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Your Diet May Be More Dangerous Than Smoking

By Sandy Schroeder

Recently, health experts told us sitting too much was as dangerous as smoking. Now researchers are saying unhealthy diets around the world are causing more deaths than smoking. Most of us roll through fast food burger places and order pizzas occasionally, but we may need to improve the equation with a lot more fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables and a lot less salt.

Researchers say Spain, France and Israel emerged as the countries with fewer diet-related deaths. They all gravitate to a Mediterranean type of diet.

Recent research published in The Lancet indicated one in five of 11 million annual deaths are triggered by a bad diet. The study drew data from 1990 to 2017 and showed poor diet is a leading cause of death around the world. Ten million of the 11 million deaths linked to diet in 2017 were related to heart disease. Cancer counted for 913,000 deaths, and type 2 diabetes for 339,000 deaths. Poor diet outpaced tobacco and high blood pressure.

What We Should Be Doing

Researchers listed the healthy targets.

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole Grains
  • Omega-3 from fish and seafood

What We Should Not Be Doing

These are the major things to avoid.

  • Salt
  • Processed meat
  • Sugary drinks

Making A Healthy Diet Work

Diets seldom work when we cut out every bit of forbidden food, but they can take hold and become healthy habits when we sneak up on them. Here are some ways to start.

Slip more veggies into everything - Shred carrots, onions, and peppers into soups, meatloaves and casseroles to boost the nutrients.

Skip the chips - Set out bowls of nuts, tangerines and grapes instead of chips or cookies.

Load up the fridge - Skip the ice cream and sodas, and fill the fridge with yogurts, raw veggies, apples, oranges and pineapple.

Shop your farmers market - Take the kids with you and let them pick out their favorite fruits and veggies. Later, let them help in the kitchen to bake a banana loaf or whip up a bean dip.

Do a lot of sit-down dinners - Replace pizza nights with family and friend dinners that feature black bean or fish tacos or veggie lasagna and berry tarts.

Try new foods - Expand your health menu with new foods and look for great recipes in Epicurious.com. Make persimmon bread or a sweet potato souffle. They may not all be winners, but some of them might become family favorites.

Use spices and herbs - Avoid all of the issues with salt as you experiment with red pepper, basil, oregano, turmeric or rosemary. If you like fresh basil or rosemary, consider growing your own in a window garden.

Don't be discouraged if everybody votes for pizza occasionally. Just keep going, adding as many healthy choices as possible to your table.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Saint Peters, Mo.

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