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What Is Healthy Eating Without Cultural Foods?

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Healthy eating is sometimes seen as a necessary evil.

On the one hand it is important for good health, on the other hand it indicates limitation and self-denial imbued with Eurocentrism.

Even in the Caribbean, where I’m from, many nutrition programs are modeled on the American food pyramid, which then implies what healthy eating looks like for the local population.

However, nutrition and a healthy diet are not a single diet recipe. Traditional dishes and eating culture also deserve a place at the table.

In this article I explain why cultural foods are an essential part of a healthy diet.

Cultural foods – also known as traditional dishes – represent the traditions, beliefs and practices of a geographic region, ethnic group, religious body or intercultural community.

Cultural foods can include beliefs about how certain foods are prepared or used. They can also symbolize the overall culture of a group.

These dishes and customs are passed on from generation to generation.

Cultural foods can represent a region, such as pizza, pasta and tomato sauce from Italy or kimchi, seaweed and dim sum from Asia. Alternatively, they can represent a colonial past, such as the amalgamation of West African and East Indian food traditions across the Caribbean.

Cultural foods can play a role in religious celebrations and are often the core of our identity and family connections.

Healthy eating includes cultural foods – but this message is not prominent and is often not applied.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutritional guidelines for Americans are one of the gold standards for nutritional guidelines in the West. It recommends meeting people where they are – including their cultural foods (1).

The Canadian Food Guide also emphasizes the importance of culture and nutritional traditions for healthy eating (2).

However, there is still a lot to be done in the field of dietetics to ensure cultural competence, i.e. effective and appropriate interaction with people without prejudices, prejudices or stereotypes (3).

During my nutritionist training, cultural needs and dietary practices were recognized, but interest and practical application were limited. In some cases there were few institutional resources for healthcare professionals.

What does a healthy diet really look like?

Healthy eating is broadly defined as consuming a variety of nutrients from dairy products, protein foods, grains, fruits, and vegetables – what are known in the United States as the five food groups.

The main message is that each food group provides essential vitamins and minerals that are needed to support good health. The USDA’s MyPlate, which replaced the food pyramid, shows that a healthy plate is half starch-free vegetables, one quarter protein, and one quarter grains (4).

However, the Caribbean is a melting pot of six food groups – staple foods (starchy, high-carbohydrate foods), animal-based foods, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and fats or oils (5).

Traditional stews cannot always be clearly portioned on a plate. Rather, the food groups are combined into a single dish.

For example, the traditional stew called Oil Down is made from breadfruit (the staple food – a starchy fruit that has a similar texture to bread when cooked), non-starchy vegetables like spinach and carrots, and meats like chicken, fish, or pork.

Summary

Dietary guidelines show that cultural foods go hand in hand with healthy eating. However, improved cultural literacy and institutional resources are needed to facilitate the practical application of these guidelines.

Your desire to eat certain foods is often the result of targeted and successful food marketing. This marketing usually comes through a Eurocentric lens that lacks cultural nuances (6).

Googling “healthy eating”, for example, reveals a flood of lists and pictures of asparagus, blueberries and Atlantic salmon – often in the arms or on the tables of a white family.

The lack of cultural representation or ethnically diverse illustrations sends an unspoken message that local and cultural foods can be unhealthy.

However, true healthy eating is a fluid concept that doesn’t have a specific look or ethnicity, nor does it need to include specific foods to count.

Here are foods you often see on health websites in the west, as well as some traditional foods counterparts:

  • While kale is a nutritious vegetable, so are dasheen bush (taro leaves) and spinach.
  • Quinoa is an excellent source of protein and fiber, but so are rice and beans.
  • Chicken breasts are low in fat and hailed as a must for a healthy diet, but when you remove the skin from other parts of the chicken, those pieces are also low in fat – and high in iron.
  • Atlantic salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but so are local types of salmon and other fatty fish such as sardines.

If kale, quinoa, and Atlantic salmon are not available in your area, your diet is not necessarily bad. Contrary to popular health and wellness messages, a healthy plate is not limited to Eurocentric foods, and traditional foods are not inferior or nutritionally unsuitable.

Healthy eating looks different depending on the community and location, depending on food access, sustainability and eating culture.

Summary

Healthy eating is a flowing concept that looks different depending on the region and cultural background. Its message needs to be diversified.

