How can we eat healthier, Kohala?

Gillian Ward, Reporter

It can be very hard to eat healthy. Social occasions, on-the-go lifestyles, and just seriously tasty foods make it even more difficult. Today, with the many fad diets and dietary preferences, it is hard to even know what “diet” is healthiest. So what is a healthy diet, and how can we achieve it?

Dietary specialists and physicians have come to the conclusion that a diet consisting of mostly plants, part animal, and limited dairy is the best diet for overall health. These foods should also be “whole foods”- minimally processed. So what is the average person’s diet? From what I’ve seen. It is mostly animal usually with a lot of starches, and some vegetables. So many of the foods eaten today are also very over-processed. What changes can we make?

Unless you are a body builder, or extremely active person who needs large portions of protein, you actually don’t need to consume as much meat as people think. Most of your plate should be made up of fruits and veggies, with some meat, and un-processed grains such as quinoa (which has protein as well as all 9 of the amino acids!)

These amino acids are behind- the- scenes compounds that help all bodies function correctly. Nutrient deficiencies can cause a variety of different problems. They can negatively affect bodily functions such as metabolism, water balance, nerve signaling and digestion. Nutrient deficiencies can also lead to serious conditions such as osteoporosis and anemia.

Eating in excess, especially foods high in saturated fats, sugars, and carbohydrates, is causing people all over the world to face major health problems such as obesity, diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, and gallbladder disease. Poor diets can also be linked to certain cancers such as prostate, breast, and colon.

This is all sounding a little scary… so how can we get all our vital nutrients, eat good whole foods, and not overeat and consume excess calories?

The most common nutrient deficiencies are Vitamin D, Potassium, and Iron. These nutrients can be found in fish, fortified dairy, beans, bananas, whole grains, leafy greens and vegetables. So just making yourself a more colorful, balanced diet can help with nutrient deficiencies. Another way to help with nutrient deficiencies is to eat less processed foods that have no nutrients left in them.

Processed foods are essentially un-whole foods. They have so much unnaturally added or subtracted from them. Nutrients are lost in the process, and sugars, fats, and chemical additives are put in. These types of foods don’t fuel the body, they only temporarily satiate it.

All in all, eat mostly plants, and limit your intake processed foods as much as possible. Your body with thank you.

How can we do this right here in Kohala? The Saturday farmer’s market provides a variety of beautiful, organic foods for our consumption. There are also farmers markets in Kona, Hilo, and Waimea. These markets make it easier to eat healthy than in other places like the mainland. This makes us very fortunate. So, let’s take advantage of this incredible opportunity and eat healthy!