Fabulous Fiber

People who eat a fiber-rich diet are not only less likely to become constipated; they enjoy many health benefits beyond regularity.  Fiber helps fight against heart disease, defend against diabetes, combats some cancers, aids in the lowering of cholesterol, slows digestion, helps with a weight loss diet and prevents hemorrhoids and bowel disorders.  What a list!  Despite fiber’s fundamental role in a healthy diet, most Americans only consume one-third of the daily recommended amount from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 25 – 35 grams for adults.

To make sure you are eating enough fiber, have fresh vegetables with every meal.  Choose fruit instead of juice and eat the skin (on apples, pears, peaches, etc, not on citrus).  Eat cooked lentils, peas and beans often.  Choose whole grain breads and cereals.  Start the day with oatmeal.  All of these fiber-rich options are readily available in Williamson Healthcare dinning rooms and cafes.

If you are just starting to increase you fiber intake, start slowly, add a few more grams per day until you reach the recommended intake level.  Make sure to increase your fluid intake to prevent cramping or gastric distress.

Published by Anna Bullett, MS, RD, on July 15th, 2011 at 12:00 pm. Filled under: Diet,Fruit,Health,nutrition,Vegetables,Whole GrainsNo Comments

Ease Inflammation with a Mediterranean Style Diet

The Arthritis Foundation recommends a calorie-controlled diet low in saturated fat, high in beneficial fats found in fish, olive oil and nuts and high in vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains.  If you are familiar with the healthy-fat filled Mediterranean diet, it might sound similar to the Arthritis Foundation diet recommendations.  That’s because it is.  Research has documented a connection between a Mediterranean lifestyle and lowered risk of many diseases, not to mention a longer life expectancy.  With all of the touted benefits, following the guidelines of a Mediterranean diet may be an inflammation-free step in the right direction.  Two blue-zone Mediterranean countries, Greece and Italy are home to communities with shockingly high centenarian (100+ year-olds) rates.

Mediterranean menu musts:

1. Reach for whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, barley, bulgur, quinoa, oats, rye, etc.

2. Drizzle olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil and nut oil in place of butter.

3. Dish up fish or shellfish at least 2-3 times per week.

4. Limit red and processed meat consumption to 1 time per week.

5. Nosh on fresh fruit instead of sweets and pastries for snacks and desserts.

6. Eat large amounts of vegetables and beans.

7. Make time for physical activity everyday.

Published by Anna Bullett, MS, RD, on July 12th, 2011 at 9:00 am. Filled under: Diet,Fruit,Health,nutrition,Vegetables,Whole GrainsNo Comments

5 Ways to Keep Meals Healthy when Eating Out

  1. Skip Soda.  Regular soda is full of empty calories along with jitter-inducing caffeine and new research has linked even diet soda to obesity.  Your best bet is always water.  If you must sip something with more oomph, choose non-fat or 1% milk or a small 100% juice.  Can’t get by without the pop of soda?  Order club soda with a splash or cranberry or orange juice for a fresh-tasting, low calorie alternative.
  2. Nevermind add-ons.  Dipping sauces, dressings, croutons and other extras like bacon or cheese on a burger or sandwich sneak in lots of fat and calories.  Steer clear by keeping it simple, or choose vegetable toppings and low-cal condiments like mustard and relish.
  3. Always, always, always order a vegetable.  You may have to ask because it may not be on the menu and it may cost a bit extra, but almost all restaurants have some variation of a veggie side dish.  Look for steamed vegetable of the day, steamed broccoli, sautéed spinach, side salad, baked beans, or even carrot sticks.
  4. Ask for whole wheat.  Be it a sandwich or a burger; always remember to ask your server to substitute whole wheat bread.  Ordering pasta?  Ask if they have a whole wheat option.  Having rice?  Ask for brown, most Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants now offer it as an option.
  5. Share.  Keep portion size in check, reduce food waste and spend less money by splitting appetizers, salads and entrees with a dinning companion.  Most restaurants make such large servings that anything on the menu will offer up more than enough for two.
Published by Anna Bullett, MS, RD, on July 8th, 2011 at 9:25 am. Filled under: Diet,Health,Restaurants,Soda,Vegetables,Whole GrainsNo Comments