By J. Manuel Cordova, M. D.

Special Nutritional Concerns
Part II


manzanaTHE PRUDENT DIET- Except for people who are in need of a therapeutic diet to deal with a specific health problem, the best approach is to adhere to the principles of food selection advised by the government agencies concerned with health and nutrition guides. These recommendations incorporate the best judgment of nutritionists based on current knowledge.

Try to eat a variety of foods. Your body needs more than 40 nutrients for good health. These nutrients should come from many different foods, not from a few highly fortified foods or supplements.

MAINTAIN HEALTHY WEIGHT- A healthy body weight depends on the percentage of body weight as fat, the location of the fat deposition, and the existence of any weight-related medical problems. Many people think that choosing a healthful diet requires making drastic changes in what they eat. Often, that´s not the case at all. For most people, a few small, gradual changes can make a big difference in the long run.

To select a healthful diet, try something new. No single food supplies all nutrients you need. Increase the variety of foods you eat by trying new fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, considering if you have intolerance or gluten disorders, and dried peas and beans.

BALANCE YOUR CHOICES OVER TIME. Your food  choices over several days should average  out to the right balance of nutrients. Not every food or meal you eat has to be perfect. If you eat some foods high in fat, salt or sugar, select other foods that are low in these ingredients.

MODERATE YOUR INTAKE-If you eat reasonable portion sizes, it is  easier to include all the foods you enjoy and still have a healthy diet.

USE SUGARS ONLY IN MODERATION-Sugars should be used in moderate amounts and sparingly if calorie needs are low. Because sugars can contribute to tooth decay, excessive snacking should be avoided and teeth should be brushed and flossed regularly

USE SALT AND SODIUM ONLY IN MODERATION-Most of Canadians and Americans consume much more salt and sodium than they actually need. A reduction in salt and sodium intake will benefit people whose blood pressure increases with salt intake.



Drinking alcoholic beverages has few health benefits and is linked to many health problems and accidents. Therefore, persons who drink alcoholic beverages are advised to use moderation. Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. One drink may be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, one half ounces of distilled 80 proof spirits.

VITAMINS AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS: Many  adults take vitamin supplements regularly. Some people regard them as essential food replacements; others see them  as harmless “insurance.” The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) are amounts of vitamins and minerals estimated to meet  or exceed the requirements of most healthy people. They are neither minimal nor required amounts. A daily good quality  multivitamin and minerals supplement that supplies close to 100% of the RDAs is not harmful, and it could be beneficial if you eat a very limited diet. There is also a danger: those who decide on their own to take megadosis (more than 10 times RDAs) of vitamins or minerals are taking significant health risks.


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