The saying, “you are what you eat” has more scientific basis than folklore. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that chronic diseases like stroke, heart disease and cancer cause more than 50% of adult deaths every single year. Complications due to diabetes such as kidney failure, lower-limb amputation and blindness are common and on the rise. Paying attention to the nutrition data on goods you consume could help prevent these kinds of ailments.
The CDC recommends checking the nutrition information for sodium especially, as high sodium in packaged foods leads to high blood pressure and possible stroke. A recent study done in England proposed millions in financial savings plus added years to people’s lives just by cutting back daily sodium intake.
Diets high in fruits and vegetables, lean protein and fiber, and low in saturated fats, sodium and sugar can ward off certain diseases and help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition is the basis for how we feel and how our bodies function. Without the proper nutrition, the body doesn’t have the tools to maintain proper health. A recent study at Northeastern University about preventing coronary heart disease through food and nutrition suggests that fruit, vegetables, fish and whole grains are the best tools for maintaining heart health.
The American Cancer Society recommends that preventative measures against cancer may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-other disease related mortality. This suggests that what is good for the body in one way is also good for the body in a whole slew of other ways. These antioxidant foods help promote heart and vascular health:
- Berries, dark green veggies, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and mango
- Olives, nuts, whole grains and beans
- Salmon and tuna (fatty fish)
These foods contain Vitamin C and E, Selenium, and Beta Carotene, which are all vital in vascular health.
What is Healthy?
While some doctors agree that supplements can help remedy certain nutritional deficiencies, our bodies primarily need nutrients from food sources. Dr. Joel Fuhrman has stated that there are unknown phytochemicals in our whole foods that can’t be duplicated in supplements. Nature knows the proportions and combinations that the human body needs more than any study ever will. Healthy is less about the calories and grams of fat consumed and more about the nutritional value. The foods mentioned above have high-yield nutrition for their caloric intake, whereas potato chips do not. The calories in a candy bar may equal those found in apple slices dipped in almond butter, but the nutritional yield into your system is much different.
A healthy diet is the best way to prevent disease and promote health and longevity for you and your family. Make sure to manage your sodium and chemical intake with a printable grocery shopping list of healthy favorites. When in doubt, whole foods like fresh produce, nuts, grains and lean meats are the best option!
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