What is the best diet for wellbeing and health?

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What is the best diet for wellbeing and health?

What goes into making the decision about your diet? For some, it’s all about weight loss, and the old adage “move more, eat less” still seems to work. Eating less may mean portion control for some, while others may decide it means eating lots more vegetables. Who hasn’t spent a week wondering if the Dolly Parton Diet would melt away the pounds?

Diet has long been considered an important part of health. Indeed, Hippocrates is credited with saying “Let food by thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” While the evidence is slim that Hippocrates truly said this more than two millennia ago, there’s no doubt that diet is important to health and wellbeing. Food is powerful, as outlined in this article which concludes “The healing power of nutrition is a combination of multiple supporting roles that synergistically and unselfishly work together.”

What if you have a specific condition that some experts say can be addressed through your diet? It’s important in this case to look at the science behind the claims to help you figure out if, indeed, a specific food plan can help you. For example, a 2019 peer-reviewed study asserts that “chronic inflammatory diseases have been recognized as the most significant cause of death in the world today, with more than 50% of all deaths being attributable to inflammation-related diseases such as ischemic heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and autoimmune and neurodegenerative conditions.” Diet is cited as one of the major causes of chronic inflammation, stating that “evidence linking diet and mortality is robust.”

Perhaps you’re looking for a diet that reduces inflammation; the internet is full of sources of help with an anti-inflammatory diet. Here’s where understanding the reliability of sources is important. As Tony Rogers wrote in his article, “For every credible website, there are dozens chock full of information that’s inaccurate, unreliable or just plain nutty.” Be sure you check out the source before you make any lifestyle changes. While not an endorsement, these sites may be helpful.

However, maybe you choose the foods you consume based upon an ethical issue. Fifty years ago, Frances Moore Lappe pointed out the environmental impact of meat production and promoted a vegetarian diet in her book Diet for a Small Planet. Thirty years later, her daughter, Anna, updated the research, publishing Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It further detailing the role food production has on climate change.

Some people avoid all animal foods and choose instead a vegan – plant-based – diet. For many, veganism is about more than simply food; it can also be a complete lifestyle, shunning anything coming from anything else that had a mother or a face, whether it be represented on your plate, in your clothes or (wool) or shoes (leather). The Vegan Society states that “Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as possible and practicable – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing for any other purpose…”

This article provides good advice: the key (to finding the right diet) is finding one you like and can stick to in the long run and reviews five diets supported by science.

  • Low-carb, whole food diet.
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Paleo diet
  • Vegan diet
  • Gluten-free diet

Whatever your motivation, diet can play a huge role in wellbeing. What works for you?

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