Health experts from around Roosevelt County weighed in with their tips for maintaining good health during National Public Health Week, which ends on Sunday.
Portales nutrition experts said no matter what age the individual is, a good diet is vital to keep them from dragging through the day. They added that parents need to take the initiative in providing good, nutritious food to children and start at an early age eating right in their first meal.
“It is important to eat a nutritious breakfast because the body had been without food for many hours,” Wendy McGowan, Eastern New Mexico University Registered Nurse/Certified Nutritionist, said. “If you skip breakfast you may feel okay for a while but then hunger strikes and you are more likely to grab anything handy, usually not something healthful. When a larger amount of sugar is eaten, insulin is over-secreted and the ‘sugar low’ causes you to feel tired, unable to concentrate and likely to grab another ‘whatever is handy’ snack.”
McGowan said those who suffer from diabetes need to especially take good care of their bodies. She said that in addition to eating meals with high fiber and protein, exercise is vital.
Sharon Harris, a registered consulting dietitian who provides services to the Roosevelt County General Hospital and Heartland Continuing Care Center, said one of her responsibilities is to oversee the kitchen staff at the HCCC.
“(HCCC) Residents don’t prepare their own meals,” Harris said. “We need to make sure they receive a nutritious meal. We make sure they have enough fruits and vegetables. We try to incorporate the meals with what they liked to eat at home.”
Harris said people in general do not eat enough fruits and vegetables in their meals. She said seven servings of vegetables are recommended every day.
“We get in the habit of eating too many snacks,” Harris said. “We need to replace chips and cookies with fruits. Some people worry that their fruits are going to go bad. However, on many occasions, they have fruit, but decide to eat chips instead.”
Harris said another item people need to eliminate from their meals is sodas, in order to take care of their bodies. According to Harris, a 12-ounce soda has between 110 to 150 calories whereas unsweetened tea has 0 calories.
And if people still aren’t getting enough vitamins in their meals another alternative is health vitamin supplements.
Ladawna Brooks, pharmacist for Marty’s Pharmacy, said she has not jumped on the bandwagon for natural herb vitamins but suggests One-A-Day and Centrum supplements to help for the lack of vitamins.
“Many people do not eat correctly because they do not have enough time,” Brooks said. “So vitamin supplements are always a great idea to get the vitamins and minerals they need.”
A majority of the people who enter Marty’s Pharmacy are looking for vitamin supplements to provide them with more energy and something to compensate for the stress, according to Brooks.
“Most generally, we get customers who say they are too tired and have low energy,” Brooks said. “We really like the B vitamins in those circumstances. B6 and B12 are excellent for the overworked, over-stressed population.”
McGowan offers these healthful snack ideas in an article she wrote titled, ‘Giving Health to Our Kids’: Apples, oranges, bananas sliced and dipped in coconut, sliced peppers, cucumbers, celery with peanut butter, broccoli dipped in cheese sauce and boiled or deviled eggs.