Better Nutrition

How much fruits and vegetables do we need every day?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables daily.
A recent study of two million adults found that consuming at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables — or a 5 a day approach as it is known popularly — could help reduce the risk of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. Two servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables could get the job done, according to the study published in the AHA journal Circulation.

What is a serving of fruits and vegetables?

As a general rule, 1/2 cup of a fruit or vegetable is considered one serving, according to the American Heart Association. If you're eating a whole fruit, one serving would be roughly the size of a baseball. One-half cup of fruit or vegetable juice can also count as one serving.  See below:
One Medium Fruit
approximate size
Fresh, Frozen or Canned Fruit
Dried Fruit
Fruit Juice**
Raw Leafy Vegetable
Fresh, Frozen or Canned Vegetable
Vegetable Juice**
*Recommended daily goal based on 2,000 calorie/day eating pattern.
**Fruit and vegetable juices can be part of a healthy diet. One serving of 100 percent juice can fulfill one of your recommended daily servings or fruits and vegetables, but watch for calories and added sugars or sodium. Choose 100 percent juice (or 100  juice and water) instead of sweetened juice or juice drinks. 
How much water should you consume everyday?
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. 
You might need to modify your total fluid intake based on several factors:
Exercise. If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It's important to drink water before, during and after a workout.
Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.
Overall health. Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor's recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, you may need additional fluids to stay hydrated. 
How do I know if I'm drinking enough?
Your fluid intake is probably adequate if:
-You rarely feel thirsty
-Your urine is colorless or light yellow                                                                                                                   
Your doctor or dietitian can help you determine the amount of water that's right for you every day.
To prevent dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It's a good idea to drink a glass of water:
-With each meal and between meals
-Before, during and after exercise
-If you feel thirsty
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Myths and Misconceptions About Nutrition

Here are a few:


>>Meat Does Not Rot in Your Colon 

It is completely false that meat rots in the colon.  The human body is well equipped to digest and absorb all the important nutrients found in meat.  

>>Eggs Are Among The Healthiest Foods You Can Eat

Eggs were unfairly demonized because the yolks are high in cholesterol.  However, studies show that cholesterol from  eggs doesn't raise blood cholesterol in the majority of people.  The truth is, eggs are among the healthiest and most nutritious foods you can eat.

>>Sugary Drinks Are The Most Fattening Aspect of The Modern Diet

Added sugar is a disaster, and getting it in liquid form is even worse.  The problem with liquid sugar, is that your brain doesn't compensate for the calories by eating less of other foods (7).  In other words, these calories don't get "registered"  by the brain, making you eat more calories overall (8).  Of all the junk foods, sugar-sweetened beverages are the MOST fattening of all!

>>For more nutrition clarifications click here


50 Healthy Food Swaps:  Smart substitutions that will help you look better, feel better, and slim down, too!             


Instead of Cinnamon raisin bagel
TRY 2 mini–cinnamon raisin bagels
Why? Trading volume for quantity makes you feel like you're eating more, so you'll never even notice that you've nixed 181 calories.

Instead of Nonfat strawberry yogurt
TRY Nonfat Greek yogurt with sliced fresh strawberries
Why? Creamy Greek-style yogurt has nearly twice the protein of traditional yogurt; fresh berries and antioxidants.



Instead of Smoked turkey and Cheddar on a baguette

TRY Natural sliced turkey with roasted peppers on a whole-wheat baguette
Why? You'll banish cancer-causing compounds found in smoked foods and add protective antioxidants.

Instead of Chicken salad sandwich made with regular mayo
TRY Tuna salad sandwich made with canola oil mayonnaise
Why? You'll get a double dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fats.



Instead of Chicken cutlets sautéed in corn oil with a side of roasted potatoes
TRY Chicken cutlets sautéed in canola oil with roasted cauliflower
Why? Canola oil provides more omega-3s than most other cooking oils, and cauliflower is loaded with phytochemicals that protect against carcinogens.

