Health Chats
How To Eat Healthier: The Role of Vitamins, Minerals and Phytonutrients
Tuesday Dec 08, 2009, 05:00PM - 06:00PM (EST)
Amy Hendel, R-PABlank
Master's Level Registered Physician Assistant
When the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released in 2005, the federal recommendations for fruits and vegetables increased from 5-9 servings to 5-13 servings per day for adults. Unfortunately, despite the recommendations and known health benefits of fruits and vegetables, 8 out of 10 Americans are not consuming these recommended intake levels – there is a “phytonutrient gap”. <br><br> Nutrition plays a large role in your health and in the health of your loved ones. In this hourlong health chat, learn all about macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients - what they are, the role they play in your nutrition, how they affect your health, and how to eat healthier. Why should you eat vegetables and fruits of different colors? How can you supplement your nutritional needs? What should you look for when buying vitamins and supplements. Get the answers to these questions and more!
Amy Hendel:
A staggering eight out of ten Americans are missing out on a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables so they have what we call a phtonutrient gap.
Amy Hendel:
The largest gap was not suprisingly in the blue/purple category with 88% of Americans not eating enough blackberries, blueberries and concord grapes.
Amy Hendel:
So in that case you might be missing out on phtonutrients that promote heart health, aging, and helo to prevent diabetes.
Amy Hendel:
Do any of you struggle trying to eat enough fruits and vegetables?
Amy Hendel:
Here are some creative ideas:
Amy Hendel:
Dont throw out ripe fruit, puree it and use it in healthy muffin receips
Amy Hendel:
Use fresh herbs when you bake fish
Amy Hendel:
Add pureed plums to a chocolate brownie recipe and you will get the benefit of phtonutrients and more chocolatey brownies.
Amy Hendel:
Finally, a fruit smoothie can be a great afternoon pick me up and a chance to add some of those fruits from the blue/purple category
ana2009:
I just want to know what is the best food to eat of a person who has a gallstone?
Amy Hendel:
You might want to steer clear of fatty foods and soda, but I think more importantly you want to begin to creat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetabes, lean proteins, healthy fats, l;ike olive oil, in small portions, one to two servings of fat free dairy daily, and whole grains. It is about balance.
Amy Hendel:
And because we are talking about getting a daily dose of color start shopping with the philosphy that you are going to fill your shopping cart with a variety of colorful fruits and veggies.
KimIsMint:
Hi Amy, I'm 19 and unable to walk, what supplements would you recommend?
Amy Hendel:
You have the same needs as any other 19 year old. IOf you are female, then I would say a daily multi vitamin, plus about 1000 untis of Vitamin-D and because you are not performing weight bearing exercise you should be talking to your doctor about calcium needs.
Amy Hendel:
I did see a new report that also suggested eating less animal based protein so that you are less acidic and less likely to lose bone density.
Amy Hendel:
You are also a great candidate for vitamin supplementation and as I have pointed out Nutrilite.com/color has some great resources to explore.
Amy Hendel:
If you are a male, I pretty much make the same recommendations and certainly male or female, you could do some upper body weight bearing exercise to maintain upper body strength.
livnlrn:
As far as minerals and vitamins,  how do you feel about the Medifast diet?
Amy Hendel:
I beleive it is a liquid diet, and most liquid diet programns are supposed to offer some addition supplementation. If you are under the care of a doctor I would talk to him/her about your person needs might be.
tpc33:
Can phytonutrients help prevent cancer? Any proof that they help cure cancer?
Amy Hendel:
Any expert who would commit to saying that vitamins either prevent or sure cancer would be making an extremely controversal suggestion. I beleive thgt a well balanced diet, that is rich in fruits and vegetables of many colors can certainly contribute to supporting good health.
Amy Hendel:
I also beleive that even the best eaters are not getting the benefits of this amazing class of active compound we call phytonutrients.
Amy Hendel:
o that is why I have been suggesting that a natural, plant based suppplement, that contains plant concentrates can help to fill out any gaps in your diet.
Jade59:
Hi Amy, I've heard that too MUCH fruit can lead to too much sugar intake.  Today, I've eaten two tangerines, a large handful of grapes and a banana.  I often eat some honeydo melon in the afternoon or with dinner.  I eat like this everyday.  Oh, we also have a homemade smoothie every few days which includes blueberries, strawberries and apricots. My mom is diabetic and says this is too much sugar.  Your thoughts?
Amy Hendel:
Unless you are pre-diabetic or diabetic then fruits and vegetables which have their sugars accopanied by fiber are great food choices and should be consumed with a target of five to thirteen total servings daily.
Amy Hendel:
So if your eating five servings of fruit a day, I would say go for four to five serving of vegetable daily. That would be a great balance.
Amy Hendel:
Your mom does indeed have to count carbs and those include grains, fruits, and vegetable.
stellaw33:
I have never heard of Phytonutrients until today and I am excited to start adding them to my life. I am more of a meat and potato person and do not eat a lot of fruits and vegetables- what are my options? should I take a daily pill. Is that enough?
Amy Hendel:
Of course I am going to tell you tha their are soooooo many fruits and vegetable to choose from and they can so enhance even meat and potatoe recipes.
Amy Hendel:
But if you are pretty hardcore about not including significant servings in your diet then why not go online to www.nutrilite.com/color and use the tool "your daily phytonutreint snapshot". It will help you decide on a possible vitamin choice to make sure you indeed get your vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
39yrsold:
What are the best foods and supplements to improve thyroid health?
Amy Hendel:
I myself have a hypo active thyroid and have been on Syntheroid for fifteen years. I basically eat a very balanced diet high in plant foods and I make sure to eat healthy fat and fat free dairy foods. I also take a multi vitamin and vitamin-D and calcium daily.