Cultural foods and traditional dietary practices provide a deep connection to the community and health care. They connect us to our past, promote socialization in the present and create memories for the future. They also play an important role in diet compliance and success.

When my mother teaches me how to make Oil Down – a stew made from breadfruit, taro leaves, pumpkin, coconut milk and smoked bones – I connect with the traditional food traditions of West Africa and share moments with my family.

Likewise, every time I prepare a vegetarian curry dish like dhal (split peas) with turmeric or saffron, I associate myself with the eating traditions of East India.

To people who aren’t familiar with them, these dishes don’t seem like the Western image of nutritious or healthy food – but they’re full of fiber, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables.

How does culture affect what you eat?

Culture influences the foods you eat, your religious and spiritual practices, and your perspective on wellness, healing, and health care (7).

Research has found that even your thoughts about certain foods and your willingness to try new ones are largely influenced by your cultural background. In addition, your classification of what is and is not a food is related to your culture (8, 9).

Therefore, healthy eating needs to be interpreted and understood in the context of culture.

For example, in the United States, dinner is likely the main meal of the day while lunch is a light salad or sandwich. In the Caribbean, however, lunch is often the heaviest meal, while dinner is lighter and, in most cases, is remarkably similar to breakfast.

When nutritional messages and advice lack inclusivity, diversity, and understanding, we water down science and deprive communities of enriching culinary perspectives and experiences.

In addition, a breakdown in trust and communication between a nutritionist and those they care for can lead to health inequalities and poor health outcomes (3).

If you don’t trust your nutritionist, you are less likely to take their advice.

Summary

Cultural foods fulfill vital social roles and are an integral part of the health of communities and their individuals. Understanding nutritional cultural differences is important to successful nutritional counseling and strong health outcomes.

We need to remember that cultural foods conform to the concept of healthy eating, even if they are not gentrified, popularized on social media, or adapted to the Western paradigm.

These are comfort foods, ways of life, and important sources of nutrition for many immigrant and nonimmigrant families in the United States.

These cultural foods illustrate healthy eating by combining multiple food groups and containing a variety of nutrients:

  • Behavior: a main course in Tanzania made with cornmeal and often served with traditional meat and vegetable dishes
  • Ema-Datshi: a spicy stew, popular in Bhutan, served with yak cheese and may include mushrooms, green beans, and potatoes
  • Kalua pork: a traditional Hawaiian dish that can be served with grilled fish, eggplant, or taro
  • Schäufele: Roasted pork with German beer, which is often served with potato dumplings and sauerkraut or cream sausage
  • Pelau: a popular stew in the Caribbean made with caramelized chicken, parboiled rice, pigeon peas, and an array of vegetables and green spices

Summary

Cultural foods are consistent with healthy eating habits. Many of these dishes contain a wide variety of food groups and nutrients in a single meal.

Healthy eating is simply eating multiple nutrient-rich food groups to support good health.

In contrast to the usual health and wellness messages, healthy eating looks different in the communities and regions. It doesn’t have a specific look or require specific foods.

While American and Canadian dietary guidelines recommend including cultural foods as part of a healthy diet, there is often a lack of the competence and inclusion to emphasize the importance of cultural foods.

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

These Popped Sorghum Snacks Will Satisfy Your Crunchy Cravings

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In the category of crispy snacks, popcorn has the edge over its chip and cracker competition: with a few spices, it can take on any taste profile, makes your entire kitchen smell of melted butter and can be eaten in large portions, without your stomach feeling like it has exceeded its maximum capacity. Still, munching has a big trap: it leaves sharp pits in your gums and teeth, forcing you to floss a few minutes after each snack.

The equally delicious solution to the dental problem: Swap your popcorn for popped sorghum. The age-old whole grain has a barely visible shell that won’t slip between your teeth when chewed, and it offers the same light and fluffy, but extremely crunchy texture as the OG pop snack. And despite its tiny size (seriously, the grain is about 3 millimeters in diameter), sorghum is full of nutrients; half a cup of the unroasted, naturally gluten-free grain contains 6.5 grams of fiber, 51 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for magnesium (a mineral that regulates muscle and nerve function) and 85 percent of the recommended daily allowance for manganese (a mineral that helps Energy and protect your cells from damage), according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

