Here are nine diseases commonly found in generation after generation.† You can lower your risks by starting with these logical health saving strategies.
Lifestyle fixes include the big four: donít smoke, eat right, exercise, and watch your weight. A Kaiser Permanente study found a definite link between the big-four and brain health.
Physical†exercise boosts brain-nurturing chemicals.† So get out and move.† Smoking obviously leaves behind tars and other contaminants that crud your brain.† Excess weight leads to changes in how fat cells work.
Mental exercise is also important.† Brain boosting activities include reading, writing, playing cards, solving puzzles, knitting, gardening, and staying socially active.† Ballroom and square dancing with a partner cover both physical and mental exercise, and they are social as well.
If youíre under 40, and not at high risk, the American Cancer Society recommends a clinical breast exam at least once every three years.† The Society recommends annual mammograms beginning at 40.
The first thing you can do for yourself is to get out and exercise.† It lowers body fat, which helps trim levels of estrogen and other hormones that fuel tumor growth (fat cells are the primary source of estrogen after menopause for women).
Colorectal cancer is said to be very preventable.† Once again, an important first step is exercise, which reduces body fat and blood levels of cancer-promoting chemicals.† Exercise also speeds food through the intestines, reducing the colonís exposure to carcinogens and also lowering your risk of diabetes, which is associated with increased cancer risk.
What else can you do?† An Italian study found that people with a family history of this disease, who didnít overeat (and didnít eat fast foods), ate less red meat, ate lots of high-fiber foods, ate healthy plant and nut fats, and consumed high levels of antioxidants virtually eliminated excess risks.† Some call this the Mediterranean diet.
First of all, find out if you have a problem.† If you do, start by cutting back on bad fats and increasing good ones.
Reduce your intake of saturated fats (those found in animal foods) and trans fats (culprits include many packaged foods, snack foods, vegetable shortenings and some margarines).
Increase your intake of friendly fats such as polyunsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, plant oils), monosaturated fats (olive oil) and omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flax seed, canola oil).† Other cholesterol cutters are soy protein and oats.
The biggest risk factor is obesity.† Diabetes and obesity are so intertwined that some doctors talk about ďdiabesity.Ē
A sixteen year study of 84,000 nurses by the Harvard medical School found the best way to fight diabetes is to eat plenty of fiber-rich plant foods, consume healthy fats (nuts, seeds, and plant oils) while avoiding the unhealthy ones (animal fats and trans fats), maintain a healthy weight, exercise for 30 minutes most days, drink alcohol in moderation and donít smoke.† Some researchers say a healthy lifestyle can prevent 90% of type 2 diabetes cases (formerly called adult onset diabetes).
The first step is to check your risks.† Find out how well you are doing.
You can strengthen your ticker and your blood vessels by following these four steps:† Donít smoke, eat a nutritious diet, 30 minutes of exercise a day most days of the week, and keep or reach a normal weight.† Harvardís look at disease risks in the above study of 84,000 nurses found that those who abided by these guidelines reduced risk of heart attack by 66% compared with those who had less heart-healthy lifestyles.
Hypertension is high blood pressure.† Again, the first step is to have your blood pressure checked.† Find out your current baseline.
Eat smart. A well researched dietary regimen is the federally funded Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (Dash)†plan, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and limited consumption of saturated (animal) and total fat.† Combining a low-salt diet (1,400 mg or less of sodium a day) with the DASH diet lowered blood pressure as much as taking an anti-hypertensive drug.
Keeping a health weight if you are there now, oir†reaching a healthy weight also is a big help at lowering blood pressure.
Men who become overweight in their 20s and stay overweight are more likely to develop prostate cancer in their 50s, and itís more likely to be an aggressive form.† Thatís another good reason for managing your weight.
It may surprise you to learn that tomatoes and tomato products, including pizza, could be called prostate power foods.† One study found that men who ate the most tomato products had a third lower chance of prostate cancer than those who didnít eat tomatoes.† The secret ingredient is probably lycopene, an antioxidant thatís highly concentrated in tomatoes.
Another mealtime strategy is eating less meat and saturated fat (sound familiar?) and more fruits and vegetables.† (French fries donít count as a healthy vegetable).
A stroke-fighting food that is worth including in your diet is fruit.† An analysis of seven international studies found that each additional serving of fruit per day reduced stroke risk by about 11%.
Harvard researchers reported in 2004 that eating baked or broiled fish one to four times a week reduces the risk of stroke by 28%
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