The role of optimum nutrition is essential in maintaining your overall health and well-being. When the body gets adequate nutrients, you can be certain your immune system is strong, your hormones are in balance, and your body is functioning as well as it should be.
Poor nutrition, however, can result in poor health and an increased risk of developing chronic illnesses.
By definition, a chronic illness is a disease that lasts three months or more. There is no vaccine for these diseases, and they can progress over time. Chronic illnesses are more common for adults aged 65 or older.
Among the illnesses are heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer. These conditions are the leading causes of mortality. These diseases do not just disappear. However, optimum nutrition can prevent if not control diseases, so they don’t lead to more complications.
Heart disease can be linked to diabetes, another chronic illness. Although genetics plays a role, the consumption of foods that are high in trans fat (bad fat) can lead to this condition. Heart attack and heart failure are considered the main cause of death for adults aged 65 or older.
Heart attack occurs if there is a buildup of plaque inside the coronary arteries, the arteries responsible for supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart. If these plaques are not treated, the muscles could weaken, and it could lead to heart failure.
If you are living with heart disease, you should consider altering your diet and lifestyle. The changes you make could help prevent complications as they could partially reverse the narrowing of your heart’s arteries.
Staying away from foods that are high in trans fat is the best way to go because these could raise your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and lower your HDL (high-density lipoprotein). Sodium intake should also be minimized because too much could lead to high blood pressure. Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables, and use herbs and spices instead of sodium in your food.
There are hundreds of different types of cancer. Cancer occurs when there is an abnormal growth of cells forming lumps or masses that are also known as tumors. These tumors that grow in certain areas of the body can release hormones that can alter the body functions. It becomes even more dangerous if the cancerous cells divide and grow or move through the blood or lymphatic system, killing other healthy tissues in the process.
The symptoms of cancer vary depending on the location of the cancer, the size of the tumor, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. For example, a changing mole found on your skin could be a cancerous cell and should be looked at by your doctor immediately.
For men, the most common cancers are lung, prostate, and colon cancer. For women, it’s breast, colon, and rectal cancer.
A person diagnosed with cancer should acknowledge the importance of having healthy eating habits, especially during treatment. He will need nutrients in order for his body to fight off infection and to keep his tissues healthy.
Otherwise, a continued junk-food lifestyle could lead to malnutrition or malnourishment. Recommended are foods that contain important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Keep in mind that a well-nourished person will have a better chance of recovering from both the cancer and the chemotherapy/radiation used to treat it.
Diabetes is a chronic illness that can cause one’s blood sugar level to increase. It’s either because the body is resistant to insulin, or the body is not producing enough insulin. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, and Type 2, the most common, is when the body does not produce adequate amounts of insulin.
Most people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are often overweight and/or have poor eating habits. On a positive note, both types of diabetes can be treated through lifestyle changes that include, engaging in physical activities, taking prescribed medication, and making better food choices.
Type 2 diabetes is far easier to treat (and sometimes can be completely reversed) with lifestyle changes and better food habits. Without the conscious effort of making these positive changes, you could end up with heart problems, hypertension, stroke, gum disease. and hearing loss, just to name a few.
The best way to deal with this chronic illness is to make sure you learn to balance your meals. Select foods that are nutrient dense and don’t overeat. Stay away from sugary drinks, and if you do crave for something sweet, have a piece fruit instead.
Go for dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale because they are high in vitamins and minerals. And don’t forget to exercise regularly to get back in shape. Find a sport or exercise you actually enjoy so you look forward to it rather than dread it.
A healthy diet coupled with certain lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping you manage your chronic illness naturally.
Guest Post By: Karen, founder of RealEnergyFood.com is an integrative nutrition health coach who is passionate about helping people boost energy levels, lose weight, clear up their skin & improve their health through finding the right foods that work for their unique body. With a Science degree from the University of Western Australia and certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Karen works with clients all over the world through one on one coaching and group programs. Karen’s mission is to help people get energized and achieve food freedom so they can concentrate on the important things in life. Find out more at RealEnergyFood.com.