Talk About Nutrition
Lola A., MSN, RN
Food is food, right? Not so fast! Many of us understand what healthy eating is all about:
more fruits and vegetables, less fried food, less sugar, and so on. However, when it
comes to having good nutrition, many of us do not fully understand the benefit of good
nutrition and how to achieve that balance.
Nutrition is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle
In my 15 years as a registered nurse, I have encountered several patients with nutritionrelated
deficiencies who thought they were already doing everything right.
Unfortunately, many of these patients presented with chief complaints of bloating,
nausea, vomiting, dizziness, brain fog, constipation, and diarrhea. Upon assessment and
workup, it was discovered that they were eating too much or too little of a particular
food or food group due to their special diet causing them to miss vital nutrients. Unless
your doctor has advised you to avoid a specific type of food, you should try adding
foods from all food groups on your plate in proportion.
To avoid these pitfalls, I encourage you to assess your nutrition intake today. Since
healthy eating means something different for everybody, I use the healthy eating
pyramid from the Harvard University Department of Nutrition to find the balance that
works for me. These foods can also help you ensure you are getting the nutrients your
Eat healthy Carbs. Choose whole grains. They have natural fiber and are packed with
vitamins and antioxidants for energy and help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. In
addition, our nutrition experts advise patients to avoid refined carbs.
Eat plenty of proteins for strength, help with digestion, maintain a healthy weight, and
repair body tissue. In addition, studies show that high protein intake can help improve
Vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of fiber. They can help reduce the risk of eye
and digestive problems and reduce the risk of heart disease. Keep fruits and vegetables
near where you can see them. Research shows that we tend to eat more of whatever
food we keep near us.
Choose healthy fats and oils to cook with such as olive and canola oils and eat foots
high in monosaturated and polysaturated fats such as avocados, nuts, and flaxseed.
Dairy products are an excellent source of protein and calcium and should be included in
daily diet. Of course if you are unable to eat dairy products due to lactose intolerance or
allergy, there are other nutritious alternatives such as almond, soy, or coconut milk.
Always use alcohol sparingly and drink plenty of water. Recommendations for alcohol
suggest that women consume less than one alcoholic beverage per day and less than
two alcoholic beverages per day for men. To learn more about what constitutes a
healthy portion size of alcohol visit the following site: Facts about moderate drinking | CDC.
Preparing your own food can help you ensure you get the proper nutrients. You can prep
your food for the week, cook in batches to save time, and prepare your food in different
ways, so you do not become bored. Eating should be something we enjoy.
I recommend filling any nutritional gaps, with a daily multivitamin. I encourage you to
talk to your doctor first, however, before starting any multivitamins to ensure you take
the correct amount and type of vitamin or supplement.
You can find helpful nutrition information on:
World Health Organization (WHO) – Nutrition
American dietary guidelines (DGA) website
US Department of Agriculture (USDA)