Frankly, the impact of nutrition on long-term health cannot be overstated. Given the extremely aggressive marketing of the food and dietary supplements industries, however, how are we supposed to separate quality nutrition supplements from junk? How can we reliably evaluate foods for their nutritional value? How can we discern between deceptive marketing practices and actual nutritious food? More importantly: how does eating nutritious food improve your life over the long-term?
First, take an honest look at your eating and exercise habits. How much physical activity do you get in a given week? Consider things like your profession: if you have a sedentary job, what can you do to work more physical activity into your daily routine? Regular exercise and healthy dieting are core principles of living a preventive lifestyle. Physicians advocate living a preventive lifestyle to help reduce the risk of cancer, as well as the “diseases of affluence” such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Combining a healthy diet with regular exercise will enhance the effectiveness of both.
You may also wish to examine nutrition labels when purchasing food. Counting calories and documenting macronutrient (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) consumption has never been easier. Several free online weight loss websites now host calorie counters with an extraordinary inventory of both natural and processed foods. By keeping a food diary you can actually measure the calories in the foods and beverages you consume. These free calorie counters also often have ways to individualize weight loss plans and nutritional goals by allowing you to customize your height, weight, gender, age, and physical activity level. Additionally, these calorie counters may feature advice regarding macronutrient profiles for different nutritional goals, such as building muscle, losing a predetermined amount of weight quickly, or recovery from nutritional deficiencies. In all cases, be certain to consult your physician prior to starting a regimen of nutritional supplements or beginning a new diet.
Perhaps not surprisingly, healthy dieting and proper weight management are considered preventive medicine. Many countries with universal coverage (socialized health insurance funded primarily through public tax revenue) advocate preventive lifestyles as a form of preventive medicine, with some individual companies offering incentives (such as cheaper insurance) for employees who meet health goals. The passage of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare or the ACA) in 2010, designed to lower healthcare costs and increase access to healthcare services, has also spurred debate in the United States over similar corporate measures. Whether or not more companies choose to establish nutritional goals as a means of preventive medicine remains to be seen.