Healthy Foods We Should Be Eating: Separating Fact from Fiction

Healthy Foods We Should Be Eating: Separating Fact from Fiction

When you can go into a clothing boutique and buy a t-shirt that reads “KALE,” you know that some healthy foods seem to be more trendy than others. Can we rely on mass media and advertising to tell us what we should be eating?  It’s easy to get caught up in the marketing hype of nutrition fads, but how do we separate fact from fiction? 

Start with the facts.

There are some foods that have always been touted to contribute to a healthy, well-balanced diet. Lean proteins, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, consumed in moderation, are usually all mentioned when discussing a healthy diet. A healthy eating routine avoids sugars and includes low-fat and low sodium choices, and stays within your daily recommended calorie intake. Indulging in your favorite comfort food or treat once in a while is okay, if you balance it with healthy foods and more physical activity.[1]

Buzz Words & Trends

Superfoods. Juice bars. Acai. Antioxidants. Gluten-free. Organic. These are buzz words we can find in marketing campaigns, online magazines, and celebrity social media sites these days. It can be challenging to separate the hype from the potential value of these foods in our diet. 

Superfoods & Antioxidants: Superfoods are rich in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, a compound that protects the body against oxidation and inflammation. They include spinach, acai, blueberries, beans, flax seeds, nuts (especially almonds), olive oil, quinoa, and of course, kale.

Juice Bars & Acai/Fruit Bowls: Some of the superfoods have become popular because of the flexibility they offer. With more juice bars popping up in local neighborhoods and cities, it’s easier than ever before to get delicious smoothies and fruit bowls full of important superfoods, usually combined with delicious ingredients that can mask the taste of the nutritious but, sometimes, less-appealing flavors.

Gluten-free: Peoplewhoare allergic to gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) or have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease (which is caused by a reaction to gluten) should follow a gluten-free diet, but is it healthier for all of us? No. People without gluten sensitivities may be missing out on important nutrients and fiber by following a gluten-free diet. If you have concerns about your food sensitivities, discuss it with your doctor to find the solution that best meets your specific needs.

Organic: People are often drawn to organic foods because of the health value to ourselves, our families, and the environment. The lack of synthetic pesticides and artificial fertilizers in organic foods can compel us to pay a little more for these products. It’s important to note that to be considered officially “organic,” the food must adhere to certain regulations and parameters set by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Before changing your diet or getting caught up in the hype of a new trend in nutrition, please discuss your concerns and health goals with your physician. Research the true value behind the headlines and buzz words to determine which foods you should really incorporate into your daily nutrition plan.

 

 



 [1] Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; cdc.gov