Are you playing games with your health choices? Your eating habits might be leading you to an untimely death. Here is how to put the gun down and get healthy!
Our eating habits are anything but straightforward. There are endless dietary related afflictions, varying dietary approaches, allergies, drug-related restrictions, digestion/health complications, ethical practices and specific diet and lifestyle preferences (carnivore, omnivore, herbivore, paleo, pescatarian, plant-strong, gluten-free, raw, and others).
Add to the equation ever revolving dietary fads –many are immersed in a carbs-fearing-mode (again); some are swearing by high fat intake, while numerous health experts insist our health is dependent upon a very low fat, high fiber diet. Our reality: we develop diseases younger than ever, live with more chronic disease, and die prematurely from diet and lifestyle-related diseases.
Most deaths are preventable and related to what we eat.
Our diet is the number one cause of premature death, and the number one cause of disability.
DISEASES RELATED TO DIETS:
- Allergies and Food Sensitivities
- Digestive Diseases and Disorders
- Disordered Eating
- Heart Health
- Kidney Diseases
- Weight and Obesity
- Cancer and Cardio Vascular diseases are the leading causes of death for North Americans!
The Diet and Lifestyle Link to Disease
Research confirms that following four simple behavior patterns can help prevent chronic disease development and progression by more than 90%.
The EPIC study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that adherence to four simple lifestyle pillars can dramatically lower the risk of virtually every major chronic illness. This study followed 23,000 people for nearly eight years and examined smoking behavior, food consumption, exercise, and maintenance of a healthy weight.
The researchers discovered that those participants reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 93% when they:
- Didn`t smoke
- Consumed a diet high in fresh vegetables and low in meat
- Exercised at least 3.5 hours per week
- Maintained a normal weight (BMI less than 30)
Those same participants experienced other health
- Heart attack risk was reduced by 81%
- Stroke risk was cut in half
- 36% of all cancers were cut out
The Healthy Diet – What is it?
The term healthy diet is tossed around like there is an agreed-upon description of what healthy diet actually means. In reality, there are as many definitions as there are people on the planet and even with the common Western-diet fixation on caloric restriction, diet, and health, 80% of our diseases are related to our diet and lifestyle.
Googling for a definition of healthy food’was quite interesting. From the Merriam-Webster, it says, “…a food that is believed to be good for your health: a food that has no artificial ingredients.”
The key words “believed to be” and “no artificial ingredients” mean most grocery stores would need to eliminate over 80% of their inventory if they wanted to qualify as healthy. The one main consensus in the many definitions I reviewed is that healthy food needs to promote health and not contribute to or promote disease nor interfere with recovery.
Sounds great, yes? Of course, we all interpret this through our own filters and discern what we want to in most all circumstances. Also, most are confused into complacency with the flood of conflicting information from the food industry, corporate lobbyists, and government who all with their own agenda. Opinions on a healthy dietary approach are a dime a dozen. Rather than all the opinions, theories, and industry influenced government guidelines, let’s turn to evidence-based science.
Evidence-Based Dietary Guidelines
Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed-care-organization in the USA, who benefits from a healthy society published a nutritional update for physicians in their official medical journal, informing their nearly fifteen thousand physicians that healthy eating may be “best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regiment that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.”
The American Institute for Cancer Research [AICR] has established ten recommendations for cancer prevention, and beyond not using tobacco, the dietary message is: “Diets that revolve around whole plant foods—vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and beans—cut the risks of many cancers, as well as other diseases significantly.”
Researchers attribute the significant reduction in the incidence of developing cancer due to decreases in the levels of a cancer-promoting growth hormone called IGF-1, likely due to the reduced intake of animal protein.
Your dietary approach needs to adhere to your bio-individual needs. Many factors come into play and given the impact of dietary choices on every aspect of your health, do yourself a favor and source out non-industry-paid-for research. One of my favorite health and wellness educators is Dr. Michael Greger of Nutritionfacts.org. Below is a list from his most recent book of what he suggests you include in your everyday diet. It’s great starting point.
DR MICHAEL GREGER’S DAILY DOZEN—How Not to Die 2015
- Beans X 3 Servings
- Berries X 1
- Other Fruits X 3
- Cruciferous Vegetables X 1
- Greens X 2
- Other Vegetables X 2
- Flaxseeds X 1
- Nuts X 1
- Spices X 1
- Whole Grains X 3
- Beverages X 5
- Exercise X 1
Give your diet an overhaul, pay close attention to how you feel and notice how your medical results continue to improve when you adhere to truly healthy everyday habits. You - your state of health is your most important investment. Here’s to a healthy, vibrant everyday experience!