Nutrition plays a vital role in health and wellness. Those that complete coursework involving nutrition, including Medical Assistants (MAs), can leverage skills to improve their health and the health of those in their care in several life-changing ways.
Understanding Nutrition Basics Increases Career Opportunities.
The fundamental benefits of nutrition include an array of possible career options, ranging from private practice to working in healthcare physical rehabilitation facilities. In addition, major food manufacturers companies may also consider hiring someone with a healthcare and nutrition background for creating healthy meals for the public as well, reports Medical News Today. The opportunities are endless. Although medical treatment may be necessary, everything in healthcare goes back to proper nutrition first.
Proper Nutrition Provides Protective Benefits Against Chronic Conditions.
Healthy food choices lower risk for heart disease, kidney failure and type II diabetes, notes the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. MA students that learn how to include healthy meats, control portion sizes and emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy products can apply their skills in preparing food. As a result, MAs effectively lower the risk of major health problems for those in their care, and they may act as nutrition counselors to people working to manage chronic conditions with dietary changes.
Another factor in protecting against these conditions includes ensuring diets are not too restrictive. For example, a diet of less than 800 calories per day could have an adverse effect on the body, but under the supervision of a physician, the MA could help with creating a low-calorie diet to achieve weight loss faster.
Eating a Healthy, Balanced Meals Reduce Incidence of Illness.
Influenza (the flu) affects up to 20 percent of Americans annually, reports Registered Dietician Kathleen M. Zelman of WebMD. Aside from getting an annual flu vaccine and practicing hand hygiene, eating a nutritious diet is the best way to prevent the flu.
Diets lacking in protein or of less than 1,200 calories per day, as well as those containing too many processed foods, result in an immune deficiency. Sleep deprivation and stress also contribute to poor immune system functions. In today’s world, these factors are almost unavoidable, but eating a healthy, balanced meal may reduce risk of contracting the flu. Essentially, the immune system is better prepared to fight off the flu, and if you do contract it, a strong immune system may lessen the severity of symptoms.
Additional Tips for Applying Nutrition in Meal Planning and Preparation.
Proper nutrition helps improve cognitive function and maintain energy levels. Unfortunately, chaotic weekdays and work-schedules can make planning healthy meals difficult at best. Thus, it is useful to have a few tips to follow in planning healthy, nutritious meals, explains the Harvard School of Public Health, including:
- Develop a weekly menu focused on healthy foods. One of the biggest problems in eating healthy is rooted in poor planning. When hunger strikes, the body craves salts, fats and sugars. By planning ahead, MAs can effectively reduce cravings for unhealthy foods.
- Create a shopping list based on the menu. The shopping list should not be a wish list. Shop the perimeter of the store, avoiding heavily processed foods.
- Consider cooking a week’s worth of meals at once. Cooking meals ahead of time will reduce the stress in preparing meals for yourself and your family. Since everything only needs to be reheated, it can also help keep unhealthy food cravings at bay.
- Incorporate your favorite foods in alternative meals. Make smart decisions regarding ways to reduce their unhealthy nature. For instance, a veggie pizza with low-fat mozzarella is a much healthier alternative.
- Encourage others to eat a salad with each meal or to reach for healthy snacks, like nuts and dehydrated fruits. Salads provide a wealth of benefits and take little time to prepare. Even if on-the-go, prewashed, bagged salads can be a great way to get more vegetables in your diet without spending too much time chopping at greens. Meanwhile, unsalted nuts and dehydrated fruits provide nutrition without the concentrated sugars of candies and unhealthy snack foods.
- Remember food safety principles too. The best-laid plans for healthy eating fall apart if foods spoil or are not prepared properly. This means cooking meats to appropriate temperature, washing grown items thoroughly and storing cooked foods properly. Most foods are not meant to be refrigerated for more than five days, so try to clear out your refrigerator at least once per week. This will reduce your risk of accidentally eating spoiled food that may have become a bacteria breeding ground. Freezing items is the only to ensure food safety for longer periods, excluding refreezing of foods that have already been thawed.
Enroll in Your Nutrition-Inclusive MA Program Today.
Nutrition is the most important way to reduce your risk of illness and improve quality of life. Consider enrolling in an MA program that includes nutrition and weight management courses, like those offered by CCI Training Institute. Find out what you need to do to get started by visiting us online or by calling 1-214-763-9889.