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Protect Yourself: Health, Diet and Risk Conclusion

The best way to control the odds of diet-related risks is to take moderate steps toward a balanced mix of foods and substances like vitamins and minerals.

The key dietary rule: Lower the fat content of what you eat.

After that, you should lower the amount of sodium you consume and raise the amount of fiber. Other suggestions offered by the American Dietary Association include:

  • Examine nutrition labels. On individual foods with a nutrition label, check to see there are no more than 3 grams of fat for every 100 calories in a serving. When this is the case, the food contains no more than 27 percent of its calories from fat -- just below the recommended level. This usually works regardless of serving size.
  • Know the recommended level of dietary fat for the amount of calories you consume. To estimate a recommended level of dietary fat (in grams) for any day, take your daily calories and divide by 30. If you're eating 2,100 daily calories, your daily fat allowance would be 70 grams.
  • Avoid any kind of extremism in your diet. Some dietary fat is necessary. And some rigorous diets can create undesired risks.
  • Maintain weight and exercise. Trying to maintain an ideal weight by keeping the perfect diet isn't the smartest way to go. Exercise regularly and you can enjoy more kinds of food and still lower your risks.

Don't expect dramatic health impacts from your diet. Diet is a long-term, gradual protection. Your best bet is to shave at mortality and life-span odds by eating a balanced, low-fat diet -- including lots of mineral-rich fruits and vegetables...and engage in some form of physical activity to increase your heart rate.

Obviously, your weight has a lot to do with what you eat. But diet also affects your chances of contracting several types of cancer and fatal illnesses. As useful as specialized cancer insurance may be if you contract the disease...you've still contracted the disease. Dietary health factors are the best example of the importance of prevention that you're likely to experience in your life.

Bottom line: It's no mystery that a good diet will improve your chances for living a longer, healthier life. But a good diet is significant largely because it reflects a balanced, generally healthy approach to living. In this way, it's the opposite of fad diets designed to help someone look good by means of drugs or strange eating habits.

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