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Top Tips for Your Healthiest Spring!

By: Sarah Heffron, MEd, RD, LD

The following tips are not only shown to help prevent chronic disease, they also help you FEEL BETTER! Fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to work properly will allow for your mind to work better, your body to move easier and your mood to perk up, too!

Tip #1: Limit High-Calorie, Low-Nutrient Foods
Reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and fats that don’t provide fuel your body can use. They can provide a lot of calories and leave your body deficient in the nutrients it really needs. Although these foods are tempting and some may be tasty, they aren’t necessary. We need to make a choice to fuel our body with what it really needs.

Tip #2: Eat More Vegetables, Whole Grains, Legumes & Fruits
Plants are not processed. They are picked, cleaned and eaten… simple as that. There are so many components in plants that have protective roles in our body. Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and make at least half of your carbohydrate choices come from whole grains. Choosing a wide variety (of colors) of non-processed foods will ensure you are getting nutrient-rich fuel for your body.

Tip #3: Eat Smaller Portions of Meat
There are numerous studies suggesting a link between intake of red meats (especially processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs, deli meats and ham, etc.) and increased rates of colon cancer. Following the plate method allows you to enjoy a quarter of your plate filled with protein. By doing so, you will the other quarter of your plate with a whole grain carbohydrate and then half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables.

Tip #4: Power Up with Plant Proteins
Shifting your protein intake to mostly plant proteins rather than animal proteins is associated with a decreased rate of many cancers. Think of foods including lentils, beans, nuts, tofu and temph.

Tip #5: Limit or Avoid Alcohol
Though research isn’t clear on exactly how alcohol effects risk for cancers, the evidence indicates all types of alcohol increase risk for many cancers including colon, rectal, breast, liver, esophageal, laryngeal, pharyngeal and mouth cancers. This risk is greater when alcohol is combined with smoking. If you consume alcohol, the following are recommendations for consumption. Women: No more than one drink per day. Men: No more than two drinks per day. A serving is five fluid ounces of wine, 12 fluid ounces of beer or 1 1/2 fluid ounces of liquor.

Tip #6: Whole Foods For All
Your best bet for reducing cancer and chronic disease in general is to eat mostly whole foods. Limiting processed foods will supply your body with the most nourishing and protective nutrients.