This article was originally published on Forbes by Julia Olayanju
According to reports by the Center For Disease Prevention and Control, more than 50% of adults in America struggle with preventable chronic diseases that are related to poor eating patterns as well as physical inactivity. The importance of food to overall well being cannot be overemphasized. For this article physicians weigh in, sharing practical strategies worth paying attention to. Please consult with your healthcare professional before making any dietary changes.
Eat Healthy Fat
Eating healthy fats at every meal is a priority as many vitamins and herbal compounds that we get from our food are fat soluble. Fat soluble means the vitamins or compounds are absorbed by the body when they are in the presence of fat. Fats are also the backbone of our hormones, so if you desire a steady mood, energy, ensure you are eating healthy fats such as: avocado oil, avocados, olive oil, olives, coconut oil, coconut, ghee, nuts and seeds. Food is medicine but only if you are absorbing it. Our bodies are smart and will not prioritize digesting if they are stressed by external factors. To absorb food properly it is important to focus on eating, and only eating. Multi-tasking, working, driving or walking while eating does not aid digestion it distracts from it. Instead give your body time to assimilate, and really focus on chewing your food so that it can be broken down properly, starting with enzymes in the saliva. To optimize digestion of foods make sure you are hydrated before eating but stop drinking 15 minutes before eating. Also, do not drink while eating or for an hour afterwards as it dilutes the hydrochloric acid in your stomach. If need be you may take little sips of warm tea while eating to help with dry food. – Krista Imre ND, Co-founder, Nature Medicine Clinic
Reduce the consumption of processed food
“Food choices are fundamental to our health. When we choose to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, we’re taking in the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that our cells need to perform their basic functions of energy production, detoxification, and regeneration. If our diets are low in produce and high in processed foods with preservatives, food dyes, fillers, and flavor agents, our bodies take on those additives that the body doesn’t see as food and they need to be processed out of the system. That puts more burden on our detox pathways – while at the same time, we don’t have the nutrients for our cells to perform those detoxification processes. Another way we can support our health through food is by looking at fiber content. The standard American diet has very low fiber with lots of fast food and processed foods. Fiber itself has more benefits than just keeping our bowels regular. As fiber goes through the digestive system, it grabs on to excess cholesterol and excess hormones to carry out of the system. So, just getting in more fiber improves cardiovascular health, helps to maintain hormone balance, and improves gut health by supporting the microbiome. By avoiding fast food, processed foods, and pre-packaged foods, and adding more produce into the diet, most people will have a solid foundation for preventing disease and maintaining their health”. – Dr. Marlena Kennedy,
Eat Real Food
“Every single day we all face the choice of which foods we’ll choose to eat. Some ideas are debatable as to whether they are fact or myth. But there is one that we nearly all agree on; We must eat real food. When we eat foods that are closer to their natural state. When foods are closer to their natural state, our body and mind function at their peak. Start with including one vegetable per day. Choose one that you like, eat it every day for a week, then add a second one. After that, do some reading about nutrition or find a well-trained mentor to guide you through the rest of the process.” –Adam Dombrowski ND LAc, Co-founder, Nature Medicine Clinic