Good Health and Well-Being

By: Jose Lozano

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What to eat?

Focus on whole fruits. Whole fruits include fresh, frozen, dried, and canned options. Choose whole fruits more often than 100% fruit juice. Vary your veggies. Vegetables are divided into five subgroups and include dark-green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), starchy vegetables, and other vegetables. Choose vegetables from all subgroups. Vary your protein routine. Protein foods include both animal (seafood, meat, poultry, and eggs) and plant sources (nuts, beans and peas, seeds, and soy products). Choose a variety of lean protein foods from both plant and animal sources. Move to low-fat or fat free milk and yogurt. Dairy includes milk, yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified soy beverages (soy milk). Choose fat-free (skim) and low fat (1%) dairy foods.

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Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarians can have a hard time getting all of the vitamins and minerals that they require. Here are some ways to obtain those. Vitamin B-12 is used to help prevent anemia. Eggs and dairy foods have the most B12. You can get B12 from these foods: eggs, milk, yogurt, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, and other dairy products, foods that have B12 added to them. You also need vitamin D for bone health. You can get vitamin D from sun exposure. But you should limit sun exposure due to skin cancer concerns. Depending on where you live and other factors you most likely will not be able to get enough from sun exposure. You can get vitamin D from these foods: fatty fish, such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, egg yolks, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D. Zinc is important for the immune system and cell growth, especially in teens. Your body does not absorb zinc from plant foods as well as from meat and other animal foods. You can get zinc from these foods: chickpeas, beans, almonds, peanuts, cashews, oysters, and crabs.

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Food Safety

The food supply in the United States is among the safest in the world, but it can still be a source of infection for people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne infection and illness in the United States each year. Many of these people are children, older adults, or have weakened immune systems and may not be able to fight infection normally. Four important steps to food safety are to wash your hands and surfaces often, separate raw meats from other foods, cook to the right temperatures, and refrigerate foods promptly.

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Physical Activity

Physical activity is essential for people of all ages. Children ranging from 6-17 years old should do 60 minutes of exercise 3 days a week. Adults ranging from 0-64 years old should be doing exercise 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise a week. Strength training in every major muscle group is recommended. If you are over 65 years old and have no limiting health conditions you should also do 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise in a week at least to keep strengthening your muscles. Pregnant women should also do at least 150 minutes of exercise in a week, but it may be hard to do for long periods of time, so exercising for only 10 minutes at a time is fine.

Supplements

When it comes to dietary supplements, if you are pregnant, nursing a baby, or have a chronic medical condition, such as, diabetes, hypertension or heart disease, you should always check with your physician, healthcare provider or pharmacist before purchasing or taking any supplement. A common misconception is that dietary supplements can serve as meal replacements, but most of the food one consumes in a day should come from whole foods.