With the summer months approaching, thoughts immediately turn to hot days spent by the pool. Advertisers have already filled the airwaves with fresh commercials for weight loss supplements, and magazines tout articles on how to get a “bikini body” in two weeks or less. We read about the latest “super foods” on social media, only for them to change the next week. All of that noise can make it hard for people to know what a healthy diet looks like, and with the constant emphasis on appearance, people often miss the many other health benefits of good nutrition.
According to the registered dietitians at Forrest General Hospital, “Eating a healthy diet can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, which are the number one killers in the United States, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and stroke.”
Not only can a healthy diet help reduce the risk of illness, it can also help in the recovery process. Having a healthy eating regimen prior to an illness or injury will help speed recovery. Even if healthy eating has not been in a person’s past, beginning healthy plan will still make a difference in the healing process.
So what foods make up a healthy diet? Below are a few nutritional tips from the team at Forrest General:
- Be sure to drink at least 8 cups of water a day.
- Eat 3 meals a day with a snack or two in between. Skipping meals is not a healthy option, and may actually hinder weight loss, if that is the goal.
- Incorporate whole grains at each meal. Whole wheat bread, oatmeal, whole grain cereals, whole wheat pasta, brown or wild rice, and barley are all healthful and tasty examples of types of grains everyone should be eating.
- Eat a variety of colors in order to obtain vitamins and minerals through diet.
- Limit high fat foods such as convenience and fast foods, fried foods, and desserts. Concentrated sweets like cakes, pies, candies, and sugar sweetened beverages should also be avoided.
For those looking for healthy weight loss options, the dieticians recommend the Mediterranean style of eating or the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Don’t go for a diet plan that is very restrictive in any one area of fat, protein, dairy, or carbohydrates. The human body requires all of these macronutrients to function as it should. Moderation is key with any healthy meal plan.
For more information about nutrition and access to healthy recipes and tips, visit forrestgeneral.com/wellness.