Overview of Food and Health

Eating a wide range of nutrients is required to keep you well and help reduce the risk of physical health problems like diabetes and heart disease. It also helps increase energy levels, sound sleep, and general health.

Sometimes, your mood affects how much you eat and the types of food you choose. While some foods can boost your energy levels, concentration and mood, others can have reverse effects.

Take, for instance, eating abundant vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, and nuts can reduce your risk of some mental health conditions like depression. On the other hand, eating foods that contain a high amount of saturated fat and sugar may trigger the risk of depression.

Eating a healthy balanced diet is essential in your well-being and overall health. Your GP can refer you to an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) who can offer one-on-one support. Meeting people with health challenges can give you ideas on how to overcome your health challenges. It can also help enhance your eating habits.

What is Food?

Different schools of thought have different definitions for food, ranging from solid to liquid substances taken by living things. However, in simple terms, food is any substance consumed by the body to provide nutritional support.

How Foods Impact Health

Foods give human bodies the necessary information to function well. Not getting ample information makes our health decline. Also, eating too much or eating foods with the wrong information can cause undernourished and overweight. The body can also be at risk of severe health conditions like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.

In brief, the state of our health is determined by what we eat. Foods work as medicine to maintain the body and to also prevent and treat diseases in the body.

The Effect of Foods on Our Bodies

Food nutrients enable the cells in the body to perform their essential functions – growth and body maintenance. When consumed nutrients do not meet the body’s nutrients needed by the cells to function well, the metabolic process deteriorates and may even stop working. Simply put, nutrients pass instructions to our bodies on how to work. Hence, food can be recognized as the basis of information for the body.

From this perspective, foods give us a nutritional view that goes beyond grams and calories, good or bad foods. Instead, it leads us to concentrate on foods we should include in our consumption rather than foods to ignore. Also, while looking at foods as enemies, look at foods as a substance to create good health and reduce disease by boosting the body’s functions.

But today, we eat what is convenient for us, not foods with health benefits. Fast foods have eliminated us from preparing and savoring wonderful meals.

The Connection between Food and Disease

Our society today is facing significant health problems – the US ranks 9th in life expectancy among the developed world nations. Today’s workforce is plagued with reduced productivity and absenteeism due to chronic health issues.

Approximately 78% of health expenses are for the treatment of chronic disease. According to many researchers, these problems are believed to be partly associated with diet. In recent years, diseases like obesity, stroke, type II diabetes, and certain cancers were believed to be caused by a single gene mutation. Today, these conditions are attributed to a network of biological dysfunction.

According to the proceedings of the 2004 Nutrition Society, food is an essential factor in dysfunction because our diets lack the vital balance of nutrients. To prevent these diseases from appearing, it is necessary to understand how multiple nutrients in a diet relate to and affect the functions of the human body.

The application of Functional Medicine is a dynamic method of using nutrition to assess, prevent, and treat chronic diseases. This aspect of healthcare also researches the role of nutrition in health.

The Perspective of Functional Medicine

While examining the role of nutrition in chronic disease, Functional Medicine practitioners look at diverse systems such as the detoxification system, immune system, and digestive system. This is due to the interconnections between these systems. For example, because the gastrointestinal system contains 80% of the immune system can relate a person’s immunity problems to faulty digestion.

Functional Medicine confirms that a period of declining health in the body systems typically results in chronic disease. Therefore, the practitioners try to identify the early symptoms that signify primary dysfunction that is likely to lead to disease.

These practitioners address declining health by providing the foods and nutrients required to reinstate function. The method is a cost-effective, non-invasive intervention purposely to stop the disease from progressing.

Example of Cardiovascular Disease

It is essential to know that one disease can have several causes when taking a nutritional approach to health and disease. One underlying dysfunction can also cause several diseases. One clear example from this approach can be cardiovascular disease.

Different types of research show that the growth of heart disease can be stirred up by many factors. The factors include inflammation, stress, heavy metal toxicity, insulin resistance, hypertension, elevated homocysteine, elevated cholesterol, and oxidative stress. Nutrition can influence each of these factors and in turn, affect our nutritional needs.

Food and Mental Health

Your nervous system and mental health rely on nutrition to build fresh tissues, proteins, and cells. Your body needs a variety of minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates to function effectively. Instead of eating the same meals and snacks every day, nutritionists suggest eating a variety of foods. This helps acquire all the nutrients that improve the functions of mental health.

The following are the top three foods you should include in a healthy mental diet.

  • Complex Carbohydrates: You can get energy from complex carbohydrates like starchy vegetables and brown rice. Sweet potatoes, beets, and quinoa have additional nutritional value and will keep you satisfied longer than the typical carbohydrates existing in candy and sugar.
  • Lean Proteins: These proteins provide energy that lets your body think and react instantly. Excellent sources of protein include eggs, seeds, nuts, chicken, soybeans, and meat.
  • Fatty acids: These are crucial acids for the right function of your nervous system and brain. Fatty acids are found in flaxseeds, fish, nuts, eggs, and meat.

