5 Eating Essentials

As we head into the fall season, many families and individuals find this time of year as a good occasion to establish positive habits and routines. This week, our Wellness Wednesday column takes a closer look at the basics of a healthy diet. A healthy diet is a balanced diet – giving a body all of the essential nutrients it requires, such vitamins, minerals, proteins and acids. Proper calorie intake is also a must.

If you’re looking for the parts of a typical diet that are beneficial and even essential, here are a quintet of positive contributors to build on.

Fish, Nuts & Oils – These sources of healthy unsaturated fats are a great substitute for other high calorie foods. They tend to be heart-friendly and less likely to contribute to weight gain.

Produce – Vegetables and fruits are mainstays in any healthy, balanced diet. In a typical 2,000 calorie consumption day, consider at least 2 cups of each, with an emphasis on green, orange, yellow, red and purple produce.

Potassium – In the same vein, potassium-packed products, such as citrus, potatoes, beans and bananas are a big benefit, particularly in keeping blood pressure low.

Calcium & Vitamin D – Particularly as we age, bone health is an important consideration. Low-fat and non-fat dairy, soy drinks and products like calcium-added orange juices are good sources of calcium. For most adults, a vitamin D supplement is worth considering as well.

Food, in general (as opposed to liquids and supplements) – Other than water, most liquids we consume are filling, but also filled with sugars and calories. Often times, supplements are passed through our systems before they are fully processed. It’s best to think of food as your primary source of nutrition, and allow compounds and beverages to play supplemental roles.

Of course, it’s always advisable to consult your health care professional, before undertaking any significant change in your diet. Next week, we’ll look at products to cut back on or avoid all together, on your path to a balanced diet.