We have all heard that eating right is one of the keys to good overall health.  A poor diet is a lifestyle and often results in cavities, gum disease, type II diabetes, obesity and heart disease, to mention just a few.  The ultimate consequences of lifestyle diseases are poor health, chronic illness, early death, and escalating health care costs.

Essentially, lifestyle diseases are those diseases whose presence is primarily based on the daily habits of people and are a result of an unhealthy relationship of people with their environment. The main factors contributing to lifestyle diseases include bad food habits (nutrition), physical inactivity, wrong body posture, and poor sleep/breathing.  In this article, I will focus on nutrition.

We have been told that eating right is as simple as following a food pyramid or one of many diets, but all of these keep changing. So what should we believe?  The evidence for good nutrition is shifting away from fad diets and moving back to basics.  The Dental Diet, by Dr. Steven Lin, is a “back to basics” diet not another fad diet.  Dr. Lin makes the case that we can live healthier lives if we pay more attention to what our bodies tell us by looking in the mouth.  Cavities and gum disease are more than just indicators of oral health but also serve as a potential warning of chronic illness and poor overall health.

Eating the right food’s effect how your genes are expressed. If we supply our genes with good information we can affect how those genes operate.   A very abbreviated review of the “right foods” include whole foods as they exist in nature – unprocessed, unrefined and unaltered by factories and processing.  Keep sugar intake to a minimum.  Fats have gotten a bad rap over the last several decades but they are essential to the healthy operation of our cells.  Regular butter, cold pressed olive oil and unrefined coconut oils are good.  Stay away from canola, vegetable and corn oils.   Food preparation is also important because it affects nutrients, e.g. cabbage as a raw vegetable has different nutrients than fermented cabbage as sauerkraut or kimchi.  Where foods come from (sourcing) is also important.  Eat meats raised on grass, not grain and with no hormones or antibiotics and eat locally grown (outdoors) vegetables without pesticides. It may be difficult to eat this way for every meal but if we keep in mind that the more we lean toward this “back to basics” diet the less we encounter poor lifestyle diseases.

Dr. Robert A. Gallegos has completed a residency in Airway, is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, visiting faculty of Spear Education, a member the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the American Dental Association.  Dr. Gallegos practices dentistry in Middleburg, VA.  www.MiddleburgSmiles.com.