Written By: Alena Walrath, PTA
The holidays are right around the corner. Regardless of how you have been eating the past few months, the choices you make now can have a positive impact on your health in the months and years to come. Your diet is a great way to boost your immune system, which is something we could all use right now with flu season approaching and COVID-19 still lingering. What you put into your body not only affects your weight, but it can make a difference in your energy level, sleep, and brain function. Eating well can also help protect you from diseases linked to nutrient deficiency. This includes diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. If that’s not convincing enough, did you know that your diet affects how your body heals? Getting the right nutrients from eating well can help you heal faster.
So how do you eat well? Make sure your diet contains fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, and whole grains. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary beverages. Use healthy oils in moderation and stay away from partially hydrogenated oils. The food pyramid is no longer used as the best guideline to determine what to eat. Based on the latest research, it was replaced by the healthy plate model pictured below. Fruits and vegetables should make up half of your plate. The other half should be whole grains and healthy proteins. Make sure any dairy options contain calcium. Go to Choosemyplate.gov for more information on food recommendations as well as other resources like apps, worksheets, and recipes to help keep you on track
While it’s normal to indulge a little over the holidays, remember the benefits of making good food choices. What is one healthy choice you can make today? By spending more on quality nutrient-rich foods now, you can save money on healthcare costs down the road. Give yourself the gift of good health this year.