Updated: Sep 27
Poor diet can cause a lot of damage and result in various health problems. Nutrition plays a large role in preventing or causing HARD diseases, which include heart disease, arthritis, respiratory diseases, and diabetes. When diagnosed, treatment can be very debilitating and require additional interventions to prevent a bad outcome. By eating the right foods and avoiding harmful ingredients that cause an inflammatory reaction when consumed, HARD diseases can be prevented and better managed.
There are several health conditions that can stem from malfunctions of the heart. Eating a high number of foods that cause inflammation or create an immune response where white blood cells flood to the area, can be a trigger for cardiac issues. According to the American Heart Association, diseases of the heart can be addressed through a proper nutritional plan. Coronary artery disease is when the walls of the arteries narrow due to build up leading to an increase in blood pressure, also known as hypertension. This can cause other heart conditions and lead to myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack. This build up can be caused by an increased amount of cholesterol and harmful chemicals found in processed foods.
Adequate nutrition prevents disease and enables the heart to effectively pump blood through the vessels. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties combat improper responses from the immune system and alleviate symptoms of exhaustion caused by lack of nutritional requirements. A diet that contains omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and amino acids reverse harmful effects of inflammation allowing for better blood flow.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an increased breakdown of cartilage and bones because of an abnormal autoimmune reaction. Symptoms include stiffness and pain in the joints. It has several causes which include obesity, smoking, genetics, and diet. Inflammation has been shown to increase the risk of arthritis and make symptom management more difficult.
In studies, certain foods consumed by patients suffering from arthritis has presented a similar pattern. Carbohydrates and unhealthy fats were shown to increase inflammation worsening severity of disease. When an increased number of plant-based foods are consumed, there is a larger intake of fiber which prevents full absorption of carbohydrates. Foods that have a high amount of unhealthy fats or trans fats have also been responsible for worsening the disease.
It is recommended to replace harmful fats with olive oil and fish oils to decrease amounts of inflammatory factors. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, grains, and red meat is approved by providers for patient’s suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
There is a link between malnutrition and a suppressed immune system. This puts various systems at risk of infections. The respiratory system becomes very vulnerable to bacteria and is more prone to viruses when there is a poor response from the immune system. There can also be an increased response from the immune system or inflammation during a lung infection that can cause damage to the lungs and increase risk of respiratory failure. Studies have shown a correlation between obesity and an increased inflammatory response during pneumonia.
A proper diet can provide needed nutrients allowing the immune system to be supportive and minimize an abnormal inflammatory response. Healthy food choices contribute to a better functioning respiratory system and help to eliminate diseases that trigger difficulty breathing.
Patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases were shown to have a deficiency in vitamins C and E. It is important to follow to follow a diet high in vitamins and nutrients to assist in preventing respiratory illnesses. Some preferred food choices are carrots, green vegetables, oranges, red peppers, mangos, strawberries, and other foods with a high vitamin content.
Diabetes can have a huge impact on quality of life and can lead to other health concerns. Type 2 diabetes is when the body is resistant to insulin and is not able to use it effectively to lower blood sugar to a safe level. Inflammation exacerbates elevated glucose levels and contributes to complications caused by type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance can be a trigger for other health conditions, such as nerve damage and decrease circulation in the feet. Approved diets to better manage blood sugar includes food with a low carb content. It is also encouraged to increase intake of healthy fats and decrease number of added sugars. Carbohydrates and refined sugars cause inflammation and worsen symptoms of diabetes.
Inflammation is one cause of disease progression and related health concerns. One of the main contributors is poor diet choices causing abnormal reactions in the body. The Nordic diet is recommended to prevent causes of inflammatory reactions and provides needed nutrients. This diet consists of lean meats, and vegetables. It also includes dairy products, fish, and oils, such as rapeseed. Instead of artificial sugars eat fruits and replace bread with whole grains.
Heart disease, arthritis, respiratory diseases, and diabetes can be difficult to manage and take the joy out of day-to-day living. Studies have shown the connection between disease development and abnormal inflammatory processes in the body. By starting with good food choices, inflammation can be prevented allowing for adequate system function.
-Shah B Newman J Woolf K et al. Anti‐Inflammatory Effects of a Vegan Diet Versus the American Heart Association–Recommended Diet in Coronary Artery Disease Trial. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018; 7(23):
-Gioia C Lucchino B Tarsitano M Lannuccelli C Franco M. Dietary Habits and Nutrition in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Can Diet Influence Disease Development and Clinical Manifestation? Nutrients. 2020; 12(5): 1456.
-Morais A Aquino J Silva-Maia J et al. Nutritional States, diet, and viral respiratory infections: Perspectives for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Br J Nutri. 2020; 1-12.
-Myette-Cote E Durrer C Neudorf H et al. The effect of a short-term low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet with or without postmeal walks on glycemic control and inflammation in type 2 diabetes: a randomized trial. American Journal of Physiology. 2018; 315(6): 1210-1219.
-Hab U Herpich C Norman K. Anti-Inflammatory Diets and Fatigue. Nutrients. 2019; 11(10): 2315.