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 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
Posted on 05 September 2011.
WE NEED SIMPLE USE OF OUR COMMON SENSE TO PROMOTE HEALTH & PROTECTION FROM DISEASES
Today everyone in their middle age and keeping up to date with recent trends would know that our life styles have changed from hard working and rural to sedentary and urban, almost all over the world in the past century. This has become a source of worry and a reason to think ahead to find some amicable way for our survival with good health and good quality of life.
Let us see some facts as we know:
- From the medical literature and general observation we all know that prevalence of conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s depression and cancer are on rise.
- Of these, obesity, diabetes and heart diseases are so prevalent that they are reaching almost epidemic proportions.
- All literature points to the fact that these diseases are increasing more and more as we change our life styles from rural to urban and from hard working to sedentary.
- We know that these changes have started to occur with industrial revolution about 150 years ago. We have seen the disease load to follow after 20 to 30 years of our each change in life styles.
- Fast food, excessive calorie diet, high fructose intake, low fat or no fat craze causing high Carb intake, which started middle of 1900s also was followed by increased Diabetes and obesity in 20 years or so.
- Sedentary life style has been followed by all diseases mentioned above roughly similar 20 to 30 years lag period.
- Less exposure to sun due to our new habit of staying in air conditioned spaces and working indoors causes Vit D deficiency; a high percentage of population of Western world suffers from this.Vit D deficiency is now touted to be the cause of almost all the diseases mentioned above.
- We have allowed our poultry and meat to be mass produced by bovine growth hormones, antibiotic and genetically modified corn fed animals to fatten them up quickly.
- We are deficient in essential fatty acids like omega 3 because of low quality fat produced in such animals and poultry.
- Our agricultural products are now laden with chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides.
- In our daily lives we use petrochemicals in massive quantities; these are all new to our human genes since they all came into existence sometime in 1900s.
- Our factories are discharging toxic waste in rivers polluting fish with high PCBs and mercury contents, Talking about mercury, half our dentists are still using amalgams, called “silver” fillings, which contains toxic mercury, which stays only a few inches from brain all our life. This is despite the fact that the FDA has banned use of mercury in animals; it is not banned for use humans in amalgams.
- If we plot a graph, the prevalence of diseases is directly correlated with usage of all these unnatural food or chemical.
- We have started using genetically modified foods during past century with little or no effort to find out its untoward effects on our health and life.
- Add to this the impact of radiation, our new love to rule the world with. We seem to be heading towards a catastrophe to human lives and perhaps for planet also. Until about 1900 the radiation load on planet was all natural from cosmic rays and boron gas from radium. Presently the natural radiation is same, but we have some 19% additional “man made radiation” to deal with, used in medical field and nuclear reactors.
We need to use our natural common sense to recognize as to which of the modern facility and affluence we need. We also need to understand much is it hurting us and how can we keep on using the modernity, while at the same time we do not harm ourselves, and other lives on the planet. If we did not think about this proactively, it is quite possible that we are crossing the tipping point and a line of no return and that we might be endangering all the lives on the planet bringing them to extinction with some unforeseen accident.
We have several examples of such civilizations disappearing and we do not have any way of finding their accomplishments and why they got extinct. I intend to write on each of these 15 subjects in due course, though some of them are overlapping. These are being researched and will be presented to you soon.
Posted in Cancer, Carbohydrate, Diabetes, Fructose, Healthy Living, History
Posted on 28 July 2011.
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF MODERN LIVING
In the past two hundred years with Industrial revolution following the agricultural revolution, we are becoming indoor people. We work in offices, factories or homes. With availability of air-conditioning we have become too soft and cannot stand sun or heat. This has further reduced our exposure to sun. It is a matter of recent knowledge that Vit D is formed in skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet rays of sun light. We are inadvertently losing this nature’s bounty because of which we are being hurt by many diseases.
As we know more about Vitamin D, it is becoming more apparent that this is more than a simple vitamin that we did not care much about until recently. New found additional knowledge Vit D is changing our respect towards Vit D. However, at the same time the modern life style that we are pursuing is inadvertently causing us Vit D deficient or insufficient resulting in many health issues. Let us see how this has happened?