How to Pop Sorghum

To gather these nutrients and satisfy your cravings for a crispy nibble, you have several options. If you’d rather cook your popped sorghum from scratch, simply pour grains of sorghum (Buy It, $ 13, amazon.com) into a hot stainless steel saucepan, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook over medium heat under constant pressure Shake the pot. As soon as you hear about two-thirds of the grains popping (you should listen carefully), take the stove off the stove, pour out the cracked grains, and repeat the process with the uncooked ones until they are all cracked and ready to eat. After Bob’s Red Mill. (Related: The Puffed and Popped Food Trend Is A Healthier Way To Eat Snacks)

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Try pre-made sorghum snacks

However, for a chaotic and stress-free snacking experience, stock up on one (or all) of these popped-up sorghum snacks. Whether you prefer salty or sweet, bite-sized or in chip form, there is a nibble that will satisfy your stomach and taste buds.

Poplettes Poplette Sorghum Snacks

When you have a firm belief that smartfood is the GOAT in the popcorn department, turn to Poplettes. The brand’s white cheddar sorghum snack has the same flavor as the OG munchie, but each bite is roughly one-sixth the size (sweet!). Those with more adventurous palettes will enjoy the Bollywood Masala variety, which contains bold spices like dried mango powder, red chilli powder, and ground turmeric, or the Mediterranean Magic variety, made with sumac, toasted sesame seeds, thyme, and garlic powder.

Poplettes Poplette Sorghum Snacks

Ka-Pop! Pounded chips

These popped sorghum munchies are made for snackers who are allergic to virtually anything under the sun. With sorghum flour and puffed sorghum kernels, Ka-Pop! Popped Chips are vegan certified and free from GMOs, gluten and the 12 most common allergens. And while they look slightly like a styrofoam-like rice cake, reviewers say the chips – which come in five flavors including non-dairy cheddar, salt and vinegar, and red and green sriracha – are far from boring. “[They] taste a million times better than all popcorn snacks or rice cake snacks I’ve ever eaten, “wrote one buyer. (ICYMI, pasta chips are one thing – that’s how you make them.)

Ka-Pop!  Pounded chips

Ka-Pop! Pounded chips

Chasin ‘Dreams Farm Popped Sorghum Snacks

If you need a sweet treat at 2pm, grab a bag of these cracked sorghum snacks from Chasin ‘Dreams Farm. Founded by women, run by women, the brand offers three types of popped sorghum, including a kettle corn flavor that perfects the balance between salty and sweetness, a cinnamon flavor that is reminiscent of cinnamon buns, and a cocoa flavor that tastes of grains that have actually been in dipped in hot chocolate. But these nibbles are not just for eating; The company recommends sprinkling a few pieces on a scoop of ice cream, mixing them in trail mix or granola, or using them as an edible cake topper. There are no wrong answers here.

Chasin 'Dreams Farm Popped Sorghum Snacks

Chasin ‘Dreams Farm Popped Sorghum Snacks

Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum

Made exclusively from organic sorghum, avocado oil and sea salt, Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum snacks are as simple as possible. The nibbles are free from the 12 most common allergens, GMOs, preservatives, additives and natural flavors. Despite the short and sweet list of ingredients, reviewers are clearly obsessed with calling it “a dream come true”. “I literally can’t get enough of this stuff,” said one shopper. “This is the best thing since sliced ​​bread, no kidding. I probably eat at least one bag a week.”

Nature Nate's Popped Sorghum

Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum

Pop IQ Air Popped Sorghum

With flavors like cheddar, cauldron cooked, and salt and pepper, this popped sorghum could easily be mistaken for the popcorn you’d find in giant snack tins during the holidays. Aside from the simple variety (with one ingredient: sorghum), the snack packs are made from three to five ingredients, including a base of sorghum and sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil. To make sure you get only the largest chunks of the tiny grain, the company sifts its pops three times, not once or twice. By filtering out crumb-sized pieces that are difficult to eat, your snacking experience will certainly require less cleaning. (Related: 11 Natural Snacks You Will Want To Stock Up On)

Pop IQ Air Popped Sorghum

Pop IQ Air Popped Sorghum

Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Chip

These popped sorghum slices are coated with a sweet-hot-hot-smoky spice mixture and a dead ring for potato chips with BBQ flavor – only they are air-popped instead of deep-fried and are also made with quinoa, chia seeds and. made brown rice. The snack is project-verified, gluten-free, vegan-certified and, according to reviewers, “light as pop-chips, but has the crispness of Stacy”.[‘s] Pita Chips. “Eat them as is or dip them in your favorite dip to balance the heat.

Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Chip

Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Chip

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

10 Foods That Weaken Your Immune System

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We often hear about foods that can boost our immune systems, but did you know that there are dietary choices that can actually weaken your body’s ability to fight off infection? Studies show that highly processed foods and those full of empty calories with no nutrients can be harmful to your health.

Our immune systems exist to protect us from bacteria and other microbes like viruses and parasites, and with a healthy diet you have a better chance of thwarting these diseases and pathogens. A balanced diet contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals in addition to the calories we need to survive.

So we know what helps us, but what hurts us?

1. Sugary foods

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When we think of sugary foods, we think of baked goods, candy, chocolate, and other processed sweets. But dried or canned fruits or juices also contain a lot of added sugar, which can upset your system. The microbiome that lives in our gut keeps harmful bacteria at bay, but the glucose and fructose in sweetened foods feed these unhealthy microbes and make it difficult to fight infections. In addition, sugar creates a craving for more sugar as the yeast and other sugar-loving microbes in your body get used to the added sugar in your body.

Additionally, adding too much sugar to your diet can raise your blood sugar, which increases inflammatory proteins – especially in diabetics, whose blood sugar stays high for longer. High sugar levels could also inhibit immune cells that protect the body from infection.

People on a high-sugar diet can also be more prone to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

2. Salty foods

The food tastes much better with salt. It brings out the natural taste and spices up boring dishes. But it’s bad for you It can stop the normal functioning of immune functions, alter your gut bacteria, and increase your risk of autoimmune diseases. Preliminary research shows that the rate of autoimmune diseases of the western world. It can also make existing autoimmune diseases like colitis, Crohn’s disease, and lupus worse. A small study from 2016 showed that men on a high-salt diet had higher levels of monocytes and inflammatory markers, indicating an excessive immune response.

3. Processed meat

It’s time to give up hot dogs and sausages – eating no processed meat is no longer just for pregnant women. This meat has been linked to several diseases, including colon cancer.

This meat is high in saturated fat and has been shown to contribute to immune system dysfunction and inflammation in some people.

The meat also has advanced glycation end products, which are harmful compounds that form when fat and protein mix with sugar in the blood. Most AGEs come from the food we eat and when we have too much of them we cannot regulate them and they cause oxidative stress and inflammation. Fried bacon, hot dogs, fried chicken legs, and steak are high in AGE.

4. Fast food

Burger and fries

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Everyone knows that fast food is not good for you, but sometimes the convenience and deliciousness outweigh these facts. However, fast food is not only bad for your weight, it can also damage your immune system. It’s bad for your gut biome and can increase inflammation. Not only does it contain much of the salt we just talked about, it also contains chemicals, sometimes from plastic or styrofoam packaging, that disrupt human hormone production, weaken immune responses, and even cause dysfunction.

5. Food with additives

The more processed a food is, the more additives it contains – to improve texture, taste, preservation, and the like. These additives, especially emulsifiers and carrageenan, can cause dysregulation of the immune system by changing intestinal bacteria and increasing inflammation. Studies have linked these additives to immune dysfunction in rodents. Which foods are heavily processed? In addition to meat and bacon for lunch, canned soups, canned vegetables, frozen meals, snacks and everything else with a long shelf life.

6. Certain fatty foods

Onion rings on plate

Michael Rheault / Moment / Getty Images

There are some fats that are good for us, but saturated fats are bad for the immune system. They can activate inflammatory pathways that inhibit the immune response and they suppress the function of white blood cells, which can increase the risk of infection. Studies in rodents have shown that a high-fat diet can even damage the lining of the intestines, increasing the susceptibility to disease.

The western diet usually contains a lot of omega-6 fatty acids and far fewer omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-6 fats have been shown to promote inflammatory proteins that weaken our immune system. Studies also show that omega-6 fats may increase your risk of asthma and allergic rhinitis.

7. Artificially sweetened foods

It’s not just sugar that can damage your immune system. The sweeteners we use when trying to avoid sugar can be just as harmful, if not more. They are linked to altered gut bacteria, more inflammation, and a slower immune response. Sucralose and saccharin, in particular, can cause an imbalance in the intestinal biome. It could even fuel the progression of autoimmune diseases.