Instead of Steak fajitas with flour tortillas
TRY Shrimp fajitas with corn tortillas
Why? You'll save 400 calories and 22 fat grams, and trade saturated fat for heart-smart omega-3s.

Click here for more healthy food swaps


Healthy Eating Tips for Keeping This Year's Nutrition Resolutions


Reduce your sugar intake, little by little.

Why?  It doesn't exist in nature.  sugar is a highly concentrated food.  Your body is designed to get its sugars slowly from the complex foods we eat; it is not designed to handle the high amount of sugar that enters it every time you gulp down a    soda.  Weight Gain: sugar will cause you to gain weight. And this is not only because sugar contains calories, but because sugar is unique and your body handles it differently than other foods.   Harmful to blood vessels: Sugar destroys blood vessels. You can see the evidence for this in diabetics where blood vessel damage is responsible for all the common diseases that diabetics have, including heart disease, stroke, loss of vision.


Incorporate more probiotics and prebiotics into your diet.

Why?  Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible food components that are linked to promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. The best choices are: bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, and whole-wheat breads. Probiotics are active cultures that help change or repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance gut flora.  The best sources are yogurts, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh. Learn more about pre and probiotics here.


Prepare your food.

Why?  Having your meals on hand during the day means you don’t have to go to the local cafe for food. This not only saves you time, but also your waistline. You have full control over the portions and ingredients. Another major advantage of planning and prepping your meals: saving money. Skip the $15 a day you spend on a salad covered in croutons and unknown dressing, and you’ll pocket $75 a week.


For more tips go to:


About Cholesterol                                                                 

Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like substance found in the bloodstream and in all your body's cells. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL or 'bad') cholesterol can join with fats and other substances to build up in the inner walls of your arteries. The arteries can become clogged and narrow, and blood flow is reduced. High-density lipoprotein (HDL or 'good') carries harmful cholesterol away from the arteries and helps protect you from heart attack and stroke.

Cholesterol comes from two sources. Your body (specifically your liver) makes all the cholesterol you need. The rest you get from foods from animals. For example, meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products contain cholesterol (called dietary cholesterol). More importantly, these foods are high in saturated and trans fat. That’s a problem because these fats cause your liver to make more cholesterol than it otherwise would. For some people, this added production means they go from a normal cholesterol level to one that’s unhealthy.     

Learn more about cholesterol here:


12 Foods that Lower Cholesterol: 

Avocados, red grapes, fresh garlic, chocolate, oatmeal, black tea, nuts, tumeric, lentils, olive oil, flaxseed, and egg plant to name a few.  Learn more about these and other foods you can eat to lower your cholesterol here.


What happens to my body if I eat too much sodium? 

In most people, the kidneys have trouble keeping up with the excess sodium in the bloodstream. As sodium accumulates, the body holds onto water to dilute the sodium. This increases both the amount of fluid surrounding cells and the volume of blood in the bloodstream. Increased blood volume means more work for the heart and more pressure on blood vessels. Over time, the extra work and pressure can stiffen blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. It can also lead to heart failure. There is also some evidence that too much salt can damage the heart, aorta, and kidneys without increasing blood pressure, and that it may be bad for bones, too. 


How much sodium should/can I consume each day?                           The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.  Because the average American eats so much excess sodium, even cutting back by 1,000 milligrams a day can significantly improve blood pressure and heart health.  And remember, more than 70 percent of the sodium Americans eat comes from packaged, prepared and restaurant foods — not the salt shaker.


25 Best Foods to Eat for Muscle Definition and Toning These superfoods will help you get cut, and fast!  Click here

6 Tips For Eating Healthy On A Budget
1.  Plan your recipes
2.  Shop with a list
3.  Buy frozen or canned fruits and vegetables
4.  Cut costs with coupons
5.  Buy store brand products
6.  Try growing a garden
Learn More Here
Note:  Diabetes meal plans for healthy eating are not one size fits all. Work with a diabetes care and education specialist to create a meal plan that fits your health needs, tastes, and budget. They’re there to help you make healthy food choices that work with your eating plan. Eating healthy to manage diabetes doesn’t have to be a hassle, and best of all, doesn’t have to break the bank.  TrustWellness offers a free diabetes management program for CSD Insurance Trust members and their dependents called Livongo.  Register here to see if you qualify.

