Published on June 30th, 2022 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.0
Is Your Diet “Healthy”? Food as Medicine, Part I
Nowadays, many people try to stay healthy and fit, work out, take vitamins, and in general, do their best to maintain their health. We get advice daily on what is “the right way to eat” or ‘the right food to eat” from many sources: friends, online and other media providers. There are so many different approaches to diet, all promoted as if “this is the way to success”, but as diverse as they are, how can they ALL be “right”?
The answer to what dietary approach is right lies in this one basic reality: There is NO SUCH THING as “a healthy diet” in the absolute, BUT there is such a thing as the healthiest diet FOR YOU! So many factors go into determining what is the best way to eat, and the best foods to select, and each of us represents a unique combination of these factors.
One obvious factor is your weight. If an individual is underweight, they may well want to gain some weight in a healthy way. The most calorie-dense food is fat, with more than twice the caloric density per gram than either protein or carbohydrates. Of course, “bad” (animal) fats are quite unhealthy, but so many fat choices are enormously healthy, including Omega-3 containing products, some Omega-6 and 9 (in balance with 3), olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, MCT and more. Each “good fat” provides special health benefits, and a variety should therefore be included. Nuts and nut butters are also healthy choices to include in a calorie-rich weight enhancement protocol.
While an overweight or normal weight individual can benefit from quality fats as well, in these groups, the question becomes more what NOT to eat. Carbohydrates can cause undue weight gain or difficulty maintaining weight, so are not a great choice for most. Refined carbohydrates like sugars, white flour products, and white rice are generally not positive choices for anyone, providing little more than empty calories low in nutrient content. Although high protein is touted as the ideal approach for those with added weight, beef and fatty cuts of pork or other meets carry health risks. They make the body pH acidic, and when grilled, they can be outright harmful to the vulnerable lining of the blood vessels, contributing to damage and the formation of plaque. In this sense, to simply go low carb or “keto” without supervision is not the ultimate health solution. Surely something on this order making careful selections is a worthwhile choice for those with blood sugar issues or with so-called “insulin resistance. As you see, not only weight itself but also the cause of the excessive weight need to be considered in determining “What does a healthy diet look like?’
These and so many additional factors (to be discussed in upcoming articles) go into designing a customized “optimal’ diet suited to you, your lifestyle, and your individual chemistry. In this context, it is always well worth working with a knowledgeable, qualified professional to sort through all relevant factors, test as needed, and structure a perfect personalized plan of eating that suits your health needs to a “T”.