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Doctor's Appointment | Your food, your medicine

Published:Wednesday | June 15, 2016 | 6:01 AM

According to Dr Sandra Knight, aesthetic physician at Harmony Health Clinic and Medical Spa, St Andrew, food can heal, just like medicine. Speaking with Dr Sara Lawrence on the season finale of 'Doctor's Appointment', Dr Knight warned that persons should be careful to consume healthy foods, since everything eaten eventually becomes a part of the body.

She recommended a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, identified by their rich colours. For example, yellow foods are normally high in vitamin C, while orange and red foods tend to be rich in lycopene and also possess anti-ageing properties.

Maintaining that food plays an important role in holistic treatments, Dr Knight noted that hypertensive patients are advised to stick to foods low in sodium or salt, while diabetics are warned against consuming too much carbohydrates. Even complex carbohydrates like yam or potatoes, Dr Knight, said will eventually break down to sugar.

While there are numerous benefits to eating healthily, one main obstacle is the cost factor, as nutrient-poor foods tend to be inexpensive and very accessible. Still, Dr Knight recommends striving for a balanced diet, including a variety of foods from all the different food groups across meals daily.

This, she says, may look like:

BREAKFAST: A fruit option, ideally not a citrusy fruit as the stomach is empty and may be damaged by the citric acid. An egg or omelet with a slice of toast.

LUNCH: This should include protein, for example, two pieces of chicken, maybe a cup of rice and the rest of the plate should be filled with vegetables.

DINNER: This should not be eaten after six, as after that time, food is converted into fat. For those who work late or through the night, this still applies, as one's circadian rhythm causes metabolism to fall after the sun goes down. Dinner should not be as heavy as lunch, and should still have some protein. Carbohydrates should also be included; however, Dr Knight suggested changing the form, for example, bulga versus rice, or dasheen or cooked bananas, but some complex carbohydrate is recommended so that one may wake up feeling energised.

For those who are attempting to lose weight, the recommended diet depends on the individual and his/her activity level. A rule of thumb is that one needs to burn more calories than consumed. It takes the body 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Outside of counting calories, physical exercise is also fundamental.

When eating out, one should choose a restaurant that has healthy options. Dr Knight recommended choosing a meal which contains vegetables and not too much starch.

On the other hand, when cooking at home, bear these things in mind.

• The best oils to use would be olive and canola oil, even the readily available coconut oil is suitable; however, use in moderation as all oils tend to be nutrient-dense.

• If applying a spread, margarine is recommended as it has less long chain fatty acids.

• When using sweeteners, Dr Knight advised to avoid sugar substitutes as they produce the same insulin response as sugar, and insulin is a fat-producing hormone.

• As it pertains to sweeteners, honey is the best option as it contains additional nutrients which sugar does not.

• Stay tuned for season two of 'Doctor's Appointment'. But in case you missed it, catch up on season one at DrsAppointment MCA on YouTube.com. Also, remember to like our Facebook page and look out for updates at www.facebook.com/DoctorsAppt.