We’ve spent a lot of time this March discussing the many ways to eat right, but we hope there’s one key takeaway from all of our blog posts: there may be many ways to eat, but there will never be just one way to eat right.
Each person is different. A person’s genetics, lifestyle, habits, and medical conditions will all influence the eventual diet that works for that person. We’ve tried to share many tips this month that can help ground your search for a diet that works, while also remaining aware of the differences we all have.
As we noted in our earliest post this month, “Nutrition Basics for a Chronic Pain Healthy Diet“:
“With the flood of fad diets and weight loss programs bombarding you from every side, it’s difficult to figure out what you should and shouldn’t eat. It becomes even more complicated when you’ve got one or more medical conditions, such as chronic pain. Before you know it, figuring out mealtimes can become downright stressful. Eating doesn’t have to be a chore, though. Armed with some basic knowledge, you can make nutritional choices that help you stay your healthiest. Eating healthier might even help you control your chronic pain.”
The post went on to note some basic guidelines like, “Eat fresh, whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible,” that can help you learn better ways to eat right on your journey towards better health.
Figuring out your proteins
So many people are confused about protein. How much is too much? Do I need to use protein powder? Am I getting enough? Will it help me lose weight? Because of this, we decided it was time to break down how eating appropriate levels of protein can help you improve your health, especially for those with chronic pain conditions.
Getting your recommended 50 to 65 grams of protein a day (depending on your weight and activity levels–this number may be very different for you) may help reduce your risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and hip fractures. You can also find healthier sources of proteins. Fish, soy, or poultry are all great sources.
Another, often misunderstood, source of protein is protein powder. No, you likely don’t need to be guzzling protein shakes. However, some people may benefit from including it in their diet. These include people starting out an exercise regimen, those recovering from an injury, or people who eat a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Again, it’s not that there’s one way to eat right. There are multiple ways and what might work for one person might not work for you.
If proteins are misunderstood, fats are generally feared. While some people may choose to limit them in their diet, there are some fantastically healthy types of fats that you can enjoy. Some of the best sources for healthy fats are:
- Nuts and seeds
- Flaxseed and hemp oil
- Fish and fish oil
Another post talked about a very specific type of fat: omega-3 fatty acids. As we noted in our post:
“These fats are an anti-inflammatory food, which means that they interfere with the body’s inflammatory process and reduce inflammation. Some inflammation is good. It’s the body’s response to injury or illness, and it encourages healing. However, inflammation can also be painful. In people with chronic pain conditions, the pain is often caused or worsened by the body’s over-enthusiastic inflammation response. Therefore, by taking omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the inflammation response of the body, pain can be reduced significantly.”
Find ways to eat right based on your needs
When endeavoring to eat right, it’s best to let your body guide you as you make decisions. What makes you feel good? Which foods allow you to feel satisfied after a meal? Which ones give you a certain glow? By making these choices based on what our body tells us, we can begin the work of creating a holistic approach to our body and our diet.
For some people, there may be certain goals they have for their diet. These include:
- Eating for a healthier immune system: If seasonal colds and allergies are a constant hindrance, consider adding some of these immune-system boosting foods into your diet!
- Eating for more energy: Especially for those who suffer from fibromyalgia, finding new sources of energy is always important. Some foods and methods of snacking can actually help with that search.
- Eating for a longer life: This is obviously a goal for everyone. How can you change your diet and diet beliefs in a way that helps you live a longer, healthier life?
Deciphering food trends
Finally, some of the most difficult health information to understand revolves around food trends, fad diets, superfoods, and the other health messages that promise better health immediately. Which of these are true? Which of these will work best for you?
This month we looked at four potential superfoods and gave recommendations for the best ways to incorporate them into your diet if you wish. Claims about these foods are likely overstated, but they may have some potential health benefits. The four superfoods we covered were:
Again, you can always try certain foods. Food should be a fun exploration of what you like and don’t like. After, pay attention to your body. Make sure it makes you feel good when you eat it. In this way, you’ll begin to create the diet that works for YOU.
What health tips from this month have helped you in your quest to eat right?
Image by Nate Kay via Flickr