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Press Release Archive (2014)

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March is National Nutrition Month

"Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right" is the theme for National Nutrition Month® 2014. Consumer research confirms that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why one food is purchased over another. While social, emotional and health factors also play a role, the foods people enjoy are likely the ones they eat most. This year's key messages for NNM will focus on how to combine taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that follow the Dietary Guidelines recommendations.

'20s: Bone Building

In your 20s, you're still building up bone density, so this is the decade to help your bones grow strong and healthy.

Enter calcium, which not only builds strong bones but is also important for healthy muscles, nerves, and heart. You need 1,000 mg per day, so enjoy dairy products, opt for calcium-fortified orange juice and cereals, and load up on beans, leafy greens, almonds and canned salmon with bones.

Young women don't need to pass up dairy products for fear of gaining weight. Instead choose fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt, reduced-fat cheese and for a sweet treat pick nonfat calcium-fortified hot cocoa.

30s: Baby on Board

These days, women are having babies well into their 30s, which makes folic acid an important nutrient this decade. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube birth defects like spina bifida.

Many breads, cereals and grain products are fortified with folic acid; fruits and vegetables are good sources of folate. If you're trying to get pregnant, your doctor may recommend a folic acid supplement. 30s the "prevention decade," meaning, if you haven't already, it's time to start thinking about how to prevent chronic diseases that become more prevalent as we age.

Look to foods containing healthy fats such as omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats.

Found in nuts, olive and canola oils and avocados, mono-saturated fats improve blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease, and they may help with keeping blood sugar levels in check (potentially helpful for appetite control and reducing the risk for diabetes). A few studies have looked at monounsaturated fats as being beneficial for specifically reducing belly fat, but firm findings are lacking.Scientists believe omega-3 fats (found in fish) may influence how fat is used and stored in the body. It's possible omega-3s push fat more toward energy use than to storage in your body. Omega-3s may help reduce body fat with or without cutting calories. Animal studies have supported the theory; human studies are encouraging, but not as conclusive. Add exercise on top of upping omega-3s and you can lose more body fat.

40s: Keeping Score

If you haven't been treating your body right, the 40s is where this will start showing up.

The 40s are a good time to be vigilant about eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. They're packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants plus low in fat and calories. Adults need at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cup of vegetables a day. Explore new tastes by trying a new fruit or vegetable a couple of times a month.

Antioxidant supplements are not a substitute for eating a variety of fruits and veggies, as scientists are just learning how different antioxidants work in synergy with one another to keep the body healthy.

Try snacking on fruit like apples, bananas, and clementines, opt for veggie-packed broth-based soups, salads piled with greens and smoothies with berries. If you don't like the taste of vegetables raw, try roasting them, which makes them sweeter.

Another important nutrient for the 40-and-over set is fiber, which can help protect against heart disease and some types of cancer. Women under 50 need 25 grams per day, but most adults get only about half that amount. Luckily, the fruits and veggies you're eating for the vitamins and minerals are rich in fiber, and whole grains and beans are other good sources.

50s: Calorie Counting

The 50s are a time of big changes thanks to perimenopause and menopause.

Also essential: Vitamin D is used in every cell in the body, says Frechman. It's essential for bone health and researchers believe it may reduce the risk of some cancers, heart disease and infectious diseases. Vitamin D is difficult to get from food-the best sources are fortified milk, orange juice, and cereals and also fish like salmon and tuna.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin D recently increased to 600 IU per day for women ages 19 to 70, but the majority of adults don't get enough. Consult your doctor or registered dietitian about your need for a supplement.

60s and Beyond: Protein Power

Protein, along with regular strength building exercise, is essential for maintaining muscle, which we tend to lose as we age. Consuming enough protein may also be linked with bone health.

The average woman needs about 5 to 6 ounces of protein foods each day. Good sources include meat like beef, chicken, fish, pork and lamb. Not a meat eater? You'll also find protein in, eggs, beans, tofu and nuts, as well as low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese.

Vitamin B12, which helps your body make red blood cells and keep the brain and nervous system healthy, is another vital nutrient for women over 60. You can get B12 through any food that comes from an animal: meat, fish, dairy products and eggs. However, as people get older they can develop a reduced ability to absorb vitamin B12.

Each decade brings with it specific health concerns-and different nutrition needs. Eat right for your age and you'll sail through the decades feeling great.

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