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Eating Your Way to Better Health and Wellness

Eating Your Way to Better Health and Wellness

How Your Diet Can Be The Key to Better Health and Wellness

As we age, aches and pains can become a common part of life. For many, these daily pains could have an underlying cause. However, for some such as those living with autoimmune causing illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, a lifestyle change could be one of the critical steps in relieving some of the pain. So beyond therapy and medicine, here’s how your diet could be a significant part in your overall health and wellness:

Your Diet and The Link to Your Joint Health

For those living with joint pain or arthritis, flare-ups can seem like the come out of nowhere or at the most inconvenient times. You might find that resting and spending your days home will help, or you might rely on medications and therapies to help ease the pain. Another way to help reduce inflammation and look for critical triggers is by evaluating your diet.

There is a belief that certain foods cause inflammation and pain, and by keeping track of your diet and reducing some of those inflammatory foods from your plate, you could reduce your chance of pain.

Consider Avoiding These Foods

Sodium and preservatives have been linked to increased inflammation — and frozen, and fried foods can be packed with both. Cutting these out could help your pain. Other common foods that you’ll want to consider removing from your diet include:

  • Sugar and refined carbs
  • Alcohol
  • Preservatives
  • Dairy products

Fill Your Plate With Fruits and Vegetables

The next time you go grocery shopping, consider filling your pantry with fresh fruits and vegetables. Fish and nuts are also great options for protein. Not only that, many of these foods, such as blueberries, are filled with anti-inflammatory properties and help your body get the vitamins and nutrients you need.

Nightshade Veggies

Not all vegetables are created equal. Yes, a healthy diet should include your daily dose of vegetables, but some of those vegetables referred to as ‘nightshades’ have been believed to cause flare-ups. Common nightshade vegetables are:

  • White potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Bell peppers
  • Cayenne Pepper

The belief is that the solanine found in these vegetables can lead to inflammations, or make the inflammation related to arthritis worse. Overall, finding out your food triggers will take trial and error. Keep a food diary and keep track of what you eat, noting specifically what you consumed on days flare-ups occurred.

The Five Superfoods to Fight Diabetes

For those currently living with diabetes or are prediabetic, diet is something you’ve probably discussed in great detail later. Though you might know the obvious choices, like limiting your sugar intake, and avoiding a diet high in processed foods, switching to a diet full of vegetables and fruits can seem overwhelming. However, with the right knowledge, you can make the right choice for you and fill your plate with superfoods, all at an affordable cost.

When food shopping considers these five nutritious meal options:

1. Walnuts: Snacking can help keep your blood sugar levels even — that’s when it’s a healthy snack choice. Though small, walnuts are chock full of protein and healthy fats, helping you manage hunger and reduce your risks of heart attack and heart disease.

2. Fishes High in Omega-3: When you're tired of eating chicken, fish can be a great protein option. Salmon, sardines, trout, and albacore tuna are all great “fatty fish options” as they are packed with OMega-3s, which can reduce inflammation and your risk for heart disease. Just remember to avoid any fish that may be fried or breaded.

3. Citrus Fruits: If you are a big fan of fruit, consider going more towards the citrus groups. Choosing the fruit form over the juice form can also allow you to get more fiber without all the added sugar — which can cause your blood sugar to spike.

4. Blueberries: A great source of fiber and antioxidants, blueberries are a great addition to many of your favorite foods. Bonus: they are loaded with vitamins, too.

5. Leafy Greens: You may have heard that filling your plate with leafy greens is the healthier choice, but not all are created equal. Kale and spinach are loaded with vitamins and are lower in calories and carbohydrates.

Other superfoods that can be incorporated into your diet include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole grains
  • Milk and yogurt

Are you shopping on a budget? Choose foods based on seasonality and consider swapping some of your fresh superfoods out for the canned or frozen version.

Your Diet and a Drop-In Blood Sugar

Another common problem those with diabetes might face is a sudden drop in blood sugar, especially for those taking insulin. Often the causes could be taking too much insulin, but in other cases, diet is the reason. Whether you are skipping meals or not eating enough, your food choices play a big part in your hypoglycemic episodes. When they do drop, hypoglycemia occurs, and symptoms may include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness

For many, these occur at night, awakening you. If you have experienced these symptoms in the past, it’s best to let family members and loved ones know, so they can best prepare to help you if needed. To find the cause and prevent symptoms from reoccurring, you can:

  • Keep on top of monitoring your blood sugar
  • Time out your meals and snacks
  • Keep track of your low glucose reactions

If you plan to work out or have an active day, your food intake should increase. When reactions do occur, write down symptoms and common signs of why it could have. Overall, plan a small meal and superfood snacks such as walnuts, so that you keep a consistent blood sugar level. If you plan on consuming alcoholic beverages, be sure to do so on a full stomach.

Overall, a balanced diet is just one of the critical steps to a healthier lifestyle. The healthier your food is, the better chance you have of maintaining a healthy weight, which ultimately leads to better disease prevention.