Nutrients vitamins minerals and other substances in food is associated with reduced risk of some chronic diseases. If you can get hold of most of the nutrients from food rather than supplements because foods contain naturally occurring substances that may protect against chronic health problems. Consider taking a supplement if the diet is not balanced and varied and does not give you the Recommended Dietary Allowances or RDAs for nutrients
Aspirin (preferably baby aspirin).
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Eat fish at least twice a week recommends the American Heart Association. (See Reference 1) omega-3 fatty acids found in fish reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
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Watch calories. Reducing calories will help prevent chronic diseases. Many Americans consume too many according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans published by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. (See Reference 3) A sedentary woman should eat between 1600 and 2 000 calories depending on age and a sedentary man should eat between 2000 and 2400. (See Reference 3) Keep a food journal for a few days to see how many calories you consume regularly then make changes accordingly. Consume more low-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables and increase fiber so you’ll feel full after eating less food.
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Get more calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D are important for osteoporosis prevention according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. (See Reference 5) Milk yogurt and cheese are rich sources of calcium. Consume reduced fat versions to watch calories. Spend time in natural sunlight to get vitamin D.
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Limit saturated and trans fats and cholesterol. Americans eat too many of these fats according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (See Reference 3) Saturated fat trans fat and dietary cholesterol raises cholesterol increasing the risk of heart attack according to the American Heart Association. (See resource) Saturated fat and cholesterol found in animal products. Trans fats are found in some animal products such as butter and milk. They are also found in commercial baked goods and fried foods.
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Eat less refined grains because essential nutrients vitamins and minerals have been removed. Get at least three or more grams of whole grains every day to reduce the risk of several chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease type 2 diabetes cancer and diverticulitis according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. (See Reference 2) Refined grains include white bread white pasta crackers and white rice. Examples of whole grain brown rice whole wheat bread bulgur barley and oats.
Cutting down on sodium. Many Americans ingest too much sodium according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (See Reference 3) Mayo Clinic. com says that if you are particularly sensitive to sodium it can lead to high blood pressure which can lead to heart disease stroke kidney disease and heart failure. (See Resource 2) Reduce sodium by not salting food and add less salt in recipes.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. They contain plant substances that can help prevent cardiovascular disease according to the Mayo Clinic. com. (See Reference 4) Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables over breaded or fried. Eat dark leafy greens cooked tomatoes and fruits and vegetables that are a rich yellow orange or red color recommends the Harvard School of Public Health (see Resource 5).
consume more vitamin E. High intake of vitamin E may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in men according to a 1993 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Vitamin E is found in nuts seeds vegetable oils green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals.
Consuming more vitamin A and vitamin C. Low levels of antioxidants vitamin A E and C increases the risk of several chronic diseases according to a 2002 Journal of American Medical Association study. (See Resource 3) Vitamin A is found in animal sources carrots pumpkin sweet potatoes winter squashes cantaloupe pink grapefruit apricots broccoli spinach and most dark green leafy vegetables. Vitamin C is present in green peppers citrus fruits and juices strawberries tomatoes broccoli turnip greens and other leafy greens sweet and white potatoes and cantaloupe.
Tips and Warnings
Dietary recommendations not replace medical advice from your doctor. Talk to your doctor about your risk for certain diseases and work together to develop a plan for prevention.