Food as Medicine
Most individuals have a basic idea of how diet and nutrition play an important role in chronic disease prevention. Still, understanding the role proper nutrition plays once someone is diagnosed with a chronic disease is equally important. Some of the most common chronic diseases in the US including diabetes, high blood pressure, and renal disease can all be better managed through the foods we consume.
How Nutrition Plays a Role in Managing Chronic Diseases
When learning to manage your diabetes, understanding the importance of consuming carbohydrates in small portions throughout the day with lean protein or fat is vital. Proteins and fat naturally take longer to digest. When consuming carbohydrates with a protein or fat, the natural sugars in carbohydrates are able to break down slower. This leads to more balanced blood sugars and in turn, more controlled diabetes.
When learning to manage your renal disease, understanding the role potassium, phosphorus, and sodium have in managing the disease is crucial. All three of these nutrients must be limited due to the kidneys not working to the best of their ability. Potassium rich foods include bananas, potatoes, avocados, and more. Dairy products, beans/legumes, nuts, and oatmeal tend to be rich in phosphorus. Sodium is found in table salt as well as many processed, frozen, or packaged meals. Limiting these nutrients and being aware of the content in your day-to-day meals will be important in controlling the progression of disease.
High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
When learning to manage your high blood pressure, understanding the role sodium and various fats play in heart health is extremely important. Replacing saturated fats (butter, palm oil, coconut oil, some cheeses, red meat) with monounsaturated fats (olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, almonds, cashews) and polyunsaturated fats (flaxseed oil, soybean oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds) will lead to improved heart health. Limiting sodium by reducing added salt to foods and reading nutrition labels to monitor the sodium content of meals are proactive ways to promote heart health. Restricting sodium will also reduce strain on the heart, leading to more controlled blood pressure and as a result, better heart health.
How Can N4L Help Manage Your Chronic Disease?
Research has shown that those who receive home-delivered meals can better control their chronic diseases and reduce their healthcare costs. A study done regarding a program with home-delivered meals and counseling provided by dietitians proved individuals who receive these services are more likely to sustain a healthy weight, enhance overall function of their immune systems, and improve their quality of life.¹ Due to the overall health of individuals being enhanced through these services, reduction of healthcare costs and hospital visits become a direct outcome as well. Through N4L, well-balanced meals and expert nutrition advice are provided to ensure chronic diseases stay under control and above all, quality of life is preserved.
If you are a patient or healthcare provider looking for how to best incorporate medically tailored meals into your or your patient’s lives, please visit us at N4LHealth.
- Gurvey J, Rand K, Daugherty S, Dinger C, Schmeling J, Laverty N. Examining Health Care Costs Among MANNA Clients and a Comparison Group. Journal of Primary Care & Community Health. 2013;4(4):311-317. doi:10.1177/2150131913490737