When you take stock of the riches in your life, where does good health appear on the list? Like many people, you likely count it as your single most precious asset. After all, being healthy allows you to fully enjoy the many other treasures that life offers. You have your health today. But will you have it tomorrow?
Does good health sometimes seem like an unpredictable blessing that can vanish without warning? It’s true that some factors that influence your health are beyond your control getting older, for example, or a family history of a particular disease. But many factors are well within your control. Among them is whether you smoke, how much alcohol you drink, how physically active are, and the focus of this book is the food you eat.
Just how important is a healthful diet in the mix of factors that paint your total health picture? What you eat is very critical to good health; in fact, in terms of health benefits eating well is a two-for-one deal that’s hard to beat. It pays off now by helping you feel good today and pays off later by helping prevent many chronic diseases that may occur as you get older.
Today Healthful Eating habits power you with the energy to tackle that long to-do list. Healthful Eating contributes to good looks and maintaining a healthful weight, and helps prevent annoying problems such as irregularity that can slow you down. A lifetime of good eating helps prevent or delay a number of illnesses that can rob you of your zest for life or result in premature death. Need convincing? Scan this list of the relationship between diet and disease, established by years of scientific research. It’s an eye-opener;
Poor eating habits contribute to contracting heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes four of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States. Being overweight increases the risk for a bevy of illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and several types of cancer. An alarming one in three Americans is overweight, a jump up from one in four just two decades ago. One in five children and adolescents is overweight as well.
Remember it eating too much fat increases the risk for heart disease and cancers of the colon, rectum, prostate, and endometrium. The saturated fat found in meats dairy products, and coconut and palm oils are the biggest dietary culprit for high blood cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart attack. One in five Americans has high blood cholesterol.
More than one in three of all cancer deaths are related to what we eat. Up to 90% of colon and rectal cancers are caused by diet. The links to increased risk and eating too much fat and too little fiber. Eating too much sodium drives up blood pressure in up to 30% of Americans. Low calcium intake can lead to osteoporosis the crippling, bone-thinning disease that results in 1.5 million bone fractures each year.
More than 28 million Americans mostly women, are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis. Drinking too much alcohol may increase the risk of breast cancer. But enough dietary gloom and doom! A healthful eating plan chock-full of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits and light on saturated fat from sources such as meat and dairy products does wonders for staying healthy and preventing disease.
We’ve gradually been eating more fruits and vegetables and less saturated fat. At the same time, average blood cholesterol levels have declined. While other factors such as advances in medical treatment and a decline in smoking also contributed to this improvement diet is surely an essential part of the mix.
What does all this mean to you? It’s wonderful news with the sure knowledge that medical science backs you up, you can now count healthful eating as you powerfully for maintaining vibrant good health. And in this fast-paced, ever-changing world, isn’t it nice to know that making good food choices is one important way can take charge of your health?
Health Claims That Enhance Your Healthful Eating
Scientific research has uncovered several solid relationships between what we eat and our health. It guides us in making healthful food choices, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits health claims about these relationships to appear on some food packages.
Only foods meeting strict criteria may use a health claim on their packages, but not all foods meeting the criteria opt to list this information. The following are 11 relationships between diet and disease prevention you may read about on food packages:
A calcium-rich diet helps maintain bone health and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Limiting the amount of sodium you eat may reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
Limiting the total amount of fat in your diet may help reduce your long-term risk from some types of cancer.
Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Diets rich in fiber-containing grain products, fruits, and vegetables may reduce the risk for some types of cancers.
Eating fruits, vegetables, and grain products that contain soluble fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Eating fruits and vegetables that contain dietary fiber, vitamin A, or vitamin C may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
Consuming adequate folate may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.
Sugar alcohols such as xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol do not promote tooth decay.
Soluble fiber from whole oats may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Soluble fiber from psyllium may reduce the risk of heart disease.