National Nutrition Month
Besides being decked out in green for St. Patrick’s Day and bringing in the spring season, March is designated as National Nutrition Month! What does that mean? The power of informed food choices, formation of healthy eating habits and physical activity are highlighted during this nutrition education campaign. Think you are already a nutrition guru? Check out our TOP FIVE mythbusting picks for enlightening your noggin in nutrition!
MYTH #1: Nutrients in organic foods are always present in higher amounts than conventional counterparts.
Recent studies on this matter have had inconsistent findings, especially when comparing the same nutrients in the same crops, but those that DO claim a difference only show marginal increases in nutrients that are unlikely to result in evident health benefits. Some critics say it’s safer, but it is uncertain whether or not they are higher in nutrition. **To lower risk of pesticide exposure, wash in a mixture of water and salt/vinegar, peel off the skin, limit foods listed under the “Dirty Dozen”.
MYTH#2: A low carb diet is the best diet.
Carbohydrate is a fancy word for sugar that the human body uses as the main energy source of our natural diet. Medical and nutritional guidelines show it should comprise 45-65% of daily nutrients. Many popular diets have focused on a low-carb trend, however, the most nutrient dense foods (fruits and vegetables) are filled with good carbs, called complex carbohydrates. **You can avoid the bad processed carbs by making sure your nutrition label lists “Whole” grain as the first ingredient. Without the “whole,” you are missing the most important nutrients that are stripped from food during refining/processing. These “bad” carbs are commonly found in the middle aisles of the grocery store.
MYTH#3: Plants don’t have proteins, which are the most important nutrient.
All plants contain protein! Plants tend to be comprised of at least 14% total protein, and plenty of recent evidence suggests that a plant-based diet easily meets recommended daily requirements of 10 % (which is even half of the lower limit of 20% for fat intake). **Substituting some of your animal proteins with plant proteins are shown to prevent and help fight chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Examples of plants with higher levels of protein include: lentils, beans, dark leafy greens (like kale and spinach), broccoli, peas and so much more!
MYTH#4: All fats are bad, including cholesterol.
Just like carbs, fats come in good and bad forms. Unsaturated fats (mono and poly) are the “good” types (mostly found in nuts/seeds, fish as well as plant oils), saturated fats are suggested in moderation (dairy and meats), and trans fats (in processed foods) should be avoided as much as possible. Avocado is one of the only fruits with mono and polyunsaturated fats, hence it’s classification as a healthy superfood! Cholesterol is essential for survival given that it forms the basis of our hormones, vitamins, and even for structural support in our cell walls. According to Harvard Health, the mix of carbs and fats determine our levels of cholesterol, not the amount of cholesterol present in our foods.
MYTH#5: Eating too many fruits is not good for my blood sugar.
Natural sugars in fruits are essential for balancing blood sugar levels, even for Diabetics, whereas artificial sugars cause blood sugar levels to spike and throw off our body’s internal balance. Remember, 4 servings a day of fruit and vegetables are recommended and most Americans are not even close to attaining that, so worry less about eating too much and more about eating enough!
Click on the image below to find additional tips for eating right, the easy way!