We are surrounded by hundreds of products that are deleterious to our health, including foods, beverages, aerosols, and chemicals for our kitchen and bathrooms, that are toxic to our body. This had led to the rise in the incidence of various forms of illnesses, from respiratory (emphysema, asthma, COPD, etc.), cardiovascular (high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, etc), metabolic (diabetes II, thyroid disease, etc) and cancers of various organs.
We have polluted our environment (land, air and water) and destroyed our forests which have caused climate changes, like global warming, that has brought more typhoons, earthquakes, flooding, tsunamis, and other natural disasters around the world. With irreverence and carelessness, we have damaged the only hospitable planet known to man today. How much more insult Mother Earth could take before it disintegrates and kills all living organisms on it, only the future will tell.
However, this phenomenon of self-destruction appears to be inherent in the human species, not generally found among other mammals or animals with smaller brains and are “less intelligent” than us. These animals, including our pets at home, if offered, would not touch tobacco or alcohol, let alone become addicted to them. Animals stay away from the so-called air freshener aerosols and any fumes. Their instinct tells them these are harmful. But many of us, intelligent humans, spend our money to expose ourselves to these toxic chemicals in our cars or at home. And many of us are also careless when it comes to foods we eat.
Wheat, rye, spelt, barley are loaded with gluten, which is hard to digest and which the immune system considers foreign invader in the digestive tract, causing the body to attack not only gluten but the wall of the intestines itself, damaging it. This is what happens in persons with Celiac Disease, which affects about 1 percent of the population. Many more people are sensitive to gluten. Wheat has a high glycemic index which causes blood sugar level to shoot up fast, which is bad for any of us, and more especially so for diabetics. Wheat contains phytic acid which binds with iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and prevents these essential nutrients from being absorbed. Wheat also drastically increases LDL, the bad cholesterol. There are studies that link wheat (gluten) ingestion to brain diseases, like cerebellar ataxia and Schizophrenia among those highly sensitive to gluten.
Low glycemic foods are healthier
White rice, bread, fruits, fruit juices, and most desserts, are the enemy of diabetics, pre- or borderline diabetics, those who are overweight, and those who do not want to gain weight. These items are loaded with carbohydrates with high glycemic. They are digested and absorbed very rapidly causing blood glucose (sugar) to spike in an unhealthy manner. While moderation in fruits is nutritionally acceptable, rice, bread and fruit juices are medically, not essential food items. Try to eliminate these 3 from your diet for one full week and see how fast your weight (and waistline) goes down. It would be tough to stay away from rice and bread, but scientifically we could be healthier without them. Among us, Asians, rice is a major culprit (other carbs, secondary) why we have an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, one of the highest in the world.
Processed foods are health hazards
Processed foods, especially processed meats (sausage, bacon, etc.) frozen or in cans, with all the chemical additives and preservatives in them, have been linked to cancer, besides cardiovascular diseases. Eating the burned black (charcoal) portion of barbeque meats or vegetables have been associated with pancreatic cancer. These charred parts, which are carcinogenic (cancer-causing), must be trimmed and not eaten. Eating red meat daily has been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular illnesses such as heart attack and stroke and also the risk for cancer.
Warning on HFC Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is now being banned in the United States. It is a common sweetener in fruit-flavored drinks, soft drinks, fruit jams and jellies, and some other food items. It is suspected that the body might react differently to this sweetener. Its consumption has been linked to the increased in the levels of obesity, diabetes II, metabolic syndrome, high triglyceride level, cardiovascular illnesses, dental diseases, and even Alzheimer’s. While reading food labels in grocery stores, it is wise to make sure the food item does not contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), gluten, and chemical preservatives.
Soft drinks are toxic
Soft drinks, cola or uncola, regular or caffeine-free, diet or not, are unhealthy and toxic to our body, especially to children. The deleterious effects are not immediately obvious but eventually, they lead to metabolic syndrome and increase the risks for the development of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and even cancer.
Margarine and transfat
Margarine is also on the list of food we should stay away from because of the transfat in most of them. Australia came out with margarine that has no transfat. Canola-based margarine with phytosterols, no transfat, is the healthier margarine. Some quarters believe butter, in moderation, is safer than margarine.
Warning on food supplements
Food supplements, “health juices,” and untested herbals flood the market with baseless claims they are essential to our health or are effective cures for a multitude of diseases. This billion-dollar industry has only one goal: To rake in the money of the unsuspecting and gullible consumers. They can get away with it because they are not regulated by health agencies. Almost 99 percent of them are useless and not needed by our body. We can live a healthier life without them. Living a healthy lifestyle and taking one multivitamin/mineral tablet plus vitamin D3 once a day will be a lot cheaper and safer than taking those food supplements, which our body does not need and which may even have disastrous side-effects in the long run.
Vegetables, nuts, oat meal, whole grains, lentils (various color legumes, beans, which are high proteins, as in Mediterranean diet), spices (garlic, onion, pepper, curry, cumin, basil, etc.), egg white, tofu, fresh wild-caught fish (not farmed-raised), virgin olive oil, canola oil, are most of the food items that can bolster our immune system and help us maintain good health.
As far as red meat is concerned, trimming the fat away and preferably not barbequed, and consuming it in moderation (as in 2 to 3 times a week) or totally abstaining from it, is the recommended option, since red meat is not an essential food item as a source of protein.
A healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, daily physical exercises, abstinence from tobacco, and moderation in alcohol intake, are the main ingredients in the recipe for good health and maximal longevity. Although genetic factor plays a role, science has found that the environmental component (like lifestyle) can outweigh the impact of our genes. Thus, our health is really in our hands. The “choice” is ours.
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