The diagnosis of a chronic health condition can be overwhelming. But, in many cases, these health concerns can be managed to minimize the impact your symptoms have on daily living. Certain conditions, like diabetes and congestive heart failure, can be managed proactively through dietary choices. Changing your diet can help minimize the progression of the disease.
Dietary Recommendations for Chronic Health Conditions
Specific dietary recommendations vary depending on your diagnosis, which is why it is best to work with a physician and dietitian for a personalized treatment plan. You can also learn more by reading general guidelines that apply to your diagnosis:
- Heart Diet – Protect your heart by following these diet guidelines: increase your consumption of high-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Reduce your consumption of salt and refined sugar. Avoid saturated fats; replace them with unsaturated fats such as those found in vegetable oils, nuts, and fish. If recommended, considering following a specific diet program such as the DASH diet, a vegetarian diet, or a Mediterranean diet. It is best to avoid convenience foods such as canned soup and fast-food restaurants since these meals are usually high in sodium.
- Diabetic Diet – Blood sugar management is a necessity for people with diabetes. These dietary recommendations are also beneficial for patients with pre-diabetes, to reduce the risk of an official diagnosis. The key to a healthy diabetes diet is to stick with healthy carbohydrates and high fiber ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. Cook with healthy fats, such as olive oil. Or choose whole-food fat sources like nuts and avocados. Avoid processed foods, white flour, and convenience foods with added sugar. It can be helpful to learn about the glycemic index to understand how different foods will impact your blood sugar levels.
Many older adults have difficulty preparing healthy meals due to physical or cognitive limitations, or lack of access to healthy ingredients. It can be helpful to enlist a family member, friend, or professional caregiver trained in preparing foods recommended for your condition. Some non-profit organizations will deliver condition-specific meals to the home.
In addition to dietary adjustments, also consider other lifestyle changes that can help with the management of chronic health conditions.
Take Charge of Your Health
Whether you have been recently diagnosed or you are looking for ways to improve your current treatment plan, don’t underestimate the importance of diet and nutrition. The best solution is to work hand-in-hand with your doctor to find the best balance of medical intervention and lifestyle changes.
At Windward Life Care, we are here to help you find the right healthcare providers for your individual needs. Contact us to learn about available services in the local area.