; if you can find all the ingredients in the store, and there’s not an excessive amount of added sugar, then the product is likely to be healthful.
Go Meatless One Meal a Day
You can easily obtain all the protein you need from plants. Pulses, intact grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole soy all provide protein. This option can reduce your risk of disease by 30 percent.
Consume Six or More Servings of Vegetables Daily
Making vegetables the focal point of every meal and most snacks will help you meet this goal. Be sure to choose vegetables from the full color spectrum: dark green, orange, red, purple and pale.
Pump up the Pulses
Because of their health benefits, pulses — dried vegetables which include beans and lentils — deserve recognition as superfoods. They are rich in protein, iron, fiber, potassium, folate and antioxidants and they are naturally low in sodium and cholesterol-free. Strive to consume at least one serving each day.
Replace Land Animals with Fish or Plant Protein
More often, replace land animal protein with plants or fish/seafood. At least twice a week include omega-3 rich fish which include wild-caught salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout and barramundi.
Snack on Nuts
A handful (about one ounce) of nuts can promote heart health. Unsalted almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pistachios and pecans are all nutrient powerhouses and provide a dose of fiber, too. Each nut has unique properties, so consider varying nuts on a daily basis.
Enjoy Two Generous Servings of Fruit Daily
Though fruit contains natural sugars, they contain an abundance of plant nutrients which support the health of our bodies and those of the tiny living organisms in our guts. Berries are the superstars of fruit, but so are oranges, bananas and watermelon – enjoy the full color spectrum.
Eat your Probiotics
Good health begins in your gut. Your intestinal tract is home to trillions of tiny animals — the majority of which provide health benefits. You can make these healthy creatures feel at home by providing companions available in cultured and naturally fermented foods, including yogurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchee and kombucha.
Season Liberally; Limit Sodium
Herbs and spices contain over 2000 health-promoting compounds. Options include ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, chilies, green herbs, garlic and onions.
Note: SaddleBrooke resident Nancy Teeter, RDN, is an expert on health through diet.