At least as far back as the ancient Greeks, it has been known that good nutrition is important to give your body fuel and the energy to help fight a health condition and to heal.
One of the best things you can do for your body is to eat at least five servings each day of fruits and vegetables. Many substances found in this food group help with healing and may help prevent illness and recurrence.
To help you eat more nutritiously, consider the following ideas:
- Change your mind set. For example:
- Think of food as part of a medication regimen - you have to do it regularly for it to be beneficial.
- Think of every bite you eat as an investment in your health. At the same time, keep in mind that we are all human. A reasonable amount of comfort foods is okay.
- Think of food as fuel. You wouldn't put anything less than good fuel in your car. Your body is even more complicated than your car and needs good fuel to run well.
- Make changes one or two at a time. Achieving small goals makes us more likely to continue and not get discouraged. Keep in mind that only superman or superwoman can change a lifelong diet overnight.
- Forget what you have not done about your diet in the past. It is the past and is over. The key is what you do today.
- Find nutritious options within the foods you like, that your family eats, and that are part of the cultural tradition in which you feel most comfortable.
- Buy organic if the fruit or vegetable is known to have a lot of toxins. For a list of fruits and vetegables with the most pesticides and those with the least, click here .
- Avoid milk, cream or cheese that is not pastrurized because it may contain harmful bacteria.
- Learn easy ways to eat better. Click here.
There is no single best diet. Instead, there are basic rules of good nutrition. Virtually every illness has its own nutritional requirements. Learning about the requirements of your illness can help you make the wisest food choices. Consider consulting with a nutritionist or dietitian about your individual circumstances and needs.
- For information about nutrition and HIV/AIDS, see: www.thebody.com/content/living/art6083.html .
- Nutritionists and Dietitians:
- With respect to diabetes, sugar is rampant in our prepared foods.For recipes specifically prepared for people with diabetes, see the American Diabetes Association's book: Diabetic Cooking for Seniors $12.95, available by calling 800.232.6733 or in bookstores.
Consider the following tips:
- Good nutrition doesn't have to be expensive. For information about getting good nutrition at a reasonable price, click here.
- If you have difficulty swallowing, try recipes for easy-to-swallow foods. Foods can be easy to swallow, and taste good. (For swallowing tips, click here.)
- Supplements do not substitute for fruits and vegetables. While they may contain some features of fruits and vegetables, we don't know which ingredients are the most important.
- Go through your food cabinets and refrigerator. Dump the food that is not healthy. You will be less tempted if foods are not nearby.
- Change your routine. For instance:
- Be sure you get the fruit you need each day by keeping a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter or adding two pieces of fruit to your work area (and making sure they are gone at the end of the day).
- Make it a rule to have two vegetables with lunch and dinner.
- You can get meal-kits delivered to your door. The kits include ingredients and instructions for cooking. For example, Blue Apron , HelloFresh , Plated
You can find free nutrition information and data tracking tools at web sites such as:
- American Dietetic Association www.eatright.org
- www.nutritiondata.com .
- Office of Dietary Supplements -- U.S. National Institutes of Health http://odp.od.nih.gov/ods/
Good nutrition does not have to be expensive. In fact, according to Consumer Reports Bottom Line, cheap food that provides few nutrients may actually be "expensive" for the consumer from a nutritional economy perspective.
- Vegetables and fruits are a low-cost way of buying more nutrients compared with less-healthy food.
- According to a 2012 report from the Department of Agriculture, when price is calculated per portion size or by weight, healthier fare, such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains, tends to be less expensive than calorically denser food loaded with saturated fat and sugars.
- If you are looking for nutrient-dense but inexpensive foods, try fiber-rich grains like barley and quinoa.
- Instead of planning meals around meat, choose less-expensive proteins like beans, eggs, skinless chicken thighs, or canned salmon.
- When buying fresh produce, get what’s local and in season. You’ll often save money since the food doesn’t have to be flown or trucked from a far away place.
- If you have difficulty swallowing food or drink, click here.
- When reading about nutrition, always check the source. Be skeptical of the information If the source is not objective and unbiased. Check to see whether the information is evidence based (which means there are valid, objective studies on which the information is based.) Lots of information about food is not evidence based.
- If you are in treatment, or if you have unique issues relating to your health status, you need to gain or lose weight, are diabetic or have other health issues requiring diet modifications:
- Talk with your doctor. Even if you know a lot about food and nutrition, you are likely to learn something that relates to your condition or treatment.
- Also consider speaking with a registered dietitian/nutritionist who specializes in working with people with life changing conditions. For information about dietitians, including how to find one, click here.
- If you need a gluten free diet: you can find a multitude of recipes at www.Food.com/recipes/gluten-free. To locate restaurants, groceries and other stores with gluten-free food, see: http://GlutenFreeTravelSite.com
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