At Hope Health Family Practice we believe that a healthy diet and regular exercise are critical to achieving and maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit. Whether you are visiting us for a strep throat infection or to discuss your cholesterol levels, we will discuss a healthy lifestyle to help you meet your optimal health goals. Just what is a healthy lifestyle?
We believe in “real food”! Real food is food that has not been altered from its original form. Real food is the food your grandparents used to eat. Healthy real food is lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olives, extra virgin olive oil, eggs, lean meats, such as poultry and fish, and foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fats.
The foods to beware of are foods that have been processed to reduce fat, remove natural sugars or have added ingredients to enhance flavor, color and shelf-life. These foods have been found to have less nutritional value and are often toxic to our bodies. Two good example of altered foods being toxic are Trans-fats and the “de-fatting” of foods.
Trans-fats are altered or “hydrogenated” vegetable oils that increase the shelf life of the food and the ability of the oil to solidify to create a more useable product, such as margarine. When this process was developed it replaced saturated fats, such as butter or lard. Since Trans-fat were an unsaturated fat it was felt to be healthier than butter or lard as it would reduce cholesterol and thus heart disease. Unfortunately, Trans-fats ended up being far worse than both the natural vegetable and animal fats. Trans-fats caused a much larger increase in the bad kind of cholesterol (LDL) and greatly increased the risk of heart disease.
Removing the fats from foods, such as snack foods, desserts and dairy products, required the addition of sugar or artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of taste from the “de-fatting” process. As a result, these foods that were now low-fat or non-fat were thought to be much healthier than the original food item. However, 25 years later, we now know that eating these altered foods greatly increased the amount of sugar in the diet resulting in much higher rates of diabetes than before. Additionally, many artificial sweeteners have been proven to be carcinogenic.
So, we believe in eating real food! A great nutritional approach is the Mediterranean Diet. See a description of the Mediterranean Diet in the pull down menu under this tab.
Exercise has been proven to help reduce weight, improve flexibility and joint health, improve cardiac health, reduce emotional stress, reduce depression and just make us feel better about ourselves.
30 minutes of some form of exercise per day can make all the difference. Going for a brisk walk, taking a hike, riding your bike or taking a group exercise class are just some easy examples of getting exercise. Our providers would be happy to discuss exercise strategies to help you find an exercise approach that will work best for you.