Over one million Americans died from heart disease and cancer in 2007. In 2010, the leading causes of death of people age 45 years and older in Woodland, CA were heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Disease is not part of normal healthy aging. Here is some good news. The right balance of calories, nutritious foods and physical activity will help you be well, get well and stay well.
Every time you eat or drink something a number of calories go into your body. Excessive calories from fat, sugar and starches can cause weight gain. Every five pounds of weight you gain above your normal healthy weight increases your risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and other chronic diseases. The number of calories you consume each day should match the amount of physical activity you do. You might think that exercise is the only way you burn calories. Your body also burns calories by all the work it does to keep you alive and healthy. Too many extra calories is stored by the body as fat which causes weight gain. The best way to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight is by balancing calories with physical activity. Click on MyPlate.gov for interactive tools or healthy weight to balance calories.
Most of your calories need to come from nutrient rich whole foods. Many Americans lack adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains in their daily diet. All of these foods provide important nutrients. Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients AND thousands of naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals that prevent and fight disease. If your daily plate does not contain enough of these foods then your diet is out of balance. When your diet is out of balance for too long, your internal body gets out of balance and eventually lead to health problems.
The proper balance of nutrients in your diet is equally important. What are nutrients? Nutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, good fats and oils, minerals, viatmins and water. Too much protein or carbohydrates and not enough of the other food groups can cause your body to be out of balance. All of these nutrients work together around the clock to keep you alive and healthy. That is why you need a well-balanced whole foods diet.
Old habits are hard to break but good habits are hard to break too. At the end of your shopping trip before you get to the checkout stand take a good look at your basket. Is it filled with too many processed and junk foods? If so read this article “Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods in 7 Steps.” Click on daily food plan to find out the amount of each food group you need daily. Click on MyPyramid tracker to analyze your diet.
Balancing Physical Activity
Physical activity is important for maintaining a healthy weight, losing weight and for wellness. If you eat more, you need to exercise more. To lose weight you need to exercise more and eat less calories. Calories in, calories out. Problem is everyone has such a busy lifestyle that the chance of you exercising more when you eat more is pretty low. That is why you need to balance your calories with the amount of physical activity you are able to do each day. Click on MyPyramid Tracker or Get Active to help you get started and balance your level of physical activity with calories.
Physical activity improves blood flow and helps you heal faster when you are sick. The American Cancer Society recommends physical activity during and after cancer treatment. You can apply these activity guidelines to any illness.
It’s a balancing act. Nutrients balanced with physical acitivty will help you stay well.
Centers for Disease Control: Health, United States, 2010
California Department of Public Health 2010 report