Vit D was the fourth vitamin accidentally found early last century, after discovery of Vit A, B and C and hence it was named fourth in the alphabetical list. Vitamins are defined as “vital chemicals needed to complete metabolic and chemical processes beneficial to the body functions” and hence they are called Vitamins. These are not made within our body and hence have to come with our intake of food.
Similar vital chemicals “produced in the body” are called hormones, like in thyroid gland, pituitary gland, parathyroid, adrenaline glands etc. It was not realized in early days that Vit D is also produced in the skin and it is also a hormone. It’s importance was not all that felt because it’s production in skin while it is exposed to sun light containing ultraviolet rays B (UV B) was almost given because our life styles until century almost made it necessary for almost everyone to remain exposed to sunlight for certain part of the day. And that was just enough to produce necessary quantity of Vit D for our body functions.
With Industrial revolution more and more people started working indoors and exposure to sunlight reduced. Additionally, with the advent if air conditioning, staying away from heat became a comfort and fashion causing people to became habituated to stay away from sun light and hence Vit D. Now we also know that UV B do not pass through glass and hence if we are sitting in air. It is estimated that we need about two hours exposure to mid-day sun to produce enough Vit D we need. In present day working in developed countries such a long exposure in hot sun has become either impossible or intolerable. Then the choice is to have Vit D supplements.conditioned space covered by glass windows, the skin is not exposed to the beneficial UV B and Vit D is not produced.
Vit D ids fat soluble. Fish is best source of Vit D. Eggs and beef also contains some Vit D. It is almost absent in vegetables. Vit D exists in two forms, I.e. Vit D2 and D3. Its daily need in body is minute and the presence of Vit D in blood is measured in ng/ml of blood. One nanogram is one billionth of a gram. Its deficiency was not all that common except in Rickets, hence health professionals did not attach all that much importance to it.
We need to take care of our Vit D levels because of following reasons:
- Because of more indoor living in air conditioned spaces, the Vit D deficiency seems to be on an increase.
- As our knowledge about many prevalent conditions like Diabetes, Obesity, cardiovascular and Heart diseases, Depression, Alzheimer’s and Cancers etc is increasing, there is more and more evidence available that this Hormone/ Vitamin works at cellular levels. It is directly or indirectly affecting several thousand genes of our body. Some workers even connect Vit D with Multiple Sclerosis, ADD and many other conditions.
- Our knowledge of minimum levels necessary of Vit D is also not firmly agreed upon by all the concerned pundits. For example recently in November 2010, Institute of Medicine (IOM) has almost doubled the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) to be taken as supplements because more number of Americans and Canadians seem to be Vit D deficient.
- Until recently, <19 ng/ml was considered to be deficiency, and 19 to 29 ng/ml was considered to be insufficient. Those who swear by this Vitamin insist that probably 50 to 70 ng/ml is a satisfactory level, with 50 as optimal.
- They also dispute strongly with the recent RDA from IOM and say that RDA should be 2000 to 5000 IU daily for an average person who does not get enough exposure to sunlight every day. And because our exposure to sun light and UV B is drastically reduced because of our newly adopted life style, it is estimated that a substantial majority of North American population is Vit D deficient.
- Yet another recent awareness is that if we live around equator, we get sun light at a better angle and if we are away in North or South latitudes on planet earth, our exposure to sun light is reduced and we need higher RDA.
- Another new understanding is that the angle at which these rays fall on skin is also important. That is, if we are exposed to sun in morning or evening the angle is too small for UV B to produce Vit D. If our skin is exposed to sun at or around mid day the angle is better to produce more Vit D.
- Yet another surprise revelation is that even mildest usage of sunscreen reduces the UV B penetration in skin and hence production of Vit D is small to none.
With all the above scientific facts that have emerged and that we know that we have adopted a different life style than what our ancestors used to live in sometime about a hundred years ago, it is a matter of God given common sense and wisdom that needs to be applied. A measure needs to be adopted to ensure that we maintain an optimal level of Vit D in our body by doing the following:
- Get ourselves tested for Vit D levels and try and keep it at above 50 ng/ ml.
