The Triad Of A Healthy Lifestyle
Nowadays, people are dying before their time and from diseases that are highly preventable through simple lifestyle changes. The World Health Organization revealed that the leading cause of death is not anymore infectious diseases but noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs were responsible for 68% of all deaths globally in 2012, up from 60% in 2000. The four main NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases.
These leading killer diseases are also called degenerative or lifestyle diseases. Compared to infectious diseases, lifestyle diseases are not caught like the flu nor do they develop overnight. You can hug, kiss, or make love with someone with diabetes and you are not at risk of contracting the disease.
On the contrary, lifestyle diseases develop over a long period of time that they do not alarm us in any way. A little neglect here and there – a scoop of ice cream, a few French fries, a sip of soda, overeating, skipping exercise – these things do not hurt us instantly. And because of that, we are bound to repeat them until they eventually become our habit. Then one day, we receive the shock of our lives. We have cancer! “But how come”, we ask. “No one in my family ever had cancer”.
That is right. And it is probably because our descendants had a different lifestyle than ours. They ate food straight from their garden. They moved around a lot. They did not worry too much. They had lesser pollution. So you see, these degenerative diseases are not necessarily genetic. We also acquire them through our lifestyle. The great news is they are easily preventable and reversible in some cases – with discipline and the right choices in how we live our lives. We have to understand that we do not become healthy by chance. Health is a choice.
Dr. Ray Strand, a specialist in nutritional medicine and best-selling author of What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine Is Killing You says there is a triad to a healthy lifestyle. That is – “a healthy diet that does not spike one’s blood sugar; a moderate, consistent exercise program; and taking high-quality nutritional supplements for cellular nutrition”. The secret, he says, lies in all three being implemented in a carefully balanced fashion.
Diet is a huge factor in our health. By choosing the right kind of foods, we can maintain a healthy body and reduce our risk of illness. Food is meant to nourish and heal us if we make the right choices.
Nowadays, diet plans have become popular because of obesity and obesity-related illnesses. The thing with diet programs is they work in the short term only. If it says “lose 10 pounds in a week using our planned meals”, more or less we will indeed lose those ten pounds but we are sure to get them back and more. That is because after the program, we go back to our usual unhealthy diet.
Another issue with diet program meals is that they can be more expensive and sometimes their ingredients are hard to find that they are unsustainable. It is important that our diet is something we can sustain for life and not only for a week or a month if we intend to live longer. Titanium Success released a Food Guide identifying what to eliminate, what to avoid, what not to overdo, and what to have a more of. The Guide provides a wide array of options that we can mix and match so we do not have to endure boring planned meals.
Physical inactivity is as much of a health risk as smoking! Our body is created for movement that if we do not move often enough, it will start to deteriorate in its efficiency. Our organs like the heart and lungs will not function well; our joints will become rigid; and our muscles saggy. But for many of us, exercise is too time-consuming especially if our kind of exercise is going to the gym. A one-hour schedule could stretch on to three hours to include travel to and from and taking shower after. That is why when we get too busy, we begin skipping going to the gym and before we know it, skipping has become our norm.
A solution to this is to develop an exercise program that easily fits into our lifestyle. It could be taking the stairs at work or in the mall, parking far so we have an opportunity to walk to our destination, walking the dog in the neighborhood, playing with the kids at home, or doing household chores. These things are easily embedded in our daily routine. If one is obese though, he or she may need to do more but for regular people trying to shed off a little weight or maintain their weight, these activities are perfect.
Gone are the days when we got all our nutritional requirements from food. Our soil is depleted from minerals. Farming practices are highly commercialized. Foods are grown in unnatural ways. These have resulted in the sharp reduction of the vitamin and mineral contents of the food that reach our dinner table.
This is one of the reasons that the Journal of American Medical Association has reversed its stand against supplementation. Acknowledging the fact that we cannot get optimal amount of all vitamins from diet alone, Drs. Fletcher and Fairfield of Harvard University who wrote JAMA’s new guidelines said that “Sub-optimal intake of some vitamins, above levels causing classic vitamin deficiency, is a risk factor for chronic diseases and common in the general population, especially the elderly.” They further say that, “it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements. Physicians should make specific efforts to learn about their patients’ use of vitamins to ensure that they are taking vitamins they should.”
However, we should be careful to take only the best quality supplement because we might be harming ourselves more by taking the wrong kind. We should also beware of popular supplements advertised by celebrities because celebrities are not nutrition experts. We can check reviews of experts and authorities like a nutrition doctor or the Food and Drugs Administration for safety and effectiveness to make sure we are getting our money’s worth.
Fletcher RH, Fairfield KM. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: clinical applications. Journal of American Medical Association, 2002 Jun 19;287(23):3127-9.
Ray Strand, M.D. Preventing Diabetes, 2009
Tatiana Morales. It Pays To Take Your Vitamins at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/it-pays-to-take-your-vitamins/
World Health Organization. The Top 10 Causes of Death https://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/index2.html