What You Eat - The #1 Factor Affecting Your Health
That's a bold headline and a bold statement, but according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, poor diet is the number one risk factor for loss of health. Flip that statement around, though, and that means eating a healthful diet could be your best opportunity for health gains. That's an impressive thought.
What does the best diet look like? According to the report referred to above, it's looking pretty tasty:
|FOOD||HOW MUCH AND HOW OFTEN||1 SERVING =|
|FRUITS||3 or more servings per day||approx. 2/3 cup of fruit pieces or 1 medium-sized piece of fruit|
|VEGETABLES||4 or more servings per day||1/2 cup of cooked, 1 cup raw or 1 medium-sized vegetable|
(brown rice, whole wheat, farro, quinoa, freekeh, barley, etc.)
|2.5 servings per day (cereal, bread, crackers, tortillas, pasta, etc.)||1/2 cup of cooked grains or pasta, 2/3 to 1 cup of cereal or 1 slice of bread|
|NUTS AND SEEDS||4 or more servings per week||1 oz.|
(dairy foods, dark green vegetables, calcium-fortified foods, soybeans)
|3-5 servings per day||1 cup milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup raw greens|
(Best: salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, sardines.
Alternatives: quality fish oil supplements, walnuts, canola oil,
chia or flax seeds, kidney and pinto beans and dark green
|1 or more servings per day||3 oz. cooked fish|
|BEANS||4 or more servings per week||1/2 cup cooked beans|
This isn't a "that's it" proposition, but the goal is to have your meals match up with these recommendations. If they do, you're gaining ground for your health.
According to the report, these foods should be chosen more prudently:
- Processed meats
- Red meat
- Sugar-sweetened drinks
- Foods high in sodium
- Foods containing trans fats (no amount of trans fat is considered okay)
TAKE-AWAY MESSAGE: 80 percent of the time, put good foods for good health on your fork; 20 percent of the time, it's A-OK to indulge.