Less Processed Food and More Fruit and Veg - the Basis of a Balanced Diet
Never in all of human history have we had such ready and immediate access to all kinds of information. The internet has reached into our homes and workplaces to flood our electronic devices with blogs, web sites, short videos, instant news reports, online encyclopaedias, forums and live chats; there is absolutely no limit to what we can find out, if and when we have the time. That being said, with all this information at our fingertips, most of us seem to have no interest in finding information to help improve our overall general health.
We may search for a particular medical condition as the need arises, but spending time researching the best foods to eat in order to maintain optimum health is not something we do on a regular basis. Often we look for the easy way out by getting a prescription from a doctor instead of having regular sessions with a physiotherapist or a dietician who may offer a different treatment. Perhaps the issue is that there is too much information available about health and nutrition. This causes confusion and gives us all a ready excuse to tune out.
This is unfortunate because eating a balanced diet is the basis for good health. While there are certainly medical conditions that are life threatening or chronic that rob us of quality of life, in most cases, improving the diet will bring about an improvement in general health. Merely by eating more vegetables and fruit each day, and reducing the amount of saturated fat in our food, we can significantly reduce the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. Eating healthier may also protect against stomach-, mouth- colon- and rectal cancer.
Potassium, folic acid, Vitamins A, E and C, and dietary fibre are all essential elements that come free when we consume fruit and vegetables. Making small, simple changes, such as cutting up a banana on breakfast cereal or whole grain toast, gives the body a kick start at the beginning of the day, and provides the daily requirement of potassium. Anyone with a blood pressure problem, for example, should see an improvement by eating a potassium-rich diet.
The Role of Dietary Fibre in Disease Prevention
Dietary fibre is essential to the proper functioning of the bowel; it may also reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, our western diet is made up of large amounts of processed foods. Dietary fibre is stripped from these foods during this process, so we need to replace it by eating plenty of vegetables. This also helps with weight loss as vegetables give the stomach that full feeling without consuming thousands of kilojoules.
Whole grains are another major source of dietary fibre, and are freely available in fruit and vegetables. They are also a major source of magnesium, which the body requires to build bones and release energy from the muscles. Increasing the amount of whole grains in the diet relieves constipation, and reduces the risk of bowel cancer, as the roughage in the grains speeds the passage of waste through the bowel.
If everyone made a few simple changes to their current diet, substituting just two or three high fat, low nutrient items with a salad or vegetable stir fry, followed by a bowl of fruit and yoghurt, we could dramatically reduce lifestyle diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, almost overnight. Our health is an individual responsibility. All it takes is a little knowledge and some self control.
If you need help in changing your diet, call the friendly staff at Physio on Brunswick at 32525277, we have two dieticians available to help you change your diet to improve your health. We are conveniently situated close to the Brisbane CBD in Fortitude Valley, 10 minutes walk from the train station. We also offer free parking while you are having your consultation.