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Therapeutic Diets

An unhealthy diet is a major risk factor for a number of chronic diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes, abnormal blood lipids, overweight/obesity, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Many health conditions are caused by what we eat. Treating or preventing these conditions may involve a change in diet or a special diet often called a therapeutic diet. In a therapeutic diet, certain foods are added or given in limited amounts or is completely excluded to improve a specific health condition.

A therapeutic diet is a meal plan that controls the intake of certain foods or nutrients. It is part of the treatment of a medical condition and are normally prescribed by a physician and planned by a dietician. A therapeutic diet is usually a modification of a regular diet. It is modified or tailored to fit the nutrition needs of a particular person in different medical conditions. Therapeutic diets are modified for nutrients, texture, and/or food allergies or food intolerances. Therapeutic diets are prescribed to maintain and restore nutritional status, decrease calories for weight control or provide extra calories for weight gain, balance the amounts of nutrients or provide extra nutrients for disease control, include or exclude specific foods as in allergic conditions or provide texture modifications due to problems with chewing and/or swallowing.

HYPERTENSION

Hypertension is a condition where blood pressure levels rise above the normal levels. A low sodium diet is beneficial for people with high blood pressure. DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a diet promoted for people with high blood pressure levels to control hypertension. A major feature of the plan is limiting intake of sodium and it also generally encourages the consumption of nuts, whole grains, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables while lowering the consumption of red meats, sweets, and sugar. It is also “rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as well as protein”. WHO has recommended few standards such as an intake of less than 5 grams per person per day so as to prevent one from cardiovascular disease. Unsaturated fatty acids with polyunsaturated vegetable oils, on the other hand plays an essential role in reducing coronary heart disease risk as well as diabetes. Other lifestyle changes that can help to reduce blood pressure include stopping smoking, reducing stress, reducing alcohol consumption, and exercising regularly. These changes are effective when used alone, but often have the greatest benefit when used together.

HYPERLIPIDEMIA

Fears of high cholesterol were frequently voiced up until the mid-1990s. However, more recent research has shown that the distinction between high- and low-density lipoprotein (‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol, respectively) must be addressed when speaking of the potential ill effects of cholesterol. Different types of dietary fat have different effects on blood levels of cholesterol. For example, polyunsaturated fats tend to decrease both types of cholesterol; monounsaturated fats tend to lower LDL and raise HDL; saturated fats tend to either raise HDL, or raise both HDL and LDL and trans fat tend to raise LDL and lower HDL. While dietary cholesterol is only found in animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy, studies have not found a link between eating cholesterol and blood levels of cholesterol. A diet that is low in total fat—especially saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol—is technically a low-cholesterol diet. Ideally, that means your daily fat intake should be less than 35 percent of your total calories.

HEART DISESSE

Coronary heart disease is characterized by a narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Fatty deposits, or plaques, cling to the artery walls and can clog the arteries, making it more likely that a blood clot will form. A heart attack occurs when a blood clot blocks one of the arteries of the heart. This prevents the flow of blood, cuts off the oxygen supply to the heart and damages or kills the heart cells. A healthy diet is a major factor in reducing your risk of heart disease. Some foods increase the risk of coronary heart disease, while others may protect against it. Weight control and regular exercise are critical for keeping your heart in shape—but the food you eat may matter just as much. No single food can make you magically healthy, so your goal can be to incorporate a variety of healthy foods cooked in healthy ways into your diet, and make these habits your new lifestyle. Healthy diet can help you lose weight or lower cholesterol, blood pressure, or triglycerides. Fruits and vegetables help to regulate appetite and are naturally low in fat. Fibre and various plant compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains may have cholesterol-lowering properties.

HYPOTHYROIDISM

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone. Common symptoms are: constipation, fatigue, feeling cold, weight gain, depression, hoarse voice, forgetfulness, sore joints and muscles, and goiter. Treatment of hypothyroidism primarily consists of replacement therapy with a synthetic thyroid hormone. Avoiding saturated fats, refined foods, sugars, and white flour products is good for treating thyroid disorders. If it is severe then avoid cabbage, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, peaches and pears. All these food items have anti-thyroid substances and may suppress the thyroid function. Yellow vegetables, eggs, carrots, and dark green vegetables are rich in vitamin A. try to take foods rich in vitamin A, as it helps in the treatment of thyroid disorder. Iodine rich foods nourish the thyroid gland. Zinc and copper are important in helping the body make thyroid hormone. Foods containing good amount of chlorophyll can produce healthy blood, which are helpful in treating thyroid disorders. Drink plenty of water each day. Weight management can be an issue with hypothyroidism, and eating several small meals a day can help keep calorie counts down.

