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17: Achieving Optimal Health: Wellness and Nutrition

In this Chapter, we look at a number of topics of interest to students: diet trends, food supplements and food replacements, fitness, chronic diseases, and food safety. Also included in this chapter are tips for living a sustainable lifestyle, and information about careers in nutrition.

  • 15.1: Chapter Introduction
    Given the consequences of poor dietary choices and lifestyle habits, it is worthwhile to assess your current food and activity profile to determine areas for improvement. It is important to remember that there are no quick fixes, but with dedication, hard work, and persistence, much can be accomplished. Of course, giving up what we once found enjoyable may not be the easiest task. It can be very hard to develop new thinking patterns that will translate into better lifestyle choices.
  • 15.2: Diet Trends and Health
    Attitudes toward food change over time, so it is important to ground dietary choices in fact, not fashion. Popular, evidence-based diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, vegetarianism, and the gluten-free diet offer different approaches to promoting health, and each has its own benefits and risks. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of dietary supplementation. There are risks of overdosing and risks of contraindications with certain medications.
  • 15.3: Fitness and Health
    Physical fitness is an important part of the pursuit of optimal health. Regular exercise yields multiple benefits in terms of preventing disease and promoting health. The four essential elements of physical fitness are cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, and flexibility.
  • 15.5: Foodborne Illness and Food Safety
    Foodborne illness is another serious threat to health. Sometimes called “food poisoning,” foodborne illness is a common public health problem that can result from exposure to a pathogen or a toxin via food or beverages. Raw foods, such as seafood, produce, and meats, can all be contaminated during harvest (or slaughter for meats), processing, packaging, or during distribution, though meat and poultry are the most common source of foodborne illness.
  • 15.6: Start Your Sustainable Future Today
    Foodborne illness is caused by pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, toxins, such as those produced by molds and poisonous mushrooms, and chemical contaminants, such as pesticide residues and pollutants. A number of government agencies work to regulate food, manage outbreaks, and inform the public about foodborne illness and food safety. Consumers also should take measures to protect their health, including following the rules for four key steps: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
  • 15.7: Careers in Nutrition
    Living a sustainable lifestyle can help you to work toward achieving optimal health. There are a number of steps you can take to promote sustainable practices, such as buying locally grown food, eating a plant-based diet, and becoming aware of food and nutrition issues in your community. The Transtheoretical Model of Behavioral Change outlines the different stages of the process of change, and provides tools and techniques to enable major changes.
  • 15.E: Achieving Optimal Health - Wellness and Nutrition (Exercises)
    There are many paths that one can take to become a professional in the field of nutrition, including working as a nutritionist or becoming a registered dietitian. Some confuse the terms "dietitian" and "nutritionist," and this tends to be erroneous. A nutritionist is a person who advises on matters of food and nutrition impacts on health. In contrast, A dietitian is an expert in the relationship between human nutrition and the regulation of diet; a dietitian alters their patient's nutrition base
  • 17.4: Threats to Health
    Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes are major public health threats, and major causes of mortality. Knowing the modifiable risk factors (such as diet, level of physical activity, and cigarette smoking) for certain diseases can help you to adapt your lifestyle to protect them. By following a healthy diet, becoming active, and making other sound lifestyle choices, individuals can reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases.