What Are Some of the Top Diseases-Related to Diet?
Eating nutritiously and exercising are goals we all strive for, but sometimes it is really hard to do. Our lives today are so involved with our kids and their activities, our jobs, and all of the other obligations of our daily lives that grabbing something quick to eat or skipping physical activity…just happens.
Unfortunately, especially as we age, diseases can creep into our bodies sometimes as a result of not taking care of ourselves as best we should. Of course, if there is a genetic predisposition that just thickens the plot to the story. For the average person though, many diseases are preventable or manageable with proper diet and exercise. Even if we have already been diagnosed with a disease, changing to a healthier lifestyle may help manage the illness.
Ok, we have all heard this before, but let’s look at some of the top diseases related to lack of proper diet prevalent in America today.
Heart Disease: This one always seems to top the list. In the United States, 1 in 4 women die from heart disease according to the NIH, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The most common cause of heart disease in both men and women is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart itself.
Stroke: A stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack." If blood flow is cut off for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing lasting damage.
Cancer: Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells grow even when you don't need them, and old cells don't die when they should.
Hypertension: Also known as High Blood Pressure. Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. This becomes dangerous when the numbers are too high.
Obesity: Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Both terms mean that a person's weight is greater than what's considered healthy for his or her height. Obesity was classified in 2013 as a disease.
When researching prevention of these diseases, the following suggestions were common denominators:
- Eat a healthy diet, including a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
- Cut the fat, sugar and salt.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not drink excessive alcohol.
Quite often these chronic diseases are preventable by these suggestions. However, even if we have already been diagnosed with these or many other diseases, changing to a healthier lifestyle may help manage the illness. Of course, this is easier said than done, but if we take small steps each week, and then each day, we will make a difference in longevity and quality of life. I always figure if I am at least going in the right direction it is better than going in the wrong direction or not going in any direction at all.
Have you made a small lifestyle change that made a big difference?