A diet rich in the right kinds of foods is a leading defense against malnutrition troubles. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

There’s no disputing that a healthy diet delivers limitless benefits. It helps with weight management, mental clarity and overall health.

A lackluster diet, on the other hand, can put you at risk of malnutrition, a condition that can adversely affect your underlying health and limit your ability to recover from injury or illness.

One of the biggest problems with malnutrition is that it isn’t always easy to notice. It’s important to know what symptoms to watch for and when you need to talk to your doctor.

Malnutrition can occur at any age, in any body type.

Even people with excess weight or those who are obese can be malnourished. Millions of people in the U.S. suffer from some level of malnutrition.

The risk and rate of malnutrition can increase with age and other factors, including:

  • Not eating enough
  • Lack of access to healthy food
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Certain medical conditions

According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition refers to three groups of conditions:

  • Not enough food and calories
  • Not enough or too many vitamins and minerals
  • Excess food and calories leading to excess body weight and diet-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes

The sooner malnutrition can be detected, the sooner it can be treated. This, of course, can help improve your ability to fight off disease and inflammation.

The good news is you don’t have to set off into battle alone.

Spectrum Health’s registered dietitians are nutrition experts who can work with you to design a customized nutrition plan. They can look at your health data to see if you’re at risk of malnutrition and then provide a personal plan that will lead to improved health by eating good-for-you foods.

You can also check out the consumer resources section of the Malnutrition Awareness Week website.

Spectrum Health is an official ambassador of ASPEN’s Malnutrition Awareness Week. Malnutrition Awareness Week is a mark of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN). Learn more at www.nutritioncare.org/MAW2020.

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