The Nation's Health + [vegetables]

Health Tips: 8 Foods to Avoid like the Plague

Eating healthier foods can make a significant difference in critical health matters, such as weight management, reducing cholesterol and maintaining proper blood glucose levels. Recent studies indicate that several foods commonly found in western diets can have a detrimental effect on health and longevity. If you would like to improve your general health, both now and in the future, you should avoid these eight foods that are associated with a variety of medical problems. Sugar Sugar adds calories to your daily diet, without providing any nutritional value. It increases fat storage in the body, which increases the risk for obesity. It also increases insulin resistance, which can lead to Type-2 diabetes. In addition, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that a high-sugar diet increases your risk of death from heart disease. The study, which covered a 15-year period, found the individuals who consumed 25 percent or more sugar in their daily diets were twice as likely to die from heart disease than those who consumed 10 percent of less sugar in their diets. More importantly, the risk held true regardless of the person’s age, physical activity level, body mass index or age. The reasons behind these numbers aren’t well understood. It may be that consuming high amounts of sugar cause people to eat fewer fruits and vegetables, which can help heart health. It may also be that sugar causes the liver to release more harmful fats in to the bloodstream. Further research will tell more about the negative effects of sugar consumption, but for now, many studies indicate that people should be avoiding sugar as much as possible to ensure their good health. Dairy Products Dairy products are another food you should try to avoid if you desire to enjoy better health. Dairy products have been associated with gastrointestinal products, sinus problems, high cholesterol levels and heart disease. The need for calcium is often cited as the reason people should eat dairy products, but many vegetables are high in calcium, such as kale, broccoli, collard greens, edamame, okra and bok choy. Some fruits also provide plenty of bone-building calcium, such as oranges and figs. Sardines and canned salmon can also be used to supplement your calcium needs. White beans and tofu also offer plenty of calcium. Vegetable Oil Although you may think that vegetable oils are healthier than animal fats, they are highly processed and are far from their natural form. During processing, they are often heated to high temperatures and treated with a number of chemicals and solvents. Many of these oils are high in trans fats, which contribute to heart disease and stroke. They are also associated with inflammation in the body that can lead to a variety of medical conditions. Corn-Fed Meat Cattle were not designed to consume corn. They evolved to eat the grass on the vast grasslands that once covered the continents. By feeding them grain, the cattle industry has changed their ability to digest their feed naturally. They sicken more easily and require antibiotics, which then enter into the human food chain, creating antibiotic resistance and other problems. Grass-fed meat is much healthier for humans and prevent many of these resulting health effects. Processed Meat Nutritionists also advise against eating processed meat products, such as hot dogs, sausage and deli meats. These products generally contain high amounts of fat, salt and preservatives that are known to cause health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and even cancer. Eliminating these foods from your diet can help to lower your risk for developing these diseases.food-grains1 Refined Grains Refined grains are another food you should avoid because of the processes that are used in the production. During these processes, the nutrients are stripped out of the grains, leaving only carbohydrate fuel behind that can add to weight problems and blood glucose regulation. Artificial Food Additives The array of artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives and taste enhancers used in food manufacturing has become alarming. Many of these compounds can be detrimental to health, increasing inflammation in the body that can lead to heart disease and stroke. In addition, the toxic effects on the liver and kidneys can also cause long-term problems. Read labels carefully and choose organic and “no additive” foods to protect yo ur body against these synthetic chemicals. Alcohol Alcohol is high in calories, but offer no nutritional value. Your consumption of alcohol can undermine your efforts at weight loss and puts additional strain on kidneys and the liver. Although some studies suggest moderate use of alcohol can help reduce the risk of heart disease, one or two drinks can easily lead to more. Eliminating daily consumption of alcohol can improve your overall health and ability to resist disease. Avoiding these 8 foods can prevent a variety of medical problems that can affect your quality of life and your lifespan. Choose alternatives that provide better nutrient content and fewer toxic effects on the body.

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