World Health Day 2013

5 ways to eat healthier

April 7 was World Health Day, and one crucial way to recognize it is to change the way we eat.

High blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers can be prevented at every meal. For instance, a diet rich in nutrients from fresh vegetables and fruits can help prevent heart disease.

Adding four more fresh fruits and vegetables to the average daily diet, and dropping just 10 calories, can limit weight gain and increase overall nutrient values by between 68 percent and 79 percent.

Here are five steps for healthier, more nutritious diets.

1. Support local enterprises.  Buying more from local producers – and less processed food from supermarkets – can improve health.

2. Choose whole grains. Whole grains have much more nutrients per calorie than white flour products. Whole grains should make up half of all grain intake. Unfortunately, white flour is the main ingredient in most breads, including wheat bread, multigrain bread or oatmeal bread. Look for 100 percent wholewheat bread and other products.

3. Eat out less (CORE HEALTH excepted!). Many chains serve portions up to eight times bigger those recommended. Not only does this encourage overeating, but restaurant and take-away food is also generally less healthy than home-cooked food. Eating more meals at home is an easy way to manage portions while getting more nutrient-dense foods.

4. Buy and grow organic. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have found that organic fruits and vegetables repeatedly have equal or greater nutrient content than the same conventional produce.

5. Eat close to home. Fruits and vegetables lose nutrients as they age. Fresh spinach stored at room temperature can lose 100 percent of its vitamin C in less than four days. Buying more local food can make sure consumers get the most nutrients per pound.

If you eat intelligently, you’ll have a lot to celebrate next year on World Health Day.

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