Sixty-four percent of adults age 20 and older are overweight or obese. More than half of American women ages 50 to 59 are overweight. Being overweight increases the risk of coronary heart disease, even with no other risk factors. Obesity also is linked to increased death rates from some types of cancers, including breast, ovary, colon, uterine and pancreatic cancers. Yet a mere 3 percent of Americans actually follow health advice in regards to exercise, nutrition, weight loss and smoking, according to a report in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Obesity increases the risk of illness and death due to diabetes, stroke, coronary artery disease and kidney and gallbladder disorders. The more overweight, the higher the risk becomes.
If you have Type II diabetes, weight reduction and exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease. Compared to women of the same age without diabetes, women with diabetes have from three to seven times the risk of heart disease and heart attack and are at much greater risk of having a stroke. People with diabetes often have high blood pressure and high cholesterol and are overweight, increasing their risk even more. And diabetes doubles the risk of a second heart attack in women but not in men.
If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, your risk is increased. A normal blood pressure level is around 120/80. If you are close, lower levels usually can be reached through lifestyle changes such as losing excess weight, regular exercise, a healthy low-sodium diet and limited alcohol intake. If blood pressure is severe, medication can help.
High blood cholesterol. The body makes all the cholesterol it needs, so any extra cholesterol or fat in the diet cause the plaque buildup inside blood vessels. Once again, a low-fat diet, exercise and losing weight can reduce your cholesterol.
The term “balanced” simply means that a diet adequately meets your nutritional needs while not providing any nutrients in excess. To achieve a balanced diet, you must consume a variety of foods from each of the food groups.
Losing excess weight by eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways of helping to prevent disease. A well-balanced diet will keep you on track for good health. Here are some healthy eating tips:
Eat a Varied Diet
This helps you get all the nutrients you need, which helps your body stay healthy. Too much of anything has its drawbacks, whether it is calories or a particular type of food. A well-balanced diet with creativity and variety are best suited to your needs.
Fruits and Vegetables
Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins A and C, which have cancer-inhibiting qualities.
Eat more high-fiber foods. Vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products are rich in fiber, which appears to help protect you from a variety of cancers, especially colorectal cancers. Fiber is found in green leafy vegetables, fruit, beans, bran flakes, nuts, root vegetables, and whole grain foods.
Cut down on total fat intake. Eating too much saturated and unsaturated fat has been linked to colorectal and other types of cancer. It is best to limit fats to about 30 percent of your total calorie intake.
Read the nutrition label and ingredients of all the food that you eat.
Avoid frying food. Your food absorbs the fats from the cooking oils, increasing your dietary fat intake. It is recommended that you bake or broil food. If you do fry, use polyunsaturated oils such as corn oil. Choose fresh fruit for deserts rather than cookies, cake or pudding.
Exercise is key to good health. The lack of regular aerobic exercise—exercise that increases your heart rate—is a major risk factor. Brisk walking, swimming and weight lifting are three types of aerobic exercise. Try to work up to 30 minutes of daily activity. Various activity levels include:
No planned, regular physical activity; occasional weekend or weekly activity is the only type of physical activity (like golf or recreational tennis).
Participation in physical activity like swimming, jogging, or fast walking, 30 to 60 minutes each time.
Participation in vigorous physical activity for 60 minutes or more at least four days per week.
With a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, you can reduce your chances of developing many types of diseases.