DIABETIES

Diabetes is a medical condition whereby the human body produces an insufficient amount of insulin. Insulin is naturally produced in the body. It is responsible for converting sugar, starch and other food material into energy. Diabetic patients have to take special care about their food habits. Doctors typically prescribe a special diet for a diabetic patient. People suffering from diabetes should avoid sugar and foods containing sugar and also avoid or eat very small quantities of any food that contains a high amount of cholesterol. The use of fat or oil in cooking should be restricted. Aerobic exercise can actually be beneficial for people with diabetes. This exercise increases the insulin sensitivity and when combined with good eating, can help restore a normal glucose metabolism. If you are overweight or obese, losing your body weight can also help prevent pre-diabetes from developing into diabetes and control diabetes as well. Keeping blood glucose levels under control can help you reduce the risk of health problems related to diabetes. Taking prescribed medication, eating a balanced diet and being active can help control blood glucose levels and reduce diabetes-related health complications.

RENAL DISEASE

Renal diet is for suggested for people with kidney disease. The kidneys cleanse the blood by removing waste and excess fluid, maintain the balance of salt and minerals in your blood, and help regulate blood pressure. When the kidneys become damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in the body, causing swelling in your ankles, vomiting, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of breath. If left untreated, diseased kidneys may eventually stop functioning completely. By altering what you eat, you may be able to reduce the levels of certain waste products and reduce the severity of some symptoms. The purpose of this diet is to keep the levels of electrolytes, minerals, and fluid in your body balanced when you have chronic kidney disease or are on dialysis. People on dialysis need this special diet to limit the build up of waste products in the body. There is no single renal diet, and advice will vary depending on things such as your weight, blood tests and if appropriate dialysis choice. The diet plan is individualized depending on if the person is on dialysis or not. The diet restricts sodium, potassium, phosphorous and other electrolytes, fluid and protein in specified levels.

LIVER DISEASES

Since everything we eat, breathe and absorb through our skin must be refined and detoxified by the liver, special attention to nutrition and diet can help keep the liver healthy. In a number of different kinds of liver disease, nutrition takes on considerably more importance. The liver performs many unique and important metabolic tasks as it processes carbohydrates, proteins, fats and minerals to be used in maintaining normal body functions. There are many kinds of liver disease. Good nutrition – a balanced diet with adequate calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates – can actually help the damaged liver to regenerate new liver cells. In some liver diseases, nutrition becomes an essential form of treatment. A liver disease diet provides the right amount of calories, nutrients, and liquids required by the body to manage symptoms of liver disease.

CANCER

Good nutrition and healthy eating habits is very important for cancer patients. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after cancer treatment can help cancer patients to get the nutrients they need to keep up their body weight and strength, keep body tissue healthy, and fight infection. A healthy diet includes eating and drinking enough of the foods and liquids that have all the important nutrients the body needs. This also helps patients to deal with the effects of cancer and its treatment. Some tumors make chemicals that change the way the body uses certain nutrients. Cancer and cancer treatments may affect taste, smell, appetite and the ability to eat enough food or absorb the nutrients from food. Anorexia and cachexia are common causes of malnutrition in cancer patients. Cancer patients must eat a balanced diet packed with nutrients that can help them stay strong and energetic. A nutritious diet can help patients maintain a healthy body weight and stamina levels, better tolerate the side-effects of treatment and also recover faster. Since cancer treatments often cause side-effects like nausea and taste changes leading to a loss of appetite, it is important that patients don’t have too many dietary restrictions imposed on them. A balanced diet should be given to cancer patients that includes proteins (to build tissues, prevent infection, heal wounds and maintain a healthy immune system), carbohydrates and fats (energy sources), vitamins and minerals (for proper growth, body functioning) and most importantly, plenty of water and fluids to prevent dehydration. Excessive intake of salt, sugar, oily foods, red meats, preserved foods and alcohol should be avoided.

 IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the term used to describe a collection of symptoms that affect the bowel. Symptoms vary between individuals and can change within the same person. Diet and lifestyle management can be used as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It may be as simple as eating healthily and changing lifestyle factors, or there may be slightly stricter and specific ways to manage symptoms. Lifestyles today are often hectic and stressful. Stress can be a major contributing factor to irritable bowel syndrome. Relaxation, regular exercise, and a healthy balanced diet can help improve symptoms whether you are stressed or not. Only make one change at a time and make sure you give your bowels time to adjust to any changes you make. Many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) find that eating prompts symptoms of abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea (or, sometimes, alternating periods of constipation and diarrhoea), and bloating. Making adjustments to your diet can provide relief. There is no single ‘ideal’ diet for everyone with IBS and the type of foods recommended largely depends on the symptoms being experienced. Everyone, however, should aim to eat a balanced diet. If constipation is a problem then it can be helpful to include plenty of fibre in the diet. But for some people having a high-fibre intake makes symptoms worse; if you suffer from diarrhoea you might find it helpful to reduce fibre intake. However, there is no one-size-fits-all diet. A proper diet for IBS is highly individualized.

