Health

According to healthline.com Less Than 3 Percent of Americans Have a Healthy Lifestyle. Researchers say 97 percent of Americans are failing to meet ideal ‘healthy lifestyle’ criteria that can protect their hearts. Generosity for all is created to share what the ideal healthy lifestyle is and provide everyone all the necessary nutrients for a healthy mind and body. 

U.S. health care spending grew 4.6 percent in 2019, reaching $3.8 trillion or $11,582 per person. Today, chronic disease affects 50% of the population, and its care consumes more than 85% of health care costs(cms.gov). Chronic diseases—including, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, respiratory diseases, arthritis, obesity, and oral diseases—can lead to hospitalization, long-term disability, reduced quality of life, and death. In fact, persistent conditions are the nation’s leading cause of death and disability(ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)16 estimates that eliminating three risk factors – poor diet, inactivity, and smoking – would prevent: 80% of heart disease and stroke; 80% of type 2 diabetes; and, 40% of cancer(fightchronicdisease.org). Chronic diseases are incurable however they are often preventable and manageable through early detection, improved diet, exercise, and treatment therapy. 

Our mission is to provide the most current knowledge of the ideal healthy lifestyle and supply all the nutrients a healthy body needs to enhance quality of life and health for all people. 

  • Physical: A healthy body through exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc.
  • Mental: Engagement with the world through learning, problem-solving, creativity, etc.
  • Emotional: Being in touch with, aware of, accepting of, and able to express one’s feelings (and those of others).
  • Spiritual: Our search for meaning and purpose in human existence.
  • Social: Connecting with, interacting with, and contributing to other people and our communities.
  • Environmental: A healthy physical environment free of hazards; awareness of the role we play in bettering rather than denigrating the natural environment.

Vitamins

VITAMIN A

Vitamin A keeps your heart, lungs, liver and other organs working properly. Also called beta-carotene, it’s important for reproductive, vision and immune system health.

You can get vitamin A from beef liver, salmon, broccoli, carrots, squash, green leafy vegetables, cantaloupe, apricots, mangoes, dairy products and fortified cereals.

VITAMIN B

There are eight different essential B vitamins — B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate) and B12(cobalamin).

They all help convert carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy. Several B vitamins are also necessary for cell development, growth and function.

You may need more B vitamins if you’re elderly, have had gastrointestinal surgery, have a gastrointestinal disorder, or if you abuse alcohol. Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or plan to become pregnant may need more B vitamins, particularly folate, which has been shown to prevent birth defects, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Up to 15 percent of people are deficient in B12. You may also need more B12 if you have pernicious anemia or are a vegan or vegetarian.

You can get vitamin B from meat, poultry, fish, organ meats, eggs, legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and fortified cereals, breads and pastas.

VITAMIN C

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C boosts the immune system and increases iron absorption from plant-based foods and supplements. Since it’s an antioxidant, vitamin C protects our cells from damaging free radicals. It also aids in wound healing by helping our body produce collagen.

If you smoke, you need 35 more mg of vitamin C per day than non-smokers because it takes more vitamin C for your body to repair the cell damage caused by free radicals in tobacco smoke.

You can get vitamin C from citrus fruits and juices, kiwi fruit, red and green peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe, broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, tomato juice and baked potatoes (cooking it this way, with the skin on, retains the folate, B6 and vitamin C.)

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D builds strong bones by helping our body absorb calcium from food and supplements. It also boosts the functioning of the immune system.

People who avoid the sun or use sunscreen — all smart precautions for skin cancer prevention — may need supplements, as well as people with a malabsorption disorder where the body has difficulty absorbing nutrients (such as Crohn’s or celiac disease).

Vitamin D isn’t found naturally in many foods. Known as the “sunshine vitamin,” most of the vitamin D our body gets is absorbed from the sun through our skin. Foods with vitamin D include salmon, tuna, mackerel, beef liver, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified dairy and nut milks and cereals.

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E protects our cells from free radicals, boosts our immune system and helps prevent blood clots.

You can get vitamin E from sunflower, safflower and wheatgerm oils, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, spinach, Swiss chard, avocados and butternut squash.

VITAMIN K

Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting and healthy bones. You may need more vitamin K if you have had bariatric surgery to lose weight or have a malabsorption disorder.

You can get vitamin K from spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli, soybeans, blueberries, figs, meat, cheese, eggs, and vegetable oils.

Minerals

CALCIUM

Roughly 99 percent of calcium in the body is found in bones and teeth, where it is crucial for structural support. The remainder is found in the blood, muscles and intracellular fluids, where it is a critical part of many metabolic, neurological and muscular functions. Postmenopausal women (who have an elevated risk of osteoporosis) and people who don’t consume dairy products (a primary source of calcium) are the mostly likely to require calcium supplements.

You can get calcium from dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt), fortified non-dairy milks (such as almond, soy and rice milks), fortified orange juice, sardines with bones, tofu (if prepared with calcium), collard green, kale, and broccoli.

IRON

Iron is an essential part of building red blood cells, specifically hemoglobin, a protein  that bonds with oxygen to oxygen through the blood from the lungs to the cells throughout your body. Vegetarians need to consume almost twice as much iron daily because the iron in plant-based food is less available to the body than the iron found in animal products. Pregnant women and people with iron-deficient anemia may also need supplements.

You can get iron from meat (especially red meat and liver), seafood, lentils, beans, tofu, cashews, and broccoli.

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium plays an important role in the function of more than 300 enzymes that regulate various processes in the body, including muscle and nerve function, heart rhythms and glucose control. Older adults and people with diabetes may need supplements.

You can get magnesium from almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, beans, potatoes, brown rice, dairy products, oats, chicken, beef and broccoli.

