Godfrey & Kahn Nutrition Page
WHY TRACK WATER INTAKE?
The average adult body is composed of approximately 60-75% water. Therefore, it is no wonder water intake is essential. While there are no set recommendations for water consumption, it is commonly agreed that 8-12 cups per day are ideal. Here are 7 science-based health benefits of drinking enough water. (source)
- HELPS MAXIMIZE PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE. “Losing as little as 2% of your body’s water content can significantly impair your physical performance.”
- SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTS ENERGY LEVELS AND BRAIN FUNCTION. “Mild dehydration (fluid loss of 1–3%) can impair energy levels, impair mood, and lead to major reductions in memory and brain performance.”
- MAY PREVENT AND TREAT HEADACHES. “Research has shown that a headache is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration.”
- MAY HELP RELIEVE CONSTIPATION. “Drinking plenty of water may help prevent and relieve constipation, especially in people who generally don’t drink enough water.”
- MAY HELP TREAT KIDNEY STONES. “Increased water intake appears to decrease the risk of kidney stone formation.”
- HELPS PREVENT UNPLEASANT SYMPTOMS OF DRINKING ALCOHOL. “The unpleasant symptoms are partly caused by dehydration, drinking water can help reduce some of the main symptoms.”
- CAN AID IN WEIGHT LOSS. “This is because water can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate.”
WHY FOCUS ON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES?
Eating a daily diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables can have enormous benefits for your overall well-being. Incorporating adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables into your diet can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease/stroke/cancers, lower the risk of digestive problems, have positive effects on blood sugar, and promote weight loss. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and contain no cholesterol in their natural forms. They are important sources of nutrients, including dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, K, potassium, and folate to name a few. MyPlate recommends filling half r plates should be filled with fruits and non-starchy vegetables. It is recommended we all eat about four servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables every day.
- ONE SERVING OF FRUIT – one medium fruit (about the size of your fist) -1/2cup fresh/frozen/canned fruit -1/4cup of dried fruit -1/4cup of 100% fruit juice
- ONE SERVING OF VEGETABLES – 1 cup of raw leafy veggies -1/2cup of fresh/frozen/canned veggies -1/4cup of 100% vegetable juice.
Did you know the color of a fruit or vegetable indicates their unique nutritional benefits? These colors are referred to as “phytonutrients.” Eating a variety of phytonutrients will give your body the mixture of essential nutrients it needs. A good rule of thumb is to “eat the rainbow.” See this chart to learn more about phytonutrients.
The Menus of Change Initiative defines plant-based or plant-forward eating as “a style of cooking that emphasizes and celebrates, but is not limited to, plant-based foods – including fruits and vegetables (produce); whole grains; beans, other legumes (pulses), and soy foods; nuts and seeds; plant-based oils; and herbs and spices – and that reflects evidence-based principles of health and sustainability”. It doesn’t mean that you never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you choose more of your foods from plant sources. Check out this infographic to better understand how a plant-based diet is different than a vegan or vegetarian meal plan.
Research shows that a plant-based meal plan can help promote better health including a reduction in heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers and depression. Watch this quick video to learn more about how a plant-based diet can benefit your body and the planet.
But what about protein?
It’s a common misconception that plant-based diets don’t allow for adequate protein. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (that’s 0.36 grams per pound). On average, Americans consume above and beyond what our bodies need. Some plant-based proteins lack all the essential amino acids needed to make a complete protein. Beans, nuts, seeds, rice, and oats are great examples of incomplete proteins. To make up for what’s lacking, pair the item with a complementary protein! The complementary item contains the amino acids the other item lacks. Examples of complementary proteins include rice and beans, hummus and pita, and a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat toast. But there is no need to stress about it! You don’t need every essential amino acid at every meal, as long as you consume all the essential amino acids regularly. Keep variety in your diet and you won’t need to think about it! Give plant-based a try with these delicious recipes.
8 ways to get started with a plant-based diet
Harvard Health recommends these tips to help you get started on a plant-based diet.
- Eat lots of vegetables. Fill half your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner. Make sure you include plenty of colors in choosing your vegetables. Enjoy vegetables as a snack with hummus, salsa, or guacamole.
- Change the way you think about meat. Have smaller amounts. Use it as a garnish instead of a centerpiece.
- Choose good fats. Fats in olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados are particularly healthy choices.
- Cook a vegetarian meal at least one night a week. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables.
- Include whole grains for breakfast. Start with oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, or barley. Then add some nuts or seeds along with fresh fruit.
- Go for greens. Try a variety of green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, and other greens each day. Steam, grill, braise, or stir-fry to preserve their flavor and nutrients.
- Build a meal around a salad. Fill a bowl with salad greens such as romaine, spinach, Bibb, or red leafy greens. Add an assortment of other vegetables along with fresh herbs, beans, peas, or tofu.
- Eat fruit for dessert. A ripe, juicy peach, a refreshing slice of watermelon, or a crisp apple will satisfy your craving for a sweet bite after a meal.
Nutrition has a significant impact on your overall health. From chronic disease prevention to stress management, nutritious eating is a useful tool in living a healthier lifestyle.
Healthy eating is one of your first lines of defense in the prevention of chronic diseases. The secret? Anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation is your body’s response to foreign invaders to keep your body safe. This is good! However, inflammation can sometimes go on continuously without the presence of a foreign invader, causing unnecessary stress on your body. Foods that promote continuous inflammation include refined carbohydrates, fried foods, red meat, and sugar sweetened beverages. Instead, opt for foods high in antioxidants and polyphenols like berries, nuts, fatty fish like salmon or tuna, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and olive oil.
Stress management is an important part of staying healthy as well. Food plays a few different roles in managing stress. In addition to comfort foods that boost serotonin levels, studies have shown certain foods can decrease the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Additionally, a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables combats stress by lowering blood pressure and supporting the immune system. Click here if you would like to learn more about stress managing foods.
Want to improve your diet for the betterment of your health? Use this printable grocery list to get started. We have added a few health promoting foods to get you started!
The choices you make at the grocery store can greatly impact our environment. The food industry plays a large role in deforestation, water wastage, and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, processing, shipping, and storage. What you buy at the grocery store can help lessen these impacts. Here are a few ways to be a more sustainable grocery shopper.
- Shop local--help your local economy and decrease the distance your food needs to travel. The farther an item must travel, the higher the carbon emission. The average distance produce is shipped in the US is 1,500 miles. Buying locally cuts that distance down!
- Choose seasonal produce--similar to above, choosing produce in-season to your area means reduced transit lengths. Plus, higher nutrient levels! Curious about what is in season in your area right now? Check out https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/why-eat-seasonally
- Invest in a reusable shopping bag (or three)-- The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. Single use plastic (and even paper) bags are toxic for our earth. Both are associated with high carbon emissions. Keep reusable bags in your trunk for easy access on your next grocery run.
- Opt for fresh foods--the greatest carbon emissions from food actually come from the processing and production. Yes, a homemade black bean burger produces less emissions than a frozen one and even fresh green beans produce less emissions than its canned or frozen counterpart.
- Select the “ugly” or discounted produce whenever you can—Prevent unnecessary food waste by choosing the discounted produce. Worried you won’t eat it in time? Most produce can be frozen! Freezing will preserve the nutrients and extend shelf life.
- Eat less red meat--The carbon emission of beef is 8 times higher than that of chicken. Better yet, the carbon emission of beef is 98 times higher than that of vegetables (averaged). Check out this pie chart from a 2018 study on greenhouse gas contribution by food type in an average diet.
07 Jan, 2021