Good nutrition is vital for good health and development. A poor or unhealthy diet may cause some of the most common diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, constipation and some types of cancer.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with a medical condition in which nutrition plays a role, he or she will advise you to change your diet to improve your health. Here are some ways in which a nutritious diet can improve your health:
- Helps you lose or gain weight depending on your medical condition
- Helps improve energy levels and constipation
- Helps you to lower blood pressure and eventually possibly reduce or even stop medications
- Helps to possibly prevent or slow the growth of some types of cancer
- Helps to prevent prediabetes from progressing to diabetes and provides the possibility of reducing and even stopping insulin or other medications for those who already have diabetes
- Helps to improve heart disease and blocked vessels that may not be able to be opened with stents
- Helps to improve mental functioning in those with early dementia or mild depression
Even if you don't have a condition that is affected by nutrition, it's important to eat a healthy diet to reduce your risk for these conditions.
Improving Your Diet
Good nutrition starts with making the following changes to your diet:
- Eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
- Eat more plant-based sources of protein like beans, nuts and lentils, opposed to only animal proteins.
- Start reading the nutrition labels on packaged foods and drinks to learn how much added sugar, salt and trans fat are in your diet.
- Choose water instead of sugary drinks to cut calories and stay hydrated.
- If you drink alcohol, limit it to only one drink a day if you're a woman and two drinks a day if you're a man.
Eating a healthier diet is a major lifestyle change. While making healthy eating choices may be challenging, Temple wants to assist you with programs like Farm to Families at the hospital. Having easy access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables, with SNAP credits also accepted, at the hospital is the first step. Those who are elderly or have disabilities may even qualify for home meal delivery.
Your doctor and dietitian will create a diet plan based on your condition and health goals. The plan may include nutrition education and meal plans for your specific health needs.
Nutrition services at Temple Health are provided by a multidisciplinary team that includes primary care doctors, dietitians and other medical specialists. The combined knowledge of these experts helps you receive the right diet and nutrition advice for your exact condition and needs.