Coronavirus: how to keep your gut microbiome healthy to fight COVID-19

When it comes to fighting coronavirus, you already know that handwashing and avoiding those who may be sick are key precautions. But experts say that boosting your immune system may also give you an edge in fending off viruses and staying healthy through this sensitive time.  Gut (stomach) bacteria produce many beneficial chemicals and also activate vitamin A in food, which helps to regulate the immune system.  Eating a wide range of plant-based foods, which are high in fiber, and limiting ultra-processed foods including ALL junk food, has been shown to improve immunity. 
EAT:  plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains; healthy fats like high-quality extra virgin olive oil; and lean meat or fish.
AVOID:  alcohol, salt, sweets and sugary drinks, and artificial sweeteners or other additives.Here are
15 Powerful Foods You Need to Eat for Better Immunity:
1. Yogurt
Live yogurt is an excellent source of  probiotics. Look out for sugar-free, full-fat versions and add your own fruit for a tasty breakfast. 
2. Kefir
This is a probiotic yogurt drink is made by fermenting milk and is packed with good bacteria. 
3. Miso
Miso is made from fermented soya beans, plus barley or rice, and contains a range of goodies such as helpful bacteria and enzymes.
4. Sauerkraut
This is finely chopped cabbage that has been fermented. This great source of probiotics, fibre and vitamins 
5. Kimchi
This Korean speciality of fermented vegetables brings the benefits of probiotic bacteria along with vitamins and fibre. 
6. Sourdough
Made by fermenting the dough, it’s more digestible than regular bread and its energy releases slowly.
7. Almonds
These have good probiotic properties, which means they are a treat for your gut bacteria – high in fibre, and full of fatty acids and polyphenols. 
8. Olive oil
Gut bacteria and microbes like a diet of fatty acids and polyphenols. These are found in olive oil. Studies have shown that it helps reduce gut inflammation. 
9. Kombucha
This is a fermented tea drink full of probiotic good bacteria. 
10. Peas
Gut bacteria need fibre to flourish, peas are full of soluble and insoluble fibre to help keep your system in balance. 
11. Brussels sprouts
They contain the kinds of fibre that good bacteria like and sulphur compounds which help combat unhealthy bacteria.
12. Bananas
Full of the kind of fibre that good bacteria enjoy. They also contain healthy minerals.
13. Roquefort cheese
Live, runny, smelly French cheese will give your gut bacteria a boost – it is believed that other properties help preserve some bacteria during digestion.
14. Garlic
Garlic, with its antibacterial and antifungal properties, can help keep “bad” gut bacteria under control and help balance yeast in the gut. The properties within garlic act as a fuel source to allow the bacteria to do their job better which overall improves gut function.
15. Ginger
Fresh ginger can help in the production of stomach acid and it stimulates the digestive system to keep food moving through the gut. 
What You Need To Know About Nutrition

Added Sugar is a Disaster

It improves the taste of processed foods.  Common types of sugar are corn syrup and table sugar and added sugar contains empty calories

Omega-3 Fats Are Crucial and Most People Don’t Get Enough

There are three main types of omega-3 fats: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

ALA comes mostly from plant oils, while the best sources of EPA and DHA are fatty fish, fish oils and certain algal oils. Other good sources of EPA and DHA are grass-fed meat and omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs.

There is No Perfect Diet for Everyone

People are all unique. Subtle differences in genetics, body type, physical activity and environment can affect which type of diet you should follow.  Some people do best on a low-carb diet, while others are better off on a vegetarian high-carb diet.  The fact is what works for one person may not work for the next. To figure out what you should do, a little experimentation may be needed.

