On The Table

A collection of knowledge-based articles to inspire overall wellness.

Food, Nutrition, & Disease Prevention

It's becoming more well-know that we can actually use food as medicine to help reduce or even eliminate health problems. Learn the top 5 health problems in American and the foods that fight, prevent, and cure them.

Food, Nutrition, & Disease Prevention

Using Food as Medicine for the Top Health Problems in America

1. Obesity
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about one in three American adults are considered obese, with another one out of three measured overweight. The concern of overweight and obesity relates to the ramifications associated to excess weight, including increased risks of heart disease and diabetes, posing the necessity for a diet overhaul and placing great significance on foods that prevent diseases.

2. Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of one in every four U.S. men and women, though lifestyle choices and diet modifications can reduce and prevent such risk. Foods that fight heart disease generally include colorful produce, healthy fat sources, and whole grains, further outlined and described here. Additional considerations include weight loss and management of high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as they are key risk factors for developing heart disease. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet is regularly recommended to combat against high blood pressure levels.

3. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a rising health concern affecting almost 10 percent of the U.S. population, or one out of every 10 Americans. The cause of type 2 diabetes is mostly related to poor lifestyle choices, and described as a condition in which glucose from carbohydrate-containing food sources is not efficiently transformed into usable energy in the body, subsequently elevating blood sugars. A diabetes diet is essentially a healthful diet, limiting prepackaged and processed foods, considering the quality of carbs consumed, and embracing a whole foods approach to control blood sugars. Managing both weight and blood sugars can essentially "cure" diabetes and prompt the potential for discontinued medications.

4. Cancer
Although finding the cure for cancer continues, researchers do know it can be caused by gene mutations that may be inborn, but mostly changed following birth related to environmental exposures, obesity, chronic inflammation, poor diet, and lack of exercise. Not only are individuals encouraged to consume a nutritious diet and increase physical activity to lessen cancer risk, but to prolong mortality rates if diagnosed. Moderating alcohol intake is also recommended, especially following new evidence linking white wine to skin cancer.

5. Depression
While the physical health issues boast great attention, mental health should not go unnoticed. Depression affects more than 15 million adults each year, accounting for almost 7 percent of the U.S. population. Though there are numerous factors leading to depression, lifestyle factors can play a large role in its development and progression. Food can affect mood in a number of ways, including poor diet choices and stress-induced eating. It is important to redirect depressive feelings to lessen the risk of emotional eating, along with seeking out professional advice for appropriate guidance.

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