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You Are What You Eat

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You Are What You Eat

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His creation is filled with a wonderful variety of tasty, nourishing, healthful foods. However, the same appetites that add to life's pleasure can, if misused, make us ill. Of all health practices and habits, diet is the area where we can help ourselves the most.

A growing problem is the increasing consumption of junk food as a regular part of our diet. This is the result of eating out more often and serving ready-made packaged foods at home.

Use of prepared foods gives us less control over what we eat, and many such foods are laden with fat and salt. Eating habits based on these foods "can bring with them heart disease, strokes and cancer, the so-called diseases of affluence that accompany the adoption of high-fat, low-exercise "Western lifestyles'" (Newsweek, June 1, 1998).

Such dietary practices also cause weight problems, a major contributor to serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. A low-fat diet has been shown to be the key to weight control, according to studies by Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine.

According to the American Cancer Society, about one third of the 500,000 cancer-related deaths in the United States each year are because of dietary factors. Once again, foods that are high in fat are a problem. High-fat diets have been linked with an elevation of cancer of the colon, rectum, prostate, endometrium and even the lungs. High levels of meat consumption may bring susceptibility to colon cancer.

Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans can reduce the risk of cancer. These foods are all rich in fiber and low in fat. They also contain many beneficial vitamins and minerals.

The evidence for the benefits of eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is overwhelming. "Scientists argue about many issues, but everybody agrees that increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases" (University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, February 1995).