Prevent Degeneration and Obesity
Healthy Eating Helps Prevent Degenerative Diseases and Obesity
Healthcare continues to be on the list of hot topics of debate. Healthcare costs have risen from $3,468 per person in 1993 to $8,160 in 2008, and are estimated to rise another 50% by this year! I believe most people would agree that prevention is the real key to reducing healthcare costs. And peer-reviewed medical research has demonstrated that eating health-promoting foods is one of the best ways to prevent or help prevent our most common degenerative diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
In a society with epidemic proportions of obesity, fewer topics gain more attention than the importance of a healthy weight for overall health. The connections between obesity, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis are widely recognized, and now, a recent report on adult and childhood cancers reports that the most significant diet-related risk factor for cancer is also obesity!
The researchers found that the most diet-related prevention factor is keeping body weight within a healthy range, which means having a body mass index of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2 (see BMI); the researchers found that "dietary changes are one of the most important, and at the same time, cheapest prevention tools we have regarding the modification of cancer." They prescribe breast milk for children, foods rich in dietary fiber, omega-3-rich fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains combined with exercise and caloric restriction. Sound familiar?
What I find so remarkable about the chronic preventable disease patterns (including obesity) is the degree to which they overlap when it comes to dietary prevention. Based on current research, we do not seem to need one diet for preventing cancer, a second diet for preventing diabetes, a third diet for preventing osteoporosis, a fourth diet for preventing heart disease, and a fifth diet for preventing obesity. The beauty lies in that fact that what seems to be needed is that the changes in the foods we eat move in the same general direction: decreased intake of sugar, salt, animal fat, and processed foods, and increased intake of lower-calorie, lower-fat plant foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Dietary prevention focuses on eating health foods by finding recipes (online is a great source) to make eating this way fun, delicious and enjoyable.
Mosby, T.T., Cosgrove, M, Sarkardei, S., et al. Nutrition in Adult and Childhood Cancer: Role of Carcinogens and Anti-carcinogens. Anticancer Research 32: 4171-4192 (2012).