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NUTRITION
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Managing Your Health Through Diet & Nutrition

Written by Leilani H McElroy, MS, RDN, LD on July 3, 2021 — Medically reviewed by Sam Ferguson, R.D., CDE

Healthy Diet

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The nutrients from the food we put in our bodies give our cells the ability to perform their necessary functions. Think of it as planting a garden. If you are planting a tomato seed, ideally you use the right soil and the right amount of sun for the best success.

However, if you use the cheapest dirt and don’t give it enough sunlight you may still get a tomato, but the tomato may not be the ripest, roundest, reddest, or tastiest tomato.

In other words, giving our bodies the right nutrients can help you grow into a healthier version of yourself. Thinking about food from this aspect goes beyond calories and good food versus bad food. You need to focus on the foods you are putting in your body versus the foods you are excluding.

Look at food as a way to fuel your body and help fight cardiovascular diseases, debilitating conditions, skin abnormalities, and chronic pain. 

 

The majority of individuals on the planet are ill-informed about nutrition. 

 

Recent analysis of nutrient intakes of the U.S. population shows that a large percentage of people fall short of the average requirements of many nutrients. We're living at a time when more than 80 percent of Americans fail to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. At the same time, many Americans overeat refined grains and sugar.

 

When we eat food it goes through a digestive process. Part of this process involves absorbing vitamins and minerals from that food and distributing it into the bloodstream which leads to the blood vessels, coronary arteries, and the heart muscle. 

 

What you eat has a direct and indirect effect on your health. Food gives your body the tools and ‘information’ it needs to function well. Eating the wrong types of food gives your body improper instructions, which can lead to ill health and disease. 

 

Benefits of Nutrition

Many people live with chronic pains every day, unaware that simply eating the right foods can actually help them find relief. Maintaining a healthy diet, in addition to frequent exercise and reduced stress, can help alleviate your inflammation and chronic pain. 

 

Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to reduce inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator.  By following an anti-inflammatory diet you can fight off inflammation for good. Research shows that diet should be an integral part of a pain management program, especially as patients age.

 

Several patients who choose to participate in an anti-inflammatory diet report a significant decrease in symptoms. You can help speed up the healing process as the body purifies itself during the inflammation process by switching to a diet that complements the removal of toxins. 

 

Depression and diet may be related. Several studies have found that people who ate a poor-quality diet, one that was high in processed meat, chocolates, sweet desserts, fried food, refined cereals and high-fat dairy products were more likely to report symptoms of depression. When you stick to a diet of healthy food, you're setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus. Studies have even found that healthy diets can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

 

Good nutrition and healthy habits such as eating plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and taking supplements that are high in antioxidants are good for your whole body, including your skin. Antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins C, E, and A can curb the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. These molecules can harm skin cells and cause signs of aging. They also heal broken skin, hydrates and moisturizes skin, even stops psoriasis flare ups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start Managing Your Health Through Diet

We’ve all been told that healthy eating can transform your life and help you live a longer and more active one. But what does healthy eating actually mean and how do you start putting this into practice and breaking bad habits? For some, this may be a way to help them lose weight, for others the goal may be to lower their blood pressure, and for others, it may just be to have a healthier way of living. 

 

Struggling to eat better? You're not alone. To eat a healthy diet, you may need to make some changes. Remember that you can change your eating habits a little bit at a time. Small changes are easier to make and can lead to better health.

 

A small but great change is to incorporate superfoods into your diet. Superfoods are packed with vitamins and minerals that will help your body deal with autoimmune symptoms and help you perform at your best. 

 

Turmeric is one of the best superfoods for patients that suffer autoimmune diseases. This beautiful yellow-orange spice is often found in curry powders. Thanks to the active compound curcumin, it has strong anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb. However you take it, remember to add a dash of black pepper to boost absorption. 

Remember, eating well is all amazing but sometimes we can’t get the nutrients we need by food alone. A superfood bridges the gap where you may have a few nutritional deficiencies.

 

You should be proud that you have made the decision to improve your health. Know that the road ahead will have some bumps, but equipped with a good eating plan, support system, and a positive attitude, you will be successful. Good luck!

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