Is it better to have cancer, heart disease, dementia, osteoporosis, arthritis, macular degeneration in the eyes or diabetes, and then make a full recovery, or would you rather not have any of them in the first place? Looking at in those terms, I’d think prevention is much better than cure!
How often do you hear of people cured from these nasty illnesses–and how many people take one treatment only to find that that treatment itself causes more problems? However carefully we live, we may develop one of these diseases, but if we take precautions we can reduce our chances, or at least delay the onset.
Given the way the pension age is increasing, it is going to be harder to remain healthy enough to enjoy a reasonably long and active retirement. Living to a healthy old age may not be the first consideration when you have huge house prices to cope with, student debts to pay off, or a job market that doesn’t seem to be in your favour.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
When it comes to your health, however, it is better to think now than regret later. Fresh, home-prepared food, enough sleep and exercise are all important for building health.
Why do arteries become clogged? Mainly because of the sugar in milk. This sugar is called lactose. An enzyme splits it into glucose, the sugar our body runs on, and galactose, a toxic sugar which harms artery walls. Fructose, the sugar in fruit, and part of ordinary sugar from sugar cane or sugar beet, has a similar effect, but less so.
Hydrogenated oils, in processed foods, including margarines and solid white vegetable fat, contain trans fats which harm the arteries. Runny oils that are fried are harmful and oil that is fried over and over again is even worse.
Oils subjected to solvents and heat in processing are also harmful. Additionally, too high an intake of calcium from dairy products or supplements, leads to deposits in the arteries, making them too stiff.
Positive action to prevent chronic disease
What about positive things we can do to help the arteries?
Exercise is very important. Exercising outdoors is even better as vitamin D protects the heart. Go out in the sunshine without sunblock, but certainly be sensible. Don’t get burnt! Just a few minutes brings great Vitamin D benefits.One sort of vitamin E, called gamma tocopherol, is also good for the heart. Avocado contains it.
Don’t buy synthetic vitamin E, as it does not contain any gamma tocopherol. Folate in green leaves (foliage) protects the arteries, so do vitamin B2 in meat, fish, bananas and lentils, as well as vitamin B12 in animal foods, like meat and fish.
Coronary artery disease involves inflammation. Fish oil provides omega three oil, which is anti-inflammatory . Vegetarians can use flax or hemp seed oil, but these should be kept in the fridge and eaten raw. Buckwheat, red cabbage and lentils provide molybdenum, which is anti-inflammatory. Magnesium reduces inflammation, keeps down blood pressure and prevents unnecessary blood clotting.
Nuts, seeds, okra and green leaves are good sources of magnesium. Antioxidants are protective, and that includes selenium in Brazil nuts, carotenoids in dark green and brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, vitamin C in vegetables and fruit, and vitamin B2 in lentils, avocado, nuts and eggs. Only have a few Brazil nuts a day, however, as too much selenium is harmful.
Potassium reduces blood pressure. Vitamin K2 removes calcium from arteries, where it can make them too rigid and puts the calcium in the bone. Vitamin K2 is in cheese. Vitamin K1 is in green leaves and blueberries. The body converts some of it to vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 has two good effects. It takes calcium from the arteries, thus reducing the risk of heart attacks, and it puts calcium in the bone, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Magnesium contributes to stronger bones. Bone cells, like other cells, need omega three fats. Avoid fluoride toothpaste and Teflon pans, as fluorine makes bones heavy and weak.
What about preventing cancer?
It is important to minimise exposure to harmful chemicals, whether in the garden, when cleaning the house, using cosmetics or additives in food. Electromagnetic radiation is an issue too, and it is important to minimise exposure to X rays, CT scans, cordless phones, mobiles and microwaves.
We can expect to have cancer cells in our bodies and need to destroy them before they breed. Fructose helps cancer cells make nucleic acids, in order to make new cells, so that lumps grow and cancers spread to different parts of the body. So sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and sweet fruit juice, so they’re all not a good idea.
The antioxidants protect against cancer. So does vitamin D. Iodine in fish, lycopene in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, rose hips and watermelon and brassica vegetables, like watercress, cress, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, protect against some cancers.
Age-related macular degeneration
The blue or purple antioxidants in bilberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, red grapes, pomegranates, cherries, red plums, red cabbage and aubergines protect the macula part of the retina in the eye from sunlight. So do the carotenoids, lutein in kale and spinach, and zeaxanthin in eggs, yellow maize and oranges. Macular degeneration is a common cause of blindness in the elderly.
Type two diabetes
Glucose is involved in type two diabetes, but when blood glucose rises, insulin is produced to pack it away into cells and a hormone called leptin tells you that you have had enough to eat.
When you eat galactose or fructose, you do not make leptin or insulin, and you are still hungry. The sugar is not packed away and is transported around the body, for example to the brain and kidneys. Controlling blood glucose in Type Two diabetes is not enough to prevent damage to the eyes, nervous system, arteries, brain or kidneys. Vitamin D, magnesium and chromium protect us from diabetes. Learn about type one diabetes as well.
Dementia can be caused by mercury, from amalgam fillings in the teeth, vaccinations, and contaminated fish, like some tuna. Another cause is aluminium from cookware, foil, some antacids and vaccines. It can also be caused by too much sugar, or deficiency of vitamins B 1, 2, 6 and 12, folic acid, zinc and magnesium.
Arthritis can be caused by eating a lot of skins of seeds, for example bran, wholemeal bread, and whole beans. Bathing in Epsom salts, eating butter for its butyric acid, eating coconut oil for the lauric and myristic acids, and eating mushrooms can help. The same measures can protect against some digestive disorders.
Ideally, prevention starts before conception, so that a baby has healthy parents and the best possible start in life. Would-be parents should eat fresh food and avoid sugar. Breastfeeding follows, as a gentle way of introducing the baby to tiny amounts of its mother’s food.
Weaning onto the mother’s diet liquidised builds on the familiarity of these foods, which the immune system then accepts. Then mashed mother’s food, and then pieces of mother’s food can lead to eating ordinary fresh healthy food, prepared at home.
Avoid accustoming a baby to sugar and additives. Even if we did not have this healthy start in life, we can still do our best to prevent illness with healthy food now. General advice on food can be relevant to most people, but it needs to be adapted to individual chemistry.
Avoid drugs except when really needed, as they can cause multiple nutrient deficiencies. Nutritional supplements are useful, if of good quality, and relevant to the individual. Choosing them is a complex task.