National Minority Health Awareness Month: Registered Dietitian Tips For Simple Food Swaps

April is National Minority Health Awareness Month, and according to the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, this month serves to raise awareness and bring attention to the unequal burden of illness and death experienced by racial and ethnic minorities, rural and poor populations in this country.

The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) informed that simple changes to one’s daily routine can transform lives and reduce the risk of chronic diseases and other conditions that often are more common or severe among racial and ethnic minority groups.

For instance, among Hispanics, the death rate from diabetes is 50% higher than for non-Hispanic whites. "For some minorities, poverty, lack of access to health care, cultural attitudes and behaviors are all barriers to preventing diabetes and having effective diabetes management once diagnosed," says OMH Director Jonca Bull, M.D. "People live in areas and engage in behaviors that often don't support a healthy life. They don't have enough access to healthy foods and perhaps too much access to fast food," Bull says. "They also lack access to ongoing health-care services."

Los Angeles-based registered dietician who specializes in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight management Luisa Sabogal, wants to fight against deadly diseases; Therefore, she is sharing with Medical Daily her nutrition tips to help support conditions like high cholesterol and diabetes that are common in Latino communities. Sabogal is also a nutrition consultant for Califia Farms and she is passionate about helping patients prevent and find solutions for health issues through individualized, compassionate care that uses up-to-date research and focuses on whole-food and plant-based eating. 

Milk High cholesterol and diabetes are common in Latino communities; Therefore, to celebrate National Minority Health Awareness Month, Luisa Sabogal RD is sharing amazing nutrition tips to help support these conditions. Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

  • Try Oat Milk

Substitute regular dairy milk for oat milk, an equally creamy and delicious plant-based alternative that also contains beta-glucan, a type of soluble dietary fiber that is known to help lower cholesterol, slow digestion and make you feel full longer, plus it contains less saturated fat than regular milk.

Califia Farms Oatmilk has no added sugar or gums and stabilizers. It’s as versatile as dairy milk and can be enjoyed on its own, poured over warm cereal or blending in smoothies.

  • Look at the sugar content

Added sugar can lead to inflammation, so be on the lookout for sugar content in your food/beverages. One rule of thumb Luisa shares with her diabetic patients is to look for food and beverages with an almost equal ratio of grams of carbs to grams of protein. The combination of protein with carbohydrates helps slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, prevent blood sugar spikes and increase satiety.

  • Incorporate probiotics

Probiotics are essential for gut and immune health (>70% of your immune system is in your gut!), so good gut bacteria is essential in the prevention of disease. Try a plant-based yogurt for breakfast or as a snack during the day. Bonus: a plant-based yogurt can also be easier on your stomach if you struggle with gastrointestinal (GI) issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Califia Farms Probiotic Yogurt Drinks is a good alternative since it is not only dairy-free making it easier to digest, but it also contains over 10 billion live, probiotic cultures powered by BB-12, which is known to support digestive health.

  • Scan the ingredients label

Look for products made with whole foods. Whole foods are minimally processed, come with a vast array of nutrients, high in fiber, high in antioxidants, low in sugar and naturally made for our consumption.

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