Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dietary tips your doctor will give you

"If it tastes good, spit it out."

That pretty much sums up the advice that the average cardiologist will give you.  It's what they're trained to say.  However, I work in the medical field and (of course) I work with medical doctors.  Believe me, most of them don't practice what they preach.

Nonetheless, here is a summary of what current medical journals (backed by research) say for them to recommend to the average adult patient when discussing diet and nutrition:

1. Choose foods with a wide variety of colors and textures, in their most natural forms.  Foods that are enjoyed in a natural state provide the greatest satisfaction and nutritional value.  Choosing a wide variety of unprocessed colors and textures - foods as close to their original, natural states as possible - will make the most significant difference in long-term health and longevity.

2. Avoid or dramatically minimize processed foods.  Processed foods and beverages, such as packaged snacks, smoked meats, white flour, and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, should be limited.  In fact, sugar is becoming the 'new tobacco' because every processed food contains it.  Sodium is the same thing.  Every canned food is little more than a salt-delivery vehicle.

In short:  the less pre-packaged/canned food you eat, the better.

3. Choose realistic, balanced diets for weight loss and weight maintenance. The most successful diet is one that you can stick to.  Plenty of diets have proven effective for weight loss and weight maintenance.  When dieters fail, it's because they attempt to follow diets that are too restrictive, are unbalanced or cause rapid weight loss - which leads to yo-yo dieting.
Depending on the patient, doctors will often recommend the Mediterranean diet, portion-control plates and even intermittent fasting.  Diets that promote weight loss and weight maintenance normally have the following characteristics:
  • Increased vegetable and fruit intake;
  • Consumption of foods that are high in fiber;
  • Consumption of whole-grain foods;
  • Increased water intake;
  • Decreased intake of dietary sugar (eg, sugar-sweetened beverages);
  • Sufficient protein intake; and
  • Sufficient intake of healthy fats.
Low-carb (or virtually no carb) diets are often highly encouraged for diabetics.

4. Consume healthy oils for heart health: fish, olive, avocado.  Fish oils can prevent further illness in those with a history of heart disease. The AHA recommends that everybody eat fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  Other beneficial fats include olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, and chia seed oil.

5. Forego red meat and live longer. Although red meat is a principal source of protein and fat, research shows that over-consumption of red meat is linked to increased risks for cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, all of which decrease longevity. 

6. Consume fermented foods/probiotics and fiber for gastrointestinal and overall health. Probiotics contain microorganisms that confer gastrointestinal benefit. They are commonly found in yogurt, kefir, and unpasteurized fermented foods and drinks. They can also be taken in supplement form.  In order to thrive, probiotics require prebiotics as food, which can be found in fiber or high density super-food shakes that contain them.

So... it's said that human beings can only remember four things at once.  Anecdotal evidence has suggested seven.  Anyway, the above 6 items are generally the nutritional advice that most every doctor will tell you.

Of course, they'll also tell you to limit your fun - i.e. don't drink, don't smoke (especially don't smoke), etc., etc., etc.

It's generally a good idea to listen to them.

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