What’s Your Nutrition Literacy?

Health literacy is important to taking care of your health, and nutrition literacy is vital to choosing healthy foods for cancer prevention. But it’s not just a matter of reading comprehension, according to the author of a study presented as a poster at our research conference yesterday.

Try these:

1.Gibbs.NLitBCa.AICR-1.docx

2. If calories are equal for one serving of each food, which provides the most healthful nutrients overall?

A. Applesauce with no sugar added

B. an appleGibbs.NLitBCa.AICRNU

C. applesauce with no sugar added is about equal to an apple in nutrition

3.. If you are trying to eat fewer than 500 mg of sodium per meal, how many cups of this food (Nutrition label) can you eat if you eat nothing else at the meal?

A. 1 cup

B. 2 cups

C. 3 cups

D. 4 cups

 

 

 

 

 

Those were three of the questions used by Heather Gibbs, PhD, at the University of Kansas Medical Center. “Literacy is a functional skill, so nutrition literacy is different than health literacy because we’re also looking at what knowledge and skills are needed in order for people to choose a healthy diet,” said Gibbs.

The three arms of her study included a group of 25 survivors who were currently in a weight-loss program; another group of 30 who were not in a program; and 17 women who were at high risk for the disease but not survivors.

Gibbs remembered one participant who read a question about finding a point of information on a Nutrition Facts label. “She read the question out loud perfectly,” Gibbs says. “But she didn’t understand how to find the answer on the label.”

Other skills Gibbs cites are evaluating fresh foods for quality, such as how much meat was marbled with fat or what colors of vegetables indicated. Participants were also asked whether they used the information on the front of labels, where marketing terms like “natural” or “organic” might make them assume a product is healthy for them; or what information they looked for if they were trying to manage their weight.

The hope is to develop a tool to help dietitians use their time educating people about the things they don’t know about or understand, says Gibbs.


Chill Out with Fruit Soup

fruit-soup croppedFor a refreshing and healthy change, try ourHealth-e-Recipe for Chilled Fruit Soup with Berries.

Six kinds of fruit go into this slightly tropical tasting soup. First, cubed cantaloupe and both fresh and frozen strawberries and blended together with apples into a delicious pink colored liquid with a touch of lemon juice and sugar. Cantaloupe contains beta-carotene and strawberries supply you with vitamin C, while apples are a good source of cancer-fighting compounds like flavonoids.

Then fresh raspberries and blueberries decorate the soup, adding their own protective compounds of ellagic acid and anthocyanins. With only 140 calories per serving, you get 5 grams of fiber and a winning soup or smoothie to sip. If you refrigerate any leftover soup and it separates, just stir it up before serving a second time.

Find more delicious cancer-preventive recipes at the AICR Test Kitchen. Subscribe to our weekly Health-e-Recipes.


A Tempting Cauliflower Treat

cauliflower-x2172 cropped2Crunchy, cool and cancer-preventive, our Health-e-Recipe for Cool Cauliflower Salad is low in calories and abundant with flavor.

Just because cauliflower is white and not green, like its cruciferous relative broccoli, doesn’t mean it’s lacking in powerful phytochemicals that may help ward off cancer. Along with cauliflower and broccoli, cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, kale, collard greens, radishes, parsley and watercress.

At 50 calories a serving, this tasty salad can also be a heartily portioned snack. Vegetables are naturally low in calorie density and high in fiber and water. That means they fill you up for not too many calories, compared to equal amounts of high calorie-dense foods that have lots of fat and sugar. That’s why eating a mostly plant-based diet of minimally processed foods can help keep off extra pounds while giving you protection from plenty of cancer-fighting phytochemicals.

Find more delicious cancer-fighting recipes at the AICR Test Kitchen. Subscribe to our weekly Health-e-Recipes.