It is a misconception that the (in)famous disease trio of cancer, heart disease and diabetes is the commonest in the Western World. Actually these three diseases have now become universal. But do you know that these are some of the most preventable diseases too? This is a pleasant surprise to me. Working on disease prevention for these three life-threatening diseases is not that difficult; it’s just a matter of only four easy, yet healthy lifestyle changes and you can conquer these villains.
In a study, 25,000 German participants were observed for the linkage between the following four healthy habits and a chance for a person to develop cancer, heart disease or diabetes.
The habits are:
- Having a Body Mass Index (BMI) under 30
- Quit smoking
- Engaging in at least 3.5 hours of physical activity per week
- Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and cutting on meats
After about eight years, a follow-up was taken in which researchers found that those who adopted all the four healthy habits lowered an overall risk of developing a chronic disease by 78%. More specifically analyzed, the risk of diabetes lowered by 93%, that of a heart attack lowered by 82%, of a stroke by 50% and of a cancer by 36%. And the major protection-giving factor was BMI lower than 30.
Problem here is we ignore the obvious facts. We keep reading and hearing advices on diet, exercise and vices. Still we cannot give up bad habits. The reason lies in the fact that the environment we live in is a great supporter of overeating and inactivity. And this unhealthy environment doesn’t let people to make healthy choices, according to Marion Nestle, PhD, a professor in NYU in the department of food studies, nutrition and public health. What she suggests is an improvement in the unhealthy environment to make it easier for people to make healthy choices.
You can make somehow for a 10-minute walk and can also get dozens of rehabs and counselors to help quit smoking. But the most difficult thing is to get healthy food and avoid the temptation of unhealthy food options that are easily available.
Here are some ways you can get over the bad environment.
Be warned that you are tricked! David Kessler, MD, former commissioner of USFDA explains how the food industry has included empty calories in form of salt, sugar and fat in nearly everything. These items make us crave for those same items which is beneficial for the manufacturers. To escape this dreadful racket, emphasize on homemade food. Cook as often as you can at home. Make generous use of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Make a habit of visiting farmers’ markets regularly rather than malls, and bring home fresh produce at cheap rates. If you can get organic, it’s still better. That way what you eat will be free from pesticides that have a great potential to cause Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cancer and many more diseases.
Think before you eat out! Think before entering a restaurant and visualize yourself eating healthy. Also by adopting mindfulness, you can deviate yourself from partaking in a binge-eating episode.
Ask for better! Bring together other like-minded concerned people and ask for more bike paths and sidewalks in your area. Lobby the school of your children for healthy food. And keep an eye while you walk into a restaurant or grocery shop, how the environment impacts your choices, and make efforts to overcome it.