Diets high in fat, sodium, sugar, and processed and fast foods are linked to chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, and certain cancers. By tweaking your diet, you can prevent those chronic conditions or improve your health and treatment outcomes for those conditions.
Eat Your Vegetables
Eating an additional 2.5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 8-13 percent, according to a recent study. Other research has shown that people who eat 5 or more servings a day are 30 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who eat 1.5 servings a day.
Beware of Sodium!
Restaurant meals, frozen meals and pizzas, highly processed foods such as canned soups and deli meats, and processed meats like bacon and ham are generally loaded with sodium. Sodium isn't just due to added salt but also to preservatives and other additives. Limit sodium to 1,500 milligrams per day—considerably less than the average daily intake of 3,400 milligrams.
Limit Red Meat and Processed Meats
Many Americans love juicy steaks and burgers. While the occasional serving of beef is fine, research has shown that regularly eating red meat and processed meats (deli meats, bacon, sausage, and ham) can raise the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Nutritionists suggest eating more fish, beans, and tofu as protein sources instead.
Save Money and Your Health: Cook at Home
Cooking at home with fresh, unprocessed ingredients will help you make sure that you aren't getting too much sodium and are meeting recommended daily requirements for fruits and vegetables. You will likely have more energy, improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and decrease your blood pressure.