by Geri Walton ~ March 22nd, 2009
Today, researchers are discovering more and more information that indicates there is a link between poor nutrition and health problems. If you think about it, if poor nutrition contributes to things such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, then why wouldn’t proper nutrition contribute to good health? You may also wonder what good nutrition means because what is touted as beneficial one day seems to be bad the next. To help, here are five nutrition tips often linked to good health:
- Choose Good Oils. Americans tend to eat too many foods that are full of trans fats, saturated fats, or polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids. In fact, most people can receive health benefits by simply replacing or substituting omega-3s (found in fish) and omega-9s (found in olive oil and avocados) for omega-6s (found in most plant oils). Choosing the right omega oils can result in better physical and mental health, as well as reduce your risk for health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. To learn more about omega oils, read Omega Oils and Their Health Benefits and to learn more about oils in general, read The Skinny on Fats.
- Consume a Variety of Foods. You may have heard you’re supposed to eat a variety of foods, and it’s true. You gain two things by doing so. First, you consume a wider variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants by eating different foods, and, second, you reduce your risk of becoming allergic to the foods you eat because eating the same foods day in and day out contributes to food allergies. Elson Haas, M.D. is a holistic proponent and author of Staying Healthy With Nutrition, 21st Century Edition: The Complete Guide to Diet & Nutritional Medicine. Haas suggests you rotate foods so that do not eat the same food more than once every four days. So, for example, if you eat broccoli on Tuesday, Haas suggests you not eat it again until Saturday—this means you would skip it Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Rotating foods is good practice because it also encourages you to eat a greater variety of foods and as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are synergistic—their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects—it may further increase your chances of good health.
- Drink Healthy Water. We are made up of at least 60 percent water, and, as it is a basic for life, you need to make sure the water you drink is healthy. Many holistic practitioners object to water that comes directly from your tap. They claim it is full of toxins and additives, such as chlorine and fluoride—both of which may be detrimental to your health. They suggest you drink wholesome spring water or water that is filtered through a reverse-osmosis procedure. To learn more about water, read Pros and Cons: Tap Water Versus Bottled Water and My Water Decision.
- Eat Numerous Small Meals. One reason people may be overweight is because they fail to keep their metabolism high enough to burn the calories they eat. One way to achieve a high metabolism is to eat several small meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones. The reason why this works is if your body knows it’s going to get food regularly, it remains in high gear, but if you have two or three large meals and are starving between meals, it’s a signal to your body to slow down and conserve energy, which reduces your metabolism. Additionally, if you eat small meals throughout the day, you’re less likely to be hungry and less likely to overeat. Another problem with eating large meals is that it causes sluggish digestion, and sluggish digestion robs your body of proper nutrients and encourages vitamin and mineral deficiences that create illness. So, as a rule of thumb, you should avoid going more than about three hours without eating and then when you eat, eat small meals.
- Take a Multi-vitamin and Multi-mineral Daily. Research sometimes indicates vitamins or minerals are not beneficial. However, many times the research is based on the effects of a single vitamin or mineral and because vitamin and mineral benefits are synergestic, it is not clear that a study based on a single vitamin or mineral is valid. Moreover, critics of these same vitamin and mineral studies often point out that the amount used in the studies is often well below levels known to be beneficial. Based on these reasons, holistic practitioners usually suggest you take a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral daily. Additionally, even if you eat a balanced diet, it is hard to acquire optimum levels of vitamins and minerals, and, in case you didn’t know it, the established recommended daily values are not based on optimal nutrition levels, they’re based on avoiding deficiencies not providing optimum nutrition. Therefore, many holistic practitioners maintain you need greater amounts of vitamins and minerals than the quantities recommended. One way to acquire them is to eat a balanced diet and take a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral daily. Another reason to take a multi-vitamin/multi-mineral is people sometimes think they just need a single vitamin or mineral. However, they may be doing themselves more harm than good. If you get too much of any single vitamin or mineral, it may eventually cause a deficiency in another vitamin or mineral because vitamins and minerals work in balance. So, it’s always best to make sure you take a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral and then add more vitamin C, calcium, or whatever vitamin or mineral you require, because you will be less likely to create a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
In most cases, good nutrition is a matter of choice just as poor nutrition is a matter of choice. By choosing good oils, consuming a variety of foods, drinking healthy water, eating numerous small meals, and taking a multi-vitamin/multi-mineral daily, you increase your chances of good health. So, decide to incorporate these five nutrition tips today and increase your chances of enjoying a long life and total optimum health.