Three of the leading causes of death in the United States, coronary heart disease, some types of cancer, and stroke, are linked to diet. Poor eating habits can greatly increase a person’s risk of chronic disease. Following a balanced pattern of eating has a number of other potential benefits that include a boost in energy, better sleep quality, and maintenance of a healthy weight.
The saying “you are what you eat” rings true when it comes to the impact of nutrition on health. The decisions about what to eat to fuel your body may influence emotions, mood, energy levels, and cognitive performance. Making changes and healthy choices now can have a lasting effect on long-term health.
The most recent dietary guidelines published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) focuses on making balanced food and beverage choices over the lifespan and staying physically active. Having a diet that includes a variety of nutrients and recommended amounts of physical activity can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases for individuals of all ages.
The updated guidelines recommend the following:
- Choose a variety of nutrient-rich foods from different food groups. This may include whole fruits; colorful vegetables; while grains; fat-free or low-fat dairy, and/or fortified soy beverages; a variety of protein foods; and oils.
- Keep the calories consumed from added sugars and saturated fats to ten percent of calories each per day.
- Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet to less than 2300 milligrams per day.
Adapted from Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, Eighth Edition.
Alice! Health Promotion’s nutrition initiative include resources to help students make healthier food choices. For more information on vitamins and minerals, healthy recipes, and grocery lists, check out related resources for nutrition guides and tools from Alice! Health Promotion:
- Meal Planner
- Guide to Grocery Shopping
- Guide to Microonutrients
- Guide to Mindful Eating
- Healthy Recipe Guide
- Meeting and Events Guide
For more information on eating healthy on campus, visit Columbia Dining. Students on the Morningside campus who have specific nutrition concerns can make an appointment with a dietician at Medical Services online or by calling (212) 854-7426.