Elizabeth S. Reames | 6/13/2009 1:36:38 AM
This Father's Day, let your father know how much you care by helping him choose and eat a healthy diet. Healthy eating lowers the risk of many diseases and will help your dad to a healthier and possibly longer life, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
The nutritionist offers these tips for a healthy eating plan:
– Eat a variety of foods in moderation. Choosing a variety of foods is important, because no single food has all the nutrients you need. Use the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPyramid as a helpful guide for choosing the types and amounts of foods you need, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats and beans.
– Choose foods lower in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. These foods will help lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Select low-fat or nonfat milk and milk products, lean meat, fish, skinless poultry, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and foods that are baked, broiled, steamed or roasted. Limit whole milk, regular cheese, fried foods and rich desserts.
– Eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Besides supplying carbohydrates for energy, these foods are high in fiber. Soluble fiber has been shown to reduce total and LDL cholesterol. Insoluble fiber promotes regularity and may reduce risk of hemorrhoids and diverticular disease.
More than half of the men in the United States don't eat enough fiber. Men under 50 years old should consume 38 grams of fiber daily, and men over the age of 50 should consume 30 grams of fiber daily. An assortment of fruits, vegetables and breads daily will help you reach these levels.
– Limit salt intake. To lower risk or manage high blood pressure, middle-aged and older adults, individuals with hypertension and African-Americans should aim to consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. (That’s about two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt.) The recommendation for others is no more than 2,300 milligrams (1 teaspoon). Most salt comes from processed foods. Read food labels to find foods lower in sodium.
– Don't forget physical activity. Physical activity helps build muscle, control weight, reduce the risk of disease and promote a sense of well-being. Physical activity guidelines for Americans include two and one-half hours a week (30 minutes per day) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity. Walking briskly, water aerobics, ballroom dancing and general gardening are examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities. Vigorous-intensity aerobic activities include racewalking, jogging or running, swimming laps and jumping rope.
Editor: Mark Claesgens