Research continues to show how important our food is for the maintenance of our health and for disease prevention. Evidence exists showing that most of the common diseases we face such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and obesity are directly linked to dietary factors. Perhaps even more importantly, life expectancy overall is greater in those who have healthy diets.
There are a couple easy rules to follow in order to ensure that your diet is healthy. Eat mostly plants, the more colorful, the better, and foods that come from above or below the ground, not from boxes or cans. This includes beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, among others. If animal products are part of your diet, be sure to use pasture raised organics if at all possible. Organic produce is more expensive, but buying less animal products makes the organics more affordable.
Phytochemicals are found only in plants. They protect both the plant and the person who eats it from disease. Some of the more common phytochemicals are allicin, anthocyanins, and bioflavonoids. The list goes on and the names get longer, but fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, and pulses (legumes), are all rich in them. Vitamins and minerals are also found in these foods and are essential to life. Omega 3 fatty acids are also essential for optimal health and cannot be made by our bodies. Certain seafood are a great source, including salmon, sardines, and mackerel, as are some plants; flaxseed and beans are a few.
Nutritional information can seem complex and overwhelming but by following some simple guidelines, you can help prevent disease and stay healthier. If you have questions about your diet, discuss with your health care provider. Hackensack Meridian Health team members such as nurses, health care providers, or nutritionists can help answer your nutrition and diet questions.
For more information, join us for a 90 minute program providing information on growing your own healthy produce from a master gardener, how to make food your “Farmacy” for optimal health, and how to prepare healthy foods that taste great with live cooking demonstrations. The event is free, includes food and beverage samples, and will be held Thursday, October 4, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Raritan Bay Medical Center-Perth Amboy. Registration is required, call 732-324-5257.
Internist Nina Regevik, M.D., FACP, ABIHM, is co-director of Hackensack Meridian Health Integrative Health & Medicine at Raritan Bay Medical Center. Since 2004, Raritan Bay’s qualified practitioners have provided integrative therapies to enhance patients’ health and well-being with complementary medicine supporting the mind-body-spirit connection. For more information about services, call 732-324-5257.
With locations in Perth Amboy and Old Bridge, New Jersey, Raritan Bay Medical Center delivers critical world-class healthcare services care to Monmouth and Middlesex County residents. As providers of first-class healthcare in the areas of stroke, cardiology, cancer, physical rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, pediatric medicine, Raritan Bay Medical Center continues to stay on the forefront of medicine.
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