A good diet is essential to good healthBy Veita Bland, M.D. / May 26, 2023
One of the most important parts of your life is one that many people think little about or have little control over. It is a part of your life that affects most of your existence. So, what is it? It is what you eat, what you use to fuel your body.
Your body tells you that you are hungry and that it is time to eat. So, fuel for the body is a constant requirement for life.
How do you take care of that requirement? Do you just stop at your favorite fast-food place, do you open the fridge or cabinets and eat what falls out, or is there consideration of what the needs of your body may be and are your choices dictated by that? There are many ways to fuel your body, but which one is best for you?
The SAD (Standard American Diet) diet is one that is followed by many. It is characterized by foods that are processed, loaded with salt, sugar, additives galore with unpronounceable names. These foods may be budget friendly, but they are not health promoting.
It is suggested that you consider what fuel you want to power your body. Like a high performing car that receives the best gas available, your high performing body deserves the best fuel you can provide it.
Consider providing your body with a fuel that is rich in fruits and veggies. Look for foods that are anti-inflammatory. That is a way of eating that tries to eliminate or restrict foods that cause inflammation in the body. Studies indicate that inflammation is the basis of many health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, joint disease, cholesterol, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, high elevated alcohol, dairy intolerance, food intolerance, et cetera. So, we need a diet that suppresses this inflammation.
That diet would of course include fresh or frozen fruits and veggies and olive oil. Food should be minimally processed. The fewer the ingredients there the better. Eat close to the farm not the factory. We need to watch our grain intake. This can be tricky. Most grains have been altered from their original forms to improve their yield. Unfortunately, such alterations remove the whole grain goodness and benefits from the grains. We want those that have not been altered and the whole grain not processed such as we find in most of the bread products we buy today. Just because it says it is whole wheat does not mean it is great for you.
Some great anti-inflammatory foods include dark veggies, broccoli, spinach, kale, collards, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower. Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and herring should be included. Berries such as strawberries, blue berries, raspberries and black berries. Others on that list would include tomatoes, peppers, chilis, green tea, grapes, avocados and dark chocolate. So, the list is wide and varied but health is the name of the game here.
Processed meats, packaged snack foods, chips, sweet cereals, sugar, artificial sweeteners, most foods that are white, many fast foods, food cooked in vegetable oil and most processed foods are on the naughty list of foods to avoid consuming.
Speak to your healthcare provider or to your dietician to get more information on this important topic. 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.