A natural nutritional health lifestyle begins with your diet and food choices. And you want to learn about nutrition, so you will be able to read and understand what food labels really mean, to prevent ‘accidentally’ eating unhealthy foods.
Many people are attracted by foods that are supposed to be low fat or sugar free, as if that was synonymous with the foods being healthy and low in calories.
But that definitely isn’t the case by definition – here are some things that you want to recognize:
- Low fat simply means that a food’s fat content is lower relative to its typical fat content – it certainly doesn’t say anything about natural or nutritious. It doesn’t say anything about the kind of fat, or infer that the food is lower in calories, or that the food isn’t full of sugar.
- I would sure rather get the healthy nutrition from eating 150 calories of natural almonds even with more fat, than eating 150 calories of low fat potato chips. And isn’t interesting that even when a low fat snack food does have less calories, more of it is eaten so the calories turns out to be the same or even more.
- Sugar free does mean there is no sugar, and likely fewer calories if the sugar was replaced with a sweetener. But again, this does not mean that the sweetened food is healthy or nutritious.
- Artificial sweeteners also have some possible side effects. For instance, I know that splenda will give me stomach problems from bloating and gas.
- Also, the sugar substitutes are many times sweeter than sugar. Now, that isn’t supposed to affect the level of your blood sugar, but this extra sweetness could make you crave more things that are sweet and could have sugar in them.
So, do understand when making your food choices that low fat and sugar free imply nothing for natural nutritional health – and they certainly have nothing to do with an anti-inflammatory diet.
Overweight and Obesity Epidemic
Being overweight or obese has truly become epidemic. And as big of an ongoing problem this is for adults, it is especially a great concern for children. Besides growing up and having a life filled with many health problems, there are also many psychological problems coming from lower self-esteem and decreased social acceptance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention obesity studies report these staggering statistics:
- More than one-third of the adults in the US are obese, and that doesn’t include another one-third that is overweight.
- Health conditions like heart disease, strokes, and type 2 diabetes are related to obesity and are some of the leading causes for death.
- Around 17% of children between 2-19 years of age are considered obese, and again that does not include those that are overweight.
- A sample of children between 5-17 years of age showed that around 60% of those that were overweight or obese had one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and around 25% had 2 or more risk factors.
Chronic Inflammation Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Understanding some of the basics of inflammation, along with nutritional health and natural inflammation remedies for preventing chronic inflammation, will further explain why your diet is such a significant part of a healthy lifestyle.
Here is a discussion about diet and its impact on chronic inflammation from PubMed.gov:
Role of diet on chronic inflammation prevention and control
“It is known that low chronic inflammation occurs in several stages of non-transmissible chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes mellitus, among others. Observational studies and clinical trials indicate that diet plays an important role in the reduction of such diseases.
It has been suggested that the consumption of high glycemic index diets, which have low fiber content and are rich in trans fat cause the activation of the immune system, leading to excessive production of pro-inflammatory mediators and the reduction of the anti-inflammatory ones.”
To begin with, inflammation is a normal and necessary immune system function, but it can also be a serious health problem that is related to 7 of the 10 leading causes for death.
This is because there are 2 types of inflammation: (1) acute inflammation (2) chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation is the way your body and immune system responds when it detects a problem like an injury or infection.
The response is one that assists in the healing and further protection of the body from further damage and illness. This occurs by sending blood plasma and leukocytes to the problem area, which helps to remove what is causing the specific health issue.
It could be said that without the acute inflammatory response, the injuries and infection couldn’t heal. However, it should also be noted that when healing is complete, acute inflammation leaves the body – and this is in complete contrast to chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is a prolonged and excessive condition that does not leave the body. This can happen from a disorder with the immune system that results in the damage of healthy cells. As a result more healthy cells are sent to ‘fight’ the ‘problem’, but they become damaged as well.
And this process can continue unabated, very likely without the person being aware it is happening, but increasing the risks for or causing serious health problems – no wonder why chronic inflammation is referred to as the ‘secret killer’.
But chronic inflammation can also be the result of a becoming overweight or obese, and especially from constantly eating excessive amounts of bad fats. These dietary habits are extremely inflammatory, leading to excessive chronic inflammation – and must be controlled and prevented by an anti-inflammatory diet before very serious long-term health problems develop.