The foods you eat and feed your family matterBy Dr. Veita Bland / August 19, 2022
There are basic principles in caring for your health. Some of these basic principles are so common. In just the everyday world, we fail to understand how vital the principle of nutrition is in determining our quality of health.
Nutrition is complicated by many factors. The mere zip code that you live in may determine the availability of the types of foods you eat. Your economic status may determine the choices that you have in the food you consume. Your understanding of basic tenets of nutrition may determine how and why you choose certain foods to consume.
That being said, there are basic nutrition facts that are not disputable. The foods you choose to eat matter. It matters what you eat when you are pregnant, what you feed your child and what you feed yourself. Food is the fuel for your body.
Researchers have found that the types of foods that are eaten can impact one’s quality of life. Food should be looked at as the ultimate medication. There are foods that promote inflammation in the body; foods that decrease inflammation in the body; foods that promote longevity of life; and foods that will shorten your life. There are foods that will affect your emotional state negatively and foods that will affect your emotional state positively.
The food you fuel your body with should start off with safe bets. This time of year, it may be easier to obtain fresh fruits or vegetables but remember frozen fruits and vegetables are great and an economical alternative, especially so for those feeding large numbers of people or for those feeding one or two people. Take out what you need and put the rest back in the freezer.
Another basic tenant is to eat as close to the farm as possible. In other words, avoid processed foods at all costs. Processed foods have additives, fillers and preservatives. These may increase the foods’ shelf life but not your life. Common examples would be most deli products such as cold cuts, hot dogs, potted meats or quick forms of food that you add water to and place in your microwave. Pay attention to the ingredients in the foods you eat, the fewer the better. Be concerned if the ingredients list contains words that you are unfamiliar with or do not understand. Most likely such an ingredient list is unfriendly to your nutritional status.
One real enemy of nutrition is sugar. It is added to so many foods. Be aware of cereals, especially the ones consumed by kids. Watch out for sugar added to fruits that a canned. Many healthcare professionals consider sugar a poison. It is addictive and results in weight gain. Soda is a main enemy and has no redeeming qualities. Water is your friend. Watch those additives packs that give the water a flavorful taste. Diet sodas also have no redeeming nutritional qualities.
Be careful of the carbohydrates you consume. Some carbohydrates are important and needed for health, but excessive amounts found in a diet that is rich in breads, pasta, rice, white potatoes and sweets are the things that promote obesity, diabetes, heart disease and the like.
Watch the fats you consume. Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are the best. Use olive oil and avoid vegetable oils and margarine. Saturated fats should be limited but Trans saturated fats such as palm oil or those found in a lot of commercially generated cakes, cookies and the like should be avoided.
A diet that is plant centered maybe the best. Be aware of meat substituted plant foods. They are generally altered and processed to make them appear to be and taste like meat.
Meat is important. It is the only complete protein. The quality of the meat consumed is important. Understand where your meat comes from. Animals reared in stressful situations and grain feed are different from grass feed animals. Farm raised fish is different from wild caught fish.
Yes, there is definitely a lot to think about as you decide what to eat, when to eat, how to prepare it and its nutritional value. Food purchases and consumption deserve a second thought. Afterall, you are what you eat.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.