Wellness Wednesday: Guys, pay attention to nutrition labels!
June is Men’s Health Month. As we age, it’s important we keep our minds sharp as well as improve quality of life. There are specific vitamins and minerals vital to men’s health.
Calcium and Vitamin D, Dietary Fiber, Potassium and Healthy Fats.
Remember: never restrict, always increase healthy foods. Never forget about physical activity. Being physically active helps older men rev up metabolism, build and strengthen muscles, maintain bone health and increase energy levels. Physical activity also helps to lift your spirits.
What is a common action most of us do when we are thinking of buying clothes, shoes, or food? Most of the time, we look at the price tag to determine if that item is worth buying.
The price is a major determining factor; however, don’t forget about skimming the nutrition facts label. What we put into our bodies will reflect on our health. The nutritional label offers valuable information to tell shoppers exactly how many calories, sodium, cholesterol, fiber, sugars, and other nutrients a serving offers. Also, special populations can benefit from referencing a nutrition label.
If individuals are looking out for their blood sugars or diabetes, fiber, carbohydrates, and sugar are some factors to review to guide better control on their blood sugars. For high blood pressure, the sodium content is important to look over to determine if the item is worth it to consume.
Overall, the label guides the shopper to make an educated decision to add the food or beverage to their nutritional habits or not. Labels may look overwhelming but I will guide you on how to easily read any nutrition label you come across.
Check serving size
To navigate a nutrition label: Start with the serving size and serving per container.
The serving size is usually laid out in “cups” or “pieces”. The value listed as the serving size doesn’t mean you can only eat or drink that amount listed but it can be a guide for you to follow to help portion control.
Listen to your body for hunger cues and base your consumption on your individual dietary needs.
The serving per container means how many servings are in a complete container.
Remember, if the serving size says 4 pieces and you eat 8 pieces, you will be consuming double the amount of nutrients listed on the label (calories, sugar, carbohydrates, etc.).
Find the total calories
Calories are the largest and most bolded on the nutritional label. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the most important factor to consider. It is very common for many to only look at calories when reviewing a label.
It is also very common to think the lower the calories are, the healthier the product is, and the higher the calories are, we should avoid the food. Calories actually provide very little information on how healthy a product is.
Consider avocados and nuts. They are higher in calories than spinach and carrots but they provide great nutrition and help keep us fuller longer.
All these foods can have a spot on our plate with moderation.
Percent daily value
Look at the percent daily value. This will be your ultimate guide.
A nutrient’s daily value is set by the FDA, and it’s meant to help you know the amount of a particular nutrient found in a serving of food in relation to their rough dietary requirement for that nutrient, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Limit saturated fats, trans fat, sodium, and added sugars. Eating less saturated fat, added sugars and sodium may help reduce your risk for chronic disease.
Limit saturated fats to no more than 10% daily value and trans fats to as low as possible.
Limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg daily (for adults and children 14 years and older).
The “added sugars” means out of the total sugars, how much is real sugar and how much is processed sugar. For example, 100% fruit juice should have 0g of “added sugar”.
Remember to aim for low percentage daily value of these. 5 percent or less is low — try to aim low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
Get more fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Choose more foods to help maintain good health and help reduce your risk of certain health problems.
Remember to aim high for percentage of daily value of these nutrients. 20 percent or more is high— try to aim high in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
Check the ingredient list. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first.