Diet & Nutrition

Balanced Diet, Health and Nutrition

A balanced diet comprising of healthy and diverse foods is key to promoting good health.

After all, we are what we eat. Research continues to prove that eating healthy food promotes good health and unhealthy food habits lead to a diseased body. Foods contain vital nutrients that aid our body’s metabolic function.

However, a lack of consumption of these nutrients or feeding upon the wrong kinds of food leads to an accumulation of toxins within the body, resulting in chronic diseases in the long run.

A nutritious diet while ensuring overall well being, helps to maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), reduces the risk of several debilitating diseases like cancer, cardiovascular ailments, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke.

Thus a nutritious diet is important in the prevention and cure of various diseases.

Healthy Food Groups

good_food

Since no single food group can nourish the body with all the vital ingredients it requires, it is important that we consume a variety of healthy foods to derive the nutrition our body needs. There are five main food groups, they are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Cereals and Pulses
  • Dairy
  • Poultry, Fish and Meat products

 

A healthy balanced diet of these five food groups ensures essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. The food group serving size will depend upon various factors like age, activity level, body size and gender. It is also important that one eats a variety of foods from within and across the food groups. As some foods from within a food group provide more nutrients than others.

This will ensure that one gets the maximum recommended nutrition from the food group; besides the food variety will make for an interesting meal.

Whereas a nutritious diet can rectify underlying causes of diseases and restore one to wholeness of mind and body. Once we realize the connection between a wholesome balanced diet and good health, our food will be our medicine and maintaining good health will be a matter of making the right food choices and leading a healthy lifestyle.

When Losing Means Winning

Losing weight is one of the best things you can do to fight cardiovascular disease. Being overweight affects the lining of your arteries, making them more prone to collect plaque from cholesterol. Losing weight  especially belly fat, which is linked to hardening of the arteries helps raise HDL good cholesterol and reduce LDL bad cholesterol. Aim to keep your body mass index (BMI), an indicator of body fat, under 25.

For more information and how to change your lifestyle and to make an appointment with one of our Specialists in Diet and contact sarah@stjhlibya.com.

Cholesterol

Everything you need to know about Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance circulating in your blood. Some of your cholesterol comes from the foods you eat. But the bulk of it is actually made in your own body, specifically in the liver. Cholesterol does have some good uses. It is needed to make some hormones and it is important for the function of our cells. But an excess of it in the bloodstream can lead to trouble.

Cholesterol comes in several different forms, but doctors focus mostly on two: LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol.

bad cholesterol

LDL is also called bad cholesterol. Think of the L as standing for lousy. LDL cholesterol can clog your arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Most people should aim for a level of less than 100 mg/dL. However, people who already have heart disease may need to aim for under 70 mg/dL.

HDL is good cholesterol. Imagine the H stands for healthy, Sperling suggests. This type of cholesterol attaches to bad cholesterol and brings it to the liver, where it’s filtered out of the body. So HDL cholesterol reduces the amount of bad cholesterol in your system. You should aim for 60 mg/dL or higher.

Triglycerides are not cholesterol but another type of fat floating in your blood. Just as with bad cholesterol, having a high level of triglycerides increases your risk of cardiovascular problems. Aim for a level of less than 150 mg/dL.

A lot of people don’t take the risks of high cholesterol very seriously. After all, one out of five people have high cholesterol. A staggering 50% of people have levels above the suggested limit. Could something so common really be a serious health risk?

Unfortunately, yes. Cholesterol is a direct contributor to cardiovascular disease, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks.

The World Health Organization estimates that almost 20% of all strokes and over 50% of all heart attacks can be linked to high cholesterol.

But if you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, don’t despair. The good news is that high cholesterol is one risk factor for strokes and heart attacks that you can change. You just need to take action now, before your high cholesterol results in more serious disease.

Diagnosis & Tests

Cholesterol blood test is the first step in diagnosing high cholesterol. We’ll help you understand your test results.

Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years. High cholesterol itself does not cause any symptoms; so many people are unaware that their cholesterol levels are too high. Lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens the risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack or dying of heart disease, even if you already have it.

To assess your cholesterol level, your doctor will usually perform a simple blood test called a lipoprotein profile (LDL, HDL, Trigly, total Cholesterol level). In addition to the blood test, your doctor will perform a full physical exam, discussing your medical history, checking your heart rate, listening to your heartbeat, and taking your blood pressure.

If your cholesterol is found to be high, especially if you have other risk factors for heart disease, your doctor will recommend various treatment options ranging from dietary and lifestyle changes to medication to lower your cholesterol.

Further tests may be recommended if your doctor feels you are at risk for heart disease.