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Health

How does your diet impact on your overall health?

There have been many national headlines about the UK obesity crisis and the long term health problems being stored up for our nation’s children. These alarming stories and statistics are perhaps overshadowing an important fact – we all need to put more thought into food.

Living longer, so eat for your future

People are living much longer, thanks to better health care, advances in medicine and a clearer understanding of lifestyle and health links.

The British also now benefit from better access to nutritionally balanced food than previous generations. Fruit and vegetables – including many exotic varieties – can be found in the abundant shops and supermarkets (or online). And we take greater care over the sourcing and preparing protein sources such as meat.

This should mean that dietary science and British health are in perfect harmony, right?

Mixed messages and age-related problems

Our greater longevity means that the British have to look at the link between their diet and health even more closely. Living longer is not much fun, if we spend our twilight years suffering from debilitating health problems.

Making early changes in eating and exercise habits may well at least delay or counterbalance age-related health problems. In some cases, the issues which impact negatively on our senior years are entirely avoidable. For example, increasing levels of alcohol consumption in the UK are universally acknowledged as being a “ticking time bomb” of health problems in the years ahead.

Sometimes, people make the wrong choices, for the right reasons. Many people watch their weight these days. But did you know that artificial sweeteners and other chemicals added to “slimming” products can be counter productive? In fact, a recent study indicating that artificial sweeteners (in high numbers in diet drinks for example) actually promote weight gain; and that they should be investigated in connection to increasing problems with type 2 diabetes, strokes and high blood pressure. This requires more research but shows marketing, myths and misconceptions affect the British diet.

What to believe? Back to basics

You will regularly spot very contradictory news headlines too. For example, a big push to get the British off caffeine was closely followed by news stories that some coffee each day is beneficial. The same with red wine and chocolate!

Thankfully, if you want to improve your overall health, then returning to the basics is a huge step in the right direction. Avoid processed foods, and anything containing a lot of sugar or salt. Eat as much fresh food as possible, getting at least seven a day from vegetable and fruit categories (yes seven, not five). And drink plenty of water. Water is nature’s most amazing dietary aid, serving a multitude of purposes, not least good teeth health!

Getting your teeth into good health

Talking of which, the stuff you put in your mouth goes a long way to affecting what happens with your teeth. Let’s face it, if we can avoid tooth aches and extensive dental treatment from a London Dentist in our senior years, it has to be a good thing.

Meanwhile, diet changes can protect our teeth and boost general health too. For example, regularly eating leafy greens (rich in calcium, folic acid and other important vitamins and minerals). Teeth and gums benefit greatly from this, as they do from other highly nutritious foods such fish, nuts and pumpkin seeds.

As people watch their fat intake more, dairy products may be off the menu. However, calcium rich items such as cheese, milk and yoghurt do have health advantages, including building strong teeth. Good health is about common sense and keeping your diet as natural and varied as possible.

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