Diet and disease are more closely related than you might think. Health.Gov puts it this way, “the rates of noncommunicable diseases—specifically, chronic diet-related diseases—have risen, due in part to changes in lifestyle behaviors.
A history of poor eating and physical activity patterns have a cumulative effect and have contributed to significant nutrition and physical activity related health challenges that now face the U.S. population.
About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity. These include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and poor bone health.”
The National Institutes of Health Weighs In on Diet and Disease
“Of 702,308 adult deaths due to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, 318,656 (45%) were associated with inadequate consumption of certain foods and nutrients widely considered vital for healthy living, and overconsumption of other foods that are not,” the National Institutes of Health said.
“The highest percentage of cardiometabolic disease-related death (9.5%) was related to excess consumption of sodium. Not eating enough nuts and seeds (8.5%), seafood omega-3 fats (7.8%), vegetables (7.6%), fruits (7.5%), whole grains (5.9%), or polyunsaturated fats (2.3%) also increased risk of death compared with people who had an optimal intake of these foods/nutrients. Eating too much processed meat (8.2%), sugar-sweetened beverages (7.4%), and unprocessed red meat (0.4%) also raised the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes-related deaths.”
What to Do to Improve
If you are like most people, you don’t need convincing that improving diet is important for healthy living, but you DO need help with knowing where to start. Consider the following tips:
Eat Nutrient Dense Foods. When it comes to eating healthily, you want to think about quality over quantity, but quantity does play a role. The amount of calories you are consuming needs to balance out to the amount you are expending so that your weight stays stable.
Reduce Foods High in Calories (Sugar, Starch and/or fat) and low in Essential Nutrients
It’s important to practice mindful eating to keep your diet in check. You would be SHOCKED to see how many empty calories some foods pack. Before you let anything fuel your system, check to see if it passes your quality standards! Aim for foods that pack a punch with essential nutrients instead of packing on abdominal fat from excess sugars.
Balance Your Calorie Input and Physical Activity Output
When you think about food as fuel instead of just a pleasure source, you begin to understand how it works in your body. The amount of calories in need to match the amount of calories you spend in a day if you want to maintain your weight. (If you want to lose weight, you want to expend more calories than you bring in, but this should be done under the supervision of a trained nutritionist you can help you know how much weight is healthy for you to lose at a time.)
Know Your Fats
You have heard it before, but it is worth repeating: not all fats are the same!! Aim for less high-calorie foods and watch out for foods that are high in saturated or trans fats and sugar. Unsaturated fat is better.
Watch Your Sodium
The CDC had this to say about sodium: “ The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day as part of a healthy eating pattern.
Based on these guidelines, the vast majority of adults eat more sodium than they should—an average of more than 3,400 mg each day.
Eating too much sodium puts Americans at risk for developing serious medical conditions, like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.”
Reach for Fruits More and Veggies More than That!
Remember, fruits and vegetables offer different nutrients, Read what Health.gov has to say for more information: “Some fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of carotenoids, including those which form vitamin A, while others may be rich in vitamin C, folate, or potassium.
Fruits and vegetables, especially dry beans and peas, also contain fiber and other substances that are associated with good health. Dark-green leafy vegetables, deeply colored fruits, and dry beans and peas are especially rich in many nutrients.”
Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day (2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables. You can choose fresh, frozen, dried or canned forms. Strive for dark-green leafy veggies, orange fruits and veggies, cooked dry beans and peas often.
Increase Physical Activity
Physical activity drives how much energy you require each day and should dictate your daily caloric needs. This is fundamental to energy balance and weight control. Physical activity greatly influences the health of your metabolism and can help you avoid metabolic syndrome. (The Mayo Clinic defines Metabolic Syndrome as: “…a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”)
Call for a Nutritional Assessment and Consultation Today!
Nutrition is paramount in Balanced Well-Being Healthcare’s Functional Medicine Package. Our master nutrition therapist and nurse designs new patient packages to help align diet with individualized treatment plans. Patients benefit from individually designed treatment plans for diet, nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes based on testing results to ensure you get exactly what YOUR body needs. Learn more by calling 970-631-8286 today to set up a consultation. Make this new year your best ever!!