In honor of all our mothers, let's review how our diet affects our health. First the bad news, and then the good news about what you can do to prevent the problems. There's no time like the present to start taking care of ourselves. Do it for your mother!
Did you know that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime? Or that heart disease is the cause of one in every four female deaths? The diagnosis of heart disease is often more challenging in women than in men because women fail to see the risk factors and real threat. Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the United States and women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Women have nine times more eating disorders than men.
OK, enough of the bad news. Let's find out what women can do to stave off these health concerns.
Eating right is one of the most important things you can do for your health. You should try to get a variety every day of nutrient-packed foods. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Choose the ones that are richest in color, as that usually indicates more vitamins and minerals.
Eat more dark green veggies, such as broccoli, kale and other dark leafy greens. Look for the orange color in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash. Get your calcium-rich foods from skim or low-fat dairy products or calcium-fortified foods. Increase the fiber in your diet with whole grains and cereals. Eat plenty of soluble fiber, which may help lower your LDL – or "bad” – blood cholesterol. You'll find soluble fiber in oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits and strawberries.
Insoluble fiber won't lower your cholesterol but it will help keep your bowel function regular. Food sources of insoluble fiber are whole wheat breads, kidney beans, almonds and many vegetables. Go lean with your protein choices. Vary your dietary protein with fish, beans and nuts. Avoid saturated fats, trans-fats and excessive sugar and salt.
If you're overweight, and about two-thirds of adult American women are, choose a calorie level that enables you to shed pounds. Increasing your exercise will speed the process. If you drink alcohol, keep it to one drink per day. Get plenty of rest and relaxation to soothe the stresses we deal with every day.
Starting with these tips will help you get to a healthier diet. If you have questions or concerns, discuss them with your health care provider or a dietitian.
Try this refreshing, nutritious and light meal.
Spinach Mango Wrap Sandwiches
Serves 6 (1 wrap each)
All you need:
• 2 fresh mangos, peeled and sliced
• 1/2 bag (10 ounces) spinach leaves
• 6 ounces cooked chicken breast strips
• 1/4 cup sliced almonds
• 1/4 cup light raspberry vinaigrette
• 6 (8-inch each) flour tortillas
All you do:
1. In a large bowl, combine mango slices, spinach, chicken, almonds and vinaigrette. Toss gently.
2. Place mango mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll up tightly. Cut each in half diagonally to serve.
Daily nutritional values: 25% vitamin A; 35% vitamin C; 10% calcium; 15% iron.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 290; Carbohydrate: 42 g; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Fat: 8 g; Protein: 14 g; Saturated Fat: 1.5 g; Sodium: 460 mg; Sugar: 13 g; Trans fats: 0 g.
Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at email@example.com.