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Follow the Basics of a Healthy Diet to Reduce Health Risks

Aug 17, 2007
Most Americans are aware of the fact that they should make changes in their diet will lower the risk of chronic disease. Scientists estimate that 40 percent of all cancer in men, and 60 percent in women, is related to their diet. Diet has also been related to the development of heart disease. So, what are the nutrients that will reduce those risks?

There are some basic rules you should try to follow in planning your daily diet:

* Keep your total fat intake at or below 30 percent of your total calories.
* Limit your intake of saturated fats to no more than 10 percent of your calories.
* Limit your intake of dietary cholesterol to no more that 300 mg per day.
* Get at least 55 percent of your total calories from carbohydrates - grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits.
* Protein should include only 12 to 15 percent of your daily calories and the protein should be low in fat.
* Balance the calories that you eat with the calories you burn in physical activity. The more active you are, the more you can eat.
* Avoid excessive sugar intake; it contributes to tooth decay and many foods high in sugar are also high in fat.
* Limit your sodium to no more than 2,400 mg per day - just a little more than a teaspoon of salt.
* Consume an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals, and try to get them from food instead of from supplements.
* Drink alcohol in moderation.

The best way to achieve these guidelines in your diet is to avoid foods that are high in fat, refined sugar and sodium, and to eat mostly those that are high in complex carbohydrates.

Nutrient and calorie needs vary from person ot person, depending upon their age, sex, body size and their level of physical activity. Most men, for example, need more calories to meet their larger body size.

The nutrition needs of children can vary widely - also according to their age, body size and the amount of exercise they get. Teenagers need at least three servings of calcium high foods such as milk, cheese or yogurt each day. Very young children may have higher nutritional needs that older children.

In the United United States the amount of a particular vitamin or mineral that is needed to keep a body healthy is defined by RDAs or Recommended Dietary Allowances. RDAs are recommendations, not requirements. Each person may need more or less of a particular nutrient. But, these recommendations are assumed to cover the nutritional needs of the majority of people.

Developing healthy eating habits isn't difficult. It just requires choosing foods that offer the best balance of nutrients for your body's needs.
About the Author
Jude Wright is an author and webmistress of multiple websites. Visit her Nutritious-Cooking.com site for nutrition information, healthy recipes and meal plans.
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