Preventing lifestyle diseases with healthy eating

Lifestyle diseases differ from other diseases in that you can do a great deal to prevent them or make them better once they have started. The best thing you can do is to eat healthily and maintain a healthy body weight.

Lifestyle diseases linked to diet

Disease What is it? Contributing factors
Arteriosclerosis Several diseases of the circulatory system in which the walls of arteries get thick and hard Smoking; excessive alcohol use; a lack of exercise; an unhealthy diet
Cancer Uncontrolled, abnormal cell growth in one or several parts of the body Smoking; a diet high in refined foods and fat, especially animal fat; a sedentary lifestyle
Diabetes Type 2 A variable disorder in the way that a person’s body uses carbohydrates, especially sugars Excessive body weight; a lack of exercise; an unhealthy diet
Heart disease Any of several abnormalities that affect the heart muscle or the blood vessels of the heart Smoking; excessive body weight; excessive alcohol use; a lack of exercise; an unhealthy diet
Hypertension Abnormally high blood pressure Excessive body weight; a diet high in salt and low in potassium; excessive alcohol use; a lack of exercise
Obesity The condition of being excessively fat Excess kilojoules in the diet; a lack of exercise; a diet low in fibre, vitamins and minerals and high in starches, sugars and fats
Stroke Another disease of the circulatory system in which the sufferer suddenly loses consciousness and control over their movements because of a lack of oxygen to the brain, often leaving the person temporarily or permanently paralysed Smoking; a lack of exercise; an unhealthy diet; hypertension


Diet decisions

You make decisions all day long. Many of them seem insignificant: What shall I eat? Am I going to gym or not? But every decision is important, because decisions have consequences. The repeated decisions you make become habits. Your habits have a huge effect on whether you will be healthy or not.

Recently the old controversy about whether a low-fat or low-carb diet is better for your health has grabbed the headlines in South Africa again.

There will always be proponents of one or the other, but what everyone agrees on is that you should avoid refined foods, refined sugars and artificial additives.

You need to eat a selection of foods that maintains your healthy weight and gives you all the nutrients you require. If you are overweight, you need to reduce weight with an eating plan that you can maintain forever, with small additions once you have reached your goal weight.

Top diet tips to prevent and control lifestyle diseases

  • Eat lots of vegetables.
  • Eat more fish and chicken than red meat.
  • Eat refined foods like white bread and flour products only as occasional treats.
  • Eat sugary foods like sweets and chocolates only as occasional treats.
  • Consider taking a multivitamin supplement.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight by doing all this.

Leave a Comment