With March being dubbed Nutrition Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to take a close look at our diet. A well-balanced diet with a concentration on natural benefits is one of the most proactive steps to prevent disease and manage a myriad of chronic or clinical illnesses. As there are many misconceptions about how nutrition weighs in on our well-being and overall health, we look at the steps you need to take to help manage chronic or critical illness with your dietary plan.
Why Does Nutrition Matter?
Proper nutrition goes beyond not consuming too many calories and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables. Providing your body with the correct level of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals will offer many benefits, including:
- Reduce the risk of high blood pressure
- Lower risk of high cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of diseases such as:
- Heart Disease
- Some Cancers
- Increase immune system function
- Improve recovery speed
- Increase energy levels
Key Nutrients For Chronic Or Critical Illness
Eating the right foods can increase your strength and overall wellness, which is the first step to managing chronic or critical illness. Proper nutrition helps to fight common side effects of disease or treatments, including lack of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, and weight loss.
Essential nutrients for managing your illness include:
If you suffer from chronic or critical illness, your body will require more protein than the average person to help replenish and heal damaged cells.
One of the best ways to increase your protein intake is to eat more plant-based proteins like nuts, seeds, and beans. It is also vital to increase your intake of lean meats such as chicken, fish, and eggs, which is also an effective way to consume less fat and fewer calories. Choosing low-fat dairy products like Greek yogurt, plant milk, and low-fat cheese will not only increase your protein intake but also provide vitamin D and calcium.
Including healthy carbohydrates into your diet is beneficial to managing chronic or critical illness.
Often when we think of carbs, we automatically assume that they are bad for you. This is not the case as carbohydrates are essential to any nutrition-focused diet. Without carbohydrates, your body will not be able to produce enough glucose to give you energy. Of course, it is necessary to understand the difference between naturally occurring carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates.
“Good” carbs will be full of fiber and include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Refined carbs, often called “bad” carbs, are processed foods where they remove parts of the nutritional grains and add sugar. These carbs include bread, cakes, soda.
One must consume dietary fats to produce energy and increase healthy cell growth.
Like carbohydrates, there is a common misconception that consuming fats has adverse effects on chronic or critical illness. Again, this is not the case. It is important to understand moderation and good fats to receive the best nutrition.
Understanding different fats is vital. Saturated fats such as butter, fatty meats, and cheese can lead to higher blood pressure and cholesterol, as can trans fats such as fried foods and processed items like cookies and crackers. It is essential to increase the amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet.
Monounsaturated fats include foods made with oils like olive, canola, peanut, safflower, and sesame. Foods such as nut butter and avocados are also reliable sources of monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats include foods made with soybean, corn, or sunflower oils. Foods such as tofu and soybeans are also high in polyunsaturated fats.
Nutrition & Wellness at RegenQuest
Crafting a wellness program that focuses on your primary concerns is difficult. We understand the amount of time and dedication it takes to transform your nutrition to help manage chronic or critical illness, which is why we offer four options within our Clinical Nutrition Wellness Program.
Whether you are looking for a one-time meal planning session to jump-start your wellness or reoccurring sessions to keep you on track, RegenQuest is ready to help you reach your goals in managing your chronic or critical illness. If you are prepared to take the first step this Nutrition Awareness Month, call us today at (954) 571-9392.