Eating a healthy diet is vital for children and adults. However, there’s a serious disconnect between how healthy people think they eat versus the reality.
Not long ago, in a poll conducted by Truven Health Analytics and National Public Radio (NPR), 75% of Americans said they eat a healthy diet. Unfortunately, that doesn’t align with medical research. The vast majority (80%) don’t eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Americans also overeat when it comes to refined sugar and grains.
As a result, 36.5% of American adults are obese. Many people also lack vital nutrients that can help protect against health conditions.
People face many challenges in regards to eating healthy. Different diets also affect people in different ways. Let’s take a look at some of these factors and how they can be overcome.
Most people are able to consume foods without any physical barriers, but for others, swallowing doesn’t come easy. It’s a condition known as dysphagia. The problem can be a result of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease or treatments for another condition like cancer. Physical damage to the throat area and dry mouth can also make swallowing difficult.
A Paleo or Atkins diet that’s heavily focused on protein can be difficult for people with swallowing problems. But protein is essential for muscles, bone, skin and cartilage growth.
Protein can be found in liquid versions but these may be troublesome for some people as well. Products like SimplyThick can also be added to liquids to make them easier to consume. That way dysphagia can be overcome while maintaining a nutritious diet.
Mental Hangups About Going Meatless
On a whole, adults today consume too much meat. Consuming large quantities of red meat and processed meat are particularly bad given that both have been linked to increased cancer risks.
Many people believe they’ll be deprived of protein and taste if they forgo meat. Just mentioning the term “vegetarian” is enough to send some people towards the steak section at the grocery store. Luckily, you can make easy substitutes for a healthier diet that accommodates physical and medical needs.
In fact, new research shows eating primarily plant-based protein from nuts, beans, seeds and soy is highly beneficial. Plant-based proteins are a great source of fiber and phytonutrients while also being low in fat, calories and cholesterol.
However, meat also has nutritional value. There’s no need to go full-on vegetarian, which can cause iron deficiency if the right foods aren’t eaten. Instead, the healthier option for most people is to go meatless one or two days a week. That way you get a better balance of proteins and other nutrients.
Pain From Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a located where the cheekbone and jaw bone meet. A number of issues can cause the joint to become inflamed and overworked. As a result, someone with TMJ can experience significant pain in the jaw area, and the condition can become so severe that it causes lockjaw.
Needless to say, a TMJ disorder makes eating certain foods difficult. Hard foods and chewy foods make the jaw work harder and can aggravate symptoms. In some cases, people with TMJ must go on a soft food diet for a period of time. Soft foods help alleviate the stress of chewing and give the joints time to recover.
People with TMJ are encouraged to get a blender. This single piece of kitchen equipment provides the means to make smoothies, soups and finely chopped food at home. You may have to forgo otherwise healthy foods like lean beef and nuts, but as noted above, you can still get the recommended number of daily nutrients.
Feeling the Burn of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, is a chronic digestive disease. GERD causes stomach acids to push back up into the esophagus causing a burning sensation in the chest.
The key to overcoming GERD is to avoid certain foods, however, a number of healthy foods that provide vital nutrients can cause GERD to flare up. Chief among them are citrus fruits that provide a dose of vitamin C.
The experts at the U.S. National Library of Medicine recommend that anyone with GERD refrain from eating spicy foods, fatty foods, acidic foods, calcium-rich foods and consuming alcohol. Caffeine should also be avoided whenever possible to minimize GERD side effects.
These and many other diet difficulties can be overcome by simply adjusting what you eat. It may take a little time to come up with an eating plan that satisfies hunger, but getting the right amount of nutrients is worth it.