Back to articles

Eating To Be Healthy? Start With Simple Changes — Article featuring White Memorial’s Dr. Martha Rivera

Health and Wellness

Dr. Martha Rivera works at the Optima Health Care Center in Boyle Heights and says many Latinos ignore ways to stay fit and need education on where to find healthier sources of proteins and other nutrients. Sometimes it comes down to changing how foods are prepared, she said.

“They need to eat garbanzos prepared in different ways, smaller portions of tortillas and eat cactuses,” she said as an example. “We need to … teach them the short-term effects versus the long-term effects of fatty oils and good vegetable oils. We need to teach them about the qualities of eating salmon,” she explained.

Some meat and poultry are high in saturated fat and can lead to obesity and high blood pressure. Rivera said. The saturated fat can also inflame joints in the knees and hands and lead to diabetes. Soy-based meals provide protein, an important nutrient that keeps healthy muscles, which is mostly found in fish, poultry and meats, Rivera said.

She said younger Latino adults tend to develop diabetes because of unhealthy food choices.

Compared to traditional fatty oils, olive oil works as anti-inflammatory in veins and joints, and is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. Health studies have shown switching can help reduce blood pressure, and according to a scientific study titled “Olive oil and cancer risk: an update of epidemiological findings through 2010,” conducted by the Department of Epidemiology of the Institute of Research and Pharmacology Mario Negri in Milan, Italy, olive oil intake was linked to decreased levels of breast, upper digestive and colon cancer when compared to butter and other saturated fats.

The American Heart Association reported that high blood pressure, strokes and diabetes are closely linked to obesity among Latino adults age 40 and younger, and that the proportion of adult obese women is larger compared to men. However, because of biological and reproductive reasons, women are better equipped to overcome being overweight and high levels of bad cholesterol.

You can read the entire article via