Prevention is Better than a Cure

Friday, February 18, 2011

Preventive medicine is based on making lifestyle changes and preventing disease from ever occurring. It’s not something that can be measured immediately or on a day-to-day basis, but preventive medicine can be measured by the "non-event." It’s that heart attack you never have that counts.

Regardless of your age, race or gender, it’s never too late to start practicing prevention. Breaking bad health habits and starting new ones can dramatically reduce your risks of heart attack by as much as 80%, cancer by up to 60%, and diabetes by up to a staggering 90%. Here are 5 easy changes you change make to reduce your health risks:

#1 Eat Five Different Colored Foods a Day = Lower Risk of Heart Attack

Vibrant colored plant foods are rich in antioxidants to help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. By incorporating a rainbow of 5 fruits and vegetables into your diet, you can lower your risk of dying of a heart attack by 22%. Each color denotes a specific kind of vitamin and nutrient. Think verdant kale, scarlet raspberries, flame-orange carrots, deep purple grapes, etc. Make sure you know your numbers! Walgreens is offering free blood pressure testing through the end of February.

# 2 Coffee and Vinegar = Fight Diabetes

One-third of Americans are pre-diabetic or have some form of diabetes. Studies have shown that coffee can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar as well as improving liver function and cholesterol.

Blood sugar rises after we eat. Studies have show that vinegar can inhibit rising blood sugar by about 30%. Mix vinegar with olive oil for a homemade vinaigrette you can enjoy on salads.

#3 Smoothie= Prevent Memory Loss, Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Blueberries, banana, hemp nuts, apple juice and flaxseed oil are 5 superfoods for the brain. They all contain acetylcholine and omega-3 fatty acids, which are both vital for brain health. Mix up a powerhouse brain smoothie by blending the above ingredients for breakfast.

#4 Reduce Salt Intake

Calcium is important for bone health. But according to new studies, the salt we eat can a cause our body to lose calcium. Most of us eat twice as much salt as we really need. One study has shown that 1000 extra milligrams of salt a day results in 1% bone loss every year for women. Use fresh herbs as a tasty salt substitute. You’ll also decrease your blood pressure and your risk of stroke and heart disease.

 #5 Sweet Potatoes = Cancer Prevention

Eating 1 cup of sweet potatoes a week could reduce your risk of lung, skin and prostrate cancers. Sweet potatoes contain lutein and carotenoids, molecules shown to starve cancer cells. Sweet potatoes are also loaded with alpha carotene. In studies, people with the highest levels of alpha carotene had almost a 40% decrease in risk of death. To achieve maximum health results, eat 1 cup of sweet potatoes a day.