Dietary Management for Chronic Disease Prevention

It’s estimated that cardiometabolic diseases are a significant source of lost years with respect to both a reduced lifespan and fewer years without disability. Despite medical advances, it’s unlikely there will be a pill developed anytime soon that can dramatically reduce the risk for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and it’s incumbent on us as individuals to take measures to give ourselves the best possible chance to live a longer, healthier life.

The obvious way to optimize health, longevity, and quality of life is to PREVENT rather than REACT to the onset of cardiometabolic diseases. The longer we wait, the greater the challenge becomes to reverse the negative effects of dietary and lifestyle abuse. Hence, the “secret formula” for prevention includes modifying risk factors that specifically address body weight (goal: BMI under 25), dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), hypertension, pre-diabetes or diabetes, as well as improving modifiable behaviors such as avoiding tobacco, exercising regularly (30m/day of moderate to vigorous exercise), and EATING A BALANCED DIET.

One study reported that a balanced diet may even surpass other negative lifestyle habits—such as low physical activity and smoking—in preventing premature cardiovascular disease, death, and disability. Diabetes alone increases the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in adults by 2.5 to 5 times.

A 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis regarding the effect of different dietary patterns on diabetes outcomes found that the Mediterranean, DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), Portfolio, Nordic, and vegetarian dietary patterns were not only effective for reducing the risk for diabetes and for managing diabetes but these diets also improved overall quality of life and lowered the risk and effect of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and obesity. Another benefit of healthy dietary approaches is that they can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to a lower risk for chronic pain.

A healthy diet is also good for the brain, as was shown in another systematic review published in 2019 that looked at the health benefits as they relate to disorders associated with cognitive decline. Since there is no cure for dementia, there is an urgent need for identifying preventive approaches. The authors concluded that the Mediterranean, DASH, and a combination of the two called the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) were all effective for improving cognitive function and reducing AD risk, with the strongest association observed with the MIND diet.

It’s important to understand that while you’re taking steps to improve your own health, we’re all in this together, so if you have any questions or if you develop aches and pains, feel free to consult with your doctor of chiropractic at your next visit.

Dr. James Sheehan Dr. James Sheehan is an expert in the treatment of neck and back pain.

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