You are what you eat. This is a fact of life. Our bodies transform what we eat and drink into the very substance of our physical selves. The links below will help you to explore this important facet of your healthcare and learn how adjustments in your diet can be incorporated into the treatment of long-term disease.
Nutritious Foods for Good Health
The first step toward ensuring you are getting all the nutrients you need is to make the most of what you eat. This means eating a wide variety of whole foods every day, along with plenty of the water and other healthy liquids you body needs to functions at its best. The most nutritious food is usually that which is closest to its natural state. Too much processing, refining, and overcooking can chip away at any food’s nutrients. Eating the following types of nutritious food every day will help build good health into every cell of your body:
- fresh or lightly cooked vegetables and fruits
- raw or lightly toasted nuts and seeds
- whole grains such as brown rice and barley
- whole wheat breads, pastas, cereals, and crackers
- mixed grain/nut/seed/bean combinations, egg, poultry, fish lean meat, and dairy products for good quality protein
Instead of struggling to follow complex dietary rules, it is easier for most people to just look at the overall picture and try to always choose healthy foods, while avoiding those that adversely affect health. An important and easy way to increase your daily nutrient intake is to go for a variety of color. Each food is rich in certain nutrients, but not in others. Choosing a wide variety of foods will help ensure intake of all the nutrients nature can provide. You run the risk of limiting your nutrient intake in you tend to eat the same foods over and over. Emphasizing color when you select a wide variety of foods is additional nutritional insurance. Think of it as “the rainbow theory of shopping.” When you are in the bread, pasta, cereals, and cracker aisles, choose brown, whole grain varieties instead of white. White varieties contain processed grains, and processing removes most of the important nutrients found in the whole grain. When you are in the produce section, pick up a variety of colors: red, purple, green, orange, yellow, blue, etc. Any time you see natural color, you are seeing nutrients. The more your shopping basket looks like a rainbow of color, the better your diet will be.
When you’re choosing foods that are high in carbohydrates for your meal—breads, cereals, rice, pastas, and so on—choose mostly complex carbohydrates that have been refined as little as possible. These are the good kinds of carbohydrates that, along with the carbohydrates you get from fruits and vegetables, can provide a substantial portion of the energy you need every day. Add a wide variety of the vegetables and fruits to your meals that will help you get all the nutrients and fiber needed for healthy body function—including immune function. Try to eat at least 3 to 5 servings of vegetables and 2 to 4 servings of fruit each day.
Make sure you get plenty of the protein you need for a healthy body and a competent immune response. You can choose from a wide variety of foods that will contribute to your total protein intake, including lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts, seeds, milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Good fat vs bad fat
Try to make sure that you get a moderate amount of only good fats every day, but keep the overall fat content of the diet relatively low. Researchers have shown that high fat intake is tied to an increased risk of progression in various long-term diseases.
Sweets and Snacks
Although an occasional sweetCupcakes treat or snack food can be fun, most sweets and other “junk” foods contain few nutrients and often substitute for more healthy foods you might otherwise be eating. Limiting your intake of sweets and white-flour snack foods is a good way to improve your chances for a total daily intake of nutrients that is supportive of your good health.