AHA: Eating Better

Good morning North Idaho Family,

I will be out of the office Thursday and Friday because I will be presenting at the Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians.

This is the organization that all military family medicine physicians work together to perform research and present at a national level. I will Post a few pics on the Blog, and I will share any gems that I find on the blog as well.

Back to the American Heart Association Life’s Simple 7 – Eating better.

This one is tied into a lot of the discussions that I have with you, my patients, on a regular basis. We already talked about Dr. Greger’s approaches to “How Not to Diet”. But continuing the conversation, there is significant data showing challenges with what we eat and how it directly impacts our health. We have discussed blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Each topic has a focus on our diet because of the important impact it has.


Now we can get into a huge debate on which components of our diet have the biggest impact, but the AHA has identified some simple advice that supports MOST dietary preferences.

Create a healthy dietary pattern that you can sustain

If you create something that isn’t sustainable, you will set yourself up for repeated failures and frustrations. Make changes that you believe in and fit your lifestyle.

ENJOY: Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, plant-based proteins, lean animal proteins, skinless poultry and fish.

LIMIT: sweetened drinks, sodium, processed meats, refined carbohydrates, processed grain foods, full-fat dairy, eggs, highly processed food and tropical oils

AVOID: Trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils (found in some baked goods and fried foods)

Read nutrition labels

This will allow you to recognize calorie dense foods, hidden sodium (Check out bread!), types of fats, sugars or oils. If you are not certain on how to read a nutrition label here is a quick tutorial:


Tips for success

  • Watch your calories – do you know what is a reasonable amount for you? No? Lets talk about it in a visit. We can help find a reasonable amount of calories that will help with your health goals
  • Cook at home – If you do not know what is in your food, it is hard to avoid items that are bad for your health. I am looking for a kitchen that would be appropriate to host a cooking class on this topic specifically. Hopefully to come later this Summer.
  • Learn the Salty Six – Breads, pizza, sandwiches, cold cuts, soups, burritos and tacos! There is a lot of hidden salt in these foods. The answer isn’t necessarily none of these in our diets, but understanding that salt is hidden here.

As always, I enjoy talking to you about these topics, but if you would like to learn more, lets set up an appointment in the clinic. We are here to support your health journey.


M. Ryan Odom, MD


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