Heading into the holidays, here are ten simple tips you can follow for a healthier you. Your body will thank you!
1. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. One medium sized orange has 70 mg – almost your entire daily RDA.
2. Trans-fats are partially hydrogenated oils that make the fats solid and are not good for the heart. They are usually found in ready to eat foods like pastries, pie crusts, biscuits, pizza dough, cookies, crackers, and stick margarines and shortenings.
3. Cholesterol is necessary for human health but high intakes affect cardio vascular health – average estimated intake should be 200 mg or less per day. One large egg yolk has 275 mg.
4. Dietary fiber – is found in vegetables, fruits and grains. It helps in digestion, prevention of constipation, scavenges cholesterol, makes you fuller faster, helps in controlling how much you eat. Recommended Dietary Allowance per day is 25-30 gms. Top 5 fiber rich foods are bran, nuts, beans, fresh salads, fruits and green vegetables.
5. Iron – a very important “micro-nutrient” that is essential for cell growth, differentiation, carries oxygen, protein and promotes immunity. Iron is an important part of hemoglobin – a component in blood. Iron deficiency anemia reduces oxygen delivery to cells causing fatigue, poor work performance. Foods rich in iron are: liver, nuts, soy beans, lentils, spinach, raisins and fortified cereals.
6. Milk – is rich in calcium, proteins and a good source of vitamins. The only difference between whole, low fat and skim milk is the fat content; all other nutrients remain the same. RDA for Calcium is 800-1500 mg per day based on age. One glass of milk provides 275-300 mg of calcium and 7-8 grams of protein.
7. Nuts are nutritious – they are rich in protein, minerals, antioxidants and fats – especially monounsaturated fats that help lower the bad cholesterol, rich in omega -3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, B complex vitamins and fiber too!
8. Sugar content in a 12 oz. regular soda ranges from 8-11 spoons (40-55 grams). 1 spoon of sugar = 4.2 gm. = 17 calories = 136-187 calories. If you had one regular soda per day for a whole year that adds up to a whopping 49,640 – 68,255 calories which translates to about 14-20 pounds gained (1 lb. = 3500 calories)!
9. The best fluid that is healthy and needed for all basic physiological functions in the body is water – it is free and yet priceless – our body is made 65-70 percent of water and water helps in maintaining the heart, lung, kidney, blood and other vital organs.
10. Do not grocery shop when you are hungry, eat only when you have to (hungry), not when you want to (bored), go easy on the whites – flour, sugar, salt, eat sensibly including whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits and enjoy the outdoors, fresh air – exercise.
Ragini Raghuveer is a systems clinical nutrition manager for Sodexo Nutrition Services.