Healthy Eating Means Better Living For You
Healthy Eating for a Better Life
By Dr. Harry Oken, CA’s Medical Director
Healthy eating means better living. The core therapy for cholesterol management as well as for many other issues such as blood sugar, blood pressure, gout, sleep apnea and pain associated with osteoarthritis, is attaining a weight that is healthy for you. Often, a small reduction in weight (just 10-15 pounds) will translate into a remarkable improvement in health. A reduction in weight of just one pound unloads four pounds/square inch on your weight-bearing joints, including the lower back.
Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight is a constant process of making adjustments. It is a challenging process, and it can take several weeks to modify the neurological networks that reinforce our cravings for unhealthy foods. Find a few tips for healthy eating below!
Healthy Eating Tips
- Eat in a low-glycemic fashion, keeping daily carbohydrate intake to less than 50-60 grams/day. This can be increased once the craving center of the brain calms down.
- Minimize gluten-based foods such as pasta, cereal and bread, as well as other complex starches such as rice, and corn- and potato-based foods.
- Eat a predominantly plant-based diet. Try to get five servings of vegetables and appropriate serving sizes of fruit. Avoid dried fruit.
- Avoid concentrated carbohydrates such as candy, cookies, cake, pudding, ice cream, juices, etc. Avoid soda, which is basically liquid candy.
- Eat good fat; it is filling and will not elevate your insulin levels. Examples of good fats include avocados, nuts, nut butters, olives, and healthy oils such as olive and coconut.
- Ingest the correct amount of protein for your ideal body lean weight — half a gram of protein per pound of your ideal body weight.
- Keep a food diary or use a cell phone app such as “Lose It!” or “MyFitnessPal” to track your daily intake.
Exercise and restorative sleep also help to restore your immune system and control stress. During the day, try to minimize your sitting. Get up every hour and walk around, or do some stretching, lunges or squats. Work standing up if you can. Try to walk 10,000 steps every day. In addition to cardiovascular exercise two or three times per week, consider adding stretching and weight training twice per week.