Diet and Health
Dietary Treatment Now Common
Many health conditions and diseases may be affected by the food we eat. Medical researchers have discovered a wide range of connections between our diet and our physical or mental health. Indeed, for many illnesses, dietary treatment is becoming an integral part of the overall treatment program. For example, guidelines for diet nutrition are routinely issued to patients with a variety of cancers or pre-cancerous conditions, heart disease, insulin resistance, PCOS, and arthritis.
Healthy Diet Helps Prevent Disease
The idea of food as medicine is nothing new. There are traditional dietary treatments for many different types of disease. However, healthy nutritious eating has now become an important part of disease prevention. Most health clinics and doctors provide healthy diet advice to reduce the risk of ill-health, age-related health problems, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Encouraging women to increase folate-intake before and after conception to prevent spina bifida in the unborn child is just one example of how diet can prevent disease.
Nutrients, Fiber and Phytochemicals Can Combat Disease
Aside from the main nutrients (essential fatty acids and protein), healthy substances in food include: micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), dietary fiber and the more recently discovered plant chemicals known as “phytochemicals”. Health researchers are still finding connections between vitamin or mineral deficiencies, and ill-health, while the cancer-fighting properties of plant chemicals are only now coming to light.
Food As Medicine to Replace Drugs To Treat Disease
Unlike most theraputic drugs, food has no adverse side effects. Thus for some health disorders (eg. hyperactivity in some children), dietary treatment may be more helpful that pharmaceutical drugs. Plant sterols are now utilized in food to reduce blood cholesterol. Dietary fiber is used to help reduce symptoms of many digestive disorders. Many patients with arthritis have seen a dramatic reduction in symptoms by following certain dietary guidelines.
Healthy Diets Are the Foundation of Good Health
A nutrient-dense diet (combined with regular exercise) is now regarded by most physicians as the cornerstone of a long and healthy life. Instead of eating empty-calorie foods that can actually deplete our nutritional reserves, thus leading to ill-health, we need to go back to the basics of
healthy eating. This involves a balanced diet, with plenty of green vegetables, fresh fruit, traditional whole grain carbohydrates, and a reduced intake of red meat balanced by a higher intake of fresh fish and beans.Dietary Health And The Digestive System
Our food digestion system (mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine) helps us to absorb energy and nutrients from food. Carbohydrate, fats and protein are each digested differently within the digestive tract, but surplus calories from these three micronutrients are ALL converted to body fat and stored as adipose tissue. Malabsorption in the gut, bad eating habits, viral or bacteriological infections can cause a range of digestive conditions including: Indigestion, Constipation, Diarrhea, Gastroenteritis, and other digestion problems, including food poisoning.