Public enemy number one is still heart disease. It's the top killer in the U.S., followed closely by cancer.
But as I've written many times, the top killers all have the same underlying causes. And one of those is something that very few medical students will ever hear mentioned in a classroom.
A major study published earlier this year showed us something alarming... that across the world, one main underlying cause of death was actually a person's diet.
Now, I want to preface this by saying many of the diseases we face – heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's – all have multiple causes. Cancer in particular is a multifactorial disease. That's what makes it so difficult to treat.
But as my friend Dr. Param Dedhia has written, nutrition provides us with the building blocks we need for good health. If we give our bodies "good" blocks, we'll have good health. But if we give our body "bad" blocks, we get disease and dysfunction.
The massive study looked at folks in 195 countries over a 27-year period. They investigated 11 million deaths and 255 million disability-adjusted years (basically a count for shortening lifespan because of some disability, including diseases like diabetes).
The researchers quantified 15 different foods and nutrients based on whether they contributed to any increased risk of premature death. They chose these 15 foods from previously documented studies that linked them directly to certain diseases.
Of those, three dietary trends pointed to significantly shorter lives and greater disease: high intake of sodium, low intake of whole grains, and low intake of fruits. These three things accounted for 50% of deaths in the study...
1. Sodium. I've lobbied against the nanny police regulating salt for years. That's one of the biggest sources of sodium. That's because too little salt is just as dangerous as too much. (you can read more on that here.)
The problem, though, is that sodium hides in many of the processed foods that cause damage to our bodies. If you eat any frozen meals, deli meat, bread, or soda... you're ingesting more sodium than you might realize. That's because foods that don't taste salty (like Diet Coke) still contain salt.
You don't want to cut out salt entirely, but be sure to get it through natural, whole foods like eggs and fish. By eliminating processed foods like pre-packaged baked goods, frozen meals, and snack foods, you'll not only get a better amount of salt, but also fewer trans fats that cause inflammation.
2. Whole grains. These are a great part of your diet, but pay attention to the word "whole" here. You want to eat things like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oats (like steel cut oatmeal). These foods improve your blood sugar control. That means your risk for diabetes drops.
One of the reasons is the soluble fiber in whole grains. One study in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that people on a high-fiber diet (50 grams of fiber per day – the equivalent of 11 apples) had a 10% lower level of sugar in their blood compared with those on a moderate-fiber diet (24 grams a day – the equivalent of about five-and-a-half apples).
What's more, getting plenty of fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables also helps prevent colon cancer.
3. Fruit. Along with the fiber mentioned above, getting enough fruit is vital to our health and wellbeing. That's because fruits contain antioxidants that fight inflammation and keep our immune systems strong.
You may know about my lifelong love of blueberries. They pack the most bang for your buck – powerful nutrients and strong antioxidants make them an excellent choice (plus they taste great). But other great choices include lemons, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, apples, and bananas.
The main concern of this study is that policy can't just focus on cutting sugar and fat (though that's an important step if it's trans-fat). It should instead also focus on increasing good foods as well – increasing fruit and whole grain consumption. Above all, we need to be more mindful about eating whole foods instead of processed meals and getting enough of different types of food. The more varied your diet, the more nutrient-building blocks you give to your body.
One last point: Despite findings like this that highlight the importance of diet, medical students spend next to no time learning about nutrition. It simply isn't taught in medical school.
That's why you need to empower yourself. Taking control of your own health starts by understanding what's on your plate and what's going on in your body.
If you want to really change your diet and your health in 2020, then I have a special, limited time offer for you. Join me, Steve Sjuggerud, and Dr. Param Dedhia for an exclusive Stansberry Immersion Week at Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort.
Included in your stay are all of your meals – which are not just tasty, but well-balanced for the best nutrition. You can enjoy over 40 daily activities on the Ranch property; exclusive access to Wellness Architects™ who are renowned experts in areas of medicine, exercise, nutrition, mental health, and spiritual wellness; and access to special sessions with me and Steve Sjuggerud, along with other Stansberry subscribers.
We're selling out quickly, but if you really want to change your life in 2020, this is the best way to do it.
Find out more details here: stansberryimmersion.com or call our dedicated sales team at 800-385-0754. I hope to see you in Tucson soon!
What We're Reading...
- You can access the full study right here.
- Something different: Our flu season is off to a strange start.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
December 17, 2019