by: Gail Barouh
“You are what you eat” is a phrase we are sure to hear at some point in our lives from our parents and educators. As we grow older, the meaning of that one phrase seems to hold a definite truth: everything we eat can affect us both negatively and positively. However, one good meal cannot set forth positive affects in our bodies in no time—it takes a consistent routine to impact us. In the HIV/AIDS community, good meals full of nutrients can make a tremendous difference in the health of those diagnosed. Food can be the difference between good health days and bad ones. Super-foods are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and proteins that can be incorporated with any meal, but should also be eaten in moderation. Even too much of a good, nutrient-rich food can have adverse affects. As Elisa Zied, author of “Feed Your Family Right!” states: “Foods like nuts are nutrient rich, but if you overeat them you can pack on the pounds, and that defeats the purpose.”
It is crucial to have six essential nutrients daily, according to AIDS.gov. And these nutrients are: protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals, and water. You should avoid consumption of raw meats, seafood, and eggs. And always remember to clean your fruits and vegetables well before eating them. HIV affects the immune system of the person diagnosed, and because of this, those diagnosed are at a greater risk for contracting food-bourne illnesses.
Simply by changing your diet, you can combat diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses that impact large percentages of our communities. The Center for Disease Control found that 18.8 million individuals in 2010 had diagnosed cases of diabetes, while 7.0 million people had undiagnosed cases. And that’s not all; minorities appear to have higher chances of being diagnosed with diabetes. The Office of Minority Health found that African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Through research, they also found that African American adults are 40% more at risk to have high blood pressure, and in 2009 had 30% chance of fatality due to heart disease. These numbers show us that health should be a major concern in the minority communities. By adjusting the diet of those at risk of chronic illnesses, the growing percentages can slow down once and for all.
Superfood is defined as a “food considered especially nutritious or otherwise beneficial to health and wellbeing.” These simple, health plentiful superfood ingredients can help put your health on a pedestal where it belongs.
Superfoods can also help you feel more energetic. The following are some of the most powerful superfoods and the impact they can have on your body when consumed in proper moderation:
- Avocado: is a healthy fat containing vitamin E—great for your skin.
- Eggs: just one egg has 6 grams of protein and they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Nuts: such as almonds are full of nutrients and help lower blood pressure. They are noted as ‘the most energy packed and nutritionally dense’ foods.
- Salmon: bursting with omega-3 fatty acids
- Yams: aid in healthy productions of serotonin, wound healing, and nervous system function. Yams are a great source of vitamin B6, manganese, and fiber.
- Lentils: full of folate and Vitamin B.
- Spinach: Vitamin K that helps build bones and prevents blood clots.
- Brown rice: contains magnesium that aids in building bones and creating energy.
- Acai: is a berry that has high levels of antioxidants and is known as ‘nature’s energy fruit’. Oprah’s featured Dr. Perricone notes it as “one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world!”
- Yogurt: full of calcium, probiotics and promote great health and digestion
While the previous foods have been constantly noted in various web publications and medical pages, it is important to consult your doctor and never to self-diagnose. If you have any questions or concerns about your diet or food safety, visit a dietician for more information.