Dieting

Create a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating the right foods and the right amounts of foods can help you live a longer, healthier life. Research has proven that many illnesses—such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure—can be prevented or controlled by eating right. Getting the nutrients you need, such as calcium and iron, and keeping your weight under control can help. Try to balance the calories you get from food with the calories you use through physical activity (select for more information about physical activity). It is never too late to start eating right. Here are some helpful tips.

Eat a variety of food, especially:
Fruits. Choose citrus fruits or juices, melons, and berries.

Dry beans (such as red beans, navy beans, and soybeans), lentils, chickpeas, and peanuts.

Whole grains, such as wheat, rice, oats, corn, and barley.

Whole grain breads and cereals.

Eat foods low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, especially:
Fish.

Poultry prepared without skin; lean meat.

Low-fat dairy products.

Weight Control
Weighing too much or too little can lead to health problems. After age 45, many people gain too much weight. You can control your weight by eating healthy foods and being physically active. For more information, select the next section, “Physical Activity.”

Ask your health care professional:
What is a healthy weight for me?

What are some ways I can control my weight?

Keep track of your weight. Use your personal prevention chart.

Physical Activity
Research shows that physical activity can help prevent at least six diseases: heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity (excess weight), diabetes, osteoporosis, and mental disorders, such as depression. Physical activity also will help you feel better and stay at a healthy weight. Research suggests that brisk walking can be just as good for you as an activity such as jogging. Try to do a total of 30 minutes of constant physical activity, such as fast walking, most days of the week.

Before you start being physically active:
Talk with your doctor about ways to get started.

Choose something that fits into your daily life, such as walking, gardening, raking leaves, or even washing windows.

Choose an activity you like, such as dancing or swimming.

Try a new activity, like biking.

Ask a friend to start with you, or join a group.

Don’t quit:
Make time for physical activity, start slowly, and keep at it.

If the weather is bad, try an exercise show on TV, watch an exercise tape in your home, walk in the mall, or work around the house.