Healthy Eating Tips from the USDA
The USDA has gotten rid of the food pyramid. They developed six steps to healthy eating to be released along with the new food plate icon:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Eating more of these foods can save your life. A study of more that 313,000 men and women reported earlier this year that for each extra serving of these fruits and vegetables people ate daily, risk of fatal cardiovascular disease shrank by four percent. People who ate at least eight 2.8-ounce servings a day had a 25 percent lower risk than those who consumed fewer than three portions. Eating more fruits and vegetables helps you slim down, since these nutrient-rich, low-cal foods are filling.
- Avoid supersized portions. One simple trick that helps with portion control is to use smaller plates. 12-inch plates are now commonplace—and a factor in the obesity epidemic. Switching to an 8-inch plate could help shrink your waistline and risk for chronic diseases.
- Enjoy tasty meals, but eat less. An ongoing study of Okinawans, who have one of the world’s highest rates of people living to age 100 and beyond, reveals a key factor in why they live so long: the cultural practice of “hara hachi bu,” only eating until they feel 80 percent full.
- Switch to low-fat or fat-free dairy products. You’ll get the calcium and vitamin D (in fortified products) that you need to maintain strong bones with fewer calories.
- Read labels and pick foods with less sodium. While the government urges shaking the salt habit, there’s now medical debate about how helpful this is for people without high blood pressure—a disorder that affects one in three American adults. In May, a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association reported that healthy people who consume the least sodium don’t have any heart-health advantage over those who eat the most. However, the findings are controversial and some nutritionists question the methodology.
- Quench thirst with water instead of sweet drinks. Not only are sugary beverages fattening, but a recent study linked them to 14,000 new cases of heart disease, 75,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes, and 7,000 premature deaths over the past decade. What’s more, swigging just two sugary drinks a day hikes diabetes risk by 26 percent—an excellent reason to shun soda and wash down your next meal with a cool, refreshing glass of water.
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