Artificial Trans Fats Are Very Unhealthy

Food producers often use hydrogenation to harden vegetable oils for use in products such as margarine.  A high intake of trans fats is associated with various chronic diseases, such as abdominal obesity, inflammation, and heart disease.

Eating Vegetables Will Improve Your Health

They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and an endless variety of trace nutrients that science has just begun to uncover.

It Is Critical to Avoid a Vitamin D Deficiency

If getting more sun is not an option, taking a vitamin D supplement or a tablespoon of cod liver oil each day is the best way to prevent or reverse a deficiency.

Refined Carbohydrates Are Bad for You

Unrefined carbs are basically whole foods that are rich in carbs. These include whole-grain cereals, beans, vegetables and fruits. Refined carbs, on the other hand, are sugar and refined flour.

Eating refined carbs will also cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. While high blood sugar levels are unhealthy for all people, they are a much greater concern in people with diabetes

Supplements Can Never Fully Replace Real Foods

“Nutritionism” is the idea that foods are nothing more than the sum of their individual nutrients.  The vitamins and minerals, the ones you can also get from a cheap multivitamin, are just a small part of the total amount of nutrients in foods. However, many supplements can be beneficial, especially those that contain nutrients that are generally lacking in the diet, like vitamin D.  Beneficial nutrients in the food are removed.  Not only do food producers remove healthy nutrients like fiber, but they also add other potentially harmful ingredients like added sugar and trans fats.
Additionally, processed foods are loaded with all sorts of artificial chemicals, some of which have a questionable safety profile.  Learn More At:

Build Healthy Eating Habits

  • Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables (3 or more servings a day).
  • Eat a variety of fruits (2 or more servings a day).
  • Eat whole-grain, high-fiber breads and cereals (3 to 6 servings a day). Reduce or eliminate refined or processed carbohydrates; most of the grains in your diet should be whole grains.
  • Drink fat-free or low-fat milk and eat low-fat dairy products.
  • Choose from a variety of low-fat sources of protein — including eggs, beans, poultry without skin, seafood, lean meats, unsalted nuts, seeds, and soy products. If you eat meat, eat white meat at least four times more often than red meat.
  • Reduce intake of saturated fats and trans-fats (such as partially hydrogenated oil) as much as possible.
  • Use vegetable oils (like olive or canola oil) instead of solid fats.
  • Reduce daily intake of salt or sodium. Reduce to less than 1,500 mg. per day if you are older than 50, or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
  • Restrict or eliminate "junk food" — foods that contain refined white flour, solid fats or trans fats, added sugars, and are high in sodium.
  • Restrict or eliminate sodas and other sugar-added drinks that are high in calories and contain few or no nutrients.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Drink only when it doesn't put you or anyone else at risk.
To learn more click here

What is a plant-based diet? pros and cons

fruit and vegetable snack board

A plant-based diet is one that focuses on plants, such as fruits, vegetables, tubers, seeds, legumes, and grains. People on plant-based diets typically avoid beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy, or eat them only in small quantities.  There is no official set of rules for how to follow a plant-based diet and there are several different varieties of eating plans. Vegetarian, vegan, raw food, Flexitarianpescatarian, Fruitarian, Engine 2 diet, and Mediterranean diets all fall under the plant-based diet umbrella, even though some may allow for small portions of fish, poultry, or dairy.  A 2018 study in the journal Clinical Cardiology found a plant-based diet reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, while a 2016 review of 42 meta-analyses found a significant association between increased consumption of red meat and cancer, especially with colorectal, lung, esophageal, and gastric malignancies.  To learn more about the pros and cons of a plant based diet click here.

Weight Loss And Fad Diets

Fad diets can cause health problems because they often cut out key foods, fad diets may cause the following symptoms:
-Weakness and fatigue.
-Nausea and headaches.
-Inadequate vitamin and mineral intake.
Fad diets that severely restrict food groups or nutrients may also mean that you miss out on the protective health effects that a balanced eating plan provides.