I’m driving down the road with its windows open listening to Tina Turner’s song, “What does love have to do with it.” I turn up the radio and sing. This song plays on my mind all day long.
Life is busy. We can find ourselves tired, exhausted, and at risk of health problems. I’m thinking of the Hippocratic quote, “Let food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Now, after listening to Tina Turner, I ask the question: “What food Should you do it? “
As a nutritionist in Virginia, I teach veterans the importance of food and nutrition. Every person is unique. My goal is to show them how nutrition can provide health benefits.
One of the many benefits of a healthy lifestyle is a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Small changes can make big differences. But what about depression, the immune system, or even dental/bone health? Nutrition can play an important role in these conditions as well. Here’s how:
depression and anxiety
The CDC reports that the percentage of people diagnosed with depression/anxiety has risen over the past year. An article in Harvard Health notes that severe vitamin B12 deficiency “can exacerbate levels of depression.”
A diet rich in antioxidants, magnesium, vitamin B12, and folic acid can help improve depression. Eating more fruits and vegetables is an easy way to do this. Dark chocolate, nuts, berries, avocado, and animal protein are rich in these nutrients as well.
Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of color can help support immunity. Colorful foods provide a variety of minerals and vitamins, such as zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C, that boost the immune system. Some good sources of these nutrients include oysters, tuna, and fruits and vegetables.
Dental health / bone health
Did you know that poor oral health can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease? Oral and bone health are essential to overall wellness. Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D play an important role and can often be found together. Bones routinely break down and remodel; Calcium helps build this new bone back up.
Milk, yogurt and cheese are good sources of calcium. Sunshine helps boost vitamin D levels, and in the darker winter months, adding salmon, egg yolks, and mushrooms can provide an extra boost.
Foods rich in potassium (bananas), magnesium (spinach and nuts) and phosphorous (meat and seafood) are also beneficial for oral and bone health.
Snacking wisely is important for oral health. Choose foods like raw fruits and vegetables, Greek yogurt, and popcorn.
A VA dietitian can help you find ways to adopt healthy habits, such as creating a healthy meal plan or exercise routine. In Virginia, nutritionists are available to help you identify and adopt healthy habits.
Contact your local VA to learn more about participating in MOVE! Weight management program or TeleMOVE! Program (default).
Make an appointment to work face-to-face with a dietitian to build a customized nutrition plan. Set an appointment and learn for yourself “what food has to do with it (your health)”.