Eating Well for Optimum Health

Eating well is one of the simplest things that you can do to preserve and enhance your health. Choosing healthy foods that are bursting with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is a great way to give your body the support it needs to function well. Foods that are high in calories, saturated fat and simple carbohydrates may be tasty, inexpensive and easy to shop for, but in the long-run they are not going to be serving your body well!

In fact, regularly making negative food choices can lead to the onset of serious health conditions and diseases. This can be incredibly detrimental to the quality of life that you enjoy. 

Obesity

Obesity is fast becoming a serious health concern in many parts of the world. Obesity is defined as body fat levels exceeding the healthy range. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, those who have a body mass index of 30 or above are classified as being obese. This same organisation has declared obesity to currently be a global epidemic. It is estimated that 43% of Americans will be obese by 2020.

Serious health risks can present when a person is obese. In fact, it has been shown that life expectancy can be decreased by as much as nine years.

Common health concerns connected to obesity are:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Hyperlipidaemia (high levels of lipids in the blood)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

An obese person is also much more likely to experience mobility issues than someone of a healthy weight.

The recommended body fat percentages are as follows:

  • 16 - 29 year old males - 14% - 18%
  • 16 - 29 year old females - 22% - 25%
  • 30 - 49 year old males - 19% - 24%
  • 30 - 49 year old females - 25% - 29%
  • 50+ males - 24% - 27%
  • 50+ females - 29% - 32%

The Body Mass Index is a useful tool for determining if a person is a healthy weight. BMI is calculated using person’s height and weight and then using a chart to assign a number to the result. This number will usually range from 18.5 to 40. With 18.5 being considered to be underweight and 40 considered to be obese.

Diabetes

People who have diabetes are either unable to produce enough insulin, or the insulin that they do produce does not work as efficiently as it should.

It is important to note that there are two different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes can be caused by a number of factors, such as genetics. Whereas type 2 diabetes is caused by poor diet and lifestyle factors. Pregnancy and certain Illnesses can also contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is most commonly seen in sufferers before the age of 40. In fact, this type of diabetes is often seen in children. With type 1 diabetes, the cells that secrete insulin become damaged and are therefore unable to produce enough insulin to move glucose from the cells into the blood. This means that blood glucose levels remain excessively high.

Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin injections. It is also beneficial for anyone with this condition to engage in regular physical exercise and to enjoy a consistently healthy diet.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body isn’t producing enough insulin, or the cells themselves stop reacting to insulin. This type of diabetes usually presents in sufferers after the age of 40, but in certain population groups, such as those who come from South Asia and Africa, it can be observed from the age of 25. In fact, in the past few years, it is becoming more commonly seen in younger people of all ethnicities. Those who are obese have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Type two diabetes is treated with a medication that reduces the amount of glucose that the liver releases into the blood. An active lifestyle and a healthy diet should also be adhered to.

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the western world, and is characterised by a build-up of fatty material within the walls of the coronary arteries. These are the arteries that supply your heart with oxygen rich blood. As this continues to develop over time, this fatty material can actually begin to inhibit the flow of blood around the body. This leads to the tissue of the body not being provided with an optimum amount of oxygen and essential nutrients, which can be quite damaging to overall health!

Some of the smallest arteries in the human body are those that take blood to the heart - a very important and essential job! When these arteries begin to harden through the build up of fatty material then this can be very dangerous. This is a condition known as atherosclerosis.

If a cell in the heart is deprived of oxygen then it will simply stop working and die. Alarmingly, only a 5% blockage of the coronary arteries needs to present before a problem arises. This could cause a fatal heart attack. 

Several things can contribute to the onset of coronary heart disease, with diet being an important factor. High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are leading factors here, and it is possible to help combat both of these issues with a low-fat, high-fiber diet.

Eating Well for Optimum Health

As you can see, making healthy choices in terms of your diet can go a long way to protecting and maintaining your body. This is especially important as you grow older. Doing so will give you greater control over your health, happiness and independence! 

References

1) https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-causes.html

2) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronary-heart-disease/prevention

3) http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en