September 7, 2012

Optimum Health Nutrition

Optimum Health NutritionHow healthy do you want to be?  A little healthy?  Moderately healthy?  How about optimally healthy?  Most would opt for the last choice, but unfortunately do not engage in health practices that achieving optimal health is even possible. Achieving optimal health takes effort and discipline.  Optimal health begins with optimum health nutrition. We are very much what we eat.

What’s Optimum Health Nutrition?

Optimal nutrition isn’t too complicated, and in fact, is rather simple.  But, what is simple isn’t always easy to do. Focus on these two components of healthy eating; low glycemic diet and natural foods.  That’s it.  If you do those 2 things you will significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.  Plus, you’ll have better energy – enough energy to get through the entire day.  Your metabolism will improve and your body will function more effectively and efficiently.

Low Glycemic Foods

First, when we talk about the glycemic index we are speaking about carbohydrates, not proteins or fat.  That’s because carbohydrates are either absorbed as simple sugars or are broken down into simple sugars and that’s what determines blood glucose and insulin levels.

High glycemic foods lead to a rapid increase in blood glucose and thus a rapid and sustained rise in insulin levels.  Insulin promotes fat storage.  High glycemic foods also lead to rapid fluctuations in blood sugar leading to food cravings and crashing energy levels. So high glycemic foods need to be avoided.  Low glycemic foods lead to slower and smaller elevations in blood sugar and insulin.  This enables the body to burn fat for energy and because blood glucose levels are more constant energy levels are better sustained and food cravings decrease.

Strive to eat foods that have a glycemic index of 55 or less; the lower the better the more overweight you are.

A simple way to avoid high glycemic foods is to avoid the following:

  • white bread
  • white pasta
  • white potatoes
  • white rice
  • alcohol
  • processed foods
If you avoid these foods you almost assuredly are eating low glycemic foods.  Another “trick” is to always eat carbohydrates along with a healthy fat or lean protein source.  This will help delay the digestion of the carbohydrate and minimize the rise in blood sugar and insulin.

Natural Foods

The best key to optimum health is to eat foods close to their natural form as much as possible.  You don’t see too many oatmeal cookie trees. A good rule of the thumb is if it flies in the air, swims in the water, runs across the land, grows from the ground, of falls from the tree it’s good to eat. Eat meat/eggs from either free range of grass-fed animals.  These products are higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  Grain or corn-fed animals will have more omega-6 fatty acids some of which are inflammatory and detrimental to your health.

If you must eat processed food consume those that use only natural ingredients and which are minimally processed. Focus on whole grains and avoid refined grains. Keep in mind that fat-free products are usually laden with sweeteners to enhance the taste and are high glycemic. For you fish lovers “Alaskan” or “wild” fish are healthier to eat than “Atlantic” fish.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables a recent review suggests that organic fruits and vegetables have better nutritional content, and non-organic fruits and vegetables are likely to contain pesticides which stresses the liver to metabolize.  So be sure to wash your fruit.

When it comes to optimum health nutrition what you don’t eat is just as important and sometimes even more important than what you do eat.

See related articles.

“What You Need to Know About Organic Anti Aging Nutrition”

“Coffee and Your Health”

“Hey Doc, Can I Still Drink Alcohol?”



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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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