The Role of Nutrition in Prevention of Illness and Health Maintenance

“Given the history of Western medicine to date, many people seek empowerment in the health care of themselves and their families; nutrition is really basic component of preventive medicine and also an area that can be effective in corrective medicine for many common health problems.” *Nutrition is a basic element of health and should not be overlooked during disease. Some well renowned practitioners state that every disease is a result of improper dietary habits.Because of the rapid increase in cost of medical care and desire to live longer and healthier, higher and higher percentage of the population is becoming concerned about nutrition and maintaining their health. Without a doubt, nutrition plays a big role here.Proper nutrition and regular physical activity can help us avoid taking drugs or even have surgeries to correct the results of fast-paced, fast-food consuming, multitasking life with no exercising.Healthy dietary habits (the way we eat) are the foundation of healthy nutrition. Choosing nourishing (whole, unprocessed, without chemical additives) foods alone is not enough.Simpler meals (with specific combination of foods for better digestion and absorption) are becoming the top-choice of many, who are oriented toward optimum health.However, the factors that are often overlooked, but just as important in healthy nutrition are:
the way our food is prepared and served,
the time of the day when we eat,
the setting in which we eat and
how we feel when we eat.The way of the Western world is that poor nutrition is readily available everywhere, any time and cheap. Farmers’ markets and health-food stores, on the other hand, are harder to find in some areas. In the end, all comes down to common sense. Our body is sending us messages all the time and if we would only learn to listen to these messages again, there would be no need whatsoever for trying out all the countless diets which don’t work. So, even though our biofeedback is a perfect messenger, we tend to override the signals and follow heavily advertised addictions. This kind of behavior affects the way we feel now, as well as over the long term. Being overweight is mostly the result of poor nutrition and low activity level. The only way to lose extra pounds permanently is to change the lifestyle. Choosing less fattening foods is a good choice, but not sufficient. Because certain emotions and fear of creativity and change also promote unhealthy (over)eating habits, we need to choose personal growth (over addictions), decide what we want and stay focused on our goals.Dietary habits and eating patterns from our family’s traditions affect us all in our young age. As adults, however, we are making our own choices and decisions and we should keep asking ourselves why we’re doing the things we do – and keep the answers in our sight.When body is in a detoxification stage (like during cold or flu when bowels, secreting cells and mucous membranes become more active), it is simply trying to eliminate the buildup of toxins we consumed throughout the longer period of time. Eating lightly (especially fruits and vegetables) and drinking more liquids (clean, fresh water and herbal teas), supports the cleansing process.Our dietary needs are changing with the seasons of the year as well as with our age. Growing children need richer diet to construct and expand tissues. When we stop growing physically, we only need to maintain our body, which calls for lighter, fiber and nutrient rich natural foods. As we age even more and our metabolism slows down, our food requirements decrease further.Just like fitness activity is equally important at any age, so is the low level of stress. While under stress, our body may not digest and absorb the necessary nutrients so well and sometimes the additional supplements are needed.When we lose our appetite in response to the stressful situation, that is a very helpful reaction. As mentioned before, in stressful times our body does not process foods so well. Not eating will allow us to “hear” better what the only body we have for this life, is signaling us, and explore our feelings.Human body needs food as a source of energy and as a fuel to maintain life. It is quite obvious that nutrition plays a major role in health as well as sickness. Fortunately, there are more and more practitioners available who are nutritionists. There are also more and more choices of wholesome, nutritious foods offered online and in the brick-and-mortar stores. Information is plentiful. But it’s up to us to decide to do and choose what’s best.*Haas, M.D., Elson M.. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. 1. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts Publishing, 1992.

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