- Therapeutic life-style changes, commonly referred to as “TLC” is a strategy commonly used by healthcare providers to assist patients embrace and maintain a lifestyle that includes no tobacco, a healthy nutrition pattern and exercise goals known to provide the best chance for ideal health.
- According to Dr. Walter Willett, Chairman, Department of Nutrition, the Harvard School of Public Health, “we could prevent about 82 percent of heart attacks, about 70 percent of strokes, over 90 percent of type 2 diabetes, and over 70 percent of colon cancer, with the right dietary choices as part of a health lifestyle.”
- During the past 20 years coronary heart disease death rates fell dramatically by 40% but most of that benefit was surprisingly not related to advanced procedures like bypass surgery, angioplasty or stents but to simple life-style changes such as more exercise, not smoking and eating a healthy nutrition pattern.
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (also known as TLC) is recommended by various health organizations (American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, and The Obesity Society, among others) as a strategy for optimal health and healthy aging. The American Heart Association (AHA) defines optimal cardiovascular health by 7 goals and behaviors called “Life’s Simple 7”. A healthy nutrition pattern is is arguably the most important to therapeutic life-style change since it can help us achieve most of “Life’s Simple 7” goals: ideal blood pressure, weight, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In addition to the healthy dietary pattern, more exercise and not smoking compete the list of the 7 goals and behaviors proven to lessen the likelihood of premature death, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Lower heart attack risk
Eating a minimally processed diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grain, fish, nuts, low-fat diary, and moderate alcohol (similar to a Mediterranean nutrition pattern) was associated with a 35% lower heart attack risk in a large community based study of Swedish men. Individuals who combined a healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption, and did not smoke had a 64% lower risk of heart attack. Adding physical activity further reduced the heart attack risk by 76%, and for those who also acheived a normal abdominal waist size lowered their risk by 86%. The nutrition pattern used in this study consistent of key components of a Mediterranean style dietary pattern and endorsed by the AHA and 2015-2020 Dietary Goals for Americans.
(A, Larsson SC, et al. Low-risk diet and lifestyle habits in the primary prevention of myocardial infarction in men. J Am Coll Cardiol 2014).
According to Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean of the Freidman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University “for both individual patients and populations, lifestyle goals should not be formulated solely for control of weight or blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels. Although lifestyle has major benefits on these physiological factors, a healthier diet, greater activity, and nonsmoking influence numerous other pathways of risk and produce substantial additional benefits for cardiovascular and non cardiovascular health.” (Dariush Mozaffarian, MD Dr.PH The promise of Lifestyle for Cardiovascular health: time for implementation. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(13):1307-1309).
The big “C”
Not only does a healthy lifestyle prevent and improve the cardiovascular health, the accumulating science shows that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also have positive benefits with another dreaded disease: cancer.
Previously it was believed that cancer was mostly a result of bad luck, that is our genetic make-up. A recent analysis of more than 100,000 people from the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and the CDC’s US National Cancer Statistics debunks the idea that most cancers are the result of mutations. The in depth analysis showed that a healthy lifestyle (very much like the American Heart Association’s definition) that includes a healthy nutrition patten, not smoking, drinking in moderation, maintaining a healthy body weight and regular exercise can reduce by nearly 50% the chance of developing cancer and impressively, reduce all cancer death by 50% (Song et al JAMA Oncol. Published online May 19, 2016).
According to an editorial by Harvard adjunct professor of epidemiology Graham Colditz, “As a society, we need to avoid procrastination induced by thoughts that chance drives all cancer risk or that new medical discoveries are needed to make major gains against cancer, and instead we must embrace the opportunity to reduce our collective cancer toll by implementing effective prevention strategies and changing the way we live.”
Eat like your life depends on it
In the United States estimates are that 68% of diseases are considered diet-related and it goes without saying that optimized nutrition is a key element for maintaining our health and preventing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, premature death and disability. Each year, $33 billion in medical costs and $9 billion in lost productivity resulting from heart disease, cancer, stroke, and type 2 diabetes are attributed to poor nutrition.
MedChefs’ can help in the often daunting task to “eat healthy” and make eating and preparing healthy nutrition a seamless routine. Hippocrates more than 2000 years ago had it right when he said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine define thy food.”
Medchefs’ provides a simple downloadable tool to help chart a course to the “healthy dietary pattern” that is customized to personal tastes and preferences.