With so much conflicting information regarding what diets and foods are the best to consume, Dr. Naveed Saleh has chosen 6 tips to help improve your diet and overall health. Evidence suggests staying away from processed foods and increasing the consumption of probiotics and fish oils.
Living a healthy lifestyle requires both physical activity and eating a well-balanced diet. It is the latter which also plays a crucial part in preventing and combating various diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. With so much importance placed on diet, it is no wonder that there is a constant flow of new information concerning the best diet plans and superfoods to consume to improve your diet. However, all this information can be daunting to decipher and at times may also be conflicting. That’s why Dr. Naveed Saleh from Medscape has gone through the evidence-based information to come up with 6 tips to help improve your diet and overall health.
The first two tips as suggested by Dr. Saleh are to consume foods with a variety of colour and to consume them in their most natural of forms. This means staying away from foods that are processed and packaged and choosing more fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Recent research has demonstrated that around 7% of all deaths resulting from cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes were associated with processed, sugary drinks. Interestingly, research has found that in contrast to popular belief, substituting diet soda and artificial sweeteners, in place of regular soda and sugar does not produce any benefits. Furthermore, another 8% of all cardio metabolic deaths were associated with the consumption of processed meats. Therefore, it is in your best interest to greatly reduce the amount of processed and packaged foods in your diet.
The third tip is to make sure that your diet plan is realistic. Too many times people try diets that are too restrictive, in the hopes of losing weight. These diets do nothing except decrease the likelihood of compliance and increase chances of failure. It is important to make a diet plan that you will be able to stick to. In general, it is best to increase the amount of fruits and vegetable consumed, increase the consumption of fibre and ensure that you’re getting a good amount of healthy fats, such as Omega-3. Portion control is also an important aspect of the diet. There is a general consensus that the meal should consist of half a plate of veggies and the remaining half plate should be divided equally between lean protein and complex carbs. This rule can help in weight loss, especially those struggling with obesity.
The next tip focuses on consuming oils, specifically fish, olive, and avocado oils, which have proven benefits on the heart. Therefore, it would be good practice to increase the consumption of fish, specifically salmon and mackerel, which are high in Omega-3. Data from a 2012 study demonstrated that almost 8% of all individuals that died from cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes did not consume enough Omega-3 fatty acids. For vegetarians who cannot consume fish, walnut oil and flaxseed oil have been proposed as good alternatives.
Additionally, a healthy diet also means reducing the amount of red meat consumed. That’s because this specific type of protein source is associated with an increase in the likelihood of developing numerous diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as increasing the likelihood of death. Therefore, it is in your best interest to reduce, if not eliminate, red meat from your diet and replace it with alternative sources of protein.
Lastly, Dr. Saleh recommends consuming probiotics to help with gastrointestinal health. This means increasing the consumption of foods such as yogurt and kefir, which are known sources of probiotics. This is an important tip because there has been growing evidence that gut health can actually impact the status of disease and overall health.
By keeping in mind these 6 tips you will be bettering your diet, which will improve your overall health.
Written by Sonia Parmar, BSc
Saleh, Naveed. “The 6 Dietary Tips Patients Need to Hear From Their Clinicians.” Medscape. WebMD, 29 June 2017. Web. 04 July 2017.