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In 2010, eating healthy still matters.

Does it really matter what you eat?  Does it really have an impact on your health?  The answer is an emphatic “yes”.  There is plentiful of evidence that the food we eat does have an impact on our health—especially our risk of developing cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity, and the myriad of medical problems associated with these conditions.  All of these conditions can negatively impact the length and quality of your life.

In brief, here are some simple ways to eat for good health:

  • Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Have at least one serving at each meal – an orange or banana with breakfast (whole fruit is better than juice), celery sticks or baby carrots for lunch, steamed broccoli/cauliflower blend or a salad for supper.
  • Take larger portions, filling half your plate with vegetables or fruit.
  • When snacking, choose fruits or vegetables instead of cookies or chips.

There are several reasons why fruits and vegetables are beneficial for human health:

  • Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect against cancer.
  • Their fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels - another Healthy Living Rochester personal goal - thereby lowering your risk of heart disease. 
  • They are low in sodium, which can help to control blood pressure, another  Healthy Living Rochester personal goal.
  • Choose lean meats and low fat dairy products.
    • These products are just as high in protein and calcium as their full fat counterparts, with only half the calories and less than half the blood vessel clogging saturated fat.
    • Skinless chicken breast, skim milk and fat free yogurt are good examples.
    • Seasonings and flavorings added to these foods provide an extensive variety of tasty options.
    • Fatty fish like salmon, while a bit higher in fat, contain a  form of fat -- omega-3 fat -- which actually makes your blood vessels healthier.
  • Watch food labels.
    • The fat content in some products is not always obvious, so check out the label. Look for foods with 3 grams or less of fat per 100 calories and choose items that have less than 2 grams of saturated fat.
  • Watch food at restaurants.
    • Healthy food tastes great if prepared correctly.  Unfortunately when dining out, available food options are flavored with extra fat and salt.  While these added substances are an easy way to make food taste good, it's unhealthy way.
    • Choose menu items that are broiled, grilled or baked.  Today most restaurants offer such options.
    • The more often you ask for healthy options at restaurants, the more likely the consumer will see more healthy items on menus.

What we choose to eat does impact our health.  Choose wisely and enjoy the healthy consequences!