This is the time of the new year when our recently made resolutions are put to the test. Were they holiday-fueled imaginings or meaningful expressions of our heart's true desires? Are our resoluti ...View Article
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
You truly are what you eat…and that starts with how food and other natural substances that complement the diet affect your cells and influence your health.
In the past, the main focus was on the nutrients we might be missing. That's still important. However, now scientists realize that there's a lot more to consider when planning our daily diets than just avoiding a deficiency. Healthy eating, nutrition, and other modifiable lifestyle factors can help you reverse the disease process and improve health.
Armed with the basic nutritional knowledge we've provided here, you and your health care provider can work together to develop the dietary and lifestyle prescription that's exactly right for your unique genetic composition.
Despite a wide variety of foods, people today generally eat more but actually get fewer nutrients. Many common aspects of daily life can deplete the body of the nutrients it needs to function properly:
These things can rob you of nutrients by:
Processed foods and other unhealthy dietary habits can interfere with the dietary signals sent to cells throughout the body, which can lead to premature aging and disease. Addressing unhealthy eating patterns allows you to manage symptoms and even halt or reverse the progression of illness. Eating plans can also be tailored to specific conditions to maximize healthy signals-to help regulate blood sugar or reduce inflammation, for example.
Are 3 balanced meals a day enough to keep you healthy? Food is the preferred source of nutrients to supply you foundational nutrition needs for basic health maintenance. Knowing how to eat to maximize these nutrients will help you stay on a path of reduced disease risk.
As you probably know, the foods you eat can be broken down into 3 categories: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. They're all essential to health-but not every food supplies them in a "good" way. And too much of anything-even a good thing-is still too much. Work with your health care provider for suggestions on daily calorie intake and serving size suggestions to match your individual needs and activity level.
Fat is a vital nutrient that your body needs for a wide range of biological processes, including growth, healthy skin, and absorption of nutrients. It's also an important fuel source. Eating the right fats, in moderation, will help you feel full faster, and in turn, decrease your appetite. They can even help lower your risk of heart disease by reducing your levels of total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
Protein is a key component of practically every tissue in your body, including muscle, skin, hair, and other tissues. Proteins manufacture the enzymes and hormones that power digestion, metabolism, and tissue growth and repair.
Protein can be found in all meats and vegetables. Some are "complete" proteins (typically from animals) because they contain all the essential amino acids your body needs to build more protein. Others are "incomplete" proteins (vegetables, nuts) because they lack one or more essential amino acids.
Carbohydrates are important sources of energy and can be found in most foods. Not all carbohydrates are beneficial, so choosing the right carbohydrates is essential.
Good sources of fiber include bran, beans, brown rice and nuts, and green vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, spinach). Your health care provider may also recommend a fiber supplement. Dietary fiber helps:
Water helps to transport vital nutrients to, and export waste from, our cells. It's also necessary to moisten the lungs and respiratory tract, lubricate joint surfaces and internal organs, and ensure proper digestion. Like fiber, it can increase the feeling of fullness and aid in toxin removal. So it's important to make sure you're getting enough water every day.
The growing field of research in nutritional genomics-or nutrigenomics-has demonstrated the effects that nutrients and plant substances can have on modifying the expression of genes in favor of good health. This has led to the development of research-based nutraceuticals and medical foods that complement dietary approaches to address today's top health concerns.
Even if you eat a nutritious diet, you might benefit from nutritional supplementation. Nutritional supplementation not only helps you maintain adequate nutrient levels. It can also help improve your health or manage chronic health conditions.
The following are key areas for targeted support along with some recommended nutrients: