NAPSI)-Good nutrition is essential to lifelong health. A proper diet means replacing unhealthy foods with nutrient-rich options. Fad diets often promise quick but short-lived results. Instead, you can help ensure overall health with wise food choices that will soon become habits.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, healthier eating habits could reduce cancer deaths in the U.S. by as much as 35 percent. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet also helps reduce the risk of stroke.
Bottom line: Eat right. Feel good.
Fruits and vegetables – Harvard studies have shown that for every extra serving of fruit and vegetables that you add to your diet, you lower your risk of heart disease by four percent. Focus dishes around vegetables rather than meat. Colorful vegetables carry more nutrients.
Fat – Not all fats are bad. While essential fats help supply energy, saturated and trans fats can raise “bad” cholesterol. Cook more often at home to avoid the trans fat found in commercially prepared foods.
Grains and fiber – Whole grains are better then refined grains because they include plenty of the fiber that promotes digestive health. Incorporate fiber-rich foods such as strawberries and bran to help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Meats and beans – Opt for lean beef such as top round and sirloin or skinless chicken. Six ounces of fish per week has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends 5 1/2 ounces of food from the meats and beans group, which also includes eggs and nuts.
Salt – More than 75 percent of sodium comes from processed foods. Replace such canned items with fresh fare. Flavor meats with herbs and spices instead of salt.
Dairy – Eat dairy products such as low-fat yogurt and skim milk to sustain strong bones.
Though each person’s calorie intake differs, the Nutrient Facts label provides a common reference. Being more aware of what you eat will help sustain a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to schedule regular checkups with your doctor to discuss a balanced diet because each person’s needs are different. For more information, go to healthsaver.com or call 800.7.health.