Eat Whole Foods

Our ancestors were hunters and gatherers, and so our bodies evolved by fulfilling nutritional needs with food. They ate mostly plant-based foods (fruit, roots, leaves, nuts) and less frequently birds, seafood and mammals, depending on where they lived. Eating fruit not only provides the calories needed by your body for energy production, but your body also benefits from fiber, vitamins and antioxidants— substances that protect the body from oxidation. In contrast, highly processed foods contain mostly refined sugar, salt and fat and very little to no fiber, so the body consumes lots of calories without nutritional value.

Enjoy your food and accept no substitution!

Eat Your Colors

This is one of the rules in Michael Pollan’s book, Food Rules. He says “The colors of many vegetables reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain – anthocyanins, polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids. Many of these chemicals help protect against chronic diseases, but each in a slightly different way, so the best protection comes from a diet containing as many different phytochemicals as possible.”

So serve yourself a colorful plate every time you can!

Eat Mostly Plants

As hunters and gatherers, it was easier to find and eat plants than it was to catch animals. Multiple studies show that people who consume a diet high in fruits, vegetables and nuts have a much lower incidence of chronic disease, including: heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Plant-based diets also contain less calories, and because the feeling of being full comes from bulk and weight, in a plant-based diet, people feel satisfied with less calories consumed and are usually at a lower weight. One of the healthiest diets is the Mediterranean Diet. If you would like more information about how to incorporate Mediterranean Diet into your life, please let us know.

Watch Your Sugar, Salt and Alcohol Intake

The body craves sugar and salt. Sugar provides instant energy. However, too much sugar without exercise produces an excess of calories that are stored as fat. Also, spikes of sugar in the body stimulate spikes of insulin by your pancreas. Increased fat deposits in your body block the effect of insulin, creating a condition that is known as insulin resistance. This is the precursor of diabetes and all its negative consequences.

Salt is sodium, which the body needs in order to perform a lot of essential functions, including transmitting information through the nerves and muscles and maintaining hydration. Yet, too much salt stimulates fluid retention which raises blood pressure.

Alcohol in moderation— defined as one a drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men— has been shown to increase “good” cholesterol or HDL and thin the blood which makes it less likely that your arteries will form a blood clot. On the other hand, too much alcohol increases the risk of heart failure, high blood pressure and many types of cancer, including: liver, stomach, colon, oral and breast. It can also cause inflammation of the pancreas and cirrhosis which is a serious liver disease. In summary, if you do not drink alcohol, there is no need to start. If you do, enjoy it in moderation.

Eat Healthy Fats

For some years now there has been an emphasis on consuming a low fat diet. What we now know is that there are good fats and bad fats. Bad fats include trans fats and saturated fats (see list). These fats increase the risk of heart disease and raise cholesterol levels. Good fats— monounsaturated and polyunsaturated— lower your cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Some examples of good fats are monounsaturated oils (olive, canola, sunflower, peanut and sesame), avocados and nuts (almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamias and cashews). Good fats are also found in soy, flaxseeds, and fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, mackerel).

Eat at the Table

Eating at the table requires sitting down and slowing down to enjoy a meal. Studies show that when people eat slower, they eat less. Eating at the table becomes an opportunity to not only nourish the body, but to potentially affect overall well-being. When this is done with others, relationships can be nurtured and food can be enjoyed while sharing a conversation.

It is a great opportunity to strengthen family relationships and friendships

Empowering Every Patient with Lifestyle Medicine.