“Up to 40 percent of annual deaths from each of five leading U.S. causes are preventable.” Centers for Disease Control
Did you know that life expectancy actually declined in this country last year? In addition, it is estimated that one in two adults in the U.S. suffer from a chronic illness.
Diet, exercise and lifestyle choices are all modifiable factors that can help prevent many causes of death in this country, and yet most of us do not make the necessary shifts in behavior to gain very achievable benefits.
Instead, some 4 billion prescriptions are filled yearly in the U.S. No wonder we are often cited as having the most inefficient healthcare in the world!
Smoking is still the number one risk factor to change in order to avoid becoming a statistic, but diet is definitely a close second. In 2013, dietary risks accounted for 11.3 million deaths and 214.4 million disability-adjusted life-years, around the globe. 11.3 million deaths worldwide could have been prevented by improving the diet.
Eating a whole food, well-rounded diet is important to better health. And because even our whole foods lack in nutrients these days because of processing, depleted soil, etc., supplements can also play an important role in providing a full, healthy nutrient profile.
Better dietary patterns have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 60 percent. A new study also estimated that 27 to 39 percent of the most prevalent cancers can be prevented by improving diet, physical activity and body composition.
Being low in common vitamins and minerals can have detrimental effects to one’s health, even if your levels of these nutrients isn’t low enough to be considered deficient. Most experts agree that minerals like iodine, zinc and magnesium are often low in modern diets, as well as iron for women in menses. Iodine is important to mood, thyroid and breast health. Zinc plays a role in immunity, mood, and more. A low magnesium level can make any condition you have in the body feel worse because this mineral is involved in hundreds of processes in the body. Low iron levels zap energy.
B vitamins are necessary for metabolism of carbs, energy, and mood. C vitamins support immunity, the cardiovascular system and even regularity. Vitamin E provides fantastic antioxidant support as well as providing support for the heart. Vitamin D, which acts like a hormone in the body, is responsible for a number of functions, making a deficiency in this vitamin a risk factor for a number of illnesses.
Blood work may give you the most accurate reflection of your nutrient strengths and deficiencies, but noticing how much better you feel when you avoid alcohol, sugar, and processed foods in favor of a more balanced, whole-food based diet will also give you a strong indicator of your road to better health.
Don’t become a statistic. Make the right steps now to change those risk factors and reduce your chances of becoming a casualty of poor diet and lifestyle choices.
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider, especially if you take medications or have a medical condition.