ZINC

Zinc is a mineral that plays an important role in immune function and is essential for normal growth and development during pregnancy and childhood. Vegetarians may also need supplements since the zinc found in plant-based foods is less available to the body than that found in meat and fish.

You can get zinc from red meat, poultry, seafood (especially oysters, lobster and clams), dairy products, whole grains, beans and nuts.

Reach out to your pharmacist to get more information on supplements. Some vitamins (such as vitamin E) are dangerous in high doses, and some may interact negatively with other medications or medical treatment.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates — fiber, starches and sugars — are essential food nutrients that your body turns into glucose to give you the energy to function. Complex carbs in fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products are less likely to spike blood sugar than simple carbs (sugars). Low-carb diets like keto can be high in fats.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates (also called carbs) are a type of macronutrient found in certain foods and drinks. Sugars, starches and fiber are carbohydrates.

Other macronutrients include fat and protein. Your body needs these macronutrients to stay healthy.

How does the body process carbohydrates?

Your digestive system breaks down carbs into glucose or blood sugar. Your bloodstream absorbs glucose and uses it as energy to fuel your body.

The amount of carbs you consume affects blood sugar. Taking in a lot of carbs can raise blood sugar levels. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can put you at risk for diabetes. Some people who don’t consume enough carbs have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

What are total carbohydrates?

Foods and drinks can have three types of carbohydrates: starches, sugars and fiber. The words “total carbohydrates” on a food’s nutrient label refers to a combination of all three types.

What’s the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates?

A food’s chemical structure, and how quickly your body digests it, determine whether the food is a complex or simple carb. Complex carbs are less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar. They also contain vitamins, minerals and fiber that your body needs. (You may be familiar with the term “good carbohydrates,” but it may be best to think of them as healthy carbohydrates. )

Too many simple carbs can contribute to weight gain. They can also increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol.

What are starches?

Starches are complex carbohydrates. Many starches (but not all) fit this category. They provide vitamins and minerals. It takes your body longer to break down complex carbohydrates. As a result, blood sugar levels remain stable and fullness lasts longer.

You can find starchy carbohydrates in:

  • Beans and legumes, such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans.
  • Fruits, such as apples, berries and melons.
  • Whole-grain products, such as brown rice, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread and pasta.
  • Vegetables, such as corn, lima beans, peas and potatoes.

What is fiber?

Plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products, contain fiber. Animal products, including dairy products and meats, have no fiber.

Fiber is a complex healthy carbohydrate. Your body can’t break down fiber. Most of it passes through the intestines, stimulating and aiding digestion. Fiber also regulates blood sugar, lowers cholesterol and keeps you feeling full longer.

Experts recommend that adults consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber every day. Most of us get half that amount.

High-fiber foods include:

  • Beans and legumes, such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils and pinto beans.
  • Fruits, especially those with edible skins (apples and peaches) or seeds (berries).
  • Nuts and seeds, including almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
  • Whole-grain products, such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, cereal and whole-wheat bread and pasta.
  • Vegetables, such as corn, lima beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts and squash.

What are sugars?

Sugars are a type of simple carbohydrate. Your body breaks down simple carbohydrates quickly. As a result, blood sugar levels rise — and then drop — quickly. After consuming sugary foods, you may notice a burst of energy, followed by feeling tired.

There are two types of sugars:

  • Naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in milk and fresh fruits.
  • Added sugars, such as those found in sweets, canned fruit, juice and soda. Sweets include things like bakery, candy bars and ice cream. Choose fruit canned in juice over other varieties. Note that sugar-free soda is available.

Your body processes all sugars the same. It can’t tell the difference between natural and added sugars. But along with energy, foods with natural sugars provide vitamins, minerals and sometimes fiber.

Sugar goes by many names. On food labels, you may see sugar listed as:

  • Agave nectar.
  • Cane syrup or corn syrup.
  • Dextrose, fructose or sucrose.
  • Honey.
  • Molasses.
  • Sugar.

Limiting sugar is essential to keep blood sugar levels in the healthy range. Plus, sugary foods and drinks are often higher in calories that can contribute to weight gain. Limit refined foods and foods that contain added sugar, such as white flour, desserts, candy, juices, fruit drinks, soda pop and sweetened beverages. The American Heart Association recommends:

  • No more than 25g (6 teaspoons or 100 calories) per day of added sugar for most women.
  • No more than 36g (9 teaspoons or 150 calories) per day of added sugar for most men.

There isn’t a set amount of recommended daily carbs. Your age, gender, medical conditions, activity level and weight goals all affect the amount that’s right for you. Counting carbs helps some people with diabetes manage their blood sugar.

For most people, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends a healthy plate or MyPlate approach. You should fill:

  • Half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • One-quarter of your plate with whole grains.
  • One-quarter of your plate with protein (meat, fish, beans, eggs or dairy).

Is a low- or no-carb diet healthy?

Some people cut their carb intake to promote weight loss. Popular low-carb diets include the Atkins diet and the ketogenic (keto) diet. Some healthcare providers recommend the keto diet for epilepsy and other medical conditions.

Strict dietary restrictions can be hard to follow over a long time. Some carb-restrictive diets include large amounts of animal fat and oils. These foods can increase your risk of heart disease. Experts still aren’t sure if a low- or no-carb diet is healthy. Talk to your healthcare provider before trying a low- or no-carb diet.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

You may have been thinking of carbohydrates as either “good” or “bad.” As with all foods, the secret with carbohydrates is to make smart decisions and limit the ones that aren’t as healthy for you. Your best bet is to choose nutrient-dense carbs that have fiber, vitamins and minerals. Eat foods that have added sugars in moderation. Your healthcare provider can help determine the right amount of carbs for your needs.

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