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HealthWatch-National Nutrition Month

Every week, we bring you health tips and medical advice from Rapid City's top experts.
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 1:14 AM MDT
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There’s not any doubt that a lot of people don’t pay any attention to their diet. March is the perfect month to try to turn that around. Monument Health clinical dietitian Donna Riley has some ideas in this week’s edition of HealthWatch.

“March is National Nutrition Month. There’s truth in the saying “You are what you eat”. 50% of Americans have a chronic disease related to nutrition, diseases such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, colon and breast cancer. The advice of many health organizations is that we focus on eating whole foods rather than on specific nutrients like protein fat and carb. Whole foods are those that are not processed at all or are minimally processed. Whole foods often come in the package that nature gave them. Examples are apples, oranges, bananas, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, brown rice and wheat berries. Examples of whole protein based foods are legumes, lentils, lean beef, chicken, eggs. Examples of minimally processed foods are frozen & cooked vegetables without added salt or sauces, canned fruit without added sugar, Old Fashioned Oats without added sugar,& whole grain noodles. Foods that are more highly processed typically come in a man-man package such as a bag or a box and typically have a long list of ingredients. Often this means the food has been altered in some way from its original form in nature; the fiber may have been removed, salt, sugar or fats have been added. Example: Sweet potato vs sweet potato chips Whole brown rice vs rice puffs. Skinless chicken breast vs chicken tenders, lean pork chop vs bacon/sausage or a hotdog. A healthy eating pattern is one that focuses on eating more whole foods and fewer processed foods. So in summary, eat more whole foods, fewer processed foods and eating more plant based foods as part of a healthy eating pattern. I’m Donna Riley with HealthWatch.”