The recent White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health highlighted the fact that one-third of Americans suffer from health issues that could be avoided by changing their diet. Here are some alarming statistics:
Diet-related deaths outrank deaths from smoking, and about half of U.S. deaths from heart disease – nearly 900 deaths a day – are linked to poor diet. Dr. Royal Lee, considered to be the father of nutrition, commented on this link between diet and ill health when he said, “The American people have been humbugged into digging their graves with their own teeth.”
Here are three ideas from the White House Conference that you can adopt. They will help increase your health and longevity.
Treat Food as Medicine
This is not a new idea. Hippocrates, one of the earliest doctors, said “Let food be thy medicine.” The White House Conference put forward the idea that doctors should prescribe fresh whole food for patients as part of their medical regimen.
You don’t have to wait for your doctor to tell you what to eat. You can implement this right away. Treat what you eat as medicine. Think of everything you put in your mouth as either helping or harming your health.
Start eating fresh fruits and vegetables instead of fast food and sugary drinks. The best thing you can do for your health most important one is to avoid sugar. Here are some quick substitutes that can make a difference to your health.
- Replace sodas and sugary drinks with flavored sparkling water. Use flavoring that has no sugar content.
- Serve fresh fruit for dessert instead of high sugar content treats.
Focus on Nutrients, Not Calories
For many years diet advice has been about calories. Instead, learn about nutrients and which ones your body needs. Processed foods are high in calories but lack nutrients. Eating processed foods also contributes to cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. Learn how you can get the nutrients your body needs to heal itself and build healthy new cells.
For families on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) programs, it’s often easier and more affordable to buy processed food. Cost of food has become an issue for everyone with the recent rise in inflation.
So, you might be tempted to go for the less expensive options but think of the long-term cost in terms of your health. If necessary, find innovative ways to get fresh vegetables and fruit. Support community gardens in your area, or plant some fresh lettuce and tomatoes in pots, so that you can have a salad every day.
Find a Source of Nutrition Education and Coaching
One of the barriers to healthy eating is a lack of information. But there are resources available. Talk to your doctor or dietician. Many nutrition practitioners hold seminars and education talks that can help you get started on the road to a healthier lifestyle. Do a search online for free nutrition seminars.
Did you know that Medicare covers up to three hours of personal nutrition counseling for people with diabetes and/or kidney disease after a healthcare professional referral? Some health insurance plans also offer free nutrition counseling services. SNAP has a program called SNAP-Ed that works with more than 100 organizations to provide nutrition education and counseling to SNAP members.
Just implementing a few changes to your diet can make an enormous difference to your health. Get educated on nutrients and how your body uses nutrients to build healthy cells. Instead of eating processed food that has “empty calories,” start feeding your body fresh, whole food and you’ll soon feel the difference.
If you would like to have a personalized nutrition plan that addresses your body’s individual needs, find a Nutrition Response Testing® practitioner near you.