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A Message from Dr. Stephen Kindred – Assistant Vice President, Corporate Medical
March is National Nutrition Month and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) wants to remind everyone that an easy way to focus on eating better is to "Eat Right with Color." As the obesity rate in the United States is starting to level off at 34%, Americans indicate they are interested in improving their diets and leading healthier lifestyles. So, the timing is right for this colorful and nutritious campaign.
This year's National Nutrition Month theme encourages consumers to include a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy on their plates every day. Eating a variety of colorful foods nourishes the body with essential vitamins and minerals. By adding more fruits and vegetables to meals, you are filling your plate with food low in calories and high in fiber.
Your plate should reflect the colors of the rainbow at every meal. To “Eat Right with Color” the ADA recommends:
- Limiting food neutral in color (fried food, starches and dairy products)
- Using a variety of vegetables (at least 3 servings a day)
- Eating fruit for breakfast and dessert
- Using whole grain bread and pasta
Lynn, Claim Team Manager in the Greeley Operations Center, can attest to her success of incorporating proper nutrition and exercise into her life. Recently, Lynn decided she needed something to improve her life and give her more energy. She started attending Jazzercise classes and began eating with more color.
“My plan wasn’t to lose weight, but rather to get in shape and improve my eating habits,” says Lynn. By introducing exercise, lean proteins, whole grains and fruits and vegetables, she has lost 15 pounds and four clothing sizes! She contributes her success to:
- Starting dinner with a salad
- Adding vegetables to whole grain pastas and sandwiches
- Having almonds and fruit as a snack
- Including fruit into her morning protein shakes
- Allowing her children to pick out exotic fruits at the grocery store
- Focusing meals around grilled or baked chicken and fish
Lynn eats at least two cups of fruit and two cups of vegetables every day. Working out and eating properly has given her more energy and stamina. “The key to staying motivated is finding something you really love,” she explains. “You will keep doing it as long as it stays fun and fresh. It also helps when people tell me I look better now than I did 20 years ago!”
A rainbow of fruits and vegetables creates a palette of nutrients on your plate. Each color of fruits and vegetables offers a variety of health benefits:
- Red - Strawberries, cherries, tomatoes and apples improve heart and brain function. They are packed with vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and magnesium. Lycopene, one of nature's most powerful antioxidants, is also present in tomatoes and has been found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
- Orange and Yellow - Grapefruit, cantaloupe, squash and carrots improve the immune system. Oranges are the greatest source of vitamin C and also are rich in vitamin B1. Grapefruit is also a good source of vitamin C, fiber and lycopene. Cantaloupes are rich in antioxidants and known to help prevent heart attacks. Carrots contain significant amounts of vitamins C and B6 and iron. Lastly, squash is a great source of potassium and vitamin C.
- Green - Vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, and romaine lettuce, help improve eye sight and the immune system because they are high in vitamins A and C, dietary fiber, iron and calcium.
- Blue and Purple - Blueberries, blackberries, grapes, eggplant and plums reduce some cancers and keep memory sharp and are rich in antioxidants and vitamin K. Grapes have been positively linked to fighting cancer, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease and other ailments. Eggplants are rich in potassium and calcium. Plums are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and fiber.
For more information on how to eat healthy, check out the “Healthier Diet” program and Wellness Tools on www.SFLiveWell.com.
Live Well, Be Well empowers you to eat right with color.
Learn to eat right with tips from the American Dietetic Association.
Let the Center for Disease Control and Prevention help you take control of your weight.
Follow the American Heart Association’s Simple 7 Action Plan, which includes tips for better eating and living a healthier lifestyle.
Learn the American Cancer Society’s nutrition recommendations for cancer prevention.