Home Featured Food How to Eat Your Way to a Disease-Free Body

How to Eat Your Way to a Disease-Free Body

From heart-related diseases to even cancer, research has shown that diets rich in fresh produce can actually make a big difference when it comes to risk factors.

How to eat your way to a disease-free body

Many chronic diseases can actually be prevented if you follow a sensible diet abundant in whole grains, fruit, veggies, lean protein, and healthy oils. Unfortunately, people prefer stuffing their tummies with 0ver-processed foods, fast and convenient foods brimming with fat, salt, and preservatives.

Instead of filling up on foods stripped of their natural vitamins and minerals thanks to all the over-processing, why not treat your body to a diet rich in fresh plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains? These can also help prevent several diseases and ailments down the line.

Eat and drink your way to a disease-free body. Here’s how to prevent or control:

1. Hypertension

Hypertension is a condition where the pressure of the blood flowing in the body is high. This condition puts a strain on the heart and valves as it tries to deal with the increase pressure from within. Having hypertension increases your risk for a heart attack or stroke. You’re literally a walking time bomb if you don’t do something about it quickly.

Power up your diet: 

  • The American Heart Association recommends the DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet for those with hypertension to control the condition.
  • The DASH diet helps prevent hypertension if you haven’t gotten it yet.
  • The DASH diet recommends 4 daily servings each of fruits and veggies (8 servings in total)
  • Fruit and veggies are packed with nutrients such as potassium that helps to regulate and balance out the sodium content in blood – hence stabilising high blood pressure more effectively.

Top tips: 

  • If 8 servings of fruits and veggies is too much, try blending or juicing
  • Incorporate fruits and veggies into your meals. Slice some fruit into your breakfast cereal, have a freshly squeezed unsweetened fruit juice with your lunch to cool down, and salad with dinner! Cut up some fruits as a snack throughout the day.

Juice blends to try:

  • apple + cucumber + celery
  • guava + celery + dragon fruit

2. High cholesterol

High cholesterol affects a large number of Malaysians, even from as young as those in early adulthood. As much as there is a genetic link to some people overproducing excessive cholesterol, a large portion of it has to do with lifestyle and diet practices.

A diet high in saturated fat can cause extra accumulation of cholesterol in blood arteries – eventually narrowing them down and causing blood flow to be restricted. When blood flow to the heart is cut off, a heart attack will occur.

Power up your diet: 

  • Eat more low fat, high fibre foods in the form of fruit, vegetables and whole grains
  • Proteins should not be fatty cuts of meat. Instead, choose lean meats, fish, beans, nuts and low fat dairy products
  • Cut down on usage of saturated fat cooking oils and replace it with oils that have a higher percentage of unsaturated fats
  • Include oat brans, oats, barley and rye grains in your meal plan (these contain the the fibre beta glucan which has been proven to reduce high cholesterol levels if eaten as part of a low fat, high fibre diet)

Juices to try:

  • avocado + pineapple + skim milk
  • try blending in whole grains such as oats or oat bran into your juices to increase your intake of beta glucan fibre

3. Heart disease

Coronary heart disease is the number one killer of Malaysian men and women. It is estimated that thousands of Malaysians – many still in the prime age of their lives – die every year from this ailment.

Heart disease is very closely linked to one’s lifestyle and diet. Starting the ball of prevention early on in life can drastically reduce a person’s chances of dying from heart disease.

Power up your diet: 

  • Up your intake of fruits, veggies and whole grains
  • Moderate servings of lean protein (fish, poultry, lean meats, beans, nuts, low fat dairy)
  • Use less oil when cooking
  • Avoid deep fried foods
  • Aim to have 20 – 25g of fibre daily. Have fruits and veggies at every meal to boost up your fibre intake
  • Having high fibre fruit will help you to stay full and cut down on eating greasy foods
  • High-fibre fruits include guava, mango, grapes and bananas and plums

Juice blend to try: 

  • carrot + apple + pear + mango juice

4. Eye disease

There are many eye diseases that can strike as you age. Researchers have discovered the link between eye disease and certain key nutrients – Vitamin C, E carotenoids, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, Vitamin B6 and B12.

Power up your diet: 

Chow down on a balanced diet including lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meats (these contain the key nutrients that battle eye diseases).

Juice blend to try:

  • orange + apple + beetroot
  • orange + apple + carrot
  • Blend in some flaxseeds into your juice for an omega-3 fatty acid boost

5. Cancer

The big “C” word is enough to strike compelling fear in anyone’s heart. Cancer does not discriminate between gender, age and race.

We used to associate cancer with older folks (60 or older), but not anymore. Younger and younger adults are now being diagnosed with cancer as well. Apart from heart disease, cancer is another major killer for Malaysian adults.

Research into diet to prevent cancer points to possible gains via regular consumption of fruit, vegetables and whole grains – in countries where the incidences of cancer is lower than average, this is what the researchers notice in the people’s diet.

Power up your diet: 

  • Eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains
  • Stock up on plants containing antioxidants and fibre (these help reduce your risk for cancer tumour development)
  • Focus on eating less processed foods

Juice blends to try:

  • orange + apple + beetroot
  • kiwi + papaya + pear

6. Urinary tract infection

A lady’s worst nightmare – the urinary tract infection (UTI). This happens when bacteria builds up and infects the urethra into the bladder. When UTI strikes, urinating can be a stinging, burning pain. And your urine will be smelly, cloudy and can sometimes contain blood.

Doctors treat UTI with antibiotics so if you suspect an infection, it’s best to see a doctor.

From a food perspective, researchers at the Harvard Medical School noticed that cranberry juice showed positive therapeutic signs as they reduce the bacteria’s ability to stick to the lining of the bladder.

Power up your diet: 

  • Drinking two small glasses of cranberry juice can help to lessen symptoms while you are getting treated with conventional medication
  • Sip on diluted cranberry juice to flush out bacteria

Juice blend to try: 

  • Cranberries + carrot + lemon

7. Weak immune system 

A strong immune system is the best defense against infection and diseases. It turns out that the study of immunity is closely related to the findings of anti-aging research. Both revealed that fruits, veggie, and plant-based foods are truly beneficial due to their rich antioxidant levels.

Antioxidants kill the free radicals in your body. This helps eliminate and minimise the bad effects the free radicals can have on your cells (like a lowered immunity).

Power up your diet: 

  • Eat up your fruits and veggies – the colours contain phytochemicals as well as vitamins A, C, E, and B which helps to boost our bodies’ defence capabilities
  • Vary the fruits and veggies you eat as no single fruit or vegetable can give you all the nutrients you need
  • 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies are recommended

Juice blends to try

  • blueberry + strawberry + pear + yogurt
  • apple + carrot + celery + orange

Whether you want to prevent cancer or hypertension, or simply just have a better immune system, fruits and veggies play the biggest role. Make sure you add plenty of these to your shopping list for your next supermarket haul! 

_____

What are your favourite juice blends? Share your tips in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

 

Edited by: The HealthWorks Team
Contributed by: Indra Balaratnam, consultant dietitian.

NO COMMENTS

Share a Thought

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.