Does what I eat affect my health?

The answer is “yes;” some of us might add “duh.” When it comes to what makes us sick, anyone who ever had food poisoning, ate too much ice cream, or drank too much alcohol would agree. However, when it comes to what is good for us, things are perhaps a little less clear. The same way that health, happiness, contentment, and ability are more difficult to define than their undesirable counterparts (disease, sadness, discontent, and disability), the effects of foods that are bad for us are easier to describe than the those of foods that are good for us.

Any food, substance, or behavior that is not definitely associated with a good or bad result within days or weeks will not be easily linked to that result.

Intermittent fasting

Please discuss intermittent fasting or any new diet with your health-care providers before you try it out.

What we eat is probably as important as when we eat it.

In a December 2019 article in New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease,” Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D., presented the current scientific knowledge regarding intermittent fasting. They concluded: Evidence is accumulating that eating in a 6-hour period and fasting for 18 hours can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone-based energy, with increased stress resistance, increased longevity, and a decreased incidence of diseases, including cancer and obesity.

Take-aways from the intermittent fasting insights

Don’t eat a lot of sugary foods and foods containing processed grain. Do eat fruit, vegetable, beans, lentils, whole grains, lean protein-containing foods, and healthy fat-containing foods (this comes closest to a Mediterranean diet without much meat).

Don’t have lots of little meals (snacks) throughout the day. Do allow your body to burn (metabolize) what you eat between meals. Be as active as you can. Set aside time for sustainable exercise to improve your fitness every day.

Don’t eat for 90 minutes before you go to bed. Do follow a form of intermittent fasting that works best for you. Restrict your eating to 6 hours (out of 24) each day. Experiment with the regimen that works best for you and fine-tune it. The most important thing is that you enjoy your new lifestyle and make it part of who you are.

Mediterranean diet

Many people who try a modified Mediterranean diet like it and are able to continue . Here are a few highlights of the diet to help you get started:

  • Focus on fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat whole grain products like whole grain bread, cereal, and pasta.
  • Replace butter and margarine with “healthy” fats like olive oil when cooking. If you eat bread, try dipping it in olive oil instead of spreading it with butter.
  • Eat grilled or baked fish, including tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, or herring. Avoid frying.
  • Reduce your red meat intake. Eat fish, poultry, or beans .
  • Eat low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and only small helpings of cheeses.
  • To reduce salt, season your food with herbs and spices.

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