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    Start today with healthy eating habits

    • 4 min read

    Written by Angela Ysseldyk CNP, BA

    If you are spending more time behind the four walls of your home, you may be asking yourself: what should I eat?  

    There are a lot of diet trends out there from low fat, to high fat (i.e. keto), to plant-based, vegetarian, low carb, high protein and more.  If you are feeling confused about where to start and which one to stick with long term, you are not alone.  Healthy eating comes down to balance.  Balanced eating does not have to be hard.   There is consistent research on diets that discuss high quality foods being superior to low quality foods. [1]  Diets that include a variety of high quality plant-based [2], healthy fats [3] and protein rich foods have been shown to improve overall health, body weight and quantity of food eaten.[4]

    Healthy eating starts adding more healthy, whole food choices to your fridge, freezer, and shelves.

    You can use this time to get back to basics, and try new, simple recipes.  Eating whole foods and getting creative can be simple and fun.   There is a saying ‘’you are what you eat’’, so why not fuel yourself with the best choices so you can feel your best? It is one of the only things we can control.    Out of the top tips for wellness, what you put into your body is number one.  

    Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is good for both mind and body. These foods bolster our innate immune systems through lowering inflammation and supporting our microbiome.[5] These foods also provide vital nutrients like potassium, fiber, folic acid and other vitamins and minerals, which are essential for just about every process and function in the body. [6]

    Eat nutritious whole foods daily. Be sure to include protein, healthy fats, and vegetables at every meal.

    Out of all the diets out there, consider incorporating the Mediterranean diet, which includes a balance of the foods discussed.  Also, this diet has been researched for cardiovascular disease prevention and improvement of cognitive health. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]  The Mediterranean way of eating is characterized especially by a high consumption of vegetables and olive oil and moderate consumption of protein. The diet originates from the traditional cuisine used in countries residing on the Mediterranean such as France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey and has gained popularity in North America.

    Use olive oil as your primary source of added fat. Other foods naturally containing healthful fats include avocados, nuts, and oily fish like salmon and sardines; among these, walnuts and fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids.   All of these are good choices.

    Choose fish at least twice weekly and limit red meat.  On the other days, go for other proteins such as poultry, eggs, and dairy (cheese or yogurt) or a plant-based protein option. 

    The Mediterranean diet is high in plant foods which your liver loves!  Your liver filters everything you put into your body and onto your body [12], so it makes sense to feed it well.   Your liver is the largest gland in your body and affects metabolic and secretory functions. Your liver helps you to digest and metabolize foods, store vitamins, remove wastes and toxic matter from the blood and more. 12  

    Plants food are an essential part of the human diet and comprises various compounds which are closely related to liver health.  [13]

    My favourite plant-based foods that support the liver are beets, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, collard greens, avocado, lemon, cherry, and brown rice.  You can easily work these into your cooking and preparation plans with a little planning. 

    In addition to the wellness tip discussed, you should also include the following habits daily to ensure you are making your overall health and wellbeing a priority, for yourself and your family. 

    • Sleep 7-9 hours per night.
    • Drink 10 glasses of pure clean water per day
    • Move your body 30 minutes per day (3-5 days per week) minimum
    • Get outsidein nature
    • Socialize (with social distancing rules, try online video meetings, phone calls, and laugh daily)
    • Self care(fill up your cup, and make time to look after yourself)
    • Take your vitamins, minerals, and baseline foundation products to ensure you are getting what you need

    What you put into your body, your lifestyle choices, and your actions can greatly influence your overall health. Now is a great time to cultivate more good habits into your day.  

     

    References:

    [1] Mozaffarian, D., et al., (2011) Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. N Engl J Med, 364(25): p. 2392-404.

    [2] Kim H et al, (2019) Plant‐Based Diets Are Associated with a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All‐Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle‐Aged Adults. Journal of the American Heart Association.8:e012865

    [3] Liu AG et al, (2017) A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion Nutrition Journal volume 16, Article number: 53

    [4] Soenen S et al, (2013) Normal Protein Intake Is Required for Body Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance, and Elevated Protein Intake for Additional Preservation of Resting Energy Expenditure and Fat Free Mass.  The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 143, Issue 5, May 2013, Pages 591–596

    [5] Childs CE et al (2019) Diet and Immune Function Nutrients. Aug; 11(8): 1933. doi: 10.3390/nu11081933

    [6] Truswell Stewart A et al, (2020) Human Nutrition. Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/human-nutrition Access Date:  May 05, 2020

    [7] Lopez-Garcia E, et al (2013). The Mediterranean-style dietary pattern and mortality among men and women with cardiovascular disease. AJCN. Oct 30;99(1):172-80.

    [8] Ahmad S, et al (2018) Assessment of Risk Factors and Biomarkers Associated with Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Among Women Consuming a Mediterranean Diet. JAMA Network Open. Dec 7;1(8):e185708

    [9] Estruch R, et al (2018). Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts. New England Journal of Medicine. Jun 13.

    [10] Loughrey DG at al (2017). The impact of the Mediterranean diet on the cognitive functioning of healthy older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Advances in Nutrition. Jul 6;8(4):571-86.

    [11] Aridi YS at al (2017) The association between the Mediterranean dietary pattern and cognitive health: a systematic review. Nutrients. Jun 28;9(7):674

    [12] Encyclopædia Britannica, Liver https://www.britannica.com/science/liver Access Date: May 05, 2020

    [13] Guan Y-S, He Q, (2015) Plants Consumption and Liver Health, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. doi: 10.1155/2015/824185