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Mind/Body Basics
 
"I am now convinced that most chronic medical conditions can be helped significantly by a healthy diet."Robert S. Ivker, MD
Member,
American Holistic Medical Association
MINDFUL EATING
While there are a host of opinions regarding the foods that are best for optimal health, the Mind/Body Medical Institute provides these extensively researched recommendations that have been extensively researched to prevent chronic diseases:

1. Eating at least five fruits and vegetables daily and choosing whole grains and beans over white, processed grains can help fight off chronic diseases such as cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. These foods contain the disease fighters dietary fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

2. Limiting saturated fats and trans fats (or hydrogenated fats) in your diet can help maintain or lower blood cholesterol levels, body weight, and cancer risk.

3. Regularly eating good fats (monounsaturated fats such as olive, canola, peanut and fish oils) can improve blood cholesterol levels and the immune system's effectiveness.

4. Limiting portion sizes of foods such as starches, sweets, and fats can help maintain body weight and help with body fat loss. Some useful tips:

Fill half the dinner plate with non-starchy vegetables, one-quarter of the plate with a lean protein source, and one-quarter with whole grains
Limit sweets to 200 calories or less daily to lessen feelings of deprivation often identified with dieting and to support weight loss
Use measuring utensils when judging serving sizes of oils and starches


Mindful eating is another strategy that can control calorie intake. By slowing the pace of eating, we enhance our ability to appreciate the flavors and textures of our food. This healthy habit can lead to benefits not experienced when we eat quickly or distractedly:

Being able to recognize when you have eaten enough
Enjoying occasional high calorie foods in moderate portions
Feeling more satisfaction from a smaller portion of food, which may lead to eating less


Eating should be an enjoyable experience, especially when we can find a pleasant setting and enough time (at least 20 minutes is recommended) to savor a meal. Unfortunately, we too often gulp our food to keep up with our fast-paced lives. That is why mindful eating, even if it's for only a few minutes, can bring added awareness and pleasure to an activity crucial to our emotional and physical health.

More Information
Narmin Virani, RD, LDN is staff dietitian.

For private nutrition counseling, contact Mimi Bowie at 617.991.0102 X232 or mbowie@mbmi.org
Mindful Eating
10 Tips for Weight Loss
Lighten Up: Weight Management
Herbert Benson, MD President,
Mind Body Medical Institute and
Mind Body Medical Institute Associate Professor of Medicine,
Harvard Medical School.