An essential element of a healthy lifestyle is a well-balanced diet. By taking diet supplements, such as vitamins, and by avoiding foods that are high in fat and sugar a person will typically be able to reduce the chances of acquiring certain health risks. The USDA food pyramid is representative of a balanced diet, detailing the daily recommended servings of typical foods.
In order to make a quick determination as to one's appropriate weight level, view the BMI Calculator. As a comparison of the ratio of height to weight, Body Mass Index (BMI) is considered a standard for measuring whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. Although the level fluctuates for different ages, it can give a good approximation of the desired ratio. Also, to view the government's standards for the appropriate intake of various substances per day, view the RDA Chart.
While excessive levels of fat and sugar have both been associated with weight gain, fat has also been determined to increase the risk of other health problems. Heart disease and cancers have been associated with a high fat intake. Studies have shown that populations in which the average intake of fat is lower than in others, the average lifespan tends to increase. Simple measures include draining fat off of meat when cooking, reducing high fat foods (e.g. eating fewer potato chips), and substituting fatty items during mealtimes. When eating out, for example, order cooked vegetables as a side dish instead of french fries.
In recent years there has been a growing support for the implementation of multi-vitamins and other supplements into the daily diet. Certain vitamins have been shown through studies to reduce the incidence of certain cancers, while antioxidants (e.g. vitamin C and E) may prevent free radicals from damaging cells within the body. Such damage over time is believed to be one cause of aging. As a result, some researchers believe that by consuming antioxidants, the aging process will be slowed (This has not been defintively proven.). In addition, herbal remedies - long popular in Asia - have finally reached stores in the United States. Although little medical research has been done to justify their function, there is a growing evidence that some may be beneficial to a sense of well-being for some people.