HEALTH: Nutrition for athletes and the rest of us

Community Health Sep 28, 2012 at 11:25 am


Our poor food choices plus increasingly sedentary lives have triggered an epidemic of health problems… doctors of chiropractic urge patients to stop smoking, eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly and take appropriate nutritional supplements.

Even a few simple changes in diet and lifestyle can have a positive impact on your health—now and in the future. Too often, we treat our bodies as if they were machines and we “fuel” them with sugar, soft drinks and too much protein. Our poor food choices plus increasingly sedentary lives have triggered an epidemic of health problems.

To reverse this alarming trend, many doctors of chiropractic urge patients to stop smoking, eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly and augment their meals with appropriate nutritional supplements.

Recommended Lifestyle Changes

• Exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes five days or more a week.

• Limit alcohol and quit smoking. Smoking and drinking too much alcohol hinder your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from your food.

Dietary Changes

• Eat out sparingly. Restaurant-based foods contain too much of the wrong kinds of fats plus excessive quantities of sugar and salt.

• At home, switch to vegetable oils, rather than using animal-based fats, for cooking. Coconut oil on toast is a healthy, tasty alternative to butter.

Remember, though, that vegetable-based oils are as calorie-rich as unhealthy types of fats.

• Brown bag your lunch to avoid unhealthy ingredients and increase your intake of whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

• Eat more raw foods. Cooking and canning destroy much of the nutrition in foods. With the exception of canned tomatoes, which can help prevent prostate cancer, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables always contain more natural vitamins and minerals.

• Select organically grown foods when possible.

They are lower in pesticides and heavy metals.

Eat lots of dark-green leafy vegetables plus the more brightly colored ones.

• Consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Wholegrain breads and cereals, beans and some fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber. High-fiber diets can help prevent digestive disorders, heart disease and colon cancer.

• Drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol are dehydrators. They are not substitutes for water.

Vegetarian Diets

Research shows that a good vegetarian diet as part of a comprehensive health program can help prevent heart disease, cancer and other diseases. If you are considering a vegetarian diet, keep the following tips in mind:

• Don’t rely on fruits and vegetables at the expense of grains and legumes. Eat a variety of grains, fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables to consume a wide range of nutrients.

• Tiredness, malaise and anemia can be signs of deficiencies. Have your B12 and iron levels checked at least once a year.

• Consume fortified foods or take supplements, such as vitamin B12, to obtain the nutrients you no longer get from animal-based products.

• Before eliminating animal products from the diet, consult your health care practitioner to make sure you have enough information to make good choices. This is particularly true for children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and people recovering from illness.



Supplements

Many seem to think that taking vitamins and supplements can offset otherwise poor dietary choices. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) does not agree. It says supplements are not substitutes for foods. When taken properly, however, supplements can play an important role in achieving maximum health. If you are considering nutritional supplements, remember:

• Don’t self-prescribe. Consult a health care practitioner, such as a doctor of chiropractic, to determine which supplements are best for you. If you have headaches, chronic fatigue or cardiac problems, seek professional advice from a health care provider who specializes in nutrition.

For more information on health and safety visit the Ontario Chiropractic Association ; website at www.chiropractic.on.ca or call 1877-327-2273. ; Dr. George Traitses, 416-499-5656, www.infinite-health.com