Top 3 Diets to Reduce Processed Foods In Patients' Diets | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

Top 3 Diets to Reduce Processed Foods In Patients' Diets

Top 3 Diets to Reduce Processed Foods In Patients' Diets -

Top 3 Diets to Reduce Processed Foods In Patients' Diets

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, CNPT, ATC/L, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Cert-DN

Recently there has been a lot of press regarding the negative effects of processed foods. From early cognitive decline to the chances of catching COVID-19 more easily, ultra-processed foods definitely have a negative impact on our health: both in the medium and long-term. Despite knowing this, how do we as physical therapists educate our patients on eliminating processed foods? 

One of the best ways of doing this is to recommend a specific dietary pattern. A dietary pattern is a way for patients to follow a set of guidelines on what and how much to eat, as well as how to prepare their food. Dietary patterns that promote the least amount of processed foods include:

  1.  Whole food plant-based diet. This dietary pattern is rich in whole foods, like fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, and limited meat consumption. The diet is rich in oxidants and polyphenols, which likely can reduce aging and other diseases. For some patients it may be difficult to go straight from an omnivorous diet to this diet. As such recommending patients to slowly eliminate processed foods, add in whole vegetables and fruit, and reduce meat consumption can be a start. I often set a goal for my patients to  eliminate processed foods and meat for one or several days during the week to get them moving in the right direction. Alternatively, doctors of physical therapy (DPTs) may be interested in recommending the following diet.
  2.  Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet has roots in Italy, Sardinia and the surrounding Mediterranean area. A common dietary pattern in these countries included fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, some olive oil and wine consumption. Poultry and fish might be consumed a couple times per month each. Although it should be emphasized that the meat consumption is fairly small portions, with the olive oil, helping to replace some of the calories lost from much of the meat. Lastly, it's important to see that the western idealization of the Mediterranean diet typically includes far too much poultry, olive oil and wine… PTs need to be sure to educate their patients on the true form of the Mediterranean diet.
  3.  The MIND Diet. This diet was developed by Rush in Chicago. Its focus is on eating lots of fresh fruits, especially berries. The diet also focuses on high consumptions of omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in foods like walnuts and salmon. Another major element is to focus on consumption of  low starch vegetables. This diet is ideal for those that are concerned about their brain health, but it really focuses on eating predominantly whole foods. This diet also encourages no additional salt, the avoidance of processed foods, and elimination of all alcohol… all to ideally protect the brain. What is often good for the brain is good for the heart! 

If you like what you see here then know there is more in our 3 board-approved continuing education courses on Nutrition specific for Physical Therapists. Enroll today in our new bundled course offering and save 20%, a value of $60!

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