Food: Your Best Bet to Better Health

(ARA) – Americans are giving a clear indication that one way they can improve their health and reduce the risk of disease is through food. 

Eighty-nine percent of Americans agreed that certain foods have benefits that go beyond basic nutrition, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s (IFIC) “2009 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes toward Food, Nutrition and Health.” That’s a significant increase from just two years ago. 
“This year’s survey findings prove that Americans are demanding more from the food and beverages they consume to achieve better, overall health,” says Amy Hess-Fischl, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the University of Chicago. “As we see an influx of functional consumer products hit the grocery shelves, it’s important to make sure consumers understand the benefits.” 

Hess-Fischl looks at the new trends in functional foods and beverages and explains how they benefit your health. 

Fortified water 
Fortified waters are a great tool for achieving proper hydration while also providing your body with some added nutrients. One new product, Fruit2O Essentials, is a zero-calorie fortified water that provides some of the vitamins, minerals and fiber found in two servings of fruit. According to the IFIC survey, 90 percent of Americans don’t eat the recommended five servings of fruit a day, so fortified water like Fruit2O Essentials, can help consumers obtain some of those necessary nutrients throughout the day. 

Research shows that fiber may help prevent diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Fruits, vegetables, beans and bran cereals are great sources of fiber. Start your morning with a fiber-rich breakfast like blueberry or cranberry bran muffins to keep you fuller longer. 

Whole grains 
As the Dietary Guidelines for Americans say: make half of your grains whole. Eating three or more servings may reduce your risk of certain chronic conditions and may help manage your weight. Try items like 100 percent whole wheat bread, oatmeal or seven-grain wraps and flatbread. 

Calcium and vitamin D 
Calcium and vitamin D are important for the maintenance of strong, healthy bones. Recommended calcium levels are 1,000 mg per day and 1,200 mg per day if you are older than 50. Dairy products are a great source for calcium. Choose non-fat or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese products. 

Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats can help reduce risk of heart disease. Healthy fats and oils are important to support brain and body functions. The best sources are fatty fish like salmon, herring and sardines. 

Courtesy of ARAcontent