Unlock the Power of Food in Disease Prevention! Now that we’re in the midst of spring, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on lifestyle factors, including what we eat, and how they can influence our health. A nutritious diet can help prevent illness and can lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A third of cancers can be linked to poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise and almost 80 per cent of premature stroke and heart disease can be prevented through healthy lifestyle behaviours.
For greatest success and benefit, enjoy an eating pattern you can stick with in the long term. Some eating patterns are healthier than others. The Mediterranean, DASH and MIND diets are the most researched eating patterns for their health benefits. The foods that are recommended on these diets can help prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and some types of cancers. They all have these 7 nourishing foods in common:
- Vegetables and Fruit: Let their bright colours, crunch and natural sweetness speak for themselves. And don’t forget to fill half your plate with vegetables at meal times.
- Whole Grains: Offer a multitude of health benefits including fibre, antioxidants and essential vitamins & minerals.
- Legumes & Pulses: Rich in fibre & protein they are versatile in soups & casseroles, baking & smoothies! Legumes and pulses also have natural prebiotics to help promote a healthy gut. Their lower Glycemic Index value will not cause a sharp rise in one’s blood sugar offering benefit to those with diabetes but is also linked to lowered risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in otherwise healthy people.
- Nuts and Seeds: Great in baking, sprinkled onto salads or cereals or simply enjoyed on their own.
- Milk, cheese and yogurt: Rich in vitamin D, calcium, high quality protein, magnesium and phosphorus.
- Fish, Seafood and Poultry: Enjoy fish a couple times a week!
- Healthy Oils: Like canola and olive oil!
You may also notice these diets do not contain a lot of highly processed foods, like cake, chips, cookies and sugary drinks that are high in added sugar, salt and trans fats. These eating patterns highlight whole foods, balance and an eating pattern you can enjoy and embrace for long term health benefits!
Let your taste buds enjoy this high fibre, protein packed veggie burger! Try with a lettuce or whole grain wrap for a different twist.
For more recipe ideas, check out the Dietitians of Canada, Cookspiration website or download the app for your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
This post was adapted and inspired by Dietitians of Canada’s 2018 Nutrition Month campaign resources. Learn more at www.dietitians.ca