Dawn Napoli, a registered and licensed dietitian at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando, stopped by Good Day Orlando to discuss five nutrition secrets you may not know about.
1. "Whole grain" isn't always better: We're always told to eat whole grains, because they help reduce cholesterol and keep our heart healthy. But just because a food's packaging says it's "made with whole grains" doesn't always mean it's healthy for you. Cereals are an example. They may be loaded with sugar. Look for cereals that have more fiber and less sugar. Same with the buzzwords "organic" and "natural." Foods with that label could be healthy, but not necessarily if they're loaded with other additives and sugars.
2. Pick a fatty salad dressing: Try to use olive oil-based salad dressings, which contain healthy fats. Bodies need these fats to help absorb vitamins, especially A, E, D and K, and the phytochemicals in salads that help ward off diseases, Napoli says. And again, be mindful of the sugars and salts that could be hidden in salad dressings.
3. Cook pasta al dente: Cook pasta only until it's firm, or about 8-9 minutes. The chewing will help release more digestive enzymes and help you expend more energy as you break it down.
4. Drink more coffee: Drinking 200-300 mg of caffeine a day can be beneficial. Caffeine will help release enzymes and can help reduce your resistance to diseases such as colon cancer.
5. Eat nuts in the shell: You'll spend more time shelling them and less time filling your stomach too quickly. Shelling nuts slows you down, which gives your digestive system more time to feel full. And you'll take the time to enjoy your food.