Recent studies have found that only 1 in 10 adults eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. However, eating many fruits and vegetables can prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers. Eating up to 10 fruits and vegetables per day are associated with a 25% lower risk of heart disease, a 33% lower risk of stroke, and a 31% lower overall mortality risk.
Choose whole grains
Many Americans tend to load up plates with processed meat and simple carbohydrates. However, processed meat and excess sugar are closely related to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Filling up on whole grains lowers the risk of diabetes and is better for heart health and digestion.
Know the right fats
Saturated and trans fats can have a significant contribution to the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, choosing unsaturated fats can make a big difference. Additionally, people should aim to get an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids, such as through fatty fish or a high-quality supplement.
Refined sugars, such as high-fructose corn syrup or cane sugar, have no nutritional benefits. Instead, these ingredients can contribute to obesity and dietary glycemic load. Both of these factors increase the risks of type 2 diabetes. Try to limit empty sugars, including alcohol.
Pick your protein
Every food can be divided up into three macronutrient components: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Some protein sources, such as bacon or red meat, are also high in fats and are not as optimal for health. Instead, opt for protein sources such as fish, poultry, or beans. Nuts can also be a good source of protein, but watch out for excess fat consumption.
Sodas and juices can be a sneaky source of extra sugar. Try to limit juice to a small glass per day and try to avoid sodas as much as possible. Instead, drink mostly water. Tea can also be a source of hydration, but make sure to limit caffeine consumption.
Your other disease prevention ingredients
Weight control is an essential part of avoiding chronic disease. Besides eating healthy, patients should exercise regularly, quit smoking, and get regular health check-ups. For more information about chronic disease prevention, speak with a healthcare provider.