The relation between diet and diseases is the main topic of “El Bisturí” in November. An appropriate diet helps prevent health issues; therefore, we shouldn’t overlook allergies and how diet is supposed to be for specific group ages.
Diet is crucial for a good health. In November’s consultation in Abecedario de la Nutrición in “El Bisturí”, Laura González, head of Nutrition and Health at Nestlé does a short review on the influence of diet on diseases, obesity prevention among kids and allergies.
Does diet have an impact on diseases?
No doubt. A healthy diet is a powerful ally to reduce the risk of diseases that nowadays are very common in our environment, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis or some types of cancer.
Among other sicknesses that might seem like are not related to diet, such as viral or infectious diseases, there is extensive research that concludes that a varied and balanced diet would act as a barrier reinforcing the immune system and would thus present stronger resistance to infectious processes.
Prevention is always better than reaction. Eating a healthy diet is a good practice to prevent the onset of diseases.
What measures should we take in order to reduce the high levels of obesity among kids?
Obesity is a disease that can be generally prevented and fixed if we have a healthy lifestyle and we change our dietary habits. Kids are the best imitators and adults are the best example for kids to follow. If we offer them healthy food and we eat a balanced diet, kids will too.
Exercising and choosing the right foods for the whole family is very important. These factors are the ones that contribute the most to help kids avoid getting overweight. In general, a balanced diet adjusted to the age of the child, one that is low in sugar and fat, abundant in vegetables and fruits, along with regular exercise is the best measure to prevent the onset of obesity.
We’re all involved in the prevention of child obesity; therefore, the food industry, the public and private institutions, and health professionals, must be capable of making it simple to apply nutritional guidelines to incorporate healthy eating habits to the daily routine. It’s fundamental to give recommendations and useful advice. All that will definitely contribute to improve children’s health.
The most common and weirdest food allergies
Currently more than 120 products cause food allergies, and according to data from a systemic review of more than 60 studies, allergy prevalence by food group in the European population is: 6% to cow milk, 3.6% to wheat, 2.5% to eggs, 2.2% to fish, 1.3% to seafood, 1.3% to dry fruits and 0.4% to peanuts.
Allergies to milk and eggs are the most common among youngsters and children, while among adults and other people the most common are allergies to dry fruits and seafood. There are other less common allergies such as allergy to leguminous plants. All leguminous plants can cause allergies but lentils are the main ones. Prevalence is higher in regions where their consumption is more common like in Asia and the Mediterranean countries.
Some people have allergies to a certain type of fruit. For example kiwi, strawberries, avocados… but peach is the one that causes the most allergies. Interestingly, many people who are allergic to avocados or kiwis are also allergic to latex since the proteins they contain and which cause allergies are very similar.
In addition, there are people who are allergic to other foods such as tomatoes, some spices like cinnamon, pepper; red meat, and the weirdest of all, people who are allergic to all foods. It’s called total food intolerance. In this case, these people can only be fed special formulas and through catheters.
Talking about elderly people and children, how should their diet be structured to prevent sicknesses or control them better?
Children and elderly people are similar in several ways. This is basically the case because they’re more fragile and vulnerable to infections, intoxications… or other situations, and their diets must bear into account those particularities.
In addition to a balanced diet that contains all necessary nutrients, hydration and calcium for children and elderly people play an essential role, and along with adolescence they’re key periods for bone development. More than half of our bone mass is formed during this time and the process goes on until the age of 20. Therefore, an appropriate consumption of dairy products is essential.
They’re undoubtedly the best source of calcium in our diet during these years. Elderly people’s bones become more fragile. Especially among women, being more prone to suffer from osteoporosis with the associated risk of bone fractures, so the consumption of dairy products around this time is crucial. Most people think that osteoporosis is a disease of the old age but it actually begins during childhood and appears when we get older.
This happens when children’s diets don’t contribute enough calcium for a good mineralization. Low-fat dairy products are recommended, and in cases of lactose intolerance, very frequent among older people, lactose-less milk or yoghurt with little lactose.
Date: October 12th, 2018
By: Ángela Arrizabalaga
Nutrigenomics Institute is not responsible for the comments and opinions included in this article