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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

HEALTHY BY CHOICE OR BY CHANCE?

HEALTHY BY CHOICE OR BY CHANCE?
Article featured in SUCCESS FROM HOME, Volume 2, Issue 10
 
Leaving your health to chance is like playing Russian roulette. If you're a man, the chance of you developing cancer during your lifetime is now 1-in-2 (American Cancer Society). If you're a woman, your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or stroke is 1-in-2.6 (American Heart Association). There is also a 1-in-3 chance you, or someone you know, will develop Alzheimer's disease. And the statistics for diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity and other life-destroying conditions are just as discouraging. We are dying too quickly.
 
Yet none of us has to leave our health to chance.
 
By making healthy lifestyle choices, improving our diets and taking nutritional supplements, we can build the foundation for long and healthful lives. We can also enjoy a better quality of life in the process, with greater freedom from pain and sickness - and more energy to do what we love. And we can be an inspiration to our families and friends, guiding them to improve their health too. The choice truly is ours.
 
Two major factors increase our likelihood of succumbing to disease. The firs is exposure to toxins, and the second is a lack of good nutrition. While we may not have much control over the levels of toxins we are exposed to, we can control what we eat.
 
DEADLY DIETARY HABITS
 
Studies confirm that eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats contributes to heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and premature aging.
 
By far, the most important way to reduce toxicity in your body is through wise dietary choices. The standard American diet (SAD) is loaded with pesticides, artificial sweeteners and flavors, chemical preservatives and coloring, genetically modified ingredients, trans fats and more, all of which are poisonous to our bodies. Yet many Americans simply aren't aware of the consequences of their daily dietary choice. Take sodas, for instance. Sodas account for one-quarter of the beverages consumed in the United States each year. One can of soda contains about 10 teaspoons of refined sugar- or 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Amount for sugar. Countless studies confirm that eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates (including sugar) contributes to heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and premature aging. Sodas also contain phosphoric acid, which interferes with your body's ability to make use of calcium and other nutrients, increasing your risk of osteoporosis and tooth decay. Many consumers opt for diet sodas, considering them a healthier choice. But, the artificial sweetener aspartame, found in most diet drinks, has been linked with dozens of health issues, including diabetes, emotional disorders, birth defects, brain tumors, and epilepsy. Drinking soda is just one of the ways in which we over load our system with toxins and deplete it of essential nutrients, making our bodies struggle to stay well.
 
Fat is another  dietary red flag. While we need a certain amount of good-quality fat in our diet (especially omega-3 fatty acids), eating the wrong kinds of fats can be devastating to health, including trans fats. They are artificially produced by combining vegetable oils with hydrogen through a process known as hydrogenation. The result is a substance that is foreign and toxic to the body. Trans fats are found in most junk foods, including French fries, fried chicken, donuts, cookies and pastries, as well as many margarines. Eating a diet high in trans fats is known to increase LDL, or "bad," cholesterol levels, decrease HDL, or "good," cholesterol levels, clog arteries, and contribute to heart disease and diabetes. As of this year, the FDA requires food manufactures to list trans fats on their Nutrition Fact labels, These fats may appear as "shortening," "hydrogenated oil" or "partially hydrogenated oil." Any food item that includes trans fats-especially if they are high on its ingredient list- is best avoided.
 
SHOCKING STATISTICS
  • Every 26 seconds, an American mom or woman suffers a coronary event.
  • 71 million Americans have one or more types of cardiovascular disease.
  • 30 percent of teenagers show signs of artherosclerosis (or thickening of the arteries), setting them up for an early heart attack of stroke.
  • Every two minutes another American woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • 16 percent of our children are obese- dramatically increasing their risk of disease and early death.
  • 1 in 2 women over 50, and 1 in 4 men, will have an osteoporosis related bone fracture
  • Every minute in the United States someone dies from a coronary event.
  • The estimated direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease in the United States this year is $403.1 billion.
Sources: American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Osteoporosis Foundation and New England Journal of Medicine.
 
BUILDING A GOOD FOUNDATION
 
By making healthy lifestyle choices, we can build a foundation for along and healthful life.
 
Just as important as avoiding unhealthy food items is choosing to emphasize good ones. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats and whole grains can provide a good nutritional foundation on which to build. Buying pesticide-free, organically grown and raised foods whenever possible is also wise.
 
But even a diet of mostly organic foods may not provide the full spectrum of nutrients our bodies need daily. This is because our soils are deficient in certain minerals, such as selenium, so crops and livestock raised on these soils are also naturally deficient. In addition, the body's supply of essential nutrients is rapidly used up by exposure to pollution, as well as stress, and common daily practices. Drinking alcohol, eating candy and taking certain prescription drugs, for instance, can deplete your body's supply of B vitamins. We need B vitamins for various functions, including energy production. When we don't get enough of them, we feel tired and overwrought. Dozens of other vitamins and minerals are also needed to support the body's numerous functions and maintain optimal health. When even one essential nutrient is missing from your diet, health can suffer. Because it's so hard to ensure nutrient needs from diet alone, health authorities, including the American Medical Association, recommend taking a daily multivitamin.
 
When choosing a multivitamin, opt for one that includes plenty of antioxidants and phytonutrients. These compounds are our best defense against free radicals and play a vital role in protecting health at a cellular level. Exposure to toxins from the environment or from our diet generates free radicals. These unstable molecules wreak havoc in cells, causing damage and mutation. Replenishing your supply of antioxidants daily, with the help of a high-quality nutritional supplement that emphasizes antioxidants, is one of the most valuable health maintenance moves you can make.
 
Not everyone is ready to make dramatic lifestyle changes overnight. Yet each small step you take to improve your health can have a snowball effect on your overall well being. Introducing nutritional supplements into your diet, for instance, can give you the energy you need to become more physically active. Working out regularly can inspire you to change your diet-maybe cut back on sugar, or alcohol or caffeine. As you do, your level of health continues to rise, and you discover there is really no limit to how good you can feel. You face your annual medical checkups with confidence. Losing excess weight, which once seemed impossible, happens naturally. Instead of living in fear of developing heart disease or cancer, you look forward to enjoying good health for years to come.
 
Then, you are no longer gambling with your health. You are healthy by Choice.
 
 
This article came from Success From Home, Volume 2, Issue 10
 
 
Share the Health,
Karen Herrmann-Doolan, NSP District Manager 
Nature's Sunshine Herb Specialist 
Natural Health Educator
O: 704-966-6645
H: 704-588-7638
 
Visit my Nature's Sunshine Online Store:
www.mynsp.com/herbsplus  
Learn about the Body Systems 
www.herbsplus4health.com
Check out my Health & Nutrition Blog!
 
Enjoy Nature's Sunshine 100% Pure High Quality Herbal Nutrition Everyday!
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