Healthy Eating & You

Resources

healthy body image

Body image is the mental picture you have of your body. Individuals with negative body image are more likely to develop eating disorders and suffer from depression and low self-esteem. The Eating Issues and Body Image Continuum provides a visual representation of the range of eating behaviors and beliefs associated with food. Where do you fall on this continuum?

 If body image concerns and disordered eating patterns are interfering with your enjoyment of life and academic success, it is important to seek help. Call the Student Health Centre at (506) 453-4837 to book an appointment.

 For more information on body image and eating disorders, visit the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) website. Here you will find the clinical definitions of eating disorders, information resources, frequently asked questions, and more.

 

 


calcium and vitamin D

Calcium

Calcium is a mineral required for bone and tooth development. A deficiency of calcium can lead to a conditions called osteoporosis, resulting in weak and thin bones, more prone to breakage. Calcium also plays a role in blood clotting, transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and cell metabolism.

The daily requirement for calcium is 1000mg/day, for men and women aged 19-50.

Calcium is primarily found in dairy products, such as milk and cheese. Leafy greens, such as collards, kale and broccoli are also great sources of calcium. Canned fish, such as salmon and sardines can supply this mineral as well. Tofu made using calcium carbonate can also help you meet your requirement for this mineral.

For a detailed list of dietary sources of calcium, visit Dietitians of Canada: Food Sources of Calcium.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is crucial to our health for a number of reasons. Vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium in our bodies. Although more research is needed, it is thought that vitamin D may also play a role in fighting infection, reducing risk of heart disease, and preventing many types of cancer.

Vitamin D can be made by our skin when exposed to the sun. Here in Canada, we have limited sun exposure for a major part of the year. Therefore, it is crucial that we receive adequate amounts of vitamin D in our diet.

Health Canada has recently updated the Dietary Reference Intakes for both calcium and vitamin D. The current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for children and adults between the ages of 9 and 70 is 600IU of vitamin D per day. Visit the Health Canada website for details.

Check out What You Need to Know About Vit D for more information, including a list of food sources of this vitamin.


Diabetes

Diabetes is characterized by an inability to regulate glucose metabolism. Glucose is found in foods like fruit, milk, some vegetables, starchy foods, and sugar. Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas after we eat. The role of insulin in the body is to increase glucose uptake by muscle and fat tissue.

There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that prevents the pancreas from producing insulin, thereby resulting in uncontrolled glucose levels.

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease in which the body does not produce enough insulin or losses the ability to use the insulin it makes. This results in elevated glucose levels in the blood.

The Canadian Diabetes Association is an excellent resource for information on diabetes. You will find Meal Planning Tips, Fibre Facts,  Carbohydrate Counting Tips, and much more.

For additional information, check out The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Guide to Diabetes.


healthy eating 

Eating healthy on a budget can be done! EatRight Ontario has some great resources for budget-friendly recipes, meal planning suggestions, and  tips for saving money at the grocery store.


Fibre

Fibre is an indigestible carbohydrate found in foods such as vegetables, fruits and legumes.

There are two types of fibre:

Soluble fibre helps to lower blood cholesterol levels, delays gastric emptying, decreases blood sugar levels. Soluble fibre is found in many fruits and vegetables, oats, barley, psyllium and legumes.

Insoluble fibre helps to prevent constipation, lowers risk for diverticular disease and colon cancer. Insoluble fibre is found in some fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and wheat bran.

Most Canadians do not meet their daily requirement for fibre. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 need 25g/day, while men require 38g/day.

For a tips on increasing your fibre intake, check out Dietitians of Canada - Healthy Eating Guidelines for Increasing Your Fibre Intake.

 


gluten free

Gluten is a type of protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Some people have to avoid gluten due to an allergy or intolerance. People with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition where the intestine is damaged by gluten, must follow a gluten-free diet as treatment for the condition.

For information on Celiac disease, visit The Canadian Celiac Association website. Here you will find information on diagnosing celiac disease, foods to avoid on the gluten-free diet, recipes, and more.

For helpful apps, books and website suggestions, check out this handout developed by the IWK Health Centre: Helpful Apps, Websites, and Book for Celiac Disease.


canada's food guide

Health Canada’s Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide can be used as a tool to help meet your vitamin and minerals needs by following a well-balanced, nutritious diet.

 


heart health

Visit The Heart and Stroke Foundation website for general information on heart disease.

Check out Dietitians of Canada’s information on heart health for dietary strategies to keep your heart healthy.

 


Hypertention

Hypertension is blood pressure measured at 140/90 mmHg or higher. Hypertension affects more than one in five people, and it is estimated that approximately 30% of cases can be attributed to excessive sodium intake. The daily requirement for sodium for adults is 1500mg per day. Most people consume more than double the requirement.

Get The Scoop on Salt to see how you can ditch the sodium, but keep the flavor in foods.

The biggest culprit of sodium in our diets comes from processed foods like deli meats, pizza, canned soups, etc. Visit Dietitians of Canada - Food Sources of Sodium to see the sodium content of some common foods.

 


iron

Iron is an essential mineral, required for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Without adequate iron, you may feel irritable, tired, and have trouble concentrating.

Women between the ages of 19 and 50 require 18mg of iron per day. Men in this age group need 8mg per day.

Some individuals require additional iron in their diets. Visit the Dietitians of Canada - What You Need to Know About Iron for details.

There are two different types of iron in foods:

Heme iron: Found in meat, poultry, fish and shellfish. This type of iron is best absorbed by our bodies.

Non-heme iron: Found in dried beans, peas and lentils, whole grain and enriched breads and pasta, nuts and seeds, fortified breakfast cereals, tofu, and eggs. This type of iron is not absorbed as readily as heme iron in our bodies.

Click here for a list of iron content for some common foods.

Tip: Pair foods rich in heme-iron with good sources vitamin C to increase iron absorption in your body. Click here for a list of foods high in vitamin C.

 


IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects your digestive tract. IBS is characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. Symptoms are different for everyone and may come and go over time. The cause of IBS is unknown, however several theories exist as to factors that influence symptoms. For a list of possible causes of IBS, check out The GI Society's webpage on IBS.

IBS symptoms may be improved by adjusting your diet. Review the Healthy Eating Guidelines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome for a list of steps you can take to manage your symptoms and maintain a healthy eating pattern.


Food label reading

Watch Dieitians of Canada five-part series on decoding the nutrition facts table.


lactose intolerance

Lactose is the sugar found in milk products. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is required to break down lactose during digestion. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include diarrhea, gas, cramps, bloating, and vomiting.

Adequate calcium intake is crucial for our bone health. Milk and milk products are some of the best sources of calcium. For individuals with lactose intolerance, it is important that lactose-free calcium rich foods are included in the diet. Read Getting Enough Calcium when you are Lactose Intolerant for some tips.


Meal Planning

EatRight Ontario has a great tool that can be used to create customized menu plans that are tailored to your goals and lifestyle. Check out the menu planner!


sports nutrition

A nutritious diet is crucial for optimal athletic performance. Visit The Coaching Association of Canada’s Sport Nutrition page to learn how to fuel your body as an athlete. You will find training diet tips, recipe ideas, information on supplementation, and much more!


vegetarian

Vegetarian diets can be nutritionally balanced and tasty, however a little extra planning is sometimes required to ensure all nutrient needs are met.

Read EatRight Ontario’s article "What you need to know about a healthy vegetarian eating plan" for information on nutrients of importance in vegetarian diets.