Healthy fruits and vegetables on a table

Unlock the potential of food to prevent and heal

Posted Thursday March 01, 2018

Posted By: Christine Taylor

Category: General

Food has a tremendous ability to help prevent disease and support healing when we are ill. Lifestyle factors, including what we eat, can influence our health. A nutritious diet can help prevent illness and can lower the risk of developing chronic diseases. This Nutrition Month, dietitians want to remind you of the power of food to help prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease as well as to help for healing.

First step is to build a balanced diet and adopt healthy habits. The best eating pattern is one that you enjoy and can stick with in the long run. Research shows that the certain foods can help prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and some types of cancer. This includes vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes like beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, milk, cheese and yogurt, fish, seafood and poultry, and healthy oils like canola and olive oil. These nourishing foods are the basic ingredients that form the diet for disease prevention. You may also notice what’s missing from these eating patterns. They don’t contain a lot of highly processed foods, like cake, chips, cookies and sugary drinks that are high in added sugar, salt and trans fat. Focusing on eating foods that are less processed is a good place to start.

Step two, work with a dietitian. They use foods to help you get the nutrients needed for the growth and repair of your body. Their advice helps prevent disease, treat conditions and keep the immune system healthy. Almost 80 per cent of premature stroke and heart disease can be prevented through healthy lifestyle behaviours. These include eating healthy, being active and living smoke-free. The journey towards wellbeing begins with how we eat and dietitians have the knowledge, compassion and flexibility to help you achieve your goals. Dietitians can help you follow a healthy eating pattern that suits your individual needs and health goals. You can find dietitians working in many places, including hospitals, community health centers, public health offices, grocery stores, long-term care settings, doctor`s offices and many more places! Here are a few ways dietitians can help heal:

  • Working with a dietitian can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.
  • Dietitians work with their clients on lifestyle changes that can improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels and help promote weight control.
  • In the cancer care setting, advice from dietitians promotes healing, weight maintenance, and manages side effects of treatments to help patients feel their best.
  • Dietitians can help people with celiac disease plan and navigate a gluten free diet, to promote gut healing and restore nutrient absorption.
  • People with swallowing problems (dysphagia) can work with a dietitian as part of a health care team to find the right meal pattern, food texture, supplements and assistive devices to stay well-nourished.

Find a dietitian near you at www.dietitians.ca/find

This blog post was adapted from the Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2018.ca

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