Diet and Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Lifestyle Diseases
Knowledge is Key
Lifestyle Medicine (LM) requires a comprehensive understanding of nutrition, from biochemistry to the grocery store and kitchen, and through to to evidence-based recommendations. Nutritional medicine is a fundamental part of lifestyle medicine.
An unhealthy diet is one of the major risk factors for a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and other conditions linked to obesity. Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids.
Improving dietary habits is a societal, not just an individual problem.
Therefore it demands a population-based, multisectoral, multi-disciplinary, and culturally relevant approach. Improving dietary habits is a Lifestyle Medicine priority.
Molecular Biology of Nutrition
Several compounds of the diet have been identified to have protective effects. Noncommunicable diseases are often associated with chronic systemic inflammation – certain substances (such as polyphenols) from vegetables, fruits, nuts and other foodstuffs have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Different flavonoid subclasses from fruits and vegetables have been associated with a reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes, as have foods and drinks rich in flavonoids, including apples, pears, tea, red wine, and berries. The flavonol and anthocyanin subclasses have also been inversely associated with biomarkers of adiposity-associated inflammation, including increased TNF-a, IL-6, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).
Novel data provide mechanistic support for the previously observed association between anthocyanin intake and type 2 diabetes mellitus risk and other chronic diseases and suggest a beneficial role for increased intake of anthocyanins and flavones on HOMA-IR and hs-CRP concentrations. These results are of public health importance because the intakes associated with these findings are easily achievable through a habitual, healthy diet.