Natures Medicine: The Impact of Nutrition on Chronic Disease
So many of our dietary choices today come from our daily habits; family and friends, religious or national traditions, pleasure, time constraints and education (and sometimes a lack of). Rarely are we thinking ‘what should I eat to be healthy and avoid disease’. Through time we have unfortunately become disconnected from our food. As we have access to practically anything we desire within minutes at the tap of a few buttons, we become blissfully unaware of its origins, it’s journey to us and its end nutritional value.
As a result, it's no surprise the top 5 killers in the UK are: heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, cancer and stroke. The good news is that if we nourish ourselves correctly and reduce high pleasure / low nutrient foods, we can have a huge positive impact on our health and our environment through sensible, balanced eating.
Through our lifestyle we should aim to keep our body fat, blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol and activity levels in the normal ranges. This will provide our bodies and minds with a healthy platform to live life fully and enjoy the benefits of good well-being.
Follow these guidelines for increased protection from the top 5 diseases:
1. Eat primarily vegetables, beans, pulses, whole grains, a little meat and fish (2-3 servings per week), some fruit.
2. Drink primarily water, little or no fizzy drinks or fruit juices / squash. Our liquid should be low calorie or calorie free.
3. When it comes to caffeinated drinks you need to get to know your body. Coffee and tea ideally / usually black, or herbal teas. Learn what amount of caffeine is right for you. Some people will have 3-4 cups of coffee per day between 0700-1500, for others this will be too much. Be aware that caffeine suppresses fatigue so a little caffeine deload every few months will give you a good measure of your norm.
4. If you drink alcohol, do it moderately, up to 12-14 units per week spaced across 3 days.
It doesn’t need to be an all or nothing approach. Small changes done consistently over time will have the best effect. Think of a continuum and moving along it. “I'll eat more of these foods”, “I’ll limit the amount of chocolate I have and keep it for the weekends”.
Rarely are ‘always’ and ‘never’ sustainable or appropriate in modern day living. The negative psychological and social effects of being too extreme with our food choices (to which we attach such emotion), isn't worth the health benefits it could bring.
If you need a little help from a professional contact one of our lifestyle coaches and we will listen, advise and act to help you achieve better overall well-being through a balanced and sustainable approach.
Eat well, move well, live well