8. Fried food

Fried foods compete with fast foods and processed meats for AGE levels. Remember, these end products increase the risk of cell damage and inflammation. They also deprive your body of antioxidant mechanisms, disrupt intestinal bacteria and lead to cell dysfunction. All of this could lead to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and even malaria. As much as we’d like to sit back and enjoy fried delicacies, forego french fries, potato chips, fried chicken, bacon, and fish and chips for a healthier response to germ control.

9. Caffeine and alcohol

Beer on a table on a terrace

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Caffeine by itself is not bad for your immune system, but lack of sleep does, and consuming caffeine just before bed can wake you up in the early hours of the morning. We’re not just talking about coffee. Certain teas, chocolate, even protein bars can contain the stuff.

Alcohol suppresses the immune response by reducing the number of cells that fight infection. This makes you more prone to sepsis, poor wound health, pneumonia, and pneumonia.

If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink a night for best results. Consider replacing the drinks with fruit-infused water or teas (without caffeine).

10. Refined carbohydrates

Not all carbohydrates are bad for you; they give you a long-term energy boost, especially the whole grains. But refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, bleached flour, and of course sugar can cause an imbalance in gut bacteria that weakens your immune system. They are also highly glycemic foods that raise blood sugar and insulin levels, which can cause free radicals and inflammatory proteins to migrate around the body.

Bring away

It’s not just diet that affects our immune system. Other factors include age (the older we are, the less efficient our organs become at producing immune cells), the environment (if you are a smoker or live in an area with increased air pollution), weight (heavier people have more problems with chronic inflammation, stressing the immune system), chronic physical or mental illnesses such as autoimmune diseases or prolonged stress and lack of sleep.

For real immune health, we must lead balanced lives with careful choices about diet, exercise, and self-care.

Darlena Cunha is a freelance writer and professor at the University of Florida with degrees in communications and ecology.

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Ugly Side Effects of the American Diet, Say Dietitians

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You may not know the term, but you probably know the concept of the Standard American Diet (SAD). Imagine all of the typical “American” foods and put them all together – burgers, french fries, pizza, soda, sugary cereals, packaged and processed foods, ice cream, the list goes on. While occasional consumption of these types of foods is fine for an overall healthy, balanced diet, regular consumption can have some ugly side effects on your body’s health.

According to a report entitled “Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols” The Standard American Diet includes a diet high in calories, saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. It includes a very low intake of essential nutrients for the body such as fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

The main benefit of the Standard American Diet is that it lacks fruits and vegetables, which are the best way to include a wide variety of nutrients in your diet.

“A 2010 report from the National Cancer Institute found that nearly the entire US population was eating a diet that was not as recommended,” said Theresa Gentile, MS, RDN, CDN, owner of Full Plate Nutrition. Gentile also points out from the American Cancer Society that about 18% of cancer cases are due to poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.

Developing a serious chronic illness like cancer isn’t the only ugly side effect of consuming the Standard American Diet regularly, which is why it is considered the No. 1 worst diet for Americans.

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“The SAD is the quintessentially American diet that emphasizes red meat, processed foods, refined grains, sugary foods including sodas, with low consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, beans, and legumes,” said Lisa R. Young, PhD , RDN, author of Endlich Full, Endlich Slim and a member of our panel of medical experts. “It’s low in fiber, antioxidants, and high in calories, saturated fat, sugar, and salt.”

Because of the types of foods included (or absent) from the SAD, weight gain can easily become a side effect of consuming such foods on a regular basis.

“It contributed to the high rates of obesity and overweight in the United States (nearly 75% of the population are overweight or obese),” says Young. “It has also led to chronic diet-related diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.”

TIED TOGETHER: Get even more healthy tips straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter.

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“Most Americans don’t get enough fiber, which is needed for healthy digestion,” says Jinan Banna, PhD, RD. “The SAD is low in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other such foods. This is just one of the digestive problems that can arise.”

The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend adults consume between 25 and 38 grams of fiber per day, but reports show that Americans only consume an average of 10 to 15 grams per day. A lack of fiber can cause problems with the digestive tract as well as the colon.

“Fiber is essential for heart health as soluble fiber (found in oatmeal and foods made from oatmeal, almonds and seeds, fruits you eat the skin in, etc.) is MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member our medical expert panel. “Fiber also plays a role as a prebiotic for gut health by nourishing the good gut bacteria and helping push things through your system to improve regularity.”

