Healthy Eating May Help You Maintain Mobility as You Age

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 14, 2016

Fruits and vegetables

BWH researchers found that women who maintained a healthier diet were less likely to develop physical impairments later in life.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found an association between women who maintain a healthy diet and a reduction in the risk of developing impaired physical function as they age. The findings were published this month in the Journal of Nutrition.

“There has been little research on how diet impacts physical function later in life,” says Francine Grodstein, ScD, senior author of the study and a researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH. “Our goal was to look at diet patterns and try to learn how our overall diet impacts our physical function as we get older.”

BWH researchers examined the association between the Alternative Healthy Eating Index, a measure of overall diet quality, with reports of impairment in physical function among more than 54,000 women involved in the Nurses’ Health Study. Physical function was measured every four years (from 1992 to 2008), and diet was measured by food frequency questionnaires, which were given to participants approximately every four years beginning in 1980.

The data indicate that women who maintained a healthier diet were less likely to develop physical impairments later in life compared to women whose diets were not as healthy. They also found a higher intake of vegetables and fruits, a lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, trans-fats, and sodium, and a moderate alcohol intake, were each significantly associated with reduced rates of physical impairment.

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Take Charge of Your Health: Five Tips from a Physician-Athlete

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 23, 2016

Healthy food and fitness background concept

Wellness includes healthy eating, exercise, and mindfulness.

Dr. Claire Twark is a third-year resident in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Psychiatry and a seasoned triathlete. In this post, she offers some valuable wellness strategies that she uses in her own work and training.

I believe that wellness is a lifestyle. It includes healthy eating and exercise, as well as mindfulness and wellness within relationships. I recommend proactively thinking about your own wellness and setting improvement goals for yourself. I often advise patients to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals, such as going to the gym for 30 minutes twice in the next week or increasing their daily step count by a few thousand steps.

Here are five tips to consider:

  • Wellness opportunities are all around you. We are all busy, so use the wellness opportunities that are readily available. Try walking to work, taking the stairs, and choosing healthy food options.

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No More Excuses for Skipping Breakfast

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 7, 2012

What you choose for breakfast is just as important as eating breakfast.

With school back in session, eating breakfast is more important than ever  for adults as well as children. Studies examining dietary habits suggest that eating breakfast can reduce the risk of obesity and high cholesterol, improve performance on memory-related tasks, minimize impulsive snacking and overeating at other meals, and enhance school performance in children and young adults. And, with a little creativity, the first meal of the day can be one of the best.

What you choose for breakfast is just as important as eating breakfast. It’s the perfect time to start working toward your recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables and three daily servings of whole grains. Choosing high fiber foods (such as nuts or whole grain cereals) have the added benefit of warding off mid-morning hunger by creating a feeling of fullness. Likewise, adding some protein such as seafood, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, egg, or egg substitute can also aid in suppressing hunger.

If you’re pressed for time, make a grab-and-go breakfast. Wrap a whole-grain tortilla around peanut butter and a banana, or spread peanut butter and jam on whole grain bread and take along a piece of fruit and a carton of low-fat milk. Or stuff a whole-wheat pita with low-fat cream cheese or low-fat cottage cheese and canned sliced peaches.

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Ten Simple Substitutes for Healthy Eating

Posted by Blog Administrator June 15, 2012

Ten food substitutes

Make recipes healthier with these ten simple substitutes.

When it comes to healthy eating, small changes can make a big difference. “Many people become overwhelmed when thinking about changes in their diet,” says Kathy McManus, Nutrition Director for Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “The fact is that simple food substitutions can have major benefits, including fewer calories, less cholesterol, and more stable blood sugar levels. These changes often lead to weight loss and lower your risks for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.”

To make recipes healthier for you and your family, try these ten simple substitutes:

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Healthy Eating Guidelines Hit Home for Hospital Employees and Visitors

Posted by Blog Administrator March 26, 2012

Your Health Your Choice Eating Program

A new Brigham and Women's Hospital program helps staff and visitors make healthy food choices.

Ever wonder if doctors, nurses, and dietitians practice what they preach? Are they really healthy eaters?

“Healthcare specialists are often on their feet all day seeing patients or performing long procedures, with little down time,” said Kathy McManus, Nutrition Director at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “That makes it hard to maintain a healthy diet and avoid selecting foods that provide a quick ‘pick me up’ but deliver high amounts of calories, saturated fats, sugar, and sodium.”

In order to make it easier for BWH employees and visitors to choose healthier foods and beverages, the BWH Nutrition Department developed Your Health, Your Choice – a healthy eating program within the BWH cafeteria. Driven by the latest nutrition research and using guidelines from the Harvard School of Public Health’s Healthy Eating Plate, the program features color-coded labeling on foods and beverages, designed to help people to make healthier choices.

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