The importance of good nutrition for your health

There are many conflicting messages that we hear regarding what we should and should not eat to keep us healthy. From TV ads, grocery store displays, celebrity physicians such as Dr. Oz or even from shows such as “Biggest Loser” – Americans get a lot of competing information about what “good nutrition” is.

Since we just celebrated National Nutrition Month I thought I’d share some simple guidelines I think help cut through the conflicting information:

  1. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at EVERY meal and snack. The national guideline is still five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  
  2. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat (1%) dairy products, seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, nuts and seeds are nutrient dense foods. They give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to work best, and fight off infections and diseases like cancer.
  3. A diet high in sugar (especially refined sugar such as table sugar or corn syrup) promotes inflammation in the body – in joints, tissues, arteries.
  4. Balance daily calorie intake to manage your weight. Calories in = calories used equates to weight maintenance.
  5. Fast food tends to be higher in refined sugar and saturated fat. Eating less food that comes from a restaurant, a box, a can or a package tends to cut calories and increase nutrient intake.

Good nutrition is the no. 1 thing you always have control over in regard to your health. It’s the secret weapon that people overlook way too often. Poor nutrition often leads to health problems. Health problems lead to doctors’ visits and medications. So making different choices can really pay off in terms of money, time and overall well-being. That’s food for thought ….

Dr. Amy Blaising Wallace, author of this article, is a family physician with One Team Family Health in Eaton Rapids, Mich., who sees patients of all ages. Call (517) 663-4809 for more information.