Are you eating your veggies?
The colon cancer death of a famous young actor this week is a reminder that screenings and a good lifestyle are important, no matter how healthy you may feel.
Currently in the USA, only 5% of people get adequate fiber, only 10% eat the minimum recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, and only 23% exercise enough to meet basic health recommendations.only 5% of Americans get adequate fiber, only 10% eat minimal fruits and vegetables. Click To Tweet
Seven of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are from lifestyle-related chronic diseases. These include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. Some of the weight-related cancers include: cancers of the breast and reproductive systems, cancers of the digestive system (stomach, colon, rectal, gallbladder and esophagus), and of vital organs such as kidney, liver and pancreas. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables daily can help reduce the risk of many of these leading causes of illness and death.
Another weight-related risk that’s recently reached public awareness is decreasing vaccine effectiveness as BMI increases. This is true for flu vaccines, and so it is feared it will also be true for any forthcoming COVID-19 vaccines. Excess weight is also a factor in COVID survivability, as it places an extra burden on stressed body systems, increases inflammation, and complicates medical treatment.
Chadwick Boseman, the actor who died, was the picture of health, portraying a superhero in a blockbuster movie, and a symbol of hope for many — and now sadly also a reminder that colon cancer is on the rise in younger people. Some scientists believe our low-fiber and highly processed diets, combined with high obesity rates, are contributing factors to the general rise in early-onset colon cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third deadliest cancer among men and women in the United States — after lung and prostate in men and lung and breast in women.
You can reduce your risks of many of the leading causes of premature death.
What are the basic recommendations we mentioned? Get 25g fiber/day for women, and 38g fiber/day for men. Eating 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables is considered the minimum for health — but you should have more! That works out to be 3.5-5 cups of fruits and vegetables combined, minimally. (The typical American eats only 1 fruit and 1.7 servings of vegetable a day.) For exercise, the CDC’s “Healthy People 2020” report recommends 150 minutes/week of moderate aerobic activity, and 2 sessions of muscle-strengthening exercise. These are considered minimal achievable amounts — you can do more, and no study has found there is a reasonable upper limit beyond which exercise is not good for health.
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