Medical evidence suggests that 50 to 75 percent of suffering can be eliminated with a healthy diet. In fact, good nutrition can help those suffering with diseases like arthritis, boost your overall mood and outlook on life, and even improve your quality of sleep. However, there’s so much conflicting information about food that it’s hard to know what to eat these days.
When it comes to nutrition, it’s important to get back to basics:
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. This is essential for proper metabolism and optimal body function.
- Include at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber in your diet daily.
- Include about 46 to 56 grams of protein in your diet daily; more if you’re very active.
- Incorporate resistant starches (healthy carbohydrates) like beans, brown rice and garbanzo beans, which serve to boost metabolism and burn fat.
While “superfoods” have been in the media lately, there is no medical definition. However, it has come to represent a category of foods that possess superior nutritional properties-from antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to cancer inhibitors and blood sugar regulators. Some of the “tried and true” superfoods to incorporate into your diet include:
* Leafy greens and crucifers (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, spinach, kale and collards)
* Nuts (walnuts, almonds and pistachios)
* Legumes (peanuts, lentils, black beans and garbanzo beans)
* Whole grains (oats, brown rice and whole barley)
* Super starches (sweet potatoes)
* Fatty, cold-water fish (salmon, herring and sardines)
* Fruits (berries, avocados, tomatoes, pears, grapefruit and bananas)
* Tea (green and black varieties)
* Dairy (Greek yogurt and eggs)
* Other (pumpkin, beets, dark chocolate, cinnamon and soy)
There are several “trendy” superfoods getting lots of attention like nutrient-rich quinoa, which is packed with iron and is a nice balance of carbohydrates and proteins. Quinoa is almost like a balanced meal in itself. And since most American diets are deficit in protein, chia seeds and hemp seeds provide simple solutions. They can easily be added to soups, salads and cereals for an instant boost.
Regardless of your diet, nothing can replace healthy living… Eliminate all tobacco products; only consume alcohol in moderation; participate in 30 minutes of physical activity at least five times a week; get the appropriate amounts of sleep for your age; take time out for mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing; enjoy leisure and relaxation activities on a regular basis; and remain social.
Interested in learning more about how nutrition affects your heart health? UCF Health cardiologist Dr. Bernard Gros is offering a free seminar February 23 at 6:30 p.m. called “Your Healthy Heart: From Diet to Statins.” The seminar will be held at UCF Health, 3400 Quadrangle Blvd. Orlando, FL 32817. Space is limited, so registration is required. For more information and to register, visit www.ucfhealth.com