HEARTBURN

Heartburn is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. When it strikes, the sufferer experiences great pain in the chest which spreads to the throat, which lasts for several minutes. The pain is enough to make the sufferer stop what he’s doing at the moment. And what’s worse is that, this condition can happen even at night. Heartburn can be a discomfort and before it can progress to GERD or the Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, you have to find ways to treat this condition. Indeed, it can be as simple as finding the best diet for heartburn and preventing it to worsen. The most common symptom of heartburn is pain and burning sensation that you can feel in your chest and at times in your throat, your neck and even the jaw. Caffeine in coffee, soft drinks or in tea can be a trigger of heartburn. Fatty foods and spicy foods are not also good to add to your diet for heartburn. Sweets and desserts, alcohol and wine can also trigger heartburn. It is important that you avoid these types of food because these types of food could actually cause frequent occurrences of heartburn. Fruits, vegetables and lean meat can be included in diet for heartburn as it will help reduce the occurrences of heartburn. If you have a history of heartburn, you should learn to avoid those types of food that could trigger heartburn.

HYPERURICEMIA

Hyperuricemia is a primary risk factor for the development of gout. Gout is one of the oldest known and most common forms of arthritis; it is a crystal deposition disease in which crystals of monosodium urate form in joints and other tissues. Gout attacks cause a characteristic painful inflammation of one or more joints of the extremities, or nodules in soft tissues called tophi.  The primary risk factor for gout is elevated levels of a metabolic by-product called uric acid in the blood. Diet plays an important role in regulation of uric acid levels in the blood. Low uric acid diet is recommended to those with elevated levels in order to relieve the symptoms and to prevent further complications. There are certain foods mainly advised to the patients with high levels of uric acid. This includes foods high in potassium and complex carbohydrates and low in proteins and purine.

ARTHRITIS

Diet plays an important role on how our body functions and fights diseases like arthritis. It’s always beneficial to go natural and get the necessary nutrients and vitamins to protect our body from illnesses and health issues. Lifestyle change and engaging on natural diet for arthritis pain relief can make your life better. The word arthritis refers to all types of inflammation in the joints. It not only directed at the joint but may also attack any part of the body such as bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons and some internal organs. There are many different causes of arthritis like trauma, previous injury, genetic, poor nutrition, obesity, and other factors. Although over-the-counter and prescription medication can help ease arthritis pain and inflammation, avoid foods that trigger arthritis symptoms can also help reduce the pain associated with arthritis. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet and avoid foods that may aggravate your condition. Antioxidant rich diet helps to reduce the inflammation happening in joints. If overweight, losing weight can decrease the amount of pressure that is on your joints. Ginger, capsicum, red pepper helps a lot in relieving arthritis while saturated and trans fat, alcohol and few other foods like sugar, salt and foods rich in oxalic acid (like cocoa, tea, cranberries, orange juice, Lemon, plums, spinach, almonds, cashews, raisins) may trigger arthritis.

MENOPAUSE

For good health and well being during menopause, try to focus on good nutritional diet. A healthy nutritional diet minimizes the medical risks of menopause and also general aging process, it also lower both mental and physical symptoms of menstrual stop. A menopause diet includes the eating of natural whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. The vitamins and minerals found in these natural foods are imperative to ensuring the health of the menopausal woman. Menopause can increase a woman’s risk of osteoporosis so increased calcium as part of a menopause diet is absolutely crucial. Foods rich in potassium can help balance water retention and sodium. Natural remedies for menopause include using all natural methods of relaxation such as exercise diet, herbs and other natural therapies. If you have a strong commitment to address the symptoms of menopause, these approaches are very effective in fighting them.

STRESS

If you want to manage stress then you need to watch your diet and the foods you consume. Many of the foods that we turn to when stressed actually increase stress levels even more creating a vicious circle. However, make simple diet changes and you will reduce stress, be calmer and be better equipped to fight daily stress. Stress is part of life so you need to fight back and that’s with the food. Green vegetables & oil fish, essential fats, nuts, shellfish and zinc rich foods that people are deficient with when stressed, high fiber and low GL foods are good options to fight back stress. Anger, depression, anxiety, changes in behavior, food cravings, lack of appetite, muscle tension, low back pain, pains in shoulders or neck, pains in chest, stomach/abdominal pain, muscle spasms or nervous tics can be the symptoms of stress. Stress is part of life so make sure you fight it and cope with it and the simple diet tips will definitely lead to better control of your hectic daily life.

FOOD ALLERGIC DISEASES (CELIAC DISEASE & LACTOSE INTOLERANCE)

Food allergies are due to an abnormal immune response to an otherwise harmless food. Foods implicated with allergies are strictly eliminated from the diet. Appropriate substitutions are made to ensure the meal is adequate. The most common food allergens are milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanuts, nuts, fish, and shellfish. Common symptoms involving food intolerances are vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and headaches.

People with celiac disease are allergic to gluten.  Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease and can cause stomach problems, headache or fatigue. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications. A gluten free diet includes elimination of wheat, rye, and barley. These foods are replaced with potato, corn, and rice products.

Some people are also show intolerance to lactose (milk sugar) because of a decreased amount of an enzyme in the body. A lactose free diet is recommended to these people in that milk is completely eliminated from the diet and is replaced by soy products, etc.

Prevention is always the best solution when it comes to medical conditions. If you want to stay healthy and free from symptoms of any diseases, you should try to keep a healthy lifestyle, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.