Healthy Nutritional Choices Targeting the Top 5 Health Conditions Out There
It’s March and National Nutrition Month, we are focusing on health and nutrition across various medical conditions. By making consistently healthier choices in your everyday life, it will become so second nature to you that you will not even notice a change.
Nutrition for Wound Healing
Wound healing covers wounds created by diabetes or ostomy health conditions. Wounds happen after surgery or from minor cuts or burns. The healing process may be more delayed due to a diabetic condition. As a result, it can cause further complicated issues such as osteomyelitis, gangrene, or sepsis. Nutrition can expedite that process and keep the wound site healthy. In other words, wounds are more likely to heal when you eat a diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals. The body actually weakens when we overload on junk food. It does not have the capacity to heal quickly, or worse, fight off infection. Eating high amounts of protein, vegetables, and the right amount of healthy fats are recommended. This includes slow-digesting carbohydrates that will aid in the wound healing process.
Healing Vitamins and Minerals for Wounds
Vitamin A increases the inflammatory response and is essential to proper immune system function. Foods high in vitamin A are kale, spinach, and other leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash.
Protein is critical during the wound healing process because it helps the body repair damaged tissues. Foods high in protein are plant-based protein, fish and seafood, poultry, cheese and eggs, and low-fat dairy.
Vitamin K is an important vitamin in postsurgical healing due to its blood clotting activity. It promotes blood clotting in the body and reduces the recovery duration. Foods high in vitamin K are kale, spinach and other leafy greens, romaine and green leaf lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.
Vitamin C helps the body form new collagen. It also is a great tool for reducing free-radical damage in cells and boosting immunity. Foods high in vitamin C are oranges and other citrus fruits, kiwi, tomatoes, and peppers.
Juven is a supplement that consists of vitamins and minerals and provides nutritional support for chronic wounds due to diabetic ulcers, as well as acute wounds due to surgery. Juven has been clinically shown to support the production of collagen, which aids in wound healing in as little as 2 weeks.
Nutrition for Ostomy
Nutrition is an important factor after surgery and ongoing. Ostomy surgery should not change the way most people’s bodies digest, absorb, and use nutrients from food. During the first 6-8 weeks post-surgery, it is recommended that you follow a low fiber diet during this period to allow your body to heal and to reduce the chance of a blockage. After 6-8 weeks, most people are able to transition from a low-fiber diet to a normal diet.
Vitamin B-12 is a common nutritional deficiency. Around 25% of all people who undergo ileostomy eventually develop a B-12 deficiency, according to the National Health Service of Great Britain. A deficiency in B-12 can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, ringing in the ears, faintness, and irregular heartbeat. Foods rich in B- 12 are clams, eggs, low-fat milk, swiss cheese, and tofu.
Nutrition for Diabetics
Diabetics patients need to have a healthy eating plan that helps to control their blood sugar levels. The goal is to follow a diet rich in nutrients and low in fat. A healthy diet of carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, fish, and healthy fats is best for someone with a diabetes condition. Healthy carbohydrates, such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes, such as beans and peas, and low-fat dairy products, such as milk and cheese are suggested. Fiber-rich food suggestions would be lentils, artichokes, berries, barley, and oatmeal. Some recommended fish choices would be salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel. Healthy fats suggested would be flax seeds, olive oil, almonds, and avocados.
Whey protein is rich in protein and low in carbohydrates making it a good choice for diabetics. Proteins decrease the rate glucose is absorbed, helping in maintaining insulin levels.
Nutrition for Cancer
Cancer patients experience lack of appetite and nausea due to their treatment, making them susceptible to malnutrition. Consuming whey protein which is rich in the amino acid, cysteine, has been shown to boost the immune system. Whey protein comes from cow milk. Milk consists of 2 types of protein, casein (80%) and whey (20%)
Eating healthy before, during, and after treatment is so important in how you feel. A diet high in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein may prevent cancer. Before treatments, nuts, applesauce, yogurt, pre-chopped veggies, and microwaveable brown rice or other whole grains are easy options. During cancer treatment, the main nutrients to focus on are protein, carbohydrates, fats, water, vitamins, and minerals. Look to eat lean meat, chicken, and fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds, and cheese, milk, and yogurt. You want to have at least 2 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Include dark green and deep yellow veggies, and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits. Colorful foods like these have many healthy nutrients.
Nutrition for COPD
The right mix of nutrients may help you breathe easier and breathing requires more energy for individuals with the COPD health condition. Good nutrition prevents infections. For instance, those infections could lead to hospitalization as COPD is an infection of the chest. A lower carbohydrate diet may be best because it results in lower carbon dioxide production. Choose complex carbohydrates which are high in fiber such as peas, bran, lentils, beans, and oat. A high protein diet of grass-fed meat, poultry, eggs, and fish — particularly oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines is also recommended. Potassium is vital to lung function so intake avocados, bananas, leafy greens, and tomatoes.
You may notice a pattern of nutrition across these conditions and it is very similar to the current recommended USDA health guidelines. Therefore, it is imperative in 2021 to having a well-balanced diet especially with the continued stress of COVID-19. Our suggestion would be to put a healthy eating plan into effect. A start would be to begin meal planning and develop a shopping list. This will make you much more organized, will help you save money, and choose healthy options. It is always good practice to check with your doctor or pharmacist to see what is recommended for your particular health condition.