It is so important, but doctors don't learn much about it. C. Everett Koop, former U.S. Surgeon General suggested we should, but not much has happened. I want that to change. I lecture to other Doctors and my patients about it, and you can click on these hyperlinks to important information from the World Health Organization and Harvard regarding nutrition and lifestyle. Also, check out this information about diabetes and gum disease. Here are some quick tips: Drink water at every meal. Limit carbs and try to eat whole grains- avoiding gluten containing grains may be helpful. Limit saturated fats, like red meat and dairy, but avoid low-fat alternatives as much of the nutrients are removed. Healthy fats are in foods such as nuts, avocado, chia, & fish. Use olive oil, not vegetable oils and butter, whenever possible. Take a fish oil supplement that has the USP designation, such as Nature Made available at Costco, or, the best one, Pharmax, which has the International Fish Oil Standards approval. Store fish oil in a cool, dry place, and store in refrigerator or freezer after opening. Dosage is 1-2grams EPA + DHA per day unless you consume fish that day. Consume at the start of a big meal. Note: fish oil takes several hours to digest and some people have difficulty. If so, take in divided doses with meals earlier in the day.
Now for protein: try to eat complete proteins such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, not incomplete proteins, at every meal. If you are vegan, you should use the concept of protein combining to get complete proteins. Here's the secret: Combine any two of the following three groups to form complete proteins- Grains, Beans and Legumes, and Seeds and Nuts. This is not just for vegans! So, for instance, brown rice and beans, hummus, or whole grain pasta with pesto. NOTE THIS IS ALL NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. THESE ARE ONLY MY OPINIONS. Avoid all foods you may be allergic to and follow your Doctor's advice regarding any medical conditions, allergies, etc.
Let's talk about sugar. Fruit juices contain a lot of sugar and all the healthy fiber is removed. Avoid these drinks and just eat an orange with a glass of water instead. Sports drinks: Gatorade was a good idea in that it is replenishing the minerals and electrolytes that are lost with exercise, but a bad idea in that sugar is added (Avoid sports drinks). When you consume a sugary drink, the oral environment becomes acidic, which promotes tooth decay and gum disease. It takes 20 minutes for the saliva to neutralize the Ph back to neutral. If you swish and swallow three mouthfuls of water after eating or drinking something sugary, it will help to neutralize the oral environment faster. Next, a look at what happens when the sugar reaches your stomach. When we excercise, our body needs extra water but once sugar reaches the stomach, it draws water from the muscles into the stomach in order to dilute the sugar. That compromises performance and endurance. Chia seeds with water is a fantastic pre-workout food and drink because it causes water to form a gel which is absorbed more slowly, enhancing endurance. Fruits have natural sugar, but lots of nutrients, antioxidants and fiber so they are strongly recommended even for diabetics! Refined sugar has no nutrients, makes you hungrier, and can lead to insulin resistance and Diabetes. Artificial sugars are no good either, but Xylitol (recommended), a sugar alcohol which tastes just like sugar and is produced by your body every day, does not promote tooth decay and has a low glycemic index. The World Health Organization recommends that we limit refined sugar intake to 5-10% of total daily calories!
Still with me? A few words about vegetables: There are many different types and they are all good for you, even potatoes and iceberg lettuce. Divide vegetables into starchy- potato, parsnip, squash, corn, peas- and the rest. Limit starchy vegetables. Some vegetables are higher in carbs than others. A good rule of thumb is if you cook a vegetable and it becomes sweeter (onion), it is higher in carbs than one that doesn't (broccoli). Less carbs is better, but all are allowed and by eating the "rainbow" of fruits and vegetables (many different colors), you will get the full compliment of vitamins, antioxidents, etc. The true powerhitters of vegetables are the cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, coleslaw, arugula, and brussel sprouts. These are the best and have the research to prove it, but do not eat them every day. Final note: eggs are good for you even if you have high cholesterol, but in moderation; 5-7/week max. Enjoy eating and learn to cook so you can eliminate all the junk food and unhealthy ingredients. Don't forget to use spices like basil, thyme, mint and oregano for added benefits.