In this era of health consciousness, people, in general, are seeking ways to live healthier and maximize longevity through prevention. This was one of the reasons why I wrote the book, Let’s Stop “Killing” Our Children, a primer on healthy lifestyle and disease prevention at the cellular (DNA-telomere) level pre-emptively and proactively to protect damages to our DNA and severely minimize the risk for the development of hypertension, diabetes T2, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.
Our society seems to have surrendered and accepted the development of these diseases as natural, matter of course, and normally expected as humans grow to midlife and older. There is nothing farther from the scientific truth.
No one needs (or is destined) to have high blood pressure or diabetes or any of the major cardiovascular illnesses, or even cancer. These are preventable to a great extent. And lifestyle plays a great role in what happens to our body and to our life. The strategy includes diet, exercise, and staying away from toxins and poisons, and anything harmful to our body.
Most diseases are “self-inflicted”
Have we programmed our mind and our being to self-destruct? Many of us, including the most educated ones, often disregard well-publicized evidence-based medical guides for a healthy life style. Although we know that a certain habit or practice or behavior is unhealthy, we still do it. Example of these involve three culprits: food, alcohol, and tobacco (FAT).
Scientific articles abound about the hazards of smoking, where zero tolerance is the rule, including vaping (e-cigarettes), which has been found to be as dangerous as regular cigarettes. Even the tobacco industry, indicted by the United States government, now admits that cigarettes are harmful to health and could cause various types of cancer, and yet many continue to smoke or vape.
Alcohol use is another: While it was medically recommended in the past that it was safe for non-pregnant women to have one drink a day, and men to have 2 drinks a day, new medical studies reveal that there is really no safe level of alcohol. Ethyl alcohol (the ingredient in our cocktails) is still an alcohol, which is toxic to our liver. Of course, it is a matter of dose, but why even have a tiny burn in our liver at all?
Occasionally, I love to have Beefeater’s Martini during lunch and Pinot Noir with my dinner especially during my younger years, but my burning GE reflux now punishes me when I indulge even with one drink. Perhaps, my liver and I should thank my acid-reflux for my abstinence today.
Diet of confusion
The various types of so-called healthy diet is confusing. There are the Adkins, South Beach, DASH, Ketogenic, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lectin-free, Gluten-free, Stillmans, Hacker, Raw foodism, etc.
To simply it, what are important are two factors: quality and quantity. Basically, all of these diets aim for us to eat anti-inflammatory food items, those high in anti-oxidants and nutrition, those that lessen oxidative processes in our body that cause illnesses and speed up aging. There are foods that induce inflammation in our body, and damages to our DNA, and those are to be avoided.
Low carbohydrate (especially in rice), high plant-based food items, low fat, high protein diet with at least 8 glasses of filtered water daily is the easiest rule to remember. I was a rice addict (3 meals a day) until last March, when I stopped eating rice cold turkey. I never thought I could do it. But here I am almost 8 months later, still on a rice-free diet, and my blood sugar and blood pressure well under control. Of course, depending on our weight, being aware of our caloric (volume) intake is essential, which we can always adjust. Daily physical exercise is a natural and a vital part of this regimen. Just observe our animal friends and see how active they are, always on the move. That’s nature teaching us.
So, let’s stop self-inflicting, self-inducing harm to our body and get out of that self-destruct (almost suicidal) mode most of us, if not all, appear to have programmed out mindset to. Let’s be healthy and enjoy life.
Minimize harmful Lectin
Studies have revealed that lectin (different from lecithin, which is good for health) a protein discovered in 1888 is found in almost all food items which could cause damage to our cells and a cascade of inflammation and auto-immune reaction. It is also anti-nutrients, undigested by our body. Some people are so intolerant of lectin that they develop weight gain, leaky guts and other illnesses.
While almost all foods have lectin in them, this harmful substance is greatly reduced by cooking, sprouting, and fermenting. Nonetheless, it is best to minimize our intake of lectin. The following are some of the food items which have high lectin levels: all soy and wheat products (most breads), most cooking oil, all varieties of rice, quinoa, barley, rye, grains, oats, dairy products, foods with gluten, and the so-called nightshade foods, like tomatoes, beans, peas, squash, lentils, eggplants, sweet and hot peppers, potatoes, peanuts, cashews. Meats and seafoods also contain lectin. Those with low lectin level are all vegetables not on the list above, dark chocolates, almonds, walnuts, macadamia, extra virgin oil, tea/coffee (without cream and sugar), and stevia, the only sugar substitute on the list. Again, cooking reduces lectin to a safer level. The lower, the better.
Those who continue to smoke tobacco (including e-cigarettes), which are toxic to the body, and can cause a host of illnesses, especially cancer, or those who imbibe excess alcohol, which is literally toxic to the liver, no matter how little (new studies show there is no safe level for alcohol intake), are virtually committing a slow suicide. While a bit of exaggerated, this is nonetheless a medical truism.
Together with daily exercise (low-impact brisk walking is in, and joint-busting jogging is medically discouraged), diet is vital to our health and longevity. We are indeed what we eat. Both physical exercise and proper diet significantly reduce our risk for the development of all major diseases, including Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Dr. Google on-call
If unsure or in need of information about anything, we have Dr. Google (office hours 24/7) at our finger tips, free of charge. In my case, “I don’t need Google, because my wife knows everything,” as printed on my T-shirt from Cancun, Mexico, a gift from my eldest daughter, Sheillah.
In all seriousness, though, our state of health and longevity are greatly in our hands, within our control to a significant extent. Disciplining our mind (and mindset), harnessing and utilizing all the information about healthy lifestyle which are readily available and accessible today, plus regular meditation and daily prayers, are the fundamental ingredients of the recipe for a healthier, happier, more productive, and maximal longevity. Life is wonderful. Let’s have more of it.