By Dr. Linell King
Paleo, keto, Atkins, AIP, low fat, no fat — it’s enough to make your head spin. If you browse the shelves of your local bookstore, there are hundreds of diet books to choose from, and almost as many differing opinions about what to eat in order to be healthy. Information that was once touted as truth by the food industry has proven to be false, so where do you even begin? You will be happy to know that the first step is to get the word “diet” out of your vocabulary. Diets do not work. It is all about finding your personal eating strategy.
Here are some general principles that you should follow in order to nourish your body:
Eat the rainbow: Make your plate as colorful and full of plants as possible. The more variety you have the wider range of phytonutrients you consume. Phytonutrients are compounds made by plants that help protect them from potential dangers like bacteria, fungi, and harsh environments. These phytonutrients are important to humans because they protect us as well. Every day we face exposure to things that can potentially harm us and cause disease. Processed foods, body care products, the air we breathe, medications, and other lifestyle factors can cause the proliferation of free radicals. Studies have shown that antioxidants, which are found in these brightly colored fruits and vegetables, combat the effects of free radicals, thus protecting against disease and slowing down the aging process.
Make sure that you are getting enough fiber each day: Fiber keeps food moving through your digestive tract quickly and helps to keep it functioning optimally. There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble, and both are important. Insoluble fiber bulks up your stool to promote regular bowel movements, while soluble fiber helps to aid in nutrient absorption. Studies have shown that fiber is important for blood sugar regulation, weight loss, healthy cholesterol levels, and digestive health. Examples of high fiber foods include nuts, seeds, berries, legumes, green leafy vegetables, and avocados.
Fat is your friend: For many years fat was incorrectly demonized at a huge cost to the health and well-being of our society. We know that fat is a crucial component to one’s health. Your body relies on fat for hormone production, brain function, and building cell walls. Not all fat is created equal, however. Trans fat and vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oil contribute to inflammation which leads to disease. Sources of good quality fats include salmon, sardines, olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut, and coconut oil.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Many people are walking around chronically dehydrated and don’t know it. Symptoms such as brain fog, low energy, constipation, and dry skin can be attributed to not drinking enough water. Water is crucial for electrolyte balance, muscle and joint health, blood pressure regulation, and much more. Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
By incorporating just these key principles and taking into account any health challenges you have, you are on your way to finding your personal eating strategy.
Once you do, “dieting” will be a thing of the past. You are an individual; so why would a one size fits all approach work for your health? At Naples Vitality we work together to optimize your life through highly individualized functional medicine.
Linell King MD, renowned internist and author of “Mastering Vitality” received his medical degree from the University Of Wisconsin School Of Medicine, and completed his residency at The Johns Hopkins University Sinai Hospital Program of Internal Medicine. He has been practicing for twenty years; currently at his “Naples Vitality” office in Naples, FL.
Our practice size is limited to ensure the best possible care for our clientele; we qualify and accept patients committed to working collaboratively to create improved health and continued success.
3411 Tamiami Trail N. Suite 200
Naples, FL 34103