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Healthy food matter of choice

By: LCdr William J. Upham

Date Posted: 1998-09-04

Today, the emphasis of nutrition education is shifting from the four basic food groups to food composition and how food influences your heath. Research studies show that diets rich in complex carbohydrates and low in saturated fats may reduce our risk of heart disease and many types of cancer. Although we still need to consume a variety of foods from the basic four food groups, it is important that we make wise choices to maintain good health.

To help us make healthy food choices, The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid places increased emphasis on grains, pasta, fruits and vegetables. As evident with whole grain breads, vegetables and fruits, dietary fiber may reduce potential risk factors associated with certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

With respect to limiting fat intake, meats and dairy products should be consumed only in moderate amounts. It is important to note that protein is not only found in meat, poultry and fish, but also in dried peas and beans. Since the average adult needs approximently 44-56 grams of protein per day, select only lean cuts of meat, poultry (baked or grilled without the skin), fish, beans low or non-fat dairy products.

Although fats are essential to sound nitration, your total fat intake should be limited to 25 to 30% of your daily calorie intake. To help reduce your cholesterol level and potential risk factors associated with artery disease, avoid food products laden with saturated fat such as whole mayo, butter, whole milk, marbled meats and coconut oil. There are many healthy alternatives to choose from, including skim milk, low fat salad dressing and canola oils.

By taking charge of your own nutrition, coupled with adequate amount of exercise, you can greatly improve your health and quality of life. If you have any questions, please contact LCDR Upham at 643-7806 or Health Promotions at 645-2620

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