By pip Cornall – This diet advice is taken straight from the NCI website (National Cancer Institute – USA). I’ve bolded some of the main points.
Diet and Diseases
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Serious diseases that are linked to what we eat kill an estimated three out of four Americans each year. These diseases include heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some types of cancer, and diabetes. Eating a diet that contains 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day as part of a healthy, active lifestyle lowers the risk for all of these diseases.
Most Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables to keep them healthy. Despite the fact that they are important for maintaining overall good health and preventing diseases, eating fruits and vegetables is not even on many people’s radar screens.
Taking multivitamins doesn’t solve the problem–it is impossible to capture all of the vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting phytochemicals, and fiber found in fruits and vegetables, in a pill. Only fruits and vegetables, not vitamin pills, can provide all of these health-protecting nutrients together.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Everyone has some degree of risk for developing diet-related chronic diseases, and this risk increases with age. Lifestyle factors that contribute to increased risk for these diseases include not eating enough fruits and vegetables, eating too many foods high in saturated fats (fried foods, full-fat dairy products, fatty cuts of meat) and not getting enough exercise. These behaviors begin in childhood and become habits that can carry into adulthood.
Heart disease, which is largely influenced by what we eat, remains the number one killer of both American men and women. And, high blood pressure, which can be reduced within a month by changing eating habits, will affect 90 percent of American men and women at some point in their lifetime.
In general, men get chronic diseases more often than women and die from them at earlier ages. African American men have even higher rates of these diseases than white men, including heart disease, high blood pressure, many cancers, and diabetes, and get them even earlier in life.
The number of servings of fruits and vegetables that is recommended depends on a person’s age and gender, ranging from five a day for children age 2 to 6 (as well as some women and some older adults) to nine a day for teenage boys and active men.
CAN IT BE PREVENTED?
Leading causes of death, which include heart disease, high blood pressure, many cancers, diabetes and stroke, are largely preventable through lifestyle choices such as eating more fruits and vegetables. Eating 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day is one of the easiest things everyone can do to lower their chances for all of the diet-related diseases.
This may sound like a lot, but in fact one serving size is actually quite small (it fits in the palm of your hand), and it’s easy to eat several servings during one meal in a vegetable or fruit salad, for instance. But remember, pills don’t count.
Simple lifestyle changes can save lives and improve your quality of life. A person does not have to drastically alter his or her diet to be healthier. Simply substituting an apple a day as a snack instead of a candy bar can make an important difference in lowering risk for disease and improving everyday performance. It is not necessary to make large changes in diet in order to improve health and avoid disease. Here are a few simple tips:
* Grab an apple, orange, banana, pear, or other piece of moderate-sized fruit to eat on-the-go.
* Snack on raw veggies like baby carrots, pepper strips, broccoli, and celery.
* Pick up ready-made salads from the produce shelf for a quick salad anytime.
* African Americans
Men: Joey is a married 35-year old hospital administration manager with no kids. Of a lean build, he’s never struggled with his weight. Until now. His age and sedentary lifestyle have finally caught up with him and he becomes frustrated by the spare tire he’s acquired around his mid-section. In search of a quick and painless way to lose weight, he comes across “The Eat More Diet.” He is motivated by the concept of “eating more” and decides to give the diet a try. The diet consists of eating at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and you are allowed to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want on the diet. Breakfast consists of a veggie omelet at the diner; snacks include apples, pears, oranges, carrot sticks with low-fat blue cheese dip, and baked tortilla chips with black bean and corn salsa; lunch is a big salad with grilled chicken; and dinner is bean chili with some lean meat and steamed veggies on the side; dessert is mixed berries with lite whipped cream. Joey comments how he eats so many fruits and veggies, it’s hard to eat anything else. He finds out that he actually likes the way fruits and vegetables taste and finds himself gradually shedding the weight around his mid-section. His friends comment on how he looks ‘alive,’ ‘radiant,’ and ‘younger’ and everyone wants to know what his secret is.
Women: Brenda is a single African-American mother with a 6 year-old son. She is overweight and hears from her friends that they have all lost weight quickly on the Atkins diet. She decides to go on the diet and gets rid of all fruits and vegetables in the house and eats only meat for two weeks. Because it is summer vacation and her son Ronnie is at home all summer, all he eats is meat. Brenda takes a multi-vitamin but neglects to give one to Ronnie, who develops scurvy, a disease rarely ever seen in the 21st Century and last dramatized in ‘Mutiny on the Bounty,’ a story set in the 1800s.
Teens: One of Ronnie’s playmates, Frank, has him over to his house to play and Frank’s mother notices that Ronnie is complaining about leg and arm pain and has some bleeding in his gums. She calls Ronnie’s mother and asks her if her son has been ill or not eating right. Ronnie’s mother had not thought about the consequences of her Atkin’s all-protein, no fruit diet on her son and immediately takes him to the doctor, who after much puzzlement, looks up the symptoms in an old medical book and finds out that Ronnie has scurvy. Fruits and vegetables are immediately reintroduced into Ronnie’s diet.
African-Americans: Brenda is a single African-American mother with a 6 year-old son. She is overweight and hears from her friends that they have all lost weight quickly on the Atkins diet. She decides to go on the diet and gets rid of all fruits and vegetables in the house and eats only meat for two weeks. Because it is summer vacation and her son Ronnie is at home all summer, all he eats is meat. Brenda takes a multi-vitamin but neglects to give one to Ronnie, who develops scurvy, a disease rarely ever seen in the 21st Century and last dramatized in ‘Mutiny on the Bounty,’ a story set in the 1800s.
Hispanics: Hector had been reading about how some people had been suing fast food places for making them fat. He was ready to blame the large amount of weight he had gained in the past decade on his nightly meals at the fast food outlet next door when he started to see ads go up on their front window advertising their new, healthier menus which included salads and fruit desserts. Hector decided to try some of these healthier alternatives and found that he enjoyed eating them as much as their much less healthy, fattier counterparts. He started loosing weight almost immediately. The fast food restaurant also carried information about an “Eat More Diet” that let him know that he could eat at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and still lose weight. As he continued to eat healthier foods, he lost even more weight. Today Hector cooks more meals for himself, but when he visits his favorite fast food restaurants, he makes sure he chooses a menu that includes plenty of fruits and vegetable