Posted on 15 January 2012.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.)
Hippocrates the father of modern medicine said this about 2,500 years ago and it was practiced by our ancestors to stay healthy. However, in the past 200 years the new modern life style has made it difficult for us to follow this old adage. With intelligent reasoning and common sense it is possible to follow Hippocrates’s advice and preserve our health.
The measures we need to take are simple but its positive effects on our health can be tremendous.
Whole grains food: Our ancestors ate whole grains. For longer shelf life of foods our industries are processing foods, thus removing vital nourishments and fiber from the grain by removal of bran and endosperm. Remaining processed grain contains very high percentage of starch. This is claimed to be the higher incidence of diabetes, heart diseases Alzheimer’s and cancers. Starch turns into glucose that spikes insulin secretion, which increases triglycerides and plaques in our arteries.
Fresh vegetables: Eat as fresh vegetables as best as possible. The veggies should be green, leafy and colorful. More color will usually mean better antioxidants. If you can consume raw, well washed vegetables, it is better still. To increase the yield the agriculturists have been using excessive fertilizers and pesticides. Many chemicals are new, untested and even totally unknown causing diseases.
Meat form grass fed animals: Grass fed animals provide better omega 3 essential fatty acids. Meat from animals fed on corn and artificially fattened animals provides fewer omega 3 and also contain inferior quality of micronutrients. Such foods also cause inflammation in body, which is touted for many modern illnesses.
Poultry products: These are also different in quality when compared to farm raised versus poultry raised chickens. Free range raised chicken eggs provide better omega 3 and nutrition than overcrowded poultry farm raised birds. Poultry farm also has problems of possibilities of infections. A lot of discussion is also taking place about the unhygienic and unacceptable conditions of poultry farms.
Fish consumption: Try and eat fatty fish once or twice a week. This also should be preferably from wild stock instead of farm raised. Fish is rich in anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid like Omega 3. Water pollution from industrial wastes contains a lot of PCB and high levels of mercury, which gets to us through fish and we should be mindful of this.
Ultra violet rays of sun for Vitamin D: Almighty has made sun available to the universe. Ultra violet rays of sun light makes Vitamin D in our skin. Recently we are getting habituated to live in air conditioned homes and indoor offices all day resulting to our exposure to sun to minimum. It is estimated that half the population of the USA is Vitamin D deficient because of this. It is claimed that vitamin D is not only a vitamin but a hormone because unlike other vitamins it is produced in our body. It is said to affect every cell of the body
In the name of modernization and conveniences we have either overlooked the importance of quality of our food. . Some experts believe that high incidence of cancer, ADD, Alzheimer’s, depression, diabetes and heart diseases is partly attributed to our attitude to the quality of food. We need to learn some simple hints to follow the healthful advice Hippocrates. These are as follows:
10 simple hints to keep ourselves healthy and avoid diseases:
- Eat fresh vegetables, preferably raw.
- Consume only whole grains.
- Stay away from Starch, Salt and Saturated fats.
- Consume Mono and Polysachurated fats and only sparingly Saturated fats.
- Consume a lot of antioxidants from Vit C, fruits and vegetables.
- Consume a lot of nuts containing anti-inflammatory Omega 3.
- Consume enough micronutrients and vitamins.
- Put in habit daily exercises, cardio and weight lifting both.
- Keep your weight to ideal level.
- Stay away from radiation, ionizing and electromagnetic both.
Posted in Cancer, Carbohydrate, Diabetes, Healthy Living, Obesity, Radiation, Vitamin D
Posted on 09 January 2012.
Secret of longevity: “Hara Hachi Bu” is a 2500 years old famous adage of Confucius (551 – 479 BC), the legendary Chinese philosopher. It literally means “stomach 80%” or “eat food until your stomach is 80% full”. This is a greeting that the people in Okinawa Island in Japan use at the start of a meal to each other. And this is considered to be the secret of 29% population of that island reaching over 100 years of age. (Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical “religion” developed from the teachings of Confucius).
Eat Less and Live Longer: Longevity has been always a fascinating subject. Everyone wants to live as long as possible, may be forever. If possible no one wants to die at all. Secret of long life seems to be consuming fewer calories and living a simple life. They all have lower incidence of diabetes, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s and cancers. No one is overweight.
National Geographic research: In 2005 National Geographic commissioned a study to find where in the world people live the longest and what is their secret of longevity? Their researcher Dan Buettner, author of “Blue Zone, Lessons of Living Longer from the People Who Have Lived the Longest” identified four such geographical areas he named as Blue Zones. They are namely, Sardinia, Okinawa, Costa Rica, and Loma Linda in California. These places have maximum percentage of centurions (persons living more than 100 years) in the population. Top position is claimed by Okinawa Island. They remain active until the end. The common denominators for the longevity were then compared. The results are interesting and many articles are available on websites about this and similar subjects, some excerpts of which are reproduced below.
Most important commonalities: The study found the following:
- Eat fewer calories: In Okinawa Island when people start to eat, they greet each other with “Hara Hachi Bu”. With this reminder they eat less. In 1930 Prof. Clive McCay of Cornell University also deduced from animal experiments that calorie restriction prolongs the life.
