March is National Nutrition Month, and I have some fantastic tips for you.
The first is an opportunity to purchase fresh, high-quality produce at a dramatically reduced cost through the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op.
Beginning Monday, you can place an order at www.bountifulbaskets.org. Then, every other week, you can pick up your produce at 9 a.m. Saturdays at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. If you’re interested, check out the website for details or call me for more information.
Any way that a family can increase the consumption of quality fruits and vegetables at co-op pricing year-round is worth knowing about. As you read on, you will see why I am so excited about this additional option for high-quality produce at an affordable price.
Years ago, while working as clinical dietitian, I was jolted when a friend identified nutrition as a form of alternative medicine. Through the years, I have appreciated the truth of this statement more and more.
Research is identifying inflammation’s link to various diseases and identifying important inflammatory biomarkers. Those biomarkers are directly connected to how nutrients promote and combat inflammatory processes.
Mary Franz, head research dietitian at Harvard University, identified direct links to proinflammatory nutrients in the February edition of Today’s Dietitian. For example, metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease as well as Type 2 diabetes. Prolonged chronic inflammation and increased circulation of proinflammatory cytokines worsens insulin resistance, impairs glucose tolerance and leads to abnormal lipid levels.
Inflammatory processes are a driving force behind the atherosclerotic plaque development that increases the risk for stroke or heart attack. Inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease are associated with increased risk of colon cancer. Rheumatoid arthritis is another autoimmune disease marked by increased synovial tissue in joints that leads to inflammation and joint damage.
Here’s my list of 10 food choices that can reduce inflammation throughout the body. Pick out one or two and start slowly. Trying them all on at once is a recipe for disaster. Just take it slow – bit by bit and bite by bite!
Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Start by adding at least one more serving daily with a goal of four to five cups daily particularly orange, yellow, purple and deep green sources.
Use olive oil as much as possible for cooking, sautéing and salad dressings. Virgin olive oil has more inflammation fighting antioxidants than the refined versions.
Snack on nuts (dry roasted or fresh) such as walnuts and almonds.
Eat more whole grains, such as oatmeal.
Eat fatty fish, such as wild salmon, at least twice a week to increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids.
Decrease the amount of fast food you eat. Better fast-food options include grilled meats or salads.
Switch out white potatoes every so often with sweet potatoes.
Cut way down on sweetened drinks (such as juice, soda, sports drinks and punch).
Eat lentils and beans at least once a week.
And my personal favorite: Munch on dark chocolate and fresh berries, which are loaded with antioxidants. One small piece of good-quality dark chocolate can satisfy a craving for sweets.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6461. Wendy Rice is family and consumer science agent for the La Plata County Extension Office.