Concept Essay – Importance of Eating Healthy
When thinking of the concept of “eating right” many people think it simply means consuming tasteless foods and useless fruits and vegetables. But eating healthy is much more than that. Eating healthy means more than consuming the recommended fruits and vegetables, but it also means having a balanced diet that is right for the body; for eating healthy is not one size fits all. By eating healthy, people are able to: supply their bodies with the nutrients needed to grow and develop; reduce their chances of developing chronic illnesses and diseases; and maintain a healthy weight.
Eating healthy provides the human body the nutrients needed to grow and develop. According to Dr. David Tayloe of Parenting Magazine, eating healthy starts in the infancy stage of our lives and continue into adulthood. Dr, Tayloe (2011) outlines the most important nutrients babies need: iron, calcium (helps strengthen our bones), zinc (works to improve our immune system and optimize our cell growth and restoration), and vitamins A (helps our vision), B (enhances our immune and nervous systems, helps improve our skin and muscle tone, and regulates our metabolism), C (improves iron consumption and prevents body from bruising), D (helps with bone growth), E (facilitate cell growth and work to improve our nervous system) and K (helps our blood clot).
The minerals and nutrients that are needed for our bodies are derived from many foods, such as breast milk, baby formula, vegetables, meats, whole grain, fish, eggs, fruits, whole milk, cheddar cheese and fortified cereal. Without the recommended servings of these nutrients, our bodies will not be able to grow and function properly. Making important decisions during meal time is essential to our daily life functions. For example, having a breakfast that is low in fat but rich in healthy nutrients can help improve overall thinking, help us remember more things, stimulate our creative thinking, give us energy and help our overall mental state. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (2013), our food choices each day affect our health — how we feel today, tomorrow, and in the future.
When we do not eat healthy, we are more susceptible to certain health risks.
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition reports the major health risk associated with unhealthy eating habits includes “heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer” (2013). Eating one candy bar does not make a person have bad eating habits; just like eating one serving of broccoli does not make a person a healthy eater. Eating unhealthy foods on a consistent basis is what leads to chronic health problems. In his article, John Phillip (2010) provides a list of food additives that should be avoided.
This list includes artificial sweeteners, Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG, and Trans and hydrogenated fats. Foods that contain artificial sweeteners can lead to diseases such as lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The foods that fall under this list include sugar-free drinks, foods found in bakeries, and even gum. Phillip (2010) reports that these foods can increase brain aging. MSG is found in many foods, as it enhances their flavor.
On many food labels, instead of MSG, the term “natural flavor” will be used; though MSG is not a natural ingredient. High consumption of these foods can lead to depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue and headache. Trans and hydrogenated fats are found in fried foods and commercially baked foods. According to Phillip (2010), these foods can increase the chances of heart attack by 25%.
There are many factors that affect one’s body weight, including stress, genetics and hormones. However, large consumption of foods that are high in calories and fat can lead to obesity as well. When a person eats too much of the wrong food, or foods high in calories, without burning those calories by being physically active, then those calories are stored in our bodies as fat. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, eating the wrong foods has created an obesity epidemic in the United States: “about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese” (2011).
Although exercising is good for combating obesity, making good eating choices can help combat obesity. In addition to watching calories intake, there are several ways eating healthy can be beneficial to combating obesity. For example, eating breakfast daily can provide us with energy to burn the calories that we will intake throughout the day. Eating smaller, low calorie meals throughout the day can combat obesity; instead of eating three really large meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Avoiding drinks that are high in sugar and calories, such as juice and soda can aid in combating obesity. Finally, eating smaller portions can help ward off obesity. By making these few changes in their diet, one can be on the road to eating healthier and becoming a healthier person.