- Stay active and use more calories: Our sedentary life style is the cause of many ills. Even sitting on floor, as in olden days, is considered to be better than sitting on chair because you need to use more calories to stand up from floor. Walking is even better. Many thousand years old Chinese medicine believes in acupressure on soles of feet and hands where the body organs are represented. Walking and working with hands continues such acupressure with all its benefits.
- Eat predominantly plant based diet: Most of these people are found to eat leafy veggies grown in their own gardens. They eat little meat, fish tofu and dairy. Because mostly it is plant based, the quantity is large but calories are few. Hence they stay lean.
- Have a purpose to live: Again in Okinawa a word “Ikigai” is often referred to. This means “that which makes one’s life worth living.” For some it may be family for others it may individual spirituality or community service.
- Live a balanced life in all different ways: It may be eating, drinking, exercising or resting. Anything that stands to common sense is good. Sardinia’s local vine containing three times antioxidants may also be an explanation.
- Get involved in your people: In all these blue zones the community is well knit and stay involved with one another. It is almost tribal society.
- Meditation and prayers: Californian Seventh Day Adventist centurions perform communal prayers and walks. Meditation is their way of life.
Bottom line: It is simple and straight forward. Live a clean, simple and involved life. Use common sense. Do all that our ancestors have done to stay healthy. Make the community your family. Do all that helps each other. Feel happy doing what you do. You will surely live longer and that too with good health. It makes sense. Let us all follow this.
Posted in Cancer, Diabetes, Faith, Healthy Living, History, Obesity
Posted on 03 January 2012.
Home refrigerators and freezers are great conveniences: Everyone will want to enjoy its use. However, as these appliances have become almost standard use items in affluent societies, we need to look at their possible downside also, since this has substantially changed our eating habits and life style. We need to ponder over usage of these appliances to ensure that while we enjoy such conveniences we do not hurt or harm our health by its use. Let us look at some of these risks one by one.
Risk of accidents: Risks of accidents are rare but they do happen. The examples of such risks are, accidental tipping the fridge by young children and crushing them when they try and hang on to its handle. Accidental trapping of very small children in the abandoned fridge is also known to happen while playing. Occasional risk of fire due to electrical accident is also known. These are all avoidable by taking appropriate precautions.
Environmental risks: These appliances use chemicals like hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) or hydro-fluorocarbons (HFC) as coolant. These cause environmental hazard by depletion of ozone layer. These chemicals may also seep into drinking water if not dumped properly.
Short term health hazards: Only until about a hundred years ago or even less, our ancestors were used to cook the food fresh everyday and consume it promptly the same day. Keeping cooked food for more than a day or two was considered unhealthy. Leftover food at room temperature will grow food borne bacteria and fungus, will go rancid and will become health hazard. Bacterial growth may also collect toxins and cause the consumer to have intestinal and systemic problems. Listeria bacteria are known to remain alive in food at fridge temperature of 40 degree F (4 degree C), causing indigestion and intestinal problems, particularly in pregnant women, sick patients, children and old people with weaker immune system.
Long term health hazards due to loss of nutrition: Until a few decades ago the seasonal vegetables were locally grown and were available to people. With communication revolution and distances becoming smaller, these days the vegetables and pre-cooked foods come from afar. Sometimes such foods travel a few thousand miles by ship or by air, deep frozen for days or months and sent to other countries. It is a great blessing that whole world can enjoy fruits and vegetables any time during the year and not necessarily only during its season. But such deep frozen foods lose their nutrition value due to loss of micronutrients and vitamins being destroyed, caused by elapse of time and use of preservatives. Every so often we hear about recommendation of supplements of vitamins and minerals, which mostly is result of such long time between the production and use.
Change of Life style: The refrigerators and freezers have changed the way we live. Freezers have added to the convenience of doing grocery in bulk every few days and keeping it frozen at home. Our ancestors used to eat only fresh because there were no fridges then and hence no leftover foods. I remember my father’s generation would eat their food immediately after it was cooked. In fact the home maker women will wait to cook Chapatti until the bread earner men will come home from work and feed them with freshly cooked meals. Even one day’s stale food was usually not used. Now we eat food from fridge cooked even a week old and consume gradually over a few days. This has distinct risk of bacterial growth and loss of nutritive substances.
Precooked ready to eat food: In Western world, where the home maker is also working and there is not enough home help to cook fresh every day, stale food is warmed and offered as a routine. Readymade food from super markets are cooked at times in some different country, deep frozen, marked as “fresh before” such and such date and we buy them all the time. We put in it our fridge at home and consume it within the given time on the label. Such foods must be stored at zero degree F (-18 C) or lower.
Here are some simple recommendations:
- Eat fresh and raw food ONLY, if possible.
- Clean fridge every so often.
- Keep thermometers in fridge and freezers to monitor temperatures.
- Eat the food left in fridge as soon as possible and discard if in doubt.
- Keep the food in fridge covered and keep space between foods.
- Heat food to more than 71 C when using food from fridge to ensure bacteria are killed.
Remember what Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) said; “Let Food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
Posted in Healthy Living, History