Our beautiful planet provides us with everything we could possibly need to live out our entire lives healthy and well. It gives us fresh, clean water, life-giving sunshine, golden grains of wheat, shrubs bursting with berries, trees laden with fruit, and fields full of nutrient-rich vegetables. Unfortunately, there is seemingly no end to how those gifts can be adulterated, corrupted, and turned into addictive, disease-causing substances that only barely resemble their health-promoting origins. It is no secret that these fatty, salty, sugary, highly-processed “foods” are nearly impossible to resist. However, changing your diet really can stave off the top killers of our time: high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
Avoid Unhealthy Fats
Healthy fats are important for proper brain function, sustained energy, and cellular regeneration. These can be found in whole plant foods such as avocados, seeds, and nuts; as well as in fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon, and whole eggs. Saturated fat, on the other hand, can raise your LDL cholesterol levels (the bad ones) and cause a narrowing of your blood vessels with a buildup of plaque. This leads to heart attacks and strokes. Foods high in saturated fat include beef, sausage, bacon, butter, shortening, and bakery items such as cookies, cakes, and pastries. These foods should be eaten sparingly or avoided altogether.
Get More Antioxidants
Antioxidants are your body’s natural defense system against free radicals and oxidative stress. Free radicals are formed through normal cellular processes, as well as through environmental toxins including pollution, smoking, and an unhealthy diet. When there are too many free radicals and not enough antioxidants, your body goes into oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked to conditions such as diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and inflammatory disorders. Virtually every cell in your body can be negatively affected by oxidative stress. Luckily, you can get the antioxidants you need in a healthy, plant-based diet. Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants.
Eat Your Grains Whole
The fiber found in whole grains offers multiple protective benefits. First, it improves digestion, which is linked with lower rates of both diabetes and coronary artery disease. Second, whole grains are also packed with important vitamins and minerals that are naturally protective. At the same time, a diet high in refined flour is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, several cancers, and obesity.
You really can eat your way to a long and healthy life. Along with adequate sleep, regular exercise, and healthy stress management, what you eat has a huge impact on both your overall health and your daily wellness. It can be hard to overcome an addiction to the Standard American Diet, but once you do, you will be amazed at how much better you feel.
Check out this article on how to eat more whole foods in your diet!