In the first part of the Foundations of Health: Diet blog series, I discussed general healthy recommendations for what to eat, click here to read Part 1. Equally important and often not discussed is how to eat. For today’s post I will discuss some considerations about how to eat to optimize digestion.
Spring is here and with the wonderful warm weather comes blossoming plants that produce pollen. If you are experiencing watery/itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, trouble breathing, etc, you could have seasonal allergies. This article discusses some at home and natural treatment options for allergies.
Food is an essential part of life. The choices we make about what we eat can have lasting impacts on our health. Many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity can be caused by unhealthy dietary habits (1). For many people, preventing these diseases can be as easy as engaging in healthy eating habits. These healthy eating habits include not just what food is eaten, but also when and how to eat. In this article, I will discuss very general healthy diet recommendations (what to eat). In part 2, I will discuss how and when to eat.
What to Eat
There is no perfect diet that can be applied to everyone. However, in general, the best thing is to focus on is the quality of food (2). High quality food includes are those that are closest to their whole forms found in nature. Foods like whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and healthy proteins are all high quality foods. Low-quality foods are those that are highly processed such as white bread, white rice, fried food, processed meats, sugary beverages, refined sugar, and foods high in trans fats. These low-quality foods are minimized or eliminated in a healthy diet.
Healthy fats are needed for our bodies to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and for use as energy. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular can be helpful in preventing heart disease and reducing inflammation. It’s important to have a wild caught, fatty fish 1-2 servings a week as a dietary source of healthy omega-3 fats. The Monterey bay aquarium has a great seafood watch list to guide your seafood choices so that you can make the best environmentally friendly and sustainable choice. Nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil are other examples of foods that have healthy fats. To help absorb fat-soluble vitamins and increase your healthy fat intake, try a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar over a salad or cooking vegetables with grass fed butter or ghee.
Protein breaks down into essential amino acids that your body uses as building blocks to make its own proteins. General recommendations for protein intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight. Incorporating vegetarian protein sources such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, and nuts/seeds can be a great way to get additional protein in your diet. I recommend buying grass-fed, free range meat when possible. I also recommend limiting red meat and processed meat.
As a reminder, there is never a universal recommendation when it comes to diet. If you have a condition, please seek the advice of a medical practitioner prior to initiating any dietary changes.
A sense of connection with others is integral to our well-being. Love and the sense of belonging in a community has far reaching implications on our health. The benefits of love aren’t limited to relationships between partners or spouses. Having a strong network of connections with friends, family, coworkers, and/or neighbors is an important aspect of everyone’s health.
Sometimes relationships can be stressful, but overall, love has shown to to have a strong stress reducing potential. When you feel love, areas in the brain that are responsible for emotion, attention, motivation, and memory are activated. Our immune function improves, depression and anxiety decreases, and overall sense of well-being improves.
Relationships can be work sometimes, but putting in the effort can be well worth it. So, remember to reach out to those you love today and give others that boost in well-being everyone needs.
As we are right in the middle of cold and flu season, here is some advice on ways to stay healthy and how to differentiate between the cold and flu. In some cases you may need to seek professional medical care, so we will go through some of these signs and symptoms that should have you seeking help.
Colds and flus are both caused by viral infections. Viruses can live up to 2 hours outside the body. That is why it is important to take measures to reduce exposure.
Immune System Boost
Keeping your immune system robust and strong can help reduce your chances of infection and can help your body fight infection if you do get a bug. Here is our list of important immune boosting foundations and extra supportive measures to promote immune function:
Happy New Year! In the spirit of the New Year I have put together some of my tips and tricks to help you be successful at making changes towards a healthier lifestyle. I want to start with my list of healthy foundations to begin the discussion on habit formation.
It can be daunting to think about all the things we should be doing to be healthy. Most people already have plenty of responsibilities - work, cleaning, paying bills, etc. Who has the time to fit it all in? This year's top 10 New Year’s resolutions includes improvement in areas strongly matching these healthy foundations. So, you probably are not alone when it comes to struggling in one or some of these lifestyle area. The top resolutions list includes eating healthier, exercising more, saving money, and spending more time with family and friends (list by Statista). Personal and clinical experience has shown me that the majority of people want to be healthier, but haven’t managed to meet their own goals.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all these healthy habits were part of your everyday routine so that you didn’t have to think about it? That is the ultimate goal of forming healthy habits. A habit is an action that is triggered automatically in response to a situation (1). For example, in the situation that you use the restroom, the next action you take is to wash your hands. At least I hope it is. Typically you don’t have to try hard to remember to wash your hands, you just do it. Therefore, you have the habit of washing your hands after using the bathroom. Healthy habits are a great way to create a lifestyle change for the better. So let's delve into the researched tips and tricks to forming healthy habits.
Chances are good that if you aren’t waking up feeling rested, you aren’t getting enough good quality sleep. Around 30% of adults in the US report getting 6 hours of sleep or less a night (1). Research shows the average adult needs 7-9 hours a night and that kids and teenagers need even more sleep!
Myth busted: There is a mentality that we can “catch up” on sleep lost throughout the week, but studies show that just isn’t the case. One study out of Harvard Medical School found reaction times and mental focus remain low even after a “catch up” night of 10 hours after 2 weeks of getting about 6 hours of sleep (3).
What to do about it
I always recommend that people start with the basics. Much like it is common knowledge that eating more vegetables is a healthy eating habit, there are healthy sleeping habits too. These habits help improve sleep quality and can help you get to sleep faster.