Eating to Stay Healthy for the Long

Few people fully appreciate the power of food in the prevention and treatment of the so-called diseases of aging, which are, in reality, diseases of inactivity and poor nutrition. In this day and age where people are taking all sorts of medications to lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure and to deal with other health concerns, we forget that, just as the wrong foods can be powerfully bad for your health, the right foods can be powerfully health protective. By eating wisely, you are investing in your good health and top performance; alternatively, you can eat poorly and end up with your poor health controlling you and your life.

No single medicine is as powerful as a healthful diet. Luckily, the wholesome foods you need to protect your health are the same foods that should be part of your sports diet. By routinely choosing the best sports foods, you'll be better able to enjoy lifelong health and high energy.

Confusion abounds about foods that are "good" or "bad" for your health. My clients repeatedly ask me, "What foods should I avoid?" My standard answer is that the only "bad" foods are foods that are moldy or poisonous (or foods you are allergic to); all other foods, in moderation, can be balanced into a healthful food plan.

Although there is no such thing as a bad food, there is a bad diet. Repeatedly eating meals and snacks of junk foods filled with saturated fat and refined sugars can, indeed, contribute to obesity, heart disease, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, kidney failure, and other diseases associated with excessive eating. As I outline in chapter 1, choosing a nutrition game plan based on wholesome grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean protein, and low-fat dairy foods—in addition to leading an active lifestyle—clearly invests in optimal health and sports performance. The purpose of this chapter is to help you make the best food choices for lifelong well-being.

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