JUNE … PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE MONTH!
It would not be an exaggeration to say that most people would rather take a couple of pain killers following a fun night out on the booze than pace themselves, drink plenty of water in between their wines and try to keep it to a few (or God forbid no booze at all)! What is it about human nature that has us take the easier option (shorter term)? Does pleasure take precedence over pain?
This month, we are going to delve into why it’s better to enjoy a balanced life that ensures you safeguard yourself against easily avoidable short and longer term illness. In short, we will prove that prevention is better than the cure!
The proverb, “Prevention is better than Cure” is applicable to all aspects of our lives. Think about it – your mental and physical health, your savings, your work life, family life – if you are careful with how you act now, then you won’t need to repair the damage afterwards!
When it comes to your health, it is the most valuable asset we have. You can have money, real estate and luxury but you cannot buy health. The problem we have now-a-days is that modern medicine has enabled us to become reactive to health issues rather than proactive in being as well as we can in our everyday lives. When we get sick, we seek medical help – not only is this a very expensive model, it has also sent us into a very dangerous spiral of reliance on medicine that, ironically, ails us in the end anyhow!
Many medicines have been invented for the cure of almost every disease. Drugs like aspirin, quinine, penicillin etc have been used by doctors all over the world to cure influenza, malaria etc.
Antibiotics are given by doctors to fight serious infections. However, these are all cures that lead to various damages to the body as they have a weakening effect on the body. Hence it has often been advised that an overdose of medicines should be avoided. In fact, as far as possible, we should let nature find its own ways of curing ourselves and medicines should be taken only when we are suffering from a violent attack of some disease.
Preventing disease needs to start at home by eating nutritious food which builds up our resistance to disease. Regular exercise, plenty of clean water, fruit, vegetables, protein should be a daily habit – avoiding sugar and too much salt, alcohol and refined carbohydrates are a must.
Here are some great disease fighting foods:
Berries – packed with a powerful dose of disease fighting antioxidants, blueberries top the list of antioxidant-rich fruits, followed by cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. These types of fruits are rich in anthocyanin an antioxidant associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and they’re also known to help with obesity control.
Yoghurt – yoghurt contains probiotics which are bacteria that live in the intestine, aid in digestion and boost the immune system. Try to avoid yoghurt with sugar – try Greek full fat yoghurt which is thicker and higher in protein than standard yoghurts.
Fatty Fish – omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fish like salmon and tuna. They are linked to a number of health benefits such as lowering risk of heart disease, improved mental ability and protection from cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Omedga-3 has been shown to reduce inflammation and potentially lower the risk of heart disease.
Cruciferous vegetables – eg Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Kale, spinach are a good source of fibre, high in vitamins and minerals and display cancer fighting and immune boosting properties.
Non-cruciferous vegetables – eg capsicum, asparagus, sweet potato, tomatoes, carrots – also excellent sources of minerals and vitamins.
Coffee and tea – both help fight heart disease, have high levels of antioxidants plus according to a new study out of the Netherlands, both tea and coffee can protect against liver fibrosis. Due to decades of bad eating habits and sedentary lifestyle, many westerners have seen an increase in liver disease. Obesity has caused an increase in cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease caused by a build up of fat in the liver. Coffee in particular has shown that its antioxidant affects has been shown to provide liver benefits. No matter what your preference, tea or coffee or both, drink up to 3 cups a day for a lift in energy and a boost to the immune system.
Protein – you cannot survive without protein which should make up between 10 to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake. Protein supports many bodily systems, including cell growth, immune function, metabolism and hormone production. The main function of protein in the body is to build and repair cells and tissues. This includes supporting muscle development and all other cells in the body. The right kind of protein is crucial to fueling your body correctly. Try a mix of proteins throughout your week with seafood, white meat poultry, lean red meat, milk, cheese and yoghurt (if you are tolerant of lactose), eggs, beans, and soy.
Finally here’s what you need to avoid as much as possible in order to prevent disease:
Refined starches such as white bread, white pasta, anything that comes in a box or bag such as chips, crackers and pretzels – the grains used to make most snack foods are stripped of the bran and germs leaving only blood spiking, high glycemic, non-nutritious food left!
Refined Sugars – sodas, energy dinks, sweetened ice tea and many fruit juices are made with added refined sugars that will do a serious number on your blood sugar! With no nutrients to speak of, drinking a soda is like drinking straight sugar (with some nasty preservatives for even worse measure). Also avoid sweeteners such as table sugar, honey, agave, corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar – all considered refined carbs.
Added to that, you will also find a lot of refined carbs in breakfast cereals, pizza, French fries, donuts, biscuits – the list goes on. Refined carbs negatively affect your health and longevity.
Read food labels and replaced refined grains with whole grains whenever possible. To satisfy your sweet tooth, opt for fresh fruits, roasted nuts or even try dark chocolate (ideally 85% +).
We’ve only covered a small area but probably the most important area in terms of disease prevention – food! Invest in your health by eating as much fresh fruit, vegetables and protein as possible. Enjoy fueling your body with a variety of food – experiment with spices, herbs and fruit and vegetables that you’ve never tried!
Try hard to cut right back on alcohol for good and see how your mental and physical energy soars! Instead of sitting down for a drink and cigarette, put on your exercise gear and go for a walk. If you have a dog, kids and / or partner, take them along and enjoy fresh air, good conversation and exercise.
When it comes to seeking advice regarding a healthy lifestyle that will enable you to prevent disease, speak with a variety of people – not only can your family GP assist, but a qualified personal trainer and dietician / nutritionist can also provide you with a wealth of information. It’s your body, your life so take control and steer your life in the right direction.
It is much better to prevent disease rather than try to find cures for diseases after they occur. The reasoning here is similar to why you change the oil in your car rather than wait to fix a blown engine. This is also why we try to vaccinate or inoculate against as many diseases as possible. It is at the level of prevention that most bioengineering efforts ought to be directed because prevention is better than the cure.
CHEERS to an amazing June!