Fueling Your Health Through Food

Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining vitality and our overall wellbeing. By choosing the right nutrients for our bodies, we can support our energy levels, enhance our mental clarity and improve our immune system. Here are a few key points to achieve vibrancy through the foods you eat from Registered Dietitian Vicky Cora.

Choose nutrient dense foods  

  • Whole grains like oats, brown rice, quinoa, barley and buckwheat.

“Whole grains are important for a number of reasons,” Cora said. “They contain plenty of fiber, which is one of the main reasons we should choose these types of foods. They assist with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and regulate blood sugars. They allow us to feel full a little quicker, which in turn helps with controlling our weight.”

  • Lean protein such as chicken breasts, fish, eggs, lean cuts of red meat, beans, lentils and Greek yogurt. 

“Look for foods high in protein content and low in saturated and trans-fats. Protein is our body’s building blocks. Getting adequate amount of protein is beneficial in building and maintaining muscles, especially as we age. Like fiber, protein can assist with feeling fuller longer which again can help with controlling our weight,” Cora explained.

  • Healthy fats, which includes nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil. These assist with fat soluble vitamins in our bodies, which are vitamins A, D ,E, and k. 
  • Fruits and vegetables. The recommendation is five servings of fruit and veggies daily. 

“I encourage you to try and add different colors of the rainbow to your diet. By doing so you will be able to get all types of nutrients that you need,” Cora suggested.

She has some tips to help ease the burden on your pocketbook when purchasing produce. 

  1. Purchase what’s in season
  2. Freeze the excess to eat later, such as bags of berries
  3. Buy frozen vegetables to avoid spoilage and high costs

Snack smart 

When it comes to snacking, Cora stresses the importance of incorporating fresh food as a healthy snack, and to choose less processed foods as much as possible. Processed foods such as packaged snacks, fast foods, frozen meals, deli meats, sugary cereals, instant noodles and pasta are high in calories, sodium, unhealthy fats and added sugars.  

Drink water

It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Water assists in transporting nutrients to cells, supports digestion and regulates your body temperature. 

“In general, it’s recommended to get 64 ounces of water every day. However, if you are outdoors or exercise and sweat a lot, you may need more,” Cora said. “Try and choose non-caloric beverages as much as possible to avoid unwanted calories and sugar consumption.”

If you are on or looking to begin a journey to better health, San Juan Regional Medical Center’s Metabolic and Bariatric Institute has a program that offers a variety of pathways for weight loss, including bariatric surgery and medical weigh loss management. Cora is the dietitian for the program and offers nutrition education and coaching and support on dietary changes to patients on both pathways. 

“As a registered dietitian, I can help you make informed choices about your dietary habits to promote your overall health and wellbeing. I will work with you to set achievable goals,” Cora said. “You have the power to make changes for a healthier life.” 

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