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Healthy lifestyle

I'm a female in my 20s. I really want to improve my health. I'm not unhealthy but I want to start eating right so that I can remain healthy as I get older. I weigh around 116. What should I be eating to make sure my heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol are in excellent conditions? I would also like to avoid foods that lead to diabetes. I'm not familiar at all with eating properly, or a healthy diet. My last doctors visit was really good, all my stats were great, but I know I eat a lot of junk food. My eating habits are terrible, so I'm surprised that I have been able to maintain good health. My dad had diabetes and was slim just like me when he was younger. I thought about becoming a vegan, but my doctor recommended against it.
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Avatar universal
Also I love fruit. I do eat apples, oranges, and grapes consistently. Also I drink a gallon of water a day. I add a lemon to one of my water bottles every morning, or I squeeze the juice of two lemons and drink it alone. I still have a horrible diet, which is my main concern
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Avatar universal
Mediterranean diet improves your cardiovascular health.
keeping cholesterol down and preventing blocked arteries.
Your lipid profile, determined with a blood test, compares your total cholesterol with the levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, another type of fat.
The diet keeps you on good fats, like olive oil, fatty fish, and nuts. Foods high in saturated fat, like red meat, on the other hand, are rarely eaten. lean animal proteins, and heavy plant-based proteins like beans and legumes.

http://allrecipes.com/recipes/healthy-recipes/special-diets/mediterranean-diet/

I think Paxiled doesn't like this diet but I do!
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Avatar universal
It's not that I don't like the diet, it's that it doesn't exist -- the diet cited as Mediterranean isn't, as I keep repeating, there are different cultures all along the area and they don't eat the same but all tend to eat healthier than Americans do.  But it's not a diet, and there are some problems in it, such as an extreme abundance of nightshades and so a lot of arthritis.  That's why they did the nightshade studies in Italy -- the Mediterranean Diet.  My point is that this diet might be fine for some people and not for others -- the biggest difference between us is you tend to generalize from websites that are really selling something and I tend to take a more individualized approach, meaning what's good for one isn't necessarily good for another.  I just think it's best to borrow what's best from all cultures rather than focus in on something that's currently getting a lot of publicity but probably will fade from popularity as all diets do, but the general principles stay the same over time.  That's why I always tell people to find the diet that suits them, not a generalization of any kind.
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Avatar universal
I think you've answered your own question -- you know what you're doing wrong, you just need the spark to change.  A big question you didn't answer is, did you Dad have childhood diabetes or Type !!?  And you're overdoing the fruit if you're concerned about blood sugar -- fruit is very high in sugar, so it's best eaten in moderation.  Go with vegetables instead for your antioxidants.  The best thing to do is start reading -- read about macrobiotics, the so-called Mediterranean diet, the so-called paleo diet, all kinds of foods, then try something.  See how it suits you.  And stay flexible so you don't stress over it.  The problem is, it's much easier to say what to avoid than what to eat -- I don't think anyone really knows the best way to eat for you to a scientific certainty, unfortunately, so do the best you can and remember not to eliminate fun and variety.
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Avatar universal
Oh, and never take nutritional advice from a doctor.  They don't actually study nutrition in the way you're thinking about it.  I'm not much on being vegan, but if that's what works best for you, that's what works best for you.  Your doctor isn't the right person to take such advice from.  But do keep in mind that the vegan diet started as an ideological thing, not a health thing.  I just don't believe in eating ideologically as if we're not animals but somehow a higher species.  I just don't believe that's accurate.
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Avatar universal
Thanks so much for your advice....I'm mainly confused about what foods to stay away from. I guess I could google, but that doesn't give me much insight either. My doctor only advised me against becoming a vegan. He said there are other ways to maintain good health without doing so. Should I be avoiding breads, cheese, starch, pasta? Should I avoid sugar all together? I spoke to a nutrition before when I was younger that told me that eating an apple and orange everyday is not harmful. Actually told me green apples are good for maintaining sugar levels...not sure the correct terminology for that. Now I should avoid fruits? I'm underweight for my height and age, so I was told. In excellent health. I work out and burn a lot of calories daily with two rest days.



I guess I am mainly looking for what foods to avoid, cut out of my eating habits. Very self disciplined, I've already cut back on junk food and plan on eating sweets/candy maybe once twice a month until I can cut them out completely.
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Avatar universal
Buy the book Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter MD.
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Avatar universal
Don't be an extremist, look to moderation not austerity.  Fruits are great, but in moderation.  No fruit is a bad idea, a large amount is also a bad idea although some think it's fine in tropical climates.  A moderate amount.  Same with sugar -- no sweets would be boring, but too much is a bad idea.  White flour is a bad idea, wheat and dairy are bad ideas, but that doesn't mean never, it just means they shouldn't be part of the regular diet, just an occasional thing (some would say yoghurt is okay).  Some cheeses are better for digestion than others -- it's not a never thing.  Feta made of sheep's milk is much better for you than anything made of cow's milk, for example.  Pasta is a big category, but most people only think in terms of white flour wheat pasta.  There are lots of options -- whole grain pastas made of spelt or brown rice or seed pastas made of quinoa are fine.  Bread is mostly a wheat problem, but again, whole grain breads made of spelt don't generally pose the same problem.  Ethiopians have a grain called teff they make a flat bread called injira out of that is wonderful.  It all depends, and it's very complicated when you're just learning.  So this is an opportunity for you to do some research, read some books, make some decisions -- it's a fun opportunity, not something to stress over.  Good hunting.
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Avatar universal
Its always grwat to take a step in the direction of better health. What would you lkke to fet out of your better nutrition? Stronger,  slimmer, more energy etc?
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