- Get the appropriate diet supplement to achieve the above.
- It would be best to get enough exposure to sun light every day.
By taking those measures we can keep ourselves insulated from many diseases that are plaguing our citizens and incidence of such diseases is continuously becoming higher.
Posted in Healthy Living, Obesity, Vitamin D
Posted on 22 May 2011.
We do not need to look farther than simple correlation of consumption of sugars since year 1900 until now and the high incidence of many diseases during this period of time, almost unknown in the past. If we go back few hundred years ago and as some pundits suggest, our sugar consumption was almost negligible until about 1500 years ago. Cane sugar is in itself a relatively new crop and so is refined table sugar. Refined sugars became available only about 500 years ago and in abundance only from 1900s. Since then in the past 110 years, our sugar consumption has bumped up to 170 lbs/ person/ year from less than 10 lbs per person per year. It has gone up by almost 15 to 17 times more over last 100 years only.
In the past century alone, incidence of metabolic syndrome, which is collection of Diabetes, Obesity, Cardiovascular diseases, High Blood pressure and Insulin Resistance has increased many folds. As we discuss this, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta projects the incidence of such diseases on an increase almost in epidemic proportions. We may perhaps add Cancer and Alzheimer’s high incidence in here also. No doubt proper studies and statistics need to be correlated but it seems obvious from these broad facts that there is a direct link between the two i.e. increased sugar consumption and higher incidence of all these “modern” diseases. There may be other additional factors like our modern sedentary life style, which keep us away from exercise, unnecessary high calorie intake and “avoidance” of exposure to sun due to life styles or sun screens because of exaggerated fear of skin cancers causing Vit D deficiency.
Here is a very thoughtful and informative article by Dr Mark Hyman that discusses an additional factor of our consumption of another monosaccharide sugar called Fructose. It is captioned “5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You” on his website, which has following link:
Fructose is yet another modern addition to our sugars from 1960s made from corn in Japan and introduced as High Fructose Corn syrup (HFCS) and made popular in 1970s in US and the world. Drink and Sweet industries immediately turned to HFCS because it was almost half the price of table sugar and 33% sweeter than sugar.
Fructose is naturally present in most fruits and honey but from those sources you cannot eat fructose any more than moderate amounts, say 3 teaspoon full (15 Gm) per day. Compared to that today a 20 oz cola drink bottle contains 13 spoons (65 Gm) of sugar and perhaps major portion of that is fructose coming from High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
However, as we have been accepting many “new and modern” elements in our lives, we have accepted fructose also in same vain. Without understanding the amount of damage it can do to our lives and health. Fructose is metabolized in liver and not like Glucose in every cells of body. This is a biggest difference that we all need to understand. Fructose also does not stimulate secretion of Insulin and Leptin. Hence Fructose consumption does not tell our brain when we are satisfied by amount of food and that “enough is enough” and we keep on eating. The fructose sugar is also more likely converted to fat increasing incidence of obesity because its passage to liver for breaking down, which quickly gets full also.
I would also suggest spending time to watch Prof Robert Lustig, of UCSF’s very informative lecture (available on UTube) dubbing fructose as poison!! Such information points to same fundamental worry that we are being dragged into using and consuming many new things without being certain that they are definitely not harmful for us.
I think we need to have public advocacy groups to vet many new “faculties and utilities” that we keep adding to our modern life style. We all know of many chemicals (which are later declared to be banned), and many medicines (which are later withdrawn). Despite many such vivid examples we seem not to always think of the damage such facilities may cause to our health and lives before starting to use them. These include all fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, sugars, fructose, sun screens (two ingredients have been recently banned from it), radiation emitting gadgets like TV, cell phones, microwaves, high tension electricity cables and even repeated X rays and radioactive substances used for diagnosis and treatment in medicine.
Someone needs to take a lead and ensure that we do not hurt ourselves and our children in the enthusiasm of accepting everything that is “new”. These should be only accepted after thorough evaluation of safety to health and lives.
Any suggestions, as to how do we accomplish this?
Posted in Cancer, Fructose, Radiation