Health Watch -- Improving Your Diet

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

What can you do this month to improve your diet - and your health?

March is National Nutrition Month, sponsored by the American Dietetic Association. Here's one way you can make a change in your diet that will help improve your health.

Your diet can affect your risk for heart disease and cancer, and your diet makes a big difference in how you'll age. Clogged arteries and weakened bones both have something to do with the way you eat.

Nutrition experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say you don't have to make sudden or drastic changes. Moderation is the key. If your diet is nutritionally sound and your calorie intake is balanced with the amount of energy you use, you can afford treats from time to time, especially if you incorporate exercise into your lifestyle.

It can be difficult to follow a "diet" because diet plans usually focus on eliminating foods from your diet. Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian who teaches at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, says a more positive change is to add healthy foods to your diet. Concentrate on eating more foods from the bottom of the food-guide pyramid, such as whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

If you add healthy foods you're not currently eating, then you may be less hungry for other foods that aren't as beneficial. Variety is another key. You're more likely to get all the nutrients you need when you eat a varied diet.


March 2004