Here are the dangerous signs that you are not eating enough fiber.

Burger and friesShutterstock

The types of foods typically consumed in the SAD are foods linked to chronic inflammation which, according to Balance One Supplements’ Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, can have devastating effects on physical, mental, and emotional health .

“Low-level chronic inflammation causes oxidative stress in the body, which leads to many of the chronic diseases common in Western nations,” Best says.Foods known to be flammable include gluten, refined carbohydrates, and sugars, and in general all processed foods from refined or fortified sources – all of which are the basis of SAD. form. “

“These foods are flammable because the body has a hard time breaking them down through natural meals like enzymes and good gut bacteria,” continues Best. “This leads to an inflammatory response in the body’s immune system, which is usually a natural and deliberate response, but in some cases an overreaction to otherwise harmless foods.”

Best points out that inflammation can lead to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Cheese friesShutterstock

“With popular foods like hamburgers, deli, and fried foods, the Standard American Diet contains excessive amounts of saturated fat and sodium,” said Mackenzie Burgess, RDN and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. “This can be problematic as too much saturated fat has been found to increase blood cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Too much sodium can also be a problem as it is linked to high blood pressure, which is another risk factor for the heart is. ” Illness.”

Burgess recommends looking for ways to reduce the saturated fat and sodium in your diet with small swaps. Focusing on healthy sources of fat like fish, avocados, and nuts can promote heart health, and buying low-sodium items from the grocery store (soups, sauces, unprocessed meat, to name a few).

crispsShutterstock

While chronic inflammation and too much saturated fat or sodium play a big role in causing chronic illness, simply overdosing on calories can also put you at increased risk.

Shannon Henry, RD of the EZCare Clinic points out four different diseases that can develop from a high calorie diet – either from eating high calorie foods or simply from consuming too many foods or beverages in general. These include Type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary artery disease, and kidney and gallbladder defects.

“Above all, our passion for fast food is sad,” says Henry. “For example, although the federal government recommends consuming at least two to five cups of fruits and vegetables a day, surveys show that the average American only eats three servings a day, and 42% say we eat less than two servings.”

French friesShutterstock

Many Americans suffer from the concept of overfed calories but undernourished of valuable and essential nutrients“says Amy Goodson.” The calories they consume are mostly from saturated fat and added sugars, while they consume very little fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and more. “

These types of foods are high in vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body’s health and usually add the “color” to your meals.

The typical American diet often lacks colorful fruits, vegetables and other whole foods“Says Burgess. “This means that most Americans miss out on the myriad benefits of fruits and vegetables, such as their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. In addition, a diet with few colored fruits and vegetables can contain insufficient amounts of important nutrients such as potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C. “

Burgess recommends finding simple ways to add fruits and vegetables to your meals, such as: B. Berries with yoghurt, peppers with pasta or leafy vegetables in your lunch wraps. Plus, these 15 best frozen fruits and vegetables are easy to use.

Club sandwichShutterstock

“Following SAD can lead to poor bone health, as these foods are typically low in bone building nutrients like calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin D,” says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN.

“In addition, a diet low in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables can influence the metabolism and digestion,” continues Schlichter. “Foods high in fiber can help improve gut health and digestion, while the use of highly processed foods reduces the diversity of bacteria in the gut microbiome, which also affects mood and overall health.”

SundaeShutterstock

Changing your gut microbiome isn’t the only reason your energy levels feel depleted after SAD.

“Coast-to-coast Americans skip meals, eat large amounts of carbohydrates with little quality protein, stock up on sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and these habits can prepare you for spikes and drops in blood sugar,” says Goodson.

Because of this type of diet, Goodson advises that your blood sugar levels will go up and down like a “roller coaster” throughout the day, which can negatively affect your energy levels.

“The way to fight this is to have balanced meals with high fiber carbohydrates and proteins every few hours,” she says.

Buddha bowlsShutterstock

“The ACS recommends at least 2 1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit daily for cancer prevention, and the USDA recommends 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day,” says Gentile. “This goal can easily be achieved by adding fruit or vegetables to every meal and including more vegetable-based meals in your rotation, which can lower your risk of cancer.”

For even more healthy eating tips, read these next:

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