Dr. M.J. Bazos,
for Improving Your Health
Good health comes from eating a
well-balanced diet. This means making sure you regularly eat foods that have a
lot of vitamins and minerals in them, as well as foods that are not high in fat.
You should drink milk every day to give your bones the calcium that makes them
strong. Foods that are high in fiber are good for you, and you should try to eat
several fruits and vegetables every
Do I need to make changes in my
If you answer yes to any of the
following questions, you may need to talk about nutrition with your doctor:
- Has your doctor talked with you about a medical
problem or a risk factor, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol?
- Did your doctor tell you that this condition
could be improved by a change in your diet?
- Do diabetes, cancer, heart disease or
osteoporosis run in your family?
- Are you overweight or have you gained weight over
- Do you have questions about what kinds of foods
you should eat or whether you should take vitamins?
- Do you think that you would benefit from seeing a
- Won't it be hard to change my
Not necessarily. But
it will take time, so try not to get discouraged. The key is to keep trying to
eat the right foods and stay in touch with your doctor and nutritionist, to let
them know how you're doing. Here are a few suggestions to help you change your
Find the strong points and weak
points in your current diet. Do you eat 3 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables
every day? Do you get enough calcium? Do you eat high-fiber foods regularly? If
so, good! You're on the right track. Keep it up. If not, you can learn the
changes you need to make.
slow changes, instead of trying to make large, fast changes. This will make it
easier for the changes to become a part of your everyday life. Every few days,
keep track of your food intake by writing down what you ate and drank that day.
Use this record to help you see if you need to eat more from any food groups,
such as fruits, vegetables or dairy products. Think about asking for
help from a nutritionist, if you haven't already done so--especially if you have
a medical problem that requires you to follow a special
Can I trust nutrition
information I get from newspapers and
Nutrition tips from
different sources can sometimes conflict with each other. You should always
check with your doctor first. Also, keep in mind this advice: There is no "magic
bullet" when it comes to nutrition. There isn't one diet that works for every
person. You need to find a diet that works for you. Good nutrition
doesn't come in a vitamin pill. You can take a vitamin pill to be sure you're
getting enough vitamins and minerals, but your body benefits the most from
eating healthy foods. Eating all different kinds of foods is best for your body.
Learn to try new foods. Fad diets offer short-term changes, but good health
comes from long-term effort and commitment. Stories from people who have used a
diet program or product, especially in commercials and infomercials, are a way
to sell more of the product. Remember, weight gain or other problems that come
up after the program is over are never talked about in the
What changes can I make now in
Almost everyone can benefit
from cutting back on fat in their diet. If your current diet is high in fat, try
making these changes:
- Eat 3 to 4 servings of low-fat dairy products
every day. You can use reduced-fat cheeses and nonfat yogurt. For example, if
you make pizza at home, try using part-skim mozzarella cheese on top.
- Eat baked, grilled and broiled foods rather than
- Take the skin off before eating chicken.
- Eat fish at least once a week.
- Cut back on the extra fat that sneaks into your
diet, such as butter or margarine on bread, sour cream on baked potatoes, and
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with your
meals and as snacks.
- When eating out from home, watch out for "hidden"
fats and larger portions.
- Read the nutrition labels on foods before you
buy them. If you need help reading the labels, ask your doctor or your
- Drink milk. Milk is important because it's a rich
source of calcium. However, if you're still drinking whole milk, you're getting
too much fat. Sometimes people try skim milk once and don't like the taste (or
the way it looks in coffee). They go back to drinking whole milk. It might help
to make a gradual change, starting with 2% milk. After 3 to 6 months, change to
1% milk. You might try mixing whole milk and 2% milk or 2% milk and 1% milk for
a few weeks. Soon, you'll be able to enjoy drinking skim milk.
There are many health
benefits to a low-fat, high-fiber diet, even if your weight never changes. So
try to set goals you have a good chance of reaching, such as losing 1 pound a
week or lowering your blood cholesterol level.