Regardless of who you are, it is important to feed your body and your mind with fresh, wholesome, nutritional food in order to stay healthy. Nutrition is even more important as we age or if we have a chronic illness or disability. Here are a few tips for staying healthy and happy by eating right.
1. Eat fresh whenever possible
Fresh, unprocessed foods provide the nutrients our bodies need to grow. Strong bones need calcium; active brains need essential fatty acids found in green leafy vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, olive, sunflower or safflower oils, and oily fish like salmon and trout.
2. Get your vitamins and minerals
Vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetable have many benefits.
-Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables have anti-cancer properties, aid digestion, increase the metabolism of body fat, and can combat heart disease
-Vitamin D keeps the blues away
-B vitamins are important for almost every function of the body
3. Identify hidden food allergies and sensitivities
Many foods like wheat, oats, and other glutenous grains, dairy products, mushrooms, and shellfish can cause an “allergic response” in the body even if you do not have a strong allergic reaction. If you develop a headache or just don’t feel well after consuming some food, you might have a hidden food allergy or sensitivity. Try eliminating the offending foods from your diet and see if you feel better overall.
4. Eat organically
The chemical pesticides used on conventional produce can affect the body in negative ways. Everything from allergic rhinitis to muscle pain, tremors, psoriasis, and reduced cognitive function, and more can be traced to a buildup of pesticides in the body. If you cannot afford to eat organically all the time, get the list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 from the Environmental Working Group.
5. Reduce or eliminate sugar
Sugar found in so many processed foods cause inflammation in our bodies. If you are trying to lose weight, one thing to know —if you cut back on sugar, much of the fat in your diet will be eliminated with it.
6. Maintain a healthy weight
If you are eating healthily and exercising and still have trouble with your weight, talk with your doctor about options your healthcare system provides. Ask for a consultation with a certified nutritionist and/or a referral to a clinic sponsored managed weight group. County health agencies often provide programs for elderly, disabled, and limited-income residents.
7. Grow your own food
-Container Gardening Even the smallest balcony can provide an abundance of home grown food. For ideas on growing fresh vegetables and herbs in tiny urban spaces, visit Mike Lieberman’s Website at.
-Community Gardens: Families and individuals who would like to grow their own fruits and vegetables, should apply for a plot in a community garden. In addition to the empowerment growing your own food provides, you will enjoy new personal relationships and cross-cultural exchanges as diverse people come together and work toward a mutual goal. Contact your library reference desk or county health agency and ask if there is a Community Garden program in your community.
8. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Community supported agriculture is a farm co-operative where independently owned, often organic farms grow vegetables, fruits, and sometimes even meats, dairy, and eggs specifically for members. Members buy a share early in the year, before the planting season, and every week, once the crops start to be harvested, receive a box of farm fresh produce. Check with your local library reference desk to see if there is a program in your area.
9. Arrange group cooking parties
Enjoy the camaraderie of friends and family while preparing fabulous, healthy food by organizing a group cooking party. Invite a friend or two or three to come and cook at one house (each being responsible for the ingredients for one family sized dish); you all share in making the meals, and then divide what you all made among the participants. Everyone goes home with one or more new taste treats to feed their family.
10. Enjoy green smoothies
Awhile ago, a friend suggested I try green smoothies as a way to get more vitamins, minerals, and fiber into my diet. I have to admit at first I was skeptical but I tried it and soon was hooked. Just take fresh greens (spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.), throw them into a blender with some fruit and a little water or fruit juice, give it a whirl and Voila! A frothy, eyepopping, tasty drink packed with energy! To
get you started, here is one of my favorite recipes:
Kale, Spinach and Fruit Smoothie
Mix Kale or Spinach with strawberries, banana, and fresh squeezed orange juice.
Try adding some herbs: Parsley is cleansing. Arugula adds a bit of bite. Basil, dill, and mint all add unique tastes. Experiment and find the ones you love.