Diseases can have a significant impact on our lives, affecting everything from our physical and emotional well-being to our daily routines and habits.
One area in which disease can have a particularly profound impact on us is our diet. Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer often require dietary adjustments to enable us to manage these symptoms effectively and improve our overall health.
Similarly, acute illnesses, such as the flu or gastroenteritis, can also affect our diets by generating symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite.
If you find yourself diagnosed with a disease, it is more important than ever to try and maintain a healthy balanced diet.
So, to help you do this, we will explore how various diseases can impact our diets and the steps we can take to manage our nutritional needs while suffering from them.
What Diseases Can Affect Your Diet
Various diseases can affect our diet in several different ways, depending on the type of malady and its severity.
For example, people with diabetes may need to limit their intake of carbohydrates to control blood sugar levels. While those with heart disease may need to follow a low-fat, low-sodium diet to reduce the risk of complications.
Similarly, gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome can also affect diet by causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea. These ailments can make it difficult to consume certain foods, including those high in fibre or lactose, which can exacerbate symptoms.
Likewise, acute illnesses such as the flu or gastroenteritis can initiate nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and loss of appetite, which can also affect your diet. Those suffering from these complaints can find it hard to take on adequate nutrition, which can often lead to malnutrition if left untreated.
Therefore, it is important to consume foods that are easy to digest and low in fat, if you are suffering from acute illnesses, such as broth, toast, and bananas. You should also stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids like water, green tea and sports drinks.
Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety can also affect your diet by causing changes in appetite and eating behaviours. Some people may experience a decrease in appetite, leading to weight loss and nutritional deficiencies, while others may overeat, leading to weight gain and a higher risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
It is important, thus, to address underlying mental health disorders to manage these changes in your eating behaviour and therefore support your overall health and well-being.
How to get proper nutrition when you have a disease
Ensuring you get proper nutrition when you are suffering from a disease is critical to your chances of making a full recovery or managing the condition more effectively.
Here are some steps you can take to enable you to do so:
1. Work with a healthcare professional
A healthcare professional, and in particular, a registered dietitian, can help you develop a nutrition plan that will meet your individual needs and supports your health goals based on the disease you have been diagnosed with.
They can also monitor your progress and make any adjustments that may be needed.
2. Prioritise nutrient-dense foods
Nutrient-dense foods provide a high amount of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients in proportion to their calorie content. So, it is a good idea to focus on incorporating as wide a range of these types of foods as you can into your diet.
Try to make a conscious effort to include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats in the meals you eat.
3. Be mindful of portion sizes
Depending on the disease you have been diagnosed with and your individual needs, you may need to monitor your portion size.
It is another reason why you should work with a registered dietitian, as they will help you to determine the most appropriate portion sizes for your individual needs.
4. Consider taking supplements
To help you meet your daily nutritional needs, it might be worth taking supplements like Fortisip.
They will give your immune system a boost by providing you with some of the vitamins or minerals your body is currently deprived of.
5. Manage symptoms
Some diseases can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, which can affect your ability to consume adequate nutrition.
In this circumstance, it is worth temporarily modifying your diet to focus on nutritional foods that are low in fat and easy to digest. As previously mentioned, some good options include broth, toast, and bananas.
6. Stay hydrated
Staying adequately hydrated is very important for your overall health and well-being, especially when managing a disease.
Therefore, you should aim to drink upwards of 2-litres of water a day, as well as other sports drinks, to stay hydrated and support your body’s functions.
Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential way to manage any disease or illness.
During sleep, the body undergoes important restorative processes that help to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and repair damaged tissues. Adequate sleep is also important for managing stress and supporting mental health.
Those suffering from chronic or acute illnesses may experience disrupted sleep due to pain, medication side effects, or other symptoms. So, by prioritising sleep, along with other wellness routines, you should better manage the condition of your disease.
All things considered, diseases can have a significant impact on the way we eat and our dietary habits.
Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer often demand tweaks in our diet to help manage the symptoms and initiate recovery. Similarly, acute illnesses, such as the flu or gastroenteritis, can cause temporary disruptions to the way we eat.
To manage the impact of disease on our diets, it is important to work with healthcare providers or registered dietitians to develop a nutrition plan that meets your specific needs and overall well-being.
This plan may involve making dietary adjustments, consuming nutrient-dense foods, or taking supplements to ensure that the body is receiving optimum levels of nutrition.
However, by formulating and following it, you will enhance your recovery effort and give yourself a fighting chance of overcoming the illness.