Beyond the scale: What to eat to lower your risk for 3 health issues

Dr. Jennifer Ashton and nutritionist Maya Feller discuss some foods you should add to every meal to reduce your risk of heart disease, dementia and cancer.
4:17 | 10/13/17

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Transcript for Beyond the scale: What to eat to lower your risk for 3 health issues
Now to our series "Beyond the scale" and this morning, we're revealing the perfect plate. The healthy foods that could help ward off heart deed, dementia and cancer and our nutrition dream team is back. Our senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton and registered dietitian and nutritionist Maya feller. All right. Good morning. Good morning, everybody. We'll get you involved. We're going to get the audience involved. Yep. You didn't know you were going to be -- there was going to be an exam. A little quiz. This is the first question I want to ask our audience. True or false, the leading cause of death in the U.S. Is heart disease. True or false. Got a lot of trues. A lot of trues. A couple false. We have a good audience so the answer is true. This is the number one killer of men and women in this country and in the world. The bad news is there are a lot of risk factors that are existing right now. The good news is you can see some of them, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, some pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes an I want to point out and take a look at this picture, you guys. There is a condition called acanthis. Hosis, darking or velvety appearance behind the neck or armpits or groins. That is not dirt, so if you see that on yourself or someone else, get checked for diabetes because that is one of the biggest modifiable risk factors for preventing heart disease. Can food help in this regard too? Oh, absolutely. So what I want to highlight here is that this beautiful plate actually can help reduce the risk of many diet related chronic illnesses. I'll focus on heart disease. For that it's all about reducing the added sugars. We know when you eat more added sugars you have more circulating fat in your bloodstream, right. So what we're going to say here is focus on things that are cardio protective like this gorgeous salad with a little bit of avocado and berries here, berries over here, as well. All right. Let's go to our next question for our great audience. Are you ready? Do you have your paddles? Question number two, the number of people living with dementia is 47 million worldwide. That number will double in 2050. True or false? Will double in 2050? Y'all, you think, true? Okay. Think again. This is kind of -- a trick question. You've right it's all going up but it's false because it's actually going to triple. So this is something to be clear, dementia is a form of memory issue, cognitive decline and can affect our day-to-day life. Alzheimer's is the most common. There are risk factors we break up in mid-life, again, high blood pressure, obesity, hearing loss is an associated risk factor. When you get to later life you're talking about things that are a lot of times under our capacity to modify, smoking, depression, being physically inactive. Being socially isolated and, again, diabetes. So that is the good news is that there are things that are good for the heart also good for the brain. And good news diet is concerned for this. There's always good news with diet. One of the things we look at is anti-inflammatory foods. We want to cut pro-inglamty foods and focus on foods that help increase healthy blood flow to the brain. Here what we're going to see is nice healthy lean proteins, but I'm going to focus on the nuts and the seeds, right? Again, as well as the avocado. Now, alcohol comes into play. A glass of red wine in moderation, the recommendation if you are a drinker is one glass for women, two for men. I have to point out you can't save up till the end of the week, right? It's not like Saturday you can have -- Why are you looking at me when you say that. I'm just saying. Definitely not. Okay. We just have like 30 seconds left. Cancer. The cancer, the bottom line you guys is that 40% of cancer is attributed to obesity so, again, all of these things that are good for the heart, good for the brain can cut your risk of at least ten different types of obesity-related cancer. Final word. Get those veggies in. Look at this plate. More than half your plate is vegetables. Get it. My favorite. Me too. I'm going to do that as well. You know what I like.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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