Importance of Diet and Nutrition to Disease Prevention

It’s undeniable that a well-balanced diet goes hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle. What you choose to eat, and what you choose not to eat, are factors in warding off many leading chronic illnesses and diseases. Food choices make a huge impact on how you feel today, tomorrow and what the future holds in terms of promoting and maintaining good health. The right diet can help fight conditions and illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer and obesity among many others.

Obesity: The scary truth is that obesity is becoming very prevalent in adolescents. Dietary habits that are established in childhood more often than not carry over into adulthood. This is why it’s critical to instill good diet and nutrition practices in today’s youth. Making sure children have the correct amount of nutrients and foods from major food groups is key to preventing obesity.

Heart Disease: Keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and weight under control are main components to preventing heart disease. Healthy eating habits are a way to keep these numbers balanced. Focusing a diet on whole grains, fruits, veggies, and proteins, as well as limiting sodium and foods that are high in calories are good rules of thumb.

Diabetes: The best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is to eat a low-fat, well-balanced diet. Other diet tips include decreasing fat consumption to less than 30 percent of calories and saturated fat consumption to less than 10 percent of calories. Adding high-fiber foods to a diet regimen is also important to preventing this lifelong condition.

Cancer: Obesity increases the odds of developing cancer, and luckily there are many foods that can aide in prevention. Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, berries, whole grains and even green and black tea all help protect against various types of cancer. While no single food is a sure way to prevent cancer, the appropriate combination of vitamins and minerals along with a well-balanced diet can provide solid protection.

Osteoporosis: A diet lacking vitamin D and calcium can contribute to osteoporosis. In order to keep bones healthy and strong, a diet containing specific types of foods is recommended. This includes low fat versions of foods that are high in calcium, and those fortified with vitamin D. Calcium fortified products, like orange juice, cereals and soy-based foods are a good way to increase calcium in a diet.