While not all diseases can be prevented, what you put into your body plays a role in how friendly a host environment your body is for a variety of illnesses, and how equipped it is to stave off minor and serious diseases. Here are easy diet changes that promote better health.
Minimize consumption of red meats
Going cold turkey from meat in your diet won’t ensure that you’ll stave off all disease, but there are proven health benefits associated with minimizing your consumption of red meats. According to the American Cancer Society, “studies have linked eating large amounts of red meat and processed meats (like bacon, hot dogs and deli meats) with increased risk of colorectal, prostate and stomach cancers.” In addition, the ACS says that research also suggests that frying, broiling or grilling meats at very high temperatures may create chemicals that increase the risk of some types of cancer.
Drink berries daily
Berries are naturally loaded with vitamins A, C, E and folic acid, selenium, calcium, polyphenols and compounds called anthocyanins, which is what gives them their color. Darker berries, particularly blackberries, have also been linked to inhibition of oral, esophageal and colon cancer in rats, according to a study conducted at The Ohio State University. Maqui berry, a so-called “superfood,” contains 10 times the antioxidant power of a blueberry and is quickly becoming one of the most-talked about berries. It’s thought to reduce inflammation, ease arthritis, suppress blood glucose and regulate cholesterol. Though the berry is found in the Patagonia region of Chile, you can enjoy its benefits by mixing the freeze-dried powder form, sold by health food retailers, into a yummy morning smoothie of blended fresh berries, milk and yogurt. When fresh berries aren’t in season, you can also reap their benefits by adding concentrated berry powders, also available at health food stores, to a smoothie.
Experiment with greens
If you’ve only tried “standard” lettuces that are included in bagged, pre-washed salads, you’re missing out on a whole new world of greens that offer major health benefits. Greens that are leafy and dark, like kale, romaine, spinach and dandelion greens, are loaded with vitamins, minerals and amino acids and are far tastier than run-of-the-mill salad greens. In addition to improving the way your body functions, they can boost the appearance of your skin, nails and hair, according to celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder. Each time you head to the market, challenge yourself to pick up just one type of green you’ve never tried. They can make an interesting addition to salads. Or when they are lightly steamed with a hint of olive oil and sea salt, they make a yummy switched-up side dish. If you have a hard time eating veggies, throw them in a juicer with an apple or pear and reap their benefits by drinking them.
To reduce your exposure to pesticides and other unwanted chemicals that can be found in canned veggies, stick to the fresh kind whenever possible, and try to buy from local farmer’s markets.