Ditch the doughnut, eat more fruit and veggies
You are what you eat, as the old saying goes. While that may seem like an oversimplification, there is plenty of scientific evidence that shows eating that doughnut is not a wise choice. Meanwhile, picking broiled fish over the fried catfish is a step in the right direction.
Eating well and wisely can help you in the battle against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Genetics may play a role in the development of all three, but maintaining a healthy diet can significantly improve your chances of staying healthy.
Most Americans eat food that is too high in sugar, too high in fat and too high in calories. It is recommended that people eat at least two cups of fruit and two and a half to three cups of vegetables every day, and that does not mean french fries! Fresh fruit and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and essential nutrients. They are also practically free of fat and cholesterol.
If you have trouble finding what you like at the grocery store, you can always pay a visit to the Rockmart Famers Market, where a wide variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables are available every Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m. on Water Street.
In addition to eating more fruits and vegetables, you should also eat more seafood, and eat fish at least two times a week. Recent research shows that eating fish like salmon, trout, and herring are healthy choice and can play a role in preventing coronary artery disease because of the presence of omega-3 fatty acids.
Experts have found that people who eat foods with high levels of 2 of the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have low rates of coronary heart disease. EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon. They are also in supplements called fish oils.
Omega 3 fatty acids lower blood sugar levels, reduce the growth rate of plaque that clogs blood vessels, help prevent inflammation of blood vessels and can slightly lower blood pressure.
Of course, the benefits of buying nutritious items can be erased if you don’t cook them and season them in a healthy manner. Try grilling fish and chicken instead of frying it. Finally, watch food portion size—and watch your health improve the longer you select hearthealthy food choices!
Then, of course, there is the list of things you should simply eat less of or avoid altogether.
Cut back on high-fat foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fat, and saturated fat. Use liquid vegetable oils in place of soft or hard margarine or shortening. Limit cheese, butter, ice cream processed and fatty meats, cakes, cookies, pastries, muffins, pies and doughnuts.
Read and compare food labels. To make the best use of food labels, first look at how many servings the package contains. Then look at the calories and fat per serving. Multiply the calories and fat by the number of servings you’re going to eat.
Cut back on foods that are high in cholesterol. Some of these foods are eggs, red meat, and liver.
Limit soda and juice. They have added sugar. There is nothing better than plain, old water.
If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit your intake. Drinks can be high in calories and can also be high in sugar. Limit intake to 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men.
Prepare foods with little or no added salt. Salt consumption is linked to high blood pressure.
Experiment. Eating healthy does not have to be dull and most good diet plans recommend you don’t go crazy and cut out all the things you like. There is nothing wrong with eating a doughnut every now and then or crunching on some chips at your favorite Mexican restaurant. But be wise and make those choices the exceptions to your eating plan, not everyday ones.