Food and its relationship to quality of life

Food and its relationship to quality of life

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Nutrition is considered one of the most important factors affecting health and plays a role in enhancing quality of life through preventing chronic diseases. This includes cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, cancer, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition. Following a diet that includes balanced portions of food groups and increasing intake of vegetables, fruits, fish, seeds, nuts, and oats helps control weight, lower cholesterol levels, and manage blood pressure.

Focusing on consuming foods rich in elements that support the immune system such as vitamin A, E, C, D, B6, B12, folate, iron, selenium, and zinc, while reducing consumption of foods high in saturated fats and oils containing high levels of saturated fatty acids like palm oil. Also, reducing foods that may increase inflammation such as sugars, sweets, starches (white bread), and canned foods with high preservative content, and staying away from carbonated drinks, sweetened juices, and fast food.

These elements contribute to strengthening the immune system and producing new immune cells. They also help immune cells attack disease-causing agents and eliminate weak immune cells. These nutrients can be obtained through diversified consumption of fresh natural unprocessed food products. Health authorities and scientific associations recommend taking dietary supplements for nutrients that may be commonly deficient in the community such as:

  • Vitamin D, especially for the elderly, and its major sources include exposure to sunlight or taking high doses of vitamin D after consulting a doctor, as it enhances immunity, reduces the risk of infection, and provides protection against respiratory system inflammations.
  • Vitamin B12 for the elderly, where the production of intrinsic factor responsible for its production decreases, and for vegetarians who do not consume animal products. It is worth noting that it is involved in the production of neurotransmitters and plays a major role in the immune system by producing white blood cells. Its deficiency leads to immune system disorders and consequently immune deficiency.

Probiotics, which are microorganisms (either bacteria or yeast), play an important and vital role in supporting the immune system and reducing the adhesion of disease-causing agents and their toxins in the digestive system.

Prebiotics are dietary fibers that play a vital role in improving immunity.

Both probiotics and prebiotics stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria, increase the production of anti-inflammatory agents, and reduce the production of inflammatory compounds. Probiotics can be obtained from dietary supplements or fermented foods such as milk and yogurt, while prebiotics are available in high-fiber foods such as legumes, cabbage, bran, barley, oats, artichokes, vegetables, fruits, garlic, and ginger.

Garlic, ginger, anise, turmeric, and coconut oil are foods that naturally contain antimicrobial and antiviral properties, and their continuous presence in our diet contributes to building a strong immune system.

Dr. Ali Al-Shatwi (Presdient of SSFN)

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