We’ve all heard ‘you are what you eat’ and for good reason. Nutrition plays a huge role in our overall health, and certain lifestyle choices like diet, exercise, stress management and smoking are linked to chronic diseases. The good news is, we have control over what we put into our bodies which can significantly reduce our risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer which are the leading causes of death in the US. So, here are some eating tips to reduce your risk of chronic disease:
Don’t eat the same thing everyday
Eating a balanced diet is key to ensuring you’re getting the nutrition your body needs. Having a monotonous diet may cause you to become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals that are essential for fighting off disease. Make sure you’re eating a variety of colors and try to eat fruits and vegetables that are in season. You could also experiment with different herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, basil or cinnamon which will not only add flavor to your meals, but will help ensure you’re getting a variety of nutrients in your diet.
Decrease your sugar intake
From marinara sauce to peanut butter and salad dressings, added sugar can be found in even the most inconspicuous places. Unfortunately, eating too much sugar can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Diets high in sugar increase inflammation in your body which could lead to insulin resistance, both of which increase your risk of chronic disease. Consuming high amounts of sugar has also been shown to increased cellular aging – it accelerates the shortening of telomeres which are are structures found at the end of chromosomes that prevent them from deteriorating. So, moral of the story is limit your intake of sugary drinks and desserts to not only decrease your risk of diseases, but also prevent premature aging. I’d also recommend reading food labels to make sure those sneaky added sugars aren’t lingering in everyday foods you consume.
Include more fiber in your diet
Eating more fiber delivers a slew of health benefits, including disease prevention. Fiber-rich foods not only fill you up faster and keep you full longer, but they could help you lose weight – weight management plays a huge role in preventing chronic health problems. Eating plenty of fiber could also improve your gut microbiome – the good bacteria that make up your microbiome feed off fiber and need it to flourish. So, make sure you’re getting plenty of those leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains!
Drink plenty of water
Water is essential for our body to function. Prevent dehydration by getting ample amounts of water throughout the day. Staying well-hydrated also boosts your immunity which is key for overall health and disease prevention. Drinking water isn’t a cure-all for every body-related issue, but there are actually a few surprising things that added hydration helps with.