The Role of Nutrition in Disease Prevention: Insights from a Nutritionist
You’ve probably heard the phrase “you are what you eat” more than a few times. It’s a common saying to express what many nutritionists and health experts already know: food has a significant impact on your health and well-being.
The foods that you include in your diet on a routine basis can impact every function in your body, including the health of your heart and all other organs.
If your goal is to age beautifully and limit your risk of developing a chronic disease, you can benefit from working with a nutritionist or dietitian. Nutrition experts can work with healthy clients to ensure their dietary choices support healthy bodily functioning while avoiding obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and many other factors that contribute to serious illness and disease.
You may look and feel healthy today, but your dietary choices could lead to serious health risks that you have yet to discover.
How Does Nutrition Impact the Development of Disease?
You don’t eat just to satisfy your taste buds or generate energy to get through the demands of our challenging lifestyles. The primary purpose of eating is to supply the body with nutrients that are needed for proper functioning.
Every organ and system of the body depends on a steady supply of select nutrients to operate efficiently. When that supply is interrupted, nutritional deficiencies develop.
According to the CDC, a healthy diet can contribute to the following for children and adults:
- Proper development in childhood
- Reduced risk of chronic disease
- Enhanced management of existing chronic disease
- Longer lifespan
- Lower risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer
When a healthy diet isn’t followed, chronic or life-threatening disease may develop easier due to one or more of the following:
- Nutrient deficiency
- Accumulation of salt, sugar, and other unhealthy substances
- Introduction of toxins into the system
- Compromised or overworked immune system
- Reduced functioning of organs and systems
What You Need to Know About Nutrition and Disease Prevention
By starting to eat healthy, you can lower your risk of many diseases. It’s time to get into more specifics about how you can eat to maximize your health and reduce your risk of life-threatening diseases. You don’t have to sacrifice occasional treats or pass up on birthday parties and other celebrations.
What matters is the overall trend of your diet. What you consume most often has the biggest impact on your health and the development of disease.
3 Things to Modify or Eliminate from Your Diet
When researchers from Tufts University joined forces with the CDC to study the connection between 10 foods and cardiometabolic diseases that cause death, they highlighted three dietary components that we should all avoid as much as possible:
Salt is of particular concern because the researchers found that excess consumption of sodium had the strongest correlation to diseases caused by cardiometabolic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Reducing the consumption of sugar and saturated fats, as well as reducing overall sodium intake, was found to reduce the risk of death from one of these devastating diseases.
Some foods naturally contain one or more of these three substances. That doesn’t mean you should go on a restrictive diet that eliminates all sugar and fat. Not only is that impossible, but it could lead to nutritional deficiencies that cause other problems.
It’s adequate to stay mindful of your consumption, leaning toward unprocessed or minimally processed foods that don’t contain added salt and sugar.
Foods That Minimize Your Risk of Disease
The same study also highlighted the following foods as the healthiest options for minimizing the risk of cardiometabolic disease:
- Nuts and seeds
- Seafood omega-3 fats
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Polyunsaturated fats
The study found that not eating enough of these foods was associated with increased risk of death from disease. Notice that there are two forms of fats on this list, but “fat” was also mentioned above as one of the three things to eliminate from your diet. The type of fat that you consume and amount of consumption overall are what matter.
Switching from saturated fats to unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats is a good start in the right direction. Adopting a more plant-based diet that includes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds is also a good idea.
What Diets Are Best to Minimize Risk of Disease?
We mentioned a plant-based diet above, but that isn’t the only diet that can lead to a lower risk for disease. One study that looked into the lifestyle and nutritional factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease found that the following diets all have their benefits:
- Low-fat diets
- Low-carbohydrate diets
- Mediterranean Diet
- DASH Diet
These are all different dietary plans that allow and restrict different foods, but they all have their benefits when working to limit the risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s good news for you because you need to find a diet plan that you can follow for the rest of your life without feeling deprived and miserable.
Working with a nutritionist or dietitian to find the right plan for your body and taste buds will ensure long-lasting benefits for your body.
Taking Control of Your Nutrition to Limit Disease Risk
Understanding how diseases develop in the body and the role nutrition plays is the first step to taking control of your health. From there, it’s all about making the right dietary choices and improving other elements of your lifestyle that can impact your risk of disease.
For instance, routine exercise and eliminating known toxins from your living environment can also help reduce your risk of developing everything from cancer to heart disease.
If you want professional guidance to improve your diet, finding the best nutritionist or dietitian for your health needs is a good idea. There are multiple diet plans that can lead to a healthier body that has less chance of developing a chronic disease or life-threatening illness.
While there are never any guarantees, eating healthier food, drinking clean water, and getting a little sunshine every day can go a long way toward looking, feeling, and functioning at your best.