There is an old cliché that says “we are what we eat”. If we eat healthy, then we are healthy; however, if we eat unhealthy, then overall we are unhealthy. If we eat foods high in fat, cholesterol, calories we will find ourselves at risk for developing diseases that are linked to those eating choices. Getting on the road to healthy eating can be as simple as cutting back on all the junk we eat that is high in salts, fats and sugars. It is important that we make good food choices so that we may live happier and healthier lives.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011). . U.S. Obesity Trends. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html Phillip, J. (2010) Top food additives you really need to avoid. Healthy Lifestyles. Retrieved from http://technorati.com/lifestyle/article/top-food-additives-you-really-need002F President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. (2013). Eat healthy. Retrieved from http://www.fitness.gov/eat-healthy/why-is-it-important/ Tayloe, D, M.D. (2011). The 5 nutrients all babies need. Parenting. Retrieved from http://www.parenting.com/article/the-5-nutrients-all-babies-need#comments
Can Eating Certain Foods Like Yogurt Reduce the Chance of Developing Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is one of the common metabolic disorders across the world. The number of people affected by diabetes is projected to reach an estimated 552 million worldwide by 2030 (Whiting et al. 311). Prevention and control of T2DM have therefore become a public health imperative. Although diet and lifestyle are believed to the increased prevalence of diabetes (particularly, T2DM), few dietary factors have been established as risk factors for T2DM. With their high nutrient content, dairy products are attractive choices for diabetes prevention. However, certain dairy products like cheese and cream are also associated with high-fat, which can potentially offset the benefits. An exhaustive understanding of the roles of dairy products in etiology of diabetes is important in the current situation.
Several human studies over the years have suggested that diet and lifestyle changes can influence prevention and treatment of T2DM (Eriksson and Lindgarde 891; Lindström et al. 3230). In recent years, there has been considerable interest in the role of dairy products in the etiology of T2DM. In 2014, a study led by Harvard School of Public Health researchers (Chen et al. 219) found in three long-running studies of over 100,000 participants that regular consumption of yogurt was associated with an 18% lower risk of T2DM. They, however, noticed no similar link between other dairy products (like milk and cheese) and diabetes. Another study by a team of scientist in the UK investigated the risk of diabetes associated with consumption of dairy products (O’Connor et al. 914). This EPIC-Norfolk study, which included more than 25,000 participants in Norfolk, UK found that consumption of yogurt reduced the risk of developing T2DM by 28% and that higher consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products (all yogurts and some cheese) also reduced the risk of diabetes by 24%.
While these and some other cohort and long-standing studies indicate a beneficial link between consumption of dairy products, particularly yogurt and probiotics, with a decreased risk of diabetes, none of the studies have been able to successfully prove the direct association with diabetes by elucidating the molecular mechanism of action of these dietary products (Parvez et al. 1171; Ejtahed et al. 539). Despite that, nutritional benefits of dairy products remain unquestionable due to its constituents such as vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium. Additionally, fermentation of dairy products inculcates them with probiotic bacteria and a unique type of vitamin K, which may be responsible for exerting beneficial effects against diabetes.
Chen, Sun, et al. “Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis.” BMC Med 12 (2014): 215-31.
Ejtahed, Hanie S. et al. “Probiotic Yogurt Improves Antioxidant Status in Type 2 Diabetic Patients.” Nutrition 28.5 (2012): 539–543.
Eriksson, K. -F., and F. Lindgarde. “Prevention of Type 2 (Non-Insulin-Dependent) Diabetes Mellitus by Diet and Physical Exercise The 6-Year Malm – Feasibility Study.” Diabetologia 34.12 (1991): 891–898.
Lindström, Jaana et al. “The Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS).” Diabetes Care 26.12 (2003): 3230-6.
O’Connor, Laura M. et al. “Dietary Dairy Product Intake and Incident Type 2 Diabetes: A Prospective Study Using Dietary Data from a 7-Day Food Diary.” Diabetologia 57.5 (2014): 909–917.
Parvez, S. et al. “Probiotics and Their Fermented Food Products Are Beneficial for Health.” Journal of Applied Microbiology 100.6 (2006): 1171–1185.
Whiting, David R et al. “IDF Diabetes Atlas: Global Estimates of the Prevalence of Diabetes for 2011 and 2030.” Diabetes research and clinical practice 94.3 (2011): 311–21.
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