Healthy Eating Tips

  • Eat plenty of healthy fats to support your brain, including avocado, coconut oil, and olive oil.
  • Pass up snacks filled with sugar, such as soft drinks and candy, which lead to instability in energy levels. Steer up processed snacks like potato chips, which can weaken your ability to concentrate.
  • When hunger strikes, consume healthy snacks like baked sweet potatoes, fruits, hard-boiled eggs, or nuts that will produce more energy than packaged products.
  • Eat at the right time and don’t eat in a distracting environment. Consider sitting in a relaxed place and take note of what you are eating.
  • Develop a shopping list of healthy foods and stick to it.
  • Shopping while hungry will make you purchase unhealthy impulse – don’t shop when you are hungry!
What You Should Know about Good Nutrition?

The key to good health is the effective management of food intake and nutrition. Having smart nutrition and food options can help you curb a variety of diseases. Likewise, understanding good nutrition and paying adequate attention to what you eat can help improve your health.

What is Good Nutrition?

Good nutrition is not a phrase you can look up in the dictionary or just about calorie intake.

Good nutrition means:

  • eating diverse foods that offer the body the necessary nutrients to feel good, have energy, and maintain health. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, protein, water, fat, and carbohydrates.
  • staying away as much as possible from processed foods that have a list of ingredients you are not familiar with and contain extreme amounts of sodium.
  • being aware and limiting added sugar. Research reveals there is a connection between sugar, addiction, and the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • considering variety, moderation, and balance in all that you eat.

Good nutrition is having an understanding of foods that support your body and mind. It’s about making healthy choices that will make you live a long and productive life.

Balanced Diet: Importance & Components

Often, we hear that it is necessary to eat a balanced diet to be healthy. But the question is, what is a balanced diet, and does it have any importance? Besides, is this diet the same for everyone? Let’s delve in to discover the facts!

What is Balanced Diet?

This is a diet that contains enough amounts of nutrients required by the body in one day. The nutrients are vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, fats, and fiber. While our foods contain all these nutrients, different amounts are present in each of the nutrients. A person’s gender, age, and health will determine the requirement of the nutrients.

The Importance of Balanced Diet

A balanced diet has the following importance:

  • It boosts the ability to work
  • It increases the capacity to resist or fight diseases
  • Leads to a superb physical and mental health
  • It aids the sustainable growth of the body

Components of a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet has a wide variety of components. Some of them include:

  • Protein for growth and repair of the body and building muscles
  • Fats for energy
  • Fiber, minerals, and vitamins for enhancing the body’s resistance to diseases
  • Carbohydrates provide us with energy
Superfoods: Definition & Health Benefits

A significant aspect of living a healthy life is eating a nutritious diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. According to science, nutrient-dense foods will not only make you feel better but also reduce your risk of certain chronic conditions. At the same time, it will also provide several health benefits.

You have probably heard the term “superfoods,” which describe foods that are likely to make you feel better, look great, and help you live longer and healthier. However, what is meant by “superfoods” and what makes these foods so special?

What is Superfood?

There are no specific definitions of what makes the term “superfood.” However, superfoods are considered unprocessed, whole food rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They are usually plant-based foods, but some fish and dairy are also cut.

Examples of popular superfoods include kale, salmon, almonds, kefir, and açaí berries. Nutrient-dense foods are also placed into this category.

The Health Benefits of Superfoods

Superfoods contain high mineral and vitamin content that can help keep your body away from diseases and make you healthier. Incorporating superfoods into a balanced diet will promote weight loss, heart health, reduce aging effects, and improve energy levels.

Healthy fats found in superfoods can reduce your risk of heart disease, while antioxidants can help prevent cancer. Fiber is another nutrient in superfoods, which can help prevent digestive problems and diabetes.

Superfoods also help lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, regulate metabolism, and protect your organs from toxins. Phytochemicals have plenty of health benefits, and one of them is that it reduces your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

6 Essential Superfoods for Improving a Healthy Diet

No single food can offer all the energy, nutrition, and health benefits we need to nourish ourselves. However, there are superfoods recognized for providing essential nutrients and enhancing healthy eating habits.

The list includes:

  • Berries: They are naturally sweet and high in fiber. Their rich colors indicate they are high in antioxidants and other disease-fighting nutrients.
  • Leafy greens: Dark, leafy greens are rich in several phytochemicals (plant-based chemicals with positive effects on human health). They are also a good source of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, and also add fiber into their diet.
  • Nuts: Such as pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts are a good source of plant protein. Nuts also contain monounsaturated fats – a likely factor for reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Fish: Contains Omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which helps curb heart disease.
  • Whole grains: These are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber. The grains also contain multiple B vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals. Whole grains protect against diabetes and heart disease, as well as lowering cholesterol.
  • Yogurt: Contains live cultures called probiotics – “good bacteria” that protect the body from other harmful bacteria. Yogurt is also a good source of protein and calcium.