As the mounting research on nutrition science continues to grow, we are learning new ways in which the foods we eat affects our immune system, mood, hormones, autoimmune flair-ups, heart health, energy levels, cancer risk and even cognition. Consider some of these striking findings on the power of food on the body’s function:
Fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and have been associated with good heart health and support healthy brain development of babies when consumed during pregnancy and lactation by moms. Incorporate 2 servings of fish a week in meals.
Pistachios and other foods high plant sterols help block cholesterol consumed during a meal. Incorporate a variety of nuts, seeds, vegetables and oils on a daily basis to sneak these powerful substances into your diet for cholesterol-lowering effects.
Turmeric spice contains a compound called curcumin that’s an antioxidant known for its anti-inflammatory, cancer-preventing effects. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of conditions including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and autoimmune conditions such as arthritis. While there are a number of potential dietary, lifestyle and physiological contributors to inflammation, incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods may be a promising strategy to prevent or help manage some inflammatory conditions. Flavor roasted cashews or your stir fry with turmeric spice. Include black pepper and a source of fat such as olive oil to increase the absorption of curcumin.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt and kimchi contain probiotics, live bacteria that are good for your digestive system. And it doesn’t stop there, emerging evidence suggests that the bacteria in our intestines and our “gut health” may have an effect on everything from mental health, allergies to weight status and some autoimmune conditions. Enjoy yogurt for breakfast, sneak kimchi on a sandwich or miso in your soup!
Eggs, oh eggs. While the yolk often get a bad rap, it often goes unsaid that they contains small amounts of nearly every vitamin and mineral the body needs. Eggs are also an excellent source of protein. Sneak a boiled egg into breakfast or an on-the-go snack for a filling option that won’t spike blood sugar.
And while there’s a lot of goodness in the above foods, incorporating a variety of fresh, colorful foods in meals and snacks that pack a nutrient punch will give you the most bang for your buck on health benefits.
Want to get started promoting all those juicy benefits of a healthy diet to your employees? Check out the National Nutrition Month® Celebration Toolkit developed by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for key messages, event ideas and promotional materials!
The Health Management team at Marsh & McLennan Agency also provides a number of nutrition-related services and we can help you decide which may be the best option for your employees.