How is nutrition related to disease prevention? There are several diseases and disorders that can be treated effectively by watching our diets. Particularly, weight reduction, supplementation, and a healthy diet may;
Lower blood pressure
Moderate weight reduction can lower blood pressure. However, if the weight is regained, blood pressure increases.
Help your diabetes
The incidence of Type II diabetes increases with rising BMI or body mass index; 94% of Type II diabetes in women ages 30 to 64 was associated with obesity. Among those with diabetes, weight loss can lower blood sugar levels and reduce or eliminate the need for medications.
According to results from the Nurses’ Health Study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women also have another option for improving their chances of avoiding diabetes: eating nuts and peanut butter. During a 16-year period, participating women who ate nuts or peanut butter at least 5 times a week were nearly 25% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than women who never ate those foods. The study’s authors recommended that women replace poor sources of calories, like refined grains and red meat, with nuts to avoid increasing caloric intake when increasing nut consumption.
Reduce your risk of cancer
Obesity is also associated with a higher mortality from all types of cancer. Obese men have higher rates of mortality from colon and prostate cancer while obese women have higher rates of mortality from breast, endometrial, cervical, ovarian, and gall bladder cancer.
The type of food you eat may also influence your risk of developing cancer. Researchers at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, found that over a 12-year period, women with the highest intake of “Western” style foods — characterized as red and processed meats, sugary foods and desserts, french fries, and refined grains — were nearly 50% more likely to develop colon cancer than women following diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, and poultry.
Reduce your bad (LDL) cholesterol
Losing weight will reduce your bad LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) and increase your good HDL cholesterol (high density lipoprotein) levels. An improvement in your cholesterol levels will also reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Help your arthritis
If you have severe arthritis, particularly if your hips, knees and feet are affected, reducing your weight will reduce the strain on these injured joints, and you will generally experience less pain.
Prevent gall bladder disease
Reducing your weight can help prevent gall bladder disease.
Protect your heart
An elevated level of a substance called homocysteine is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Homocysteine is a substance that our bodies should convert into harmless amino acids, with the assistance of three B vitamins: folate (probably the most important one), B6 and B12. Without that conversion, arterial walls can be damaged and plaque can build up, leading to blockages of key arteries. Though high homocysteine levels were known to be associated with increased risk of heart disease in those under 60, the effects of elevated homocysteine for those over 60 are less clear. For example, a study from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, showed that elevated levels of homocysteine in older adults do increase the risk for heart attack or stroke. You can lower your homocysteine levels by ingesting more folate and vitamins B6 and B12. Both folate and B6 occur naturally in leafy greens, whole grains and some fruits. Vitamin B12 comes from meats.
Food sources of folate have been much more widespread since a 1996 FDA regulation began requiring manufacturers to include folate in all enriched grain products. Although the purpose of the regulation was to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in infants — a condition known as spina bifida — it has had the added effect of lowering homocysteine levels in adults. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the incidence of overly high homocysteine levels was reduced from 18.7 to 9.8 percent after grain fortification. However, a subsequent study also found that 11% of people taking vitamin supplements were exceeding the recommended safe dose of folate, up from only 1.3% before fortification began. Older adults using vitamin supplements should be careful not to exceed a folate intake of 1,000 micrograms per day.
Researchers continue to collect evidence that fruits and vegetables are good for your heart. Results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show that over a 19-year period, participants who consumed at least 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day were about 25% less likely than those who rarely consumed fruits and vegetables to die from heart disease or suffer a stroke.
Prevent osteoporosis and fractures
Calcium is the major mineral in bone that makes it hard and strong. In order to reduce your risk for osteoporosis, you need to maximize your bone mass as a young adult. As bone tissue is being dissolved and replaced, bone calcium is also being removed and replaced. As calcium is removed, it must be replaced by dietary calcium.
Aging interferes with our ability to absorb dietary calcium. Medications, particularly prednisone, excess thyroid hormone replacement, some antacids, and some anticonvulsants, can also interfere with that absorption. The best sources of calcium are: milk, cheese, yogurt, kale, collard, turnip, mustard greens, and calcium-fortified foods, including orange juice, bread, breakfast cereals and some snacks. If you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet, then you may need calcium supplements.
Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and may protect you against breast, prostate and colon cancer. Your skin can synthesize all the Vitamin D you need provided you get about 15 minutes of sun three times a week. But aging reduces our ability to absorb vitamin D by as much as 70%. Supplemental vitamin D has been found to reduce the risk of fractures from osteoporosis.
If we were talking about this subject 40 years ago, we would be able to accomplish this through our grown food. Unfortunately, with the soil depletion that has been proven to occur (85% depletion in the United States since 1933 to 1992), we absolutely have to bring in Nutritional Supplementation into our diets.
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Health Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The statements and products are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any diseases.
How is nutrition related to disease prevention?