What is Health?
In striving to be healthy, have you ever wondered what the world “health” means? According to the World Health Organization, “health is the complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Regular exercise, balanced nutrition and adequate rest all contribute to good health. The CDC states, people with healthy eating patterns live longer and are at lower risk for serious health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. People who suffer from chronic diseases can help manage these conditions and prevent complication by maintain a healthy diet. So, do you know what you should be eating?
You can eat healthy in a way that works for you and your family, tastes and traditions, and economic status. Incorporating a variety of nutritious food in the right amount for you as part of your daily routine is the key to building a healthy eating pattern.
Let’s look at some key ways to manage chronic conditions by establishing a healthy diet.
Balance is Key
Good nutrition means your body gets all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work its best. Here are some tips for eating well:
- Eat a mix of food across all food groups. Choosing foods and beverages from all food groups – vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and proteins – will help you get the range of nutrients for your body.
- Eat a mix of food within each food group. Maintaining a healthy diet does not mean you need to eat the same thing every day. Try out several different types of vegetables each week, including leafy greens, red and orange, cruciferous, root, etc.
- Limit foods and beverages higher in saturated fats (dairy products and meats higher in fat), added sugars (sugary drinks and sweet treats), and sodium (prepackaged and restaurant foods).
- Make small changes to daily products. Substitute whole milk for low fat or fat free milk, white bread for whole-wheat, potato chips for nuts, etc. Small incremental changes in your daily eating habits can improve your long-term health.
- Drink plenty of water. Water and hydration play an important role in wellness.
Managing Chronic Conditions and Nutrition
Since diet is a modifiable risk factor for the majority of chronic conditions, whether they occur as standalone illnesses or in comorbid states, nutrition plays a key role in the management of chronic diseases. Here are a few chronic conditions and their risk factors involved with nutrition:
- Heart disease: patients with heart disease should be aware of their cholesterol levels. High LDL (bad) cholesterol and low HDL (good) cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Foods that are high in saturated and trans fats increase levels of LDL cholesterol. People with heart disease should increase their unsaturated fat intake and lower saturated and trans fat intake.
- Diabetes: patients with diabetes should be aware of their blood sugar levels. It is important to have a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to manage blood sugars. Carbohydrates in the food you eat raise your blood sugar levels. A good meal plan includes more non-starchy vegetables, fewer added sugars and refined grains, and whole food instead of highly processed foods.
- Stroke: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are all risk factors for patients suffering from strokes. Maintain a healthy diet and weight is crucial for those at risk. Keeping a diet low in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar and high in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits and vegetables will help manage this condition.
Manage Your Health With VitalCare
Managing chronic conditions is not simple but VitalCare strives to make it as easy as possible for patients and providers. Learn how VitalCare VitalCare empowers patients to fulfill their goals of high cholesterol treatment by guiding them with lifestyle changes such as improved diet, exercise habits, weight loss and/or quitting smoking here.