Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the main causes of death. Diabetes is growing at a fast rate, as a consequence of the increasing rates of overweight and obesity. These events can be partially prevented, since we can act on modifiable risk factors: smoking, unbalanced food intake and inactivity. Institutions and groups of experts (eg. WCRF, AHA, INRAN) have drawn useful recommendations and luckily guidelines for cancer prevention are not in contrast with those against diabetes or with those in favour of a healthy heart.
Briefly, these are the crucial points:
- don't smoke! Smoke (even passive smoking) is the worst of all risk factors
- move all days of the year: walk, climb the stairs, use your bicycle, do some gardening or "balcony-ing", carry you back-pack, even to school, carry your grocery, do some housework, dance, jump, …
- more intense activity a few time per week, if compatible with age and health conditions
- watch out your weight and try to lose some, if you are overweight. Check you body mass index (BMI)
- cooked and raw vegetables always on your plate, lunch and dinner
- fruit is a natural dessert, healthy and cheap: you can eat fruit without feeling guilty
- for yours and the planet's health, reduce the consumption of food of animal origin. Give the preference to fish and poultry. Dairy products in moderation.
- the cheapest proteins are those of vegetable origin (bean, lentils, chickpeas, soya, …): combine them mindfully with unrefined cereals.
- dry oily fruit and seed (i.e. nuts), herbs, spices, extra-virgin olive oil are all natural food supplements, much tastier than a pill…
- Sugar, the real thing or artificial, soft drinks, fruit juices: only occasionally
- What to drink? A lot of water, herb teas and tea. Wine and other alcoholic beverages? If you usually drink some, less (but good) is better. If you usually don't drink, avoid starting the habit.