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Will healthy eating prevent one from having to take medication for diabetes, blood pressure, or cholesterol?

The cumulative daily results of what, how much, and when one eats in relationship to their physical activity and medical background can make a difference in one’s health and therefore the medications one takes.

Can you provide a few general healthy nutrition tips?

Each person has unique nutritional needs based on their age, gender, activity level, medical condition, and hereditary traits. However, for most people, just choosing at least five (seven to nine is even better) colorful fruits and vegetables will improve their diet. Aim for at least 20 grams of fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, increasing fluid accordingly. Consume lean proteins. Limit processed foods in amounts and frequency. Limit sodium content. Choose heart-healthy fats, limiting saturated fats as much as possible. Include high calcium food sources. Drink enough water- sometimes when one thinks they are hungry they could actually be thirsty.

What are some quick ways to spot a health fraud?

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Be wary of words used. For years promoters of fraudulent weight loss programs or products have backed up their claims using these words: “all natural”, “ancient remedy”, “balances hormones”, “banish fat”, “breakthrough”, “definitely no side effects”, “discovered in Europe”, “ cure”, “cure-all”, “easy”, “effortless”, “enzymatic process”, “exclusive product”, “exotic”, “fast”, “guaranteed”, “magical”, “miraculous”, “mysterious”, “no risk, money back guarantee”, “new discovery”, “quick”, “secret ingredient”, and “totally safe”.

Any organizations that sell products are at high risk for biased content nutrition information in relation to their product(s). Also, nutrition information that is not supported by science based health information is suspect. Any of the following should send up a red flag of suspicion. (Source: Developed by the Food and Nutrition Science Alliance (FANSA))

1. Recommendations that promise a quick fix.
2. Dire warnings or danger without the use of a single product or regimen.
3. Claims that sound too good to be true.
4. Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study.
5. Recommendations based on a single study.
6. Dramatic statements that are refuted by reputable scientific organizations.
7. Lists of “good” or “bad” foods
8. Recommendations made to help sell a product.
9. Recommendations based on studies published without peer review.
10. Recommendations from studies that ignore differences among individuals or groups.

Studies reporting on health risks are often reported on the news, because people are interested in the relationship that specific foods, nutrients, or lifestyle factors have to specific health conditions. However no single study should provide the last word on any subject, and single news reports may put too much emphasis on what appear to be contradictory or conflicting results. In brief news stories, reporters cannot always put new research findings in their proper context. Therefore, it is rarely, if ever, advisable to change diet or activity levels based on a single study or news report.

How can a consumer check to be sure a diet advertised is not a scam? Besides checking with a registered dietitian you can check the Federal Trade Commission (www.FTC.gov) which lists the diet scams it’s prosecuted.

Can you give 10 examples of “top” foods or spices:

1. Beets are high in folate and iron and their natural red pigment may fight cancer. Create ways to eat: Fresh, raw and grate in salads.
2. Blueberries high in vitamin C, resveratrol, and ellagic acid are powerful antioxidants. Create ways to eat: Add to pancakes or muffins or blend with yogurt or chocolate soy milk and sprinkle with crush almonds.
3. Cabbage is high in sulforaphane and has cancer-fighting properties. Create ways to eat: Shred for a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
4. Cinnamon may help control blood sugar and cholesterol. Create ways to eat: Sprinkle on hot toast, coffee or oatmeal.
5. Plums or prunes have catechins and flavonoids which provide powerful antioxidant protection for heart and vision. Create ways to eat: For a sandwich, combine goat cheese, walnuts, fresh sage, add sliced plum and place in whole wheat pita bread.
6. Pomegranates are high in antioxidants and have been noted to possibly lower blood pressure. Create ways to eat: Drink as a juice.
7. Pumpkin seeds, loaded with magnesium, are good for you. Create ways to eat: Roasted as a snack or sprinkled on salad.
8. Canned pumpkin is a low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and immune-stimulating vitamin A, plus it fills you up on very few calories. Create ways to eat: Mix with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
9. Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids which protect aging eyes. Create ways to eat: Chop and sauté in olive oil.
10. Turmeric spice has been linked to anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Create ways to eat: Mix with scrambled eggs or any vegetable dish.

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Emory Decatur Hospital
Wellness Center

2665 North Decatur Road
Ground Floor
Decatur, GA 30033


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