Vail Health Magazine 2013 - page 52

Getting sick or having an accident
that results in surgery is a major life event. But
sometimes a stay in the hospital is just the be-
ginning of what can be a long road to recovery.
Being laid up at home, fragile and tired, can be
difficult and seem interminable.
There’s a reason chicken noodle soup is used
almost medicinally when people are under the
weather — it’s both comforting and nutritious,
the perfect balance for someone in recovery.
Because no matter how skilled the surgeons
are, a body needs food.
“Food is required for energy,” says Shaw
Regional Cancer Center oncology dietitian
Melaine Hendershott. “It’s baseline. We need
energy to make our brains work, to make our
muscles contract, to make our bodies work.
That energy comes in the form of carbohy-
drates, fats and protein. So food is vital to life.
Those are our macronutrients.”
But food can also deliver micronutrients,
which show improved performance in a
variety of ways. For instance, calcium makes
bones strong and has been linked with
decreased risk of heart attack. That makes it
fairly attractive as a supplement — a nutrient
that can be ingested in pill or liquid form
instead of by eating foods that include the
vitamins and minerals. But there’s something
tricky about trying to take a shortcut and
bypass the food.
“You might see improved performance when
you eat foods high in vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber
and calcium, but often you get worse outcomes
when you take those as supplements. Most
recently, a study showed that people who took
high doses of calcium supplements resulted in
an increased risk of heart attack and kidney
stones, yet those same high doses, if eaten in
food, didn’t increase those risks.”
Why would it make a difference? “There is
something about eating it in foods that means
Shaw Regional Cancer
Center’s registered
oncology dietitian Melaine
Hendershott helps patients
with need-specific diets
and healthy choices
Melaine Hendershott
says,“Eat your colors.”
Fruits and vegetables come in
five color groups. Try to eat
each of them every day: white,
green, red, yellow/orange and
On the table
A working mom, Hendershott
wants to serve healthy meals
that she can get on the table
in a hurry. Her favorite? “I love
frozen vegetables that you can
just throw in the pan, add a
sauce and serve with a protein
and a carb.” That could mean
stir-fried veggies with tofu
and brown rice, or sautéed
vegetables with marinara and
whole-grain pasta.
By wren wertin
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