Updated: Jul 8
There has been a lot of conversation lately about “healthy” and I must admit it made me take a minute and ask myself “So what do people think is healthy?” In working with clients over the years, I’ve learned the definition of the word or the interpretation of healthy can mean a ton of things. Because these differences in opinion on healthy can be a challenge to staying on point in the well-being lifestyle, I hope today’s post will help clear things up.
I found several definitions, but the one that I think is most suitable is the definition from the British Dictionary —healthy is the state of being bodily and mentally vigorous and free from disease. The definition penned by the World Health Organization (WHO) is “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
And then when going to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for guidance, you may really be in a pickle. They currently allow use of the term “healthy” on product packaging only when products meet specific nutrient criteria, which now focus on limited levels of fat, cholesterol and sodium. Now in today’s environment of health and nutrition, the current FDA guide leaves several foods out that contain good and plenty of beneficial nutrients.
Almonds, avocado and salmon miss the mark according to the FDA. Here is an overview of what these foods bring to the health table.
Almonds are powerhouses of nutrients. Of the tree nuts, ounce for ounce, almonds are the most nutrient-dense. They contain protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin.
A one-ounce serving has 13 grams of “good” unsaturated fats, and only1 gram of saturated fat. They are cholesterol and gluten free. Almonds are also rich in magnesium, which aids in heart health and lowering blood pressure. Additionally, several research studies have shown that these nuts can be effective in reducing bad cholesterol and preserving healthy cholesterol.
Avocado which is a fruit contains almost 20 vitamins and minerals in each serving. Nutrient content of this produce item includes potassium which can aid in controlling blood pressure and folate which is key in cell repair and during pregnancy. Avocados are high in fat and calories, so it is important to stick to the recommended serving size which is 1/5 or 1-ounce of a medium avocado. Two to three thin slices or 2 tablespoons of mashed avocado will give the correct amount. Avocados are also high in antioxidants which contribute to cell health.
Salmon is a higher fat fish, and it’s the fat which contains omerga-3 fatty acids making this seafood a good choice. The benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, good fats are lower risk of arthritis, cancer, and heart disease. These fats also have positive effects on memory, performance and behavior. Research has also shown promising results from omega 3 fatty acids in studies of depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) The American Heart Association recommends eating 3.5-ounce portions of fish such as salmon at least twice a week.
These foods may not have a seat at today’s FDA table of healthy foods. However, after taking a look at their nutrient make-up and the perspective on health and wellness in the 21st century; it looks like the regulatory agency will revisit the topic of what’s healthy. As for me, I’ll leave each of those foods on my list of good and healthy things to eat.
Take Away: It is important to learn the facts and nutrients food items will bring to the table to ensure you are making wise choices and including a variety of in foods in your diet.
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