Friday, January 21

Healthy eating in the new millineum
By Sharon Howard, R.D., M.S., C.D.E. FADA

Ever wonder how dietary recommendations have changed over the past 100 years? To put it in perspective, the term "vitamin" was unknown in 1900, and the overriding goal was supplying sufficient food to "fill up" a hungry stomach -- regardless of nutritional value or fat content.

What a difference a hundred years makes! Vitamin is now a household word and scientists have spent the better part of the century identifying vitamin compounds, exploring their health benefits and deciding how much of each is needed for health.

And parents are now interested in finding quick, tasty and healthful ways of nourishing children who are constantly on the go.

Despite these enormous changes, the old adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same" still holds true. Check out the following health-promoting practices from the 1920s to capture the true essence of health education at the time. Then, look at the chart below to see what's new in healthy eating for the next century.

    To Be Healthy
    Use four glasses of milk every day.
    Eat fruit every day.
    Eat some vegetable besides potato every day.
    Drink at least four glasses of water every day.
    Brush teeth every day.
    Take a bath oftener than once a week.
    Play part of every day out of doors.
    Sleep many hours with the windows open.

    -Marjorie Horter, 1928

1928 Dietary Advice Year 2000 Dietary Advice
Use four glasses of milk every day. With osteoporosis reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, this recommendation holds a bit of wisdom, since milk is an excellent source of calcium. Low calcium intake is a risk factor for osteoporosis.

Unlike the early years of the 20th century, we now have an abundance of low-fat and nonfat milk products to select from, providing us with needed calcium without artery-clogging fat. What will we do in 2000?

Health professionals recommend consuming 1,000-1,500 milligrams of calcium daily. Each serving of milk supplies about 250 milligrams. But theres no need to rely exclusively on milk for calcium.

Try calcium-fortified juices and baked products in modest amounts if you cant tolerate milk. Sample the abundant varieties of low-fat or nonfat yogurt, cheese, frozen yogurt or pudding. Green leafy vegetables, tofu, almonds and sardines also contain calcium.

Eat fruit every day.
Two to four servings or more in the new millennium. Expand your horizons! If you usually reach for apples, oranges and bananas, try a wider variety of fruits for maximum health benefit. Blueberries, blackberries, plums, kiwis, strawberries and raspberries all contribute a hefty dose of antioxidants -- potent cancer fighters.

With cancer now the No. 2 cause of death in the United States, prevention is key. One-third or more of all cancers are thought to be diet-related, so start the new century off on the right foot by boosting your fruit intake.

Eat some vegetable besides potato every day. Its not that potatoes aren't healthful -- you get a shot of vitamin C and potassium in every bite. But did you know that three to five servings of vegetables daily could potentially fight the top three causes of death in the United States --cancer, heart disease and stroke -- all at the same time!

Looking for veggies that deliver an extra health punch? Sweet potatoes, red peppers, kale, broccoli, spinach, eggplant and Brussels sprouts contribute phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring substances in foods that impart health benefits and taste great, too!

What to do in 2000? Try a new vegetable every week beginning Jan. 1, and soon you will join the small, but elite group of Americans (10 percent) who eat the recommended "5 a day."

Drink at least four glasses of water every day. Double this number in the new millennium, aiming for eight glasses daily. Adequate water intake helps prevent dehydration, kidney stones and promotes normal bowel function. Recent studies show a possible link between plentiful water intake and a lower risk of bladder cancer. Can't stomach the taste of water "straight up"? Try flavored waters or seltzers, or make your own by adding a squirt of lemon or lime juice, or a few frozen strawberries.

Round out these seven health recommendations with three more dietary recommendations for a solid foundation of health based on prevention. And don't forget to boost your physical activity -- "playing out of doors" really is a great health booster, especially if you are walking, running, swimming or biking.

New Dietary Recommendations for Year 2000 Rationale and Ideas
Keep diet as plant-based as possible. For health in the new millennium, think of meat and poultry as condiments, rather than as the main course. Limit meat portions to three ounces at a time and try meatless main dishes, using lentils, dry beans, soy products and dry peas once or twice a week. Eat minimally processed food whenever possible to limit additives and pesticides, and for maximal vitamin retention. Focus on whole grain breads, pastas, cereals and fresh fruits and vegetables to complement your meals.
Give soy a try. During the 1970s, soybeans, a plentiful U.S. crop, hit the grocery aisles disguised as a newfangled vegetarian supplement incorporated into veggie burgers. Now, close to 30 years later, soy is back and better than ever. Improvements in processing and preparation have made soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein and protein powders, delicious and economical food choices, which may help fight cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis, as well.
Try including more fish.
While it is a great idea to limit fat in the diet, fish contains a healthy type of fat known as omega-3 fatty acids which may help lower triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood, reduce blood clot formation and lower blood pressure. Instead of saving fish meals for special occasions, select salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and other fatty fish for everyday meals a few times each week.

The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No one should act upon any information provided in this website without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician.

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