Eating for the Health of It

healthy eatingWhen it comes to diet and nutrition, programs, fads and trends come and go, but one thing that remains constant is the consensus among nutrition and medical professionals that proper, balanced nutrition and a healthy, whole foods approach to our diets is the among the best preventative health strategies, as well as the best intervention strategy for overcoming or managing disease and illness.  Understanding caloric intake, balanced nutrition, healthy vs. unhealthy foods, portion-size, metabolic processes and how food affects our bodies’ functions can be a confusing undertaking, and many often get frustrated, give up and return to less healthy eating habits.  However, virtually every day we are presented with new scientific and medical research that clearly links our diets and eating habits with our individual health status.  We cannot deny that nutrition is among the best prescriptions for living with and managing disease and illness because it gives our bodies the fuel they need to function at their best, as well as helping to balance, even boost, our immune systems.  Although the mountain of diet/nutrition information available to us can seem insurmountable, we cannot continue along the easy path of living to eat.  For the health of it, we must shift to a mindset of eating to live. Since the majority of us are not nutritional experts, it is difficult to know what foods are most beneficial to our minds and bodies and what foods we should avoid, especially if there already an existing health concern or diagnosis.  Heart healthy diets, like the Mediterranean diet, get a lot of press and attention, and are great for those with a history of heart health concerns.  But, many are unaware that there are also recommended nutritional and dietary guidelines for those who are living with auto-immune disorders, kidney disease and diabetes, to name a few.  Understanding how food choices can either help or hinder the healing process or one’s ability to manage disease, is a key component in helping us feel better, become healthier, and to live our best lives. There is a plethora of guidelines and information for diet and nutrition (some even diagnosis-specific) accessible and readily available to us, right at our fingertips.  The Internet is a great place to start gathering information and gaining understanding about the correlation between nutrition and disease, which foods are good for our specific needs and which to avoid, which foods will trigger unwanted reactions and which foods will give us the nutritional boost we need, as well as a long list of varying dietary and daily nutritional recommendations. It all can be a bit overwhelming, but making dietary changes and placing a focus on nutrition can also be life-prolonging and -preserving.  Certainly, information discovered or dietary changes should be discussed with your primary physician, a disease specialist, or with a licensed Nutritionist, to be sure that the adjustments you intend to make will work for (not against) your current treatment plan, especially since some foods do interact with medications.  What is important is get yourself back on a healthier nutritional path to healing.  So, talk to your doctor today, and start eating to live!