Spring health essentials

April 6, 2012 10:06:12 AM PDT
Turn over a new leaf this spring. Registered dietitian Pat Baird shares some tips for a healthier lifestyle.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the National Institutes of Health recommend strategies that are easy and simple as ways to improve overall health and nutrition. There are mountains of research that show some foods contain significant benefits. We can sharpen focus and concentration, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and prevent chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer with what we eat.

    Eat by COLOR:
  • The pigments of fruits and vegetables contain powerful (and beneficial) antioxidants that protect cells from damage; this promotes better overall health protects against disease
  • Red, green, orange, yellow, purple and white foods are important to have each day and throughout the week
  • The National Cancer Institute has recommended 5 to 9 servings per day

    Power Up; Portion Down:
  • "Portion Distortion" is a major factor in the obesity issue
  • Most people have lost sight of what "a serving" is
  • Use the pattern of meal/snack/meal/snack/meal/snack
  • That means smaller meals + snacks more frequently to lose weight, keep blood glucose levels stable; boost energy levels etc.

    Get More Sleep!:
  • Research shows people who get 7 to 9 hours of sleep weigh less, and have less chronic disease
  • The National Institute of Health states this is equally important for adults and children
  • Setting a routine, eliminating electronics, including no texting under the sheets are ways to sleep better

MORE INFORMATION/RESOURCES: Food choices and menu planning: myplate.gov Food and Drug Administration: fda.gov Blueberry information: blueberry.org Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: eatright.org National Institutes of Health Sleep Info: nih.gov