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Home arrow COMMUNITY arrow Health & Fitness arrow Simple steps to healthier diet


Simple steps to healthier diet

March is, among other things, National Colorectal Cancer Month, National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Month, National Kidney Month and National Nutrition Month. While all may be important topics, let’s explore nutrition.

Your daily choices of what you do or don’t put in your mouth are central to your health. There exists endless studies, diets and experts, all with varying degrees of usefulness and accuracy. Foods aren’t merely energy to our bodies, but may supply the raw materials and even information for our bodies to remain healthy. The right food choices can be the difference between health and disease.

Foods affect us in many ways. So some knowledge will help to make healthier choices. While each of us has some unique needs, there are many valid general

Try to consume a predominantly whole food, minimally processed, locally produced diet. Organic foods reduce exposure to various toxic chemicals and can be very important. Some foods are grown with more chemicals than others. Prevention magazine, among others, lists the most contaminated foods, including beef, pork, poultry, dairy, strawberries, cherries, apples, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach and other greens, coffee and grapes. We are very fortunate to have local ranchers and farmers who may offer healthier versions of these foods. Try to take reasonable steps toward a healthier diet.

Adults need about 60 to 80 grams daily of protein from nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, fish, low-fat dairy, lean meat and poultry. Replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats such as olive, grape seed and canola oil. Walnuts, salmon, tuna and avocados also contain healthy fats. Get carbohydrates from whole grains and vegetables, not products containing white flour or sugars. 

If you buy non-organic produce, washing or peeling will reduce your exposure to chemicals. For many practical reasons, making changes in your nutrition can be challenging, so start slow and enjoy.

If you buy packaged foods, read labels. You will be educated and amazed. Seek foods with shorter lists of ingredients and words you recognize. 

Many processed foods contain non-food ingredients intended to make a product look or taste like real food or increase shelf life. Some additives may be harmless, some are not.

Enjoy these “super-foods”: dark chocolate, garlic, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, fruit, berries, wild salmon, olive oil, walnuts, coffee, coconut oil, flax and chia seeds, eggs, sweet potatoes, red wine, oats, brown rice, brightly colored vegetables and tea.

Dr. John Winters is a naturopathic doctor and owns Winters Naturopathic Clinic in La Grande.


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