Just as everyone’s body functions differently, so too do our dietary needs. If you’re living with a disability, diet and nutrition is something you should pay attention to, as it could make your life healthier, happier and more comfortable.
Before you embark on any diet or eating plan it is essential that you discuss it with a trained health care professional that is aware of your disability and what it entails. Not all eating plans or diets are suitable for everyone, and the guidance of a professional is always advisable.
Eat Well, Live Well
If you have a disability you may need more fibre or calcium in your diet, but you should also ensure that you eat plenty of green, leafy foods and fruit. Dietary guidelines recommend around 2 cups of fruit a day and a2 and a half cups of vegetables, but these amounts can be adjusted to meet each person’s own needs.
The healthier the food you eat, the better you’ll feel, and if you are already struggling with a disability, eating right can go a long way to alleviating pain, inflammation or any other symptoms. There are certain foods that can work wonders for people, and fruit and vegetables are packed full of vitamins, fibre, folate, potassium and other essential nutrients.
Go for Variety
Variety is the spice of life, and if you are following a diet plan or healthy eating guide you shouldn’t get stuck in a rut. There are a huge amount of different types of fruit and vegetables available and you can always opt for tinned or frozen veggies and fruits too. Just remember that anything that has been tinned will have added preservatives, and more than likely also have added sugar, so it may not be as healthy as frozen or fresh. The more variety you eat, the great your nutrient intake, and this can go a long way to staving off illness and chronic disease.
Know the Benefits
If you have a basic knowledge of nutrients and why you need them, you’ll be able to eat a far healthier diet.
Foods that are high in fibre can lower the risk of heart disease and will keep you regular, while magnesium is able to support nerve and muscle function and to help build a healthy immune system. Folate helps the body generate new cells, and potassium keeps blood pressure at a healthy level. Vitamins A and C protect against infection and keep skin and eyes healthy.
Knowing what foods have these nutrients is key, and will help you plan your diet accordingly.
We know that cooking with a disability isn’t always easy, but there are a few tips you can use to make it that much less of a hassle:
- Steam veggies in the microwave
- Make plates of crudités with dips that you can snack on
- Freeze meals and defrost as needed
- Use utensils and cookware that has been adapted to suit your needs
- Cook curries and stews in a crock pot