Diet & Nutrition – Taking charge of your Health and Well-being

If the word “Diet” instantly makes you think of an unpleasant weight-loss program, you are probably not alone. Thanks to food products marketing, the use of the term “diet” usually describes foods low in calories, such as Diet Soda.

But there is another meaning of this word ‘Diet’ which refers to the food and drink a person consumes daily, and the mental, physical circumstances connected to eating. Nutrition involves more than simply eating a “good” diet – it is about nourishment on each level.

Choices about nourishment are closely linked to other human beings and other life forms on earth, so healthy and unhealthy decisions both have great impact.

Food and beverages provide the energy and nutrients you need to improve health, manage disease, and reduce the risk of disease.

Amidst all the hype, numerous studies show that good food choices have a positive impact on health, and poor diets have negative and long-term effects.

The facts are:

  • People whose dietary patterns include fresh, whole foods like fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, lean meats, and fish have a lower incidence of major chronic disease and especially of diet-related diseases.
  • Any diet, in combination with a sedentary lifestyle, large portion sizes, and high stress, is blamed for the increase in obesity and associated diseases.
  • Diseases associated with obesity include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, and certain cancers, including breast cancer in women.

What experts recommend for healthy eating:

  • Combine healthy eating with exercise. Diet alone is not as effective in achieving a healthy body weight as diet combined with exercise. Physical activity has many other health benefits as well.
  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. It helps body’s biological processes, especially carrying nutrients to cells and eliminating wastes. Your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are, and where you live.
  • Pay attention to your eating patterns. How, when, and where do you eat? If like most, you often eat meals while doing something else: driving, talking on the phone, watching television, or reading, pay little attention, as:
  • You may not be always fully tasting and enjoying your food
  • You may be eating more than your need
  • You may be suffering from indigestion or other gastrointestinal symptoms

Overall, focus on eating patterns rather than individual dietary components, follow a healthy eating pattern that incorporates a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages.

The healthy dietary guidelines recommend that you should:

  • Consume mostly nutrient-dense foods, which include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and seafood
  • Consume fewer foods with sodium (salt), saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and refined grains. (It is recommended to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas.)
  • Balance calories with physical activity, to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Dietetics is the application of knowledge about food and nutrition to help people achieve and maintain health throughout the life span. An important component of health care, dietetics involves helping people meet their nutritional needs in health and disease through diet counseling and nutrition support. Dietetics integrates knowledge of food, nutrition, management, basic sciences, and social sciences to improve the dietary intake and health of individuals and communities.

In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons (with the two often being related).

Happy dieting!

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