Have a question about food or nutrition? Ask our CHEF experts for advice. Our team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, Katy Bowen and Celina Parás, are available to provide their knowledge of common sense nutrition and practical cooking skills.

The nutritional information on this site is intended to be educational information for the general public. It is not  medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment with respect to any individual. As individual circumstances vary, you should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site.

Question:

What foods can I incorporate into my diet to help reduce my blood pressure?

Answer:

There are so many wonderful foods you can add to your diet to help lower blood pressure. Foods rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium while low in sodium (salt) are ideal. Low-fat and nonfat dairy foods and leafy greens are great sources of calcium. Foods rich in magnesium include beans, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains. Tomatoes, Bananas, Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes (with skin), cantaloupe, broccoli, beans & lentils, lean meat, and fish provide potassium in your diet.

Fiber is your friend! Remember to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Beans and legumes are also a great sources of fiber; and as an added bonus provide lots of lean protein! Be sure to make half of your plate fruits and veggies.

Healthy Fats such as olive oil should be a staple in your diet. Remember to use fats that are liquid at room temperature more often than saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature like butter. Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as fish, chia seeds, and walnuts are very important for maintaining heart health. Be sure to measure the amount of oil you use in your recipes so as to not go overboard.

It’s important to limit alcohol as too much can increase your blood pressure.

Cooking at home more helps you control the amount of sodium in your meals. All of our CHEF recipes are heart-healthy and taking a CHEF class can help you and your family explore the many ways you can flavor your food without adding much salt. Find classes near you at this link: https://www.chefsa.org/calendar/

Additionally, you can view our CHEF recipes here: https://www.chefsa.org/recipes-for-life/

Question:

How do I make sure I eat enough protein if I’m vegetarian?

Answer:

Well-planned and balanced meals are essential to meeting protein needs on a vegetarian diet. Fortunately, there are many plant-based sources of protein you may choose from! The key to obtaining enough protein is to choose from a wide variety of foods. Quality sources of plant-based protein include: beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Eggs and dairy are also quality sources of protein that are included in some vegetarian diets, such as lactovegetarian and lacto-ovo vegetarian.

Question:

Why is Nutrition important?

Answer:

Think of food as the “fuel” to our body. The quality of the fuel or foods we put in our body will impact our health and wellness. Good nutrition is key to preventing many chronic diseases. According to the World Health Organization, diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several forms of cancer are nutrition-related and as a result may be prevented with proper nutrition. Nutrient dense foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. On the other hand, calorie dense foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, chips, cookies and pastries are calorie dense, low in essential nutrients, and should be avoided or enjoyed in moderation. Remember that balance is the recipe to success in the journey of health and wellness.

Question:

Do CHEF classes promote Fad diets?

Answer:

Did you know that millions of Americans each year fall prey to “fad” diets promising weight loss or better health. Conflicting claims, testimonials, and so called “experts” can confuse even the most educated consumer. The bottom line is simple, if a diet or product sounds too good to be true, it probably is a fad diet. The CHEF program is based on sound medical principles which consider the latest scientific studies, recommendations by medical and scientific organizations, and is coordinated by a multidisciplinary team of physicians, registered dietitians, trained nutritionists, and Chefs.

Question:

What is the difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?

Answer:

Dietitians and nutritionists have similar career paths which study diet, food, and nutrition. However, while they are similar, they are not quite the same or interchangeable. Generally speaking, the role of a dietitian is more regulated than that of a nutritionist and the difference lies in the type of education and professional training.

The biggest difference between dietitians and nutritionists lies in the legal restrictions that each title has. There are certain licensures and certifications a dietitian has to earn to be able to practice. Only nutritionists that become registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration ( CDR) may legally declare themselves as dietitians or more precisely, registered dietitian nutritionists, ( RDNs). The term “nutritionist” is not as regulated as a “dietitian” and tends to have more general meaning. In some cases, the title “nutritionist” can be used by anyone, even if they do not have to have any professional training.

Question:

How many fruits and vegetables should I eat each day?

Answer:

Eating a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables provide a broad range of nutrients that keep your body strong and healthy. The easiest way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to be mindful to how you place your food on your plate. Half of your plate should be fruits and veggies. The amount of vegetables and fruits you need to eat depends on your age, gender, and level of physical activity.

You can use the MyPlate Daily Checklist to determine your exact needs: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate-Daily-Checklist-input

Question:

Is Multigrain the same as Whole Grain?

Answer:

Not necessarily! A product is labeled whole grain when it contains all parts of the grain kernel- the bran, germ and endosperm. Each part provides important nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, popcorn, and 100% whole wheat bread. On the other hand, multigrain means that the product contains more than one type of grain, however the grains may or may not be whole grains.

Ask Your Question

It is important to discuss these dietary suggestions and information with your own doctor to confirm that it will present no risk to you personally. Your doctor’s medical advice is particularly important if you’re currently taking medications for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or any other metabolic disorders.

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