Priority one: Making good meal choices should supply all the nutrients needed for proper health. Nature has packaged all the needed variety of nutrients in more or less proper amounts. Unfortunately, soil fertility, fertilizer use, production methods, processing techniques, handling and storage, and cooking methods all influence the nutrient content of food, often unfavorably. Selective seed hybrids and genetic modifications have also played havoc with food composition. Soy lost its alpha linolenic fatty acid content (omega-3). Wheat lost 25% of its protein and when made into white flour, looses 75% of its magnesium, some B vitamins which are not added back as part of the enrichment program, and most of its fiber. Organically grown foods are a step in the right direction especially for the positive effects on the environment.
POSITIVE MENTAL THOUGHTS
Positive mental thoughts send good messengers throughout the body. Through the action of the endocrine system, positive thoughts can favorably influence body processes such as digestion. Unfortunately, negative thoughts and stress can also affect body functions, often in the wrong direction. The family unit should be one of the primary builders of positive mental messengers.
Muscle movement activities create positive body responses. This is perhaps the most powerful area of influence on health parameters. Exercise increased bone density 16% while extra calcium showed only a 1% increase. Exercise increases the oxygen flow to the cells for proper respiratory functions and to the brain for increased mood support. One of the little known but very important functions of muscle action is to aid the lymphatic system circulation. Lymph does not flow out of a limb at rest. Lymph is one of the most important house cleaning factors of the body. Bacteria trying to exit from an infection site are captured and destroyed by the lymph system army that also produces antibodies to help fight at the infection site.
Muscle movement will help increase your fitness, but, without proper nutrition, it will not make you totally healthy. There are many stories of young professionally "fit" athletes who suddenly have a heart attack or stroke.
Intelligent use of dietary supplements has the potential to offset the increased challenges of today's environmental minefield. Not just content to fill in nutritional gaps missing from foods, supplements are harnessing the very essence of natural foods to dramatically increase health parameters. Nutritional elements such as punicalagins from pomegranate juice, lignans from flaxseeds, and sulforaphane glucosinolate (SDS) from broccoli. Of course, the traditional vitamins and minerals still play a vital role too. Supplements should only have to supply a fraction of nutrients with priority one proper food choices. Caution: Supplements also have the ability to quickly upset proper nutritional balances since they are quite concentrated. This aspect is largely ignored in today's informational marketplace.
SOCIAL, COMMUNITY, AND SPIRITUAL ASPECTS
Life experiences are enriched through our involvement and relationships with family, friends, and community. Having a spiritual life purpose is the rudder to give direction and meaning to living, especially connecting with your work. They are all necessary factors to create harmony and health.
PREPARATION for HEALTH
Olympic athletes prepare for many years to get ready for competition. Tiger Woods prepared his whole growing up life before becoming the number one golfer. In America, health is not a given birthright. It may never have been. You have to prepare to withstand the many health challenges. Human survival instincts have unfortunately long ago vanished. Applied proper health knowledge is now your best tool. The question is, where do you find this level of knowledge? And how should it be applied?
DEGREE OF HEALTH
You are the master of your own degree of health. Every choice you make in life affects your health, now and in the future. While recognizing that genetics does of course play a role, your decisions can often significantly modify that predetermined level of influence. Given the choice, what level of health did you choose?
The "standard" lifestyle and dietary fair in the United States today will dictate that decision for you if you let it. Unfortunately, it will choose a very low degree of health, perhaps giving you less than a 10% chance of a healthy life and a natural death. Quality of life changes happen every year, even everyday. It's really not just about the quantity of life, but more importantly about the quality that is determined by your choices. Today's choices influence tomorrow's health.
American Food production methods, which are under the control of the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Agency, appear to have forsaken quality for quantity to help feed the masses. An inexpensive food supply for economic stability has governed food as health issues. Growth hormones and special grain feed mixes increase weight gain in animals but compromise health to the degree that antibiotics have to be routinely given. Synthetic fertilizers increase crop growth rates but lessen the plants resistance to diseases and insect infestations which necessitates more chemical sprays.
SideBar: There is criminal behavior happening right before our eyes in every community of the nation, and now rapidly spreading throughout the rest of the world. The book, "The Fast Food Nation" tells the crime. This criminal activity allows children to become obese and suffer needlessly from numerous diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular, and even cancers. Every adult has to shoulder some of the blame.
Our free market enterprise system has a major flaw. In order for it to function properly, people have to be educated to make appropriate food choices concerning health. Our schools, our government, and our health professionals are all failing in their charge to educate and develop healthy citizens. This is not a political party thing. It's not a money thing. It is just a simple diet and lifestyle informational issue. Food advertising and marketing is pychologically underminding our children's chances for a healthy life. Schools make money selling the very foods they know are prime disease causing contributors, not to mention brain numbing as well. Everyone just wants to look away and pretend it's someone else's problem. Economics over health. Get involved TODAY.
Current food production methods not only compromise the food's quality by altering nutrient levels and adding chemical residues, but they also create environmental problems, especially in downstream water quality. While the governmental agencies have strict rules and monitor residue allowances, one area that receives very little attention is in the accumulative effect of all the little amounts of contaminates allowed added together. Testing just one factor at a time, such as the effect of the growth rBGH hormone used to increase cows' milk production, often overlooks the synergistic effects of elements or chemicals in other foods that might have that same influence.
Perhaps the best example of an accumulative effect is from the world of plastics. That elements leach into foods from their plastic containers is not in question. They most certainly do. In fact, the government has established an average ingested amount for these plastic elements, called phthalates and the plastics industry has been developing methods to eliminate Phthalates from food containers. They know the danger. Phthalates are added to plastic to keep it soft and flexible, or make it rigid without breaking. The issue in question is at what level might these phthalates cause a reaction. The government is reporting that the levels humans are ingesting is many times less than the amounts animal studies show are necessary to create an adverse effect.
Since some phthalates are classified as hormone interrupters, they would influence any hormone related function, such as low sperm mobility, low fertility rates, to even damaged DNA in sperm. No effects have been observed in humans so far according to the National Institute of Health's Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction. But it does cause one to wonder why in Europe certain plastic baby toys have been banned.
The problem may be compounded by the pervasiveness of plastics into many different products, both consumed and non-consumed; From pacifiers, medical blood bags and IV tubes, coatings on fruits, vinyl floors, to almost all food packaging. Bottled water alone is available in many different types of plastic. Then, to add to the mix, many other chemicals have hormone disrupting actions such as PCBs, pesticides, alkylphenols (from detergents), and parabens (from personal care products). It is almost impossible to study the synergisms created by this wide array of environmental sources. Then there is the question of timing of exposure such as during fetal development and any effects this creates later in life. To learn more about this, the following reference has an index of studies and governmental reports you might find of interest. ref ref It is generally agreed in the scientific community that the benefits of plastic outweigh the risk. This risk reward mentality should be communicated to the consuming public so they can either accept or reject plastic use, especially during critical pregnancy and early childhood development.
RightWay's take: When opportunities are available to limit plastic food contact, use them. Opt for non-vinyl floors and forgo plastic shower curtains for cloth. Use glass instead of plastic drinking cups. Buy water in glass, or change it out of plastic as fast as possible. Do not give plastic toys to a baby during the "everything in the mouth" stage. Especially avoid plastics during pregrency and around young children. A little precaution may be the face of valor.