4 lifestyle factors preventing chronic diseases

Some people believe that premature death is just a matter of bad luck or bad genes. But scientific evidence shows that only 10%-20% is related to genetics. The rest is mostly down to a poor diet. Unfortunately, most people don’t get the advice they need on this important topic from their doctor or elsewhere. It is astonishing that only about 25% of medical schools offer a single course in nutrition. And a recent survey showed that 6 out of 7 graduating doctors felt they were not adequately trained to counsel patients about their diets. So, don’t count on your doctor to give you valued advice. When it comes to the profound connection between diet and disease, most of us are on our own.

Here are the basics:

These 4 lifestyle factors have a strong impact on the prevention of chronic diseases.
1. Not smoking
2. Not being obese
3. Exercising at least a 30 minutes a day
4. Eating a healthy diet.

If you can check off all 4 preventions you can reduce your
1. cancer risk by more than 35%
2. risk of stroke by 50%
3. risk of a heart attack by 80%
4. risk of developing diabetes by 90%.

The first 3 lifestyle factors are straightforward. But healthy eating is a contentious subject. Even nutrition experts disagree on what constitutes the optimal human diet. However, there is a broad consensus about one thing: You need to maximize your intake of whole plant foods and minimize your intake of processed junk food.

No one needs to eat like a saint or get obsessed with their strict diet. Your health is not determined by a particular treat or a special occasion. It is about how you eat in general, day in and day out. If a whole-food, plant-based diet prevents chronic diseases then should that not be our default diet of choice?

It is never too early or too late to start eating healthier. Life matters.

Sven Franssen