Fruits, Veggies, Whole Grains, Milk, Priorities!
Eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods every day is basic to good nutrition and health! Today we know much more about health-promoting nutrients found in these nourishing foods. (FOOD GROUPS)
That means making fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products a personal priority. Eat more of these nutrient-rich foods while you keep your calories under control and your chances of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and osteoporosis, likely will go down. (FOOD GROUPS)
Fruits And Vegetables
Despite their health benefits, many people don’t consume enough. Yet, whether they’re fresh, frozen, canned, or dried, fruits and vegetables are the major sources of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A (as carotenoids) and C, folate, and potassium. And they deliver fiber and other phytonutrients with potential health-promoting qualities.
The nutritional content of fruits and veggies differs, so vary your choices. Choose dark-green, orange, starchy vegetables, legumes (dry beans), and other vegetables several times weekly. How much? If you need 2,000 calories a day, the advice is 2 cups of fruit and 21⁄2 cups of vegetables daily. Adjust the amount slightly if you need more or fewer calories.
While the majority eat enough grain products overall, few consume enough whole grains. The Dietary Guidelines now advise: make at least half your grains whole. What are whole grains?
They’re foods made from the entire grain kernel, which includes the fiber-rich bran and germ, and the end-o-sperm. Refined grains contain mostly the end-o-sperm.
Why emphasize whole grains? They’re important sources of fiber (typically under-consumed), other phytonutrients, and some key vitamins and minerals. Eating three or more one-ounce equivalents of whole-grain foods daily may lower your chances for some chronic diseases and may help you manage your weight, too.
If at least half of your grains are whole, what about the other half? Make them enriched or whole grain, too. Enriched grain products are fortified with certain B vitamins and iron to replace those lost when grains are refined. They’re also fortified with folic acid; whole grains may or may not be. (FOOD GROUPS)
Calcium-rich dairy foods have many health benefits, including bone health. Yet dairy foods often come up short for children, teens, and even adults. The Dietary Guidelines advise: each day consume 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk or the equivalent in other milk products, such as low-fat yogurt or low-fat cheese. If you don’t or can’t drink milk, try lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
For Your Health’s Sake Food Safety
Healthful eating is about more than what you eat; it’s also about how you keep food safe from harmful bacteria and viruses (the biggest food safety problem), chemicals, and other contaminants. Food-borne illness strikes millions of Americans each year, causing mild to severe, even life-threatening symptoms. The effects may last a few hours or days, or for weeks, months, or years. Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems or some chronic diseases are especially vulnerable.
Keeping food safe is up to you, not just the responsibility of farmers, food manufacturers, retailers, and restaurant workers. Many cases of food-borne illness could be avoided if consumers handled food carefully:
keep food clean; cook it to safe internal temperatures; separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods; chill perishable foods promptly, and defrost properly.
This post contains the content of the book American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide3RD EDITION