Health Tips > Prevention Plus > Establishing a Clear Connection Between Nutrition and Health

Establishing a Clear Connection Between Nutrition and Health

View All Section Pages

Establishing a Clear Connection Between Nutrition and Health

The relationship between nutrition and health is simple—good nutrition promotes good health. Everyone wants to protect their health and ward off chronic disease, and though we often turn to medications and supplements to accomplish these goals, we sometimes gloss over all of the other options we have. Cooper Clinic recommends making healthy food choices most of the time as part of its eight health guidelines to Get Cooperized™.

Good Nutrition: What Does It Mean?
"Eating healthy involves choosing foods that give you energy and help you feel good, as well as protect you from diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes," says Patty Kirk, RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. "Fruits and vegetables really form the foundation."

Though Kirk says fruits and vegetables should take up half of your plate at each meal, there are a variety of other options.

Load up half of your plate with one-quarter each of:

  • Lean proteins. This includes lean cuts of beef, fish and skinless poultry. If you're a vegetarian or simply want to cut down on animal-based foods, consider beans, nuts, eggs and soy.
  • Whole grains. Whole-wheat breads, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta are staple choices for fiber and cholesterol-lowering grains. But remember to add variety—try quinoa, bulgur or oatmeal.

Variety is a key element of good nutrition because it prevents boredom. Even more importantly, it ensures your body gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and ward off disease.

Good Nutrition is Necessary
Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, Founder and Chairman of Cooper Aerobics, once thought exercise was a cure-all and diet was negotiable when it came to good health. Now, research has shown exercise is only part of a total wellness program.

"You can't eliminate the importance of a healthy diet," Dr. Cooper explains. “While there is no panacea for preventing heart disease, nutrition is a major part of that.”

Fruits, Veggies and You
"The bottom line is colorful fruits and vegetables are packed with powerful chemicals, phytochemicals and antioxidants that are essential to good health," says Kirk. "They're low-fat and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals."

Fruits and vegetables are proven to protect health. "We now know they actually play a role in lowering blood pressure and protecting against heart disease and certain cancers. Every day people are learning more about the research that supports what fruits and vegetables do for our body," says Kirk.

It's All About Moderation
Your body needs you to make healthy choices—most of the time. That doesn't mean you have to completely give up birthday cake or your favorite potato chips. It's not sustainable, and it's just plain not fun.

"For us, healthy eating is not about deprivation, but all about moderation," stresses Kirk. She recommends that you eat healthy 80 percent of the time, and 20 percent of the time "allow yourself a few indulgences. You need to enjoy your favorite foods and by allowing yourself that, it makes life more enjoyable."

Kirk tells patients to practice her moderation motto with these simple rules for healthy eating:

  1. It must be nutrition you can live with.
  2. It must be mentally manageable.
  3. It's not about deprivation, but moderation.

Forget looking for quick-fix, all-or-nothing diets or the latest medical breakthroughs. When it comes to the secret of healthy eating, it’s all about moderation.

You don’t have to figure out the food maze alone. For more information about getting started on your path to healthy eating, visit the Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services website or call 972.560.2655.

To learn more about the 8 Steps to Get Cooperized developed by Dr. Cooper, click here.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.