Skip to main content

Do The Foods We Eat Affect Our Health?

The human body is one of the most complex and fascinating subjects that can be studied. Simple functions like breathing, digestion, and immune function are extremely complex when broken down. The body is smart and almost always knows how to handle anything, but what if we are unknowingly sabotaging our bodies by simply choosing to eat certain foods?

            At a young age you hear it over and over again, “be sure to eat your fruits and vegetables”. At some point you become an age where you are able to choose what you eat. You no longer have to sit at the table and have a staring contest with despised green vegetables. Some fast food, processed foods, and pre-made meals can be tasty, but are they the right choice?
            Some of the most common and widely available foods can cause inflammation in the body. To break this down, the immune system works to attack anything recognized as foreign to help keep you healthy. Invading microbes, plant pollen, or certain chemicals can be the cause of inflammation, but certain foods can also cause this process to occur. Many major diseases that are linked to inflammation include: certain types of cancers, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s. Foods that inflame are usually those that lead to weight gain. Weight gain can cause so much stress on the body that the immune system sees excess fat as an invader, thus causing a major disease to develop and leading to poor health.

            Foods that inflame:
·      Refined carbohydrates (white breads and pastries)
·      French fries and other fried foods
·      Sodas and other sweetened drinks
·      Red meat (burgers, steaks, and processed meats)
·      Margarine, shortening, and lard

On the other end of the spectrum, there are foods that are known to be anti-inflammatory. This doesn’t mean that you can eat as much junk food as you want, and then counter-act the harm by eating known anti-inflammatory foods. Those who eat these nutrient-dense foods are healthier and less likely to be obese and develop chronic disease. This doesn’t mean that all other fruits and vegetables other than the ones on this list aren’t good for you. It is important to keep a well-balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Foods that are anti-inflammatory:
·      Tomatoes
·      Olive oil
·      Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, and collards)
·      Fatty Fish (salmon and tuna)
·      Nuts (almonds and walnuts)
·      Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges)

Having a little bit of everything, but not a lot of anything can be the key to finding nutritional balance. 

Kayti Persall
Community Wellness Coordinator
Cullman City Parks & Recreation


Popular posts from this blog

Featured Activity of the Month: Kayaking

Kayaking can be a peaceful and leisurely activity on a lake, or it can be high intensity as you zip down river rapids. Kayaking doesn’t necessarily have to be an activity that is strictly enjoyed by adrenaline junkies. This is a great family activity that can increase appreciation for the great outdoors! ·Paddling will increase your heartrate and lead to improved heart health ·Paddling through the water will exercise almost every muscle in the upper body ·When balancing in a kayak the lower and upper abdominals are engaged which aids in strengthening the core muscles ·Pressure applied by the legs assists in turning and balancing; this isometric hold tones and burns calories ·Kayaking helps to improve aerobic fitness, strength, and flexibility ·Kayaking is an activity that reduces wear-and-tear on joints since paddling is low-impact Paddling just 5 miles per hour can burn up to 400 calories in an hour. That’s 1600 calories in a 4-hour span of time! Granted, 5 miles per hour in a kayak i…

Featured Activity of August: Water Aerobics

In this area, many individuals that lead a physically active lifestyle aren’t usually avid swimmers. However, you might want to consider taking a dip in the pool to do more than float. There are numerous health benefits to participating in water aerobics classes.
Water aerobics classes are appropriate for all ages and particularly beneficial for aging individuals. This is a low-impact activity. Water is not subject to gravity so this form of exercise is ideal for individuals who suffer with arthritis and joint pain. Water pressure also helps enable blood flow and circulation. Decreasing blood pressure levels will eventually lower resting heartrate, which puts less stress on the heart. Water resistance also helps to increase muscle strength and endurance. Resistance in water is 12 times greater than air. Since water creates friction, the body is required to strain more through water. This resistance also helps to increase calorie burn. Water temperature, volume, and buoyancy determine c…

What is the Power of Produce?

If you are a fan of fresh produce you have probably visited the Farmer’s Market at Festhalle Market Platz in the Warehouse District of Cullman. From April to October, the market bodes the freshest fruits and vegetables you can find. But, are there some fresh ingredients that you aren’t sure how to prepare? Or, are there certain foods that your children refuse to eat? Luckily, the Power of Produce (POP) program is back for the 2017 market season to try and help to convert your picky eaters! So, what exactly is the POP program? POP is targeted toward children ages 12 and under and their parents. It is a produce tasting program designed to make it easier for kids and adults to try new, healthy foods. Sometimes, it is not the kids that are picky and unwilling to try new foods, it’s the parents. This program presents the opportunity to step out and try new foods, by sampling recipes that feature these fruits and vegetables. The program not only allows the sampling of the produc…