Multiple studies now suggest benefits of regular family meals for children and teens. But what does research show about influence of shared meals on adults? And what does this mean for the roughly half of U.S. adults who are single?
Over my years in nutrition counseling, I’ve worked with many single people for whom healthy eating choices seemed extra-challenging due to lack of interest in preparing meals “just” for themselves. It can be easy to skip meals and graze on low-nutrient, high-calorie foods when there’s no concern about imposing those choices on other people.
Once established, lifestyle habits – including what and how much we eat and drink, how much we sit and how much we move – become so enmeshed with our day-to-day living, that it can be hard to imagine living any other way. Some might think that when a health scare or other “flashing lights” point at how a healthy lifestyle could make a significant difference and improve quality of life, changing habits would become easy. Not so, for many people.
How can you create a “new normal”?
In this, the final section of my video interview with Maura Harrigan, MS, RD, CSO, you’ll hear what she’s learned through years of working one-on-one with cancer survivors. Yes, even cancer survivors, having faced one of the most-feared medical diagnoses, turn out to have as much trouble as everyone else adopting healthy eating habits and regular physical activity, even though research increasingly shows the difference it can make.
Maura Harrigan is a registered dietitian who is a board-certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. Ms. Harrigan is a research associate at the Yale School of Public Health, and Nutrition Director of the Cancer Survivorship Clinic at Yale Cancer Center. Since the last section of my Smart Bytes® interview with Ms. Harrigan, the Lifestyle, Exercise and Nutrition (LEAN) Study team at Yale received a lot of attention at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting sharing exciting findings about potential benefits of lifestyle change in breast cancer survivors.
You don’t need to be a cancer survivor to feel “stuck” in habits. Following the video, read on for a checklist that summarizes research-supported tips on creating healthful eating and other lifestyle choices relevant to us all.
Researchers increasingly agree that a smart goal for breast cancer survivors is to avoid weight gain. Those already overweight or obese may do well to consider steps that could bring modest weight loss, as long as those steps particularly focus on loss of excess body fat and maintaining or rebuilding lean muscle tissue. Yet these goals can be challenging even for people not facing a major health challenge. How can cancer survivors – often dealing with fatigue and a variety of other recovery issues – approach such goals?
In this, the second section of my video interview with Maura Harrigan, MS, RD, CSO, you’ll hear the voice of experience describing what she’s learned over the years from research and practice working one-on-one with cancer survivors. Her recommendations, like those of many registered dietitians, will surprise you if you are expecting her to advocate for “diets”.
Maura Harrigan is a registered dietitian who is a board-certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. Ms. Harrigan is a research associate at the Yale School of Public Health, and Nutrition Director of the Cancer Survivorship Clinic at Yale Cancer Center. Results from the Lifestyle, Exercise and Nutrition (LEAN) Study underway there are eagerly awaited for the anticipated guidance for breast cancer survivors’ care.
Following the video, read on for resources that may help support eating and lifestyle choices that promote cancer survivors’ health.
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If antioxidant “scores” no longer define healthy food choices as some once thought, what’s the take-home message if you want to know realistic ways that your eating choices can make a difference in promoting good health? The science keeps getting more complicated, but as you’ll hear in Part Three of my video interview with Dr. Britt Burton-Freeman, the take-home points that research currently supports can be reined in to focus on a few core doable eating habits.
Dr. Burton-Freeman is Director of the Center for Nutrition Research at the Institute for Food Safety and Health, Illinois Institute of Technology; and Associate Researcher in the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis.
In Part One of our interview, she explained the evolving science – that compounds formerly of interest as antioxidants are of more interest than ever for potential to promote health. BUT aiming for ever-higher levels of antioxidant-specific function is not the key to these benefits. In Part Two we looked at how scientists are still putting together the pieces of laboratory and human studies to understand how polyphenol and other phytochemicals may reduce risk of several chronic diseases without acting as antioxidants. Now, in Part Three, we’ll look at the big picture view of the latest research and what steps make sense as the focus of healthy eating.
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After viewing the video, read on for ideas about what today’s research means to you.