Why do some people live vigorous healthy lives well into old age while others are handicapped with degenerative disease and succumb to an early death? Lifestyles, genetics, environment all have an influence but the most significant factor in determining health is diet.
Many people assume that if they eat enough food each day to keep them from feeling hungry they will get all the nutrients they need to be healthy. It doesnít matter what type of food they eat just so long as they donít go hungry. Years ago this was a popular philosophy among the medical profession. Now, however, after years of nutritional research we know that diet is the most important factor influencing our health.
If you eat nutrient poor foods, your health will suffer, itís that simple. The effects may not be immediately noticed, but after years of dietary abuse your body will slowly go down hill. Signs of premature aging include frequent illnesses, lack of energy, aches and pains, digestive problems, failing memory, kidney and bladder problems, and arthritis to name a few. Before long more serious health problems begin to arise like cancer, osteoporosis, and hardening of the arteries.
You need not experience these conditions even in old age if you treat yourself properly by watching your diet. There are many people in their 80ís, 90ís and even over 100 who are not troubled by these so-called degenerative diseases. They may not have the pep and energy of their younger years but they are independent, pain free and happy.
It doesnít take a brain surgeon to recognize that if all you ever eat is candy bars and ice cream you will end up in the hospital or worse. Eating poor quality foods leads to nutrient deficiencies. Many of the common foods we eat every day are nutrient deficient. A diet consisting predominately of refined carbohydrates (e.g. sugar, white flour products, white rice) is destructive.
We can eat and eat and even overeat, but it we donít consume food to keep from being hungry your heath will suffer. Donít believe the lie that if you eat enough food to keep from being hungry then you will not suffer from malnutrition or nutrient deficiency. History has taught us this lesson.
Scurvy was the first disease recognized as being caused by a dietary deficiency. It was most prevalent among sailors on long ocean voyages. Scurvy is caused by a lack of vitamin C that is most commonly found in fresh fruits and vegetables. When sailors went to sea fresh produce was used up early in the journey and for the rest of the voyage sailors subsisted on biscuits and salted meat, both of which are deficient in vitamin C. Before long scurvy would begin to develop. It wasnít until the 1700ís that it was recognized that eating citrus fruits could prevent and even cure the disease. A sailor could have eaten enough rations of biscuits and salted meat to fill four and still die of a nutrient deficiency. Itís not quantity, but quality that counts.
The emergence of modern technology and food processing has led to the increased consumption of nutrient poor foods. For example, in the making of white four from whole wheat some 20 nutrients are removed. Four or five of these are added back and the product is labeled "enriched", yet it is still far inferior to the original whole wheat. White flour is a nutritionally poor food. Sugar is even worse. Sugar is so highly refined that it contains absolutely no nutritive value. All it provides is calories. It is interesting to note that since the introduction and wide scale use of refined flour and sugar the occurrence of degenerative diseases have skyrocketed. Is there a connection? I think so.
Now think for a moment. How much refined carbohydrates do you eat every day? Let me list a few common foods; white rice and meals prepared with it, white bread, muffins, sandwiches, pancakes, rolls, cupcakes, tortillas, donuts, pastries, cookies, crackers, pasta, bread sticks, pizza, hot and cold breakfast cereals Ė the list can go on and on. Honestly, how much of these types of foods do you east each day? If you are like most people it amounts to 50-75% of everything you eat. Is it any wonder why Americans have as many health problems as they do?
If you are concerned about your health and truly want to take charge of how you feel, you can take a big step toward better health by replacing all the refined wheat and rice in your diet with whole grain products. Eat brown rice in place of white. Eat 100% whole wheat bread products instead of white. This way youíre getting 100 percent of the nutrients nature put into the food and not just the four or five the manufacturers add back after processing. In addition, you should also cut down on sugar and sweets. Better yet, eliminate most of them from your diet. If you do these things you will be amazed at the improvement you will notice in your health.